The Building on the Tradition of Innovation Campaign is making steady progress. The preparation, relocation of the entrance and lobby demolition is completed. Excavation is underway and the hum of machinery fills the air. In case you were wondering, #TUSTimeIsNow!
When Ursuline students begin the 2019-2020 school year next month, the campus will look very different as work on the iHub, Christina Jun Murphy Student Commons, high-tech media conference center, Ann Clemente Admissions Suite, additional meeting spaces and new lobby begin to take shape. These bright new spaces will be flexible, integrated and innovative in their design to allow for maximum creativity, collaboration and global connectedness. New and enhanced security features throughout the school round out the effort. With demolition complete and new construction outside the footprint of the school, disruption will be minimal.
President Eileen Davidson reports that we are halfway to the $8.5 million fundraising goal, "As I watch the daily progress on this transformative capital project, it is not surprising that our faithful supporters want to be involved. It is incredibly exciting! But to be successful, we will need everyone to give as generously as possible. Please consider partnering with us, to accomplish this for current and future Ursuline students." Donations and pledges of all sizes have helped bring us to this point. For alumnae, there is even more incentive to contribute thanks to a Challenge Grant from the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation. To encourage alumnae support for the Campaign, the Leavey Foundation will match every gift made by alumnae, dollar for dollar, up to $500,000. To date, $142,000 has been raised against this challenge.
Ursuline Trustee and Facilities Committee Chair, Sheila Sohr P'12 shared, "It's been a very exciting month on the Ursuline campus as we're seeing our many hours of collaboration and planning come to life. We are thankful for those who are working diligently onsite each day and for the extra care they have shown in safeguarding the seal from the front lobby, the engraved pavers on the JB Commons, and the senior path. Our team of architects, project managers, and of course Ursuline leaders, staff, and Trustees are working tirelessly to ensure things move along smoothly. Our students and families will be excited to see the progress come September. And of course, the finished product in 2020!"
To learn more about the Building on the Tradition of Innovation Campaign and how you can get involved, please visit: www.tusinnovationcampaign.org
The Ursuline School community is deeply saddened by the passing of trustee and alumna Claire McIntee on July 4, 2019.
Claire joined the Board of Trustees in September 2015. A consummate educator-leader, she brought great wisdom to the Board and to her role as Chair of the Education Committee. Claire chaired the Principal Search Committee in 2018, leading the committee comprised of faculty, staff, trustees, and parents to the successful selection of Rosemary Beirne as the new Principal of The Ursuline School.
Claire was thoughtful, discerning, and smart — and gracious in a way seldom seen today. Her mere presence elevated the atmosphere and made us all the better. Claire never called attention to herself, even in her declining health, as her first concern was always those she was with and the task at hand. She was a proud member of the Class of 1957 and remained very close with her Ursuline classmates with whom she traveled annually.
In her distinguished career, Claire served as the NYC Leadership Academy Senior Vice President of Programs, overseeing the Aspiring Principals Program and Leadership Support Programs. Before joining the NYC Leadership Academy, Claire served as District Superintendent among various administrative positions within the NYC public schools. Throughout her distinguished career, she was the recipient of many honors including Woman of Distinction from the New York Senate and Educator of the Year from the Emerald Society.
Claire is survived by her husband, Eric Albert, and sisters, Virginia McIntee Irwin '52 and Joan McIntee '54.
A memorial mass will be held at Ursuline on Saturday, September 21.
Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace. Amen.
On Thursday, June 20, amidst thunderstorms and torrential rain, the sky cleared for 15 minutes - just enough time for donors, trustees and school leadership to put shovels in the ground and officially kick-off the building phase of the Innovation Campaign! No doubt, St. Angela herself had intervened.
An inspiring program weaved Ursuline's rich history, present day success and exhilarating future. Sr. Jane Finnerty, OSU, Provincial of the Eastern Province, credited the founding Ursuline sisters who brought us to this point, "We are the beneficiaries of their vision and dedication to the mission of Ursuline Education. Valued women who shared the wonderful legacy of education with all of us."
Daphne Banino '22 shared what she appreciates most about Ursuline: "If you're here tonight, then you know the basic principle of this school - the same one that draws all of its students towards it, and what I believe, is the same principle that causes us all to stay: Ursuline invests in us. In our passions. In our dreams. In the unique sides of ourselves we don't realize anyone else sees or believes in."
President Eileen Davidson acknowledged and thanked lead donors to the Innovation Campaign, as well as those who have shared their time and expertise, such as the four Ursuline sophomores who designed and developed the Campaign website, and the TUS Film Club who have produced, filmed and moderated three Donor Roundtables that can be found on the website.
Following prayers of thanksgiving and the blessing of the construction site by Monsignor Dennis Keane, Ursuline Trustees, donors and campaign leadership joyfully donned hard hats and put shovels to dirt. The excitement continued afterward as Ursuline supporters toasted to the bright future of The Ursuline School and the talented students who walk its hallways.
Photos by Chris Pope and Catherine Condolff
Congratulations to Sonia Citron '21 and Team USA on winning the Gold Medal at the FIBA Under16 Women's Americas Championship in Aysen, Chile!
Sonia was invited to the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs this spring where she was one of 146 athletes who were selected to try out for the USA Basketball Under 16 National Team. During the initial days of tryouts, Head Coach Mark Campbell told the 146 players, "Think about where you are. There are about 450,000 high school basketball players, and .0369% of them are here for this tryout. THAT'S AWESOME!"
After days of intense tryouts with the field continually being narrowed down, Sonia was selected as one of the 12 members who would wear "USA" and represent our country on the Under 16 National Team at the 2019 FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Puerto Aysen, Chile. After her selection to the team Sonia commented "It's the best feeling ever to be able to wear USA. It's an honor."
The team returned to the Olympic Training Center for a week of training and team bonding prior to their long trip to Chile. Sonia expressed to reporters prior to the first game. "We've been working for this for so long, All our hard work is about to be tested, and we are just going to go after it. We are all really excited."
Sonia, a starter in all 6 of the games, was an integral member as she and Team USA dominated the competition throughout the FIBA Americas Championship, outscoring their opponents 618-195 en route to defeating Canada in the gold medal game, 87-37. During the 6 games of international play, Sonia averaged 13.3 points per game and, based on her outstanding performance, was named to the All-Star team of the FIBA U16 Women's Americas Championship. "It's a great feeling. I couldn't have done it without my teammates. It's just an honor to be chosen," Sonia remarked. Team USA coach Mark Campbell expressed, "Sonia came out of nowhere and has been one of the better players on our team the whole time."
Sonia and her teammates now have qualified for the 2020 FIBA U17 World Cup that will be played in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
President Eileen Davidson is pleased to announce the selection of Kimberly Saxton as the new Athletic Director of The Ursuline School, effective August 1, 2019. Ms. Saxton will take on the role from Maureen Kern, who is retiring after a 25-year career at The Ursuline School.
Ms. Saxton brings to Ursuline 15 years' experience working in public and private school education and athletics. She has coached in several school districts, most recently in the Peekskill City School District, where she assisted the Athletic Director and coached girls' basketball. In addition, she taught physical education at Peekskill High School, mentored teachers, co-led professional development, and served on several building and district-wide committees. Ms. Saxton also has served as interim Athletic Director at Peekskill High School.
Ms. Saxton is an alumna of The Ursuline School, Class of 2000, and enjoyed playing for the Koala soccer and basketball teams. She says, "Ursuline shaped and influenced me to become the woman and scholar that I am today. I am excited to be returning home to my alma mater."
She received a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from University of New Haven, where she was a four-year starter and three-year captain of the basketball team. Ms. Saxton then completed a master's degree in Education/Physical Education from Queens College. She pursued further studies in administration at Mercy College and earned certificates of advanced study in both School Building Leadership and School District Leadership.
Eileen Davidson said to the Ursuline school community, "Please join me in welcoming Ms. Saxton back to our school community in her new role as Athletic Director. I am confident that Ms. Saxton and our Athletic Department will carry on the world class program that Mrs. Kern has built during her time at The Ursuline School."
The Ursuline School is a member of the NY State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) and Section 1 Athletics, Conference 1. Our 6th grade teams participate in the CYO League. We offer 35 teams in 13 sports. The Ursuline School is very proud of the fine tradition of excellence in its athletic program. We encourage our student athletes to strive for success both in the classroom and in their team effort.
The 122nd Commencement of The Ursuline School on May 24, 2019 was a joyful occasion.
Principal Rosemary M. Beirne welcomed those assembled and introduced the trustees in attendance. After the invocation by Msgr. Keane, the senior members of our Honors Choir led the singing of the Star Spangled Banner.
Valedictorian Naomi Koh looked to the future and declared, "Ursuline has taught us to seek empathy, understanding and common ground. In a country divided by race, religion, and political party, in a world afflicted by hatred, war, and violence, Ursuline has encouraged us to love one another, strive for peace, and protest injustice. In an era of uncertainty and misinformation, Ursuline has taught us to be critical thinkers and to find light in the darkest of times."
Naomi thanked the parents, school administration and then directed these words to the faculty: "Thank you also to our teachers, who have had unwavering patience and faith in us, even after explaining the same concept maybe twenty seven times and still hearing, "Wait, I don't get it."
The importance of your work cannot be overstated; you are the ones who inspire the next generation, teaching us not only how to solve differential equations or write a thesis that actually answers the question, but also how to persevere through difficult times; how to be a good leader, citizen and friend; and how to never give up on ourselves."
Principal Beirne then called each graduate's name and President Eileen Davidson handed her the diploma. As the graduates descended the stairs from the stage, daughters of alumnae were greeted by their mothers.
The 180 members of this class earned more than $28 million in college scholarships. The have exhibited many different talents and a great deal of hard work and perseverance. At graduation, Assistant Principals Denise Moore and Liz Lynch announced a number of Awards and Honors.
Global Scholars: Sofia Bishop, Milena Fava-Pastilha, Bianca McIver, and Kyla McLeod.
Serviam Awards for service to the school in the spirit of St. Angela:
Sofia Bishop, Jessica Brij-Raj, Caitlin Conly, Christiana Corporon, Jena Guilfoyle, Christiana Kelly, Natalia Matar, Bianca McIver, and Megan McPartlan.
Classics – Meghan Hanley.
Computer Science – Naomi Koh.
English – Deanna Rahman.
Mathematics – Naomi Koh.
Performing Arts – Amanda Moss.
Physical Education – Gianna Cavallaro.
Religious Studies – Sarah Flynn.
Science – Nicole Frontera.
Social Studies – Jenna Kriegel, Kristen Sohr.
Visual Arts – Cameron Natkin.
World Languages: French – Alexandra Sayegh, Italian – Sara Zanotti, Spanish – Jillian Pearson
President Davidson's address encouraged the graduates to "take risks - educated risks - ones that will stretch you to reach your fullest potential as an individual: Take a course simply because it interests you. If and when the opportunity presents itself, don't shy away from public speaking, especially if the thought of it sends you into a mild panic attack as it once did for me! Think of exploring a new career path - perhaps one you had never even considered. In the words of John Henry Newman: "To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often."
Photo here are by Chris Pope of Pope Photography. We invite you to see more photos at Lohud.com
If you were anywhere in the New Rochelle area on the afternoon of May 17, 2019, you likely heard the thunderous applause and cheering by students as President Eileen Davidson shared plans of the Innovation Campaign that will transform the school. Ursuline cheerleaders got the crowd in the spirit as students and faculty entered the Tully Family Auditorium - Gymnasium.
Mrs. Davidson revealed the virtual tour video of the build. It thrilled students as they imagined the impact these new learning spaces will have on their academic experience. Ursuline’s legendary Faculty Band closed the celebration with a sensational set of songs including John Lennon’s Imagine - and that they did!
Evening was the parents’ turn to join the launch party. Ursuline parents were thrilled to learn exciting details about the Campaign. A highlight of the evening was a preview of the Innovation Campaign website which included the involvement of computer graphic design students under the direction of Director of Communications Renata Cioth Mulder and Graphic Art teacher Meg LaBella. Parents, too, were treated to a set by the Faculty Band. Then the celebration moved to the cafeteria to get a close look at architectural drawings and pose questions. Parents also heard about the opportunity to purchase a named hexagon to be installed in the iHub in honor of their daughter(s) or to recognize their family’s connection to Ursuline.
Ursuline has always been a leader in technology, curriculum, pedagogy and school programming. It is now time for our facilities to match the highest level of teaching and learning happening at the school. Education has moved in electrifying new directions and technology is ever changing. We know that girls learn best by doing. The creation of a 2,100 square foodInnovation Hub, or iHub, will be built specifically to meet their creative, inventive and design needs.
We know students work collaboratively. The new lobby and Murphy Student Commons will allow them to gather for projects, to eat and to socialize. Ursuline students are interconnected globally in extraordinary ways. The new High-tech Media Conference Center will support critical global connectivity with ease. The seminar
This multi-million-dollar Campaign will expand the footprint of the school by nearly 8,600 square feet, and an additional 2,300 square feet will be renovated. Our hashtag #TUSTimeIsNow certainly captures the spirit of this time. This is a moment for parents, alumnae, grandparents and friends to share in the joy, and to make a difference. Celebrate with us, support the Innovation Campaign, and tell friends and family about this transformative build which will benefit Ursuline students in anticipated as well as in unimaginable ways!
The Ursuline School community is deeply saddened by the passing of former trustee and Ursuline parent Edward Merrigan on May 9, 2019 after a tenacious battle against cancer. We hold his family and friends in prayer.
Ed, an Army veteran, completed two tours of duty in Vietnam and received the Combat Infantry Badge, the Bronze Star and multiple Army Commendation Awards. He then enjoyed a long career in health care financial analysis during which he mentored numerous young people.
Ed's Ursuline connections began as the parent of three Ursuline alumnae, daughters Eileen '00, Deirdre '02, and Maureen '04. Ed became an enthusiastic champion of all-girls' Catholic education and specifically Ursuline. He served on the "Fulfilling the Promise" Campaign cabinet, the largest fundraising campaign at Ursuline to date which was successfully completed in 2013. Ed also served as an Ursuline School trustee and Chair of the Finance Committee. He consistently encouraged the Administration to "think big" just as he counseled his daughters.
Ed and his wife, Betty, were loyal and generous donors. They unfailingly supported the CROWDS4TUS giving day by sponsoring a challenge grant. Even at this time of sadness, Ed's family suggests that in lieu of flowers donations may be made to The Ursuline School for a scholarship fund to be established in his memory. Ed also happily spoke at Ursuline events about the importance of the Annual Fund. His good nature and sense of humor were always appreciated, and when it came to Ursuline matters, he was totally committed. A gentleman and a scholar, he will be greatly missed.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.
More than 1.38 million students at 39,000 schools in North America competed in the Vocabulary Bowl to see which schools can master the most words. From October 1, 2018 to April 30, 2019 our students mastered 101,189 words!
The Ursuline School achieved the number 1 spot in NY State in our division, and 26th place among all high schools in North America. Every Ursuline student played a part in this outstanding achievement. The high number of words mastered reflects the students’ hard work and perseverance as well as the willingness of faculty to try new forms of teaching and learning.
Teachers and students both love this Vocabulary Bowl which led us to replace paper vocabulary workbooks with this online adaptive learning game! Why?
Students are learning, not just memorizing words. This is due to the structure of the learning game which offers up words as synonyms or antonyms, in sentences, or in the context of a paragraph. Students can also listen to how words are pronounced. The goal is to nudge each student ahead, according to her level of knowledge, delivering questions that are challenging, not too hard or too easy.
Students have said that the program forces them to think about vocabulary in a different, more authentic way. They love the quizzes, too! They love that they can see their grade immediately. The consensus is that the online quizzes are better than paper ones. Teachers like the quizzes as well, in particular, that the students get immediate feedback and teachers can spend time on other responsibilities rather than grading vocabulary.
The lists of vocabulary words can be tailored to relate to the material being discussed in any class. However, the teachers in our English Department took the lead in using this online adaptive learning game which harnessed the power of friendly competition to motivate learning and achievement. Often lists have been created by another teacher in the U.S. For example, if our teacher seeks a list of words relating to "The Great Gatsby," she can find one already created by teachers around the country. Students can create their own lists, whether to study for the SAT or a 6th grade quiz.
Vocabulary Bowl is fun! Classes often review words by doing Vocabulary Jams: timed contests in which students on teams answer questions as they review words. Some students have created their own Vocabulary Jams and face-timed with each other to review from home. That was definitely not happening with paper work books!
On May 1, 2019 we celebrated as seven more members of the Class of 2019 committed to extending their athletic careers next year at the collegiate level. They join 13 other members of the Class of 2019 who have previously signed.
Christina Caruso will Row at Fairfield University;
Grace Maistre will Row at Sacred Heart University;
Bianca McIver will Row at College of the Holy Cross;
Kacee Mulligan will Run at Southern Connecticut State University;
Aili Sacco will play Softball at Dean College;
Kerry Sheridan will Swim at Providence College;
Annie Woodtli will play Field Hockey at Fairfield University.
We are very proud of the commitment of our dedicated student-athletes. They also work hard as visual artists, global scholars, peer ministers, and compassionate community volunteers. Congratulations to these young women and their families!
We continued our year-long focus on the topic of Global Displacement by hosting on April 1, 2019 Mr. George Khoury, Director of the Middle East & North Africa Division at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in New York. Our Model UN Undersecretary General, Lorelei Wolf, introduced Mr. Khoury to the student assembly. Members of our Model UN club, Global Education Coordinator Maria Barton, and President Eileen Davidson are pictured here with our speaker.
Mr. Khoury educated us about the 68 million forcibly displaced people around the world. He helped us understand the difference between Internally Displaced Persons (who are the largest group, staying in their home country) and refugees who flee to another country where international law applies.
Mr. Khoury discussed the humanitarian aid that displaced people need due to armed conflict and natural disasters - both causes for people to leave their homes.
We were moved by the UN video interviews of displaced persons around the world, who yearn to live in a safe place.
Our exploration of this important issue extends throughout the curriculum and across many disciplines.
Ursuline TeenAngel Laina Campos '19 superbly represented our school and presented important perspectives at the United Nations in March 2019. Laina was a panelist at the UN Roundtable "Driving digital inclusion - What does it mean and what is working?" The event was sponsored by ITU, the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies.
Hosted by the Ambassador of Montenegro, the roundtable brought together experts to assist as the UN explores innovative approaches that drive digital inclusion in support of achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are an urgent call for action by all countries as they recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests. Digital Inclusion refers to steps that ensure that all individuals and communities, including the most disadvantaged, have access to and use of information and communication technologies, including support and training.
Laina was chosen as a panel member based on her extensive experience over the past 5 years as a TeenAngel, which means she has been trained to assist peers in understanding the world of online safety, security and privacy as well as teaching methods to avoid dangers while using the internet. Panelists were asked to give their definition of what digital inclusion is and then asked what is working and what is not.
Laina stated, “As more and more people are included in the digital world, my main concern is that people use it in a safe and secure way . . . Since young people have access to technology, it is important that they are aware that their actions online can deeply affect the bright futures that they have ahead of them.”
Laina raised four main points:
- There is a lot of fake news out there. We want to make sure that people who use the technology know the difference between real news versus fake news. We seem to live in a world where we need to make the decision of what’s true and what’s not. We tend to never know the point of view when it comes to the internet.
- We need to make sure that young people, especially those who are special in some way, feel safe and included when they are engaged in digital use.
- We need to make sure that English isn’t the only language on the internet since not everyone speaks English. We need to make sure that good ideas flow across language whatever they may be. We want to emphasize that the digital world is truly global.
- As more and more people are included and gain access to the internet, we want to make sure that they are safe and understand the pitfalls of the internet, including the potential to be a platform for cyberbullying and for real inappropriate behavior like sexting.
The Ursuline School chapter of TeenAngels began 13 years ago under the direction of Ms. Parry Aftab, Executive Director of WiredSafety.org, the world's largest online safety and help organization and a 501(c)(3) corporation. TeenAngels are volunteers who have been specially trained in all aspects of online safety, privacy and security. Once trained, TeenAngels speak to students and parents to promote Internet safety and cyberbullying awareness and prevention.