The Diversity Alliance Club hosted parents and students for a social gathering on September 28, 2018 to learn about some of the diversity and inclusion activities at Ursuline. Three student representatives addressed the group.
Sofia Bishop '19 shared about various ways that Ursuline focuses on diversity and encourages students to become truly globally aware. She cited the many guest authors at Ursuline whose writings represent different cultures, races and perspectives; events such as Stand Against Racism; showings of Forty-Two and the Laramie Project followed by discussions; and the annual cultural appreciation day.
Leah Varghese '20 spoke about culturally-based and inclusive clubs such as Asian Appreciation Association /The Chinese Experience, Black Essence Club, Bollywood Club, Diversity Alliance Club, The Gaelic Society, Italian Society, Spanish Club, and Spectrum.
Violette Lee Cadet '20 reported on last year's Diversity Summit at which a group of students explored problems facing minority groups such as mass incarceration, stereotypes in the media, colorism, and voting rights. This year's summit will be hosted by Ursuline and we have invited girls from Convent of the Sacred Heart School in Greenwich so that we can spread diversity throughout both of our school communities. Planned topics include Title IX, gentrification, and Islamophobia.
This year, for the first time, four Ursuline students will attend the National Association of Independent Schools Student Diversity Leadership Conference in Nashville; a multiracial, multicultural gathering of student leaders from across the country.
Six Ursuline students who take our Global Concerns Seminar had the chance to attend the Concern Leadership Summit at the Irish Consulate in New York City on September 28, 2018. Mrs. Maria Barton, our Global Education Coordinator, and Mr. Chris Bratt, who teaches our Global Concerns Seminar, also attended. They were joined by Ursuline alumnae Hannah Zamor and Alice Varghese who were two of our Global Scholars in the Class of 2017.
This Summit was hosted by Concern Worldwide U.S. It was the 50th anniversary of Concern Worldwide and a celebration of their commitment to the most vulnerable communities on the planet. Concern Worldwide is a global humanitarian organization that specializes in emergency response, as well as health and nutrition, and believes that eliminating extreme poverty is possible.
Thank you to The Edward E. Ford Foundation for making it possible for our students and faculty to attend this event.
The opening session featured Kayce Freed Jennings, Senior Produce at Girl Rising, a global campaign for girls' education and empowerment. She was followed by Daniel Beaulieu, Chief Content Officer at News Deeply and Patricia McIlreavy, Vice President of the Humanitarian Policy and Practice team at InterAction, an alliance of U.S.-based relief and development organizations.
The afternoon session was led by Dominic MacSorley of Concern Worldwide. On this day 50 years ago, the crew of the merchant vessel Columcille unloaded the first batch of aid supplies on the small island of Sao Tomé, off West Africa. It was part of a large international effort to help the starving people of Biafra, and the first of many Concern emergency responses across the globe. Mr. MacSorley took a close look at the humanitarian challenges that lay ahead.
Joanna Geraghty, President and COO of JetBlue and Chair of Concern Worldwide board shared impactful closing remarks as she reiterated how everyone could be change agents and get involved by using their voices and talents. Ms. Geraghty shared "I want to make sure my child grows to realize what he has ... and what so many millions of children around the world don't have."
Ursuline is proud to continue our global education partnership with Concern Worldwide and we thank all those involved for the opportunity to learn how real people are making a difference as well as the challenge to recommit ourselves to serve the vulnerable.
We extend further congratulations to Ursuline seniors who have been recognized for academic excellence based on their exceptional PSAT/NMSQT scores.
Caitlin Conly has been named a Commended Student in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program. She placed among the top 50,000 scorers of more than 1.6 million students who entered the 2019 competition.
Adriana de LaGuardia and Nicole Frontera have been recognized as National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholars, based on scoring in the top 2.5% among Hispanic and Latino PSAT/NMSQT test-takers in our region.
On September 13, 2018 we gathered as a school community to celebrate the beginning of the 2018-19 academic year. The gathering was at times exciting and somber as we marked several special events.
President Eileen Davidson welcomed the assembly. The student body co-presidents, Julia Durkin and Megan McPartlan, led the procession, carrying the cross and school candle.
After the homily, Sr. Jane Finnerty, O.S.U., Provincial of the Ursuline Sisters of the Eastern Province, officiated at the investiture of Rosemary McManus Beirne as our new principal. Sr. Jane presented the framed Ursuline school mission statement to Mrs. Beirne and shared the words of St. Angela Merici, the foundress of the Order of St. Ursula: "cultivate the vine entrusted to you."
We also prayed for all those who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks and in particular Helen Crossin Kittle '85, Ursuline alumna, who was working in the World Trade Center on that September 11th. We are grateful to the members of the Class of 1985 who attended this Mass and participated in the Prayers of the Faithful.
At the conclusion of our liturgy, Mrs. Beirne commissioned our Peer Leaders, Peer Mediators, and Peer Ministers. Each group recited an oath, publicly committing themselves to serve the school community as ambassadors of their organization and to improve the lives of the students at The Ursuline School. The Beirne family, Ursuline parents, alumnae, and trustees helped us continue the celebration at a reception following Mass.
The same day as our opening liturgy, The Journal News published an interview with Rosemary Beirne. We invite you to read the interview HERE.
Principal Rosemary M. Beirne proudly announced on September 12, 2018 that senior Naomi Koh has been named a Semifinalist in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Competition on the basis of her outstanding PSAT/NMSQT scores!
Approximately 1.6 million juniors around the United States took the Preliminary SAT/ National Merit Scholarship Qualitifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) last year and 16,000 were named Semifinalists. These Semifinalists represent the highest scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state's percentage of the national total of graduating seniors. The Semifinalists now have the opportunity to compete for 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring.
The National Merit® Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the PSAT/NMSQT and by meeting published program entry and participation requirements.
Naomi is pictured with Principal Beirne and President Davidson.
At Ursuline, service is encouraged and cultivated in numerous ways. The aim is to engage our students so that they learn to recognize a need and are inspired as they become aware that they have the ability to impact change. The first service event for the 2018-19 year was organized by Sarah Fynn '19 who runs on Ursuline’s cross country team as well as indoor and outdoor track.
Sarah organized a charity event called “Laps for Love” at Iona Prep in New Rochelle on September 9. Participants ran or walked around the track to earn donations for each lap completed. The proceeds from the event were directed to two charities: "Girls on the Run" and "Right to Play." Sarah chose those organizations because she believes that sports can be a path for children to become confident in who they are. Participants were also asked to donate gently used shoes, collected for Soles 4 Souls.
Girls on the Run is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams. Right to Play is a global organization that uses the transformative power of play to educate and empower children facing adversity.
Despite the rainy weather, nearly 200 participants took to the track to raise funds for these two worthwhile causes. Thank you to all who walked, ran or just cheered from the sidelines, and special thanks to the Ursuline and Iona Prep track teams for their loyal support!
We invite you to click HERE to hear Sarah interviewed, courtesy of The Journal News.
We are extremely proud to be recognized as a 2017-18 School of Distinction by NYSPHSAA, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association!
Only 30 schools in New York State achieved this award. This honor as a School of Distinction was earned when all Varsity Teams received the Scholar-Athlete Team recognition, which means that over 75% of each team roster had a Grade Point Average of 90 or above during their respective sports seasons. We are one of only 30 schools in NY State to achieve this distinction for the past academic year. The full list published by NYSPHSAA is here.
Ursuline first qualified for this award in 2005 and has now earned this recognition 12 times. We are proud of the accomplishments and dedication of our student-athletes in the classroom and in their playing arenas.
NYSPHSAA is a non-profit, voluntary, educational service organization composed of 768 public, parochial, and private schools for boys and girls in grades 7-12 in the State of New York.
Each year, Ursuline students explore issues of global importance and take action. Our 5th annual Global Education & Serviam Symposium this past school year explored the issue of global hunger and food justice.
Our keynote speaker on March 23, 2018 was Stephen Ritz, founder of the Green Bronx Machine. We learned how Mr. Ritz and his students began to grow plants, and then dramatically improved academic performance while transforming their South Bronx community from the poorest Congressional district in America to one with reclaimed neighborhoods and garden rooftops. Ursuline students were inspired by this presentation and eager to get involved - to help alleviate hunger locally and to raise awareness about food insecurity.
Service is an important component of our global education program. We began this service project with Stephen Ritz in early May. Our 7th graders planted 4,000 vegetable plants in partnership with Mr. Ritz and representatives from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. We planted at the Food for Others Farm which is the Bronx's largest organic soil farm; it is under the subway, on a decommissioned city street.
In late May, our Advanced Placement Environmental Science students returned to tend to the farm. They also planted 500 sunflowers which were initially grown in science classes at Ursuline and transported to the Farm. There are five varieties of sunflowers to yield plants of various heights and create a beautiful floral tapestry around the vegetable garden. The sunflower plants also attract pollinators and help with phytoremediation to remove toxins from the soil.
This service project culminated with the harvest on July 10. Fifteen Ursuline students devoted a summer day to harvest collard greens, bell peppers, basil, and jalapenos.
Students were joined by Principal Rosemary Beirne, Global Education Coordinator Maria Barton, and Director of Philanthropy Cathy McCarthy. They once again partnered with members of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center team. The produce was donated to cancer patients living in public housing and to the food pantry at POTS (Part of the Solution) in the Bronx.
June 18-20, 2018, Mrs. Rosemary Beirne, our incoming principal, and Mrs. Maria Barton, our Global Education Coordinator, traveled to Washington, D.C. to take part in the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools Global Forum on Girls’ Education II.
They joined 750 educators, researchers, authors, and advocates from 22 nations for the opportunity to exchange best practices and innovative approaches for academic excellence and the healthy development of girls. All conference participants were thrilled to hear from trailblazing changemakers Halla Tomasdottir, Sycia Acevedo, and Billie Jean King.
Halla Tomasdottir, Entrepreneur, Investor, and 2016 Iceland Presidential Candidate (at left), reminded conference participants to teach girls to "Be bold and embrace their quest in life." She defined courage as "heart plus humility" and said, “We need to have more courage to find the truth in our hearts to go out and do good in the world. This is the leadership model that can teach young women how to create a better future in our world.”
Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of Girl Scouts of America, reminded attendees that "moments of wonder and curiosity can be transformational for girls."
Billie Jean King, tennis legend and longtime champion for social equality and change, touted three keys to success: “Relationships are everything. Be a lifelong learner or learn how to learn. Be a problem solver.” Ms. King thanked educators of girls for being “sheroes” and positive role models for girls. “We all have strengths and gifts in life. Teachers have the unique ability to point those out to students and be positive. Human connection is everything to children.” As a champion, she advised, “Know what your strengths are and play to them.”
Mrs. Barton and Mrs. Beirne attended professional development, leadership skills and networking sessions. They also had the opportunity to connect with colleagues from other Ursuline schools, including Ursuline Academy Wilmington DE and Beaumont School. Pictured here, from left, are Amanda Neil of Ursuline Wilmington with Maria Barton and Rosemary Beirne.
Staying current on college admission practices and career readiness resources is vital. Toward that end, our College Guidance counselors took part in the 2018 NYSACAC & NEACAC (New York State Association of College Admission Counselors and New England Association of College Admission Counselors) Annual Conference June 6-8, 2018 at Marist College in Poughkeepise, NY. This was the first time both educational associations joined together to host a “Super Conference,” bringing together professionals in college admission and secondary school college guidance and affiliates.
Ms. Elizabeth A. Roper, our Director of College Guidance, contributed to two presentations. First, she provided insight and valuable information regarding “Athletes in the College Admission Process,” joined by colleagues Donna Lyons from Longmeadow High School (MA), Jeff Gallant, Associate Director of Undergraduate Admission of Boston College (MA), Kyle Smith, Associate Director of Undergraduate Admission of Trinity College (CT) and Rich Paraz, Senior Admission Counselor of Merrimack University (MA).
Second, Ms. Roper offered her feedback and contributed to the discussion “Finding the Right College Fit: Hopes & Worries in the College Admission Process” led by Mr. Robert Franek of Princeton Review and joined by colleagues Meghan Farley, Director of College Counseling of the Pingree School (MA) and Andrew Person, Chief of Student Success of Long Island University. (In the photo here, Ms. Roper is second from left.)
Ms. Roper, Mrs. Boustead & Mrs. Prunty networked with professionals in college admission and secondary school college guidance. They attended sessions on non-cognitive factors and holistic review in college admissions, updates on College Board’s SAT, and current challenges of college admission. The keynote address was delivered by Ms. Sara Goldrick-Rab of Temple University who encouraged educators to be aware and advocate for change regarding the growing population of high school and college students who are experiencing food insecurity and home insecurity in our nation.
This year the annual Ursuline Student Leadership Conference was hosted by Sacred Heart Academy in Louisville, Kentucky the week of June 18, 2018. Groups of students from Ursuline schools across the country gathered for this informative and fun conference.
The young women enjoyed the opportunity to share ideas and delve into the teachings of St. Angela, foundress of the Ursuline order. As part of their learning about their common bond of Serviam, the group visited The Table, a non-profit, social entrepreneurship that serves locally grown, fresh food and operates under a pay-what-you-can model, with creative payment solutions for all. Students also explored the host city. What's a trip to Louisville without visiting Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby!
Congratulations to our National Champion Distance Medley Relay team! It was an awesome day at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, North Carolina on June 17, 2018 as the relay team of Sarah Flynn, running 1,200 meters, Claire Wilson, running 400 meters, Haley McLean, running 800 meters, and Lily Flynn, running 1,600 meters made history! Ursuline ran 11:47.05 to claim the national title in the girls' championship distance medley relay.
Their time was a school record and first ever Ursuline relay national title! The four runners are now all-Americans.
Photo credit: John Wilson