Sr. Dee Leaving at the End of the School Year
On Wednesday, September 7th, Sr. Delores Hannon announced her resignation as president of Mercy High School to the Board of Directors effective June 30th, 2023. She has served as president since 2009, having served for 14 years.
Sr. Dee, as she is affectionately known to students, faculty and parents, has overseen many changes at the school. The school facilities have experienced improvements with The Hannon Center for Academic Success, heating and cooling systems, new lockers, bathrooms, a dramatic facelift to the front offices and entryway, to name a few. By the time Sr. steps down, most of the school will have gone through some sort of renovation. Mercy High School has also experienced growth in their academic reputation. “One of the things I’m most proud of is the expectation that our students will be readily prepared for college” Sr. Delores explains. “We’ve expanded our counseling and SAT/ACT preparation, while faculty and staff have increased the expectations of what our students are capable of accomplishing. I have a very strong faith that the Mercy spirit continues to thrive through our students as they serve in their respective communities.”
Sr. Delores has been an educator for more than 40 years. She grew up in North English, Iowa on a mixed livestock farm, the only child of William and Mary Hannon. She joined the Sisters of Mercy in 1969 and quickly was tapped for leadership in schools. She became a principal at St. Matthew’s Grade School in Kalispell, Montana, in 1978 followed by a short stint at Our Lady of Grace School in Edina, Minnesota, from 1981-1983. From 1983-1995 Sr. Dee was the principal at several grade schools in Iowa. She moved on to serve as the Vice President of the Sisters of Mercy in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and the President of St. Edmond Catholic School in Fort Dodge, Iowa before ultimately coming to Mercy High School in 2009.
The Board of Directors will form a search committee to begin the search process in the near
Mercy Welcomes Two New Faculty
Jim Mayberger is our new business and technology teacher. He comes to us from OPS where he was a curriculum specialist.
He managed the Business Marketing and Information Technology, Family and Consumer Science, Skilled and Technical Science, and Robotics departments.
“I am excited to teach in a faith-based school. I really enjoy being in the classroom and I look forward to being part of the Mercy community.”
Jenna Saraka joins our math department. She comes to us from Omaha Central, where she taught for five years.
“I am most excited about joining a staff and community that offers strong educational opportunities and many extracurricular activities for students that are centered around faith.
I am also excited to work with students who are eager to learn in and out of the classroom!”
Two New Hires for the Advancement Team
Sammie Emsick Becker ’05 has accepted the Director of Events position at Mercy High School and began her new role on June 13, 2022.
Since graduating from Mercy, Sammie earned a bachelor in elementary education, a certificate in Catholic School leadership, and most recently, a Master of Science in educational leadership. Outside classroom teaching, she has served as the athletic director for St. James for the past three years where, in conjunction with supervising all things athletics, annually planned the “Spring Fling” fundraiser where dollars raised went straight to the athletic program. Her most recent “Spring Fling” event set a record for money raised for St. James. She further has event planning experience by way of her time at Dundee Bank, where she was the community involvement coordinator and worked closely with various Omaha businesses to promote and grow relationships with key stakeholders of the bank via special events.
She’s married to Tyler Becker and has two boys Ty (12) and Drew (10).
Welcome back to Mercy Sammie!
Brian Altenhofen began his new position as Director of Marketing and Communications on July 5th.
He comes to Mercy with a wealth of knowledge having earned a doctorate degree in communication and technology studies from Texas A&M University and teaching at Truman State University for the past five years. He also served as the Director of the Truman Leadership Scholars, mentoring and programming leadership experiences for Truman Scholars. Prior to his academic career he spent five years as a Jesuit Scholastic.
He is married to Michaela Cullan Altenhofen who will return to Mary Our Queen Catholic School teaching 3rd grade. They have four children Dylan (16), Lily (9), Dominic (7), and Clara (3).
Abriendo Puertas, Mercy High’s Hispanic heritage club, has been very active these past few weeks. Starting the school year with a fiesta, and most recently putting up an ofrenda in our Media Center, this club has been celebrating the beauty and diversity of Hispanic culture around the world. Abriendo Puertas, translated to “Opening Doors,” is open to all students at Mercy, but it holds a very special place in the hearts of our Latina students. Dafne Becerra, a Mercy High senior who serves as Co-President, said that Abriendo Puertas “is [her] sense of home at Mercy as it brings in many girls to share our Hispanic roots to the school and anyone can feel the welcoming environment it brings when you join the club.” Becerra sees Abriendo Puertas as a place for her and her friends to share their culture with the school. This club has made a lasting impression on many of the students who join and participate in its activities.
Abriendo Puertas also leads many fun activities throughout the year. The club hosts fiestas with food and dancing, puts together special events for holidays like Días de los Reyes and Cinco de Mayo, and organizes Jessica Gonzalez’s personal favorite activity: the toy drive. Jessica is also a senior and Co-President. She spends a lot of time working with Abriendo Puertas. Gonzalez shared that “one of the big impacts Abriendo Puertas has had in my life is realizing how fortunate I am when we’re doing our toy drive. When we do our toy drive, it really brings a lot of joy into my life knowing that we’re giving joy to kids.” Gonzalez expressed her gratitude for the club and the opportunities it has given her in many ways but mainly through dedicated participation. She really enjoys all the activities and meetings that Abriendo Puertas hosts and shares the beauty of her culture with her classmates. Mercy’s integration of this club has greatly affected many of the Latina students here because it gives them space to practice their traditions and share with the rest of the school community.
Abriendo Puertas will again be hosting a toy drive to benefit the Refugee Empowerment Center. Please consider donating to the cause! All donations will be used to purchase toys for children of refugee families who have recently been resettled in Omaha. Venmo Mercy's business account (@Mercy-HighSchoolOmaha) and be sure to note that it's for Abriendo Puertas.