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Life on Lowder Street Blog

Whether it is lessons in the classroom, athletics, the arts, service or community events, there is always something exciting happening at Ursuline Academy. Read all about it in the Life on Lowder Street Blog!

2015 AP Scholars

Every May, dozens of Ursuline students sit for Advanced Placement exams in a wide range of subject areas.  In May of 2015, 106 seniors, juniors and sophomores took 166 exams.  Of these students, 43 achieved Scholar Status (see descriptions below) for their cumulative performance on all the tests taken in their high school career, with an  overall average score of 4.06 on a 5 point scale.

We extend our congratulations to all students who completed AP courses and sat for these rigorous exams.

AP Scholar

Scholar status is granted to students who receive scores of 3 or higher on three or more AP exams.

Caroline Ahearn '16
Abigail Alden '15
Kathryn Brady '16
Elizabeth Coughlin '16
Noella D'Souza '16
Ashton Fagan '15
Mary Glass '16
Erin Grela '16
Katherine Kearins '15
Christina Luniewicz '15
Gwendolyn Marquis '15
Bridget McAdams '15
Catherine Rockett '15
Delia Ryan '16
Alexandra Shute '16
Karina Sinha '15
Nicole Wehbe '15
Carly Whalen '15

AP Scholar with Honor

The scholar with honor designation is granted to students who receive an average of at least 3.25 on all  AP exams and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams.

Amanda Boyd '15
Alina Carroll '15
Katherine Cavanaugh '15
Sydney Conti '15
Jacqueline Foley '15
Casey Gallagher '15
Erin Harten '15
Alexa Held '15
Elizabeth Joseph '15
Abigail Lake '15
Marykate Maguire '15
Eileen McAleer '15
Amy Piccolo '15
Minali Venkatesh '15

AP Scholar with Distinction

Scholars with distinction have received an average score of at least a 3.5 on all AP exams and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams.

Michaela Chipman '15
Kimberly Cronin '15
Hannah Garfield '15
Sarah Garrow '15
Katherine Gioioso '15
Camille Kelley '15
Katherine Lynch '15
Katherine Murphy '15
Cassandra Nedder '15
Niamh Sutherburg '15
Mallory Whalen '15

Posted by efazekas in Academics on Monday August 10, 2015 at 12:33PM
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Class of 2015 Scholarships and Awards

 At graduation and the related ceremonies of Baccalaureate Mass and Class Day, many members of Ursuline's Class of 2015 received scholarships or awards for their efforts in academics, athletics, or community service.  Congratulations and best wishes go out to all of the deserving recipients.

The following seniors were honored at graduation:

Shannon Lawler, Serviam Award

  • The Serviam Award seeks to recognize outstanding traits of leadership in service, awareness of others and acceptance of responsibility, as well as academic achievements. The Serviam Award is the highest honor that Ursuline Academy bestows

Elizabeth Vhay, Sister Mercedes Videira Medal 

  • The recipient of the Sr Mercedes Videira award acts with integrity, humility, generosity and concern for others, and exhibits through her actions a deep love for Ursuline Academy. 

Michaela Chipman, Principal's Award 

  • Given in recognition of a student’s appreciation of the benefits of a Christian education, her leadership on behalf of her class and her willingness to serve others.  

Mallory Whalen, Cross of Excellence Award 

  • Presented every year to the senior who has attained the highest grade average over her complete course of studies.

Katherine Gioioso, Salutatory Award 

  • Presented every year to the senior who has attained the second highest grade average over her complete course of studies.

The following seniors were honored at Baccalaureate Mass.

Abby Lake - The Cheryl Eakin Scholarship

  • To a senior who demonstrates a willingness to serve others and shows dedication to the “common good”.

Sydney Conti - The Pearce Book Award

  • To a senior who has a passion for excellence, an appreciation for learning and who also demonstrates a willingness to serve others and has demonstrated a dedication to the common good of the Academy.

Shannon Lawler- The Good Citizen Award

  • The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution presents this award to a student who demonstrates the qualities of Dependability, Service, Leadership and Patriotism. 

 The following seniors were honored at Baccalaureate Mass:

        Bridget McAdams - English Prize
        Erin Harten - French Prize
        Casey Gallagher- Latin Prize
        Jackie Foley - Spanish Prize
        Katherine Gioioso - Mathematics Prize
        Hannah Garfield - History Prize 
        Elizabeth Joseph - Religion Prize 
        Mallory Whalen - Science Award
        Michaela Chipman - Performing Arts Award
        Elizabeth Vhay - Fine Arts Award 
        Meaghan Schaefer - Communication Arts Award 

The following girls were recognized for outstanding performance in the National Merit Scholarship Program: Alina Carroll, Michaela Chipman, Jackie Foley, Katherine Gioioso, Katherine E. Murphy, Cassandra Nedder, Niamh Sutherburg, Mary Roche, Minali Venkatesh, Mallory Whalen.

The following girls were recognized for their initiative, spirit of generous service and willingness to assume responsibility for the common interest of the Academy: Abigail Alden, Abigail Black, Alina Carroll, Katherine Cavanaugh, Ali Erk-Thompson, Ashton Fagan, Kathryn Fitzgerald, Hannah Garfield, Berleine Gedeon, Katherine Gioioso, Eleni Haberis, Elizabeth Joseph, Sarah Kahler, Katherine Kearins, Meghan Lawler, Christina Luniewicz, Katherine Lynch, Kristen MacNeil, Marykate Maguire, Bridget McAdams, Eileen McAleer, Anna McDonald, Morgan O’Donnell, Maeve O’Sullivan, Amy Piccolo, Michaela Ricard, Gabriela Ryan, Nicole Ryan, Meaghan Schaefer, Marissa Schneider, Nicole Webhe, Carly Whalen, Mallory Whalen


  • Michaela Ricard received a 3-year Active Duty Army ROTC Scholarship to attend the University of Massachusetts.
  • Alina Carroll received a full 4-year Cardinal Medeiros Scholarship to attend Boston University.
  • Kimberly Cronin was awarded the Needham Bank Scholarship.


Posted by efazekas on Monday June 15, 2015 at 07:10PM
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Maeghan Driscoll and St. Ann's Colorguard Bring Home Gold

Congratulations to Maeghan Driscoll '17, who competed on April 16 and 17 in Dayton, Ohio at the WGI (Winter Guard International) Colorguard World Championships. After three amazing performances, St. Ann's Independent A Colorguard from Neponset took home a first place gold medal. Maeghan and St. Ann's Guard finished with a score of 96.88, outperforming 71 other Independent A colorguards from all over the world! 

Shown are Meg (third from right, front row) and the team.


Posted by efazekas in Athletics on Thursday April 30, 2015 at 05:03PM
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Elizabeth A. Coughlin ’16 Selected 2015 T.O.N.Y. Award Winner

Ursuline junior Elizabeth Coughlin was named one of the Ten Outstanding Norwood Youth (T.O.N.Y.) for her volunteerism in the community. The 45th Annual Awards Ceremony was recently held to honor and recognize all of the nominees for their numerous volunteer and charitable efforts in the community. These students are actively involved in the community through organizations such as their church, the Food Pantry, or My Brother’s Keeper, while others initiated their own charitable cause. Elizabeth was applauded for organizing the “Bearly” Used Book Drive at Ursuline Academy. She was quoted as saying, “I've always loved reading and I think people don’t always realize what a privilege it is to have a book. Everyone deserves to have that opportunity.” Each T.O.N.Y. winner received a plaque and a citation from Governor Baker. Guest speaker journalist Joseph Fitzgerald told the students: “The things you did, they weren't done for applause, they weren't done for attention. It speaks highly of your character.”

Posted by efazekas in Service on Friday March 13, 2015 at 09:55AM
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The Destruction of the Ursuline Convent, 1834

The following remarks were given by Assistant Principal Dr. Catherine Muldoon at Ursuline's February 27 Diversity Assembly, after which the original chapel bell from Mount Benedict was rung as a sign of solidarity with the founding Ursuline Sisters.

Good morning.  Our theme today is “Where I’m From.”  My job in today’s assembly is to share with you where we are from as a school and why Solidarity is one of our guiding values. 

Ursuline sisters came to Boston from Canada and set up a school here in 1820. That first Ursuline Academy, known as Mount Benedict, was here before Boston College and Boston University. Before the telegraph and the telephone.  Ursuline sisters were here before Jesuits (BC High), Christian Brothers (CM), and Religious of the Sacred Heart (NCDS).

So the Ursulines were true pioneers in Catholic education in America.  But sometimes we forget the high price that pioneers pay.  As it happens, Mount Benedict represented a frightening kind of progress.  First, women ran Mount Benedict for the exclusive education of girls.  At that time, not only did many Americans think that formal education was unnecessary for girls, it was even thought to be harmful—to your marriage prospects, to your mental health and even to your reproductive abilities.  In 1820, not only did American women not have the right to vote, but with very few exceptions, married women had the legal status of juveniles: they could not hold personal property in their own right and common law held that a husband could “chastise” his wife using “limited” physical abuse. 

In this context, you have to understand that the Ursuline sisters seemed pretty strange.  They lived in community together: no men.  They were unmarried and, which was worse, “unsupervised.”  Worst of all, they were influential: ¾ of the Ursuline students were Protestant, from families at the top of Boston society; but what kind of women, people wondered, would these girls become under the tutelage of Catholic nuns? 

That’s the other thing you have to understand: Catholicism itself was seen as foreign and frightening.  Like the phrase jumbo shrimp, the phrase American Catholic back then would have sounded like a contradiction in terms. Many Bostonians viewed the pope as a foreign tyrant and Catholics as the pope’s willing army.  And Mount Benedict was just a short walk from Bunker Hill, where American patriots fought to rid themselves of a king and establish democracy.  Had those men died throwing off King George III just to have Pope Gregory XVI take his place?

Then as now, the media fed people’s fears: Catholic foreigners with foreign customs and foreign diseases—illiterate brutes from Ireland—were going to arrive in waves and overwhelm American society.  The nuns on Mount Benedict, it was said, were just the tip of the Catholic spear.

The violence started slowly: first a local man beat up the Irish immigrant groundskeeper of Mount Benedict.  Then someone shot the man’s dog.  Finally, at 10:30 on the night of August 11, 1834, local men dragged barrels of tar up the hill to Mount Benedict, lit them and told the mother superior to get her students out or else.

The mother superior put up a fight; as she argued with the mob beneath her window, the fire department arrived… only to stand by and watch as members of the mob began to light torches and break windows.

Nuns ran to wake up the students, who were between the ages of 8-16, and they all escaped through the back door of the dorm.  When they got to the fence at the back of the property, some were trapped—but the bigger students and teachers lifted the little ones over the fence, and they ran for shelter at the houses of friendly neighbors.

Meanwhile, the mob invaded:  they stole chalices and communion vessels.  They destroyed pianos with axes.  They looted the personal property of students. They even dug up the bodies of deceased nuns from their graves, and strewed their remains over the grounds. Finally, they burned Mount Benedict down to its foundation, systematically, deliberately, and with a clear purpose: to take back “their” country; to protect “their” privilege that the combination of foreigners, Catholics, and independent women threatened to overturn.

One hundred and eleven years passed before an Ursuline school was again established in Boston.

Why am I telling you all this?  Because right now, most of us are the privileged ones.  Most of us have not been targeted because of our religion, or because we don’t fit society’s gender expectations, or because we are seen as foreign. So it’s easy for us to become complacent about the roles that fear and prejudice still play in our national life.

But in our time, immigrants still encounter prejudice and rejection.

In our time, gay and lesbian citizens still are fighting to achieve equal civil rights under the law. 

In our time, Muslim-Americans and other religious minorities are still the targets of hate speech and violence.

In our time, some of you are going to make $.78 for every dollar that your male colleagues make. 

In our time, it is still necessary to say that “black lives matter.”   

In our time, therefore, we have to say out loud that we reject prejudice, exclusion and fear.  By doing this, and by celebrating who we are and where we all come from, we are honoring the memory of the teachers and students of Mount Benedict.  That first Mother Superior, Sr.  Mary Ann Moffat, said, before she left Boston, that “the property that belongs to the present inmates of the community belongs, equally, to those who succeed us.”  Well, that’s you. You are the heirs of those students and teachers. And so to start today’s assembly, I want to introduce you to part of your inheritance: this is the chapel bell that was salvaged from the ruins of Mount Benedict; it’s a survivor and it’s a symbol of Ursuline solidarity with all those who are targeted because of who they are or where they’re from.  So right now, student body vice president Shannon Lawler will give the bell a few good rings. That bell is telling everyone who will listen: we’re still here.  We have no fear. Get used to it.

Thank you very much for your attention. 


Posted by efazekas in Ursuline Hearts Unite on Friday February 27, 2015 at 12:51PM
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© Ursuline Academy | 85 Lowder Street | Dedham, MA 02026 | Tel: 781.326.6161
  • New England Association of Schools & Colleges
  • National Association of Independent Sschools
  • National Catholic Educational Association
  • Association of Independent Schools in New England
  • National Coalition of Girls' Schools
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