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Ursuline News

Class of 2024 Graduation: Awards and Honors

Commencement ceremonies for the Ursuline Academy of Dallas Class of 2024 were held on Sunday, May 26, 2024.

The Valedictorian Award, given to the student with the highest cumulative grade point average, was awarded to Molly Nickols. The Salutatorian Award, presented to the student with the second highest cumulative grade point average, was awarded to Madeline White. The Sister Emmanuel Shea Award was presented to Elizabeth Jiede and Danielle O'Sullivan, and Meredith Hazzard received the Sedes Sapientiae Award, the highest honor conferred by Ursuline Academy at graduation.

Valedictorian Award

Molly Nickols, daughter of Julie and Matthew Nickols, is the Valedictorian of Ursuline Academy of Dallas. She is a member of All Saints Catholic Church in Dallas.

Molly was Captain of the Varsity Volleyball team and ran Varsity Track. She was the President of the Biomedical Club and a member of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, and the Computer Science Club. Molly also played violin in the Ursuline/Jesuit Orchestra and did her senior service at Notre Dame School of Dallas.

This fall, Molly will be attending the University of Notre Dame to pursue a degree in Computational Biology.

Read an excerpt from Ms. Nickols' speech.

Salutatorian Award

Madeline White, daughter of Amy and Aaron White, is the Salutatorian of Ursuline Academy of Dallas. She is a member of St. Rita Catholic Church in Dallas.

At Ursuline, Madeline was a member of the National Honor Society and the Math Science, English and Spanish Honor Societies. She was also a member of the National Charity League. 

This fall, Madeline will be double majoring in Accounting and Finance from the University of Notre Dame.

Sister Emmanuel Shea Award

The Sister Emmanuel Shea Award was presented this year to Elizabeth Jiede and Danielle O’Sullivan. 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.

Elizabeth Jiede

Elizabeth is described as “so warm and kind, willing to help when needed, is super reliable, kind toward others, sees the best in people, and always completes her duties with joy.”

One teacher remarked, “When I first met this student, I had to ask others who already knew her if she was real, because surely no teenager can always be that kind and compassionate in real life. Over the years I have seen her accept anyone and everyone, and I have never heard her make an unkind remark. In fact, she has consistently taken the initiative to be welcoming and is a leader among her peers in this regard.”

Another teacher also shared this observation: “If you ask anyone if there is even one negative thing to say about this Ursuline student, they won't...because they can't.”

Her kindness and good nature have been on full display every day of her four years at Ursuline, “She is welcoming, funny, gracious, thoughtful, and she generously shares her considerable talent in our theater program bringing varied characters to vibrant life – even….as a teapot.”

Danielle O’Sullivan

Danielle is described as someone who “gives of herself without fanfare, cares for others, and is a genuinely wonderful person. She always exudes Serviam in a quiet and compassionate way. I can think of few others as deserving of this award as this young woman. This Ursuline senior is friendly and kind, and the hallways will feel different next year without her gentle smile.”

A member of the Global Advisory Council, “she has represented Ursuline on international delegations and hosted visiting students. She has been a member of the GAC Leadership Board for two years and, based on her community service and her passion for equal access to education for all, she was recently named as one of Dallas’ Top 20 Global Young Leaders under 20 by the World Affairs Council of Dallas Ft. Worth.”

For all her accomplishments, we admire most her gentle nature, her warm and welcoming spirit, and her desire to make the world a better place.

Sedes Sapientiae Award

Meredith Hazzard received the Sedes Sapientiae Award for the Class of 2024. 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.

Meredith is described as “a strong, positive presence in the classroom and everywhere she goes. She is reliable and hard-working, and, as a result, has had exceptional academic success.”

She is equally as kind and warm as she is brilliant. “To a person, faculty or classmate, anyone who knows her would describe this senior using words such as warm, humble, compassionate, kind, unassuming, diligent, and dedicated to excellence in all she does.”

She experienced setbacks in her high school years, and each time she met a challenge, she looked for what she could learn from the experience and kept going forward.

“A leader on her sports team, even when she was out of play due to an injury, she attended every practice and game to support her teammates. Selflessly, she recognized opportunities to help without having to be asked. This recognition today allows us to tell her that we have seen all of this and admire her greatly.”

“An altar server and leader on student council, she never loses sight of her classmates and is a trusted peer and good friend to many. She is a powerful addition to any classroom, and she is the kind of person whose teammates cheer wildly for her when she is invited, although on the injured list, to take the field for the first kick of senior night.”

The Class of 2024: Additional Awards & Recognitions

National Merit Scholarship Program Finalists

  • Molly Nickols

National Merit Scholarship Program Commended

  • Catherine Compton
  • Sara Dietsch
  • Wenyue Hao
  • Meredith Hazzard
  • Shelby Lovejoy
  • Madeleine Marlowe
  • Margaret McKinney
  • Caroline Mennel
  • Emily Nguyen
  • Danielle O'Sullivan
  • Erin O'Sullivan
  • Charlotte Robinson

National African American Recognition Award

  • Nneka Ossai

National Hispanic Recognition Award

  • Victoria Arce
  • Naomi Barajas
  • Elizabeth Barbero
  • Ashlee Bowser
  • Crystal Cantu
  • Tess Corrales
  • Dagny Danza
  • Jamie Duda
  • Nicole Estrada
  • Andrea Ghisoli
  • Isabelle Hernandez
  • Maria Pia Luque
  • Gabriela Marques
  • Emma Morales
  • Fernanda Santos Burgoa Jourdain