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The Ursuline School is one of only 32 high schools in the state of New York to be named a School of Distinction for the 2015-16 school year by the NY State Public High School Athletic Association. A school earns this distinction when 100% of its varsity sports teams achieve a 90% grade point average or higher.

Ursuline first qualified for this award in 2005 and has now earned this recognition for the 10th time. We are very proud of our student/athletes.

NYSPHSAA is a non-profit, educational service organization composed of public, parochial, and private schools dedicated to providing equitable and safe competition for the students of its member schools.

Congratulations to the varsity athletes whose work in the classroom and in competition has been outstanding!

We were very pleased to host the 2016 Ursuline Educational Network Student Leadership Conference last week. Thirty-eight girls from 11 Ursuline schools across the country came together for 4 days to develop their skills and talents.

Sessions provided those in attendance the opportunity to focus on being a successful leader in their school, community and the world. Vicki Hertlein '01, Director of Personal Development at Ursuline, and Jeanne DiBenedetto, Dean of Student Affairs at AMSU, facilitated sessions on personal attributes of leaders.

Tiffani Blake, Dean of Students at the College of New Rochelle, encouraged the girls to explore leadership in the context of Catholic social teaching. Alumnae from The Ursuline School and Academy of Mount St Ursula (AMSU) spoke about career choices and successes and what it takes to be a passionate leader. A session on yoga and meditation provided the girls will the chance to practice self care.

The girls also had fun touring NYC, and formed friendships as they shared meals and enjoyed sports together.

Congratulations to the JV Cheerleading team who were honored by New Rochelle City Council on June 21, 2016 as the City Council celebrated the extraordinary athletic talent of New Rochelle youth.

Our JV Cheerleading team received a commendation from the City Council on "becoming the 2015-2016 Westchester County Champions, the Regional Champions at the UCA Northeast Championship, and earning fourth place at the UCA National High School Cheerleading Championships."

At the presentation at City Hall, Mayor Noam Bramson noted the team's achievements as well as the exemplary character of all the athletes recognized on that day. JV Cheerleading head coach Karissa Vargas '08 thanked Mayor Bramson and spoke of the girls' hard work, along with their coaches - which include a number of alumnae at the JV and varsity levels. She noted the wonderful support of the parents which also helped to make this fantastic season possible.

On June 15, 2016 we celebrated our Moving Up Liturgy and Ceremony with the Class of 2020 and their family and friends. The evening celebrated the accomplishments of the 49 young women of the Class of 2020 during their time as middle school students.

Msgr. Dennis Keane, Chaplain of The Ursuline School, celebrated the Mass which featured beautiful singing by members of the eighth grade. The Moving Up ceremony provided class valedictorian Stella Banino and salutatorian Kerry Leccese
with a chance to address those in attendance, sharing their thoughts on their time together as middle school students in the Class of 2020. Members of the administration presented the Moving Up certificates, as well as a number of special awards.

Each girl has unique talents and interests. We congratulate them. We look forward to their high school years and the opportunities for each of them to continue to reach their individual potential.

The Ursuline School deeply mourns the sudden passing of Mrs. Jane Murray, beloved member of the Reading & Language Development Department and mother of Elizabeth, Class of 1992.

Mrs. Murray was a devoted faculty member since 1986, instructing with a kind but determined manner. She helped countless girls gain confidence in their own ability, and she was always the first to celebrate a student's success.

The Murray family will be receiving friends on Thursday, June 16 from 2 - 4 p.m. and 7 – 9 p.m. at McGrath's Funeral Home in Bronxville.

Mass will be held on Friday, June 17 at 10:45 a.m. at St. Joseph's Church in Bronxville. Msgr. Keane will be the celebrant.

We keep Mrs. Murray's family and friends in our prayers during these sad and difficult days.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let the perpetual light shine upon her. Amen. May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Congratulations to Alice Hodge '20 who placed 2nd in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) State Girls Golf Championships. Alice is an eighth grader, making her second trip to the State Championships.

Congratulations also to Caroline Hodge '18 who returned to States for the fourth time and placed 6th.

The Hodge sisters' finish is the highest in the history of Ursuline golf. Ursuline is a leader in girls' golf in Section 1.

At least one Ursuline golfer has attended the State Championships since their inception in 1996. This year's tournament was held at Bethpage Yellow, with day two being played partly during heavy downpours.

Despite the difficult course, and difficult conditions, Alice finished the two day tournament at even par, turning in a 1 under par, 71 on day one and then following it up with a 1 over 73 in the rain on the final day. Caroline shot a 2 over, 74 on day one and then turned in another great round shooting a 77 on day two.

Alice and Caroline were part of the Section 1 State Team, after finishing 3rd and 2nd respectively, in the Section 1 Individual Championships. The Section 1 team won the NYS Team title for the second year in a row. Alice and Caroline also were leaders on Ursuline's League and Section Team Championship team this year.

Congratulations to Alice and Caroline. We look forward to many more years of great golf from these young women!

Read more at here.

Congratulations to our student science researchers on an informative and well-presented symposium. In our Science Research course, students are taught how to conduct electronic searches of literature; collect, organize, and analyze data; give classroom presentations of research; and in the third year do original research with a scientist mentor.

At the Poster Session in the Tully Family Auditorium - Gymnasium, all student researchers displayed their findings. Then, the five seniors presented their original research in the Auriana Theater. The girls described what types of Quadcopter sensors work the best to improve safety when operating the UAV; they answered whether wildflowers grow well in a post agricultural forest; they revealed whether household income correlates with HIV/AIDS knowledge, and presented other fascinating topics.

We invite you to view the photo slideshow below.

We congratulate Second Lieutenant Alexandra Baker, The Ursuline School Class of 2011, on her graduation from the West Point Military Academy on May 21.

A Baker at West Point A Baker and VP Biden

While at the Academy, Alexandra excelled. She was a Company Commander, and as a systems engineering major, was on the Dean's list all four years along with being a four-time recipient of the Commandant's Award. A two time National Tae Kwon Do Champion, Alexandra was the ladies' captain and finished with a perfect, undefeated record. Alexandra also completed the one-year U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School. Photos courtesy of Alan Zale.

Vice President Joe Biden was the commencement speaker and Alexandra was featured in an article published by The Journal News.

Congratulations also to Julia Nasti '11 who earned a Bachelor in Architecture from the prestigious Pratt Institute School of Architecture. This is a five-year intensive professional program leading to an architecture degree. Julia earned her degree with honors which were awarded at the Pratt Institute commencement at Radio City Music Hall on May 17.

The 119th Commencement of The Ursuline School took place on May 20, 2016. Our 165 seniors excitedly gathered outside to process in to The Tully Family Gymnasium. Principal Carol Killebrew gave a warm welcome and introduced the trustees in attendance. After Msgnr Keane gave the invocation, the seniors who are members of our Honors Choir led the singing of The Star Spangled Banner. As the diplomas were handed out by President Davidson, each graduate descended the stairs and the daughters of alumnae were greeted by their mothers; there were 12 such special intergenerational pairs.

The Valedictory Address was delivered by Brigid Lahiff. She will be studying Classics at Oxford, England and she drew on that Classics knowledge: "There is a Latin phrase in the opening of Willa Cather's novel, My Ántonia: 'Optima dies...prima fugit."' Originally found in Vergil's Georgics, it means, "The best days are the first to flee," and it prepares the reader for the nostalgic tone of Cather's fictional memoir . . . There is a certain beauty to the image of days or memories flying away into the wind, behind the clouds - they are out of sight but never lost. In a similar way, we are leaving high school in the past and bringing with us to college memories, knowledge, and lifelong friends."

Brigid reminded her classmates that next "to the doors that lead to the library, there is an inscription dated from 1928. It reads, 'Prove all things; hold fast that which is good,' and comes from 1 Thessalonians in the New Testament. I believe this Bible verse holds special significance to our education at Ursuline and in college. It suggests that as we face new situations and academic challenges, both our faith in God and all the knowledge we have gained from an Ursuline education will lead us to success, and more importantly, to happiness. The verse also encourages us to be open to new experiences, even to those that test our beliefs- it is then that we may find strength in holding fast to our convictions or accepting new, more valuable truths . . . 'Optima dies...prima fugit'. The best days are the first to flee. Cherish this moment, Class of 2016, and look ahead to the future with hope and confidence."

This graduating class of 165 students earned more than $29.6 million in academic scholarship to college. In the Awards and Honors portion of the program, a number of individual recognitions were announced. The Salutatorian is Sheila Marie Dolan (pictured above, left, with the Valedictorian on her right). Nineteen students earned national academic honors this year:

National Merit Scholar – Julianna Sullivan

National Merit Finalists - Niamh Fitzpatrick, Grace Gallagher, Caroline LaGumina, Briana Ross

National Merit Commended Students - Julia Amato, Marissa Copeland, Sarah Cosmedy, Hannah Devaney, Monica Diaz, Sheila Dolan, Mariana Garza, Elizabeth Judge, Kimberly Laguatan, Brigid Lahiff, Jennifer MacGown , Allyson Mauch, Katherine Poletti, and Marie Pugliese.

Thirteen Serviam Awards were given for service to the school in the spirit of St. Angela - Sarah Cosmedy, Casey Friend, Grace Gallagher, Nia Harvey, Sandile Mhlaba, Jenna O'Malley, Jena Pelonkovic, Elizabeth Sullivan, Meredith Taylor, Audrey Thompsen, Sarah Treganowan, Amanda Vasilakis, Elizabeth Vuksanaj.

In the President's Address, Eileen Davidson shared that she drew inspiration from a TED Talk. "Ms.Reshma Saujani, lawyer and politician, founder of Girls Who Code, has a very interesting presentation on girls and why they don't pursue college majors in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) and careers in the field of technology. She implores us to change the mindset surrounding how girls are raised. She cites that girls are socialized to play it safe and boys are habituated to take risks."

President Davidson, continued, "Even as grown women, we aspire to perfection and tend to be overly cautious in our words and actions to avoid falling short of this impossible ideal. Unlike men, for example, women feel they must be able to check off every qualification box before they apply for a job while men will take a chance even if they are only partially qualified. She beseeches us to change our thinking and begin to socialize girls to be brave, not perfect. We must instill in all children but, especially girls, a conviction that failing is part of growing and that risks bring their own reward."

President Davidson addressed the graduates directly: "Class of 2016 of The Ursuline School, you are indeed very fortunate. You have the basics that Ms. Saujani feels are essential for successful women. Not only do you have each other, a sisterhood of 165 in this amazing class of 2016 but, you now join the larger sisterhood of Ursuline alumnae some 8,000 strong. In the Ursuline tradition, you have been educated to take risks - to reach beyond your grasp; to stretch yourselves . . . May God bless you and may you always take courage resting in the knowledge that you are loved both here and at home."

We invite you to download the full President's Address here. You may also download the full Valedictory Address here.

We also share with you the video by here.

Sophomores and juniors in Dr. Shamey's Classical Mythology class took a trip to Sleepy Hollow. The main focus of the trip was to immerse the students in the incredibly rich local folklore of New York as a means of accessing and relating to Classical folklore and mythology. To this end, Dr. Shamey retained the services of a renowned local historian and folklorist and professional storyteller, Jonathan Kruk, who took them on a walking folklore tour of Sleepy Hollow and recounted many local tales which have close parallels in the Classical world.

On Tuesday evening, April 26, we inducted 28 students into The Ursuline School Chapter of the National Art Honor Society and celebrated the opening of the 2016 Ursuline Art Show. This year's Art Show featured the outstanding works of all art students, grades 6-12, from painting and drawing to mixed media, ceramics, photography and graphic design.

The Spring Concert on Wednesday, April 27, offered wonderful musical selections from A to Z, or from Adele to Zulu Folk Song. The sensational finale featured ballerina Jillian Marzziotti and soprano Elizabeth Vuksanaj performing while the Symphonic Orchestra played an aria from the opera Carmen, by Bizet.

Our dancers clearly enjoyed performing their original choreography in the Spring Dance Festival on Thursday, April 28. The theme was Broadway and Old Hollywood. The audience loved every one of the fabulous dance numbers – ballet and theater dance, hip hop, Indian dance, Spanish dance, Irish dance, and much more!

Congratulations to all the student artists and performers! Thank you to the faculty who guided these students throughout the year.

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 Laudato 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.

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THE URSULINE SCHOOL   |   1354 NORTH AVENUE   |   NEW ROCHELLE, NY 10804-2192 © 2013
A Catholic, college preparatory school for girls, grades 6 through 12
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