Disclosure :: This post is sponsored by Ursuline Academy.
What Ursuline Academy Has Meant To Us
Ursuline Academy is a very special place. There is the obvious reason: Ursuline Academy is the first all-girls Catholic school in our beloved country. For nearly 300 years, Ursuline has been committed to the development and education of future leaders. What isn’t lost on me is what it takes to become a 300-year-old pillar in our community. You must be more than good. You must be excellent! Ursuline takes this a step further by inspiring excellence.
As parents, we want our children to have the best. Ursuline Academy provides a rigorous academic environment that is important to me. However, as I work to nurture and raise my kind, beautiful, and gifted African American daughter, I wanted to make sure she was exposed to the same values at school as at home.
Courtesy, Loyalty, and Courage are Ursuline’s ideals. Our daughters are not only taught these principles through words but through the actions of everyone at Ursuline to truly live these principles. I know this to be true because my parents chose Ursuline for me and my younger sister.
Ursuline became a part of my family when I was in the 2nd grade and my sister was in kindergarten. I was introduced to a very diverse community and made friendships that last to this day. Ursuline was the best Catholic, educational option then and it remains so.
I fell in love with science in elementary school. Ursuline encouraged and nurtured my interests. I wanted the same if not more for my Phoenix. My Phoenix is a precious gift from God. Out of every responsibility we have as adults, doing everything we can to support our children to become the people God intended them to be is the most important. God gifted my daughter with both academic intelligence and a propensity for music. What I am most grateful for is how Ursuline has been able to help her identify and sculpt her talents. Believe me, this was a journey to which I believe many parents can relate. Phoenix explored her options. She ran track one year, was on the elementary dance team for 3 years, and she played piano and violin and sang her heart out. She also participated in the yearly school plays and musicals. Although we were all very busy, I was able to witness my daughter hone her skills. She enjoyed her classes and extracurriculars, bonded with her teachers and friends, committed to being of service to our community, developed a strong sense of social responsibility, all guided by her faith in God. I guess in short, my daughter is happy and thriving.
Ursuline provided my daughter with many great opportunities. She was recommended and accepted into the National Student Leadership Conference at Fordham University for Musical Theater the summer after her sophomore year. Phoenix also auditioned for and was accepted into the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts Classical Vocal program. Ursuline Academy coordinated Phoenix’s class schedule so she could attend NOCCA in the afternoon. I remember Ursuline did this for students accepted into NOCCA when I was in high school. Ursuline did not miss a beat to do this for Phoenix because that is exactly what a family does. They are there when you need them. Our Ursuline family has also served as one of Phoenix’s loudest cheerleaders every time she has sung the National Anthem for the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans. The first performance occurred before a packed Superdome when Phoenix was only 13 years old.
Meeting a child where they are and creating experiences that specifically focus on that child’s God-Given gifts is what makes Ursuline special. This is the excellence that Ursuline has at its foundation. The excellence that makes a 300-year history possible, and an engaged family of leaders that makes the Ursuline Legacy sustainable.
Today, my younger sister is an attorney and founding partner of her law firm. She represents individuals who have experienced any form of discrimination or civil rights violation. I am a physician executive leading an organization committed to being of service to some of the most vulnerable in our state. Serviam, I will serve, was imprinted on us at Ursuline.
Phoenix is now in her senior year at Ursuline Academy. She is interested in majoring in music and pursuing a music career. Although I cannot believe how quickly time has passed, I have comfort in knowing Phoenix is ready. She has a solid academic and musical foundation, a passion to be of service, a kind heart, and most importantly, faith in God. Ursuline once again exceeded my expectations. We are all excited to see Phoenix’s gifts continue to unfold as she graduates with her fellow future leaders grounded in Courtesy, Loyalty, and Courage.
More about Ursuline Academy
Serving 6 weeks through 12th grade, Ursuline Academy is proud to have the distinction of being the first all-girls’ Catholic school in the nation. As girls progress through the academy, our highly interactive approach exposes them to increasingly complex concepts in STEM and the arts that go beyond learning the material. Ursuline girls learn to think creatively, articulate their ideas confidently and compassionately, and solve problems collaboratively. We focus on STEM and the arts as equal partners to power this 21st century learning. Starting in early childhood, our Reggio Emilia-inspired approach builds each girl’s confidence, social-emotional resiliency and appreciation of others. Continuing throughout the academy, our all-girls’ environment empowers girls to challenge themselves, explore outside their comfort zones and expand what they are capable of achieving. Students with different backgrounds, beliefs and talents feel part of a sisterhood at Ursuline. They learn from each other, celebrate each other and raise each other up. At Ursuline, girls gain a deeper understanding of themselves and how to be successful in a global society.
Open House Dates:
High School (8th-12th): October 26, 2023, 4-6 p.m.
Lily House and Early Childhood (6 weeks – Pre-K): December 2, 2023; Tours at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Elementary (K-7th): January 23, 2024, 8:30 a.m.
About the author
A New Orleans native, Christy Valentine Theard, MD, MBA is a 1992 graduate of Ursuline Academy and the President and CEO of Healthy Blue. She received her bachelor’s degree from Xavier University of Louisiana, her medical degree from the Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans and completed her residency at Tulane University specializing in Pediatrics and Internal Medicine.