Although it will still take a few more weeks for it to feel natural to pen “2017” at the top of school papers, 2017 is bound to be a good year for SUA. Since 2016 is behind us--and time turners still only exist in the Harry Potter universe--we’re ringing in the New Year with 17 things, in no particular order, that SUA is looking forward to in 2017.
The Orange and White Game
This match encourages a time-honored rivalry between Saint Ursula Academy and other Catholic high schools in Greater Cincinnati, all for the wonderful cause of fighting leukemia. As per tradition, seniors from SUA and Notre Dame Academy compete against each other in a flag football game while the seniors of boys’ schools Moeller, St. Xavier, and Covington Catholic out cheer each other, with the boys’ rivalry culminating in a halftime dance routine.
Formed six years ago by SUA students in memory of SUA 2009 graduate and victim of leukemia Natalie Bradley, SUA celebrates Natalie’s life and raises awareness and funds for leukemia. Over the 7 years SUA has been involved in this game, over $41,000 have been raised. These proceeds go directly to leukemia and blood disease research at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. The Orange and White Game “brings people together for a good cause,” says Mr. Fleming, SUA’s co-moderator of this game. Be there on Sunday April 9 at 5:30pm.
SUA’s New Green Space
Since temperatures have lately dipped below freezing, usage of SUA’s Green Space has dwindled, but once springtime rolls around, plans to grow more flowers here will be underway. Classes also plan to make use of this great new space to study and enjoy the natural environment. Whether students are planning a picnic, study session, or even a Quidditch match, the green space promises to play many roles for SUA this year.
This dance is a staple of the high school experience, and for SUA’s upperclasswomen, it’s coming on April 29, the Friday after Easter Break. “Every year the prom takes its own flavor,” says Mrs. Campbell, who moderates the planning for prom this year with Ms. Smith. This is not only because of the different themes that prom is centered around each year, like the Academy Awards or a Hawaiian Luau, but also because “there’s a different group of young [SUA] women organizing the prom,” Mrs. Campbell continues. She is sure that “prom will be beautiful” this year and she can’t wait to see all of SUA’s “little women all dressed up.”
Relocation of Art and Design Wing
This project has been a long time coming, according to Mrs. Armstrong, SUA’s Director of Facilities. “Art and Design are in a hundred year old building across the street, [...] isolated from the rest of the school.” Now that we’re building the Art and Design in the old East West Conference Room, the school will feel more unified, especially because students will get to display in the main school hallways more of the artwork they made in class.
Sarah Geraghty ’18, who took the AP Spanish exam last year and plans to take the AP Biology Exam this year, would like to remind students that “you don’t have anything to lose” when you take an AP exam, because the AP Test grade itself neither affects your final grade for that class, nor defines your college experience. So Sarah thinks it’s most important to “go in with a positive attitude [and...] be confident in what you know.”
These are the 2.5 months to focus on personal happiness, hobbies and socialization, so naturally, summer is extremely popular at SUA. Students divide their time between traveling abroad with their classmates, volunteering, attending camps, and going on mission trips. Georgia Fuller ’18 is one such student who can’t wait for summer so she can go to the Summer Intensive Program for Ballet in Kansas City, Missouri. She has been going to this program each summer for the past four years, and even though all the dancing can be exhausting (they dance all day, every day, five days a week for five weeks) she has a lot of fun “meeting all the new people there with [her], making new friends, and learning from amazing new teachers.”
Meanwhile, Sarah plans to volunteer this summer at Good Samaritan Hospital. Last summer she volunteered at Crossroad Health Center at Over-the-Rhine, and translated documents for Spanish-speaking patients. Sarah thinks that volunteering over the summer “is an extremely rewarding use of your time” because you can help others while also discovering whether you’re really interested in a field of work like medicine for Spanish speaking patients, in Sarah’s case.
Mary Ellen O’Toole ’18 took her volunteer work to another country last summer when she went on the Nicaragua Mission Trip with other SUA students. She was “shocked by the amount of poverty in Nicaragua,” the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, but she had a lot of fun getting to know the people she was helping and playing games with the kids at the Cultural Center of Batahola Norte.
Seniors don spring dresses and hats for a formal tea with their peers.
Senior Prank Day is also an honored tradition for SUA seniors. Last year, the Class of 2016 created a legendary prank day including a man marching around school playing the bagpipes. Eight years ago, the Class of 2008 arranged an impromptu camping experience in the East Foyer.
May Crowning is another beautiful tradition for SUA seniors and their parents.
Graduation is SUA’s most famous senior tradition, in which each senior dons a white dress and flowers for one final ceremony as SUA students.
Relocation of Library/Media Center
Next fall, the East Foyer will look very different, as Mr. Fleming’s, Mr. Heizman’s, and Mr. Stickel’s classroom will be moved to the second floor of East in favor of the new library/media center. This will allow more space for the library to expand its study spaces for students and facilitate the technology of a 21st century library.
Schedules for Next Year
Excluding final exam grades, the anticipation for next year’s schedule is the longest, most exciting and nerve-wracking drumroll SUA has to offer.
Halloween Costume Contest
Halloween at SUA can definitely get a little over the top, what with student-made gowns, Mrs. Campbell’s dramatic full costumes, and students posing as their teachers, but students enjoying going all out on Halloween for the annual advisory contest. We can’t wait to see what Mrs. Campbell’s Halloween classes will look like this October, who pulls off the most convincing impersonation of their teacher, and who comes up with the biggest group costume.
This is the dance that all of SUA’s current freshmen, sophomores, and juniors will be able to go to. Best of all, it comes at a much needed time for stress relief: the Friday before Thanksgiving. The Winter Semi-Formal promises to be a great night out with friends, accompanied by a DJ and considerably fine attire.
Over the course of this school year, SUA has watched the progress of the SUA theater renovation, and this fall, the new facility will be ready for use. We’re also getting a new orchestra pit to put in the theater.
From March 31 to April 2, SUA will perform Meet Me in St. Louis, a musical by Hugh Wheeler, Hugh Martina, and Ralph Blane. This musical is based on the popular 1944 movie musical starring Judy Garland. The fall production, will occur in either October or November in our new theater. A mammoth amount of work goes into producing a show, explains Ms. Jennings, the Music Director and Vocal Director of Meet Me in St. Louis, along with the Assistant Director and co-Producer with Ms. Hinkel. Ms. Jennings and Ms. Hinkel take the performance from a “Production Concept (what [they] want the show to look like)” to a performance ready for the SUA community. They try have at least 30 rehearsals for a musical and incorporate all the technical elements of the production, such as the set, costumes, lights, and sounds, during the week of the show, also called “tech week.”
While the theater goes through strenuous preparation for the performances, “listening to the love and support that the students receive at the end of a show makes all the long hours and weeks of preparation worth it,” says Ms. Jennings. She is very excited to share the “wonderful story [of Meet Me in St. Louis] with our SUA community” and to continue the SUA’s theater tradition in the fall.
Spiritual Journey Week
Each February, SUA students get a chance to give back to the Greater Cincinnati Community and develop their faith as they participate in retreats and volunteer services throughout the city. Mary Ellen notes that we are very fortunate “and it is so “important to give back to the community.” “It’s a great way to connect better within and beyond the SUA community,” says Sarah, who enjoys this chance to “take a step back and put herself in someone else’s shoes.” For Georgia, it is wonderful to help others in need and she is glad “to attend a school that makes that not only possible, but fun and rewarding!” Through Spiritual Journey Week, SUA and the surrounding community are provided the chance to grow in faith, integrity, and courage.
The Christmas Concert is a chance for all of SUA’s musical groups—Concert Choir, Freshmen Chorus, SUAVE (Saint Ursula Academy Vocal Ensemble), SUASO (Saint Ursula Academy Symphony Orchestra), and Guitar Ensemble—to perform together for the SUA community. This tradition goes back 100 years as one of the staples of SUA culture. “There’s something magical about being in the chapel” recalls Sarah, who performs for SUAVE and Orchestra as the Concert Mistress. She is also First Chair Assistant Director and an officer for both SUAVE and Orchestra. It’s interesting to play in the chapel because it “warps the sound because of the way it’s shaped” and the orchestra has to be cued because of the way the music travels through the chapel. It’s special for her to take part in this SUA tradition again this year. Ms. Jennings, the Director of the SUA Concert Choir, notes that “we have a very talented students in our music department.” She loves to see students attend these concerts so the music department can “share [their] successes [...] with the entire school”.
Welcome Week is brimming with entertaining activities that more than make up for the fact that SUA may be starting a few days earlier than everyone else. This week traditionally includes an Opening Assembly on Monday, a Wednesday dodgeball tournament between advisories, the Club and Student Organization Fair on Thursday, and a closing assembly and the finals of the dodgeball tournament to cap off the week. Welcome Week is a great time for all of SUA’s students to strengthen their bonds with each other and get excited about the upcoming school year. Thanks to Welcome Week, it doesn’t take the Bulldogs long at all to get back into school spirit.
Welcome Week 2014
This year, SUA has had five new clubs that have completely altered campus atmosphere. These clubs have helped promote understanding and empathy for every person, creature, and experience, as well as properly fangirl about literary interests with the full support of an entire room of people. There is even a new radio show: SUA on the Air. The only limits to what new clubs may transform SUA next year are the imaginations and the passions of its students.
SUA Class of 2021
In August 2017, it’s official. For the first time this century, the last two digits of the freshman graduation year will have a larger value than the first two. We can’t wait to teach the 2021ers how to navigate SUA’s halls, invite them to join our clubs, defeat them at pep rally games, and most importantly, share all 17 of these things with them that we’re looking forward to in 2017. Together, we’ll continue SUA’s story and find even more things to look forward to next year.