Skip Navigation
Archive for the "Student News" Category

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

Recent Posts

11/6/19 - By Deb Daley
10/28/19 - By Deb Daley
10/21/19 - By Deb Daley
10/21/19 - By Deb Daley
10/21/19 - By Deb Daley

Categories

Archives