We are thrilled to congratulate Kayla Bowles ’21 who is selected as the first Encantos Fellow! She’s recognized for her writing talent, dedication and future potential.
The Fellowship is a year-long mentorship, training, and stipend for emerging writers, artists and content developers to launch a career in the family entertainment industry.
Kayla is a National Honor Society student, and club leader, who has already taken college writing courses. Her passion for writing, art and filmmaking will thrive with the guidance of accomplished industry executives and we look forward to her future creative projects.
Photo courtesy of Business Wire.
Senior Surprise Gift, A No-Contact Drive Through.
On Saturday, May 2, 2020 the senior class was invited to come to school to pick up a Senior Surprise. Each senior, driven by a family member, entered the circular driveway and was immediately greeted with cheers and signs! Teachers and staff lined the driveway, wearing masks and standing 6 feet apart, applauding the seniors and shouting greetings.
In keeping with required health practices at this time, the seniors stayed in their cars and waved to the unexpected honor guard. Their eyes welled up with tears of joy. Some cars were decorated with the words of Ursuline cheers. Each car drove slowly, stopping at the center of the circle, as music played from the loudspeakers. It was the Ring Day mix, touching on memories of prior special occasions that the Class of 2020 had enjoyed.
At the one stopping point, Mrs. Davidson, Mrs. Beirne, Mrs. Moore or Mrs. Lynch carefully placed the surprise gift bag in the trunk or back seat of the car. Then, the cars proceeded slowly out of the driveway, waving to more teachers and staff, and honking their car horns in joy.
The weather was a glorious 75 degrees and sunny on this particular day but it was the affection between the teachers and students that warmed the hearts of everyone present.
We invite you to see many more photos in the slide show below.
College Decisions are Celebrated Virtually
The day before the Senior Surprise was a national College Decision Day. The Class of 2020 proudly announced their choices on May 1 by sharing photos of themselves in their college gear. We are proud of each senior and applaud her hard work and exploration of the best fit for her desired college path.
Collegiate Athletic Signing Ceremony via Zoom
April 29 was the day long designated as the Spring College Athletic Recognition Ceremony, Given the circumstances of the pandemic, we celebrated with seven members of the Class of 2020 via Zoom. The student-athletes expressed their commitment to continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level by saying a few words about their college choice and recalling a favorite experience of their Ursuline athletics.
Nina Campos will join the Sacred Heart University Cheerleading Team,
Casey Conroy will join the UMass Amherst Track and Field Team,
Sofia Dedaj will join the University of Scranton Volleyball Team,
Mia Martinez will join the Felician University Softball Team,
Haley McLean will join the Tufts University Track and Field Team,
Elena Mugno will join the Loyola Maryland Swim Team, and
Claire Wilson will join the Boston University Track and Field Team.
This virtual ceremony gave the school community and athletes’ families an opportunity to celebrate with each athlete as they committed to continuing their athletic careers. Congratulations to each student-athlete and her family, who have demonstrated dedication and made sacrifices over many years.
Senior Tribute in Lights
Ursuline is participating in a new Senior recognition called "Be The Light” night. Every Friday night at 8:20 p.m., which is 20:20 on a 24-hour clock, the Class of 2020 is honored as we turn on the lights at school to shine brightly for 20 minutes. This new tribute is spreading across the country and we are pleased to participate to celebrate our Seniors.
Ursuline’s sixth annual crowdfunding event was on April 23-24, 2020. Our spring online fundraiser asks donors to give $24, or some multiple of 24, and we have typically raised more than $100,000 for school operations. This year the online event was changed to allocate 24% to two local food pantries, HOPE Community Services and CSA of Mt. Vernon.
The Ursuline School community demonstrated tremendous spirit and generosity! We raised a total of $100,371 of which $24,089 was donated to HOPE and CSA.
“The generosity of the Ursuline School never ceases to amaze me. As you know, we are experiencing an unprecedented increase in need at the moment. This contribution will certainly help us feed our community at such a critical time,” said Walt Ritz, Executive Director of HOPE Community Services.
HOPE Community Services in New Rochelle, NY has witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of meals served, from 15,566 in February 2020 pre-crisis to 56,654 in March 2020.
CSA, Community Service Associates, is a vital meal program in Mt. Vernon, NY that usually serves hot meals but is currently preparing to distribute non-perishable goods.
Both organizations are in cities that have had high numbers of COVID-19 cases.
“We know that food pantries are among the first organizations to suffer and even to close in an economic emergency,” said Principal Rosemary Beirne. “During this pandemic, we are trying to help some of these forgotten populations that we help throughout the year.”
In the course of the crowdfunding event, as certain Challenge Goals were met, two food deliveries were made. HOPE Community Services received 124 lbs of fresh turkey and hams thanks to Susanne and Paul D'Ariano P'15. We are so glad that Ursuline alumna Jaclyn D’Ariano ‘15 was able to make the delivery. And the New Rochelle restaurant Posto 22 provided 124 hot meals to HOPE Community Services.
On May 1, as a result of meeting two more Challenge Goals, we delivered to HOPE Community Services 248 nutritious packed lunches for distribution to public school students in New Rochelle. The LaMarca Family P’17, ‘22, owners of San Fratello Deli in Tuckahoe, and Ursuline’s Board of Trustees co-sponsored this meal. Thank you to alumnae Marisa ‘17 and Juliana ‘22 LaMarca and to Board Chair Ann Gillin Lefever ‘82 and Vice-Chair Sheila Sohr P’12 for coordinating this special effort.
And 500 lbs of canned goods will be delivered to the CSA food pantry, as we met the fifth Challenge Goal, thus completing the food deliveries generated by CROWDS4TUS, AND4OTHERS.
We are grateful to the 893 donors in the Ursuline community, representing 25 states across the U.S., as well as Canada, England, Luxembourg and Spain.
More details about the online fundraiser, CROWDS4TUS, AND4OTHERS can be found at https//:www.ursulinenewrochelle.org/ActionCenter2020
This global pandemic may seem overwhelming at times, but we gain strength when we realize that many people are taking positive actions, whether in their jobs or as volunteers. We will indeed all get through this together! We are pleased to share stories of Ursuline alumnae living out our school motto in the community – "Serviam, I will serve."
THE FRONT LINE - Dedicated Healers
Thank you to the incredibly courageous people, including countless Ursuline community members, serving on the front line of this pandemic. We appreciate their numerous sacrifices and pray for their safety. The Alumnae Association and the Advancement Team have connected with alumnae at several hospitals and arranged to provide meals to the medical workers.
On April 1, 2020 lunch for 40 members of Memorial Sloan Kettering's Urgent Care Center in New York City was delivered. Alumnae Andrea Fufidio '12, Liz Murphy '05 and Danielle DeRosa '05 were on hand to receive the donation and note. Thank you also to Michele Fufidio '09 and Tonia Damiano '09 for helping to coordinate this effort.
It was an honor to deliver dinner to the brave health care professionals at NYU Langone Health on April 19, 2020. Receiving the food were alumnae Maggie Sullivan ‘15 and Meghan Foster ‘15 who work as RNs in Acute Care and Infectious Disease, respectively. A special thank you to "Happy Kid Lunch" for the extra touches and delivery to ensure our dedicated healthcare workers received their meals.
The night shift on the front line requires strength, endurance and commitment. We were happy to deliver some reinforcements to our alumnae and others working at New York-Presbyterian Hospital on the Upper East Side of New York City on April 28, 2020.
In Massachusetts, public health students are volunteering to help the state's 350 boards of health in the vital work of coronavirus contact tracing. Our alumnae are in leadership roles at Regis College which is one of the universities involved in this critical project. Mary Driscoll, PhD, ’74 is Vice President of Academic Affairs at Regis, a leading Catholic university in Greater Boston. Laura Mignone Burke ’90 is the dean of the Regis College School of Health Sciences. Laura explained the project in a WCVB Channel 5 Boston news report. We invite you to watch the April 2020 WCVB news story at: https://t.co/wBTAnqZRBp
To help hospital workers, Alexandra Ferguson Clark '99 refocused her successful pillow company, Alexandra Ferguson, to make special buttoned headbands for medical staff, to protect their ears as they wear masks all day. She's donated 300 headbands to rave reviews and has requests for over 1,000 headbands from hospitals across the tri-state area. Alexandra is now partnering with button manufacturers and overseas factories to secure large donations of buttons and keep growing the project.Those interested in helping or receiving these headbands can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrice McDermott ’84 is the Social Action Coordinator at The Ursuline School. In that role, she has been coordinating the numerous efforts of Ursuline students and families who are sewing masks for those who are working on the front line during this battle against COVID-19. Patrice has also made masks with Art teacher Pat DiIorio. Our president, Eileen Davidson, has delivered masks to several alumnae who are medical workers, for further distribution at hospitals. She is pictured below with a delivery to Emergency Care Nurse Andrea Fufidio’12.
CARE PACKAGES FOR HOSPITALS, AND SOLDIERS
Another Koala making us proud is Mar Healy ‘16 who, along with her mother Margaret, an ICU nurse, founded Codefrontline to provide care packages for our dedicated front line workers. The pair have already delivered over 1,500 packages to 25 different area hospitals and organizations.
Their special effort was recently featured on NBC New York. Mary Ellen and @ codefrontline also delivered gift packs to the staff of Calvary Hospice at Home. To learn more about this initiative and how you can help, please contact Mar at email@example.com and follow on Instagram @codefrontline
Each day brings a new story of how Ursuline alumnae are living out the mission of Serviam in these immensely challenging times. MaryLou LaSala Pagano ‘83 and daughter Caroline ‘18, inspired by their son and brother, a First Lieutenant in the National Guard, created gift bags including snacks and Target gift cards for his unit of 170 men and women who have worked around the clock for one month straight. The Paganos are deeply grateful to the many friends and family members who contributed to this special effort.
RUNNING FOR THE CAUSE
Ursuline women are undeterred! Katie Carsky ‘12 ran a solo marathon on April 20, 2020. It wasn’t the Boston Marathon as intended, but Katie took to the iconic Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, running 26.2 miles ending in Van Cortlandt Park.
Katie, a Boston College undergrad, will be virtually graduating from Tulane University School of Medicine in May and will begin her residency for general surgery at Lenox Hill this summer.
Katie was raising funds for Tulane Healthcare Providers Fund to support those on the front line in New Orleans. Katie is literally Serviam in action!
SPREADING THE WORD ABOUT FOOD INSECURITY
Jenna Russo '03 is Director of Public Relations for Feeding Westchester, the county's leading non-profit, hunger relief organization. They have been feeding families, seniors shut in their homes, and children who rely on free or reduced breakfast and lunch at school. They distribute the food to 300 partners and programs to feed 200,000 people. Their Mobile Food Pantry travels throughout the county as long as it is allowed to, delivering nutritious food. Jenna has leveraged her relationships with media outlets to get the word out about the need and where people can find help.
Here's a link to a video Jenna spearheaded that shows their efforts: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dIcrMmN18HMxSA1djAXidh0bk6mmBIT4/view?usp=sharing
Need food?: feedingwestchester.org/find-help
The beginning of March presents the opportunity for Latin students around the world to take the National Latin Exam and to get reinforcement and recognition for their Latin accomplishments. The exam is actually an international Latin test taken by over 130,000 students in more than a dozen countries. The test covers general knowledge of Latin grammar and vocabulary, mythology, Roman culture, derivatives, and translation abilities.
Scores are tallied relatively and awards are given not against the test, but against how our students stacked up against all others who took the exam. The competition was particularly fierce this year. Nevertheless, the results received on April 13, 2020 show that almost half of Ursuline students who took the exam got an award. They certainly excelled!
Congratulations to all our students, and we especially note the results listed below.
Gold Summa Cum Laude
Kelly Lahiff, Sophia Frank, Domenica Voli, Cecilia Visco, Stella Banino
Silver Maxima Cum Laude
Gianna Calicchia, Christina Murphy, Lola Milazzo, Alexandra Stella,
Nivethika Sujin Kumar
Magna Cum Laude
Ava Snyder, Morgan Adamson, Katherine Mehler, Arianna Ebanks, Rachel Ortiz,
Hailey Dorsainvil, Victoria Keenan, Elizabeth Connelly, Daphne Banino,
Faith Mallon, Maria Silvestri, Lorelei Wolf
Jane Connelly, Olivia Manger, Claire Caltabiano, Caroline Brody, Taryn Comizio
April 14, 2020
Dear Ursuline School Community,
We reach out in a time of unprecedented challenges, stress and worry among those in our beloved school community. Our thoughts and prayers are with each of you, secure in the knowledge that we will emerge different, and stronger, at the end of this challenge.
As you may know, Ursuline's campus closed on March 11, 2020. Immediately, the faculty, staff and students launched the School's distance learning platform. The transition entailed incredible planning, practice and patience by Ursuline's Administration and Faculty. The School's long history of innovation and technology, coupled with the caring nature of our community, supported this effort from the very beginning. It has been a testament of Ursuline's Mission to educate, inspire, and empower young women to witness the staff's unyielding dedication to the emotional and academic well being of the students entrusted to our care during the past month.
The perseverance, flexibility and creativity of our students stands apart, once again. Each school day starts with virtual prayers which offer solace to us each. From sixth graders to seniors, students are working on complex math using Scribble Together, practicing conversational foreign language via video conferences with native speakers, and sharing art and photography from their "outdoor studios." Serviam also adapted to the current challenges, with social-distanced-collections for a local parish and the elderly at the Jeanne Jugan Nursing Home. Last week, the tradition of a school-wide Field Day continued with innovative daily competitions. This month, the Class of 2020 makes us even prouder as we join in celebrating their outstanding college results. We look forward to celebrating the Seniors in person as a community when conditions allow.
Our $8.5 million campus enhancement project (which had been ahead of its scheduled completion date of mid-October 2020) continues with an exemption from the City of New Rochelle which designated the project as "essential". All on-site workers are adhering to social distancing protocols. The sold-out Evening of Innovation gala will be postponed until Fall 2020. Nonetheless, the enthusiasm for this remarkable project remains steadfast and we look forward to the day when we can throw open the doors of this exciting new space to our students and alumnae.
As theologian Brooke Foss Wescott noted, "Great occasions do not make heroes or cowards; they simply unveil them to our eyes." We conclude by extending our deepest gratitude to President Eileen Davidson, Principal Rosemary Beirne and the entire Ursuline staff. At no time is the value of an Ursuline education more evident, and we are grateful for their heroism during this turbulent time.
During this Easter season, we extend our prayers and wishes for the health and safety of all members of The Ursuline School Community. We look forward to the day we can be together again.
Ann Gillin Lefever '82
Board Chair, on behalf of The Ursuline School Board of Trustees
Congratulations to our basketball and indoor track teams who have been recognized for their outstanding performances.
On March 26, 2020 the Journal News/lohud girls Westchester/Putnam indoor Track Team All-Stars were named. Stella Gassman, Claire Wilson, Haley McLean, Daphne Banino, Alexa Grassi and Kate Nugent were named First Team in the 4x800 relay. Casey Conroy was named to the Second Team in the triple jump. Daphne Banino was also named to the Second Team in the 1500 and received Honorable Mention in the 1,000 meters. Congratulations to each of these student-athletes! Full reporting by lohud is at https://twitter.com/lohudsports/status/1243133615166361602
Meanwhile, several basketball honors were announced. The team started the season at No. 1 and ended in the top spot as well in the final Journal News/lohud girls basketball rankings of the season. They dominated their opponents, earned a 24-0 record and won a Gold Ball. Sonia Citron and Alexa Mustafaj were both named to the Journal News/lohud Westchester/Putnam All-Star First team . Also recognized were teammates Meghan Casey and Alexa Quirolo, who received honorable mention. https://twitter.com/lohudhoopsmbd/status/1244610010174369794
The well-deserved honors kept coming for Sonia Citron. On March 30, 2020 Sonia was named Lohud Sports Player of the Year! Read more about Sonia at https://www.lohud.com/story/sports/high-school/lohud-girls-basketball/2020/03/30/ursuline-sonia-citron-girls-basketball-player-year/5081781002/
Sonia also received MaxPreps All American Honorable Mention for the 2019-20 Basketball Season. MaxPreps recognizes the top 50 high school girls basketball players in America. https://bit.ly/CitronHMAllAmerican
During this time of campus closure, students and teachers still have the desire to volunteer and help the community, although it is more challenging to do so in a safe and healthy manner. Nevertheless, here are a few examples of our school community doing its best to live out our motto of Serviam, I will serve.
On March 17, 2020 four members of the Ursuline chapter of Teenangels participated in Put Kids 1st, a livestreamed global summit originally planned to be held at Princeton University. The summit addressed crimes against children online and digitally-facilitated crimes against children. Presenters included leading law enforcement experts, mental health professionals, industry leaders, families, innovators, cybersafety professionals and policy experts. Our Teenangels joined Parry Aftab, a cybersafety and cyberlaw pioneer, to discuss protecting young people from the risks and realities of sexting and sexual exploitation online. Teenangels are volunteers who have been specially trained in all aspects of online safety, privacy and security.
In a different activity, on March 21, Ursuline families and friends donated non-perishables and made monetary donations to restock the pantry at St. Peter's – St. Denis Parish in Yonkers, which helps 380 families in need. We suggested families that may be out at the supermarket could stop by our school parking lot to drop off non-perishables. We did not suggest that families come out of their homes to come to Ursuline. Principal Rosemary Beirne was pleased to be able to bring groceries.
Still another collection was completed. Before the school closed, we had begun a Lenten drive to collect toiletries for the Jeanne Jugan Nursing Home in the Bronx. The Little Sisters of the Poor had asked us to collect personal care items such as mouth wash, shampoo, and soap to aid in the care of their residents. Sr. Pat Schifini, our campus minister, and President Eileen Davidson organized the items in bags outside, for delivery to the residents at the nursing home.
At the direction of Governor Cuomo, we joined other New York schools in closing our school building as of March 11, 2020 to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Although this situation is not something we wished for, we respect that the health experts are doing what they believe best for the safety of our community.
We are now conducting distance learning. Because Ursuline already had integrated technology in a systemic and cohesive way, the transition to distance learning has been rapid. We closed the school building on Wednesday, March 11th and began distance learning on Thursday, March 12th.
What does distance learning look like? It is not students sitting at a computer for 6 hours straight. It is a creative combination of live video conferencing, various software platforms, students completing work offline at their own pace within a given timeframe, reading, hands-on projects, and independent study.
Mrs LaBella's Photoshop and Photography Classes viewed a presentation on the work of photographer Annie Leibovitz, best known for her expressive portraits. Then students created their own expressive portraits over several days.
The Italian 2, 3, and 4 students joined their teachers and facetimed with a businesswoman from Rome, a teacher in Milano, an IT person in Rome, and students from Naples. Our students practiced their conversational Italian and also gained knowledge about life in Italy. They each shared their experiences with the current situation in Italy, how Italians are coping, and how they may be changed as people. Our students prepared questions ahead of time and translated the interview for one another. They loved the class and found it relevant and interesting.
Lauren and her classmates in Mrs. Boselli's Spanish 4 class used Google Meet to read the play "El Delantal Blanco" by Chilean author Sergio Vodanovic. The play shows the socio-political reality in the author's home country.
Maggie '20 practiced her Engineering skills outside of class time, as she and her father cut, sanded and began to prime a table.
AP Painting & Drawing and Advanced Drawing student Mary '20 took advantage of the nice weather and gained inspiration in her "outdoor studio".
Our long-time learning management system, MOODLE, has many interactive learning features that now support distance learning. Math teacher Ms. Wolff created lesson screencasts and posted them on her MOODLE class page for her students to watch. Spanish teacher Sr. Brenda Buckley and Religious Studies teacher Ms. Smyth, and many others, are creating online lessons by finding videos and in some cases interspersing the video with questions using Edpuzzle. Edpuzzle keeps track of whether or not the student watches the video, it grades the answers to questions and because it is integrated with MOODLE, puts the grade in the MOODLE gradebook automatically.
Distance learning is not without its challenges such as the absence of the school community, distractions inherent in a home environment, and anxiety about the current health situation. We have discovered that starting the day with our Daily Prayer brings a sense of community and familiarity. Rather than hear the Daily Prayer over the P.A. system, students are creating short videos of daily prayers that are emailed to students and teachers. We are also posting the Daily Prayer on our school homepage.
We congratulate Jeanette Gisbert, MPA who has been named the new Executive Director of Volunteer New York! effective July 6, 2020.
Ms. Gisbert has been serving as Volunteer New York!'s Deputy Executive Director and currently is an Executive Fellow for Capacity Building and Affiliate Network with Points of Light global network, a ten-month fellowship program. She will return to Volunteer New York! at the end of June 2020. Volunteer New York! mobilizes over 26,000 volunteers annually and serves more than 500 nonprofits in three New York counties.
Jeanette Gisbert is a 1994 graduate of The Ursuline School. She stated, "I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be able to make a difference in the community that I was born and raised in. At Ursuline, I was introduced to the Serviam mission and throughout my career I've had the privilege of seeing the magic that happens when people get off the sidelines and engage in community. We are so lucky to have an organization like Volunteer New York! in our community. I'm looking forward to continuing to elevate its work so that everyone knows how to connect to a community need."
Volunteer New York! Issued a Press Release that describes Jeanette's local roots, important contribution, and the vital work of this organization:
"Gisbert, a first-generation Cuban-American, is a resident of Cortlandt Manor, New York, with over 20 years' experience in the nonprofit sector. She was born and raised in Westchester County less than 5 miles from the where Volunteer New York!'s main office is located in Tarrytown and is a proud alumna of The Ursuline School in New Rochelle. Gisbert is an engaged community member: graduate of Leadership Westchester (2009), selected as a Rising Star by the Business Council of Westchester (2012), and honored for her community leadership by the Westchester Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (2016). Gisbert is a member of Impact100 Westchester and active with the PTA at Lincoln Titus Elementary School and for Boy Scouts Pack 144.
In her early career as an accountant for KPMG in Boston, Gisbert was attracted to the nonprofit sector "because I wanted to make a contribution to the world." She joined AmeriCorps VISTA in 1999. "AmeriCorps validated my desire to have a career in the nonprofit community. It solidified for me the power of volunteerism and the magic that happens when individuals say yes to volunteering and the connections and relationships that develop."
Gisbert earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the Wallace E. Carroll School of Management, Boston College; and a Masters degree in Public Administration from the School of Public Affairs, Baruch College.
Valerie Mason Cunningham, Chair of Volunteer New York! said that the board, with [the input of current Executive Director Alisa H. Kesten,] has been preparing for the leadership change for over two years. "Members created a detailed action plan and conducted a strategic search for the best candidate, and know they've made the right decision," she said. "We are very excited and confident that Jeanette will take us to the next level as we continue to thrive and grow. Her stellar record, competence, and belief in the power of volunteerism are tremendous assets. And her passion to help build a better future for all is absolutely contagious. Jeanette has been instrumental in helping to transform this remarkable organization."
Gisbert assumed the role of Deputy Executive Director at Volunteer New York! in 2015 after having served for the five previous years as its Senior Director of Volunteer and Corporate Engagement. She joined Volunteer New York! in 2010 after a seven-year stint at New York Cares, New York City's largest volunteer connector organization, where she served as that organization's first Director of Volunteer Relations and was responsible for the recruitment and management of thousands of volunteers and hundreds of volunteer leaders.
As the first ever Executive Fellow for Points of Light as its Executive Fellow for Capacity Building and Affiliate Network, Gisbert is bringing great perspective as an affiliate leader. Points of Light is a global nonprofit with the mission to inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action.
Natalye Paquin, Points of Light CEO and President commented that "Jeanette's leadership as an executive fellow at Points of Light has made our enterprise stronger while helping us develop a deeper connection with our Global Network. She set the bar high as our first executive fellow and we are so glad she will remain connected with us as she brings her talents back to the Volunteer New York! Family."
This year, Volunteer New York! will celebrate its 70th anniversary (1950-2020) with a series of extraordinary initiatives, while it continues to produce the highly regarded programs and new and expanded events for which the organization is well known.
Volunteer New York!'s core mission is to inspire, mobilize, and equip individuals and groups to take positive action to address pressing challenges, support nonprofits and strengthen the quality of life throughout Westchester, Rockland and Putnam. The organization encourages adults to serve, youth to build character, families to bond, young professionals to lead, mature adults to share their wisdom, and businesses to support our community. In 2019, Volunteer New York! inspired more than 26,000 volunteers who helped contribute over 275,000 hours of service to 500 local nonprofits at a value of over $8.7 million to the community."
Photo courtesy of Volunteer New York!
Congratulations to Sonia Citron ’21 who was named the 2019-20 Gatorade New York Girls Basketball Player of the Year on March 6, 2020.
This award distinguishes Sonia as New York’s best high school girls basketball player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year award to be announced in March, she joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Maya Moore (2005-06 Collins Hill High School, Ga.), Rashanda McCants (2004-05, Asheville High School, N.C.), Candace Parker (2001-02, Naperville Central High School, Ill.), Diana Taurasi (1998-99 & 1999-00, Don Antonio Lugo High School, Calif.), Shyra Ely (1999-00, Ben Davis High School, Ind.), Katie Smith (1991-92, Logan High School, Ohio) and Lisa Leslie (1988-89, Morningside High School, Calif.).
The 6-foot-1 junior guard led the Koalas to a 22-0 record and the sectional semifinals at the time of her selection. Sonia averaged 23.5 points, 10.3 rebounds, 4.0 steals and 3.1 assists through 22 games. A Second Team All-State selection as a sophomore, Citron is an All Section 1 honoree and led the USA Basketball U16 Women’s National Team to a gold medal at the 2019 FIBA Americas Championship.
“Citron is a complete player in every sense of the word,” said Michael Blanco, head coach at Scarsdale High. “She can play any position and guard any position. She can score on every part of the court and handle the ball. She always defends the top player on the opposing team.”
This award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Sonia, a junior, has maintained a weighted 4.83 GPA in the classroom. Over and above her rigorous academic schedule, Sonia participates in many activities at Ursuline including an after school club, Warm Hands Warm Hearts, that prepares a meal each month for 100 clients at a local soup kitchen. Her unassuming yet warm presence is noticed and admired by the other girls and everyone within her company.
Sonia also, importantly, stands out as a humble, generous and genuinely kind young woman who exudes confidence and compassion. She is a leader on and off the court. She instills confidence in her teammates which elevates the enjoyment of the game for players and fans alike.
Ursuline basketball coach Beth Wooters says, "Sonia receiving the Gatorade New York State Player of the Year award is a tremendous honor and is well deserved, especially as a junior. Sonia's basketball abilities are just one aspect of her. She is an outstanding student and is an active member of her school community. I am just thrilled that she has been recognized with this amazing award."
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track and field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. From the 12 national winners, one male and one female athlete are each named Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year. In all, 607 athletes are honored each year.
Sonia Citron joins Gatorade New York Girls Basketball Players of the Year Celeste Taylor (2018-19, Long Island Lutheran High School), Emily Engstler (2017-18, St. Francis Preparatory School), Andra Espinoza-Hunter (2016-17, Ossining High School), Dominique Toussaint (2015-16, Christ the King High School), Lauren Brozoski (2014-15, Long Island Lutheran High School), and Sierra Calhoun (2013-14, Christ the King High School) as athletes who have won the basketball award since its inception in 2007.
As a part of Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Sonia has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of her choosing. She is also eligible to submit an essay to win one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants for the organization of choice, which will be announced throughout the year.
Since the program’s inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators.
Photos here by Chris Pope of Christopher Pope Photography.
Ms. Geller was pleased to welcome Katie Limoncelli '10 on March 5, 2020 to speak to her Constitutional Law classes and Psychology class. Katie has earned a B.A. in Psychology from Wellesley College and an M.A. in Criminal Justice from Boston University. She is now working on her Ph.D. at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Drawing on that training and her experience in both psychology and criminal justice, Katie talked to students about forensics populations, especially those chronically underserved.
She gave students a sense of the work involved as a researcher in prisons, the difference between punishment and rehabilitation models of imprisonment, and the classic theories of crime which overlap with psychology.
Students were interested in the issues surrounding juvenile justice and the treatment of mental illness. They were intrigued to hear that TV shows portray the criminal justice system very inaccurately.
Katie also mentioned her work with the Vera Institute of Justice which is making an effort to make prisons more humane for young adult offenders.
We appreciate that our alumnae return to Ursuline to share their wisdom and experience with current students. Thank you, Katie!