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Service Guides Her Life

May 20, 2019
By Deb Daley

Catherine McAuley once said, "We should be shining lamps, giving light to all around us."  When Kimberly Bujarski Prenzlow ’98 was at Mercy she took those words to heart.  As a student she was very involved in Campus Ministry, Operations Others, and other service projects eventually earning an Ignatian Scholarship to St. Louis University.

Not bad for someone who lacked confidence and was very introverted when she came to Mercy as a freshman.

“At Mercy I really came out of my shell. The smaller environment allowed me many opportunities and the ability to truly be myself,” she said. 

During her high school years, she was a Student Ambassador, a class officer, and participated in numerous service projects.  She was chosen as May Queen her senior year at May Crowning, an honor recognizing her as a student that exemplified the qualities of Mary our Mother.

“I have always tried to lead my life like Mary’s.  Many of the teachers showed me by example those values.  I also saw the power of teachers building relationships with students and how important that was,” she added.

Her connection to service led to her college scholarship.  She was required to do 40 hours of service work each semester while pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education.  After graduation, she worked at elementary schools in the St. Louis area, eventually moving back to the Omaha area teaching at several Catholic grade schools.

She got married in 2010 and moved with her husband to Norman, Oklahoma and taught junior high religion for four years.  She moved back to Omaha again four years ago and currently teaches at Mary Our Queen in the 2nd grade. 

“I am a product of Catholic education and believe that education can be a route for serving other people.  I also try to emulate my former Mercy teachers by building relationships with my students,” she said. 

She also feels Mercy was instrumental in preparing her for motherhood. She and her husband could not have children, so they decided to adopt. 

“It was a roller coaster journey requiring a great deal of growth and trust,” she said.

The couple waited two years to adopt their first child James.  He was born in Las Vegas, so we had to fly on short notice to meet him within 24 hours of his birth. 

“It was a wild trip, but the precious gift was worth it,” she said

In a similar fashion, they waited two years for their second child, Veronica.  

“We received a phone call that her birth mom was in labor in Iowa, so we drive through the night and made it there within minutes after she was born,” she added.

She tries to keep connected with classmates through social media, has dinner periodically with Mercy friends, and last year she helped plan the class reunion. 

“Mercy is truly a special place, and we feel it gave us faith and confidence in our future,” she said.

She credits Mercy in helping her understand the importance of service that she practices as a teacher and a mother.  

“Mercy sculpted me into the person I am today.  The love and care the school taught me was God’s gift and gave me the strength to put my future in his hands.  You become a Woman of Mercy for life and understand the importance of using your talents in service,” she said.