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Abriendo Puertas

November 17, 2021
By Amaya Sims '23

Abriendo Puertas, Mercy High’s Hispanic heritage club, has been very active these past few weeks. Starting the school year with a fiesta, and most recently putting up an ofrenda in our Media Center, this club has been celebrating the beauty and diversity of Hispanic culture around the world. Abriendo Puertas, translated to “Opening Doors,” is open to all students at Mercy, but it holds a very special place in the hearts of our Latina students. Dafne Becerra, a Mercy High senior who serves as Co-President, said that Abriendo Puertas “is [her] sense of home at Mercy as it brings in many girls to share our Hispanic roots to the school and anyone can feel the welcoming environment it brings when you join the club.” Becerra sees Abriendo Puertas as a place for her and her friends to share their culture with the school. This club has made a lasting impression on many of the students who join and participate in its activities. 

Abriendo Puertas also leads many fun activities throughout the year. The club hosts fiestas with food and dancing, puts together special events for holidays like Días de los Reyes and Cinco de Mayo, and organizes Jessica Gonzalez’s personal favorite activity: the toy drive. Jessica is also a senior and Co-President. She spends a lot of time working with Abriendo Puertas. Gonzalez shared that “one of the big impacts Abriendo Puertas has had in my life is realizing how fortunate I am when we’re doing our toy drive. When we do our toy drive, it really brings a lot of joy into my life knowing that we’re giving joy to kids.” Gonzalez expressed her gratitude for the club and the opportunities it has given her in many ways but mainly through dedicated participation. She really enjoys all the activities and meetings that Abriendo Puertas hosts and shares the beauty of her culture with her classmates. Mercy’s integration of this club has greatly affected many of the Latina students here because it gives them space to practice their traditions and share with the rest of the school community.

Abriendo Puertas will again be hosting a toy drive to benefit the Refugee Empowerment Center. Please consider donating to the cause! All donations will be used to purchase toys for children of refugee families who have recently been resettled in Omaha. Venmo Mercy's business account (@Mercy-HighSchoolOmaha) and be sure to note that it's for Abriendo Puertas. 

Posted in Student News

National Honor Society Inductions

November 10, 2021
By Roz Parr '09

Nineteen juniors and one senior were inducted into the National Honor Society on November 9. These students exhibited excellence in leadership, service, and character while maintaining a GPA of 3.7 or above. The Honorable Francie Reidmann Weis ’81 was the keynote speaker.

Kailey Anson
Gabrielle Brock
Hailee Davis
Sarah Day
Therese Drake
Bella Earl
Lucy Euteneuer
Valeria Figueroa Garcia
Charlotte Hearn (Jane)
Danielle Hoer
Reece Keenan
Riya Ketelsen
Abigail Mills
Mary Kate Nussrallah
Sophia Rau
Megan Riesberg
Eleanore Slavik
Grace Weber
Claire Wichita

Maisie Wieser

Posted in Student News

Freshmen Unity Day

November 10, 2021
By Roz Parr '09

Over the span of two days, the Class of 2025 will gather together for games and activities during Freshmen Unity Day. This tradition allows our newest Monarchs to become better acquainted with each other and to develop their identity as a class. Some of their "Part 1" games included:

Race for the Truth - Students stood in a line and took a step forward when a statement applied to them. The first person to cross the finish line won. Statements ranged from "I've lived in Omaha my whole life" to "I don't like chocolate." 

Speed Meeting - Freshmen were given prompts to discuss for 2 minutes, and then they moved on to meet their next classmate.

10 Things - students were randomly assigned to groups of 6-8 students. They had to come up with 10 (not obvious) things they had in common.

At the end of the day, freshmen were given the opportunity to write a note to one of their classmates they met that day letting them know they were glad to have met them. 

The Class of 2025 will celebrate Freshmen Unity Day - Part 2 on November 10.

Posted in Student News

Mary and David Levy to Receive Mercy’s Highest Honor

October 05, 2021
By Nate Driml

Mercy has been an integral part of David and Mary Levy’s ’70 family for over 70 years. The spirit of Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy, has served as a guiding beacon of light for this special family. They have been a part of St. Mary’s High School (St. Mary’s and St. John’s merged in 1955 to form present-day Mercy), Mercy High School on 48th and Woolworth, and the board of the national Mercy Education office located in Silver Springs, Maryland.

In the words of Catherine McAuley, “Our charity is to be cordial. Now cordial signifies something that renews, invigorates, and warms. Such should be the effect of our love for each other.”

Mary and David have led a life of invigoration, renewal, and warmth toward others, which is why they will receive the Cor Misericordiae Award, Mercy’s high honor, during the February 19, 2022, FIESTA celebration.

Mary Franco Levy ’70 has deep Mercy roots. One of her aunts, Virginia M. Battaglia Veleba, graduated from St. Mary’s in 1949 while the rest graduated from Mercy: Rose Marie Battaglia King ’60, Jean Battaglia Osborn ’62, and Joan T. Battaglia Foreman-Mertz ’62.

Mary’s mother, Louise Bataglia Franco, followed her older sister to St. Mary’s and graduated one year later in 1950. Louise and her late husband, Phillip, have one son and five daughters. All of their girls graduated from Mercy: Mary Franco Levy ’70, Christine A. Franco Zadina ’71, Ann Franco Laughlin ’72, Theresa J. Franco ’74, and Catherine L. Franco Van Haute ’81. 

After graduating from Mercy, Mary attended Creighton for her undergraduate degree and later received her master’s degree in speech pathology from Purdue University.  She met David during this time as he served as a residence hall counselor in the residence hall where she lived.  Mary has always been quick to point out that her mother Louise “met that nice young man behind the desk first” and that “he would be a ‘nice catch’ for her daughter!” The couple wed in 1978 and have one daughter Theresa K. Levy Meehan who graduated from Mercy in 1997, as well as two sons, John and Dave.

Throughout Theresa’s high school experience, Mary and David became heavily involved with Mercy. Sr. Johanna Burnell, then president of the school, told the couple during their initial tuition meeting that “Mercy is a lifelong commitment.”  Little did they know this commitment was for both students AND parents alike!

David served as a Mercy High School board member for seven years and board chair for three years. Mary stayed involved by volunteering for FIESTA, Plant Sale, and Food Sale committees.  She also provided pro-bono speech pathology sessions for Mercy students who would benefit from those services.  It was important to Mary that she assisted the Mercy teachers in addressing the communication needs of those students in the classroom. 

Along their daughter’s journey, it became evident to David that service was a fundamental part of the entire Mercy experience. The couple enjoyed watching their daughter participate and organize various service trips in high school and during college. They were also very proud that their two younger sons absorbed the Mercy spirit of service from afar; they have always gone above and beyond when it comes to helping those who are most in need of assistance, both personally and professionally.

“The entire extended Franco family gives their time and energy in different ways, and none of them do it for the recognition,” says David.  “I give my wife most of the credit. And obviously much of it was due to the foundation she developed during her time at Mercy. It’s instilled most of what we saw in all of our children.”

The couple continues to be impressed with the entire Mercy system, both locally and nationally.  They have seen what it can do for an entire family in terms of not only an academic standpoint, but also in terms of service, faith and overall development. 

Mary, when not helping as a full-time grandmother, stays involved by constantly giving back.  She uses her extensive social network to identify families in need of assistance with items such as rent, food, and tuition aid at various schools.  She especially enjoys searching year-round for bargain sales of clothing and toys in support of area shelters and pantries, including Heart Ministry Center where their son John once served as director. On account of the many bargains she finds, she is sometimes referred to as a “Shopper extraordinaire” by many who know her well or have benefited from her amazing purchases.  Because of her generosity and connections, several store owners have even donated items for Mary to take to the shelters and pantries.

David was selected to serve on the inaugural Mercy Education Board beginning in 2017. He is now in his fifth year (second term) and credits his time with his Mercy family and previous board experience with providing a solid foundation to mold and shape policy that will affect the entire Mercy Education system.  A Waco, Texas transplant, and an alumnus of Purdue University’s graduate School of Engineering where he earned his Ph.D., David retired from Union Pacific in 2001 and immediately transitioned to Bellevue University where he directs the MBA program and is a professor of supply chain management and decision sciences.

“We are beyond humbled by this honor and cannot thank the Sisters of Mercy enough for making such a positive impact on the lives of our family,” says Mary.  “God bless those Mercy nuns!”

To write a congratulatory note to the Levy’s, click HERE.

Posted in Featured Alumnae

Mercy Day

September 30, 2021
By Roz Parr '09

Celebrating Mercy Day on September 24 is a long-standing Mercy tradition. It's the day when we gather for Mass as a school in celebration of the life and work of Mother Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy. The senior class then treats the entire school to a play that outlines Mother McAuley's good deeds.

Willa Tokporo and Ellen Veys were chosen by their classmates to portray Catherine McAuley, a significant senior honor. 

This year's theme was "Opening Doors," and the Class of 2022 illustrated the ways that Mercy opens doors to all sorts of opportunities for faith, knowledge, and compassionate service. Directed by Makayla Kennedy and Maisie Wieser, the play featured some well-known Mercy faces including President Sr. Delores Hannon, Principal Kristi Wessling '88, and Office Manager Ruth Harre '76. Seniors also portrayed a series of Mercy alumnae who are living Mother McAuley's mission: Amy Keller '07, Brittany Willmore Kuehl '08, Kelly Nystrom '86, Helen Holmes Giambrone '97, Hannah Yelinek '11, and Hannah Wyble Vlach '05. 


Posted in Student News

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11/17/21 - By Amaya Sims '23
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