Ursuline News

Class of 2023 Graduation: Awards and Honors

Commencement ceremonies for the Ursuline Academy of Dallas Class of 2023 were held on Sunday, May 21, 2023.

The Valedictorian Award, given to the student with the highest cumulative grade point average, was awarded to Theresa Tran. The Salutatorian Award, presented to the student with the second highest cumulative grade point average, was awarded to Katrina Lam. The Sister Emmanuel Shea Award was presented to Tess Hovivian, and Eniola Egedigwe received the Sedes Sapientiae Award, the highest honor conferred by Ursuline Academy at graduation.

Valedictorian Award

Theresa Tran, daughter of Kim and Charles Tran, is the Valedictorian of Ursuline Academy of Dallas. She is a member of St. Jude Catholic Church in Allen.

Theresa was Vice President of the Student Alumnae Association, President of the Tri-M Music Honors Society, Co-President of the French Club, Piano Captain of the Ursuline-Jesuit Orchestra, and an Ursuline Ambassador. She is a member of the National Honors Society, Science National Honors Society, Mu Alpha Theta, National English Honors Society, and National French Honors Society. She was recognized as a National Merit Finalist, awarded the National Merit Scholarship, and was named an AP Scholar with Distinction.

Excerpt from Ms. Tran's speech.

Salutatorian Award

Katrina Lam, daughter of Connie Chan and Edward Lam, is the Salutatorian of Ursuline Academy of Dallas. She is a member of Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Plano.

At Ursuline, Katrina was President of National Science Honor Society, a class representative on the Student Well-Being Leadership Team, and ran on the Ursuline Track & Field team. She was recognized as a National Merit Commended Scholar and an AP Scholar with Distinction. She additionally spent her Senior Service volunteering with Voice of Hope Ministries in Dallas.

This fall, Katrina will be pursuing a degree in Neuroscience on the Pre-Med track at University of California, Los Angeles.

Sister Emmanuel Shea Award

The Sister Emmanuel Shea Award was presented this year to Tess Hovivian. 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.

Tess is described as "a great all-around kid who goes out of her way to support everyone, fellow students and adults. She is kind and polite, and she leads by example.... She is respected by her peers and offers an authentic, inviting, committed, kind, and beautiful example of Serviam. She genuinely cares for all those she meets."

A devoted member of Peer Ministry, "she has been a servant leader for the past two years, and her spiritual leadership goes far beyond Peer Ministry. Her own deep faith energizes her as she offers spiritual leadership in multiple school events, and especially through the faith-based, virtue-led, Christ-centered testimony of her daily life."

A leader on and off the athletic field, Tess is a beloved senior who serves the UA community joyfully in many ways. "She attends as many UA sports events as she can to support her community. That says a lot, given that she is also a multi-sport athlete who already has a busy schedule. She is respectful, kind, and generous. When this graduate speaks, everyone eagerly listens."

Sedes Sapientiae Award

Eniola Egedigwe received the Sedes Sapientiae Award for the Class of 2023. 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.

Eniola "is a remarkable student who has left her mark at Ursuline." She "creates an environment of inclusion and belonging for everyone," and "utilizes her keen intellect, strong sense of integrity, and high level of critical thinking to benefit those around her." 

She is actively engaged in several community organizations. On the weekends, you can typically find her tutoring middle school students in math or leading an English reading class for Spanish-speaking students in our community.

Eniola "is respectful and gracious," and "her love for UA is contagious and her zest, bright smile, and infectious laughter will be missed on campus."

Class of 2023: Additional Awards and Recognitions

National Merit Scholarship Program Finalists

  • Claire Cardenas
  • Biya Mary Cham
  • Kylie Hanners
  • Samantha Liao
  • Theresa Tran

National Merit Scholarship Program Commended

  • Kathryn Bonneau
  • Amishi Jain
  • Irene Kim
  • Katrina Lam
  • Lindsey Montigue
  • Giann Ruiz
  • Kathryn Ryan

National African American Recognition Award

  • Alana Houston 
  • Eniola Egedigwe
  • Natalie Volanto 
  • Obademilade Fashemo 

National Hispanic Recognition Award

  • Alexandra Paredes
  • Alicia Suarez Soto 
  • Ana Eva Benitez Trevino '
  • Aurora Rain
  • Cameron Taylor 
  • Claire Cardenas 
  • Evasophia Lobo 
  • Gabriela Rodriguez
  • Giann Ruiz 
  • Helen Voirin 
  • Katherine Keating 
  • Maddox Short
  • Margaret Gramling 
  • Sophia Combs 

National Indigenous Award

  • Danica Bagayna 
  • Olivia Paluga