FALL SPORTS RECAP
Volleyball finished the season with 18 wins. That's the most since 2007. Great start for new head coach Brittany Spekhals. Emily Lee and Abby Mills earned 1st team All-Conference and Lydia Boyce and Lucy Euteneuer were named to the Honorable Mention team.
Mercy softball tied the mark for most wins for a season with 17 wins and a trip to the District finals. That's the most wins for the program since 2001. First year head coach, Maren Angus has to be very pleased with her first campaign. Victoria Placzek and Adrienne Pruss were named to the All-State Honorable Mention Team.
The golf team had two state qualifiers, Addy Powers and Molly Pensick.
Finally, every member of the cross country team set a personal record during the district meet.
LIZETTE CABRERA WINS ARTSONIA'S ARTIST OF THE WEEK
Congratulations to freshman artist, Lizette Cabrera! Artsonia's online voting ended on Saturday and Lizette's artwork came in 1st in the 7 - 9 grade division with 691 votes! She had close to 200 more votes than the 2nd place finisher and edged out a 7th grader from Holy Cross! She will be getting a plaque from Artsonia and a gift certificate from Dick Blick
NATIONAL HONOR SOCIETY INDUCTS NEW CLASS
The McAuley Chapter of the National Honor Society inducted its latest class on Tuesday, November 1st. The latest members are:
Ahok Apayo Landry Lehan
Julia Batenhorst Kaitlyn List
Clara Baumker Sydney Malesker
Clara Behounek Malanna Muse
Aislinn Bilgere Mia Norton
Alyssa Daniels Hannah Peatrowsky
Kaylee Epp Rylee Rempe
Karol Franco-Barrios Hanna Riha
Isabella Hajek-Jones Amaya Sims
Savannah Hemsley Grace Swoboda
Maren Hollinger Delani Wiedel
They join the ranks of current members:
Kailey Anson, Gabrielle Brock, Hailee Davis, Sarah Day, Therese Drake, Isabella Earl, Lucy Euteneuer, Valeria Figueroa Garcia, Charlotte Hearn, Danielle Hoer, Reece Keenan, Riya Ketelsen, Abigail Mills, Mary Kate Nussrallah, Sophia Rau, Megan Riesberg, Eleanore Slavik, Grace Weber, Claire Wichita
The ceremony included short remarks by four current members of the chapter on each of the four pillars of the National Honors Society: Scholarship, Leadership, Service, and Character. The key note address was presented by alumna Erin Whiteside '07 on how her life has been impacted by those same four pillars since graduating from Mercy.
Congratulations to all the members of the National Honor Society of Mercy High School, especially our newest inductees, for your tremendous hard work and dedication to scholarship and character.
FRESHMEN UNITY DAY
On Friday, October 28th, the Class of 2026 participated in Mercy’s annual Freshmen Unity Day. The goal behind the day is to assist the acclamation of the freshmen class and build community among them. Throughout the day, the students participated in small and large group activities to promote unity. They learned about each others’ strengths and completed challenges working with students who share similar personalities and were grouped with individuals who had different personalities from their own. One activity even required them to create a “human machine” – where everyone in the group had to have an active part in the machine.
At the end of the day students exchanged bracelets that they created and the final challenge activity was to successfully complete a “human chair sit” with all of the attendees. Check out some of the photos.
Valentina Arriola Tirado Wins inSpire Scholarship
On Wednesday, October 26th, Valentina Arriola Tirado was awarded the Inspire Scholarship. It was a part of a larger ceremony put on by inSpire Celebrating Women's Leadership sponsored by Union Bank & Trust. This honor recognizes “An Omaha metro-area female high school or college student who has contributed to her community, excels in the classroom, and has great career aspirations.”
At that same lunch, Class of ‘66 Sr. Maryann Stevens, RSM received the Woman of the Year Award for her tireless dedication to the College of St. Mary’s. Read more at Omaha.com. We're so proud of each of our women of Mercy. Thank you for all that you do!
WILLEY DWYER '03 NEW VP FOR ADVANCEMENT
Anna Willey Dwyer has been named Mercy High School new Vice President of Advancement. She will begin her new role on Monday, November 7, 2022.
Willey Dwyer is an alumna of Mercy High School’s class of 2003. She is very excited about returning to Mercy. “Mercy has taught me so much. At the forefront has been service and giving back. It’s been my hope that I would have the opportunity to return and continue this school’s important work of educating young women.” She’s most excited about promoting its sense of community and hospitality. “To me, Mercy’s hallmark has been its sense of welcoming. Once a Mercy girl, always a Mercy girl. I want to make sure that this mission continues for several more generations.”
Willey Dwyer comes to Mercy with a wealth of experience helping to lead the development efforts for the Child Saving Institute. She’s been with that organization since 2016, exceeding annual fundraising objectives five years in a row. President of Mercy High School, Sister Delores Hannon, RSM believes that Willey Dwyer will be most successful at connecting with the various community members that support Mercy High. “She is a dynamo at making people feel welcome. Her joy is infectious and by the time the conversation ends you feel like you have known Anna for several years, regardless of having just met. She’s a welcomed addition to the Advancement Office at Mercy.”
Willey Dwyer is married to her husband Scott Dwyer and has two children: Rex, who is three, and Stella, who is one.
Valeria Figueroa Garcia Wins Scholarship
VALERIA FIGUEROA GARCIA WINS SCHOLARSHIP!
Valeria was one of 10 Latino Nebraska Students to win the Jesusita and Santos Courage and Fortitude Scholarship. She earned this by presenting an essay highlighting her leadership skills and how they will apply to her future plans after high school. She wants to become an elementary school teacher. She was awarded $1,000 to put towards any college of her choosing. Well done, Valeria!
Riya Ketelsen named National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalist
This fall Riya Ketelsen was honored with the distinction of National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalist. In the video below you'll see the surprise and pride from Riya, her parents, and the Mercy school community. We couldn't be prouder of the dedication and accomplishment of Riya. This make 3 National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalists in the past two years.
Congratulations to Ahok and Mary Kate!
First, congratulations to our own Ahok Apayo, who was recognized in the National African American Recognition Program. She is one of 62,000 students from across the country to earn academic honors from the College Board’sNational Recognition Programs! Ahok earned this recognition by excelling on her PSAT and AP Exams and in her classes. These National Recognition Programs grant underrepresented students with academic honors that can be included on college and scholarship applications and connects students with universities across the country, helping them stand out during the admissions process. Colleges and scholarship programs use these honors to identify students from underrepresented groups through College Board’s Student Search Service.
Congratulations, also, to Mary Kate Nussrallah, who was named a Commended Student based on her outstanding performance on the PSAT test last year. She is one of the top 50,000 students nationwide and one of only 60 Nebraska students from 36 high schools to achieve this honor.
Congratulations, Ahok and Mary Kate! We are so very proud of both of you!
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).
Sr. Corrine to Receive Cor Misericordiae Award
Sr. Corrine Connelly ’58, RSM, has been part of the fabric of Mercy High School throughout her life. From being a student, an active alumna, an educator, a mentor, a principal, a Board Member and a volunteer, Sr. Corrine’s commitment to Mercy holds a special place in her heart. In recognition of her dedication to the school, Sr. Corrine will receive the highest award Mercy bestows, the Cor Misericordiae Award, at FIESTA 2021.
As a student at St. Mary’s High School, the school that eventually merged with St. John’s to form Mercy, Sr. Corrine helped move boxes to the school’s current location at 48th and Woolworth. Her four sisters also went to Mercy. They are Mary Jean Connelly Harrington ’57, Marcy Connelly Peterson ’64, Tish Connelly ’65 and Priscilla Connelly Quinn ’68.
Sr. Corrine was active in speech, drama and choir. The school did not have sanctioned sports during Sr. Corrine’s high school years, but she especially enjoyed dancing to the jukebox in the gym (now Franey Hall) at lunch time with her classmates where she “perfected her moves.” She formed lifelong relationships with classmates and still gets together with them socially. Although she enjoyed math and Latin, Sr. Corrine was put in the business class rotation where she learned typing, finance and more.
“Mercy gave me a group of friends, lifelong friends, that still get together. These friendships are one of the greatest gifts in my life, besides my vocation, which was fostered during my years at Mercy High School,” she said.
In September of 1958, she joined the Sisters of Mercy community at College of Saint Mary (CSM). Sr. Corrine entered with 30 young women, including 14 classmates from Mercy. During the next five years she received her religious training and took college courses. She earned her degree in English in 1963 with a minor in French. She embarked on a lifelong career in education that next fall.
Sr. Corrine taught sixth and eighth grades at St. Bernard’s Catholic School in Omaha for five years from 1963-1968. She then moved to Kansas City, Missouri, and became a high school teacher at Cardinal Glennon High School, an all-girls school, where she taught French and English for three years. Sr. Corrine’s next assignment was at St. Mary’s High School in Independence, Missouri, where she was a French teacher and vice principal for five years from 1971-1976. She also found time to complete her Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1972.
Sr. Corrine moved back to the Omaha area in 1976. She taught French and was vice principal at St. Albert High School in Council Bluffs, Iowa. She became the principal of Mercy High School in 1978 and held that position for 10 years.
“I think my biggest contribution at Mercy was instilling more pride in the school and bringing an elevated school spirit back. I appreciated our sports programs and attended every game and match. We won the state championship in volleyball my first year at Mercy, coached by Holly McCoy, the first-year coach,” she said.
Speaking of sports, Sr. Corrine credits her classmate and friend Carol Neill Casey ’58 with starting the soccer program, serving as its first coach, and beginning Twelfth Night, which eventually became FIESTA.
Student enrollment at Mercy was low when Sr. Corrine arrived as principal. She invested in building renovations, new parking on Woolworth St. and the east side of the building, other school improvements and began a student recruitment program. By the time she left, Mercy’s enrollment had almost doubled. She recognized the value of telling Mercy’s story and created publications to make the community aware of Mercy.
“I could not have achieved what I did at Mercy without the support of many people. For example, former principal Carolyn Jaworski ’64 served as my vice principal and helped me accomplish many things at the school. Other alumnae and friends came forward and added their talents to the journey we were taking to make this school grow,” she said
Reflecting on her years at Mercy, Sr. Corrine said, “Wherever I go I tout Mercy, telling them how wonderful Mercy High School is. The students, faculty and staff are amazing.”
After her time as Mercy’s principal, Sr. Corrine served as principal at Bishop LeBlond High School in St. Joseph, Missouri from 1989-2003. During her tenure construction on a football field, gymnasium, a new chapel, office space and commons area began. Following that assignment, she returned to Omaha where she ministered for 10 years at College of Saint Mary (CSM).
“I was an administrative assistant for Athletics at CSM and thoroughly enjoyed that job. I think sports has a way of bringing people together and instilling spirit,” she said.
Sr. Corrine retired in 2014. She, along with Sr. Johneen Owens '58, is also helping a family in the local area with groceries, utility bills, car repairs and “anything else they need.” This project of love came about when Sr. Kathleen Erickson, who was visiting undocumented women in county jail, was looking for help with families of these women during Christmas. This effort is now going on its third year.
“The family means the world to me and the kids call us grandma, and we love it when we go to visit,” Sr. Corrine said.
She also currently volunteers for the Sisters of Mercy West, West Midwest, at Mercy High School in the Advancement Department and as a Mercy Mentor. She is starting her 20th year as a member of the Board of Directors for Mercy High School and has been on several different search committees for leadership at Mercy over the years.
“Mercy is a tremendous, wonderful school. I encourage people to visit and see for themselves, especially prospective parents and students as well as donors, what a great place it is. Once you are exposed to it, there is a spirit that envelopes you. Mercy is the best,” she said.