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Pride and Drive

December 05, 2016
By Deb Daley

Tondeleya Newson ’03 wants donors to know that the opportunity she had to go to Mercy s has truly been life altering. She is confident the same will be true for her 15-year-old daughter, Ta’Vaisya, who is a freshman this year.

“To some, Mercy may just be a school, but for me Mercy was life altering. I know I would not be who I am today without the donors that made this an option for me,” she said.

Growing up in North Omaha, Tondeleya credits Mercy for giving her pride and drive.

“This school changed my way of thinking about myself and the world around me. It opened by eyes to the vast opportunities within me and my community,” she said.

The young widow did not have the easiest high school years. She was challenged with personal and family pressures and didn’t live at home. However she was very active as a cheerleader and was involved with Multicultural Club and Operation Others, the coordinated Omaha high school food drive.

“ Mercy accepted me. I had the opportunity to prove to the school and myself that I could still graduate on time with my class. The faculty had my back. It was a place of peace and safety from the challenges I faced at home each day, ”she added.


According to Tondeleya, college was a breeze because Mercy prepared her so well. She can still write a paper in MLA format today. She graduated from Metropolitan Community College in 2013 with a degree in Criminal Justice.  Employed at the Bank of the West in the loan-processing department for 12 years, she has three children Ta’Vaisya, 15, Kai 11, and Andre 4. She also recently got engaged.

The decision on the high school where her daughter would attend was easy. Tondeleya knew it needed to be Mercy.

“It is hard to bring into words how grateful I am to donors who have made this dream come true for my daughter. There would not even be a possibility for my daughter to attend this school without the generosity of these wonderful people,” she said.

The Negotiated Tuition Program has supported the family and Tondeleya feels it’s critical for donors to know that their generosity provides many girls the opportunity to become amazing Women of Mercy.

“ What you continue to do for this school truly matters! You are helping pave a way for young girls to transition into positive and productive/giving women that we need in this world that will be an asset to society in the years to come,” she added.