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Mercy Day Via Video

September 23, 2020
By Deb Daley

Traditions are continuing at Mercy High School although they may have a virtual twist because of COVID-19.  One of the most beloved traditions is Mercy Day, the day which celebrates the life of Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy, and the 1827 opening of the House of Mercy in Dublin. This year, September 24, the senior play for the student body depicting Catherine’s life was shared via a taped video with the Mercy community. A highlight of the play was the unveiling of the seniors who portray McAuley. This is considered one of the biggest honors students can receive and is voted on by the senior class. Alumnae from across the country were sent a link to the video so they could celebrate this tradition with others. 

This year’s two Catherine McAuleys were Anou Akot who served as the narrator of the play and Kateri Pantoja who portrayed the younger Catherine dressed in a habit. 

Anou is Senior Class President and is a member of Operation Others and Yearbook Club.  The student athlete has run Cross Country, is a triple jumper in Track & Field and played Basketball all four years. A member of St. Mary’s Church in Bellevue, she also has served as a Student Ambassador for four years. She plans to major in Chemistry and Pre-Med in college. 

“This is a tremendous honor and I take it very seriously.  I cherish every moment I have had with this senior class,” she said.

Kateri has participated in Theatre, Mercy High Singers, Show Choir and Divina Club all four years.  She will play the role of Widder Matilda “Mattie” Sparks in the fall play, “The Wishin’ Tree.”  She is a member of the National Honor Society and St. Columbkille Church.  

“I remember as a freshman watching the Mercy Day play.  Now to be honored to play the role of Catherine is unbelievable and wonderful.  I am truly blessed because I love Mercy.”

 After graduation, she plans to go to college and study Elementary Education. 

A playlist of Mercy videos is available here. 
 

Posted in Student News

Fall Plays Set

September 11, 2020
By Deb Daley

The “show must go on” is a familiar phrase to theatre goers and Mercy High School will do just that in their approach to the school’s traditional fall play.  The hybrid schedule of the school, and the need to minimize large groups in proximity, resulted in producing two one-act plays back-to-back, with each performed by groups who attend school on the same days. The cast was announced on September 11.    
 
“If Sherlock Holmes Were a Woman” is a hilarious take on the great sleuth’s clever skills of deduction that his overzealous admirer, Shirley Holmes, employs to attempt to solve a mystery in her college housing. “The Wishin’ Tree” is a comedy set in the living room of a widow and her mother in the small Wild West town of Tarnation, Nebraska in 1873. When a strange, voiceless neighbor gifts them with a seed for a tree that grants wishes, it causes trouble among the women of the town.

“Not only does this approach meet the challenges presented by COVID-19, it opened the door to shorter comedies that will provide a much-needed laugh and escape,” said Joshua von Kampen, Theatre Director. 

The plays are set for October 23 and 24 at 7:00 p.m. and October 25 at 2:00 p.m. in Franey Hall. Because of audience size limitations, attendees will have to register online ahead of time. That link will be available soon.  Costs for tickets are $10 for adult, $7 for students and $5 for Mercy students.  The school is seeking permission from rights-holders to see if the performances can also be videotaped and will let people know if that is an option. 

Posted in Student News

Freshman Volleyball Coach Chosen

September 08, 2020
By Deb Daley

Brian Boyce has been appointed Mercy High School’s Freshman Volleyball Coach for the 2020-21 school year.  Boyce has coached at St. James Seton School and Nebraska Elite Volleyball Club.  He also holds coaching certifications with IMPACT and Safesport. 

He graduated from Peru State College and is a Senior Accountant at Physicians Mutual Insurance.

Posted in Student News

Assistant Softball Coach Named

August 31, 2020
By Deb Daley

Taylor Schumacher has been appointed Mercy High School’s Assistant Softball Coach effective August 2020.  An award-winning softball athlete throughout her high school years, she served as the Ames Iowa Softball Coach in the summer of 2018, has been a private softball instructor, and a junior high school coach in Nevada in 2015.  She is also a member of Junior League of Omaha.  Taylor holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Iowa State University and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Creighton University.

 

Posted in Student News

Renovated Academic Success Center

August 27, 2020
By Deb Daley

A critical goal of Mercy High School, as articulated in our strategic plan, is ensuring educational excellence through integrated support for our students. As part of that vision, Mercy’s Academic Success Center was created in 2014. In the summer of 2020, the area received a comprehensive renovation. This student-centered and caring, physical environment focuses on academic assistance and outcomes, college advising, and provides emotional support and services to meet students’ needs while fostering personal attention and support. 

Student service staff who support these functions are now housed in one area to accommodate integrated and collaborative efforts. Personnel includes counseling staff, the ESL specialist and the Academic Success Coordinator. Completely paid for by generous donations from the Lozier Corporation and the Heider Family Foundation, the area features flexible configurations, break-out work zones, writeable wall placements, conversational areas, a conference room, movable furniture and an open concept plan. Light and airy, large glass windows offer a welcoming environment for dialogue and discussion. 
 

Here is a photo album of the center. 

Posted in Student News

Art Teacher to Receive State Educator Award

August 24, 2020
By Deb Daley

Jane Langenfeld, Mercy High School Art Teacher, has been named the Outstanding Art Educator of the Year by the Nebraska Art Teachers Association (NATA), the highest honor given to active art teachers by the group. NATA is a professional organization whose mission is to develop and promote quality art education in Nebraska through a statewide professional support system, with opportunities for growth and development through leadership and service. 

The award is given to an individual who meets exceptional standards of excellence and service in art education on local, state, and national levels and is a member of NATA/NAEA who spends at least .51 FTE in art education. Jane is a full-time teacher at Mercy. 

Langenfeld has been in art education for 21 years and a teacher at Mercy for 16.  She has been the Fine Arts Department Chair since 2006.  Langenfeld was recognized as the Secondary Art Teacher of the Year in 2014 by NATA.  She is the co-chair of NATA’S Fall Conference and is the independent and secondary schools liaison.  She received her Bachelor of Arts in Art Education and a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Nebraska at Kearney.  

Her award will be presented in conjunction with the organization’s virtual fall conference on October 16 and 17. 

Posted in Student News

New Softball Coach

August 17, 2020
By Deb Daley

Danielle Nielsen has been appointed Mercy High School’s Softball Coach effective August 2020. The local business owner and safety instructor was an Assistant Softball Coach at Van Meter, Iowa from 2010-2011 and Head and Assistant Softball Coach at Ames, Iowa from 2007-2010. Danielle holds a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Iowa State University and studied Sports Medicine while a student athlete at Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa.  She is also a certified EMT. 
 

Posted in Student News

Mercy Begins School Year 

August 06, 2020
By Deb Daley

Mercy High School will welcome 82 freshmen and several transfers to the school this fall.  Using a hybrid model, a combination of in-class and online teaching, freshmen will arrive on August 13 and August 14 depending on the beginning letter of their last name.  Student Ambassadors will greet them with cheers and shouts of welcome. Inside the building their lockers will already be decorated by their Big Sisters.  

“Our freshman class resides in 30 different Omaha area zip codes, represent all socioeconomic levels and include 27.5 percent students of color.  We also have two sets of twins,” said Kristi Walters Wessling ’88, principal.

There will be a modified schedule for other classes for several days until the entire school opens for all students beginning August 17 with rotating schedules.  Students with last names beginning with A-L will be in the building on Mondays and Thursdays and M-Z last names will be working from home “zooming” into classes.  On Tuesdays and Fridays, M-Z students will be in the building and A-L will work from home.  Wednesdays will be remote days for all students, and classes will be meeting virtually, or girls may be working asynchronously.

The school has also instituted numerous safety and health precautions including everyone wearing masks at all times, keeping students at least six feet apart and carrying their own water bottles, drinking fountains will be closed and stairwells will be one-way. Thanks to recent updates, the school’s air conditioning and ventilation system also provides the recommended ventilation for classrooms. All-school and large group meetings will be limited in size and large parent meetings will most likely not occur in-person. 


 

Posted in Student News

Virtual Tour

June 25, 2020
By Anne McGill '00

Mercy High School is excited to show you the new virtual tour of our school. There is so much happening at Mercy this summer from graduation on June 22 with our 2020 seniors, to construction occurring throughout the building that will be completed by this coming fall. We are so proud of our seniors who handled this pandemic with strength, grace and leadership. A few accolades of this class include:
· 100% accepted into post-secondary education
·  $8.8 million raised in scholarships
·   80% receiving college or university scholarships and were accepted into 93 institutions of higher learning
 
We will have opportunities this fall for parents and students to see the school in person, as well as an updated virtual tour showing footage of students back in the building and the completed Academic Success Center. There are still spots available in the freshman class for the upcoming school year.  We hope you and your family are staying healthy and we look forward to seeing you at Mercy High School soon!
 
Please contact Director of Admissions, Anne McGill ’00 at mcgilla@mercyhigh.org or call 402.553.9424 for additional information. 

Posted in Student News

Faculty, Coaches Named

June 15, 2020
By Deb Daley

Nina Noronha will teach theology and music in the 2020-2021 school     year. Noronha most recently served as a Hall Coordinator at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. She has an extensive background in music and was the music director and choreographer for show choir camps at Xavier High School; music director and co-founder of Jaybeats A Capella at Creighton University; President of The University of New Mexico Concert Choir; and judge and clinician for the Best of New Mexico A Capella Festival.  

She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Theology from Creighton University in 2018 and is currently working towards her Master’s in Education from Creighton University. 

Paul Beran, who currently teaches science, has been appointed as the head cross country coach. He has served as the assistant coach for several years. He joined the faculty in 2017 and has been teaching science for over 30 years. He also coached cross-country, track and football at other schools. 

 He earned his Bachelor of Science in Education with endorsements in Natural Science, Biology and Physical Education from the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. He holds a Master’s in Education from Peru State College. He will be assisted by Chris Rosenthal, biology/integrated science teacher. 

Nicole Lenczowski ’06 has been named the head varsity basketball coach.  The former assistant varsity basketball coach has been part of the Mercy basketball program for more than 20 years. She was first a spectator, watching her sister Kristin Lenczowski Roelfs ’03 play for Mercy. Lenczowski then played and is now a coach.  She currently serves as a project manager at Union Pacific Railroad (UP). 

She graduated from the University of Nebraska Omaha in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. She will graduate from the University of Nebraska Omaha in December with a Master’s in Business Administration.

Susan Sloboth has been appointed as the tennis coach. She has been a tennis professional at Miracle Hill Golf & Tennis Center since 1995.  She also served as an assistant tennis professional at Champions Run since 2012. Sloboth holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has done practicum teaching in both elementary and middle schools.

A member of the Nebraska Tennis Hall of Fame, she has been a presenter and speaker at the Nebraska Coaches Association Annual Conference and received the Outstanding Contributor to Youth Tennis USTA Distinguished Service Award in 2010. 
 

Posted in Student News

Virtual Spring Art Show

May 18, 2020
By Jane Langenfeld

View Mercy’s Virtual Spring Art Show on Artsonia featuring the 58 artworks that received recognition in various shows during the 2019-2020 school year.  Congratulations to all of these artists!

 

Posted in Student News

Student Officers Selected

May 15, 2020
By Deb Daley

New Senior Class Officers

Congratulations to the newly elected senior class officers for 2020-2021.   
President: Anou Akot
Vice President: Rena Lee
Secretary: McKenzie Moore
Treasurer: Cree Howard

New Student Council Officers

Congratulations to the newly elected student council officers for 2020-2021.   
President: Carolyn Klein
Vice President: Sophia Mace
Secretary: Emma Elsasser
Treasurer: Sam Burns
Promotions Chair: Lilee Surdell-Eichten

Posted in Student News

Outstanding Seniors

May 12, 2020
By Deb Daley

Mercy students Sophie Harvat and Madeline Riesberg were named Outstanding Seniors at the school’s virtual May Crowning on May 11. The annual award winners are chosen by the senior class, faculty and administration because they “represent the class in an outstanding way.” Honorees are considered by their peers and teachers to be loyal, trustworthy, spirited, compassionate, generous and dedicated while also being involved in school activities.
 
Sophie has been on Student Council for four years, serving as this year’s president. A member of the National Honor Society (NHS), she also has been a Student Ambassador for three years and a member of Golden Girls (the school’s spirit club) for three years serving as its secretary. As a Mercy athlete, Sophie participated in track and field all four years, basketball for three years and was on the cheer team for three years. Sophie is a member of St. Gerald’s parish. She was on the Nocturne Court her sophomore year. Sophie's service portfolio includes volunteering at Mercy events, helping to lead Junior Monarchs basketball camps and working at parish events.  She will be attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to study social work.  
 
Madeline is also this year’s valedictorian.  She is a member of Student Council, National Honor Society (NHS) and Pastoral Council. Madeline participates in track and field and served as a captain her sophomore and junior years. She has been on the Core Team for Operation Others for two years. Last fall, she was chosen to portray the older Catherine McAuley in the Mercy Day play. During her sophomore year she was on the Nocturne Court, and she was on the Prom Court her senior year. Madeline is a member of St. Gerald’s Parish. Her older sister, Makayla, graduated in 2013 and her younger sister, Megan, is a current freshman. A recipient of numerous scholarships, Madeline is planning to attend the University of Nebraska Kearney and will double major in chemistry and psychology. She works part-time at a veterinary clinic.

Posted in Student News

Year-End Honors

May 05, 2020
By Mary Coyle

The following booklet provides and overview of the year-end awards that are normally presented at our annual Honors Convocation.  Congratulations to our honorees!

Posted in Student News

Big Sisters/Little Sisters Set

May 05, 2020
By Deb Daley

Big Sisters/ Little Sisters have been set for the 2020-2021 school year. This beloved tradition is designed to help freshmen with the transition to high school and to forge a network of support and friends.  On May 1, Big Sisters introduced themselves to their freshmen Little Sisters by mailing a personal letter to each. This program is divided into 15 groups with 4-5 senior Big Sisters and 5-6 freshman Little Sisters in each.

They all have group names that are Mercy and this year’s group names are: 
•    Blue Crew
•    Butterfly Bunch
•    Catherine’s Cocoon
•    Catherine’s Crew
•    Golden Monarchs
•    Goldies
•    Kaleidoscope Krew
•    Merciful Monarchs
•    Mighty McAuley’s
•    Monarch Madness
•    Plaid Pack
•    Pretty in Plaid
•    Teacup Tribe
•    The HERd
•    The Monarchy
 
A group chat with each of the named groups is being planned for the middle of May. Mercy has hopes to schedule the Big & Little Sister picnic in late June or July.  Big Sisters will decorate lockers in August, give Little Sisters their greenie on the first day of school and decorate it before the school-wide Welcome Picnic held in August.  
 

Posted in Student News

Seniors Earn $8.8 M in Scholarships

May 04, 2020
By Deb Daley

The Mercy High School Class of 2020 earned more than $8.8 million in college scholarships. All 93 seniors plan to attend higher education institutions and have been accepted at 83 different colleges. Eighty percent of the class has received scholarships.

This year’s valedictorian is Madeline Riesberg.  Madeline is an officer and a member of Student Council, National Honor Society (NHS), Pastoral Council, and participates in track and field, serving as a captain her sophomore and junior years. She has been on the Core Team for Operation Others for two years. Last fall, she was chosen to portray the older Catherine McAuley in the Mercy Day play. During her sophomore year, she was on the Nocturne Court, and she was on the Prom Court her senior year.  Madeline is a member of St. Gerald’s Parish. Her older sister, Makayla, graduated in 2013 and her younger sister, Megan, is a current freshman.  A recipient of numerous scholarships, Madeline is planning to attend the University of Nebraska at Kearney and will double major in chemistry and psychology. She works part-time at a veterinary clinic. 

Stephanie Aleman-Maldonado is this year’s salutatorian. She is a member of NHS and currently serves as vice president.  She also participates in track and field and is a team captain. Stephanie is active in the Math Club and is a tutor at Mercy. A soon to be first-generation college student, Stephanie is finalizing her college choice.  As a member of El Buen Pastor, she is fluent in both English and Spanish.  Also a recipient of numerous college scholarships, Stephanie plans to major in either chemistry or mathematics and eventually become a doctor. 
 
Here is a video that highlights where our seniors are going. 

Posted in Student News

Cheerleaders Chosen

May 04, 2020
By Melissa Regele

Here is the list of the 2020-2021 Cheerleaders.  All the students tried out virtually.

Varsity:
Jenny Becerra
Sophie Burton
Lily Dang
Niyah Gintz
Jessica Gonzalez
Cree Howard
Sylvie Rys - Captain
Amaya Sims
Lily Svoboda - Captain
Clara Woodward
 
Junior Varsity:
Kailey Anson
Lolah-Belle Bunche
Kendall Clark
Emma Eddy
Jessie Heard
Landry Lehan
Lauren Maass
Zoe Mitchell
Martha Pliego
Madalyn Sack
Charli Shearman
Shelby Torrison
Mara Trautman


 

Posted in Student News

Art Students Honored

April 29, 2020
By Deb Daley

Mercy Art students received several honors in late April 2020. Senior Anna-Marie O'Donnell earned an Honorable Mention with her painting titled "Star Gazing" in the Congressional Art Competition. Congressman Don Bacon made the announcement on this video.  

Twenty Mercy artists were also accepted into “Celebrating Art's” spring edition.  They include:

Carmen Aguilar – Paper Rose; chalk pastel
Valentina Arriola-Tirado – Wild Flower; chalk pastel
Olivia Behrens – Mountain Sunset; acrylic
Josie Browning – Ajar Light – tenebrism acrylic
Sarah Cordwin – Balance Your World – tenebrism acrylic
Maeve Crowley – Summer Mountain View – oil
Reese Drake – A Lonely Pear – acrylic
Lacee Houghtaling – Reality of Our Bodies – reduction print
Makayla Kennedy – Freedom – illuminated acrylic
Carolyn Klein – Weinbach Waves – oil
Cecelia Martinez – Jaded – tenebrism acrylic
Olivia Miller – The Sting – illuminated acrylic
Mary Mitzlaff – War Solves Nothing – reduction print
Mia Norton – Pineapple Wonder – chalk pastel
Sulema Nungaray – The Pain of Child Abuse – relief print
Anna-Marie O’Donnell – Hope; charcoal
Sarah Ronanye – Fake Smile – reduction print
Dani Stolze – Grace – acrylic
Jo Torneten – Pumpkin – acrylic
Kelly Villalva – Peaceful Surrender - acrylic

The editor of the book stated, "Students of your school should feel honored as thousands of entrants were not invited to be published."

Posted in Student News

Thomas Named a Debutante 

April 27, 2020
By Deb Daley

Senior Caitlyn Mary Thomas, daughter of Amy and John Thomas, has been chosen as a Debutante for the 55th Omaha Symphony Debutante Ball. The Debutante Ball is a benefit for the Omaha Symphony, executed by the Debutante Ball Committee and sponsored by the Omaha Symphony Guild. All funds raised from the Debutante Ball help support educational outreach programs, which reach over 25,000 students in over 300 schools in Nebraska and western Iowa each year. 

The Debutante Ball honors families for their dedication as volunteer leaders and commitment to our community. Debutantes and Stags will be presented for a formal introduction at the event on December 27, 2020.
 

Posted in Student News

May Crowning Tradition Continues     

April 21, 2020
By Deb Daley

Watch the video for May Crowning. 

One of the most meaningful traditions at Mercy High School is May Crowning.  This year, due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, the ceremony will be adjusted, videotaped and replayed on May 11 at 7:00 p.m. The annual ceremony honors Mother Mary. A senior who exemplifies the qualities of Mary is chosen to be May Queen. She crowns Mary’s statue with a circlet of flowers. The May Queen is accompanied by the May Court, which includes representatives from each class who all exemplify Mary.  

This year’s May Queen is Katie Geist. She is a Student Ambassador, a member of National Honor Society, Pro Life Club, and Board Game Club. Katie is a Mercy High Singer and also plays the flute, sometimes accompanying the Mercy High Singers on her instrument. She was selected to portray the younger Catherine McAuley in the 2019 Mercy Day play. Katie participated in volleyball and track. Last year, she set a new school record in discus, throwing 111 feet and 7 inches. She was also a princess on the Nocturne Court. She was inducted as an EMHC last fall and is a member of Pastoral Council. The Mary Our Queen parishioner is also a Mercy legacy. Her mother, Sandra Kuncl Geist, is a graduate of the Class of 1989 and her sister, Ellie, is a freshman. 

Katie has received numerous college scholarships and was recognized as a Runza Student of the Week last fall. She will be attending Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, majoring in in Secondary Education and Theology.

When asked about this honor, Katie said, “I’m so honored to have been chosen to be May Queen. I’ve always had a special connection with Mary, and I hope I can share a bit of her love in this difficult time.” 

Joining her on the May Court are: 
Seniors: Anna-Marie O’Donnell and Madeline Rozmajzl
Juniors: Abigail Verkuilen and Anna Youell
Sophomores: Tessa Malesker and Willavena Tokporo
Freshmen: Valeria Figueroa Garcia and Rose Wallich

The two Outstanding Seniors will also be announced at the conclusion of the ceremony. They are kept secret until May Crowning.


 

Posted in Student News

Prom Story

April 17, 2020
By Deb Daley

Thanks to alumna Calla Kessler ’14, several of our Mercy students are featured and photographed in an article entitled "All Dressed Up, with No Prom to Go to." 
 
 

Posted in Student News

High Schools Share Prayers 

March 25, 2020
By Deb Daley

Mercy High School’s community prayer, a reflection that is included in morning announcements distributed to students, faculty and staff, is a collaboration between the Catholic high schools in Omaha.  It was organized by the high school campus ministers. Each school has taken turns having a student or other member of their community record a video of themselves reading or sharing a prayer.  The campus ministers uses a Google document to organize their efforts and attach the links. These shared assets are then available to all schools to use in morning announcements. 

“I think it is a great idea, and I am proud of our Omaha Catholic school community for demonstrating the collegiality that is so needed right now in our world,” said Kristi Walters Wessling ’88, principal. 

There is a sample of this effort in the following link.

https://drive.google.com/a/mercyhigh.org/file/d/1RZBs0hIS49xqZ--Pjme68Z3QIO15xRqL/view?usp=drivesdk

 

Posted in Student News

National History Day Winners 

March 09, 2020
By Brooks Humphreys

Mercy High School took home 13 prizes in the 2020 Douglas County National History Day competition at Metro Community College’s South Omaha campus on March 6.  Mercy swept all four places in both the group exhibit and individual exhibit categories.  Our students also earned ribbons in group documentary, individual documentary, group live performance and historical paper.  Here is a list of the winners:

Senior Group Exhibit

1st Place    Ellee Houghtaling and Samantha Burns, “The Little Rock Nine”
2nd Place    McKenzie Moore and Clare Euteneuer, “The Breakthrough of Fingerprinting”
3rd Place    Karina Rief and Josie Pellerito, “Can You Still Hear the Bird?”
4th Place    Lilee Surdell and Marielle McDonald, “Period. End of Story”

Senior Individual Exhibit

1st Place    Baylin Davis, “Making Waves: The Woman Who Ran the Boston Marathon”
2nd Place    Bridget Koley, “Jazz: Breaking Racial and Musical Barriers”
3rd Place    Carolyn Hire, “Breaking Barriers in Omaha: The Omaha Star”
4th Place    Makayla Kennedy, “Dissections by da Vinci”

Senior Group Documentary

1st Place    Maysa McCormick and Josie Browning, “First Impressions: The Type of Story 
You Wouldn’t Expect” about the invention of the printing press
2nd Place    Grace Larson and Dani Stolze, “Momentous Memes”

Senior Individual Documentary

1st Place    Lindsey Wessling, “New Sports in the Olympics”

Senior Historical Paper

2nd Place    Megan Streff, “How Superheroes Changed America’s WWII Participation”

Senior Group Performance

1st Place    Molly Vankat, Kateri Pantoja, and Clara Jones, “The New Collossus” 
concerning Irish immigration to America

Overall, Mercy had 36 students in the competition.  The 13 prize-winning entries qualify for the state competition on Saturday, April 18, at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln.

Posted in Student News

A Four-Legged Student

March 04, 2020
By Deb Daley

Mercy has a new student—and she has four legs and a fur coat. Eleanor, a Bullmastiff, joined the student body in late February. She is not a mascot, but a presence intended to leave a trail of smiles whenever she moves throughout the school.  

“The idea of having a school dog came up in conversation on a bus trip that faculty and staff took to an education workshop in Oklahoma. I had just adopted Eleanor from the Nebraska Humane Society, and her demeanor was great.  Everyone got excited about the idea and what a positive impact it would have on Mercy,” said owner Bethany Kowal ’02, Athletic Director and science teacher.

Several schools in the Omaha area have dogs. Research show their presence benefits the school community by making the environment feel safer, more welcoming and less stressful.

Before Eleanor was allowed to come to school, Principal Kristi Walters Wessling ’88, communicated with parents to make sure they were amenable to the idea.

“We received several calls and emails from parents excited to meet Eleanor,” she said.

Prior to coming to school, Eleanor completed the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Test. The CGC Test helps promote responsible behavior for dog owners, as well as teaches proper training for dogs to ensure they are well-mannered and easy-going around other dogs and people. The test is also a prerequisite for many dog therapy certifications. 

The reaction to the dog’s presence has been remarkable.

“I have heard students say after petting Eleanor, 'this is literally the best thing to happen to me today.' The teachers and students alike seem to really enjoy her. I think she helps facilitate connections among everyone,” Bethany said. 

Currently, Eleanor is accompanying Bethany to her classes, and a schedule is being developed for her to be with the counselors in the Media Center and in other classrooms.  

So, if you see a furry creature roaming the halls, don’t be startled. She’s meant to be there.  
 

Posted in Student News

Williams to Play Anne Frank  

February 26, 2020
By Deb Daley

Mercy senior Sophie Williams ’20 has been involved in Omaha community theatre for the past six years and dance for 14 years.  Now she will be playing the famous biographical role of Anne Frank in the The Rose Theater’s production of “The Diary of Anne Frank.“ The play provides a vivid and poignant glimpse into the world of a young Jewish girl living in Nazi-occupied Holland. 
 
The show runs from February 28-March 15. Times and ticket availability can be found on the Rose’s website.
 
“I’m really excited to play not only a serious role but someone real and not a fictional character. It is also the lead, which I am thrilled about,” Sophie said.
 
Sophie has appeared in five shows at the Rose and is drawn to this theatre because it focuses specifically on the education of children.  A member of Mercy’s Dance Team, she hopes to have a long-term career in performing.  She is currently exploring college choices.
 
 

Posted in Student News

Adams Named Grit Scholar

February 18, 2020
By Deb Daley

Mercy High School is pleased to announce that M. E. Adams ’20 has been named a Creighton University Grit Scholar. This half-tuition scholarship is funded by the Heider Foundation. She is the school’s second recipient of the scholarship. Mayela Hernandez ’19 received this award last year.


 

Posted in Student News

Practical STEAM Education

February 13, 2020
By Deb Daley

At Mercy High School, the STEAM curriculum emphasizes innovative thinking, experimentation, and the application of interdisciplinary knowledge to enhance problem solving skills. In this semester’s Fundamentals of STEAM, course students are solving real problems for people using 3-D technology.  The problem—where to store a hair crimper when not in use so it doesn’t burn a hole in the counter or burn young children’s hands.

According to Paul Tschudin, Information Technology Director and teacher with this project, the teacher acts as facilitator and the students are the thinkers and doers. To increase class engagement, the problem focuses on something the girls can relate to in their own life.  Over several weeks, the students need to define the problem, do research including conducting interviews and asking relevant questions, collect data, brainstorm potential solutions with their team, develop a prototype and refine that prototype based on feedback.  At the end of the project, teams give a five-minute presentation highlighting the steps taken to create the 3-D design.

“I really enjoyed the entire process.  You work on everything from interviewing, to brainstorming, to designing, to calculations, to computer fabrication.  The design process was fascinating because each team developed a different, unique design,’ said sophomore, Lilee Surdell.

STEAM education is crucial to educate and prepare the next generation as a global workforce.  Research shows the job opportunities in these fields continues to grow and is critical to our country’s economy. 

Posted in Student News

Freshmen Scholarships Awarded 

February 12, 2020
By Deb Daley

Twelve students from seven Catholic elementary schools received more than $50,000 in scholarships to attend Mercy High School next fall.  Mercy leadership presented the awards on February 11 while visiting the schools the students attend.   Scholarships were based on the results from the Scholarship & Placement Exam taken in January. 

 

 

                

                           

Posted in Student News

Art Honors

February 07, 2020
By Deb Daley

Congratulations to the following nine Mercy artists who "made it to State" in art! The Nebraska State Scholastic show had over 3,500 entries this year and only a small percentage of entries were accepted. 

• Honorable Mentions: Maeve Crowley, Makayla Kennedy, Olivia Miller and Lindsey Wessling. 
• Silver Keys: Josie Browning, Sarah Cordwin, Makayla Kennedy, Adrienne Teeters and Zoe Chaloupka.
• Gold Key: Jo Torneten. 

Click here to see their artwork. 

An award ceremony will be held on February 29 and artwork will be on display at the OPS TAC building from February 26 - March 31.

Posted in Student News

New Tennis Coach

February 05, 2020
By Deb Daley

Susan Sloboth has been appointed Mercy High School’s Tennis coach effective March 2020. She has been a tennis professional at Miracle Hill Golf & Tennis Center since 1995.  She has also served as assistant tennis professional at Champions Run since 2012.   Susan holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has done practicum teaching in both elementary and middle schools.

A member of the Nebraska Tennis Hall of Fame, she has been a presenter and speaker at the Nebraska Coaches Association Annual Conference and received the Outstanding Contributor to Youth Tennis USTA Distinguished Service Award in 2010. 
 

Posted in Student News

Athletes, Coach Honored

February 05, 2020
By Deb Daley

Three Mercy High School student-athletes and a coach were honored at the second annual “Lead Like a Girl Luncheon,” held on February 5 at the College of St. Mary. Taking place on National Girls & Women in Sports Day, the event recognizes Omaha public and Catholic high school female student-athletes who have been nominated in the areas of leadership, character and teamwork as part of the NAIA Champions of Character pillars. There were 32 nominees in total, three of whom were Mercy students and one was a Mercy coach.
 
Catherynn Barnhart was nominated for the Spark Award.

Sierra Mann was nominated for the Integrity Award.

Summer Mann was nominated for the Trailblazer Award.

William Austin, Mercy’s Head Cross Country & Track and Field Coach, was nominated for the Coach of Character Award.

Posted in Student News

Defense Training

January 30, 2020
By Deb Daley

Mercy’s National Honor Society will sponsor a T.A.K.E. Defense Training 

on Saturday, March 7 from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.   This flier provides 

background information and a waiver.  You can also register here. 


 

Posted in Student News

Buck Receives Superior 

January 27, 2020
By deb Daley

Anna Buck received a Superior on her Solo Musical Theatre at the Nebraska Thespians State Festival earlier in January 2020.  She performed “When He Sees Me” from the Broadway musical “Waitress.”  
 

Posted in Student News

Cast Chosen for Musical

January 24, 2020
By Deb Daley

Mercy High School’s spring musical production, “Chicago: High School Edition,” has announced its cast list.  The show, whose characters embody the 20’s through singing, dancing and performance, features a variety of genres: vaudeville, jazz, crooner, ventriloquism, and more.  The play has also been adapted for suitability on a high school stage. It still deals in the main themes of the story: the relationship between the justice system and women, what defines a valid ground for defense, the importance of fidelity in a relationship, the repercussions of wrongdoing and rash decisions, and what it means to be blinded by the flashing promise of fame.

“On a personal level, 'Chicago' was the first Broadway touring production I ever saw at the Orpheum in Omaha. I was enthralled that 'Chicago: High School Edition' preserves all of the excitement of the show while toning down the content that would be objectionable. It’s critical to understand that this production is a work of satire: it puts the behaviors of its characters on display and jazzes them up in order to expose and criticize the characters, from a chorus girl with aspirations toward fame, a manipulative lawyer, or a press that at the time was more concerned with getting attention than getting it right. These are all issues that still matter today,” said Josh von Kampen, Theatre Director.

Dates for the musical are April 17-19 with ticket information and other details coming soon.

Posted in Student News

Scholarship & Placement Exam

December 05, 2019
By Deb Daley

Mercy High School’s Scholarship and Placement Exam will take place Saturday, January 11 from 8 a.m.to noon at the school, 1501 South 48th St.  Eighth grade girls interested in attending Mercy must take the exam and results are used to place students in their freshmen year classes as well as for academic scholarships.  Register today to secure your spot in the class of 2024 and to qualify for over $62,000 in scholarships and $1.8 million in tuition assistance that the school provides to students annually. 
 
Parents are invited to attend a presentation regarding Mercy's Negotiated Tuition program with President Sr. Delores Hannon, RSM at 8:00 a.m.  An additional presentation in Spanish will be at 11:15 a.m. 
 
Registration is available online here. 


 

Posted in Student News

Christmas Program

December 05, 2019
By Deb Daley

Mercy High School will have a Merry Christmas program on December 13, at 7:00 p.m. in Franey Hall.  This event will combine both the vocal music classes as well as the dance program. There will be performers from concert choir, Mercy High Singers, a senior vocal ensemble as well as beginning dance and intermediate/advanced dance class.   Admission is free with the program lasting about an hour.   
 

Posted in Student News

18 to be Inducted into NHS

November 06, 2019
By Deb Daley

Eighteen students will be inducted into Mercy High School’s McAuley Chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS). The event is Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. at the school’s Franey Hall, 1501 South 48th St.

Students were selected based on four key criteria

•    Scholarship (a cumulative grade point of 3.5 or higher); 
•    Service (30 hours of service in the last 18 months), 
•    Leadership and involvement (extracurricular activities); and
•    Character.

The keynote speaker for NHS Induction will be alumna MaKayla Riesberg ’13.  The theme for the evening is “As girls, we dream; as women, we achieve”

New members of the National Honor Society include:

 

 Samantha Burns

 Alexandria Caito

 Baylin Davis

Clare Euteneuer

Clare Gonka

Grace Gonka

Ellee Houghtaling

Gianna Jergovic

Clara Jones

Carlee Lee

Irene Lee

McKenzie Moore

Kateri Pantoja

Erin Schartz

Megan Streff

Marissa Vargas

Abbey Wilson

Anna Youell


 

Posted in Student News

ACT Achievements Recognized

October 21, 2019
By Deb Daley

Mercy High School announced two new recognition awards for students on October 10, 2019. To celebrate ACT achievements, Mercy inducted 14 students into the 30+ Club (for girls with a 30 or above on the ACT) and 13 students into the 3 Point Jump Club (for girls who increased their ACT score by three or more points).  

Mercy is the only high school in the Omaha area that offers ACT preparation during all four years of high school free-of-charge through OnTo College with John Baylor  This program has been made possible through a generous donation from American National Bank. 

As new reports and scores become available, the school plans to acknowledge students for their ACT achievements throughout the year on a rolling basis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Student News

Schweikert is Commended Student

September 18, 2019
By Deb Daley

Mercy senior Claire Schweikert has been named a National Merit Scholarship Program Commended Student. She is being recognized for her exceptional academic promise demonstrated by her outstanding performance on the PSAT last fall. She joins about 34,000 Commended Students throughout the national being recognized.

To learn more about Mercy contact Admissions Director, Anne McGill at mcgilla@mercyhigh.org.

Posted in Student News

Food Sale Supports Students

September 16, 2019
By Deb Daley

Looking for some scrumptious food and to support a great cause? Each fall Mercy High School students sell frozen food to help fund the school’s Negotiated Tuition Program. This program provides tuition assistance to deserving students giving them an opportunity to attend the school. Each year 82% of Mercy families receive more than $1.8 million in tuition assistance.  

The kickoff for this important fundraiser is Thursday, September 19. As an added convenience, you can order everything online. Red Wheel frozen food provides a variety of items from appetizers to entrees to desserts.

Orders will be due October 24, with the pickup of items on November 13 at the school.

Posted in Student News

Mercy's Fall Play

August 27, 2019
By Deb Daley

Mercy High School’s fall play will be Front by Robert Caisley, winner of the 1996 Kennedy Center/Fourth Freedom Forum Playwriting Award. Set in England during the Blitz in World War II, a number of struggling individuals and families come to terms with war and loss. The cast includes 24 girls and three boys from neighboring high schools.  The cast was revealed on August 26. 

“ I chose this play because I felt it was important to address the perseverance of women during wartime,” said Mercy theatre director Mr. Joshua von Kampen. “With husbands and sons abroad on the war front, the women of London fought on their own front at home to survive bombing raids while trying to maintain a semblance of normal life. This show is a great opportunity for our students to create a gripping performance of historical drama. Though the subject matter is dark, a play like this can be an excellent tool to shine a light on understanding those who fight to persevere today, inspired by examples from the past.”

Performances of the play are October 25 and 26 at 7:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. on October 27 at Franey Hall. Tickets will go on sale in early October. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for students, and $5 for Mercy students.

Posted in Student News

Student Population Growing

August 08, 2019
By Deb Daley

On August 9, Mercy continued a time-honored tradition by welcoming new students amid cheers, shouts of welcome, and applause.  Current students greeted a freshmen class of 107 and several transfers to join the nearly 400 girls in the student body.    The class features students from 38 schools, all socio-economic levels, a diversity rate of 33 percent and girls from out-of-state.

Out student body is reflective of the Omaha landscape and reinforces our belief that students learn best by being exposed to different perspectives.  We are focused on each student’s success with an educational approach that differentiates to individual learning styles,” said Kristi Walters Wessling ’88, Principal. 

Building on standardized testing and ACT prep offered through OnTo College with John Baylor, which is offered free to all students, Mercy will be expanding elements of a new initiative called Kaleidoscope.  This immersive leadership coaching program, launched last year, is tailored to each high school year of development, and features strengths assessment, financial literacy, career exploration, skills opportunities and more.  
                                                         
Also new to the curriculum are several additional courses in technology focused on challenging students to explore how computing and technology can impact the world. Added to the world language program is another Spanish course that centers on Spanish in media and literature.  Also new is a beginning piano course.

To learn more about Mercy contact Admissions Director, Anne McGill at mcgilla@mercyhigh.org. 

Posted in Student News

Troia to Attend Italian Summit

July 30, 2019
By Deb Daley

Mercy High School Senior Gina Troia will be attending The Sons and Daughters of Italy Foundation Student Summit in Washington D.C. August 1-4. Troia is among 20 candidates selected across the United States to attend the Student Summit.
 
The Student Summit of The Sons and Daughters of Italy Foundation offers students a unique opportunity to interact with their peers from across the United States and to learn about their rich Italian culture and heritage (including language and food), tour parts of our nation’s capital, and of network with others. 

Troia’s selection was based on her commitment to Omaha and her involvement in the Italian community. She was the Queen of the 2018 Santa Lucia Festival and was recently accepted in the Greater Youth Omaha Council Bluffs Youth Salute and chosen to be a part of the Faces of Catholic Education. She is a member of the Sons and Daughters of Italy Colombo Lodge, Santa Lucia Festival Committee, and The Italian American Heritage Society.  Troia also attended the Friends National Stuttering Conference and in March, she volunteered her time at Misericordia Home in Chicago through Mercy. 

At Mercy, she is in the top third of her class, is a member of the speech team, cross country team, and track team. After graduation, she plans to pursue a degree in exercise science and study speech pathology. 

To learn more about Mercy contact Admissions Director, Anne McGill at mcgilla@mercyhigh.org. 

Posted in Student News

Honors Convocation

May 08, 2019
By Mary Coyle

Students were recognized at this year’s Honors Convocation in a variety of academic categories. Departments gave honors for outstanding achievement, service hours and attendance were recognized, members of National Honor Society and Student Council as well as leadership representatives were spotlighted and community awards given.  A highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of scholarships from donors and external groups. 

A complete program is available here.  
 

To learn more about Mercy contact Admissions Director, Anne McGill at mcgilla@mercyhigh.org. 

Posted in Student News

Outstanding Seniors Named

May 06, 2019
By Deb Daley

Mercy students Jordan “Jojo” Fett and Katherine “Kate” Tietjen were named Outstanding Seniors at the school’s May Crowning on May 6th.  The annual award winners are chosen by the senior class, faculty, and administration and must represent the class in an outstanding way. Honorees are considered by their peers and leaders to be loyal, trustworthy, spirited, compassionate, generous, and dedicated while also being involved in school activities.
 
Fett has been on Student Council and Golden Girls for four years, as well as Operation Others, serving on the Core Team the past two years.  She is treasurer of Student Council this year.  As a Mercy athlete, she has played soccer throughout high school.  A member of the National Honor Society (NHS), she also serves as a Student Ambassador and was on the Speech Team her sophomore year.  She is a two-time winner of UNICEF’s Courage to Care Award for her work on the Mercy Girl Rising mission project.  She also attended the Mercy Leadership Conference in Philadelphia in June of 2018. The Mary Our Queen parishioner plans to attend Benedictine College to study biology.  She received Benedict Scholar award to attend Benedictine.  
 
Tietjen has been the Vice President of Student Council the past two year and has been a member since her freshman year. The student-athlete has been on the soccer and cross-country teams throughout high school serving as captain of those teams this year.  A member of NHS and Golden Girls, Kate has also served as a Student Ambassador.  Last year she went on the service immersion trip to the Dominican Republic, and she is a Eucharistic Minister. She is a two-time winner of UNICEF’s Courage to Care Award for her work on the Mercy Girl Rising mission project.  She also attended the Mercy Leadership Conference in Philadelphia in June of 2017.

Kate is part of a Mercy legacy; her mother is Mary Ann Wieberg Tietjen ’90 and her grandmother is Ann Bendon Wieberg ’57, this year’s recipient of the Distinguished Woman of Mercy award. Also from Mary Our Queen, the Runza Student of the Week plans to attend Creighton University next fall majoring in business on a pre-medicine track. She received the Creighton University’s Founders Award, Jesuit Scholarship and Hixson Scholarship. 

To learn more about Mercy contact Admissions Director, Anne McGill at mcgilla@mercyhigh.org.               

Posted in Student News

Mercy, Theatre Legacy

May 01, 2019
By Deb Daley

Kenneth Brannagh, a famous actor and director, once said.  “I come from the theatre; my bones are in the theatre. It's as natural as breathing to want to be in the theatre.”  The same might be said of graduating senior Audra Pflug ’19.  Mercy and Theatre are a family legacy and part of her DNA. 

Audra has been in every theatre production during her four years at Mercy.  Her three sisters, Molly ’04, Monica ’09, and Jenny, who attended the school for two years, all were involved in theatre. In fact, Audra’s mother Kathleen Murnan Pflug ’81, met her husband Martin while performing in The Music Man at Mercy.  Audra’s grandmother, Claire Riley Murnan SM ’45, can be seen at every production.  Several of Audra’s aunts and cousins also attended Mercy. 

“Ever since I was a baby I would come to shows at Mercy.  At the family dinner table conversations about plays and our love of the stage were the norm,” she said.
This year, the senior played Jack in Into the Woods and John Adams in 1776, The Musical during last year’s theater season. 

She enjoys the creativity the stage brings to her life.  She is also a member of the award-winning Mercy High Singers, National Honor Society (NHS), Nebraska Thespians 6395, and was on the Nocturne Court her junior year. Her other great passion is sustainability.

“In Theology we learned about sustainability as a Critical Concern of the Sisters of Mercy. This cause resonated with me and I want to make an effort to stop climate change and what it is doing to the planet,” she said.

Audra will study Environmental Science with a concentration in sustainability at the University of Nebraska Omaha. She received several scholarships to attend college.

“Mercy shaped me into who I am today.  From the moment I stepped through those front doors, I felt I belonged.  The people here are caring and empathetic, and they pass those qualities on to you,” she added.

Because she loves theatre, Audra most likely will continue to be part of stage productions in college.

“It is a huge part of who I am and something I can share with family members,” she said.   

To learn more about Mercy contact Admissions Director, Anne McGill at mcgilla@mercyhigh.org. 

Posted in Student News

Graduates Earn $6M in Scholarships

April 30, 2019
By Deb Daley

Sixty-six students will graduate from Mercy High School on Wednesday, May 15th.  The 7:00 p.m. ceremony will take place at the Joslyn Witherspoon Concert Hall. Seventy-five percent of the graduates have earned more than $6 million in scholarships and as a whole, the class has been accepted at 59 higher education institutions.  

This year’s valedictorian is Emma Weis. She is a Senior Class officer, Student Ambassador, member of Mock Trial, National Honor Society (NHS), and Yearbook.   She also serves as President of the Baking Club and Math Club.  She has played soccer all four years and is a current co-captain of the varsity squad.  Emma volunteered at the Munroe Meyer Institute, where she is now currently employed, and attended the service trip at Misericordia in Chicago her junior year.  Emma is part of a Mercy legacy.  Her mom, Francie Riedmann Weis '81, and her grandmother, Rita Ostblom Weis SJ ’54, and four of her aunts attended Mercy. She has received numerous academic honors and seven scholarships from various colleges.   She plans to attend the University of Nebraska at Kearney, majoring in Biology on a Pre-Medicine track.  She has also signed a letter of intent to play soccer there.  

Alexia Rains is this year’s salutatorian. She has been a member of Student Council for three years, NHS, served as a Student Ambassador, and was in Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA).  The student-athlete has played soccer all four years and has been a co-captain of the varsity squad for two years. Alexia was the Mercy Day Director her senior year and has participated in service-related projects including Operation Others.  Alexia’s sisters  Kaleena ’14 and Malia ’16 graduated from Mercy.  She plans to attend the University of Nebraska Omaha and major in Biotechnology.  She received nine scholarships from several colleges.    
 
To learn more about Mercy contact Admissions Director, Anne McGill at mcgilla@mercyhigh.org.

Posted in Student News

Highest Score at District Music

April 15, 2019
By Deb Daley

Congratulations to the Mercy High Singers for their award-winning performance at District Music!  The Mercy High Singers Treble Choir received a 1+, the highest possible score, for their performance.  Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-pxmq6CXpNaE7ZmXaJIE0E9-JtfuNvbu .

The following students received a Division I ranking: 
•    Vocal Ensemble (led by Hanna Stec and Megan Oswald) - Megan Oswald, Katie Hawkins, Abby Rinkol, Emily Rimington, Erin Hardy, Hanna Stec, Ellen Veys 
•    Solo- Anna Buck 
•    Solo -Megan Oswald 
•    Solo-Victoria Nimneh 
•    Solo- Katie Hawkins 
•    Solo- Emily Rimington 
•    Solo-Hanna Stec 
•    Solo-Jordan Schaffer 
•    Piano Solo- Claire Schweikert 
•    Flute Solo- Katie Geist 
•    These students received a Division II ranking: 
•    Vocal Ensemble (led by Audra Pflug, and Jordan Winquest) - Anna Buck Rachel Poteat, Audra Pflug, Jordan Winquest, Lauren Jackson, Kate O’Brien, Jo Charbonneau, Sena Djidjoho 
•    Vocal Ensemble (led by Jordan Schaffer and Allie Marasco) - Jordan Schaffer, Jasmine Franklin, Allie Marasco, Meghann Plumb, Claire Schweikert, Victoria Nimneh, Katie Smith, Alice Long 
•    Solo- Erin Hardy 
•    Solo- Rachel Poteat 
•    Solo-Jordan Winquest 
•    Solo-Jasmine Franklin 
•    Duet- Lauren Jackson and Audra Pflug 
•    Piano solo-Emily Rimington

Posted in Student News

May Crowning Held

April 12, 2019
By Deb Daley

One of the most meaningful traditions at Mercy High School is May Crowning.  It was held May 6 . The ceremony honors Mother Mary by selecting a senior who exemplifies the qualities of Mary as May Queen, and having her crown Mary’s statue with a circlet of flowers.  The May Queen is accompanied by the May Court, which includes representatives from each class.  

This year’s May Queen was Allison Vana who is President of the Senior Class.  She has been a class officer all of her four years at Mercy, run Cross Country since sophomore year, and is in Track.  A member of the National Honor Society her junior and senior year, she has also participated in Art Club and Math Club and was on the tech crew for Alice in Wonderland. She was chosen to the Nocturne Court as a sophomore.  Her service activities include volunteering at St. Gerald Elementary School, participating in the JDRF One Walk, and helping with FIESTA. Vana belongs to St. Gerald Catholic Church and is joined at Mercy by her sister, Ann, who is a sophomore.  Vana is making final plans for college and is hoping to major in education. 

When asked about being chosen, Vana expressed gratitude for her role models that have sacrificed for her, especially her mother.  

“I am extremely honored and somewhat taken aback that I was selected.  It is thanks to the wonderful people around me that I am receiving this recognition,” she said. 

Joining her on the May Court were: 
Seniors: Jennifer Carpenter and Claire Fink
Juniors: Kayleen Gruhn and Gianna Jergovic
Sophomores: Kateri Pantoja and Kelliaine Villalava
Freshmen: Cecilia Galardi and Aluel Mareng

The ceremony includes class processions and a blessing from Father Mike Eckley, Board of Trustees member and Servant Minister of the Archdiocese of Omaha.  Each class recited a decade from the rosary. Then, the final decade was led by faculty, staff, and the May Court.  In addition, seniors wore their caps and gowns for the first time.  

Two Outstanding Seniors were announced at the conclusion of the ceremony.  They are kept secret until that evening.

Posted in Student News

Celebrating Fine Arts

April 11, 2019
By Deb Daley

Mercy High School is celebrating a week-end of Fine and Performing Arts, May 3rd-5th.  The events, which take place in Franey Hall, include the following:

Art Show, May 1st:
The show will feature award-winning student artwork from various local, state, and regional shows.  The event officially opens at 3:00 p.m. with awards presented at 6:00 p.m. and the opening reception at 7:00 p.m.  After May 1st, art will be on display in the media center and is open for viewing during the school day until May 6th.  Seniors will have guest books for visitors to sign and leave comments in as well.  

Music Concert, May 1st:  
This concert will begin at 7:00 p.m., with the Concert Choir and Mercy High Singers performing a wide variety of choral selections. In addition, music awards will be presented to students in the Treblemakers, Concert Choir, and Mercy High Singers ensembles. The top senior soloists from the District Music Contest and the senior-led ensembles will perform. This event is free and open to the public.  

Spring Dance Recital, May 5th 
The recital will be at 6:00 p.m. There are 29 dancers involved in 20 dances. Dances include such dance styles as Modern, Jazz, Tap, and Hip Hop.  Fifteen of the dances are student-choreographed. The event is free and open to the public. 
 

Posted in Student News

Poetry for Life

April 02, 2019
By Deb Daley

Students from the Poetry for Life Club love to read and write poetry and have been visiting a local retirement home to share their passion with residents there. Enjoy this photo essay!

Posted in Student News

Kaleidoscope Takes Flight

March 22, 2019
By Deb Daley

Mercy High School is committed to providing our students with the knowledge and confidence to help them succeed which is why our school is introducing Kaleidoscope.  This unique four-year leadership and empowerment program encourages each student to maximize individual strengths while providing a series of progressive opportunities to help each student reach her greatest potential.  The program’s name was chosen because a group of butterflies, the school’s mascot is the monarch butterfly, is a kaleidoscope.  

Working with the school’s Counseling Department, the Kaleidoscope program maps out a leadership curriculum that builds on the OnTo College with John Baylor, ACT preparation program that is provided free to every student. Using other community-based support including local businesses, influential community leaders, mental health and financial literacy experts, as well as alumnae and school resources, students have access to the tools and materials needed to help develop a plan of personal development. 

One of the featured events, a female leadership symposium, set for April 1 at 7:40 a.m. at Mercy. Marquee participants include leaders from the Nebraska Unicameral, Creighton University, College of St. Mary, CHI Health, Methodist Hospital, Mutual of Omaha, The Lozier Corporation, Nebraska Families Collaborative, the Heider Foundation, the Archdiocese of Omaha, and Wells Fargo.

“Kaleidoscope is intended to complement our already rigorous academic programs by providing our students with the life-skills to assist them outside of the classroom.  And much like a Kaleidoscope of butterflies evolves in their ever-changing environment, so too does this program!” said Mercy’s President, Sr. Delores Hannon, RSM.

Elements of the program include:
•    Freshman introduction into Gallup’s Builder Profile 10, an assessment geared toward entrepreneurship and innovation.   
•    Sophomore introduction to CliftonStrengths, Gallup’s strengths assessment.
•    Leadership Symposium for sophomores that provides dialogue and connections with female community and business leaders. 
•    Social and mental health awareness - A presentation from a mental health expert from CHI Health to discuss societal pressures, mental health, and strategies for coping with these issues.
•    Career exploration - Sophomores and seniors were matched with alumnae specifically pertaining to the careers they are interested in so they can learn more about employment possibilities.
•    OnTo College with John Baylor provides standardized test strategy and preparation for juniors.
•    Financial literacy for seniors - A seminar provided by our community partner, American National Bank, in which students learn about loans, credit cards, bank accounts, and other relevant financial information.

Fliers are available in English and Spanish. 

For more information contact Mercy’s College Access Assistant Josah Driml-Powers ’98 at drimlpowersj@mercyhigh.org. or 402.553.9424. 
 

Posted in Student News

Mission Week Exceeds Goal

March 04, 2019
By Deb Daley

$18,093.36 was raised by the students at Mercy High School during Mission Week, a week-long effort to support educational efforts in third world countries.  This year funds will provide basic necessities for misplaced, Syrian refuges living in camps in Lebanon.  Sisters of Mercy are on the ground there providing help. 

Sponsored by the Student Council, activities included a class penny war, “glow dance,” dodgeball tournament, and a special pizza luncheon complete with booths and sale items of T-shirt sales, raffle tickets and an auction of lunches provided by the teachers and staff. Students also wrote postcards and made friendship bracelets for refugees. 
 

Posted in Student News

Sisters of Mercy Mentoring

March 01, 2019
By Deb Daley

It has been called a rite of passage, a privilege, and a one-of-a-kind connection program.  The Sisters of Mercy’s Mentoring Program is one of the newer traditions at Mercy High School that has become a student favorite and part of the fabric of the school experience.  The brainchild of then-Principal Carolyn Jaworski in 2002, the program is intended to promote awareness of the Sisters of Mercy, establish their presence beyond sisters at the school, and an opportunity to share their lives beyond teaching in the classroom. 

“The idea came to me after I had an interview with a recent alumna.  She talked about a similar program at her college where religious interacted with students on campus.  I thought it had relevance here and brought the concept to the attention of our community leadership. They gave it their full support,” Carolyn said. 

Four times a year the Sisters of Mercy meet with juniors at Mercy High School. They get to know each other, dialogue about current issues, and have conversations centered on the Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy including human trafficking, immigration, sustainability, racism, and more.   

“Initially there was some apprehension from the Sisters because they haven’t been around students recently. That immediately dissipated when the program began, and it has become a favorite activity,” said Sr. Jeanne O’Rourke, RSM, Mercy’s Spiritual Companion who currently coordinates the program.

At the height of the program’s activity there were more than 100 students involved with 23 nuns; 21 nuns participate today. 

“Everyone has an opportunity to speak and be heard.  It is a voluntary program, so juniors sign up for this activity. We usually have close to 100 percent participation,” Sr. Jeanne added. 

Sr. Carolyn Coffey, RSM, ’57, a long-time participant in the program, said both parties benefit from the conversations. Some of her mentorships have lasted past high school with relationships with graduates who have careers and families now. 

“What really strikes me is how appreciative the girls are.  I have received notes from students telling me how much these efforts have helped them navigate their lives,” Sr. Carolyn said.

No other high school in the area has a program like this, and students see this as a special privilege.  They also appreciate the sage advice they often receive and the memories the Sisters share.

“The Sisters of Mercy are always so sweet and welcoming.  We talk about current events in the world and possible solutions on how to solve them,” said Maddie Rozmajzel ’20. 

“I enjoy participating in this program because I like hearing about the memories the Sisters have about Mercy.  I also just like getting to talk and learn about each other,” said Mia Shepoka ’20.

According to Sr. Jeanne, after 17 years the program continues to be a popular way to extend the Circle of Mercy.

Posted in Student News

National History Day

February 28, 2019
By Deb Daley

Mercy High School participated in the annual National History Day competition for Douglas County, along with several other high schools in the metro area, on February 27.  Held at The Durham Museum, 34 girls attended the event. 
The Mercy students who earned a top spot in each category are listed below.  The top four qualifiers in each section are now eligible for the state competition on April 6.  The teacher/sponsor was History Teacher Brooks Humphreys.

Senior Individual Performance
2nd Place- Anna Youell 
Christianity’s Wars

Senior Group Documentary 
3rd Place- Cree Howard, Cecilia Martinez, and Alexis Hernandez
Refugee Immigration
 
2nd Place- Abigail O’Connor, Sabrina DeGeorge, Caici Barnhart, and Carina Muse
Salem Witch Trials

Senior Individual Exhibit
3rd Place- Erin Epp
Tuskegee Institute Syphilis Experiment 

1st Place- Carolyn Hire
The Battle of Alesia 
 
Senior Group Exhibit
4th Place- Charlotte Kimsey and Baylin Davis
Japanese Brutality Against the Chinese in WWII
 
3rd Place- Clare Euteneuer and Elizabeth Walsh 
Smallpox Vaccination 
 
2nd Place- Carolyn Klein and Carlee Lee
The Great Fire of London 

1st Place- Bridget Koley and Megan Streff 
The Price of Being Poor in Victorian England 
 

Posted in Student News

Stec Named National Merit Finalist

February 15, 2019
By Deb Daley

Mercy High School senior, Hanna Stec, has been named a Finalist in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program.  

Stec is a member of National Honor Society, Show Choir, Mercy High Singers, and the Thespian Board at school as well as serving as a representative on the state board.  She will play the Witch in Into the Woods, the spring musical, was the Red Queen in the fall production of Alice in Wonderland, and has had major roles in 1776 the Musical, Girls of the Garden Club, Macbeth and Wizard of Oz. She also played club softball during her early years of high school and has received numerous academic and performing arts awards.  Her favorite subjects are Math and Calculus and she plans to major in aerospace engineering in college.   

A member of St. Vincent de Paul Parish, she is in the midst of determining her final college plans.  

Stec was named a semifinalist in the fall and is now amongst those eligible for 7,500 Merit Scholarships nationally. 

Posted in Student News

Deeper Response to Differences

February 12, 2019
By Maureen Falcon

Responding to the call “to deepen our response to the unrecognized and un-reconciled racism past and present within our community,” the Sisters of Mercy began sponsoring Anti-Racism Analysis Workshops in 2010. Since that time, over 500 Sisters, Associates and co-workers have received anti-racism training through these four-day workshops. Extending the reach of the Community’s anti-racism efforts to sponsored ministries and local communities is one of the goals of this effort.

Mercy High School in Omaha, Nebraska, was the first, and currently the only, Mercy school to implement a two-year-old program from St. Mary’s Press called Understanding Racism. Ms. Melissa Regele, a theology instructor at Mercy, chose this program to help her senior theology classes, which focus on Catholic Social Teaching, to grow in the understanding of racism. 

The goals of the program include:
•    To learn what “race” is and isn’t, and to learn that racism is perpetuated by prejudices that are learned and can be unlearned.
•    To be able to recognize how prejudice and unconscious bias generate racism.
•    To develop empathy for populations targeted by racism.
•    To empower students to live out the Gospel in today’s world.

Students are engaged by interactive learning involving exploration and decision-making. When students encounter real-life scenarios throughout this course, they are “rehearsing for life.” They practice responding to difficult situations in the course so they are more prepared to value human diversity, defend universal human dignity, and act in solidarity in everyday life. (Melissa Johnson)

Melissa Johnson, one of the writers of the course, says, “This course enables students to follow in Jesus’ footsteps by becoming aware of oppressive social patterns and by following Jesus’ example of being in solidarity with people who are disadvantaged by these patterns.”

After attending the Mercy Secondary Education Conference in 2017, Regele decided to expand the discussion on Racism in her Catholic Social Teaching class. After working through the course on her own, she knew she wanted to try it with her class.

Initially, she was concerned that there would not be enough discussion to fill class time, so she had plenty of additional activities planned. She quickly learned that her students would easily fill the period with discussion. Students worked through the online modules on their own, which included readings, interactive activities such as polls and quizzes, and free response questions. During class, they would go through the provided reflection questions.

Juena Laa, a student in the class, was initially concerned about the subject matter.  She completed the classwork that was intended to last ten days, in three. “At first I was concerned, but I got very comfortable while taking it, she said.”

Regele was pleased to find out that students were taking these discussions outside of the classroom as well. They brought the topic up in their other classes, the lunchroom, their friend groups, etc. Class member Mayela Hernandez said, “With my closer group of friends we talk about racism and immigration a lot more after taking this class. We are all more educated. It’s something we all need to talk about.”

Students also had conversations about racism with their parents. Kate Tietjen brought it up over family dinner. She said, “I did mention the course to my family. My grade school did not have diversity, and my family thought this would shape me into a more accepting person. Most people saw this as a great opportunity, but some people didn’t think it was as big of an issue in our society. Through this course, I realized racism is a bigger issue.” 

According to student Megan Oswald, being more educated on the subject helps educate other people as well. “I felt more confident to stand up to other people if they were acting in a racist way or letting their implicit bias lead them,” she said.
When discussing if discussing racism in a more in-depth way was helpful, senior Uyen Nguyen said, “I feel like every school should do this because every school is preparing the youth that are going to be the future leaders of the world. If they don’t get this education, then we are going to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.”

The Mercy Education System of the Americas, which includes 56 schools in six countries and one territory, has also put together a series of guide on anti-racism, as well as the other critical concerns of the Sisters of Mercy. These guides include questions, recommended topics and links to additional resources. 

Just as the Mercy High students learned that conversations about racism must extend beyond the classroom, the Institute Anti-Racism Transformation Team (IARTT) has always seen the Analysis Workshops as a first step. Continued education and action steps are critical to being anti-racist. The IARTT is in the process of rolling out a series of educational modules so that graduates of the analysis workshop can continue their journeys on this topic. 

Posted in Student News

Into the Woods Spring Musical

February 12, 2019
By Deb Daley

Mercy High School presented Into the Woods, the James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim Tony-Award winning musical that takes everyone's favorite storybook characters and brings them together for a timeless, yet relevant, piece... and a rare modern classic. The play was April 26-28 at the school.  

Close to 50 students were involved in this production from the cast to the crew. The cast list is available here. The show featured an ensemble performance requiring strong acting and singing throughout the production. 

According to Theatre Director Joshua Von Kampen Mercy benefits from having strong actresses able to play the roles required.

“We have seasoned upperclassmen with years of experience along with promising underclassmen,” he said.  

The story follows a Baker and his wife, who wish to have a child; Cinderella, who wishes to attend the King's Festival; and Jack, who wishes his cow would give milk. When the Baker and his wife learn that they cannot have a child because of a Witch's curse, the two set off on a journey to break the curse. Everyone's wish is granted, but the consequences of their actions return to haunt them later with disastrous results.

The set design, a collaborative effort between von Kampen and a team of students, was flexible, allowing the ability to flip from small settings like individual houses to new locations in the woods created on the back.  To add dimension, there were levels and ramps to give the stage depth. The perimeter of the stage was transformed into a forest by and outline of trees.  

Posted in Student News

8th Grade Scholarships

February 12, 2019
By Deb Daley

Mercy High School awarded 16 scholarships to eighth graders at 12 schools totaling $64,000 on February 12th .  Students received these scholarships based on results of the January placement exam. If students maintain their academic standing at Mercy, the scholarships are renewable for the same amount every year. 
 
Mercy administrators, admissions and alumnae directors visited the following middle schools to present the scholarships:
Christ the King
Holy Cross
Holy Name
Mary Our Queen
St. Columbkille
St. Gerald
St. James Seton
St. Joan of Arc
St. John the Baptist Plattsmouth
St. Mary Bellevue
St. Thomas More
St. Wenceslaus

Some pictures of recipients are available here. 

Posted in Student News

One Sweet Concert

January 28, 2019
By Deb Daley

The Mercy High School Treblemakers, the school’s show choir, will hold their annual fundraiser, One Sweet Concert, Friday, February 1 at 7:00 p.m. in the school’s gym at 48th &Woolworth. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students and Free to children under 5. Sweet Treats will be sold for $1 and Shout outs to performers are $2. 

The Concert will consist of solos, small group performances, and the finale consists of the Treblemakers’ competition pieces.

Posted in Student News

Mercy Inducts 20 into NHS

November 07, 2018
By Deb Daley

Twenty students were inducted into Mercy High School’s McAuley Chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS) on November 6.  The theme of the night was “Staying True to Yourself.” 

Students were selected based on four key criteria
•    Scholarship (a cumulative grade point of 3.7 or higher); 
•    Service (30 hours of service in the last 18 months), 
•    Leadership and involvement (extracurricular activities); and
•    Character.

Featured speaker was the Hon. Francie Reidmann Weiss ’81. The 1981 graduate of Mercy is a mother of Mercy senior and NHS member Emma. Judge Weis currently serves on the Court of Appeals in the 3rd Judicial District encompassing a number of counties in northeast Nebraska.  For the past two years, Judge Weis has served as the Nebraska State Bar Foundation Mock Trial Coach for Mercy as well as the Nebraska State Bar Foundation Mock Trial Semi-Finals Judge in Madison County Nebraska.  

New members of the National Honor Society include:
Stephanie Aleman-Maldonado    
Anna Bushman                            
Sabori Cervantes                          
Juliana Cooper                              
Miqaela Davis                              
Anna Dorr                                                
Erin Epp                                    Madeline Riesberg
Katherine Geist                        Claire Schweikert 
Anna Ham                                Rhys Slavik
Cate Huse                                 Anna Sommers    
Zoie Malesker                          Sadie Weiner
Carina Muse                             Seowon (Sunny) Yang
Abigail O'Connor                      Gabrielle Zuerlein        

Posted in Student News

Day of Discovery Features Learning Opportunities

October 04, 2018
By Deb Daley

Mercy High School has many traditions, from Mercy Day to May Crowning.  One of its newest traditions is Day of Discovery, which began about 20 years ago.  On October 15, the day designed by Student Council and made possible by faculty, features activities and trips that leverage opportunities for students to learn outside the traditional classroom setting. 

The list of activities ranges from and includes experiences such as exploring the culinary treasures of the Old Market, traveling to Oklahoma City to experience the memorial dedicated to the lives lost in the domestic terrorist bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995, visiting local farming and cheese operations, discovering Fontanelle Forest, and meeting with artists and theatre professionals.  
Day of Discovery is not merely recreational; all trips have a clear learning objective. That being said, all offered experiences are fun, too! 
 

Posted in Student News

Stec Named Semifinalist by National Merit

October 02, 2018
By Deb Daley

Mercy High School senior, Hanna Stec, has been named a Semifinalist in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program.  

Stec is a member of National Honor Society, Show Choir, Mercy High Singers, and the Thespian Board at school as well as serving as a representative on the state board.  She will play the Red Queen in the fall production of Alice in Wonderland, and has had major roles in 1776 the Musical, Girls of the Garden Club, Macbeth and Wizard of Oz. She also played club softball during her early years of high school and has received numerous academic and performing arts awards.  Her favorite subjects are Math and Calculus and she plans to major in aerospace engineering in college.   

A member of St. Vincent de Paul Parish, she is thrilled by this honor and is hopeful that it will help her stand out as she pursues college and her career dreams. 

“We are so proud of Hanna!  In addition to being extremely bright, Hanna has shared her gifts and talents with us all through her creative outlet of theatre and music,” said Kristi Wessling, Principal, Mercy High School. 

More than 1.6 million junior students in 22,000 high schools entered the National Merit competition by taking the PSAT.  Stec was among the 16,000 students that earned the semifinalist title.
             

Posted in Student News

Mercy Day 2018

September 24, 2018
By Deb Daley

Mercy Day is September 24. This annual Mercy High School event honors the day when the foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, Mother Catherine McAuley, opened the first House of Mercy in Dublin. Today’s celebration included a Mass and program by seniors educating other students about McAuley’s life. This year’s play began with Catherine on her deathbed with her sisters gathered around her.  She flashes back to important events she remembers in her life. A highlight of the program is the unveiling of the seniors who portray McAuley. This is considered one of the biggest honors students can receive and is voted on by the senior class.

This year’s two Catherine McAuleys were Anne Laferla who served as the narrator of the play and Shacty Alvarez-Hurtado who portrayed Catherine on stage. 
Anne knew after she shadowed at Mercy that she wanted to attend the school.  She has had a job for most of her high school years and works at a child care center four days a week.  She has found time to be a Eucharistic Minister, a member of Board Club, and Girls State her junior year.  Her favorite classes are Guitar and English. She plans to study photojournalism in college. 

“I hope I live up to the honor my classmates have given me in portraying Catherine,” she said.

One of the reasons Shacty decided to attend Mercy was because it was a school, “that let me experience my faith throughout the school day.”
 
She is currently the Vice President of FBLA, a member of the Pastoral Council and Pro-Life Club. She was a Nocturne princess freshman and sophomore year, a May Court member freshmen year, and Class Secretary sophomore and junior year.   She is on the tennis team and hopes to be part of the stage crew for the spring play. Her current college plans include majoring in either theology or public administration. 

“When I found out I was named Catherine, I was really surprised.  I hope I can represent Catherine for what she was—a great example of the Mercy mission in action,” she said.  

Mercy Day was also a special day for alumnae and members of the Mercy community.  The school reached out to former students who played Mother McAuley to share reflections on what the honor meant to them.  Their reflections are featured here. 

At the same time, alumnae throughout the country shared pictures and comments on social media using the hashtag #OMercyDay2018. A Facebook Live of the play garnered about 600 viewers.  

At the end of the play, seniors showed a video of several Sisters of Mercy and Mercy Volunteer Corp members talking about the impact Catherine McAuley has had on their lives.

Pictures from the day are available here. 

Posted in Student News

McAuley Reflections

September 19, 2018
By Deb Daley

very September the Mercy community worldwide celebrates Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Sisters of Mercy on Mercy Day.  That tradition has been celebrated at Mercy High School for more than 60 years.  In honor of the Mercy graduates who have portrayed Catherine through the years, we asked past recipients to reflect on the honor they received.  


Here are some of their reflections: 

Mary Jo Pitzl ’75 shared her thoughts. 
“Being selected Mother McAuley was, of course, a great honor from my classmates. I am hopeful that I have exemplified Catherine McAuley's spirit of giving in my life (perhaps to a fault: I keep a sign at my desk that says, "Stop me before I volunteer again"!). And I have striven to be kind to people, even when my profession as a journalist calls for me to ask the tough questions and take the impertinent stand.

You can be a "nice person" and still do the tough work -- why, often, it's more effective that way.” 

Sheila Greave ’83, from Omaha, Nebraska shared the following reflection.
“I was very surprised when my classmates "kidnapped" me to tell me about it. The vote took place while I was at debate camp, so everyone knew but me! It meant the world to me. It meant that in my years at Mercy I not only grew, I blossomed into the woman of Mercy I was striving to be. What a blessing it was to have a school that fostered that in me.” 

Tammie Nussrallah '86 shared her thoughts on being Catherine McAuley. "Being named Catherine McAuley was humbling to me. Mercy is a precious gift to all who come into contact with its traditions, as well as its students, faculty, staff and families. Continue forward Class of 2019. Show the world the Spirit of Mercy in all that you do!"

Jackie Lee ’02 portrayed Catherine during the 2001-02 academic year and still lives in Omaha. 

“Being named Mother McAuley meant I was able to honor a woman who embodied much of what I wanted to become in the world. Mother McAuley was an inspiration to me because she was able to accomplish so much, which was especially remarkable when you considered that a majority of women during her era were not afforded the opportunity to be a leader. As a high schooler I felt that if she could do it, why not me? Her life demonstrated that we can each cause positive changes in the world, and it is our duty to strive towards this in ways both big and minuscule. She trusted in her community and inspires me to do the same.” 

Coley Mixan ’08, was Catherine during the 2007-2008 academic year.  She now lives in Seattle, Washington.  She said: 

“Being named Catherine McAuley offered me an opportunity to frame the focus of my life's work from the beginning of my young adulthood. I had to ask myself (and as I continually ask myself now), how does the legacy of Catherine McAuley's work (lovingly giving alms and attention to the most vulnerable in our society) show up in the way I treat others in my day to day interactions? Catherine McAuley's spirit remains alive and well in 2018 when we work to dismantle the varying systematic oppressions that give advantageous power to white/wealthy people. Being named Catherine McAuley meant that I needed to strive to become an active listener in my life's work: to listen the lives and issues of cis-and-trans black women and women of color–and then acting through nonviolent means to correct the injustices of our culture. It’s a framework of love that I am humbly honored to challenge myself to everyday. “

Monica Keenan ’12 was a Mother McAuley honoree from the Class of 2012. She said:

“Behind every strong woman is a strong woman, is a strong woman, is a strong woman.” These words hung upon my wall as I completed my second year of service as a Jesuit Volunteer in the Northwest and they have stuck with me here in graduate school as a Trinity Fellow at Marquette University. I was reminded daily of the strength, beauty, and power that comes with being a woman. Catherine knew this and dedicated her life to building up strong women in order to change the world- and change it she did. Countless lives have been affected by Catherine’s work and the work of so many strong women of Mercy that have come after her. Being selected to be Mother McAuley is an honor and a privilege, but each of us have the responsibility to be more like Catherine every day. Our world needs people of Mercy; people who see the dignity of others; who stand against racism, sexism, income inequality and other forms of hatred, bias, and discrimination. Stand against these things, and I promise you won’t stand alone. My dear Mercy sisters: “This is the time for which you were created” (Esther 4:14). You are strong women. I stand in awe of who you are, what you’ve done, and what you have yet to do and become. Enjoy your cup of tea today, but maybe love your neighbors a little extra too. I like to think Catherine would approve this adaptation to her message.

Sit at a new lunch table, give that compliment you thought would be too random to say, talk to people who have different interests, and get to know each other a little more. You won’t regret that, and you may just begin to see more similarities than you imagined. Don’t forget to be gentle with yourself too. In case no one has told you recently: you are enough, just as you are. You are loved and lovable and you are all things good. Yes you, right there. Bonus challenge- try saying that to your neighbors. Look them in eye: “Christine, you are enough, just as you are. You are loved, and you are lovable. Christine, you are all things good.” (Heyo- shout out to Ms. Gonderinger). Use your life in a good way to build up others like Catherine did. You are the newest wave in this legacy that Catherine started, and I am so honored that I get to stand beside and live in a world with people like you. Happy Mercy Day fam. 

Jamie Jacobsen’14 currently resides in Sioux City, Iowa and said: 

“My time at Mercy High School sowed the seed of service in my heart. Catherine McAuley inspired me to become a social worker. Being named Catherine McAuley was one of my proudest moments. To me, that meant that those around me recognized my commitment to pursing Catherine's mission in my life.”

Abi Jones ’18 who was one of the students who portrayed Catherine last year said:
“Being chosen to represent Mother Catherine McAuley was the biggest honor I have ever received. It was really an amazing experience to memorize the script of Mother Catherine's life and to perform in front of an audience and to be chosen to represent the founder of our school. But the entire experience was not so much about the tradition itself or the play put on by my class. It wasn't even about reaching the important Mercy milestone of putting on successful a Mercy Day play or singing our class song and reciting our class prayer. Those were some beautiful moments shared with my classmates that I will never forget. But for me, the honor I felt was more centrally focused on gratitude. I had the beautiful opportunity to celebrate the gratitude of all women of mercy. If it were not for Mother Catherine listening to the Lord's call to her heart, we would not have been celebrating Mercy Day at all. I am so honored that my classmates elected me to represent Mother Catherine. Her life is such a beautiful example of listening to the Lord and living in his love. Because of Mother Catherine's yes, we get to come together every year and celebrate the foundation of our beautiful Mercy community in that little house on Baggot Street.

I am so beyond grateful for Mother Catherine's beautiful mission to spread God's love through immediate help for the poor women and children of Dublin. It is an indescribable experience to be chosen among my classmates because they see qualities of Mother Catherine in me. I was chosen to represent advocacy. Mother Catherine showed no submission to the face of fear. She said yes to becoming a sister, though she didn't want to. She did not let anything stop her from spreading God's love and advocating to help God's people. To know that my classmates see that quality in me is insanely sweet and amazing and it brings tears to my eyes. I see many of the qualities of Mother Catherine when I look at them. And I see those qualities when I look at all women of Mercy. The beautiful mission that the Sisters of Mercy follow has affected so many lives. The impact is so clear and so true. Mother Catherine set a beautiful example of living life for the Lord, and Mercy Day is such a precious time to celebrate our gratitude for Mother Catherine's yes to the Lord.”
 

Molly Bartek-Miller'18 also portrayed Catherine last year.  
" I felt proud to be chosen by my classmates. It also gave me joy that I am able to brighten someone's day and to make them laugh. Being named Catherine McAuley meant and still means a lot to me even to this day. Mercy helped me become the women I am today. Not only did the student, teachers, and Sisters help give me courage and strength but I also had Catherine McAuley to look up to."

Posted in Student News

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