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All who attended our Christmas Concert on December 11, 2018 were treated to a fabulous evening of beautiful and challenging music from our choral and instrumental ensembles.

     

 

Our Middle School Choir opened the concert singing ancient as well as well-known carols in English, Latin, German and French. The Wind Ensemble received a standing ovation after their piece, "Highlights from The Greatest Showman" dazzled the audience. Members of the Junior Choir performed the "The Christmas Song" getting the audience in the holiday spirit while the Orchestra proved that they could interpret their great version of Imagine Dragons hit, "Radioactive."

The Honors Choir shared three beautiful seasonal pieces, including "See Amid the Winter's Snow" and then joined with the Junior Choir to perform "Christmas in the Great Hall" featuring solos by Olivia Cook and Christina Yavdosnyak. The Symphony Orchestra musically delivered a unique arrangement of the Shaker tune, “Simple Gifts.”

The much- anticipated finale showcased the scope of the Performing Arts program as all the instrumental and choral groups recreated “The Hallelujah Chorus” with much fanfare bringing the festivities to a close.

Before the concert started, we held our Tri-M Music Honor Society Induction. Tri-M selection is based on scholarship, character and service, along with a high level of proficiency in music. Congratulations to the newest members of this honorary organization.

Congratulations to the Performing Arts Department for preparing such a wonderful evening of music! Thank you to our Performing Arts faculty: Ms. Rosemary Kennedy, Dr. Laurie Adamo, and Mr. Mark Collins.  The excellent photos are by Chris Pope of Pope Photography.

 

 

Thank you to Dr. Jennifer Blum '02 who visited our physics classes on December 14, 2018.  After graduating from Ursuline, Jennifer earned a B.A. in Astrophysics at Columbia University and then her Ph.D. in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the University of Michigan. 

Dr. Blum's expertise is in black holes and the x-rays in space that help us observe black holes to better understand how our universe evolved. She has worked as a researcher and in cyber security.

She inspired the students with her research as well as her encouragement of many types of STEM careers that can impact the world around us. STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. “There are so many awesome fields in STEM,” exclaimed Dr. Blum.  She also urged students to cultivate support systems, mentors, and advocates.

Dr. Blum shared with students her strong sense of helping others. She ardently believes that “when you start moving up, you have to bring other people up with you. When I was a team leader at work, I wanted those who reported to me to be successful as a team and get credit for it. I encourage young women to remember that we need to all rise up together as a group. There is enough success to go around.”  

Another way to mentor others is as a leader in professional organizations. Dr. Blum currently serves as President of the Washington D.C. Metro Chapter of AWIS which is the Association for Women in Science.

 

 

Eileen Davidson, President of The Ursuline School, and Ann Lefever, Chair of our Board of Trustees, were honored to share their experiences and lead a session at the NYSAIS Trustee Governance Conference on December 8, 2018. NYSAIS is the New York State Association of Independent Schools. The conferences are designed specifically for leaders of independent schools.

The session entitled Board / Head Partnership centered around the importance of a strong and open relationship of trust and mutual support between the Board Chair and the Head of School. The discussion provided participants an opportunity to explore how to foster the best relationships possible to benefit the school. Members of our Board of Trustees were also present at the conference, attending the many informative sessions.

Pictured here, from left, are Board Chair Ann Lefever, trustee Janine Daughtry, President Eileen Davidson, and trustees Deirdre McCaffrey and Teresa Jankovic.

 

Our home exchanges with Ursuline schools around the world are one way that Ursuline prepares students to be active, global citizens and responsible leaders in an increasingly culturally diverse world.  Since 2012 we have enjoyed our connection with St. Ursula’s College in Toowoomba, Australia, a Catholic day and boarding school for girls in Years 7-12.

The most recent chapter of this exchange took place in December 2018 with the visit of 15 Australian high school students, and their faculty chaperones, to Ursuline in New Rochelle. Both the Australian visitors and their host “sisters” broadened their global perspectives and gained invaluable life-defining experiences.

     

Students attended classes together and also took time for shopping, sightseeing and attending a performance of the Broadway musical “Anastasia.”  Our whole student body enjoyed learning about Australia and St. Ursula’s College at a school-wide assembly where the Australians gave a wonderful cultural presentation. We were also treated to the outstanding musical and dance talents of the Australian students which ended with the singing of “Serviam - I will serve.”

Thank you to our host families for opening their homes to our Australian sisters. We know that cross-cultural friendships have been made which will last a lifetime!

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.

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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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