The New York State Public High School Athletic Association, Inc. (NYSPHSAA) announced on July 5, 2017 its 2016-17 Scholar-Athlete School of Distinction and School of Excellence winners.
The Ursuline School again earned School of Distinction status as each of our varsity teams qualified for and received the Scholar-Athlete team award during their respective sports seasons. Scholar-Athlete teams require 75% of the team rosters' grade point average be 90.00 or above.
The New York State Public High School Athletic Association Inc. 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 divided into 11 numbered sections. We are the only awardee in Section 1 which takes in Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess and Rockland Counties. Only 19 schools earned the School of Distinction designation this past year in the whole state, and we are proud to be one of them.
Congratulations to our student-athletes, teachers and coaches!
Mrs. Edwinna Lucyk (our Director of Technology Integration), Ms. Robyn Summa (Science Dept Chair), Ms. Jennifer Micceri (Science), and Ms. Lisaann Enright (Math) joined thousands of educators, thought leaders and education company representatives at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference in San Antonio, TX June 25 – 28, 2017.
ISTE is the most comprehensive educational technology conference anywhere. This year's theme, "Embrace the Extraordinary," offered three exciting keynote speakers: Jad Abumrad, Jennie Magiera, and Reshma Saujani. Jad Abumrad is a composer and journalist who created the popular public radio program "Radiolab which has been called "a new aesthetic" in broadcast journalism. Jennie Magiera is the chief innovation officer at Des Plaines Public Schools in Chicago and the author of Courageous Edventures. Reshma Saujani is an attorney, activist, and the founder/CEO of Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit leading the movement to inspire and equip young women with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities.
Our faculty enjoyed powerful learning sessions and participated in workshops on the importance of nurturing a vibrant, creative atmosphere that includes the right balance of structured activities and open exploration. They also collaborated with other educators, including meeting up with Mrs. Heath from our sister school Brescia House in South Africa.
Members of our 2017-18 student government elected leaders and Faculty Chaperone Ms. Elizabeth Roper enjoyed the third week of June 2017 at the Ursuline Education Network Student Leadership Conference, this year hosted by Ursuline Academy of Dallas. The annual conference allows girls from Ursuline schools across the country to develop their skills to become more effective leaders while sharing ideas and traditions.
Student leaders heard from various Ursuline alumnae and staff, from many women of various ages and fields, addressing topics such as "Challenges of Women in the Workforce," "Self-care and Health," "Selling Women Short: The Objectification of Women," "Branding and Empowering Women as Leaders," "Identity and Diversity" and "Finding Your Vision and Communicating as a Leader." A young alumnae panel of Ursuline Academy (Dallas), Ursuline Academy (Cinncinnati) and Ursuline Academy (St. Louis) offered words of advice and encouragement. Social activities included a night of improv, the uniform fashion show, and a downtown trolley tour of Dallas.
While in Dallas, our students stayed on the campus of Southern Methodist University and were treated to a private campus tour with Business School Dean Bryan.
Results are in for the 2017 National Latin Exam, which is actually an international Latin test taken by more than 140,000 students in 16 different countries. The test covers general knowledge of Latin grammar and vocabulary, mythology, Roman culture, derivatives, and translation abilities. In New York State alone, 200 schools participated.
One hundred Ursuline students took the exam and we proudly report that 46 of our girls earned recognitions. Theresa Cho'17 and Caroline Keenan '17 achieved the gold Summa Cum Laude level for four consecutive years! They received the Maureen O'Donnell Oxford Classical Dictionary Award for their outstanding achievement. Congratulations to all our honorees, listed below. A group of them posed for a photo with Classics faculty Ms. Johnson, Mr. Wade, and Dr. Shamey. Bene factum!
Summa Cum Laude (Gold)
Maxima Cum Laude (Silver)
Mary Grace Regan
Magna Cum Laude
Maxima Cum Laude (Silver)
Magna Cum Laude
Summa Cum Laude (Gold)
Maxima Cum Laude (Silver)
Magna Cum Laude
Summa Cum Laude (Gold)
Maxima Cum Laude (Silver)
Magna Cum Laude
Summa Cum Laude (Gold)
Maxima Cum Laude (Silver)
Ribbon and Certificate
The 120th Commencement of The Ursuline School on May 19, 2017 capped a period of special activities and senior traditions. At their last day of classes, the seniors continued the cherished custom of signing each other's skirts, which will proudly hang as Ursuline mementos in their college dorm rooms. Those colleges include small liberal arts colleges as well as large public research universities, colleges close to home and schools across the United States, as well as specialized programs in music or design or computer science. The full list of offers of admission and enrollment decisions may be viewed Here.
Salutatorian Zoe Anderson will be studying at MIT. At the Senior Mass, she reminded her classmates of the times that had forged their bonds and told them, "We are all graven in each other's hearts and in the heart of Ursuline." The next morning, the Advancement Team and members of the Alumnae Association welcomed the Class of 2017 to the alumnae ranks at the 16th annual Senior Alumnae Welcome Breakfast. The graduates were accompanied by their mothers, or another special woman in their lives. Alice Smyth '11 encouraged the graduates to pursue dreams, continue the tradition of Serviam, stay connected and thank their parents for the wonderful gift of an Ursuline education! We also were delighted to recognize the six graduates who are daughters of Ursuline alumnae.
Graduation day itself was unusually hot as 160 young women excitedly gathered outside to process in to The Tully Family Auditorium - Gymnasium. Principal Carol Killebrew welcomed the Ursuline community and introduced the trustees in attendance. The seniors who are members of our Honors Choir led the singing of The Star Spangled Banner, followed by the invocation offered by Msgnr. Keane.
In the Valedictory Address, Theresa Cho, who will be attending Cornell, exhorted her classmates: "With the knowledge that we are Ursuline women – women of strength and wisdom – we can confidently stride toward our goals. We are not afraid to fail, to learn, and to start anew. Like airplanes that undergo turbulence as they fly around the world to their destination, we will also occasionally experience turbulent circumstances as we travel toward our dreams. But, we need not fear. Remember what Amy March bravely says in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women: "I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship."'
This graduating class of 160 students is well-accomplished and prepared for lifelong learning, global leadership and service. They have earned more than $29.6 million in college merit scholarships.
In the Awards and Honors portion of the program, groups of graduates were recognized for earning membership in three national academic honorary societies. Members of The National Honor Society wore blue and gold honor cords. Graduates who have been inducted into the Tri-M Music Honor Society wore pink honor cords. Those graduates inducted into The National Art Honor Society wore multicolored honor cords. In addition, in the newest recognition, graduates who had earned the Global Scholars designation wore dark green chords. To learn more about The Global Scholars Program, please click Here.
A number of individual recognitions were also stated publicly.
National Merit Finalists: Theresa Cho, Caroline Keenan
National Merit Commended Students: Zoe Anderson, Marinna Chung, Samantha DeCarlo, Kelly Fleming, Gabriella Golinski, Sarah Hillesheim, Nwanneka Okolo
National Hispanic Recognition Program: Jessica Abbattista, Gabriella Golinski
Global Scholars: Kyra Aviles, Cameron Dunbar, Ashley McDonald, Catherine O'Connor, Sydney Sheppard, Alice Varghese, Hannah Zamor
Eleven Serviam Awards were given for service to the school in the spirit of St. Angela: Jessica Abbattista, Zoe Anderson, Therese Bonoan, Stephanie Brij-Raj, Theresa Cho, Sarah Hillesheim, Caroline Keenan, Ciara McAloon, Aileen McClintock, Juliarae Sansone, Emily Trizano.
In the President's Address, Eileen Davidson addressed the young women with these words: "Graduates, you are ready to take on the world. You have been encouraged to think, question, and defend your opinions. You have been presented with global issues and brainstormed solutions. You have been challenged to develop your moral compass and see the world through an ethical and moral lens."
As Reported by Freshman Stella Banino '20
Over two days in April 2017, at the Fordham Model UN Conference, the Ursuline Model United Nations Team battled contemporary problems such as world health, the rights of women and children, and the role of major corporations in solving world issues. The focus of the conference was the Sustainable Development Goals, 17 goals the United Nations set to try to reach by 2030.
These goals include gender equality, access to education, and ensured safety for animals both above and below water. A refugee simulation during the second day showed the struggles that refugees face.
By the end of the conference, Zika had been cured, rights of many marginalized groups had been ensured, and access to clean water had been increased. At the closing ceremonies, the Ursuline team dominated, winning an award in every single committee. Congratulations are due to Elizabeth Olsen, Best Delegate of the Fortune 500 Committee; Lorelei Wolf, Best Delegate of the World Health Organization; Payton Bartz, Best Delegate of the Social Humanitarian Committee, and Stella Banino, Outstanding Delegate of the United Nations Security Council. After a long weekend of debating, running in heels, and solving world issues, the 11 delegates headed home, looking forward to the next conference.
We congratulate our 7th graders on the prosecution team who were winners in the 20th Annual Thurgood Marshall Junior Mock Trial Competition in the Bronx on June 9, 2017. And we also congratulate Ella Mbanefo who was named the Best Witness.
The competition was memorable because U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor judged one of the events and spoke to all the participants.
Channel 12 News and Fox 5 News covered it. Links are below.
For the first time, 13 of our 7th grade students formed a mock trial team and took part in this annual competition. In the first round, they were designated as either defense or prosecution and competed against 30 schools from NYC and Westchester. Under the supervision of faculty moderator Mr. Pierce Wade and the dedicated coaching of parent volunteers Lisa Citarella, Keira and Len Gordon, Matt McCauley, and Linda and Rob Rafferty, the team spent hours in preparation for the competition. They worked to craft every part of the girls' performance: opening and closing statements, witness testimony, and objections.
The first round of competition was on May 10, 2017. The whole team progressed into the semifinal round. The prosecution team advanced into the finals and won on June 9.
The purpose of the Junior Mock Trial Program is to provide middle school students with a positive introduction to the judicial system and expose them to role models and careers in the law. During the competitions, actual judges preside over the mock trials, and court officers and stenographers staff the courtrooms. We especially thank the parents who have spent hours preparing the girls for this exceptional opportunity.
Student participants are Ava Basciano, Anna Brody, Caroline Brody, Jacqueline DiSanto, Maggie Gordon, Mackenzie Handler, Brennan Hickey, Rory Keane, Ella Mbanefo, Emma McCauley, Logan Rafferty, Rory Sibley, and Diamond Spence with Juniors Emma Gordon and Winnie Ryan assisting. The team is pictured above with Judge Elizabeth Taylor, Coordinator of the Thurgood Marshall Junior Mock Trial Program. Our girls conducted themselves with the utmost respect toward their judges and competitors while doing their best to win their respective cases, and we could not be prouder of all of them.
(This post was updated after the finals on June 9.)
Congratulations to Natalia Matar '19 and Sophia Thomas '19 and the Teen Leadership Committee that was awarded the Maria Fareri Children's Hospital Leadership Committee Youth Volunteer Award. The Teen Leadership Committee is a group of 13 Westchester County teens who meet regularly, raise funds and increase awareness for the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital, a member of the WMCHealth Network.
These girls and boys hosted various high school fundraisers, volunteered at hospital events and on-site with teen patients, and held holiday toy drives. Their main fundraiser was an annual teen party held in January at LIFE in Ardsley, NY. Attended by over 400 high school students from the Hudson Valley, Connecticut and Long Island, the event has raised $30,000 for Child Life over the past two years. This service experience taught them not only leadership, financial, fundraising, and team skills but, more importantly, illustrated how a small group working together can help others, in this case, sick children.
Their award was presented by Michael D. Israel, President of the Westchester Medical Center Healthcare Network (10 hospitals) and by Dr. Michael H. Gewitz, Physician-In-Chief of the Maria Fareri Children's Hospital.
Congratulations also to Alicia McMillan '18 who received the 2017 J.R. Tesone Youth Public Health Service Award from the Westchester County Board of Health. This award is presented annually to a student who exemplifies the highest level of commitment and distinguished public health service to the community in the past year. Alicia raised money and worked with SOUL RYEDERS, a cancer care group in Port Chester, to create personalized care packages for children with cancer. She filled the packages with blankets and toys to help the children through their difficult times.
As reported at hudsonvalleynewsnetwork.com, Westchester County Board of Health president R. Steven Nakashima presented the award to Alicia for her compassionate care and advocacy for children affected by cancer. "Tapping her family's contacts, Alicia held a tea party, karaoke and cocktail party fundraiser and raised more than $8,500 for several cancer-related charities. SOUL RYEDERS continues to offer the kits to families.
"Not only has Alicia helped on a personal level, but her kits will benefit children for years to come," Nakashima said. "Alicia demonstrated compassion and generosity far beyond her years and leveraged her community connections to make her Kids Care Kits a reality. Her efforts are a shining example of how young people can make a difference."
We invite you to see photos and read the full report at hudsonvalleynewsnetwork.com
Jane Singman '18 has taken on the cause of helping Syrian refugees. We all have read about the continuing war raging in Syria that is causing thousands of people to flee. Catholic Near East Welfare Association ("CNEWA"), through its regional office in the Middle East, is working with local churches, religious sisters and priests to help refugees such as the Syrians. Jane and six other Westchester students created Relief United, a sub-charity of CNEWA, to raise both money and awareness for the plight of Syrian refugees.
One event they hosted was a musical evening at Kingsland Point Park in Sleepy Hollow, NY, on April 28. The event, called Project Syria Live, featured food trucks, activities, celebrity guest speakers, and live performances from talented artists, some of whom have been on NBC's "The Voice." As reported at thehudsonindependent.com/project-syria-live/, Relief United "has been working closely with the Sleepy Hollow Board of Trustees and has created an advisory group of an additional 30 high school students representing 10 additional schools, including Sleepy Hollow High School, to help share information on the mission of Relief United and this special evening. "Our goal is really to unite all the youth and energy in Westchester behind a fantastic cause to help our brothers and sisters in Syria who need it most."
Jane has been joined by a group of Ursuline student volunteers who spread the word and support this cause. Volunteers include Juniors Quinn Hogan, Allegra Acevedo, Mara Brockwell, Nicole Caiazzo, Kim Caserta, Juliana Cirillo, Tess Eagens, Rory Hagstrom, Annika Pan, and Kaleena Perez.
Jane and the other co-founders have been recognized for their leadership and dedication at a gala in New York City, on Channel 12 News, and in the press. We invite you to read more in Catholic New York's online issue HERE and in the
Middle school parents appreciated the informative evening on April 27, 2017 hosted by our Personal Development Department. We showed the documentary "Screenagers" about the impact of technology on adolescents. Then guest speaker Laurie Wolk led a discussion about how to engage in effective conversations to set limits on technology use and privacy. Ms. Wolk shared her 10 Tips to Raise Confident and Connected Girls in the #Selfie Generation. Ms. Wolk is an author, educator and motivational speaker who focuses her work on teens and social media.
In late April 2017, we welcomed students from our sister school Brescia House School in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was a great week getting to know them better. The girls went to classes with their host sisters and visited the Art Show. The Brescia House students also gave an informative presentation to our 9th and 10th graders, sharing a video about their school and teaching our Ursuline students about South African history, culture, food, sports, and wildlife.
Their faculty chaperones, Kirsten Cartlidge and Kevin Smart, observed how we use technology in the classroom and compared notes with our Director of Technology Integration, Mrs. Lucyk, and Mrs. Barton, our Global Education Coordinator. Chaperones were hosted by two of our Faculty members, one of whom co-led our student visit to South Africa last year. Thank you to all the host families who shared a little bit of our New York world and extended warm hospitality to our Ursuline sister school!
It was also our turn to host the annual Ursuline Sister Schools Lacrosse Tournament. The teams that visited represented Ursuline Academy Wilmington, Ursuline Academy Dedham and Ursuline Academy St. Louis. The games were played over the course of two days. The visiting student/athletes also took part in school events, such as Mass. Fun evening activities were organized for everyone involved, such as bowling and a large team potluck dinner, where the teams exchanged gifts with one another. A wonderful weekend for the Ursuline community from all over the country to make happy memories.
The Spring Concert on April 5, 2017 again delighted our school community with an outstanding variety of musical numbers performed with joy. After the induction of new members of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, our youngest students began the program, with the 6th Grade Wind ensemble playing an earnest Prayer of St. Francis. Other highlights were the Glee Club's extremely strong performance of Bohemian Rhapsody, to thunderous applause, and the Wind Ensemble's Caribbean Carnival, which was a lot of fun and featured different instruments such as castanets and drums. The Honors Choir showed versatility, singing a lovely Ave Maria and later The Rhythm of Life by Cy Coleman.
Soloists Christina Yavdashnyak '20 and Catherine O'Donoghue '19 were wonderful. The trumpet solo by Jessica Abbattista '17 was a real treat – a lullaby on an unexpected instrument – performed with exceptional feel and backed up superbly by the Symphonic Orchestra. A dramatic Beethoven number closed the night.
The following evening, the Dance Concert presented "Decades of Dance." The brilliant choreography expressed the characteristics of each time-period extremely well, whether the ballet class as flappers dancing Slow Down Blues (1920s) or the Hip Hop Dance Club performing a medley of numbers from the 2000s. The Tap Dance Club's choreography of 1950s Mr. Sandman was surprisingly expressive as the dance subtly told a story.
All the costumes were well matched to the dances, and the performance of Sailing (1970s) used cloth very effectively to complement the dance moves. Music choices were first-rate: The audience swayed as the Spanish Dance Club performed and were nostalgic during the ballet class moves to What a Feeling from 1980s Flashdance. The Irish Dance Club showed a lot of energy as they presented Tell Me Ma by Sham Rock while the Indian Dance Club was extremely elegant as they offered Manwa Laage (2000s).
We thank Ms. Kennedy, Mr. Benza, Dr. Boehler, and Ms. Griffith for the instruction and guidance that they provide students all year long.
Over the Easter Vacation 2017, three groups of students and faculty chaperones went on exciting adventures abroad.
Our traditional European trip for Juniors explored Italy, one Exchange group visited our Ursuline "sisters" at St. Ursula's College in Toowoomba, Australia while another Exchange group went on a service trip to Colegio Santa Ursula in Lima, Peru.
The European itinerary focused on Italy. In Brescia and Desenzano, our students learned more about St. Angela Merici, foundress of the Order of St. Ursula. They visited her childhood home known as the farmhouse, and the Church of St. Angela. In Venice, the group enjoyed a gondola ride. Florence featured a stop at the Duomo, the square and the Ponte Vecchio. Assisi included a visit to St Francis Basilica. The students also went to Nice, the unofficial capital of the French Riviera, and Monaco.
The Australian Exchange group first enjoyed the sites in Sydney, such as the Opera House, climbing the Sydney Bridge and the famous Bonzi Beach. Then they spent time with students at our Ursuline sister school. The girls attended classes together and stayed with their host families.
The Peru Exchange group devoted two days to service in the remote countryside of Jicamarca where they helped with the construction of a building. Then the group visited Qorikancha, the most important site in the Inca Empire and also home to the Temple of the Sun. Another cultural highlight was the Natural History Museum (Museo de Historia Natural) in Lima, Peru's most important museum of natural history. This group also connected with an Ursuline sister school and visited with Ursuline Sisters.
Easter Sunday was very special for each of these traveling groups. The Juniors on the European trip spent the day touring Assisi. The Australian Exchange group spent Easter with their host families. The Peru Exchange group flew back to Lima and attended Mass celebrated by Cardinal Cipriani at the Cathedral Basilica in Lima.
Please also visit out Twitter account @KoalasGoGlobal for more global education news!