The Ursuline Academy of Dallas, a private girls' preparatory school, was established in 1874 by six nuns from Galveston's community of Ursuline Sisters in response to a request for a school from Dallas pioneer priest Rev. Joseph Martiniere and Texas Bishop Claude Marie Dubuis, who provided a four-room building on Bryan Street for the purpose. It opened on February 2, 1874, with seven pupils and subsequently moved four times. In 1880 it acquired a nine-acre tract in East Dallas, and in 1882 the cornerstone was laid for a new school building completed in 1907. Ursuline Academy was chartered by the state legislature with collegiate rights and privileges in 1876. In 1899 an Alumnae and Ex-Students Association was formed. The school follows in the tradition of St. Angela Merici, who in 1535 founded the first Ursuline community for the purpose of educating girls. The school welcomes women of all denominations without regard for race, color, or national or ethnic origin. The academy's board, composed of lay members and Ursulines, determines the governing policies. A lay volunteer board of advisors, made up of Catholic community leaders, provides advice and expertise. Faculty members come from both Catholic and other communions. Ursuline Academy is located on twenty-five acres of wooded land in Preston Hollow in north Dallas.
Eligibility for graduation requires credit in English, mathematics, science, foreign language, social studies, physical education, health, fine arts, computer science or computer mathematics, electives, and theology. Honors courses are offered to qualified students in all major subject areas with the exception of theology, and an honor-roll program recognizes students who demonstrate academic excellence. To complete the requirement of thirty-five hours of community service during one semester, seniors work in public and private schools with learning-disabled students, in community hospitals, in convalescent centers, and in social agencies. To broaden their experience, students visit museums of art and science, government centers, theaters, lectures, and concerts. Special programs include an annual school-sponsored trip to Europe; the Presidential Classroom, which enables girls to spend a week in Washington, D.C.; the Government-in-Action program; and a yearly drama production. Ursuline Academy offers a complete athletic program with activities in individual and team sports involving both local and statewide competition. Eligibility for graduation requires successful completion of the Governor's Fitness Test and credit in physical education. Varsity and junior varsity team sports include volleyball, basketball, cross-country, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, and track. The Ursuline Academy of Dallas is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Texas Catholic Conference and is affiliated with the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. It holds memberships in the National Catholic Educational Association, the Texas Association of Non-Public Schools, the Texas Catholic Interscholastic League, and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
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