Notre Dame’s Ellen Parkey melds academics, sports, cheerleading, and a servant’s heart
Known throughout Notre Dame Catholic School for her welcoming and energetic personality, senior Ellen Parkey is as at home leading cheers as she is leading others in need of encouragement.
“She is well mannered and a gentle person, combined with some real leadership,” said Jack Abel, who teaches chemistry and pre-calculus. “She is an encourager and motivator who loves to help other students out. She has a servant’s heart.”
Abel, who taught Parkey chemistry two years ago, said she remains a standout student on his teaching roster.
“Ellen is the kind of young lady you look forward to teaching every day,” Abel said in explaining his reason for nominating her as the school’s representative for Catholic Schools Week. “She is a hardworking student. She is the type of student that you challenge and they rise to the occasion.”
Notre Dame is composed of an elementary school for students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade; a middle school for sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students; and a high school for students in the ninth through 12th grades.
The traditions of the institution are drawn from the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur who, in 1904, founded the original school that was known as the Academy of Mary Immaculate, and the Congregation of the Holy Cross, who joined the Sisters of St. Mary when the school was broadened to include high school age boys.
Principal Michael Edghill said the school has a staff of 40, with 43 of its 195 students in high school.
Parkey, 18, has been a student there since kindergarten. Her parents, Robert, a physician at Hospice of Wichita Falls, and her mother, Katie, a nurse, raised two other daughters who graduated from Notre Dame, Rachel and Alex.
The teenager is a cantor at Mass and a sacristan. She also is in the school choir and sings and plays the guitar at the local Rebirth Retreat for Catholic youth.
“I really feel close to God through music,” the senior said. “It’s really powerful.”
Abel made his nomination after talking with other staff who wholeheartedly echoed his choice.
“She is very giving and easy to be with,” Abel said.
Parkey’s resume includes National Honor Society, student council president, cheer captain, captain of the basketball team, and member of the school’s softball, basketball, and volleyball teams.
She is also first violin with the Wichita Falls Youth Symphony.
Parkey said her faith is paramount.
“It makes me who I am,” the teen said. “I love being able to share my faith and help others see the beauty of a relationship with God.”