The Class of 2021 celebrated their Ring Ceremony on Wednesday, September 23.
Seniors Julia Elias, Chloe Keggen, and Ava Love reflected on their time at Ursuline during the ceremony. Julia talked about self-worth, Chloe addressed how she has created her own roots at Ursuline, and Maddie discussed facing new challenges.
Here's what they said:
With a nervous smile, I entered Ursuline my freshmen year knowing only three people. As a freshman, I thought that my worth was determined by my kindness. However, this ideology was flawed: no matter how many times I smiled to others, my worth did not change. My worth is not something that I can change, for it is the unchanging love of God.
Flash forward three years later, and I’m still struggling with self-worth. Yet, my worth is no longer something that I try to earn, yet something that I try to uphold. To do so, I spend more time with the one who gives me worth—the one who is God. Ursuline has sparked a spiritual curiosity within me as Serviam has brought me not only to the doors of others but also to the doors of the Church. As I have volunteered directly through SRO and Joseph’s coats, I have also volunteered indirectly by starting my own club, Create to Donate, which creates gifts that are donated to nonprofit organizations. While I have grown in relationships through this volunteering, I have grown in my relationships through my faith. With an Ursuline friend, I went to the DCYC conference, and here, my life was changed—with inspirational speakers and lively worship music, I grew as a person and as a Christian. This growth is something that has altered the way I approach school, the way I approach my friends, and the way I approach God. However, this change first started at Ursuline, where I was taught to not change myself, but rather to change the world.
Let me start off by saying I love plants. I have fifty plants in my bedroom, all different types, from ivies to palm trees. So, naturally, I see the world in the way I see my room. I see the refugee kids I tutor as little sprouts who just need a little extra sunlight and water, even if some people see them as weeds. And, I see my brother as a succulent: strong, stable, and dependable. In between arriving at Ursuline and leaving my middle school, I saw myself as a propagation, which if you do not know, it is the cutting of a plant in hopes of creating a new plant. I felt displaced. I felt lost. I was leaving my friends, my teachers, my environment—my mother plant. But throughout these three years at Ursuline, I have created my own roots. Ursuline gave me the perfect environment to grow in, and now, I can thrive on my own.
In not so botanical terms, Ursuline has given me the confidence to emerge into the world as a leader and as a woman. On Saturdays and Mondays throughout each school year, I tutor young refugees with the Refugee Awareness Club to teach the basics of reading comprehension. One Saturday, there were not enough volunteers to pair with each student one-on-one, so my friend and I tutored five children at once. Small leadership moments like these and big moments like receiving the Presidential Service Award have helped me blossom into the person I am today, so thank you, Ursuline, for giving me just the right amount of water and sunlight!
When I transferred to Ursuline my Sophomore year, I faced new challenges, including an unfamiliar environment and a sea of new faces. I struggled with adjusting to the rigor of my classes, and I quickly learned that I had reached a point in my life where I could no longer rely on my “talent” or “gifts” in an area. So, during the first semester of my Junior year, I started meeting with my teachers more often and working harder in my classes. Soon enough, I saw the fruits of my work as my grades rose and my self-confidence bloomed. Yet, it seemed that as school and homework were consuming more of my time, I was spending less time in an area that is more important to me: my faith. When I did not put my faith first, I became stressed, emotional, and all-around, unsettled. So, I made a change. Whether it be reading my Bible every day for a mere five minutes or spending more time in prayer, each moment I spend with God brings me closer to Him. These experiences have taught me that regardless of how busy my life may become, I must order my life around my faith, not my faith around my life. Today, these academic and religious struggles and successes during my time at Ursuline have taught me a crucial life lesson: In order for me to achieve my goals—academic or otherwise—I must always put my faith first. And when I do, everything falls into place.