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As part of our Distinguished Speaker Series, we were thrilled to welcome author and educator Debby Irving on December 5, 2018. Ms. Irving is an inspiring speaker and author of Waking Up White.  She has extensively studied race and racial tension. She uses her own life story to reflect on and consider how belief systems shape our understanding of the world, the systems and structures of racism, and the challenges of working toward racial justice.

Ms. Irving says of her book: "My hope is that by sharing my sometimes cringe-worthy struggle to understand racism and racial tensions, I offer a fresh perspective on bias, stereotypes, manners, and tolerance."

Her talk was an important step as we undertake our strategic initiative on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.  Ms. Irving is pictured here with our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team and members of our Administration.

 

On November 16 and 18, 2018, our Drama Club presented entertaining and sophisticated theater to an appreciative audience, this time with the staging of a new adaptation of Shakespeare directed by Edie Anne Reidy.  In our Ursuline drama tradition, we approach many styles and genres of plays over the years so that all students can experience a wide range of theatrical repertoire.  This year, we again explored the words of the Bard with the presentation of  "A Night of Shakespeare."

The first act portrayed Shakespeare sleeping, and dreaming up his characters, each of whom then recited well-known monologues. The second act was an abridged presentation of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," a popular Shakespeare comedy.  

     

Twenty-five students had the opportunity to study a monologue, character and play, and then perform the monologue. The cast shared inquiry discussions to synthesize all of the thinking that students had done about this classic writing. Yet another example of the chance to think critically and deeply about complex issues and an author's craft.  The cast discussions also prepared the actors for more interpretative portrayals of their characters. 

     

All the actors delivered the challenging lines with understanding, nuance and grace. Amanda Moss (as Shakespeare/Helena), Claire Queenan (in the role of Jane), and Alexandra Sayegh (as Mistress Ford/Hermia) were excellent on stage and provided leadership to the rest of the cast during the rehearsal process. Taryn Comizio embodied her characters with vivid facial expressions and body language. Violet Lee Cadet was heartfelt as Lady Macbeth. Courtney McAloon was compelling as the comic fairy Puck. Ava Pallotta was marvelous as Cleopatra. Congratulations to cast and crew on an exceptional Shakespeare production! And special thanks to alumnae Kaitlin Laureano '14 and Olivia Iannotti'14 who displayed Ursuline drama spirit by coming home and assisting our production.

 

 

TUSMUNC I, Ursuline’s first Junior Model United Nations Conference that took place  on November 17, 2018, was an absolute success.  Eighty delegates debated issues in 4 Committees: Roman Senate, Security Council, The Lorax, Captain America:Civil War representing fictional universes as well as real world examples of division and reconciliation. Thank you to The Louise Este Bruce Foundation for their sponsorship of this inaugural Middle School Conference at Ursuline.

At the Opening Ceremonies, guest speaker Ken DeLuca shared his experiences as a lawyer in Afghanistan. He told of learning how to respect other cultures and values in order to reconcile differences between peoples. His words underscored the message that junior Stella Banino gave in her welcome address as Secretary General of TUSMUNC I. Ken is pictured above with the Secretariat and the Committee leaders.

 

Stella spoke of the vital importance of listening as a leadership trait.  She said, “The theme of this year’s conference is Division and Reconciliation.  As Winston Churchill once said, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”  As you go forward and debate today, keep that in mind: as important as it is to speak up and fight for what you believe in, it is possibly more important to be open to the ideas and opinions of others. . . Leadership isn’t about accomplishing some great feat with the help of loyal followers.  It’s about listening to those around you and giving them the wings they need to soar. . .  These committees span a wide range of times and places, all have been wracked by the kind of division we see in the world around us, and none of these conflicts have been adequately resolved. Therefore, it is up to you to fight for peace with a firm resolve, to affect the kind of change that this world needs, and to take action to heal this divided global community.  This is your responsibility; good luck, delegates.”

 

The delegates took that message to heart as they spent the rest of the day in committee sessions, listening and following parliamentary procedure. Afternoon action at TUSMUNC I included numerous new solutions as well as challenges posed by the Crisis Committees.

     

The Security Council Committee voted to give aid to North Korea in order to stop riots. The Roman Senate Committee was cheered by the plebs upon the dissolution of the Senate. Captain America Committee was told that in another country people were being harmed but the government was not allowing the Avengers to help. The Lorax Committee agreed to establish effective trade and stabilize environmental protections. The delegates are commended for how they worked together. They learned a lot to go forward as active world citizens!

 

 

One way that Ursuline offers students a global perspective is by organizing exchanges with our sister schools around the world. In November 2018, we were delighted to welcome 10 students and two chaperones from Lycee Sainte Ursule in Paris, France.  

The French group spent 10 days with our host families as they experienced The Ursuline School and New York City. Students balanced attending a number of classes with local sightseeing. Toward the end of their visit, the students from Sainte Ursule gave a very informative and lively presentation to the whole student body. They shared video clips of their campus and of Paris, short interviews with several of their teachers and their description of A Day in the Life of a Sainte Ursule student! The student assembly especially enjoyed the popular songs in French.  

     

A lifetime of memories and friendships were formed! We look forward to the next chapter of this exchange, our visit to Paris. And in December 2018 we welcome students and faculty from our sister school in Australia!

 

In this Ursuline family, the three Flynn sisters earned the chance to play Division I sports at Stanford and Boston College. They also chose those universities for their academic opportunities and Catholic values.

We congratulate them on their accomplishments, athletic and academic, as well as their service to the school and the community. They are pictured here on Ring Day, each wearing their school ring.

We invite you to read the article at lohud.com HERE.

We were thrilled to host Lisa Damour, Ph.D., on November 14, 2018.  Dr. Damour is the author of the best-selling book Untangled, Guiding Teenage Girls through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood. Dr. Damour spoke to our school community at several separate sessions during the day, and in the evening she presented to parents from our school as well as neighboring schools.

In addressing our high school students, Dr. Damour spoke of the long intellectual  work out that high school represents and the need for personal recovery strategies in order to go on to the next day’s “work out.”  With our middle school, Dr. Damour explored the types of healthy and unhealthy ways to deal with conflict.  Our faculty and staff benefited from a special session in which Dr. Damour detailed the predictable pattern of teen-age development.

 

     

Parents very much enjoyed and appreciated the evening session with Dr. Damour.  She illustrated each of the seven stages of teen transition with realistic examples backed up by research.  Dr. Damour specifically provided advice on how to engage with daughters in smart, constructive ways.  We thank Chris Pope of Chris Pope Photography for the photos above.

This event was part of Ursuline’s Distinguished Speaker Series 2018-19.  We thank Dr. Damour for generously sharing her expert advice.  In each session, Dr. Damour’s perspective was clearly that teen age girls are amazing as they go through these stages of normal development.


 

This morning 13 members of the Class of 2019 expressed their intent to continue their academic and athletic careers at the collegiate level. The student-athletes officially signed letters of intent –or have become committed during the admissions process at a school. 

The student-athletes celebrated this morning represent eight different sports and have selected schools whose academic reputations are internationally recognized. 

 

Congratulations to the following seniors for all of their outstanding academic and athletic accomplishments:

 

 

Kate Amar

Swimming

Tulane University

 

Chloe Best

Diving

San Diego State University

 

Hayley Bidwell

Tennis

Franklin and Marshall College

 

Laina Campos

Tennis

Fairfield University

 

Vanessa Ciano

Tennis

Marist College

 

Mary Doherty

Lacrosse

John Carroll University

 

Lily Flynn

Track

Stanford University

 

Sarah Flynn

Track

Boston College

 

Jane McCauley

Basketball

University of Vermont

 

Aidan McIntyre

Rowing

University of Notre Dame

 

Alexandra McNamara

Rowing

Lehigh University

 

Josephine Panitz

Swimming

Ohio State University

 

Victoria Papaleo

Softball

Middlebury College

 

The Ursuline School enthusiastically and proudly partnered with the Pajama Program for the second year as we participated in the 2018 Weschester Fall Drive. Students collected over 750 new pajamas and more than 150 books for children who are displaced. This collection is special to our students because they can understand that something as simple as a warm pair of pajamas and a book to read can mean so much to a child.

On November 9, 2018, we hosted a Pep Rally. Genevieve Piturro, the founder of Pajama Program, expressed her thanks to the Ursuline community. The donated items were then loaded into a truck provided by Cardinal McCloskey Community Services for distribution to children in local homeless shelters.  We invite you to see coverage by Fios 1 News HERE and coverage by Channel 12 News HERE.

     

Pajama Program is a national nonprofit organization that collects and distributes new pajamas and new books to children in homeless shelters, foster-care agencies, Head Start, and Title I schools.  The pajamas are distributed through more than 4,000 community partners.  Enjoy this short video of the morning, below.

One Pajama Program community partner is Modell's.  A representative was on hand at the Pep Rally to present Ursuline with gift cards that will be used to buy gifts for those in need this Christmas season.

Our second annual Diversity Summit was a two-day overnight event in New Jersey on November 8-9, 2018. A group of our high school students welcomed students from Convent of the Sacred Heart School, Greenwich. Together they explored topics such as colorism, Title IX, gentrification, and Islamophobia. Faculty moderators were Mrs. Buster and Ms. Tietjen, from our Counseling Department, Mr. Ledley, Social Studies Chair, and Ms. Robertson, English Department. However, it was the students who prepared the materials and led the sessions.

All of the topics presented were chosen and created by the members of the Ursuline Diversity Alliance Club who worked since the summer to create an interactive experience.  The girls focused heavily on issues a student may someday face and issues that need to be addressed in the world. At the Summit, they made sure to first discuss definitions so that all could understand the language being used to define racism, stereotypes, religious persecution, and discrimination.  They also spent some time socializing and made new friendships which would empower them to spread diversity in their schools. 

On November 8, 2018 Eileen Davidson welcomed the chance to thank donors in person at the 5th annual President’s Dinner held at Wykagyl Country Club.  We celebrated that the number of donors had increased last year and that again our Annual Fund had raised well over a million dollars.  These generous donors led the way by each contributing $2,500 or more in the 2017-18 academic year.

The Annual Fund theme last year was Her Future Starts Now.  President Davidson exhorted attendees to “imagine a future where anything is possible! Where homelessness is eliminated. Where the international community lives in harmony. Where artificial intelligence with a conscience is integrated into daily products. . .  Let your imagination soar!  Because your Annual Fund donations have helped Ursuline provide the environment in which young women imagine a future where anything is possible and they are encouraged to use their talents to create that better world.”

     

Donors appreciated the opportunity to talk directly with nine students about their experiences working on homelessness or doing Model UN, as well as their plans to study architecture, medicine, or computer science. Adding to the festivities were Bach selections performed by our student ensemble on harp, cello and flute. Our Middle School Chorus delighted guests with songs in several languages. And two of our 8th graders demonstrated the block-based coding they used to program their Edison app-enabled robots.

     

Thank you to Chris Pope of Chris Pope Photography for the excellent photos.

 

The doubles team of Laina Campos '19  and Vanessa Ciano '19 ended their Ursuline tennis careers in style as they defended their 2017 NY State Public High Athletic Association STATE CHAMPIONSHIP winning the 2018 title in a thrilling 7-6, 3-6, 6-4 victory over Bodewes & Bodewes of Pittsford/Mendon HS!

After a regular season in which Laina and Vanessa played singles, the "Dynamic Duo" again teamed up for the postseason with hopes to defend their title and reach the State Championships for the 4th consecutive year.  The partners easily sailed through the Conference Tournament winning another Championship and advancing to the Section 1 Tournament. They showed their opponents they were determined to make another run at the State Championships.  

In the Section 1 finals, the Dynamic Duo bounced back after losing the first set 2-6, to win the next 2 sets and the match 6-1, 6-3, earning their 3rd Sectional Championship and their 4th trip to the NY State Public High School Athletic Association "NYSPHSAA" State Championships.  The duo clearly showed everyone why they should never be counted them out.

Entering the State Championships as the #1 seed and defending champions, the team definitely had a target on them.  After placing 2nd in 2015 and 2016 and with their win last year, there definitely was a familiarity with the State Championship stage.  Laina and Vanessa easily cruised to the finals, losing only 4 games in 3 matches. Watch a post-Semi-Final interview with Laina and Vanessa, courtesy of NYSPHSAA.


Taking the court in the finals with a State Championship at stake, Laina and Vanessa met their first real challenge of the tournament as they faced the Bodewes sisters from Pittsford Mendon HS, a school near Rochester.  The two teams battled back and forth and the first set came down to a tiebreaker, with the Koalas coming out victorious 7-6.  The 2nd set saw the Koalas go up 2-0 but the Bodewes sisters didn't back down, winning the next 5 games and taking the 2nd set, 6-3. 

Laina and Vanessa took advantage of the break between sets to walk away from the court in order to focus and regroup. With a State Championship going to the winner of the next set, Laina and Vanessa knew they needed to remain calm and stick to what they had done to get to the finals, and that's what they did.  The duo came back to the court on a mission, winning 4 of the first 5 games before a slight slip allowed their opponents to come back and tie the set at 4-4.  The final 2 games included many long points but Laina and Vanessa remained focused and came out victorious, winning 6-4, earning their 2nd straight State Championship, and only the 3rd in school history.  Watch below to see the exciting final point of the match, courtesy of NYSPHSAA.  

While Laina and Vanessa were playing in the finals, tennis was the center of attention in the Ursuline cafeteria.  Students and adults enjoyed the opportunity to cheer on the Dynamic Duo while eating lunch, courtesy of a live stream of the event by NYSPHSAA.  Many had never had the chance to watch a match and found the intense competition a great introduction to the sport as they learned how to score and even some tennis etiquette from their peers.  At match point, excitement and tension filled the room. Laina and Vanessa played agressively which caused their opponents to make an error,and the State Championship was again awarded to Laina and Vanessa!

Our fall sports teams have delivered many outstanding results. We are proud of their dedication, persistence and teamwork. 

 

Swimmer Josephine Panitz is the Con Ed Scholar-Athlete of the Week. 

Congratulations to Josephine Panitz '19 who was honored on November 3, 2018 as the Con Edison Athlete of the week.  Josie joins a very prestigious group of previous recipients and is the 29th award winner from The Ursuline School. Her many swimming accomplishments and her community service earned her this distinction.


Josie, who has committed to compete for Ohio State next season, is the 2017 NY State Champion in the 200 IM.    The Lohud article may be read HERE.

 

 

Sarah Flynn wins Westchester County Cross Country Championship and leads successful Running Koalas to other titles.

Sarah Flynn '19 turned on the speed at the Westchester County Championships held at Croton Point Park, earning her 2nd County Championship in 4 years.  After running shoulder to shoulder with the 2nd place finisher at points, Sarah sprinted to 1st place in the field of 195 finishers.  Sarah also set a personal course record, bettering her time by an incredible 43 seconds.  Read more about Sarah's performance at the County Championships in the Lohud article which is HERE.

Our cross country team has also enjoyed team success this season. On October 6, Sarah won an Individual Championship and led the Varsity Cross Country to the team title in the 22nd Annual Disney Cross Country Meet! Sarah ran an outstanding race, with the fastest time of the two-day meet despite the hot conditions. Sarah was closely followed by teammate Haley McLean, who placed 2nd and helped lead the team to their title. 

The Section 1 State Qualifier had treacherous conditions after heavy rains soaked the course.  Despite taking a tough fall in the first 3 minutes of the race, Sarah got up, remained composed and finished 4th, earning a 2nd trip to the upcoming NY State Championship meet.

Photo here by Chris Pope.

 

Panitz and Amar lead Koala Swimmers in Post Season.

      

Our swimmers have had a fantastic season, with 7 different swimmers earning spots at the upcoming New York State Public High School Athletic Association State Championships and the team placing 4th at the Section 1 Championships!

The Section 1 Championships saw Josephine Panitz continue her dominance of local swimming as she earned 2 Section 1 Championships, winning the 200 IM and the 100 Breaststroke.  Josie's 200 IM swim earned her All-American Consideration.  She was also an integral member of the 200 Medley Relay which placed 3rd and the state qualifying 400 Free Relay.  We invite you to read the Lohud reporting HERE.

Kate Amar '19 had a fantastic meet, also earning 3 trips to the awards stand, placing 2nd in the 200 Free and the 100 Butterfly along with being a member of the 200 Medley Relay and was a member of the 400 Free Relay.  

Joining Josie and Kate at the NY State Championships will be:  Gillian Camperlengo - 200 Individual Medley & 200 Medley Relay, Isabella Chiulli - 100 Butterfly & 200 Medley Relay, Elena Mugno - 200 Individual Medley & 400 Free Relay, Kate Posner- 400 Free Relay and Melanie Sanchez - 100 Butterfly.

 

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A Catholic, college preparatory school for girls, grades 6 through 12
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