Not long ago, Valerie Alonzo, president of the Notre Dame Club of San Antonio, was called to a charter school counselor’s office. A local girl had been accepted to Notre Dame, but her parents had doubts. The counselor thought Alonzo could help.
The girl’s mother spoke only Spanish, so the father talked. He said they considered Notre Dame the greatest school in the world, but it wasn’t for people like them.
“I said, Notre Dame is exactly the school for people like them, and explained how I attended on scholarship,” Alonzo (BA ’96) remembered. Her assurances helped. Later, the student, Carolina Roblebo, called to say she’d be among the 16 students the San Antonio club would help send to the ND Class of 2020.
Personal efforts such as those help set the club apart, especially in a diverse and heavily Catholic city such as San Antonio. The club’s 10-member Admissions Volunteer Committee attends college fairs, reaches out to students, and even advises on applications. They try to personify a university that may seem glorious but distant from Texas.
“People know the name of Notre Dame, but many people don’t know what the spirit of Notre Dame really is,” club vice president Juan Mata (BBA ITM ’97) says. “It really is our duty to present that to them.”
The ND spirit extends to the club’s strong community service work, such as an annual Shamrock Series Service Project, biannual Habitat for Humanity building days, and an array of drives, including a Lenten food drive, Christmas toy drive, and Project Cool, a fan drive undertaken with Catholic Charities.
For sports spirit, the club not only hosts the ever-popular game watches, but also supports the annual Irish Alamo Invitational, a baseball tournament held in San Antonio each February. On its other road trips, the student-athletes stay in hotels, but for this tournament they’re hosted in families’ homes — just one more way the club makes a personal touch.
Current President: Valerie Alonzo (BA ’96)
Number of Members: 125
Year Established: 1968
Facebook: Notre Dame Club of San Antonio