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On a September morning in 1897, 70 young women came to Leland Castle in New Rochelle. Ten boarders and 60 day students were members of the first class of the Ursuline Seminary for Girls. As registration increased, the south wing of the Castle was added and the first Catholic College for women in New York State, the College of New Rochelle, was founded. The "Sem" girls shared the newly built Chidwick Hall with the college students. By 1916, the secondary school, officially called Merici School, had expanded its curriculum and occupied St. Charles Hall on the corner of Elm Street and Castle Place.
By 1929, The Ursuline School, then a K-12 day school, moved to its present location at 1354 North Avenue.
In 1960, construction began on the "new school" or North Building. During the 1970’s, the school was redefined to encompass grades 7 through 12. Then, in 1988, the 6th grade was reestablished.
Changes in the composition of the school have been accompanied by changes in facilities and programs. In 1981, the gym was built, which enabled a new “electronic doorway” library and math/computer rooms to occupy the space of the previous gym. In 1986, the Chapel of St. Angela was added. Other renovations have resulted in five state of the art science labs. In 1997, Ursuline moved to the forefront of educational technology with the inauguration of the student laptop program, in conjunction with a school network, web site, and educational learning community that have all been regularly updated over the years. In 2002, the latest addition to The Ursuline School was completed. The Mooney Hancock Arts Center houses a 300 seat theater, orchestra and chorus practice rooms, a dance studio, four art rooms, and classroom space. In 2008, the school embarked on a major restoration of the 80 year old South Building.
As physical and electronic resources have expanded, Ursuline’s enrollment, faculty, and academic, extra-curricular, and athletic programs have grown in order to ensure the continued excellence of the education the school offers young women. Today, the school offers more than 180 college preparatory, honors, and advanced placement courses. 77% of the professional staff have graduate degrees and another 13% are pursuing graduate degrees. Programs such as Peer Ministry, Peer Leadership and Mediation, and Personal Development Education address the spiritual, emotional, and social needs of students and foster leadership. Service opportunities are varied and numerous, in accord with the Ursuline core value of Serviam. The school fields more than 30 athletic teams in 14 different sports, and offers over 40 clubs and activities to accommodate student interest and complement the academic curriculum.
HISTORY OF THE URSULINES
After the founding of the Company of St. Ursula in 1535, Angela Merici did not live to see the spread of her Company beyond the city of Brescia in Lombardy, what is now northern Italy. Members lived at home, came together from time to time for spiritual formation and community, and ministered to local needs. But the Company became known for its service, making it a desirable ministry in other dioceses, and members took it to other cities of northern Italy, from there into France, then beyond. New communal living arrangements developed.
As the Company spread, and after the Council of Trent (1545-1563), adaptations and changes were mandated for congregations of women religious, differing from Angela’s original ideas. The Council regulated women religious in the church, and the Company adapted itself: some groups lived in communities serving local needs; others became cloistered to live a monastic form of religious life. The latter clearly limited the ministry originally envisioned as serving the diverse needs of the social environment in which it was located, but schools were attached to the monasteries for the education of young girls. The Order of St. Ursula, the Ursulines, spread throughout Europe and beyond, and its chief work became education.
The Ursuline monasteries became known by the city in which they were located. When they sent missionaries to the New World, the new foundations were closely related to their founding monasteries, and gradually they became communities independent of their community of origin; for example, the Quebec Ursulines were founded from monasteries in France.
Founded in 1639, L’École des Ursulines de Quebec is the oldest institution of learning for young women in North America; begun in 1727, Ursuline Academy of New Orleans is the oldest continuously operating school for young women in the United States.
In 1900, Pope Leo XIII offered a plan for joining the various Ursuline groups, for mutual help, the strength of unity, and greater effectiveness. The new group who responded to the call of Leo XIII took the name of the Roman Union of the Order of St. Ursula. Provinces were created along national, cultural, or geographic lines.
Today, the Ursulines of the Roman Union minister in 36 countries on six continents and they, as well as other groups of Ursulines, operate 15 secondary schools in the United States, as well as four colleges and a number of elementary schools.
Founded in 1897 by the Order of St. Ursula, The Ursuline School is a Catholic, college preparatory school dedicated to the intellectual, spiritual, and moral development of young women.
Rooted in the counsels of St. Angela Merici, founder of the Ursuline Sisters, the mission of the school community is to educate, inspire, and empower young women to learn, to lead and to serve.
Committed to academic excellence and the value of every individual, the school challenges each student to develop and share her unique gifts within the school and within the wider community. In a student-centered atmosphere devoted to caring and concern, our young women are encouraged to celebrate the richness of their diverse ethnic, socio-economic, and religious backgrounds uniting them as students and as Ursuline alumnae. Seeking to model the teachings of St. Angela, the dedicated, talented, and caring faculty, administration, and staff inspire our students not only to learn, but also to question, to reflect, and to challenge.
An Ursuline education prepares young women to be life long learners, women of integrity, and wise, responsible leaders committed to the Ursuline tradition of "Serviam" - I will serve.
Central to the philosophy of The Ursuline School is a concern for the student as an individual and a commitment to the education of the whole person. The school seeks to implement these values in every aspect of school life.
The mission of the school is to provide young women, grades 6 through 12, with a challenging, intellectually stimulating, student-centered environment in which academic and personal achievements are expected. In accord with its tradition of academic excellence, the school provides a variety of learning experiences designed to develop each student's intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, and creative problem solving, and foster a life long commitment to learning. With a diverse faculty and student population, the Ursuline community promotes a respect for the multi-cultural world and provides a range of opportunities through which students develop a global perspective. Rooted in the truth and values of the teachings of Jesus Christ, the school community tries to develop a sense of personal worth and self-discipline in each student, enabling her to become an effective ethical decision-making member of today's complex society. Each student is encouraged to discover and realize her talents so that she may exercise responsible leadership in ever widening circles.
Ursuline has traditionally been marked by a special spirit in which every effort is made to elicit the best from each young woman. By providing an atmosphere of warmth, trust and encouragement, relationships are fostered among students, families, faculty, administration, and staff. The care and nurturing of the individual are evident throughout the school.
Ursuline prepares young women to live as independent, creative, and unique individuals engaged in the pursuit of knowledge and moral integrity while remaining faithful to the Ursuline tradition of "Serviam" - I will serve.
Consistent with its mission statement and philosophy, The Ursuline School strives:
To develop the intellectual, spiritual, aesthetic, and physical potential of each student in an environment that conveys the values of the Catholic Christian tradition.
To provide a challenging college preparatory curriculum.
To encourage critical and independent thinking.
To interrelate various course disciplines and connect the curriculum to life's experiences.
To integrate the most advanced technologies seamlessly into the learning process.
To educate for future academic and career opportunities.
To foster in each student a sense of personal worth and of her giftedness as a woman.
To engender in each student the wisdom and strength to make responsible choices.
To provide opportunities and encouragement for each student to exercise effective leadership.
To involve the families of students in appropriate areas of school life.
To foster a sense of community among students, faculty, staff, and families characterized by mutual respect, openness, and celebration of each other's diversity.
To awaken in each student an awareness of and responsiveness to the needs of others in accordance with the Ursuline tradition of "Serviam" - I will serve.
1354 North Avenue · New Rochelle, NY 10804-2192 · 914.636.3950 · FAX: 914.636.3949