Commencement ceremonies for the 145th Graduating Class of Ursuline Academy were held on May 26.
The Valedictorian Award, given to the student with the highest cumulative grade point average, was awarded to Mary Elizabeth Chen. The Salutatorian Award, presented to the student with the second highest cumulative grade point average, was awarded to Morgan Elizabeth Andrulis and Kaitlynn Ern De Soo. The Sister Emmanuel Shea Award was presented to Grace Elizabeth Finegan and Janice Cherono Rotich, and Shreya Jain received the Sedes Sapientiae Award, the highest honor conferred by Ursuline Academy at graduation.
Mary Elizabeth Chen, daughter of Jenny and Jason Chen, is the valedictorian of Ursuline Academy of Dallas. She is a member of Sacred Heart of Jesus Chinese Parish in Plano.
Mary was Tri-M Music Honor Society President, Engineering Club Vice President, and a four-year member in orchestra and softball. She was a utility player on Varsity her senior year and a National Merit Finalist. Her three sisters, Lilian '12, Diane '14, and Jordan '16, also graduated from Ursuline.
Morgan Elizabeth Andrulis, daughter of Joseph and Kathleen Andrulis, is the salutatorian of Ursuline Academy of Dallas. She is a member of Church of the Incarnation in Irving.
Morgan was Computer Science Club President, Mu Alpha Theta Honor Society Vice President, and a National Merit Finalist. She was a founding member of a community robotics team, a lead prosecutor in Irving Teen Court, and won her Girl Scout Gold Award for bringing STEM education to students at Holy Trinity Learning Center and Mary Immaculate School.
Kaitlynn Ern De Soo, daughter of Kenneth and Cecilia Soo, is the salutatorian of Ursuline Academy of Dallas. She is a member of St. Ann's Parish in Coppell.
She was the founder and president of Ursuline's Broadcasting Club, National Science Honors Society Vice President, Ursuline Ambassador, and a member of Global Advisory Council and Model United Nations. This year's graduation is the only ceremony she hasn't livestreamed at Ursuline.
Shreya Jain won the Sedes Sapientiae Award for the Class of 2019. 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.
Shreya's "joy for life, pursuit of academic excellence, and activism for change are contagious." Her involvement at Ursuline included serving as an Ambassador and completing multiple medical internships.
Further, Shreya shines most brightly in her commitment to influence real change in her world through her academic pursuits and social efforts. She founded one of the largest clubs at Ursuline, Soles for Souls, completed a six-week language immersion program in South Korea, and served as a Head Delegate for Model UN.
Sister Emmanuel Shea Award
The Sister Emmanuel Shea Award was presented this year to Grace Elizabeth Finegan and Janice Cherono Rotich. 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.
Grace is "kind, self-aware, responsible, thoughtful, and completely devoted to her peers." Accepting of all people and voices, she demonstrates a commitment to serving Ursuline and her classmates. One teacher said "she is one of the most mature and level-headed seniors and a blessing to all who cross her path."
Janice is a "true classroom leader." She has an unwavering love for her school, easily chats with teachers, and hangs out with students from different grade levels. She lead the AAA Club, served refugees, and worked as a trainer for Jesuit football. She also was the "voice of UA" during morning and afternoon announcements.
Class of 2019: Additional Awards and Recognitions
National Merit Scholarship Program Finalists
Morgan Elizabeth Andrulis
Mary Elizabeth Chen
Sophia Marie Love
Rachel Eileen Pierce
Kaitlynn Ern De Soo
Emma Grace Tanner
Laurel Ann Wood
National Merit Scholarship Program Commended
Esther Lucy Albuquerque
Kendrick Holmes Hawkins
Katherine Anna Marie Hebert
Katie Elizabeth Kerber
Abigail Roan Kilpatrick
Elisabeth Ann Matthews
Sophie Marie Polma
Elise Michelle Welch
Mary Grace Brough Yaeger
National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholars
Sophia Grace Miller
Lauren Elizabeth Stark
Yajunaida Yurima Torrealba