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Ursuline Traditions

Every Ursuline student is part of a rich history and tradition that dates back nearly 500 years.  Today, the mission of St. Angela Merici continues on our campus in Dedham as well as on the campuses of more than 100 Ursuline schools worldwide. 

Each year, students look forward to celebrations and traditions that are unique to Ursuline Academy, as well as those that put an Ursuline spin on standard holidays and celebrations.  Some of the traditions here at Ursuline Academy in Dedham date back to the school's founding in 1819 and 1946 (see school history for more information), while others have been newly created.

School Spirit 
School spirit is strong here at Ursuline Academy, and you will hear the loud refrains of the school anthem “Serviam”  being sung by the student body at the end of every Mass and assembly. We celebrate the feast day of St. Ursula, the patron saint of the Ursulines, each October, and the Feast of St. Angela Merici, the foundress of the Ursuline order, in January. Students also look forward to Spirit Week each semester, when uniforms are set aside for a dress code based on a different theme each day.  Throughout the year, each grade accumulates “Grizzly Grind” points, awarded for participation, excellence, and spirit during different events.  At the end of the year, the grade with the most Grizzly Grind points earns a day off from school!

Ursuline students look forward traditional holiday throughout the year and celebrate them with joy. All look forward to the annual costume contest on Halloween, and  trunk-or-treating in the parking lot. Thanksgiving is marked by a  powderpuff football game between the seniors and the juniors, along with a “friendsgiving” celebration in the Tea Room. And the Christmas holidays have many annual traditions, including a homeroom door-decorating contest and the Clothe-a-Child Christmas giving program. On the last day of school before Christmas break,  students put on a light-hearted talent show, likely to elicit rousing spontaneous performances.

Senior Celebrations 
Finally, as graduation approaches for each senior class, traditions abound.  After a boisterous countdown on the seniors’ last day before their capstone service projects start each spring, the annual Senior Parent Brunch begins commencement season in earnest. The weeks before graduation include the prom, the annual class college sweatshirt photo on the convent steps, and the posting of college choices on the guidance hallway wall. On graduation weekend, seniors  participate in a Baccalaureate Mass on Saturday evening, followed by Commencement on campus on Sunday afternoon.  Graduates wear long white dresses and carry bouquets of red roses as they have done at most Ursuline schools for decades.  Each year, one senior receives the Serviam Award, given by Ursuline schools worldwide to reward outstanding traits of leadership in service, awareness of others, acceptance of responsibility, and academic achievement.