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).
Confidence to Pursue Her Dream
“Mercy is a special and unique place. It is hard to put into words, but I know that because of the school I am the person I am today. I have succeeded in a career I love,” said Hannah Yelinek ’11. She now is an Associate Veterinarian at the Fremont County Veterinary Clinic in Sidney, Iowa.
Hannah attended Holy Cross School across the street from Mercy. It made sense to her to stay in the neighborhood for high school. After attending several events at Mercy, it confirmed she had made the right decision.
While at Mercy, Hannah was a member of Pastoral Council for four years and Student Council for three years. She was also involved in Operation Others, directed PA during her junior year, was the President of the National Honor Society and honored as class valedictorian.
In reflecting on the effect that Mercy had on her personal development, Hannah said that there were four areas of impact that stay with her: academics, spirituality, community and personal development.
“Mercy’s academic preparation is second to none. I could write a college paper thanks to Mrs. Coyle’s amazing teaching. My Mercy years made college a breeze,” she said.
According to Hannah, spirituality was nurtured at Mercy as students were encouraged to be comfortable and confident in their faith. She loved going to Mass.
She also developed lifelong friendships at Mercy. Hannah and seven classmates have created a close band who continue to be supportive of each other.
She also acknowledged that Mercy helped her become a confident and committed citizen of the world: “When I entered Mercy, I was quite shy. I did not like to speak publicly. I developed my presentation skills and took on more leadership roles.”
Hannah attended Creighton University and earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in theology. She entered the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Iowa State’s joint veterinary school program graduated in 2019. Her first job was at the Fremont County Veterinary Clinic.
“During my studies at veterinary school, I remember attending an ethics class where we were asked what type of vet we wanted to be. I remember at Mercy when Principal Carolyn Jaworski always reminded us what Mother McAuley said, ‘Do ordinary things extraordinary well.’ That is what I strive to do each day.”
As a veterinarian, every day is different. Hannah might be seeing regular patients during business hours then be called in the middle of the night to deliver twin calves.
“I began to love science after having Ms. Newville as my teacher at Mercy. She made learning science so fun. I was able to shadow at the Humane Society and I even did an internship in college at the local Humane Society in Iowa. That is when I knew I wanted to work with animals,” she said.
Hannah recently celebrated her one-year anniversary at the clinic. She shakes her head when she thinks of the timid girl who began Mercy as a freshman.
“Mercy set me up very well. Academically, spiritually, with great friendships, compassion and confidence and belief in myself. The school helped me be successful and for that I will be forever grateful,” she said.