Although the graduates’ smiles were hidden by masks, and the rhododendrons wore their summer green instead of their spring blooms, Ursuline Academy’s commencement ceremony was held with its beautiful traditions on Saturday, August 1. The Academy graduated ninety-one seniors in the Class of 2020, culminating a year whose course was changed indelibly by the coronavirus pandemic.
In keeping with guidelines set forth by the state of Massachusetts, guests were limited to the parents and siblings of the graduates, and the ceremony followed social distancing and registration protocols to enable contact tracing if necessary. But within that unusual context, the graduates were able to process down the convent stairs in pairs, enjoy addresses by their classmates, administrators and special guests, and celebrate the completion of Ursuline Academy’s rigorous course of study and the formation of lifelong friendships. The ceremony incorporated a baccalaureate prayer service, including scripture readings and blessings over the families and graduates.
We extend our thanks to alumna Heather Malneritch Kollath '92, for returning to deliver the keynote address. Kollath is Chief Financial Officer for Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies. In this role, she works with the Dean and other senior leaders to manage the financial, operational, and human resources for the school. The valedictory address was delivered by Allison Meyers of Needham and the salutatory address was delivered by Caroline Crooks of Dedham.
The Serviam Medal, a special award presented on rare occasions in the school’s history, was conferred on Margaret “Meg” Reynolds ‘82 for her leadership of Ursuline Academy upon the completion of her term as Chairperson of the Board of Trustees.
All of the graduates are to be commended for successfully completing Ursuline Academy's challenging academic curriculum and for being accepted to some of the nation's finest colleges and universities. The full list of colleges is available here.
Congratulations to the following students who received awards at the ceremony:
- Francesca Faggiano, Serviam Award - The Serviam Award is a great honor in Ursuline schools worldwide and seeks to reward outstanding traits of leadership in service, awareness of others, acceptance of responsibility and academic achievement.
- Ciara Blomberg, Sister Mercedes Videira Medal - Established in 2009, this special award is presented to a student who best embodies the qualities of an Ursuline woman as embodied by Sister Mercedes herself: integrity, humility, generosity, and concern for others, coupled with a deep love for the Academy.
Additional awards for academics and service were conferred during the ceremony. The students receiving awards are:
- English Prize - Christina Gioioso
- French Prize - Carly Carte
- Latin Prize - Anna Glass
- Spanish Prize - Hamsa Shanmugam
- History Prize - Carly Carte
- Mathematics Prize - Allison Meyers
- Theology Prize - Rose Stefanidakis
- Science Award - Caroline Crooks
- Performing Arts Award - Catherine Tracy
- Visual Arts Award - Katie Coyle
- National Merit Scholarship Program: Finalists - Caroline Crooks and Hamsa Shanmugam
- Cheryl Jean Eakin Scholarship, given to a graduating senior who exhibits the qualities of leadership, a willingness to serve others, and a dedication to the "common good" - Kristina Wronski
- Campus Ministry Service Awards, in recognition of unique dedication to Ursuline Campus Ministry and its service programs - Lillian Adler and Erin Hernando
- Ursuline Education Network Scholar-Athlete Award - Siobhan O’Sullivan and Elizbath Spalla
- Council of New England Secondary School Principals’ Association - New England Championship Tournament, Girl’s Shot Put - Siobhan O’Sullivan