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Alumnae Career Day

March 21, 2019
By Deb Daley

Twenty-two Mercy alumnae and four community representatives visited the sophomores and seniors to discuss careers on March 25.  Students were surveyed about jobs they were interested in and alumnae in those fields were asked to attend.

In a “speed-date” like forum, students will rotate between alumnae grouped together by professional fields.

Careers of interest ranged from health care to public service, fine arts, education, and the law. 

Our participants were:

Rose Grabow Anderson' 03, Owner of Baela Rose
Amanda Peterson Baker '98, Real Estate Appraisal at Kinteic Valuation Group
Siryeya Belton '09, Youth Pastor at Dream City Church Omaha
Molly Collins Beran, MD, FACOG '97, Doctor of Obstetrics and Gynocology with CHI Health
Katelyn Cherney '04, Staff Attorney at the Milton R. Abrahams Legal Clinic at Creighton University School of Law
Kaylea Dunn '96, Performance Consultant at HDR
Malinda Frevert '07, Deputy Digital Director at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
Helen Holmes Giambrone '97, Disease Investigator at the Douglas County Health Department
Becky Dale Girthoffer '99, Global PMO Manager at LinkedIn
Emily Gonderinger '09, Transportation and Logistics Specialist at Gavilon
Kayla Thomas Haire '93, Media Relations Coordinator at Nebraska Medicine
Mary Kirchoffer, retired from the Omaha Police Department
Amy Harmon Lane, Ph. D. '86, Theater & Dance Coordinator at the Creighton University College of Arts & Sciences
Angela Wieberg Maynard, RN, BSN, CPN '83, Assistant Director, Clinical Support at Creighton University Student Health Services
Danielle Meier, Bass and Vice President of Artistic Administration at the Omaha Symphony
Kashmir Miedl '10, Owner of Theory 12 Massage and Wellness, LLC
Kelly Nystrom '86, Associate Professor and Acting Assistant Dean, Office of Academic and Student Affairs at the Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Professions
Meg Latka Peters '04, Nursing Informatics Lead at Nebraska Medicine
Leanne Prewitt '97, Creative Director at Ervin & Smith
Cynthia Russell, BS, DDS '76, Adjunct Associate Professor at the Creighton University School of Dentistry
Judy Niemoller Sorenson '75, VP/Audit Manager, Credit & Counterparty Audit  at Bank of the West
Carolyn Andreasen Taylor '71, Teacher (retired) from Holy Cross Catholic School
Erin Walsh, PA-C, Physicians Assistant at Creighton University Student Health Services
Francie Riedmann Weis '81, Judge with the State of Nebraska
Brittany Willmore '08, Social Worker with the Nebraska AIDS Project
A representative from the Omaha Fire Department





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.

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 

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. 

Into the Woods Spring Musical

February 12, 2019
By Deb Daley

Mercy High School will present 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 is set for April 26-28 at the school.  

Close to 50 students are involved in this production from the cast to the crew. The cast list is available here. The show features 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, will be 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 will be levels and ramps to give the stage depth. The perimeter of the stage will be transformed into a forest by and outline of trees.  

Tickets will be sold online and be available at the door.  Details will be available in mid-March. 

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