Our 3rd annual Global Education & Serviam Symposium on Global Climate Impact was inspiring and aligned with our mission to educate Ursuline students to be global citizens.
Hanah Zamor '17 reported on her summer visit to Ethiopia via Global Concerns Classroom and the effect of climate change on villagers she met. The morning keynote speaker, Amy Freeze, WABC-TVEyewitness News Meteorologist Saturday & Sunday Morning programs, shared her expertise on the basic principles of extreme weather patterns, the potential causes and how this relates to global climate change. The following day, during her live TV broadcast, Amy gave a big shout out to Ursuline. Watch it here.
We were treated to four fantastic breakout sessions. The 7/8 grade enjoyed Kenyan Storyteller, Alice Otieno-Pala who shared the effects of climate change on daily life in Africa. The 9/10 grade learned about Bangladesh and created a Bangladesh awareness campaign via posters or social media; this was facilitated by Margi Bhatt of Global Concerns Classroom. The 11/12 grade watched an excellent documentary called "Racing Extinction" about the loss of biodiversity. Students in the film class learned tips about broadcast journalism from Amy Freeze, in SCBS, our broadcast studio.
Our afternoon session featured keynote speaker Baba Brinkman and his "Rap Guide to Climate Chaos." Baba is an award-winning playwright who performed at the 2015 COP21 Paris Climate Conference. His unique "lit-hop" presentation challenged us to be advocates for big change in the world.
Students had prepared for the symposium earlier in the week in several classes, by watching films such as NASA's Eyes on the Earth, calculating their carbon footprint online, reviewing the papal encyclical Laudate Si (On Care for our Common Home) and discussing Pope Francis' message to care for the earth.
The girls also took part in a water carrying exercise - carrying large bottles of water several times around the field. This gave them some sense of how girls in other countries must carry water from wells a great distance each day.
Congratulations to the cast and crew of Little Women from our amazing Drama Club. The girls interpreted Louisa May Alcott's masterpiece with sensitivity and grace. Marianna Ceccatti '17, Elizabeth Vuksanaj '16, Diana Moss'16, Sarah Cosmedy'16, and Sandile Mhlaba'16 vocally dazzled us in their leading roles. Emma Harvey '17 was a delightful narrator as the author. Particularly poignant was Betsy Vuksanaj's stunning death scene as Beth March. The ensemble delighted and the period costumes reminded us of a young America struggling during the Civil War.
The girls performed Thursday and Friday, after a rigorous day of academics and a Global Symposium. After a very late night on Thursday, all the girls were busy at a cantors rehearsal at 7:15 am Friday morning. They ended Saturday with a powerful finale. We congratulate our very own "Little Women" for their discipline and devotion to the Performing Arts. (Photo above taken by Chris Pope.)
On April 11, a capacity crowd gathered at Modern on the Rails in Mamaroneck for the 4th Annual Christine MacMenamin Memorial Scholarship Reception. It was wonderful to see alumnae, parents of current students and parents of alumnae, faculty, and friends join together to celebrate scholarship at Ursuline and celebrate Christine.
The program included remarks by President Eileen Davidson and a member of the alumnae event committee, as well as a few words from the first student recipient of the scholarship. Board Chair Ann Lefever read the Proclamation from the NY State Senate expressing appreciation to the Event Committee.
This year, the Event Committee of Class of '91 alums honored retired Ursuline history teachers John Malnati, Ken Northcutt and Dan O'Hare who were homeroom teachers for these alumnae in 1990. They are fondly remembered for the incredible support they provided to the class while students dealt with the loss of their friend Christine. They are recognized now for their support of this scholarship in her memory. Thank you to all who contributed to this very special and successful event which raised important funds for scholarship!
On April 4, we were delighted that Dr. Frances Bailie, chair of the Computer Science Department at Iona College and Ursuline alumna Class of 1961, shared her wisdom with students in Ursuline's Computer Science Honors classes. Dr. Bailie presented the stories of women who have used their expertise in technology to make a difference in the world. It was both informative and inspiring. Dr. Bailie's research on this topic has been published and is also available on her website Women in Computing, HERE.
On March 10, 2016 The Ursuline School was honored to unveil the newly acquired Fine Art by Patrick Collins. The art work was generously donated by Joseph and JoAnn Murphy.
As guests arrived for this opening night reception, they were greeted by melodies played on bagpipe by Patrick McCormick. The many attendees included Ursuline sisters, trustees, current families, faculty, alumnae, and friends of the Murphys.
Sr. Regina Kehoe, OSU, offered a blessing and President Eileen Davidson delivered formal remarks. Guests enjoyed viewing the paintings of the Stations of the Cross and learning about the painter, Patrick Collins, via the new augmented reality app, Aurasma. The evening included Ursuline student Julia Longo '18 playing the harp as guests mingled and spoke with the Murphys.
Patrick Collins (1911 – 1994) is one of Ireland's foremost painters of the 20th century. He was a native of Sligo, Ireland. He used color and a simplicity of figures to allow our imaginations to place us in the scene. In these Stations of the Cross, Patrick Collins has shown the passion of Christ in a swirl of blues and greys like Irish mist. Unlike some depictions of the last journey of Christ, in these we are drawn to the sun playing a role in setting the time of day and season and mood.
This art attempts to move us and enrich our faith. This art also educates us, particularly as enhanced with cutting-edge technology. At the reception, we demonstrated the new augmented reality app, Aurasma. We printed a photo of Patrick Collins and then overlaid the photo with video so that anyone who has the app can hear commentary about the paintings as they see them. Aurasma is a free mobile app for iPhone or android phone, or iPad. We invite you to view the video here.
The art work hangs in our Gabelli Library, which has always been a center of learning and inspiration, a learning environment far beyond what books alone can provide. This reimagined learning space is furnished with the latest technology and opportunities for digital learning. More information about the library may be found here.
We are grateful to Joseph and JoAnn Murphy for their exceptional generosity.
On March 10, 2016 a group of ten Ursuline sophomores and Social Studies teacher Ms. Lindsay Dugan attended the Human Rights Institute for Student Leaders at Manhattanville College. It was sponsored by the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center. At the workshop, the students had the privilege of listening to the keynote speaker, Ms. Judith Altmann, who was a Holocaust survivor. Her testimony was extremely powerful and emotional.
The students also worked in focus groups with other high school sophomores from around Westchester County, Putnam County, and lower Connecticut. The students debated human rights issues around the world, from human trafficking to the Flint water crisis.
The goal of the day was create a plan and begin to organize how they could bring awareness to the Ursuline community about a particular human rights issue.
On the last Saturday morning in February 2016, Principal Carol Killebrew hosted 35 Ursuline middle school students and their mothers at our inaugural Mother/Daughter Book Club. They discussed the incredible, true story "I Will Always Write Back - How One Letter Changed Two Lives."
This beautiful book shares the personal journey of Martin Ganda from Zimbabwe and Caitlin Alifirenka from Pennsylvania. Caitlin enjoyed a comfortable middle-class life; Martin's family lives in one of Zimbabwe's worst slums. Their pen-pal exchange as middle school students lead them to a lifelong friendship, forever transforming each of their lives for the better.
Students and their mothers were surprised when they arrived at school to see none other than co-author Martin Ganda standing in our Gabelli Library! He spoke with the delighted girls, and then joined in the book discussion. Principal Killebrew kicked off the conversation by asking how students would describe Mr. Ganda, after reading his story. A special highlight was when Mr. Ganda read an excerpt from the book to us.
Mr. Ganda said he was honored to be with our students and visit our beautiful school. He told the girls to be grateful for all of the opportunities they have in America, to continue to work hard in school, and to thank their parents for all they are able to do for them.
Mr. Ganda, himself, always worked hard at his studies. He came to the United States and earned two bachelor's degrees, in mathematics and in economics, from Villanova University in 2007. In 2014, he received his MBA from the Fuqua School of Business. Today, he is passionate about social and economic empowerment in Africa through social development and leveraging the power of finance. Mr. Ganda is the President and Co-Founder of Seeds of Africa Fund, a nonprofit organization that works for the improvement of access to education for children in Zimbabwe.
Click on bit.ly/1WSijCG to listen to an interview with Martin Ganda on Opportunity Lives.
Many students and parents warmly thanked Mr. Ganda for sharing his inspiring story and incredible life journey. We also thank him for generously taking photos with all the girls and signing their books.
The Ursuline School frequently hosts authors on campus to share about the writing process and inspire students.
On February 26, 2016 twenty Sophomores and Juniors represented The Ursuline School at the Youth Summit in NYC organized by Concern Worldwide's Global Concerns Classroom. The girls collaborated with over 100 students from the metro NY area to examine the global climate challenges faced by people living in the world's least developed countries.
The students formed mixed school teams and spent the day creating project proposals for short and long term solutions to climate change in eight countries.
Fortunately, these students had the chance to consult with Global Concern Classroom field experts responsible for funding, policy, and program implementation in the locations studied. Toward the end of the day, each team presented its ideas.
The students in our Global Concerns Classroom club have been preparing for this summit since September under the leadership of club moderators, Mrs. Spiridon and Mr. Brätt. This club is one way that we offer students the chance to be active global citizens.
The week of February 21 – 27 was National Engineering Week 2016 and we were proud to mark it by highlighting inventions that make the world a better place. Morning announcements and colorful posters urged students to consider math class without a graphing calculator, hot summers without air conditioning, or traveling long distances without benefit of the George Washington Bridge!
Seniors at Ursuline can take the Intro to Engineering class to learn the engineering process – how to gather data, graph and analyze the data, determine the best design configuration, and construct their models. Students learn to use saws, drills, CAD (computer aided design programs) and the 3D printer. Projects incorporate various elements of mechanical, civil and electrical engineering. More information on the course can be found HERE.
Our alumnae now work in all sorts of challenging and exciting jobs in the engineering field! Kara is an environmental engineer who has worked on EPA Superfund Sites as well as the storm water system for a new airport in Dubai. Laura earned a PhD and is a biomedical engineer focusing on imaging systems for cancer diagnosis. Nichole is a mechanical engineer who has traveled widely in her job designing solutions for nuclear plants and pharmaceutical labs.
In the spirit of National Engineering Week 2016, we are happy to share this fun video – produced by USC Viterbi, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and Funny or Die - which asks "what if we covered engineers as celebrities?"
On February 22, 2016 we were thrilled to host a school-wide assembly for the chamber music theatre work entitled Ain't I a Woman! This unique performance combined live music with narrative and acting in order to celebrate the lives of four powerful African American women.
The MC introduced each of the four vignettes by sharing pertinent information on the woman being portrayed, the composer and musical selection performed. The actress, Shinnerrie Jackson, performed an importance scene from each woman's life, illustrating the personal challenges each woman overcame and her particular achievements. She portrayed each character while interacting with the percussionist, pianist, and cellist as they played spirituals, jazz and contemporary concert music by African Americans.
The women portrayed were renowned novelist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston (author of "Their Eyes Were Watching God"), ex-slave and fiery abolitionist Sojourner Truth, exuberant folk artist Clementine Hunter, and fervent civil rights worker Fannie Lou Hamer.
This outstanding performance was exuberant, engaging, and high quality in all respects! After the performance, students were able to gain more information through a question-and-answer session.
The title of the show, Ain't I A Woman, is taken from the famous speech given by Sojourner Truth in Akron, Ohio in 1852, as she spoke against slavery and for women's rights.
This program was presented by the Core Ensemble whose mission is to celebrate diversity through chamber music theatre.
Since 1993, the Core Ensemble has toured in every region of the United States and internationally to Australia, England, Russia, Ukraine, and the British Virgin Islands. The Core Ensemble has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, The Palm Beach County Cultural Council and the Aaron Copland Fund for Music.
Pictured below are, from left, Ursuline Principal Carol Killebrew, Ursuline Counselor Doretha Buster, Byron Sean, Ursuline President Eileen Davidson, Shinnerrie Jackson, Michael Parola, and Ju Young Lee.
We are delighted to share that Ms. Robyn Summa has been selected by the non-profit organization Ecology Project International (EPI) to participate in an eight-day research and education fellowship. Ms. Summa is Chair of The Ursuline School Science Department. She also moderates the school's Environmental Science Club.
This unique fellowship takes place March 5 – 12 in Baja, Mexico. The focus will be on sea turtles and marine ecology. It will be a wonderful professional development opportunity for Ms. Summa to collaborate with other science educators on real-world conservation projects and learn about EPI's teaching model in the field.
During the fellowship, Ms. Summa and nine other teachers will be immersed in the diverse ecology of the area, home to migrating grey whales and a thriving fishery. Her days will include sea turtle catch-and-release for scientific study. Ms. Summa is excited to incorporate the lessons learned here into her Marine Science and AP Environmental Science courses.
EPI is a nonprofit, educational organization whose mission is to improve and inspire science education and conservation efforts worldwide through field-based student-scientist partnerships.
Congratulations to our National Merit Finalists: Niamh Fitzpatrick, Grace Gallagher, Caroline LaGumina, Briana Ross and Julianna Sullivan. They are pictured here with President Eileen Davidson and Principal Carol Killebrew.
Each of these students has advanced to Finalist in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Competition. They will receive Certificates of Merit and they are now eligible for National Merit Scholarships.
As Finalists, they will now be evaluated based on their academic record, our school's curricula and grading system, two sets of test scores, written recommendations, information about their activities and leadership, and their own essays. We wish them well on the next step.
In addition to these five excellent students, 14 Ursuline students were previously named National Merit Commended Students, thus bringing the total number of Ursuline students recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation to 19.