When student leaders at Notre Dame Preparatory in Scottsdale heard about the DUDE. be nice Project, they were inspired to try their own version of a “be nice” surprise. It worked.
Although it wasn’t an official “DUDE. be nice” surprise — a platform that inspires young people to build a positive community by recognizing a person or group in a fun, creative and meaningful way — the NDP surprise was fun and meaningful for “Sister Yo.”
She was the target of the surprise Dec. 11. Sr. Yolanda Mendoza, IBVM, serves as campus minister at Notre Dame. Students planned the entire surprise just outside of her office in the Student Activities Center.
“They had been working under my nose the whole time,” Sr. Yolanda said. “It just made my day.”
More than a hundred students, faculty and staff gathered in the Notre Dame Prep gymnasium with signs, flowers and letters to show Mendoza just what she means to them. Members of NDP Live!, the Multimedia Club, produced a video, with several people on campus telling “Sister Yo” that she is loved.
“It was overwhelming,” she said. “Maybe by seeing the impact the kids can have and how they can make a difference for somebody, it will inspire them to do it more.”
Mendoza began as Director of Campus Ministry in 2004. She plans and facilitates student retreats and days of reflection. She organizes the monthly all-school Mass and special prayer services. She leads the entire school in the daily examen after lunch Monday through Friday. Sr. Yolanda ends it with her signature line, “And do know that you are loved.”
“The students wanted her to know that SHE is loved,” said Brenda Beers, director of student activities and advisor of student government association.
After the surprise, Sr. Yolanda, who entered religious life 37 years ago, led all those in attendance in the Electric Slide.
“The kids did this all by themselves, and that’s pretty amazing,” she said. “It made more than just my day.”