Student Life at Ursuline
“You have more need to serve others than they have to be served.” - St. Angela Merici
The motto of Ursuline Schools worldwide is Serviam, which means “I will serve.” It has been cultivated at Ursuline Wilmington since we opened our doors in 1893. Our youngest students in Early Childhood through our oldest Upper School students are active in service. It’s more than just a service project; it’s a way of life that becomes engrained in our students for a lifetime. Since graduation, most of our alumnae have reported continuing to be active in service thanks to what they learned at Ursuline. Many have gone on to serve in professional roles at nonprofit organizations or on their boards – again, many citing their calling to service, which was formed at UA.
Our students are changemakers, imagining the world they want to see and taking action to make it happen. Students are encouraged to pursue supporting nonprofits that are personally meaningful to them. They work individually, in groups, and collectively as a school. Their service work is ongoing through various efforts both at Ursuline and off-site in the community. Ursuline has formed relationships with many local nonprofit organizations we work with annually.
It’s not just our students who live out Serivam. Our faculty and staff lead by example by being active volunteers and supporters of many local nonprofit organizations. Additionally, as a school, Ursuline Academy supports several groups through our community outreach efforts, such as Girls on the Run, Stop Soldier Suicide, Nemours Children’s Hospital, Serviam Girls Academy, Catholic Youth Ministry, Unlocke the Light, and Healthy Kids Running Series, to name a few.
Over the years, our Ursuline students have collectively raised thousands of dollars for local charities and volunteered thousands of hours.
Serviam in the Lower School features a series of projects chosen, developed, and executed, sometimes by grade level, which empowers our students to be the change they want to see in the world and turns the project into a personal investment of service.
Students research the mission and needs of charities they can help and collectively choose one group that particularly interests them. The students then conduct in-depth research on how they can help their selected group and develop a plan, in conjunction with their teacher, to develop a service project to benefit those in need and then carry it out. The project structure gives our students age-appropriate parameters to make a difference in the community, which promotes a sense of empathy for others and fosters the spirit of leadership instilled in all Ursuline students.
Whether writing letters to soldiers overseas, hosting fundraisers, or collecting for the local food bank, your child learns how to lead a charitable effort, execute a plan, and deliver on the project's goals. By giving selflessly of themselves, our students increase self-respect, self-awareness, and self-satisfaction.
In the Upper School, service is encouraged and cultivated in numerous ways. The aim is to engage the students so that they learn to recognize a need. They are inspired as they become increasingly aware they can impact change. Their problem-solving skills develop as they work together to meet the needs of others. Students are exposed to service opportunities as a class, through a club, or as a sports team. Service is a component of membership in the National Honor Society, National Junior Honor Society, and National Art Honor Society.
Students live out the spirit of Serviam by assisting over 50 nonprofits to support every year. Local agencies and organizations that partner with Ursuline students include the nonprofits highlighted below, hospitals, nursing homes, and daycare centers, among many others.
Our Middle School students are full of energy and compassion, which is exactly how our girls respond to their call for service – with vigor and empathy. Serivam in the Middle School is continually evolving and changing to best serve the needs of our changing world.
Opportunities are student-led to ensure relevance, engagement, and diversity. Our staff and faculty challenge and support students in presenting project ideas based on their personal interests and organization affiliations, which benefit the population served and expand their knowledge of the many needs in our community.
Our students’ efforts foster a deep appreciation of the love and opportunity that exists and instill a sense of social service.