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).
Service Guides Her Life
Catherine McAuley once said, "We should be shining lamps, giving light to all around us." When Kimberly Bujarski Prenzlow ’98 was at Mercy she took those words to heart. As a student she was very involved in Campus Ministry, Operations Others, and other service projects eventually earning an Ignatian Scholarship to St. Louis University.
Not bad for someone who lacked confidence and was very introverted when she came to Mercy as a freshman.
“At Mercy I really came out of my shell. The smaller environment allowed me many opportunities and the ability to truly be myself,” she said.
During her high school years, she was a Student Ambassador, a class officer, and participated in numerous service projects. She was chosen as May Queen her senior year at May Crowning, an honor recognizing her as a student that exemplified the qualities of Mary our Mother.
“I have always tried to lead my life like Mary’s. Many of the teachers showed me by example those values. I also saw the power of teachers building relationships with students and how important that was,” she added.
Her connection to service led to her college scholarship. She was required to do 40 hours of service work each semester while pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. After graduation, she worked at elementary schools in the St. Louis area, eventually moving back to the Omaha area teaching at several Catholic grade schools.
She got married in 2010 and moved with her husband to Norman, Oklahoma and taught junior high religion for four years. She moved back to Omaha again four years ago and currently teaches at Mary Our Queen in the 2nd grade.
“I am a product of Catholic education and believe that education can be a route for serving other people. I also try to emulate my former Mercy teachers by building relationships with my students,” she said.
She also feels Mercy was instrumental in preparing her for motherhood. She and her husband could not have children, so they decided to adopt.
“It was a roller coaster journey requiring a great deal of growth and trust,” she said.
The couple waited two years to adopt their first child James. He was born in Las Vegas, so we had to fly on short notice to meet him within 24 hours of his birth.
“It was a wild trip, but the precious gift was worth it,” she said
In a similar fashion, they waited two years for their second child, Veronica.
“We received a phone call that her birth mom was in labor in Iowa, so we drive through the night and made it there within minutes after she was born,” she added.
She tries to keep connected with classmates through social media, has dinner periodically with Mercy friends, and last year she helped plan the class reunion.
“Mercy is truly a special place, and we feel it gave us faith and confidence in our future,” she said.
She credits Mercy in helping her understand the importance of service that she practices as a teacher and a mother.
“Mercy sculpted me into the person I am today. The love and care the school taught me was God’s gift and gave me the strength to put my future in his hands. You become a Woman of Mercy for life and understand the importance of using your talents in service,” she said.
Have ideas for other alumnae features, contact Deborah Daley, Communications and Marketing Director, firstname.lastname@example.org.