Tradition benefits girls

The lasting impact of tradition.

School culture rooted in tradition benefits girls.

The excitement builds as autumn closes in and leaves turn red and gold. It signals that something special is in the air at The Ursuline School. Each fall, the modern, 13-acre campus in New Rochelle starts to hum with a frenzy of enthusiasm leading up to Ring Day, a cherished annual tradition since 1940.

School traditions that stand the test of time. From the first Ring Day in 1940 to Ring Day for Ursuline’s Class of '24, held on October 17, 2023.  


 

Year after year, the all-girls Catholic school for grades 6 through 12 celebrates seniors, one by one, as they step through the storied wooden ring, following in the footsteps of thousands of Ursuline alumnae. The ring is classic in its timeless design, including the inscription, ‘Ac fui,’ meaning “I was there, I was a part.” Its purpose is simple: to unite generations of students in the Ursuline tradition, past, present, and future. 

Ring Day, which begins with a morning liturgy for seniors and their families, epitomizes the lasting impact of school traditions. It reinforces core values, celebrates connections, and adds to the well-being of this vibrant school community. At Ursuline, “getting ringed,” as it is known, is a legendary rite of passage. 

“Ring Day festivities are my favorite,” shares Haley Hamers ‘27. “We give and receive gifts from our senior sisters, and it’s so much fun cheering when they get ringed!” Together, middle school and high school girls celebrate their senior sisters with abundant joy, forming bonds of sisterhood across the grade levels. As ninth-grader Veronique Maalouf says, Ring Day “establishes a sense of family.”

 

School administration cheers on Ursuline’s Class of '24 on Ring Day 2023.


 

A feeling of unity at Ursuline is palpable and not just on Ring Day.

“My absolute favorite tradition is the Student Retreats,” says freshman Kavya Mahindru, “because it’s a way for students to bond and get to know each other.” Grade-level spiritual retreats center on the core value of faith and spiritual development and provide firm, common ground for students to bond in meaningful ways. Aside from creating a cohesive school culture, they offer growth opportunities for students beyond the classroom, helping to cultivate a spirit of lifelong service.

“My absolute favorite tradition is the Student Retreats because it’s a way for students to bond and get to know each other.”

- Kavya Mahindru '27

Some students point to the annual school-wide service project, dubbed The Cereal Effect, as a powerful unifier. It pulls together the entire school community to help support Westchester school children impacted by food insecurity. Sophomore Celia Sherif feels The Cereal Effect is a “fun way to teach everyone about the importance of giving back.” Eighth-grader Stella Caplan agrees, adding, “It makes me happy to help out!”

Ursuline students organized, prepared, and bagged over 500 lunches for hungry neighbors on International Serviam Day


 

Ursuline students experience the goodness of giving with traditions devoted to service. Make a Difference Day, International Serviam Day, and Serviam Saturdays are among many service opportunities throughout the school year where students actively embrace the school motto of Serviam. This Latin term means “I will serve.” 

Fordham University President Tania Tetlow took note during a visit to the school on October 27. In talking about fostering school community, she spoke of the intrinsic value of service. “God wired us to be happy when we help others.” Ursuline students should feel “good, happy, and proud” when they serve others.

Time and time again, traditions strengthen the connection between school culture and student well-being at Ursuline. Field Day, for example, builds community and creates a friendly rivalry between grades. Seventh-grader Emily Bellantese explains, “It really gives us a chance to show off our school spirit and our ability to compete.” Aside from sports, eighth-grader Eva Sanchez loves Field Day because “it's really fun to have lunch outside with all the cool food trucks!” 

Annual Field Day brings fun and food trucks for Ursuline students, faculty, and staff.


 

Events like Field Day contribute to an atmosphere of camaraderie that encourages new friendships and promotes ongoing connections. Jeanne Diusheyeva ‘27 reflects, “These traditions allow me to connect with my fellow students and teachers. Having been a part of this community since the 6th grade, my love for Ursuline grows stronger with each passing year.” 

“Having been a part of this community since the 6th grade, my love for Ursuline grows stronger with each passing year."

- Jeanne Diusheyeva ‘27

Some traditions are family affairs. The annual Welcome BBQ, Mother-Daughter Communion Breakfast, and the Father-Daughter Dance are highly anticipated events that allow parents and families to connect, make friends, and have fun. For Hailey Avella ‘27, these are the best. “My absolute favorite is the Mother-Daughter Communion Breakfast. I just had an amazing time with my mom and my grandma.”  

Ursuline traditions prove transformative for adolescent girls. Seventh-grader Zara Cusack appreciates the value, sharing that “School traditions make Ursuline extra-special because not only do they help you learn new things, but they also make learning fun!” Junior Theresa Montana adds, “Traditions make us feel like we are part of a large and welcoming community.” This sense of belonging in a nurturing, safe space helps girls to navigate the challenges of adolescence. 

“Traditions make us feel like we are part of a large and welcoming community.”

- Theresa Montana '25

‘Ac fui,’ the ring’s inscription, calls all Ursuline students to belong. Uniting students with each other and with generations of proud, accomplished Ursuline alumnae, more than 8,000 worldwide, is the endpoint. The admissions process is the start.

Ring Day forms lasting bonds

Traditions Run Deep