Disclosure :: This post is sponsored by Ursuline Academy and written by Alicia Brannan.
One Parent’s Testimonial: What Ursuline Academy Has Done For My Daughters
As a parent, I too often lose sight of the forest through the trees. I am consumed with logistics: planning meals, carpools, laundry loads, and prepping for whatever comes next. I forget to step back and appreciate the long view. When I pause to look beyond the trees, I see that Ursuline Academy is a forest that stands strong and historic, and forms strong and confident daughters who are dedicated to serving others.
My oldest daughter graduated from Ursuline Academy last year and is now a freshman in college. After spending a weekend with her on her college campus, I can truly appreciate the forest that is Ursuline Academy. When M started at Ursuline in 7th grade, she was a soft-spoken, introverted student. She was a quiet, unsure observer of school events, rarely willing to step beyond her narrow comfort zone.
During her 5 years in high school, she encountered many adults who met her where she was and patiently encouraged and drew her out over 5 years. There’s the campus minister who gently pushed for years, until she was ready to explore her faith and lead retreats. A cross country coach who praised and encouraged her efforts every year. A math teacher who tutored, mentored and continues to be a role model. A geography teacher who listened to all of her stories. An English teacher who appreciated her love of reading. Because of these adults, M has blossomed into a confident, comfortable adult. She is finding her way in a wider world, steeled with confidence, compassion, and charism that is uniquely UA.
She is now 1,000 miles away and I don’t worry about her. She is still a quiet introvert, but she is navigating academic and social challenges and thriving! She survived her first midterm exams. She joined the running club and a women’s club. She performs volunteer service with the running club. She wakes at dawn to run with an older man recovering from homelessness. “We chat the whole time,” she gleefully reports. These successes are because of UA mentors who patiently fostered friendship, faith, and confidence.
Thankfully, I have a second chance to appreciate the forest that is UA. My youngest daughter is in 8th grade at Ursuline. She will be the class of 2027, the 300th graduating class, celebrating 300 years of Ursuline education and mentorship. She too is quiet and shy, but after only a few months of school, she ran for student council- which required a speech on stage! “Where did that come from?” I wondered to myself. But then, I realized, it’s the trees which make the forest so strong. It’s the teachers who sit with her in the courtyard to get to know her, the seniors who greet her in the morning, the math teacher who always takes time to chat with her before class. These are the trees which foster and nurture confident young women.
After a short time, this more confident young woman of mine has started to step out and explore new arenas. She is working in a community kitchen and at a local food bank. This was something I pushed for all summer! Unsuccessfully. She speaks daily of activities in the SMARTlab, and is teaching her peers dance moves for a performance! She joined a service club! I am so proud of her for engaging in new activities, and so thankful for those who are encouraging this growth.
Ursuline Academy is a forest that has stood strong for 300 years and produces confident young women. I promise to really see and appreciate the trees and the forest that is Ursuline Academy. I am thankful that both are so strong, everlasting, and always encouraging new seedlings to grow.
At Ursuline, girls find confidence to challenge themselves beyond academics and explore who they want to be. We are a special sisterhood–made up of different backgrounds, beliefs and talents–united to raise each person up. Meet our #UrsulineGirls and learn more about Ursuline Academy at our High School Open House on Thursday, October 27, 2022, from 4-6 pm. Register here: bit.ly/uahsopenhouse22
About the author
Alicia Brannan has been teaching at Ursuline since 2016. She grew up in a small town in Connecticut and attended Georgetown University in Washington, DC. She obtained her Master’s Degree in Education from George Washington University and has been teaching for 20 years in a variety of environments, from the townships of South Africa, the suburbs of Washington, DC and Dallas, TX. She has four children and they spend most of their free time playing sports, baking cookies, and traveling.