We were thrilled to host Juliette Jeffers on February 7, 2018 and her one woman show, "Pan Gyul – The life of a Trinidadian steel pan player."
Ms. Jeffers is an actor, producer, and teaching artist with experience on stage and screen. Wearing a colorful tunic, she recounted a story of a young woman who secretly learns to play a steel pan drum which was originally only played by men.
She wove in background information on slavery and the importance of the drum, which she played occasionally during the performance. She also infused her performance with humor.
After the performance, Ms. Jeffers spoke to the student assembly about the themes of equality, determination, and innovation.
Students appreciated how Ms. Jeffers related those themes to her work experiences in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, where she has had roles in television shows such as Grey's Anatomy.
She invited students to share their experiences as well and the girls responded enthusiastically.
Six Ursuline seniors in our Science Research course competed at the Westchester-Rockland Science and Humanities Symposium on February 3, 2018.
WR-JSHS is designed to challenge and engage students (Grades 9-12) in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). Individual students compete for scholarships and recognition by presenting the results of their original research efforts before a panel of judges and an audience of their peers. At this symposium, more than 400 students took part, from Westchester and Rockland Counties.
Congratulations to Katie Mulligan who placed 5th for her study in the field of Behavioral Science.
In Ursuline's Science Research program, students are taught how to conduct electronic searches of literature; collect, organize, and analyze data; give classroom presentations of research; and eventually, under a scientist mentor, do original research. This is a 3-year independent research program. It is a unique research opportunity for the student and requires a time commitment above and beyond the ordinary school schedule.
We are proud of each of our student scientists:
Kristie Arlotta- Environmental Science
Prisha Sujin Kumar - Cell and Molecular Biology
Sarah Ahn- Cell and Molecular Biology
Elisabeth Olsen- Psychology
Emma Gordon- Neuroscience
Kaitlin Mulligan- Behavior
Each year, the CASE-NAIS Independent Schools Conference draws more than 1,000 advancement professionals from around the world to learn about strategies and opportunities for donor engagement.
At CASE-NAIS 2018 in Anaheim, California, on January 22, 2018, The Ursuline School was represented for the first time as speakers, hosting a program session entitled "Energizing your Annual Fund with a Sustainable Day of Giving."
Director of Philanthropy, Cathy Fay McCarthy '84, along with Team members Eileen Ring and Maureen Corbett, presented the results of our successful CROWDS4TUS event which engages all members of the school community - no matter where they are. During this 24-hour fundraiser on April 24, gifts of $24 (and all sizes!) pour in from all over the country and the world.
The 100 plus attendees at the session learned how Ursuline effectively created a virtual event by using our greatest asset, Ursuline students, and by leveraging the power of electronic communication and social media to convey a message quickly and build community. Attendees learned how to manage the effort in-house making a day of giving an almost no-cost event! A sampling of our "most watched" (and most shared!) posts were shared to the delight of all guests.
These conferences feature dynamic keynotes from today's thought leaders. Dale Dougherty, creator of Make: Magazine, the Maker Faire, and author of "Free to Make" kicked off the Conference. Former Stanford University Dean, author and Ted Talk sensation Julie Lythcott-Haims (pictured with our team, below) addressed the crowd with a riveting presentation on overparenting, authenticity, and finding your passion. American filmmaker and double academy award winner Rob Minkoff closed the Conference with a talk on the power of storytelling as he shared his own academic and professional story with great flare!
We were proud to take part as speakers and to network with colleagues from other independent schools across the country and the globe.
On January 28, 2018, the Feast of St. Angela, our Board of Trustees hosted faculty and staff at a surprise celebration in recognition of Eileen Davidson's 35 years of dedicated service to The Ursuline School. It was a wonderful opportunity to honor our president, an exemplary educator who has inspired and empowered thousands of young women, faculty members, parents and friends of The Ursuline School. She has certainly "cultivated the vine entrusted to her" as St. Angela encouraged us to do.
Our alumnae are a powerful network that can be found all across the United States! We host local alumnae gatherings so that Ursuline graduates can connect where they live and work, plus hear first-hand updates on the school from current school leadership.
"It's amazing how you can have just your alma mater in common, and you walk away thinking, Wow! What a great group of women." Such was the sentiment expressed by Leila Huff Ludy, Ursuline Class of 1990, at the West Hollywood alumnae gathering on January 18, 2018.
That was also the experience of other alumnae who met with President Eileen Davidson and Director of Philanthropy Cathy Fay McCarthy '84 at the Southern California receptions.
Heartfelt thanks to Denise Wade for hosting a wonderful group of San Diego based Koalas. We were thrilled to spend time with all the alumnae who attended in San Diego, Newport Beach, and West Hollywood.
We are proud of senior Daniela Miceli who has created and facilitated multiple fundraising projects throughout the last four years to raise funds and to raise awareness of Alzheimer's. Daniela, her sister Sofia, and their team raised over $50,000 this year. They were the top fundraisers in Westchester for the Alzheimer's Association which funds Alzheimer's research. Their work is in honor of their grandfather.
Daniela and Sofia were honored by the City Council of New Rochelle earlier this month. Mayor Bramson presented them with a Commendation in recognition of their outstanding initiatives.
Daniela is pictured here with Eileen Davidson, President of The Ursuline School.
Collaboration and creativity were clearly evident as Ms. Iorio and Ms. Civitano brought their 7th grade math classes together in the library in late December 2017. The assignment was to help the 6th graders review for their math midterm by creating math board games for the younger grade.
One group of 7th grade students spent two weeks creating their very own math board games focused on reviewing fraction, decimal, and integer concepts. They created not only the game boards, but also the cards, instruction booklets and manipulative items. The students had spent the first few days studying some of their favorite board games to brainstorm what they liked and didn't like. Then they constructed their own designs, and invented amusing names such as Percentage Plateau, Math Mani, Brain Buzzer, The Game of Math, and Math Pizzazz.
The second group of 7th grade students acted as game testers. Their job was to play the games and give feedback. After Christmas break, the girls made final modifications and presented them to the real game audience - the 6th grade!
While the math concepts in the games were review for our 7th grade, they were topics that the 6th grade is currently studying and were a fun way for them to prepare for their midterm in January. Lots of collaboration and peer teaching!
On January 8, 2018, President Eileen Davidson announced that Rosemary Beirne will be our next Principal and stated, "After a comprehensive six-month search process, I am overwhelmingly confident that the wealth of Mrs. Beirne's experience, skills, and passion are the right combination to take on this leadership role in Ursuline's next chapter."
Mrs. Beirne has been on the English faculty at The Ursuline School since 2011. In addition, she has been co-chair of the Strategic Plan Implementation Committee for the past four years, working with all the school's constituencies to promote and enhance the curricular, facilities, advancement and mission strategies that have made Ursuline a premier center of learning in Westchester for young women in grades 6 to 12. She is also a co-moderator of the student-run newspaper, Unison.
In addition to her work at Ursuline, Rosemary Beirne is an adjunct instructor in journalism at the Arthur Carter Journalism Institute of New York University, and in The College of New Rochelle Graduate School Division of Communication and Leadership. She also has taught English and journalism at Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains. She holds an undergraduate degree from Fordham University and a master of science degree from The College of New Rochelle.
Before joining Ursuline in 2011, Mrs. Beirne was an assistant managing editor at Newsday in Melville, Long Island, where she supervised Long Island news staff covering breaking and enterprise news. In various news editing capacities, her work has been recognized with journalism awards. She also has been an award-winning reporter and editor at the Gannett Newspapers in Westchester.
"People often ask me about the unusual career path I have taken in my life," shared Mrs. Beirne. "From reporter to editor to educator, wife and mother, I have walked many roads. Yet they have all been marked by a passion for teaching, and for learning. Whether mentoring young reporters or helping young women navigate their sometimes stressful school years with confidence, I have always believed there can be no greater mission than this. Strategic initiatives now underway at Ursuline will mean even more enrichment of our classroom programs as we embrace exciting changes in pedagogy. I am so grateful to be a part of what we will develop."
Rosemary Beirne will officially begin her responsibilities as Principal on July 1, 2018. We are extremely fortunate that Carol Killebrew is very capably in the role through the remainder of this school year before she joins her husband who has already relocated. Ms. Killebrew will be able to ensure an extremely smooth transition with the enthusiasm and creativity that are her trademarks.
December 2017 began by lighting the first Advent candle on the large Advent wreath constructed by several of Mr. Monacelli's engineering students. Meanwhile, the 7th and 8th graders in Ms. Smyth's Religious Studies classes created their own Advent wreaths to use at home.
Peer Ministers sang around the Christmas tree during their candlelit prayer service. They also sponsored families in need at St. Ann's parish in Ossining, NY by collecting and delivering gifts to them.
In fact, this month several groups of Ursuline "elves" could be seen leaving Ursuline with bundles of Christmas gifts and cheer to deliver in our local community. Members of the 6th and 7th grade visited The Children's Center for Early Learning in New Rochelle and spent time with pre-schoolers. Other Ursuline students brought festive decorated baskets of items to families at Mercy Center, and to families staying at the Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center, as well as bags of candy with Christmas notes for Meals-on-Wheels.
The SADD Club (Students Against Destructive Decisions) teamed up with the Iona Prep Wellness Club to purchase, wrap and deliver Christmas presents to children whose parents are in treatment at the Lexington Center. And another club, Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, collected and delivered items from the Friends of Karen Wish List for children dealing with life-threatening illnesses.
Gifts of music and hospitality were also offered. A group of Ursuline students sang traditional Christmas carols for the second annual Wykagyl Tree Lighting, accompanied by Ursuline music teacher Mr. Mark Collins. The girls also sang an ancient French carol, "Il Est Ne, Le Divin Enfant." Three Ursuline upper class students played music at the Maria Fareri Children's Hospital Christmas Celebration. And a group of Koalas volunteered at the Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center Holiday Party.
Inside the school, a group of student musicians gathered in the front hall shortly before our Christmas break to share a little Christmas cheer as we came into school. And we thank our World Languages Department and Classics Department who shared Christmas carols around the campus in Italian, Spanish, and Latin!
Ms. Quartaro's AP Art and Studio Art classes created unique gingerbread houses, keeping in mind the principles of space and balance while adding artistic decorations!
The annual celebration of our Christmas Liturgy was very special and we were happy that many alumnae and parents of current students joined in this Mass.
We wish everyone the blessings of the Christmas season – joy, peace, hope, and love.
Our 2017 Christmas Concert began in candlelight, singing about a hope for peace. Ms. Killebrew was the animated voice for the famous poem, Twas the Night Before Christmas. She was accompanied by a spirited Wind Ensemble, led by their conductor, Mr. John Benza.
The Middle School Choir, led by Ms. Rosemary Kennedy '89, wowed all with an incredible arrangement of Wenceslas Canon for Voice, Chimes, Drum. The Middle and High School choirs, led by Dr. Jean Boehler, each performed their own version of Jingle Bells, made complete with... Jingle Bells!
The Symphonic Orchestra played The Little Drummer Boy and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. There was no Grinch here as the Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and Choirs led an audience participation Christmas Carol Sing-A-Long. We concluded our concert festival with our annual Hallelujah Chorus with all ensembles to end with a bang!
That same evening, the Tri-M Music Honor Society welcomed 60 new members, bringing the total number to 124!
The Ursuline School community deeply mourns the sudden passing of beloved faculty member and colleague Lorraine Alvarez on December 11, 2017.
Mrs. Alvarez joined our school in 1982. As a teacher of French, she was concerned with not only the French language and literature but also the French culture, with a passion derived from her own years as a student in Nice, France. A true linguist, she also was fluent in German and had a deep knowledge of Latin.
She brought laughter and fun to the study of French. In addition to French, Mrs. Alvarez taught the Study Skills/Reading course and most recently, English 8. She was a favorite of many students who fondly recall her wisdom, sense of humor, and happy disposition. Her students felt a sense of care from Mrs. Alvarez, as she encouraged each girl to be her best.
Mrs. Alvarez was an avid knitter and crocheter, often giving her beautifully created items as gifts to her colleagues. She also served as the faculty moderator of the Caps for Care Club, sharing with students her passion for knitting caps that were then donated to local organizations.
Mrs. Alvarez's beautiful soprano voice and love of singing were evident as she sang at our school Masses or as a member of the more boisterous Faculty Band. She loved rock and roll and had an encyclopedia-like knowledge of music; she was able to recount everything about a song and the artists who recorded it.
Mrs. Alvarez was the mother of two adult children, Ben and Alexandra, who were her pride and joy. She is also survived by her husband, Ruben, and daughter-in-law, Joann.
To quote an alumna, "Adieu, Madame Alvarez."
You will be missed.
We will gather as a school community on Monday, December 18 for Mass in remembrance of Lorraine Alvarez.
Parents, alumnae, and friends are welcome to join us for this celebration of Mrs. Alvarez's life. Mass will begin at 9 a.m.
The Alvarez family will be receiving friends on Friday, December 15, from 4 – 8 p.m.
at Yorktown Funeral Home, located at 945 East Main Street in Yorktown.
The faculty in each department consider how best to add practical experience and cultural context to the material that students learn in class. Field trips offer students the chance to encounter what they study in class and to meet experts in the field. At Ursuline, at least half a dozen field trips took place in October and November 2017.
The Film Class visited the Museum of Moving Image, an interactive exhibition dedicated to the history and innovations of film, TV, and digital media. The trip included a visit to the new Jim Henson Exhibit, which includes many of the original Muppet puppets; computer-based interactive explorations of the history of film; and a viewing of the classic "I Love Lucy" chocolate factory episode, followed by a group discussion.
The Museum, located in Astoria, Queens, is an adjunct to the historic Astoria-Kaufman Studios, one of the largest operating studios with seven active sound stages and the only backlot for filming in New York. Sesame Street, for example, has been produced there since the 1990's. Each student in Mr. Lipitz's film class also received free return vouchers as there is so much still to be seen.
Some of our Ursuline student journalists had the opportunity to hone their craft when they joined high schoolers from around the region at the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Annual Fall Conference. Six editors and reporters from Unison, along with co-moderator Mrs. Beirne, attended a full day of workshops on how to find stories, how to report them, and finally, how to put them into words that will keep their readers interested.
They learned tips about layout, writing leads, and even how to create and run a website. Working reporters and editors, along with artists and school newspaper leaders from throughout the country shared their expertise with these budding journalists. Being at Columbia University, where the Pulitzer Prizes are awarded each year, was inspiring to all the students, and some may be interested in turning their experiences at Ursuline into a career in journalism.
Ms. DiIorio's 7th grade art students went on a class trip to the Katonah Museum of Art to view the exhibition OBJECT OUT LOUD: NICK CAVE AND ARMAN. Students learned about how each artist emerged from vastly different moments and backgrounds but shared a love of the commonplace, such as colorful sequins and chains or buttons and figurines. Through these diverse materials, the artists reflect on their experiences, shaped by the reality of the world around them. After viewing and discussing the exhibition with docents, everyone participated in a hands-on workshop and created personally meaningful shadowbox sculptures using found objects, paper, glue and their own words.
Mr. Monacelli took six students in Engineering and Honors Physics to the Engineering Tomorrow program where they took part in two hands-on projects. In the first, the girls designed and built windmills and then measured the power output generated in a wind tunnel. In the second, they used their imaginations to design, on paper, desalination methods, using everyday objects. The program included a presentation by college Engineering students about college choices, the value of internships and the career outlook for engineers.
Sr.Pat and the 6th grade visited Beth El Synagogue Center and enjoyed a special tour with Rabbi David Schuck who explained central elements of Jewish faith. They were privileged to watch closely as Rabbi Schuck read from the Torah scroll and how he used the yad - a traditional Jewish pointer - and followed along. This enhanced their study of Old Testament in Religious Studies class. That same day, the 10th grade went on their Personal Development offsite to hear guest presenter Stu Cabe of Ovation Company who reminded them of the importance of compassion with one another.
Ms. Vasile's Advance Placement English Literature class attended the matinee performance of Time and the Conways on Broadway. Mrs. Antonicelli's nutrition class visited the New Rochelle Farmers' Market and spoke to vendors about the benefits of buying produce locally. And Dr. Shamey's Latin 1 students completed a photo scavenger hunt at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, in order to experience many different aspects of classical civilization and acquire a cultural and historical context for the material they are learning in class.
Faculty also go outside the classroom for enrichment, and professional development! Math teachers Mrs. Meechan and Ms. Civitano recently explored new ideas at the Chicago gathering of the National Conference of Teachers of Mathematics. One session presented the use of quadratics to further math concepts. Another was a panel discussion about math conversations with students.