On Saturday, March 7th, a week prior to social distancing measures changing how we live, current Ursuline students from grades 7-12 volunteered to distribute acceptance boxes to applicants who had been recently admitted to the school. The current students gathered at Ursuline at noon, and were given the addresses of those who would be receiving an acceptance box. These girls embarked on an Ursuline tradition that is celebrated every year, welcoming new classes of soon-to-be students to the UA community. This year, the acceptance boxes were assembled by a team of UA faculty volunteers and the contents inside the box were very special. Inside the acceptance box, there was a Hershey bar that said “CONGRATS, YOU’RE ACCEPTED TO URSULINE” with the UA shield on the back, Hersey kisses, the acceptance letter, the acceptance certificate, and an invitation to the Accepted Students Reception (which was postponed due to the evolving COVID-19 situation). On the outside of the box, there was an oval Ursuline sticker that the admitted students could take off and stick on anything they would like. After distributing boxes to the recently admitted students, several upperclassmen reflected on the day and compared it to their own experience of receiving their acceptance boxes.
Rachael Sieminski ‘21 is a current student at UA who has only positive remarks about the day. She shares her comments about the event and compares it to when she got accepted to Ursuline as an incoming ninth-grader. “I went to Needham to deliver eight acceptance boxes with my friend, Danielle Phillips, another junior at UA. I thought it was a great experience to be able to distribute the boxes and see the smiles on these girls’ faces. I remember being the smiley girl years ago when I received my box.” Sieminski shares one experience in particular that made the day extra meaningful for her, saying “We delivered a box to a student’s house who was an incoming freshman. It was very special since she and her mom were so excited that they came outside on their porch and asked to take a picture with us. Moments like this make me so grateful that I was able to represent such a large community that these girls will soon become a part of in the fall.”
Another perspective comes from Madison Chin ‘21, a member of S.A.L.T (the Student Ambassador Leadership Team). Madison and a few of her UA friends drove to various locations around Massachusetts to distribute the accepted students’ boxes, traveling to Bridgewater, Raynham, Easton, Brockton, and Norton. Madison compares this experience to when she got accepted to Ursuline five years ago saying “I never received an acceptance box, but I wish I did. When we were giving the boxes to the accepted students, it was awesome to see their reactions.” (The tradition started after Madison was accepted to UA).
Finally, Abigail (“Abby”) McCadden ‘21, another participant in S.A.L.T, spoke about her encounters with the accepted students. She reflected on the event and shared what she thought was special about the day as a member of S.A.L.T. “We greeted the girls at their houses and welcomed them as newly-admitted students to Ursuline. I have been delivering acceptance boxes since eighth grade and it is always the highlight of my S.A.L.T experience. I look forward to this event every year because to me, it is so wonderful to notice the looks on the girls’ faces and see how truly excited they are.”
Rachael, Madison, Abby, and many others who volunteered to participate in the event recognize that giving back to their community was a remarkable experience for them. They welcomed new classes of Ursuline students into the community just as they had been brought in by upperclassmen years ago. Delivering these accepted students’ boxes was an act of Serviam in disguise, as students were serving their future classmates. Giving back to younger students not only brings joy to those who dropped off the boxes, but also to the students who were receiving them. The box itself is a physical symbol of the bonds that are now formed between the upperclassmen and the underclassmen since the box is being given from a student who has been attending the school for years to a younger student who will be attending UA in the fall. These girls are being united before they are physically together during the school year, showing just how strong the UA student body truly is, inside and outside of the school environment.