Dedicated practice and perseverance paid off for six of our high school music students who were chosen to perform at the 2019 Westchester County Area All-State Music Festival Concert on November 7, 2019 at the SUNY Purchase Performing Arts Center.
Each of these fine musicians had the opportunity to perform demanding works under the direction of outstanding conductors and propel their musicianship to another level. They also had the chance to meet and bond with other music students from around the county.
Lily Desiderio, on violin, and Santina Madden, on cello, performed with the String Orchestra under the direction of Joanne Erwin, Professor Emerita of Music Education at the Oberlin Conservatory and currently Adjunct Professor of Cello at Rowan University.
Rebecca Zhu, on clarinet, performed with the Symphony Orchestra, directed by Mina Kim, conductor of the SUNY Purchase Symphony Orchestra and a piano faculty member at the SUNY Purchase Music Conservatory.
Lola Milazzo, soprano, and Gabrielle Adams, alto, participated in the Mixed Chorus directed by Dr. John Warren, Professor of Music at Syracuse University.
Ciara Carolan, soprano, sang as part of the Treble Chorus, directed by Dr. Doreen Fryling, music educator at South Side High School in Rockville Centre, NY, and Hofstra University.
These music students were selected on the basis of their spring 2019 New York State School Music Association ("NYSSMA") auditions, specifically the challenging Level Six repertoire.
Wykagyl Country Club was once again the setting of the annual President’s Dinner on November 7, 2019. President Eileen Davidson welcomed the opportunity to thank alumnae, parents and friends who each gave $2,500 or more to the 2018-19 Annual Fund or to the Innovation Campaign, or to both!
Eileen Davidson pointed out to the assembled donors, “Your philanthropy means that this year, for the 6th year in a row, the Annual Fund totaled over a million dollars, and our Innovation Campaign is at nearly $6 million! I know that each of you has a choice in your philanthropic commitments. On behalf of all Ursuline students, teachers, staff, and administrators, I thank you whole-heartedly for your philanthropy. Together we bring the Ursuline mission to life. Together we “build up the community, value it, and treasure it,” as St. Angela exhorted us to do.
Our work is not done. But what we’ve accomplished together has already made a difference, both in the lives of countless students and in the exciting progress of our building campaign.”
The success to date of the Innovation Campaign was center stage as students shared their gratitude and how each space will impact them personally. For our computer scientists, the Innovation Hub will create a start-up like environment where creativity and collaboration will abound, while drama enthusiasts envision the space being used to create props and set pieces for theatrical productions. The High-Tech Media Conference Center infrastructure will allow our accomplished Model United Nations teams to properly prepare and provide them with a competitive edge. And the possibilities will be endless in the Christina Jun Murphy ‘22 Student Commons.
Donors enjoyed the chance to sign a steel beam from our construction site. And their curiosity about construction progress was rewarded with a behind-the-fences look at our construction progress, via video, led by our very own President and “General Contractor” Eileen Davidson!
Special thanks to our Ambassador Ensemble under the direction of Ursuline music instructor Mark Collins. They presented a special Ursuline performance of baroque music composed by Ursuline Sister Isabella Leonarda (ca. 1640) and arranged by Mr. Collins.
We thank all our donors for their investment in Ursuline! And we thank Chris Pope of Pope Photography for the excellent photos.
The Tully Family Auditorium-Gymnasium was buzzing with anticipation on November 5, 2019 as we welcomed Delia Owens, New York Times best-selling author of Where the Crawdads Sing. Dr. Owens shared insights into her writing process with the assembly of students, faculty, and a number of alumnae, current parents, trustees and friends.
Delia Owens received a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology from the University of Georgia and earned a PhD in Animal Behavior from the University of California, Davis. Dr. Owens is the co-author of three nonfiction books about her life as a wildlife scientist in Africa where she lived for 23 years. Her extensive research into the behavior of lions, elephants and baboons caused her to be impressed with how similar human behavior is to that of these mammals. Specifically, these animals exhibited group behavior that reinforced the importance of being part of a group.
In her remarks to our school assembly, Dr. Owens shared that after her research, she felt that people would be interested in a fiction story that explored how a young girl would be affected if she had to grow up alone. Dr. Owens also wanted to include a murder mystery that posed the question: Why did they behave the way they did?
Two Ursuline seniors had the honor of posing questions to Dr. Owens on behalf of the high school students who had all read this book as one of their summer reading assignments. Kyla Golding '20 and Violet Lee Cadet '20 asked Dr. Owens about her writing inspirations and her author's style, which blends lyrical writing with a compelling story. After this talk, many in the assembly wanted to re-read the poems included in the book to discover the clues to the murder!
The Visiting Author Series at Ursuline was initiated 10 years ago by President Eileen Davidson. We were delighted to host Dr. Owens, and glad that she generously signed stacks of books and took time to be interviewed by our Unison school journalists.
Thank you to Chris Pope of Pope Photography for the excellent photos here.
On November 4, 2019 Ursuline participated in the Pajama Program’s annual fundraiser, Good Nights, Westchester! We donated more than 350 new pajamas and many children’s books. Those items were delivered to Cardinal McCloskey Community Services for distribution to children living in shelters, group homes, and in the foster care system in Westchester County.
Pajama Program founder Genevieve Piturro thanked students for their efforts and shared with them her story. Ms. Piturro became aware of the needs of children in shelters when one young girl asked her, “What are pajamas?” It started with one child’s question and one adult’s quest to ensure peaceful sleep for children. Our students were moved to action because they understand how a seemingly ordinary item as pajamas can mean so much to a child.
Pajama Program is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with headquarters in NYC. Its mission is to promote and support a comforting bedtime routine for all children to help them thrive.
Three members of the Ursuline chapter of Teenangels were honored to be featured at the Technology Leadership Institute's Tech Summit Conference on November 1, 2019 in Tarrytown, NY. The theme of this annual conference was "Digital Wellness for the School Community." Our students joined keynoter Parry Aftab, Esq., a cybersafety and cyberlaw pioneer, in a session entitled "When Experience Meets Youth."
In front of a crowd of distinguished educators, administrators, superintendents, and IT experts our students answered questions. They held a lively discussion on how schools and parents can better serve teenagers when it comes to talking about their digital well-being. The Tech Leadership Institute provides educators, administrators, superintendents, and IT experts with the opportunity to look at the impact of technology on students and educators.
Teenangels are volunteers who have been specially trained in all aspects of online safety, privacy and security. After completion of the required training, the Teenangels run unique programs in schools to spread the word to other teens, younger children, parents, and teachers about responsible and safe online usage. The Ursuline School chapter of Teenangels began 17 years ago under the direction of Ms. Parry Aftab.
Excitement filled the Westchester County Center on October 17, 2019 for the annual County Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony. We are proud that Ursuline basketball coach Beth Wooters was among the five persons inducted on this special night.
Coach Wooters enters this 2019-20 season with a career record of 596-182, placing her among the most successful coaches in New York State. Her teams have won 19 league championships, 8 Section 1 Championships, 7 Regional Championships, 2 State Championships and 1 Federation Title.
The 52nd annual induction ceremony began with a cocktail reception and was followed by the dinner and ceremony. In her remarks, Coach Wooters thanked The Ursuline School for "the opportunity and the support to coach over these past years." She also thanked her players, former and current, whom she passionately referred to as "amazing young women who buy into a system of hard work and dedication, and have a strong desire to be a part of a successful and well-respected program."
She further shared, "It's really humbling to be with some of these great coaches, athletic directors, and people that have been impactful in Westchester County sports." The four other inductees in the Class of 2019 were New Rochelle's football coach Lou DiRienzo, four-time Olympian Ron Laird, former Journal News sports reporter Ernie Palladino, and former Holy Child basketball coach Cathi Gray Wasilik.
Since 1968, the Westchester Sports Hall of Fame has honored more than 200 outstanding professional and amateur sportsmen and sportswomen, living or deceased, who have gained prominence in their fields and who have made substantial contributions to sports in Westchester County. They are considered to be persons of integrity and good character who have gained prominence in professional or amateur sports as a player, coach, manager, official, owner, writer or broadcaster. The Westchester Sports Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Westchester Parks Dept. The plaques are on display in the Hall of Fame room off the lobby of the County Center.
October 11 is the International Day of The Girl, a global observance day declared by the United Nations. It is a day to help increase worldwide awareness for improving girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential. UN Secretary-General António Guterres stated, "We need to uphold the equal rights, voices and influence of girls in our families, communities and nations. Girls can be powerful agents of change, and nothing should keep them from participating fully in all areas of life."
To mark the 2019 celebration, a group of Ursuline students gathered at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY, with 450 other high school girls to participate in Westchester County’s conference. Through panels, break-out sessions and musical performances, our students were encouraged to use their voices, to be resilient, to stand up for what they believe and to achieve their potential. A prominent conference theme was for girls to permeate love, respect and dignity in their community, home and school. Pictured below is our group with Global Education Director Mrs. Barton, English teacher Ms. Gaughan, and Assistant Principal of Student Life Mrs. Lynch.
Back on our own campus, we recognized this day and promoted our global theme this year of Girls' Access to Education. A special T-shirt was created and sold. Proceeds were directed to charities supporting girls' education worldwide and general scholarship endowment at The Ursuline School. The Women for Women International Club helped distribute the shirts during the week and organized Ursuline's representation at the Westchester County Day of the Girl Celebration at Manhattanville College.
Ursuline student Valentina Pescatore represented Teenangels at the World Economic Forum DQ Day on October 10, 2019 in New York where she participated in an informative and interactive session on Digital Intelligence (DQ). The focus of DQ Day was on current and future action to advance the DQ agenda beyond technical skills – like coding – to areas such as accessing technology, addressing digital identity, digital safety, digital emotional intelligence and well-being.
Valentina was privileged to meet Mei Lin Fung, Co-founder of People Centered Internet as well as Melissa Sassi, start-up program manager and IBM Z Influencer Ecosystem.
The Ursuline School chapter of Teenangels began 17 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. After completion of the required training, the Teenangels run unique programs in schools to spread the word to other teens, younger children, parents, and teachers about responsible and safe online usage.
Principal Rosemary Beirne announced on October 2, 2019 that four Ursuline seniors have been recognized for academic excellence based on their outstanding PSAT/NMSQT scores. Stella Banino, Jenna Chiarella, Kyla Golding and Lorelei Wolf have been named National Merit Commended Students.
Approximately 1.6 million students throughout the nation took the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test as juniors last year. An estimated 34,000 have been recognized as Commended Students.
We congratulate these students as they continue to work hard, apply their best strategies and learn from whatever challenges they encounter. Pictured here are Stella, Lorelei, Jenna, and Kyla.
We are delighted to welcome a group of exceptional teachers and staff to our school in September 2019. Their enthusiasm, experience, and energy will enrich the learning environment.
Let us introduce you to the following new members of The Ursuline School community:
Seated, from left:
Gabrielle Colletti, Religious Studies Department.
Ms. Colletti is teaching 7th and 9th grade Religious Studies. She is a graduate of Iona College and earned a Master's degree in Education Childhood 1-6 from Fordham University. Ms. Colletti brings to Ursuline her experience teaching at St Raymond's Elementary School and teaching in an ICT class at PS 182. Ms. Colletti is also co-moderating the Breast Cancer Awareness Club at Ursuline.
James Moran, Religious Studies Department.
Mr. Moran is teaching 9th and 10th grade Religious Studies. He holds a Master's degree in history from Lehman College and catechetical certification from the Archdiocese of New York.
Kayla Smith, Reading & Language Development Department.
Mrs. Smith is serving as a Middle School Math Specialist in RLD, the Reading & Language Development Department. She wants to get involved at Ursuline as much as possible to exude Serviam and has stepped up to co-moderate three clubs: PAWS (Protecting Animals With Service), Autism Awareness, and Prayer Bear. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Education from the University of Mississippi, with concentrations in Math, English Language Arts, and Mild/Moderate Special Education. Mrs. Smith has also earned a Master's degree in Special Education from Mississippi College. She worked previously at Our Lady of Victory in Mount Vernon as an Academic Interventionist. Mrs. Smith was born and raised along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She notes that her entire immediate family are teachers.
Kim Saxton, Athletic Director.
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 was appointed interim Athletic Director at Peekskill High School when a short-term need arose. 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. Ms. Saxton is an Ursuline alumna, Class of 2000. Her passion is arts and crafts.
Stephanie Gold, Reading & Language Development Department.
Ms. Gold provides Science support in the Reading & Language Development Department. She has a Bachelor's degree in Biology and Psychology from Georgetown University and has earned a Master's degree in Science Education from New York University. Ms. Gold also completed a Certificate in Special Education from Mercy College. She is the mother of two boys, Ezra (4) and Leo (3 months). She loves to travel, and has visited Fiji, Australia, Brazil, Israel, Egypt, Italy, France, Botswana, Namibia, and Costa Rica. She even taught Science at an International School in Cape Town South Africa in her 20s.
Standing, from left:
Victoria Mandarano, Director, Personal Development Program.
At Ursuline, Personal Development includes courses and supplemental activities. Ms. Mandarano teaches Personal Development for the middle school. She also teaches Peer Leadership and Peer Mediation. In addition, she runs an activity class teaching middle school students with mindfulness, meditation, and yoga and also leads the 9th grade Personal Development off-site orientation. Ms. Mandarano co-moderates the Love Shouldn't Hurt Club. Ms. Mandarano holds a Bachelor's degree in English from Concordia College and earned a Master's degree in Education, School Counseling from Lehman College. She holds certifications in Children's Yoga, as well as Play Therapy and the Arts with Teens to Address Attachment, Trauma, Self-Esteem &; Empathy Issues.
Lauren Forte, Math Department.
Ms. Forte is teaching Math 7 and Math 8. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Fordham University and earned a Master's degree in Educational Technology from Iona College. Ms. Forte is thrilled to rejoin the Ursuline faculty after spending several years away from the classroom, with her children.
Kristen Muschio, Social Studies Department.
Ms. Muschio teaches Economics for Life, Economics for Life Honors, Government & Politics Honors, US History Honors and AP US History. She is a graduate of College of Mt. St. Vincent where she earned her Bachelor's degree in History and her Master's degree in Urban & Multicultural Education. Ms. Muschio is currently enrolled at Manhattan College for Administration. She co-moderates the Student Council at Ursuline. Ms. Muschio loves to read and travel and has been fortunate enough to visit many countries throughout Europe and the Caribbean. Her favorite sport is basketball; in fact, she used to play as a point guard.
Fortunata Adriana DeLucia, World Languages Department.
Ms. DeLucia teaches Italian II, Italian II honors, and Italian AP. She is also co-moderating the Italian Society Club. Ms. DeLucia was born and raised outside of Naples, Italy and came to the United States 14 years ago. She previously taught Italian at Norwalk Community College.
Heather Coffey, Social Studies Department.
Ms. Coffey teaches five sections of Global History 10. She studied Secondary Education and History at Boston College and earned a Master's degree in Literacy/ Reading 5-12 from Fordham University. Ms. Coffey previously worked at Eastchester High School and Our Lady of Victory Academy in Dobbs Ferry. Ms. Coffey is moderator of the club Students for the Constitution. She also devotes time to the non-profit Overcoming Obstacles that provides teachers across the United States with life skill curriculum training as well as assisting in the developing and writing of Overcoming Obstacles Life skills curriculum. Ms. Coffey has been home with her three children for the past few years and she is very excited to be back in the classroom.
Alyssa Tenore, English Department.
Ms. Tenore is teaching English 8 and English 10. She is an Ursuline alumna, Class of 2006. She received a Bachelor's degree in English from Iona College, and returned for her Masters of Science in Teaching in Adolescent English Education. A major part of her graduate work focused on Young Adult literature; she wrote her thesis on "Supporting Feminism Through Exploring the Female Experience in Young Adult Literature." Ms. Tenore co-moderates the Autism Awareness Club at Ursuline.
Paul Grisanti, Social Studies Department.
Shortly after this photo was taken, we were pleased to welcome Mr. Grisanti to Ursuline. He joins us from Our Saviour Lutheran High School in the Bronx and Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich, CT. Mr. Grisanti received his Master’s degree in History from Boston College and his Bachelor’s from the College of the Holy Cross. Mr. Grisanti is teaching Global History 9 Honors, Advanced Placement European History and Introduction to Psychology. He looks forward to working with his students and helping Mr. Bratt with Ursuline’s speech and debate team.
Heartfelt thanks to Paul and MC McEvoy, parents of Carolyn McEvoy Galligan ’06, for providing a great boost to the Innovation Campaign with their leadership pledge of $500,000. Ursuline is truly a family school for the McEvoys who represent three generations that include mothers, daughters, cousins and aunts. We were thrilled to have had several members of the extended McEvoy family on campus on September 16, 2019 to offer our gratitude and to toast to the future of The Ursuline School.
Their generous commitment to the Innovation Campaign has earned the McEvoys naming rights to the iconic Ursuline School arch over the steps to North Avenue as well as to the lawn in front of the South Building.
President Eileen Davidson hopes that, “All those who walk through the McEvoy Family Arch will be inspired by Paul and MC’s dedication to the Ursuline motto of Serviam – I will serve. The McEvoys share their gifts of time, talent and treasure with many. We are grateful and humbled to be among the organizations that they support so enthusiastically.”
Pictured here under the McEvoy Family Arch are, in front left to right, Julie McEvoy Balloch '80, Susie MacNamee McEvoy '48, Linda McEvoy Maloney '79, and, in back from the left, Betsy McEvoy Molisani '69, Carolyn McEvoy Galligan '06, MC McEvoy P'06, Paul McEvoy P'06.
The McEvoy Family Lawn will continue to be the site of wonderful Ursuline traditions such as Ring Day, Graduation line-up, and Reunion.
Proud alumna Carolyn ’06 wants it to be a happy place where students can relax and socialize. “Ursuline laid the foundation for my friendships, faith, work ethic and sense of service. You know that every girl who walks through those doors will shine bright and make the world a greater place. The traditions and values remain the same, but the school keeps getting better and better!”
The McEvoy's generous pledge provides further momentum to the Innovation Campaign that will build new spaces on the Ursuline campus in line with 21st century learning approaches, improve general campus functionality, and incorporate new security features.
Groundbreaking was celebrated in June 2019. Construction during Summer 2019 involved preparation of the grounds, excavation and forming.
The hum of machinery pierced the air as the old lobby was demolished and excavation took place - but not before the seal from the front lobby, the engraved pavers on the JB Commons, and the senior path were very carefully safeguarded.
The new footprint of Ursuline has begun to take shape! New active learning spaces and gathering places will enhance the campus.
To learn more about the construction or to join the Innovation Campaign effort, please go to www.tusinnovationcampaign.org
On September 18, 2019 The Journal News published an interview with Ursuline Athletic Director Kimberly Saxton who has returned to her alma mater to take on this senior leadership position.
As reported in the interview, Ms. Saxton values her role and the opportunity to make a difference. “It’s truly a great feeling to come back home and serve a community and be a part of a family that embraced me at, truly, an integral part in my life,” Saxton said during a recent interview in her office.
“I do believe that it’s my calling to work with our youth,” she said. “As a (physical education) teacher, I could only affect the students that come into the gym. As an administrator, I can affect and I can implement things on a broader scale.”
The article includes the following reporting: “The Journal News/lohud conducted an extensive look at the diversity among Section 1 athletic directors last year and found that out of the 70 positions examined, only eight were held by women and only four were held by minorities. Keio's Andrine Trotman was the lone black woman.
Saxton said she feels a sense of responsibility to inspire the younger generation of women.
“Sometimes our power is taken from us, and to have more women in athletics and women as athletic directors, I think, is moving in the right direction,” she said.
“The future is women,” she added, beaming with pride and a smile.
Still, the statistics show an overwhelming lack of diversity both in Section 1 and at the national level when it comes to athletic director positions. There are likely plenty of young women who want to pursue these jobs but may feel hesitant to do so because the profession is so heavily dominated by men.
What advice does Saxton have for those young women?
“Never give up. Always be persistent,” she said. “No matter what anybody tells you, strive for excellence.”
We invite you to read the full article at lohud.com here: https://www.lohud.com/story/sports/high-school/2019/09/18/ursuline-athletic-director-kimberly-saxton-aims-serve-inspire/2287292001/
As we previously announced, Ms. Saxton is an alumna of The Ursuline School, Class of 2000, and enjoyed playing for the Koala soccer and basketball teams. 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.
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.