Ursuline News

Class of 2017 Graduation: Awards and Honors
Class of 2017 Graduation: Awards and Honors

Commencement ceremonies for the 143rd Graduating Class of Ursuline Academy were held on May 28.

The Valedictorian Award, given to the student with the highest cumulative grade point average, was awarded to Danielle Annette Cruz. The Salutatorian Award, presented to the student with the second highest cumulative grade point average, was awarded to Ann Frances Gehan. The Sister Emmanuel Shea Award was presented to Lauren Kelly Peebles. Danielle Annette Cruz also received the Sedes Sapientiae Award, the highest honor conferred by Ursuline Academy at graduation.

Valedictorian Award

Danielle Annette Cruz, daughter of Pamela and Geoffrey Cruz, will study at Stanford University. Her major is undetermined but her interests include international relations, biology, symbolic systems, and linguistics.

She was an Ursuline Ambassador, National Merit Finalist, and Mu Alpha Theta Honor Society President. She received the 2016 Presidential Volunteer Service Award for her service at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and also started a science program for fourth graders at Preston Hollow Elementary.
Ann Frances Gehan, daughter of Peter and Kara Gehan, will attend Duke University and plans to study Political Science and Spanish. She wants to pursue a career with an international focus.

Ann won three state championships with the Ursuline cross country team and was part of Esse, Ursuline's award-winning literary magazine. She participated in Model United Nations and was a National Merit Finalist. She volunteers as a phonics tutor at Readers 2 Leaders, a West Dallas literacy organization, and as a classroom assistant at St. Philip's School.
Danielle Annette Cruz won the Sedes Sapientiae Award for the Class of 2017. The highest award presented by the faculty, staff, and administration of the Academy, the Sedes Sapientiae Award takes its name from the Latin phrase meaning "Seat of Wisdom."

This award is presented by the faculty and administration to the graduate who exemplifies in an outstanding way the core values of Ursuline. The recipient contributes greatly to Ursuline through her optimism, compassion, and strength of character.

Danielle is a humble leader, pursuing "knowledge rather than grades." She loves to dance and is curious, funny, and kind. One Ursuline faculty member wrote, "She is a student I will never forget. She is respectful to everyone and is a student who clearly loves Ursuline." Another said: "She is a gem, and I consider myself truly blessed to have been her teacher. The world needs more people like her. She's simply extraordinary."

Danielle is learning more Portuguese, so she can return to Brazil. She visited sister school Colegio Santa Ursula in Ribeirao, Sao Paulo in March.

Sister Emmanuel Shea Award
The Sister Emmanuel Shea Award was presented this year to Lauren Kelly Peebles. This award, sponsored by the Ursuline Alumnae Association, is given in honor of beloved Sister Emmanuel Shea for her years of service to the Alumnae Association. The graduates chosen to receive this award have served Ursuline willingly and generously. The most outstanding characteristic of their service has been the joy with which it has always been completed.

Lauren is a joyful friend to all. She emceed Ursuline's 20 years of sisterhood celebration with Beijing Huaxia Girls' School, helped welcome faculty and staff during a new employee panel, and participated in a laptop focus group. She was President of Support Our Troops and was a founding member of the rugby team. One of her teachers wrote, "I can personally attest that this graduate's smiles and kind greetings made many of my days brighter." She will attend The University of Alabama in the fall.

Class of 2017: Additional Awards and Recognitions

National Merit Scholarship Program Finalists
Danielle Annette Cruz
Ann Frances Gehan
Mackenzie Marie Liening
Mallory Taylor McKee
Gabrielle Angeline Piamonte

National Merit Scholarship Program Commended
Taylor Leigh Berry
Sylvia Georgeann Bloom
Alizeh Sakina Hussain
Andrea Martinez
Rachel Gabrielle Mazzini
Hannah Noel Ni'Shuilleabhain
Katherine Colleen Patrick
Anna Jude Theirl
Maria Claire Tovar
Julia Yaeger
Maria Celeste Yi Yost

National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholars
Eugenia Scala
Triana Noelle Gorman
Maria Claire Tovar
Mary Isabel Parigi
Andrea Martinez
Alexa Joy LaValle
Mariana Baquero-Degwitz

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