Mercy Welcomes Two New Faculty
Jim Mayberger is our new business and technology teacher. He comes to us from OPS where he was a curriculum specialist.
He managed the Business Marketing and Information Technology, Family and Consumer Science, Skilled and Technical Science, and Robotics departments.
“I am excited to teach in a faith-based school. I really enjoy being in the classroom and I look forward to being part of the Mercy community.”
Jenna Saraka joins our math department. She comes to us from Omaha Central, where she taught for five years.
“I am most excited about joining a staff and community that offers strong educational opportunities and many extracurricular activities for students that are centered around faith.
I am also excited to work with students who are eager to learn in and out of the classroom!”
Two New Hires for the Advancement Team
Sammie Emsick Becker ’05 has accepted the Director of Events position at Mercy High School and began her new role on June 13, 2022.
Since graduating from Mercy, Sammie earned a bachelor in elementary education, a certificate in Catholic School leadership, and most recently, a Master of Science in educational leadership. Outside classroom teaching, she has served as the athletic director for St. James for the past three years where, in conjunction with supervising all things athletics, annually planned the “Spring Fling” fundraiser where dollars raised went straight to the athletic program. Her most recent “Spring Fling” event set a record for money raised for St. James. She further has event planning experience by way of her time at Dundee Bank, where she was the community involvement coordinator and worked closely with various Omaha businesses to promote and grow relationships with key stakeholders of the bank via special events.
She’s married to Tyler Becker and has two boys Ty (12) and Drew (10).
Welcome back to Mercy Sammie!
Brian Altenhofen began his new position as Director of Marketing and Communications on July 5th.
He comes to Mercy with a wealth of knowledge having earned a doctorate degree in communication and technology studies from Texas A&M University and teaching at Truman State University for the past five years. He also served as the Director of the Truman Leadership Scholars, mentoring and programming leadership experiences for Truman Scholars. Prior to his academic career he spent five years as a Jesuit Scholastic.
He is married to Michaela Cullan Altenhofen who will return to Mary Our Queen Catholic School teaching 3rd grade. They have four children Dylan (16), Lily (9), Dominic (7), and Clara (3).
The Story of the Chapel Chairs
Donations to Mercy High School come in all shapes and sizes. Some are monetary. Others come as gifts-in-kind, services, stocks, real estate, and more. In 2002, thanks to the efforts of then-Mercy President, Sr. Johanna, and a generous donation by Fr. Pat McCaslin, former pastor of St. John Vianney, Omaha, Mercy received an unusual donation of furniture. More than 300 chairs with attached kneelers would be given to the school for the Our Lady of Mercy Chapel. Today, they are worth well over $20,000.
“We were doing a major renovation at the church, and we decided to replace our chairs with pews. I put the call out to the Catholic community to see if there would be interest in our church chairs, and Sr. Johanna was quick to jump on board. I was happy to donate to the school because I knew they would be put to good use. I remember the glorious day when the chairs were picked up and transported to their new home,” said Fr. McAslin.
Fr. Pat’s association with Mercy did not begin with that donation. His mother, Elizabeth Mary O’Connor, was educated by the Sisters of Mercy during her formative years. She raised her large family to be individuals of faith, and six of her 10 children entered the religious life. Fr. Pat’s sister, Claire, is still a Dominican nun and his four brothers, Ed, Jim, Jack and Dick, all became priests. In fact, his oldest brother, Ed, who is now deceased, was chaplain for the Sisters of Mercy at the motherhouse at the College of St. Mary in the mid ‘50s.
Fr. Pat has also ministered at Mercy by presiding at Mass and Reconciliation.
“I also remember as a student at Creighton Prep we would go to dances with the students from St. Mary’s. That school eventually merged with St. John’s to form Mercy High School,” he said.
The now retired priest, who was ordained in 1961, has ministered at parishes most of his life. He also was the first Director of Diaconate for the Archdiocese of Omaha, a position that coordinates the training of deacons, for 15 years.