Alumnae Association Inducts 85 New Alumnae
Ursuline Academy conducted its 291st commencement exercise on May 19 in the school's auditorium. Distinguished Alumna, Deborah Augustine Elam'79, delivered the commencement address. Deb is the retired Chief Diversity Officer of GE and President of the GE Foundation. She is currently President and CEO of Corporate Playbook.
The ceremony began with an invocation by Sister Ann Barrett, OSU, Prioress of the Ursuline Sisters of New Orleans. Ursuline Academy's Dean of Students, Karen Mortillaro, served as Mistress of Ceremonies, while High School Principal Alice Bairnsfather and Academy President Dr. Karen Thomas McNay presented awards and diplomas to the graduating seniors.
The valedictorian was Raphaella M. Brown, the daughter of Captain Jason and Paige Brown. Raphaella was a member of Student Council for five years and served on the Executive Board for the last two years. She was a member of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, National Art Honor Society, and Tri-M Music Honor Society, as well as a five-year member of both varsity softball and basketball teams. This year she was chosen as the Ursuline Education Network (UEN) Senior Scholar Athlete, a Saints/Enterprise Scholar Athlete, and a Cox Inspirational Hero. Brown is also the recipient of an Allstate Sugar Bowl LHSAA scholarship and was chosen as a National Semi-Finalist for the NHS Scholarship Program. She will attend Loyola University New Orleans as an Ignatian Scholar.
The salutatorian was Leah G. Melancon, the daughter of Alvin and Sheri' Amundson Melancon. Leah is a legacy of Ursuline Academy, preceded by her mother. She was President of Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society, a member of National Honor Society, Tri-M Music Honor Society, Student Council, Lion's Pride, and was a Student Ambassador. She volunteered at Touro Infirmary and FaithActs Theology Institute. She was most recently a member of the Fierce 5 World's Team and was a three-year member of the Holy Cross cheerleading team. She will attend Vanderbilt University where she will cheer for the Commodores.
The highest award that Ursuline gives, the CLC Medal, is given in recognition of the senior who, in the opinion of the faculty, has exemplified to an outstanding degree the qualities of Courtesy, Loyalty, and Courage expected of the Ursuline student. The recipient of this year's CLC Medal was Olivia A. Sensenbrenner.
The Edward A. LaFaye Memorial Award is given for outstanding humanitarian service to those inside and outside of Ursuline Academy. It is decided by vote of the senior class. The seniors' choice for this award was Veronica A. Flores.
The Sedes Sapientiae Medal, which takes its name from one of the titles of Our Lady "Seat of Wisdom," is presented annually to the senior whose scholarship, achievement, and loyalty, in the opinion of the faculty, have been consistent and outstanding. This year's recipient was Raphaella M. Brown.
The Sylvia Probst Medal was awarded to Christian A. Shepard for outstanding interest and achievement in English V. The award is given in honor of Miss Sylvia Probst, who served Ursuline and generations of Ursuline students for 45 years as an English teacher, librarian, assistant principal, and principal.
The 85 graduates earned a total of $9,761,613 in four-year scholarships.