Our student-athletes not only excel in their competition but in their academics! Congratulations to our Winter Athletes as it was announced on March 22, 2019 that all 4 of our Varsity teams have been recognized as New York State Public Athletic Association Scholar-Athlete Teams, meaning that 75% of each team has an average GPA of 90% or better! The team averages ranged from 95.83 to 98.67!
Congratulations to Lily Flynn '19 who was recognized as the Section 1 Sportsmanship winner at the NY State Championships and then was named as the MileSplit New Balance Indoor Nationals Girls Performer of The Week based on her outstanding performance at the Nationals earning over 52% of the votes! Click HERE to the article on milesplit.com.
Congratulations to Sonia Citron '21 and Alexa Mustafaj '21 who were named to the basketball Section 1 All-Tournament team!
Post Season Round Up
Our Winter Sports post-season finale was played out at the sectional, state, and national level. Basketball Varsity A played for the Section Championship. Our cheerleaders competed at States. Our 4x800m relay team and two 1000m runners competed for state and national titles.
Varsity Basketball advanced to the Section 1 Class AA Championship where they faced eventual State Champion, Ossining. Despite going down by as much as 23 points in the first half, the Koalas clawed their way back to within 3 points late in the game much to the delight of the huge Ursuline crowd, but eventually came up short, 67-78.
Sonia Citron led the Koalas with 29 pts/12 reb/2 assists while Alexa Mustafaj chipped in with 19 pts/6 reb/4 assists and Alexa Quirolo had 12 pts/6 reb/2 assist.
The Ursuline Varsity Cheerleaders culminated their amazing season at the NYSPHSAA State Championships at the Rochester Institute of Technology on Saturday, March 2. They competed in the D1 (Large School) Small team Division and were in 5th place after the first round. The Koalas had a near perfect performance, but a 1.25 deduction prevented them from competing in Finals. The girls and coaches are grateful for all of the support they have received from their Ursuline friends, teachers, administration and family.
This is the 3rd year the NY State Championships has been held and the second year in a row that we have qualified after winning the Sectional Championship - ranking us first among all Section One, large School- small teams.
CONGRATULATIONS to our NY STATE CHAMPIONS, Lily Flynn 1000m and the 4x800m Relay of Daphne Banino, Sarah Flynn, Haley McLean and Lily Flynn!
The NYSPHSAA State Championship meet was certainly one for the history books for the Running Koalas. Lily Flynn entered the meet as the favorite to defend her 2018 NY State Championship in the 1000m while the 4x800m Relay was a favorite to win Ursuline's 1st ever Relay State Championship. Sarah Flynn joined Lily in the 1000m, running a very strong race among a very competitive field. Lily showed her dominance as she led the field from start to finish on the way to winning her 2nd STATE CHAMPIONSHIP! Listen to a post-race interview with Lily HERE.
After a short rest, Lily and Sarah were back on the track to team up with Daphne and Haley for the 4x800m Relay. The tough field challenged the Koalas but with each runner running a fantastic race, the team came out victorious, earning Ursuline's 1st EVER State Relay Championship. Listen HERE to a post-race interview with the winning champion relay team.
The New Balance Indoor Nationals saw the Koalas, running as the Koalas Track Club, turn in 3 All American performances, and winning a NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP!
On Friday, the Distance Medley Relay of Sarah Flynn, Casey Conroy, Haley McLean and Lily Flynn placed 4th, as Lily ran a 4:44 1600m anchor, taking the team from 9th place to 4th!
Saturday, the team of Daphne, Sarah, Haley and Lily followed up their 4x800m State Championship with a 4 x 1 Mile NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP, winning by 15 seconds, with a team average of 5:07 mile! Listen to a post race interview HERE.
The competition wasn't over for the Koalas as Haley, Sarah and Lily headed back to the track for the 4x800m where they teamed up with Claire Wilson, placing 2nd, and a silver medal and earning All American status.
After running 3 All-American performances, Lily took to the track for one final race of her high school indoor career, with an outstanding performance in the 800m on extremely tired legs, after 2 All American runs less than 23 hours earlier!
Listen HERE to a small piece of the Championship Weekend from a coach's perspective as MileSplit "Mic'd Up" Coach Jan Mitchell on this historic weekend for the longtime Koalas coach!
Ursuline welcomed activist and author Luong Ung on March 17, 2019 as the keynote speaker at our 6th annual Global Education & Serviam Symposium. This year's global education topic is Global Displacement.
Ms. Ung shared her story as a child of war in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge invasion and genocide in the 1970s. Her message was profound and inspiring, highlighting resilience and strength in the face of forced displacement, violence and loss.
Ms. Ung told Ursuline students how vital our school motto of “educating, inspiring and empowering” truly is. “We must use our authentic voice to bring about true change in the world. Peace is an action, not a wish – and together we have exponential power to make lasting change.”
As a young girl sent from a refugee camp in Thailand to Vermont, she encountered some hardship and prejudice but also people who were kind, everyday heroes and who helped her overcome her anger and sorrow.
Ms. Ung encouraged the Ursuline community to never underestimate the value of being a kind, good and compassionate person of integrity.
Following her presentation to the school assembly, Ms. Ung generously spent time answering questions from students and speaking to local press, News 12 Westchester and Catholic New York. The link to the Catholic New York article is HERE. In the photo above, Ms. Ung is with students pursuing the Global Scholar distinction and leaders of our Amnesty International Club. Pictured below at left is Ms. Ung with Global Education Coordinator Maria Barton, Principal Rosemary Beirne, and President Eileen Davidson. Below at right, Ms. Ung is with members of our school newspaper staff, Unison.
Ms. Ung’s memoir, First They Killed My Father, became a 2017 Netflix Original Movie that she co-screen wrote with producer-director Angelina Jolie.
Ms. Ung was also one of the writers for the documentary "Girl Rising." In addition, for 10 years, she was the spokesperson for the "Campaign for a Landmine Free World," a project of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation that co-founded the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and was co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997.
Ms. Ung's other books include Lucky Child: A Daughter of Cambodia Reunites with the Sister She Left Behind, and Lulu in the Sky: A Daughter of Cambodia Finds Love, Healing and Double Happiness.
The Global Education & Serviam Symposium at Ursuline is generously funded by a grant from The Edward E. Ford Foundation.
In the March 2019 issue of Westchester Magazine, the cover story was Why Send Your Child to Private School? The article points out that one reason families move to Westchester County is the many stellar public-school districts. Yet, the "choice to trade public for private is one many parents are making." In making this important decision, families consider a variety of educational factors. Ursuline is proud to be featured with Rye Country Day, German International, Masters, Hackley, Soundview Prep, and Archbishop Stepinac.
The reporting on Ursuline is presented below.
"Ursuline built that into me, that I wanted to be something more."
Adora Fou's middle daughter, Madeleine, wanted to attend The Ursuline School, an all-girls' Catholic prep school in New Rochelle, for a specific reason: She loves the mythology-infused Percy Jackson books and wanted to study Greek. Harrison, where they live, has excellent public schools, but ancient languages are not on the curriculum (though Mandarin is). That request was just the start, says Madeleine's mom: "She's done the Model UN; she's doing a film in film club, and she's excelling in Greek."
The spirit of St. Angela Merici, who founded the Ursuline order of nuns devoted to teaching, lives on at The Ursuline School. "The Ursulines have always been in the forefront of encouraging girls to try new things," says school president Eileen Davidson. "Our students are encouraged to be bold, to be fearless, to live a purposeful life."
At Ursuline, trying new things includes everything from coding to robotics to computer science. Many of its graduates have gone on to engineering schools. The school's growth philosophy encourages girls to try new things without fear of failure. "Girls can be very hard on themselves," says Francesca LaGumina, the school's World Languages chair, who sent all four of her daughters to Ursuline. "The Growth Mindset says it's okay to make mistakes, something boys have already mastered." LaGumina believes the single-sex approach means "every decision and every program is designed based on the needs of young women."
Before going to Ursuline, senior Julia Durkin, a tennis player, "never dreamed of being the president of the school or taking computer science. As a woman, coding is so empowering. I might minor in it in college. Ursuline built that into me, that I wanted to be something more.
The 145 students in The Ursuline School's Class of 2018 earned more than $30.9 million in college merit scholarships."
The full cover story, with photos, may be read online here:
Over the February 2019 mid winter break, 41 students and 10 faculty members explored five different countries on three separate continents!
Our eco scientists completed field research in the rainforest of Costa Rica and monitored sea turtles at Playa Blanca. The students’ efforts were focused on Hawksbill and Easter Pacific Green turtles through in-water studies, data collection and work with rescue and rehabilitation. Work was also completed on the mangrove ecosystems in efforts to restore the tropical trees that thrive in conditions in which most other timber could not thrive. Mangroves are key weapons in fighting climate change because of their ability to store vast amounts of carbon.
The Paris Exchange was hosted by our sister school, Sainte Ursule, where they had a chance to work with the Special Learners in their ULIS program, leading a variety of games and activities. Our New Rochelle students visited many sites including Palais Garnier, home of the Paris Opera. They enjoyed delicious crepes and had their portraits drawn in Montmartre, the former artists' village once inhabited by Picasso and Dalí.
The Australian Exchange first explored Sydney. They climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge and discovered Bondi Beach where they enjoyed a swim and viewed the magnificent cliffs. Bondi comes from the Aboriginal word "Boondi" which means "water breaking over rocks." Then they flew to Toowoomba and were welcomed by St. Ursula College.
Our two immersion groups devoted mornings to language classes and afternoons to local adventures and cultural excursions. The Italian Immersion students in Florence learned about that city’s rich history in gold artistry, dating back to 400BC when the Etruscans reigned. The group had the chance to go to some shops and have a special lesson on leather craft, gold stamping, and gold jewelry. Excursions outside Florence included the beautiful Basilica of St Francis in Assisi where they were treated to breathtaking views from the top of the mountain. The group also went to Rome. They toured the Sistine Chapel and were amazed by seeing in person the works of Michelangelo as well as the Vatican Museum.
After a morning of Spanish classes, the Spanish Immersion students took a trip out of Seville to the ancient Roman city of Italica. They also visited the beautiful city of Segovia which features the third largest cathedral in Spain. In Madrid, they had a wonderful visit to the Prado Museum where they saw the works of Francisco Goya and Diego Velazquez. An additional stop on their itinerary was Cordoba, an important Roman city and a major Islamic center in the Middle Ages.
We congratulate Ursuline senior Naomi Koh who has advanced to National Merit Finalist standing by scoring in the top 1 percent of the 1.6 million students who took the Preliminary SAT Test during their junior year.
Finalists compete for one of the 7,500 National Merit Scholarships. The scholarships total more than $31 million nationally. There are three types of Merit Scholarship awards — National Merit $2,500 Scholarships, Corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards, and College-Sponsored Merit Scholarship awards.
All Finalists are evaluated on their academic record, their school's curricula and grading system, two sets of test scores, written recommendations, information about their activities and leadership, and their own essays. We wish Naomi well on the next step.
Years before cheerleading was officially designated a sport by NYSPHSAA, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, the Ursuline Cheerleading program demonstrated why cheer is more than an athletic activity. Cheerleading is a sport that encompasses tumbling, stunting, dance, motion, cheer, synchronization - and cheerleading is extremely competitive.
Ursuline’s Varsity and Junior Varsity Cheerleading teams have earned tremendous success this season. Both teams finished first at the Westchester County Championship for the second year in a row. Both teams also did well at the Regional Championships; Varsity placed top three and JV brought home a division championship banner, which earned both teams bids to attend the 2019 UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship in Orlando, Florida on February 8 – 10, 2019. The National competition was held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex where 20,000 people watched in six arenas. More than 18,500 athletes on 950 teams came from 29 states to compete at this prestigious cheerleading championship that was nationally televised on ESPN and ESPN2.
The competition schedule was grueling over the three days. The competitions took place in several categories based on school size as well as specific skills. At the Game Day competition, our Junior Varsity took bronze with their exciting routines. The next day, after two rounds, the JV earned silver in the JV Non-Tumbling competition. And, the following day, JV participated in an international contest, the World School Competition. The countries represented included Canada and Costa Rica. Our squad earned the right to take part based on their top-ten placement at Nationals the year prior.
We congratulate the JV on their hard work and focus which resulted in a perfect routine, first place and the gold medal – deeming them World Champions! As a whole, the teams from the USA earned the top scores of the competition and JV earned the highest score of the session, becoming the official 2019 representative for the USA. Their victory gave them the honor of wearing the coveted white jackets.
Our Varsity competed against 77 other teams in the highly competitive Small Varsity Division II. The team demonstrated difficult routines, performed very cohesively, and earned 9th place in this competitive division. That same day, the Varsity cheerleaders competed one more time, earning bronze at the World School Championships.
Rooting for both Koala teams were family members and an enthusiastic group of Ursuline alumnae who had traveled to Orlando. We congratulate our coaches, five of whom are alumnae – Head Varsity Coach Adriana Lacarbonara '03, Assistant Varsity Coach John Braca, Assistant Varsity Coach Jenna Ricciardi '06, Head JV Coach Karissa Vargas '08, Assistant JV Coach Amanda Dias '08, Assistant JV Coach Jillian Paladino '09 and moderator Joan Brescia. Their years of dedication to Ursuline and the cheer program are unmatched.
Following these excellent results at Nationals, on February 16 at the Sectional competition the Varsity Cheerleaders won the Small Team/Large School Division to advance to the NYSPHSAA State Championships for the second year in a row. In addition, Ursuline Varsity cheerleader Maria Leni '21 was named All-League.
We applaud the cheerleaders and their grit, their willingness to constantly improve, and their spirit!
On February 5, 2019 we welcomed Jamie Ford, New York Times best selling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Mr. Ford addressed our student body and other members of the school community in an informal and candid manner which was very much appreciated. He connected with students immediately as he told of the tweets he received from young people after his novel had been selected as a high school summer reading assignment.
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is a historical fiction set in Seattle and it moves in time between World War II and the present day. It is the story of the friendship of a young Chinese American boy, Henry, who meets Keiko, a Japanese American girl, when they are both sent by their parents to an all-white school to assimilate. It is also about what happened in Seattle after the bombing of Pearl Harbor when 120,000 Japanese nationals were rounded up and Henry loses Keiko.
The novel is a story of love, of fathers and sons, and of making decisions, sometimes out of fear. Mr. Ford described it as an exploration of identity. He revealed that he writes to make people more empathetic. He considers himself to be in "the compassion-making business."
Mr. Ford took time to disclose to students his writing journey, and his family inspirations in which his Chinese grandfather figures prominently.
Many students were keen to receive his writing advice: "If you aspire to it, give it a shot! If you can write three to five pages a day for three months, you have a book. But know that it is an applied craft. Allow yourself to play some bad notes, to fail a lot. Failure is growth."
After the inspiring school assembly, Mr. Ford generously took time to speak with alumnae and retired Ursuline faculty at a small reception. We thank him for signing copies of his book. Members of Unison, our school newspaper, enjoyed the opportunity to interview Mr. Ford at the end of his visit.
The Visiting Author Series at The Ursuline School was initiated 10 years ago by President Eileen Davidson. The first such guest speaker was James McBride in March 2009. Over the years, authors of wide acclaim, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Leymah Gbowee and Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Doerr, have addressed the student body, sharing their wisdom and encouragement.
We were absolutely delighted that Mr. Ford joined this special group of authors who have visited our school.
Photos here by Chris Pope of Pope Photography.
Our high school Model United Nations team ended its competition season on February 3, 2019 with an outstanding showing at AmeriMUNC, a macro simulation put on by the American University School of International Relations which simulates real-life ongoing environmental, economic and political conflict within the Pacific region. The Juniors on the Secretariat continue to increase the club's national standing with strong performances in small, high-pressure committees, supported by an increasingly vocal and capable Sophomore class.
The following members were recognized for their outstanding performances:
Best Delegate - Stella Banino '20
Outstanding Delegate - Lorelei Wolf '20
Outstanding Delegate - Cate Hughes '20
Verbal Commendation - Maeve Reynolds '21
Ursuline’s Junior Model United Nations club is also becoming a force to be reckoned with! Twenty-two middle school students participated in YMCA Model United United Nations II, a conference in Hershey, PA the weekend of January 11-13, 2019.
The student delegates participated in three distinct simulations:
- General Assembly, where delegates assume the roles of diplomats representing countries and engage in debate on topical issues: Chemical and Biological Weapons, Sustainable Tourism, and Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- International Criminal Court, where delegates take on the task of arguing as prosecution or defense in cases tried by the International Criminal Court.
- Crisis Resolution Committee, where delegates immerse themselves in a historical or current crisis that they are expected to work together to resolve.
At this conference, organized by the YMCA, to reinforce the theme of Respect for All, delegates contributed “donations for At Jacob’s Well to support efforts to provide transitional housing and supportive services for low income, mentally ill men and women." In addition, during the conference, all delegates conference-wide engaged in this service project by making paper flowers, bracelets, and cards to give to people who live in these group homes sponsored by Jacob's Well.
Congratulations to all our student delegates on their hard work, diligent preparation, and enthusiastic debating. The following middle school students received awards:
Premier Delegate: Nuala Reynolds
Premier Delegate: Written Press - Amrit Singh
Outstanding Country Rep Award- Sri Lanka: Amrit Singh and Kyla Warren
Premier Country Rep Award- United States: Rachel Ortiz and Nuala Reynolds
Recognition of Outstanding Country Research Questionnaires: Scarlett Anikewich, Madeline Alaimo, Amrit Singh, Nyomi Hatchett, Catherine L’Helias, Jacqueline Zang
Violette Lee Cadet '20 and Carmen McGuigan '20 produced and directed an amazing Cabaret on January 18, 2019. Congratulations to all those who took part in the "Night of Broadway." The show dazzled the crowd with outstanding comical and serious performances of the great Broadway shows such as Hairspray, In The Heights and Wicked. Over 20 students in grades 6-12 performed. The finale was the full cast performing "When I Grow Up" from the show Matilda.
A special thank you to Dr. Adamo, who accompanied the performers, Sr. Pat Schifini, who handled the tech room and Ms. Johnson, who served as the faculty coordinator. The price of admission was a free will donation to benefit Sanctuary for Families, a non-profit organization that helps victims of domestic abuse and their children.
Thank you to Chris Pope for the excellent photos.
Ursuline is proud that already this year three of our student-athletes received the Westchester Con Edison Scholastic Sports Award and were named Athlete of the Week. This distinction is given for outstanding accomplishments in athletics, academics, and community involvement. The winner is selected each week by a panel of athletic directors and coaches who review ballots submitted by each athlete's athletic director or coach.
Swimmer Josephine Panitz was honored on November 3, 2018 as the Con Edison Athlete of the Week. Josie, the Ursuline swim captain, has dominated local swimming and excelled at the section and state levels. Josie is the 2017 NY State Champion in the 200 IM and the Section 1 record holder in the 200 IM. She continued to post outstanding results after her Con Ed selection. We are pleased to report that Josie is the 2018 Section 1 Champion in 200 IM and 100 Breaststroke and a member of the 3rd place 200 Medley Relay. At the 2018 NYS CHampionships, Josie placed 2nd in the 200 IM (All American Consideration) and 2nd in the 100 Breaststroke (All American Consideration). Josie has committed to compete for Ohio State University next year.
On November 24, 2018, runner Sarah Flynn was selected to be the Con Edison Athlete of the Week. She was also named the Lohud Sports Westchester/Putnam Cross Country Co-Runner of the Year, and Section 1 Class A Sportsmanship Award winner. Sarah runs year-round: cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. Her 2018 season successes included winning the 2018 Westchester County Cross Country Championships for the second time (first time was in 2016) and 4th place at the Section 1 Championships. Sarah then competed in the NY State Championships and qualified for the Federation Meet (which was later canceled due to snow). Sarah will run for Boston College next year, joining her older sister, Anna.
On January 3, 2019, runner Lily Flynn was named the Con Edison Athlete of the Week. Lily is a three-season athlete: soccer, indoor track, and outdoor track. Lily was the 2017 State Champion in the 1000m. This season her numerous record-breaking results included winning the Marine Corps Holiday Classic 800 meter victory, where she ran the #1 time for high school girls this season, and the 3000m in the third fastest time in the U.S. to date. She also was named to LohudSports 2018 Westchester/Putnam Girls Soccer All-Stars. Lily has committed to attend Stanford University and compete on Stanford's track & field/cross country teams next year.
At Ursuline, all three of these student-athletes take Computer Science Honors 2 and either several AP courses or Engineering Design Innovation. All three student-athletes also have demonstrated a commitment to community service which is a long-standing Ursuline value. For example, last September, Sarah Flynn organized a charity event called "Laps for Love." The proceeds from the event were directed to "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.
These three awardees join the 28 outstanding student-athletes from The Ursuline School who were named Con Edison Athlete of the Week winners in prior years. We acknowledge their hard work and dedication - both on and off the sports arena - and congratulate them on this well-deserved honor.
The Con Ed Athletes of the Week are interviewed on WHUD. We invite you to listen to the interviews aired on WHUD at this link:
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.