Mercy High School honored donors and dedicated two renovated science laboratories on October 23. More than 150 supporters generously donated over $800,000 to this project. Lead donors included the Mammel Family Foundation, Dr. C. C. and Mabel Criss Memorial Foundation, and The Lozier Foundation. In addition, Mercy received a $40,000 federal grant to purchase science equipment.
The renovated labs are designed to facilitate interactive experimentation and collaboration and are packed with technology to best complement the transfer of information.
Specific enhancements include updated workspace islands, integrated projection systems for sharing of knowledge, upgraded gas, water and electrical infrastructure, digital analysis enhancements and improved lighting and ventilation.
These labs are critical to the delivery of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) curriculum. As part of its Strategic Plan, Mercy continues to embrace and enhance its STEAM programming that integrates these areas of study, leverages the school’s educational expertise, instills critical thinking through the practical applications of knowledge and raises awareness of career choices in these fields.
Mercy offers a variety of science, chemistry and physics courses including Biology, Honors and AP Biology, Chemistry, Honors and AP Chemistry, Human Anatomy and Physiology and Physics as well as Foundations of STEAM in the renovated spaces.
Mercy has embraced the commitment to STEAM and its principles, reinforcing to its students the job opportunities that are available to women in these fast-growing fields. Although women fill close to half of all jobs in the U. S. economy, they hold less than 25 percent of STEAM-related jobs.
“These donors understand how their generous investments in these laboratories will help our students reach their full potential, helping us build leaders to make a difference in our community,” said Delores Hannon, RSM, President, Mercy High School.
Malinda Frevert ’07, currently works in our nation’s capital and witnesses first-hand the importance of women in leadership roles. Attending Mercy gave her the perspective that women can and should lead and work together to make things happen.
As Deputy Digital Director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, she oversees the email program, the organization’s social media strategy, and other digital efforts.
D.C. might be a long way from Omaha but her love for politics and our nation’s capital, actually began during her years at Mercy.
“I remember in U. S. History, we watched episodes of The West Wing, where I saw Allison Janney playing Press Secretary CJ Cregg. She was smart, unafraid to speak her mind, and had a major impact on her coworkers but also the country. I wanted to be her,“ she said.
Malinda decided to go to Mercy because she wanted to be academically challenged and her parents wanted her to attend a Catholic School.
“When I shadowed I recall how everyone was welcoming and friendly. I also talked with Ms. Jaworski, and she said although the classwork wouldn’t be easy, it would also be at a place where the teachers and my classmates would help me grow, “she added.
While at Mercy she was involved in theatre, served as president of the International Thespian Society her senior year, participated in speech and even received a 6th place in Nebraska State Speech. She was also a member of National Honor Society and credits the school for teaching her how to write – whether it’s research papers for English class, fundraising emails, and tweets.
“I believe one of the most important skills Mercy taught me was to be a good writer. Initially, I wanted to be a press secretary, but throughout my career effectively telling stories has been one of my keys to success,” she said.
Malinda graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan in 2011 with a degree in Political Communication. Part of that course of study was an internship in D. C. with CNN. In 2013, she moved to the D.C. without a job. She eventually joined a women’s rights group called UltraViolet where she organized to raise awareness and hold universities accountable for sexual assaults on campus. She also worked on a gubernatorial campaign in Ohio and served as email director focused on electing Democratic women to all levels of office.
“At Mercy I also gained my passion for activism and social justice,” she said.
She still regularly visits her family and friends in Nebraska and remains close with many of her classmates.
“I try to live up to Mother McAuley’s example. I am committed to empowering women to make a difference in the world, whether that’s casting their votes, marching in the streets, or putting their name on the ballot themselves. Women are powerful, we look out for each other, and we can change the world – Mercy taught me that,” she said.
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!
More than 17 Mercy High Seniors will be shadowing with Mercy alumnae on October 10 to get a feel for possible careers after high school. The 2nd Annual Shadow Day is a half-day event from 8 a.m.-noon, and includes the students looking at positions in health care, law, pharmacy, education, engineering, law, marketing and communications, nursing, teaching, pharmacy, and more.
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.