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 is Her Family
“Mercy High School is a true family,” said Siryeya Belton ’09, Children’s Pastor for Dream City Church. Raised by a single mother, Siryeya found a sisterhood, a community and many lifelong friends at the school.
“The strong foundation of love at the school, coupled with the commitment to a faith-based education, helped me understand who I was and my purpose in life,” she said.
When looking for a high school to attend, Siryeya originally thought she might go to another Omaha all-girls school, but the tuition was too high. At Mercy she was not only given tuition assistance, but when she shadowed, she felt an instant connection to the Mercy community and its deep-rooted Christianity.
A member of Student Council for four years, Siryeya was also a cheerleader during her junior and senior years. Outside of school, she participated in the Upward Bound program.
“I made life-long friends at Mercy. We still get together and I have been part of numerous weddings and helped plan several baby showers,” she said.
Siryeya also became close to her teachers. Mrs. Cathy Kessler, English, became a mentor and was a subject of one of Siryeya college papers. Chris Rosenthal, science, was like a “dad” and taught her how to treat people. Ms. Holly McCoy, Assistant Principal, kept her on the straight and narrow, even when she slipped up.
“I struggled with understanding my faith in high school. I had carefully conceived a box of what a Christian looked like. The faculty, staff and students showed me you could be yourself, with all your faults, and still be full of faith,” she said.
After graduation Siryeya attended both the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) and the University of Nebraska -Lincoln, eventually graduating from UNO in 2014. Her degree is in Political Science with a focus on non-profit management.
“I actually wanted to be a lawyer, but I did an internship at a local church and knew I was called to do this,” Siryeya said.
She started as the Youth Pastor and took over as the Children’s Pastor of Dream City Church in September 2019. Her duties include developing lesson plans for Sunday school and Wednesday gatherings for youngsters ranging in age from toddlers to fifth grade. She also manages the volunteer religious education teachers.
“I know I would not be where I am today without my Mercy family. They taught me to love myself and to treat others with love,” she said.
Recently Siryeya was asked to join Mercy’s Alumnae Council. She is excited to be able to give back to the school.