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SUA Awards Highest Honors at Graduation Ceremony

Saint Ursula Academy congratulates the Class of 2021. 157 members of the Class of 2021, following SUA tradition, graduated in white gowns carrying red roses during the ceremony at PNC Pavilion at Riverbend on May 16.


Saint Ursula is proud to announce that 90% of the class earned more than $23-million in college scholarship offers in academics, athletics, fine arts, and service.  


Several graduating seniors earned special honors and were recognized at the commencement ceremony. These honors are given for academic achievement or in memory of individuals who made essential and enduring contributions to the Academy. They 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 a committee of faculty members makes the final selection.


Gold Medal for Academic Achievement ~ Valedictorian 

Elizabeth Mary Volk of Cleves 

Silver Medal for Academic Achievement ~ Salutatorian

Marygrace Michelle Fagan of Loveland

St. Angela Merici Award 

The St. Angela Merici Award was merited by 

Grace Anne Scheve of Anderson Twp.

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 2021, 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 Coleman Award

The Mother Fidelis Coleman Award was merited by 

Mya Nichole Johnson-Dunn of Bond Hill

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 by 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 Creamer Award

The Mother Gertrude Creamer Award was merited by 

Alivia Catherine Hyland of Cincinnati

 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 McLellan Award

The Sister Mary Carmel McLellan Award was merited by 

Elizabeth Mary Volk of Cleves

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 Sanker Award

The Sister Mary Helen Sanker Award was merited by 

Cara Joan Cavanaugh of Wyoming

 Sister Mary Helen earned her Master 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 St. 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.

Roberta Foley Award

The Roberta Foley Award was merited by 

Nicole Renée Settle of Hyde Park

 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 best exemplifies Miss Foley’s academic ideals and Christian courtesy.

Judith Thompson Olberding Award

The Judith Thompson Olberding Award was merited by 

Sadie Irene Taylor of Pierce Twp.

 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.


Faculty Award

The Faculty Award was merited by

Madeline Skye Maginnis of Anderson Twp.

The Faculty Award is given to a graduating senior whom the teachers at Saint Ursula Academy hold in high esteem. This distinction recognizes the recipient’s integrity, intellectual curiosity, courage and exceptional school spirit along her high school journey. Her optimism and adherence to the ideals of a Saint Ursula Academy education will be exemplary contributions in a changing world.

Photos Courtesy The New Studio