Phenix Messersmith

Phenix Messersmith

Member of the Notre Dame Fencing Team

2013 • Pasquerilla East Hall

Hometown: Belmont, CA

Unlike many of our students, Phenix did not grow up basking in the Notre Dame glow. She was not a Notre Dame fan by birth. She only became interested in Notre Dame during her junior year of high school when she was contacted by Notre Dame fencing coaches, Gia Kvaratskhelia and Jansuz Bednarski. Phenix wanted to attend a school that would push her to succeed in fencing and academics. She found that, and a National Championship, here at Notre Dame.

Phenix is happy with her choice to attend ND because of the people she has met during her time here. “Being at a school where the students are striving to be their best, in and out of the classroom, is very rare. Notre Dame students are highly competitive but they are also very focused on community building and helping each other. I am surrounded by individuals who want to help you and see you succeed just as much as they want to succeed themselves. Being in this environment has challenged and pushed me to become a higher achieving individual than I ever thought possible.”

Phenix believes that Notre Dame has helped shape her into the person she is today. “With the influence of teachers, rectors, coaches and students here, I was able to explore who I wanted to be and how I wanted to impact the world in a safe and nurturing environment.

As a Notre Dame athlete, Phenix participates in a special celebration, the Pediatric Christmas Party, held in the Monogram Hall every December. This party is given for children suffering from cancer and their families.

“I have attended every year since I was a freshman. The student athletes get really into the festivities. We have girls dressed up as elves and a Santa who gives out gifts. Last year I was in a scooter because I had just undergone foot surgery. My teammates helped me decorate my scooter into a Christmas sleigh. I gave sleigh rides to many of the kids there. There are also lots of different booths and activities such as cookie decorating, face painting, musical chairs and art & crafts. It is such a good feeling to spend time with these kids during the holidays. They really bring a smile to our faces as much as the student athlete volunteers bring to their faces. The Christmas party gives the student athletes a break from training and studying to realize what is truly important in our lives: health and family.”

Phenix has loved her time here and can’t believe how quickly the years have gone. She is grateful for the sense of belonging that Notre Dame provides to all students. “I felt that I belonged in the classroom, the gym and the dorms. I have been able to succeed in what I have put my mind to because of this support and community”