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Originally, the school was under the rule of four secular Catholic priests. Also presiding over the school were the Brothers of Christian Instruction, who also preside over other religious educational institutions throughout the Republic of Haiti. The school also has a long and involved history with the island's religious and political figures, among them Archbishops and Presidents. Over ninety percent of the student body goes on to attend some institution of higher education, notably the Universite Notre Dame d'Haiti.
The student body is approximately 1,000. The student-faculty ratio is 15:1. Almost all of the faculty's tenure-track faculty hold terminal degrees. The school is located on a 60-acre (240,000 m2) campus atop a mountain dominating the city of Cap-Haïtien, from which most of the students come from. Students are required to take an entrance exam prior to admittance. Also, they are encouraged but not required to attend religious mass on Sundays. Although a large number of students are commuters, the school is traditionally a boarding school. The campus is also affiliated with the Boy Scouts of Troupe Henri Christophe, named after one of the more famous heroes of the Haitian Revolution.
Although the college has a tradition of rigorous academia, it is also known for its excellence in athletics. The Collège Notre-Dame Department of Athletics and its sportsmen have won numerous regional and national awards, notably in football and basketball. The college's sportsmen, known as the Collegiens, compete in men's inter-scholastic archery, basketball, cross country, cycling, track and field, volleyball, tennis and soccer. The school also fields club sports in swimming, competitive arm-wrestling and karate.
Former President of Haiti Jean-Bertrand Aristide was educated at the school. In 2004, the school celebrated its centennial, with many alumni from all over the world returning for the celebration, during which past and present students marched through the city of Cap-Haitien and returned to the campus for communal morning prayer.
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