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).
Shadowing at Mercy
Enthusiastic and successful students are Mercy’s best brand ambassadors, ensuring a Mercy education is available to any student for future generations to come. That is the primary reason the Shadow Hostess program was formed. Trained and selected by Admissions Director, Mrs. Anne Zadina McGill ’00, these current students are responsible for the schools’ shadowing program, one of Mercy’s most effective recruitment tools. This effort is designed to help make prospective students feel like Mercy Girls by giving them a feel for the school. These visits include attending classes, going on tours and making the visitor feel welcome. For many middle school students, the decision of which high school they will attend, often is one of the first important ones that they make in their young lives.
“ We try to take them through a typical daily high school routine. Teachers are great at including the shadow guests in their classrooms and making sure the prospective student feels at ease, ” said Senior Clare Gonka.
In fact, in her Digital Design Foundations class, Business teacher Bridget Blessie '13, gives the visitor an iPad and has them work on the same project as the students.
“ I remember my own shadow experience. I planned to go to another school, but Mercy made me want to be part of this community,” said Ms. Blessie.
Often the visiting students are nervous and a bit overwhelmed.
“ I think one of the advantages of Mercy is our size. You know every classmate and all the teachers. You don’t see the cliques or divisions that you often see in larger schools. We have less drama, and everyone is welcoming,” Senior Erin Schartz.
Before each visit Mrs. McGill provides the Shadow Hostess with background on the prospective student such as where she goes to school and what her interests are classes and activities.
“ We try to cater our presentation to their needs. If they are interested in sports, we will introduce them to a friend or classmate who is an athlete in that sport. Or if they enjoy theatre or singing, we try to take them to those classes or visit with that teacher,” said Clare.
All the Ambassadors agreed that shadowing was a primary factor in them selecting to attend Mercy.
“I shadowed at several schools. At Mercy, I felt that I was a part of each class that I was in. Everyone was animated. It was much more a personal experience and I saw the love and respect that is part of the community here,” Sophomore Rose Wallach.
For nearly six months, shadowing was suspended due to COVID-19. The program is back with health and safety adjustments (like masks, temperature checks, etc) and shorter time frame visits. Each morning the names of the students who are shadowing are announced on the public address system to make them feel welcome, and their names are also displayed on the screens upon entering Mercy.
The Shadow Hostesses enjoy having this job and are glad the visits are, once again occurring .
“ It is a privilege to be representing the school in this capacity. I try to make it the best experience possible. For me, it’s the least that I can do to help give back to Mercy,” said Senior Skylar Zoucha.