From print to online, St. Ursula Academy’s school newspaper is ever-changing. However, this month I found that The Light is also long-lasting, especially in the eyes of the past editors. After speaking with 6 of them, I found that each of their lives is affected every day by their time as a newspaper editor and as an SUA student.
Planning for the Future. Determining your path after high school can be quite intimidating. Similar to Lily Zalla ’12, you may have no idea what you want to do. Lily said, “I knew I wanted to be in New York City, and that was about it.” She ended up going to NYC as planned and attends Fordham University declaring a Chemistry major. However, she decided her skills would be better used by majoring in Marketing and minoring in Communication and Media Management. “Ever since then, I have been extremely happy with my choice to join the business school and I have thrived in that environment.” Sally Triona ’12 mentions that she is “still as indecisive as [she] was senior year at SUA!” She generated a long list of majors that didn’t work out for her, ranging from Education to Hospitality. Sally decided on the School of Communication, but she doesn’t quite know what she will do after she graduates from The Ohio State University. Recognizing that the future is sometimes out of our control but that hard work is something we can control is an important trait of a Saint Ursula Academy student.
SUA in College. As high school students, we work hard to be successful and it’s difficult to realize the effects of the time spent writing and studying. A little curious myself, I asked how SUA has affected their writing in college or at a job. Many of the alumnae I interviewed immediately praised Saint Ursula Academy’s literature department. Mary Kate Dorr ’13 mentions how many girls came to her their freshman year in college so she could edit their first college assignments. She continues, “We laugh about it now because I live with all girls from my floor freshman year, and they joke that it’s because we broke the ice when I edited their papers!” Not only did Mary Kate form new friendships due to her writing skills, but she included that her ability to understand the prompt of her assignments has proven to make her writing even better. Jess Zalewski ’15 said that she “cannot emphasize how amazing the literature department at SUA is.” She described how she had no issues completing the papers she had due last quarter because of the skills she developed in high school. However, she did mention that her school of choice, DePaul University, “doesn't really follow the 5-paragraph essay layout, but SUA really does prepare you for learning the different styles of writing.”
Making memories. Lastly, the women at Saint Ursula Academy are creating memories that last a lifetime. Even from her first day of freshman year, Vaughan Shanley ’15 remembers walking into Mr. Burnside’s class after the bell rang. She said, “The whole class was singing "This Little Light of Mine" and it made me feel so welcome and part of such a community. It was a very overwhelming day, but I think that's when I knew that I really wanted to be at Ursula.” Remembering her favorite time from senior year, Claire Crispen ’15 was a leader in creating the 2015 Giving Gallery to display students’ artwork. The gallery donated the proceeds from the donated coffee and treats to the Artworks’ service project, Capes for Kids. She was motivated by something simple; she said, “I think it really speaks to the spirit that differentiates SUA from other high schools—I had an idea for something that I wanted to do and, immediately after communicating it to Mr. Nicaise, I was surrounded with a community that was committed to seeing me succeed.”
As The Light editors began to reflect at the end of their interviews, they offered motivating advice and insight of the impact of Saint Ursula. Even in embarrassing wipe outs during dance practice at SUA, Jess Zalewski says, “I just feel like SUA really taught me to embrace my embarrassing moments and laugh them off. Seriously, SUA helped shape who I am today, and I'll forever be grateful.” Through our late nights writing essays and the memories we make with friends, SUA will be a part of us forever.Sally Triona thought that “the environment at SUA had a much bigger impact on me than I realized at the time.” Sally was surrounded by people who supported her. She doesn’t remember being nervous and uncomfortable in high school; she has memories of the courage she was given through SUA’s atmosphere and being reminded that she is capable of anything by her peers. The Academy has prepared you for a life of adventure and challenges no matter what you choose to do after graduation. Claire Crispen believed that, “The absolute most important thing that Ursula did for me was build my confidence as a student and a leader, which influences my everyday life and always will.” It is amazing to see how high school has influenced these students’ daily lives and inspired them to achieve such great things.