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).
Mercy Day Via Video
Traditions are continuing at Mercy High School although they may have a virtual twist because of COVID-19. One of the most beloved traditions is Mercy Day, the day which celebrates the life of Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy, and the 1827 opening of the House of Mercy in Dublin. This year, September 24, the senior play for the student body depicting Catherine’s life was shared via a taped video with the Mercy community. A highlight of the play was the unveiling of the seniors who portray McAuley. This is considered one of the biggest honors students can receive and is voted on by the senior class. Alumnae from across the country were sent a link to the video so they could celebrate this tradition with others.
This year’s two Catherine McAuleys were Anou Akot who served as the narrator of the play and Kateri Pantoja who portrayed the younger Catherine dressed in a habit.
Anou is Senior Class President and is a member of Operation Others and Yearbook Club. The student athlete has run Cross Country, is a triple jumper in Track & Field and played Basketball all four years. A member of St. Mary’s Church in Bellevue, she also has served as a Student Ambassador for four years. She plans to major in Chemistry and Pre-Med in college.
“This is a tremendous honor and I take it very seriously. I cherish every moment I have had with this senior class,” she said.
Kateri has participated in Theatre, Mercy High Singers, Show Choir and Divina Club all four years. She will play the role of Widder Matilda “Mattie” Sparks in the fall play, “The Wishin’ Tree.” She is a member of the National Honor Society and St. Columbkille Church.
“I remember as a freshman watching the Mercy Day play. Now to be honored to play the role of Catherine is unbelievable and wonderful. I am truly blessed because I love Mercy.”
After graduation, she plans to go to college and study Elementary Education.
A playlist of Mercy videos is available here.