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).
Relationships Helped Form Her
One of the biggest impacts Mercy High School had on graduate Bridget Blessie ’13 is her profound appreciation for the relationships that molded her into the person she is today. As the current Mercy Business teacher, she attempts to be a role model for her students, being available to them for advice and counsel much like other teachers were to her.
Ironically, Blessie did not want to attend Mercy. All her friends from St. Columbkille were going to another high school. However, her mom Diane Gunia Blessie ’84 went to Mercy along with several of her aunts. Her younger sister, Ava ’17, also graduated from Mercy.
“If it was not for the shadow experience at Mercy, I don’t know if I would of wanted to get out of the car for the first day of school.”
Bridget was a student athlete, playing three years as a starter on varsity soccer and varsity basketball. She blew out her knee and could not play sports her senior year. She also was a Student Council representative and Student Ambassador as well as a member of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). She is now the advisor for that program.
“Initially, I was recruited by several D1 schools to play soccer after graduation. However, my knee surgery disrupted that path. I continued to play club soccer and was recruited by a D2 college.”
After graduating from Mercy, she attended The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York where she had been recruited for soccer. Unfortunately, her grandfather got sick, and she decided to transfer to a college closer to home after the first year.
She went to Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri, where she majored in Business with an emphasis in Marketing and Finance and excelled as a student athlete.
“Another lesson Mercy taught me is you get what you put in. At Missouri Western, I really focused and put everything into my college experience.”
At the university she was named first team all-conference, first team academic, first team all-region and was the student athlete of the year her senior year in soccer. She also received the student community service award her junior and senior year while maintaining a 4.0 in her studies during her entire time at college.
After graduation, she went to work for the Kiewit Company but did not like her job.
“I quit that job and worked in a special needs classroom. I had avoided this profession because my mom was a teacher and I wanted to do something different. But upon reflection, I realized I loved it, and it was my true vocation.”
In 2018, she attended the College of St. Mary and earned her teaching certification. Three years ago, she was offered a faculty position at Mercy.
“Being back I am so privileged to witness the amazing teacher role models here. I remember how they made me feel as a student and I want to emulate them. The size of the school is perfect and makes it easy to have meaningful relationships with your students, too.”
Many of those same teachers provide her practical and emotional advice. Others inspire her through their teaching.
As an educator, Bridget has a robust schedule and teaches a variety of courses including Introduction to 21st Century Technology, to Digital Design Foundations and Personal Finance.
She is still active in sports and has been the Assistant Coach for Varsity Soccer since arriving and coaches Freshman Basketball when the school has enough players to field a team.
“I credit Mercy in helping me grow into a Woman of Mercy. The school took away my selfishness and made me realize that we need to care for and put others first.“
Bridget feels she has found her true vocation and hopes she can inspire her current students.
“Mercy teachers always helped me strive to do my very best. I hope I have those same type of relationships that help my students do well.”