The week of May 17, 2021 was in many ways a return to Senior traditions as well as a unification of the Class, since Blue and Gold Cohorts, in person and remote learners, all came together with their families for memorable festivities.
First, Seniors continued the cherished custom of signing each other's skirts, which will proudly hang as Ursuline mementos in their college dorm rooms. Exciting college journeys await these Seniors who have earned more than $20 million in college merit scholarships! Some plan to pursue specialized fields at colleges such as the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Georgia Institute of Technology, St. John's University: College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, or the Culinary Institute of America. Some seniors will attend college close to home and others will travel to Canada, France, England or Switzerland for their college education. The full list of offers of admission may be viewed Here.
Next, on May 18, the Global Scholars were inducted. The 5 Scholars were joined by their faculty mentors on Kelly Mac Field to received their green cords and certificates. And the following day, the 12th and 9th grades enjoyed their Senior Big Sister/Freshman Little Sister Celebration. At the Graduation Liturgy on the evening of May 19, senior families gathered around Kelly Mac Field and heard the words of Jeremiah, "For I know the plans I have for you..." which had been the theme of their Senior Retreat.
Thursday, May 20 started with the Advancement Team welcoming the Class of 2021 to the alumnae ranks at the 20th annual Senior Alumnae Welcome Breakfast. The graduates were accompanied by their mothers, or another special woman in their lives.
Ring Day ceremonies had been moved from the Fall and were now able to be experienced in person, outdoors on May 20, as well as via livestream. The Ring Day theme of “Hollywood” was playfully exhibited both inside and on Kelly Mac Field thanks to the artistic efforts of the Juniors and the Visual Arts & Media faculty. After the short remarks by Senior Class Co-Presidents Tanner McIntyre and Ava Pallotta, the Seniors made their long-awaited journey "through the ring." Lively music and then class cheers embellished the ritual.
The 124th Commencement of The Ursuline School on May 21 was another joyful occasion on Kelly Mac Field. Principal Rosemary Beirne welcomed those assembled and introduced the trustees in attendance. After the invocation by Msgr. Keane, the Senior members of our Honors Choir, under the direction of Ms. Wendy Harmer, sang the “The Star Spangled Banner.” Salutatorian Cecilia Visco exhorted her masked classmates to remember: “We are Ursuline. Our actions in approaching the fires that plague our world define what the Ursuline community will be to those who take responsibility for it going forward. Despite having had limited time in the school building, our class has made its mark on the identity of Ursuline. So, although we may have lost some time in each other’s physical presence, we never truly lost Ursuline. So long as we have each other, this incredible class of change-making women, we can never lose Ursuline.”
In the Valedictory Address, Clair Cregin reminded the Class of “our ability to persevere in the face of any obstacle, even if it is a worldwide pandemic. . . We may bend to adapt to changes but we do not break ourselves to satisfy society’s standards. We do not change ourselves to fit into boxes made for us by others. We do not just flow into fields that society has deemed appropriate for women. We do not stay silent while people in our community are marginalized and treated unjustly. Rather, we stand firm in our beliefs. We stay true to our identities no matter who tells us to do otherwise. We identify problems and initiate change to improve the society we live in. We are advocates for both ourselves and others.”
Principal Beirne then called each graduate's name and President Eileen Davidson handed out the diploma. As the graduates descended the stairs from the stage, daughters of alumnae were greeted by their mothers.
In the Awards and Honors portion of the program, Assistant Principal Denise Moore announced a number of recognitions:
Global Scholars: Olivia Curtis, Genevieve Galluccio, Francesca Maldonado-Vittar, Ava Pallotta, Kira Schaefer
Serviam Awards for service to the school in the spirit of St. Angela: Mahiya Buddhavarapu, Olivia Curtis, Sophie Hennessy, Ashley Kane, Lorenda Lambert, Courtney McAloon, Tanner McIntyre, Hannah Parisi, Ava Paravati, Maeve Reynolds, Rosa Taormina, Cecilia Visco
Classics – Cecilia Visco
Computer Science –Claire Cregin
English – Claire Cregin
Mathematics – Cecilia Visco
Performing Arts – Olivia Cook, Tanner McIntyre
Physical Education – Amanda Dolis
Religious Studies – Maria Leni
Science – Hailey Dorsainvil
Social Studies – Ava Pallotta
Visual Arts – Isabella Nieto
World Languages: French – Francesca Maldonado-Vittar, Italian – Talia Tammaro, Spanish – Caroline Conlon
In her commencement address, President Davidson reminded the graduates of the poet Amanda Gorman, who spoke "at the Presidential Inauguration and demonstrated the depth and resilience of young women everywhere. She inspired us with the words:
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew
That even as we hurt, we hoped
That even as we tired, we tried.”
Mrs. Davidson concluded, “As you leave Ursuline today, may you forget the losses and dwell on the gains. Appreciate that you have received an exceptional education in the Ursuline tradition. You have come through the pandemic the better for it in one way - or in many ways. You have a heightened appreciation for connections and especially those made at Ursuline. You first survived and then you thrived.”
As this is the year that President Davidson is retiring, Board Chair Sheila Sohr added a few words at the ceremony’s end to again thank Eileen Davidson for her 38 years of distinguished service, to a standing ovation expressing gratitude and best wishes.
Please enjoy the photos. All skirt signing and graduation photos, and most Ring Day photos, were taken by Chris Pope of Pope Photography.