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).
Nursing Character in Action
There is a famous quote about nurses that describes alumna Ann M. Franco Laughlin ’ 72: "The character of the nurse is as important as the knowledge she possesses." —Carolyn Jarvis.
Ann, a Professor at Creighton University’s College of Nursing, learned the value of using her skills for the good of others while attending Mercy.
Ann is a legacy student. Going to Mercy was a family tradition and Ann’s older sisters, Mary Franco Levy ’70 and Chris Franco Zadina ’71 had gone there. Eventually her two other sisters, Theresa Franco ’74 and Catherine Franco Van Haute ’81, also attended.
Ann’s time at Mercy was spent learning and being involved in debate, theatre and Student Council. She was very shy in grade school but blossomed in high school.
“I went to debate tournaments twice a month. I learned to present both sides of an argument and speak much more eloquently. It was a real self-confidence booster, and I also think, being at a single-sex school, there were less distractions and more opportunities to participate in leadership activities,” she said.
During high school, she also worked at a local nursing home and grew passionate about health care for the elderly.
“I saw firsthand older people as not only a vulnerable population but, sometimes in nursing homes, forgotten. From my years at Mercy, I knew I wanted to use my gifts and talents in compassionate care for people, especially the elderly,” Ann said.
She decided nursing was her calling, and she enrolled at Creighton University after graduating from Mercy. Ann earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1976. She was a staff nurse at several hospitals in Wisconsin as well as in Omaha. She also became involved in Hospice, geriatric rehabilitation and more. She went back to Creighton as a part-time teaching assistant while getting her Master of Science in Nursing. Starting in 1994, Ann became an adjunct professor and moved up the academic ladder in the College of Nursing where she is now a tenured professor.
In 2005, she received her Ph. D. from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in Gerontology. She has taught all level of students from undergraduates to graduates and has supervised students in clinic settings from nursing homes to hospitals. Gerontology and medical surgical nursing are her fields of interest. She has published numerous papers and articles on these topics and has done focused research on health promotion in vulnerable populations.
Ann’s awards and honors are numerous and include membership in Alpha Signa Nu, the Mary Lucretia and Sarah Emily Creighton Award, Heart Ministry Center Volunteer of the Year, Dean’s Award for Faculty Excellence and more. She serves on the Parish Council at Holy Cross Church and as the chair of the Porto Clinic Advisory Board.
Ann also supports Mercy, having served on the Alumnae Council for three years. She also attends FIESTA annually. Both of her daughters, Rose Laughlin’ 08, an immigration attorney and Mary Laughlin’ 14, a recent graduate of Creighton, attended Mercy.
When asked about Mercy, Ann is quick to point out what she sees as the Mercy difference.
“What I love about Mercy is they walk the walk. They embrace diversity at all socioeconomic and ethnicity levels. All students are welcomed there, and you don’t see that at all high schools. It is important that students get exposed to different perspectives because that is what they will encounter in the real world,” she added.
Have ideas for other alumnae features, contact Deborah Daley, Communications and Marketing Director, firstname.lastname@example.org.