These honors, in memory of individuals who made essential and enduring contributions to the Academy, are awarded to students whose academic achievement, leadership, deep spirit of faith, and Christian service exemplify the quintessential qualities of a graduate of Saint Ursula Academy. Their classmates nominate the recipients of the Awards of Honor, and the awards committee makes the final selection.
In 1535, St. Angela Merici founded the Ursuline Order, the first religious order in the Church to undertake the personal formation of young women. Angela believed that educated women held the key to a strong family, a sound Church, and a stable society. She had the courage to lead and transform her world. This award, the highest honor given to a student in the graduating class of 2008, is given to a student who, like Angela Merici, exemplifies the qualities of confident leadership, a sense of compassion for others, a strong faith, and the ability to make positive change in her world.
Mother Fidelis saw a need and broke the mold to start a new community of Ursulines that would not only educate students in a private Academy, but who would also teach in the parochial schools of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Responding to a request of Archbishop Moeller in 1910, the new "Ursulines of Cincinnati" committed themselves to teach, serve, and care for the people of all social classes in the city. This award recognizes a student who, like Mother Fidelis, has demonstrated initiative and leadership in her school and in her community.
Mother Gertrude was a much-loved teacher and long-time principal at the Academy who made each student feel important and respected. She always encouraged her students to realize their power as Christian women and to be loyal to God, to Family, and to themselves. Under her tenure, St. Ursula Academy came to be recognized by the community as an institution that provided an outstanding education. This award recognizes a student who, like Mother Gertrude, is highly respected by her fellow students and by the faculty for her leadership and service here at the Academy and in the community.
Sister Mary Carmel, a member of the Ursulines of Cincinnati, continued the tradition begun by Angela Merici in opening new roles for women in society when she became the first woman to receive a doctoral degree in education from the University of Cincinnati. This award recognizes a student, who, like Sister Mary Carmel, exhibits the rigorous academic discipline, the initiative, and the leadership to forge new paths for women in the world.
Sister Mary Helen earned her Masters of Arts in English degree from the University of Notre Dame when it was still an all-male institution. She was an outstanding educator who, as both teacher and principal, inspired generations of Saint Ursula students, parents, and faculty by her personal interest in them, by her faith, and by her zest for teaching and learning. This award is given to a student who, like Sister Mary Helen, demonstrates strong academic achievement, a clear sense of values, and a concern and commitment to the needs of others which enriches the lives of all those around her.
Miss Roberta Foley taught drama and English to Academy students for decades. She is remembered as a woman who maintained high academic standards for students and as one who recognized and promoted the enduring values of good manners and courtesy to others. This award honors a student who exemplifies Miss Foley's academic ideas and Christian courtesy.
Judy Olberding taught religion and chaired the religion department at the Academy for many years. Judy was known for her integrity, her compassion, her intellectual curiosity, her strength in times of trial, and her wisdom. This award, established by the faculty in her memory, recognizes a student who displays these same admirable qualities.
Debbie Pfetzing taught English for twenty years at St. Ursula Academy, inspiring and enabling both her students and her colleagues to be the very best. She never settled for anything less than excellence, especially when it concerned writing. She required that her students have a definitive reason for writing; she insisted upon clarity of thought; and she nurtured creativity in expression. This award, which recognizes a student whose writing achievements uphold the high standards of Mrs. Deborah Pfetzing
Mariann Lorenz, a member of the Class of 1974, loyally and enthusiastically supported all of the programs at St. Ursula Academy. Her love for the school incorporated the desire to leave it an even better place than when she came. This award is given to a student who, like Mariann Lorenz, exhibits a dedication to all the ideals of a St. Ursula education that will continue as a legacy for those who come after her.
From time to time, the faculty of St. Ursula Academy gives a special award to the student whose contributions to school and community cannot go unrecognized. The faculty has chosen to honor a student who possesses a contagious enthusiasm for learning as well as an inspiring sense of spirituality, integrity and courage.