St. Peter Chanel High School Final Commencement Made Possible Through Notre Dame College

St. Peter Chanel High School in Bedford, Ohio, closed at the end of the 2012-13 school year due to declining enrollment. But thanks to the Seniors at Notre Dame College Program (SAND), the Diocese of Cleveland and the hard work of their parents, the final senior class will be graduating with a Chanel diploma.

The Diocese of Cleveland granted Chanel a charter in which the school, in essence, remained alive an additional year through the special Seniors at Notre Dame program. The 23 students who participated will become Chanel graduates at 7 p.m. May 13 at St. Barnabas Church in Northfield, Ohio, where they will receive their Chanel diplomas in a traditional graduation ceremony.

"These 23 are the last class in history to graduate with a St. Peter Chanel High School diploma," parent Yvonne Brown said. "They deserve to receive the same as the classes before them, and as parents, we did what was needed to bring this to fruition for them."

In order to make this once- in-a-lifetime experience possible for the SAND students, the parents said they have organized a customary St. Peter Chanel graduation for them. The parents have extended an invitation to former teachers, coaches, staff and alumni to witness the final graduating class in Chanel history, according to Brown.

“The closing of the doors of St. Peter Chanel was very emotional. The opening of the Notre Dame doors was a blessing,” said Evelyn “Evie” Golding, mother of Erin Golding, St. Peter Chanel class of 2014 and a graduating SAND senior.  “My daughter will earn college credit and a high school diploma at the same price as her high school tuition. This experience reflects that Notre Dame cares about the students’ education. I am grateful that we are a part of history at Notre Dame College.”

In lieu of not having the formal valedictorian and salutatorian speak as in past Chanel graduation ceremonies, the final commencement still will include a series of student speeches but by volunteers Brianna Erickson, Andrew Holman, Lindsay Zydowicz and Billy Kosileski instead. The students will reminisce about their past years in high school and look forward to their futures after graduation.

According to Brown, Chanel alumnus Ryan Durr will appear as a guest speaker to address the students on the value of work ethic.

After these speeches, the students will be handed their diplomas by a representative from the Diocese of Cleveland.

“It’s very special to me that we will be able to receive a Chanel diploma because it was almost unfair that we weren’t going to have the Chanel diploma we deserved," SAND student Luke Griffiths said.

At the conclusion of the graduation ceremony, Brown said that the parents will take the entire class out to dinner as one final chance for them to be together as a class.

 “The hard work from our parents makes me realize that we are all blessed with such amazing and hardworking parents who will go to hell and back for us. I am so thankful for everything my parents have done for us, along with all the other parents. I don’t know what we would have done without them,” SAND student Brianna Erickson.                                       

The class came to Notre Dame College and joined the SAND Program after St. Peter Chanel closed in June of 2013.

The nearly 65 students who were juniors at St. Peter Chanel last year were eligible to continue their high school education at Notre Dame, provided they applied and met College admission requirements. A total of 23 enrolled last fall.

“With the closing of St. Peter Chanel I had to find a new school to finish out my senior year. I have been blessed with an opportunity to take classes at Notre Dame College,” Erin Golding said. “Everyone here at Notre Dame has been great. I feel just like the other college students.”

The SAND program originated in 2010 when Regina High School closed and 30 students dual enrolled at Notre Dame. 



For 91 years, Notre Dame College has educated a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional and global responsibility. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College has grown strategically to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of students and the dramatic changes in higher education. But it has never lost sight of its emphasis on teaching students not only how to make a good living but also how to live a good life.

Today, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master's degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. Notre Dame College offers 22 NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women and is located in a picturesque residential neighborhood just 25 minutes from the heart of Cleveland. Highlights of the Notre Dame experience include stimulating academics, personalized attention of dedicated faculty and staff and small class sizes.