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Mercy Education: Good News Digest January - March 2021 Edition

Mercy Education System of the Americas includes over 50 schools in six countries and one territory.

Here is a look at just some of the incredible and inspiring activities, events, service projects, accomplishments and more happening in our education ministries.

Waldron Mercy Academy - Merion Station, Pennsylvania

Our community STICKS together! We held a sticker contest to have our students show off their school pride! Every student received a copy of the sticker sheet this month.

We started a series called Mercy Mindset where our 8th graders interview alumni who embody Mercy. The monthly video is shared with our students in religion class and our greater community online.

Alpha Infant School - Kingston, Jamaica

Alpha Infant School celebrated Jamaica Day 2021 on February 26. This was held virtually under the theme: “Celebrating Jamaica: ‘Reggae the Message of Resilience and Triumph.”

Alpha Infant School celebrated Peace Day 2021 on March 2. This was held virtually under the theme: “Let’s Shape Peace Together!” Our Guidance Counsellor Mr. Kevin Richards and student Micah Kellyman read scripture lessons in keeping with Peace Day theme. Peace Day Videos: 1 and 2

St. Bernard Academy – Nashville, Tennessee

St. Bernard Academy recently announced a large charitable gift that established the Bumpus Family Special Events Fund. The gift was made by past parents John and May Bumpus, along with their children Nan Bumpus ’08, and Griffin Bumpus ’12. The fund will provide students with hands-on, experiential learning opportunities to enrich their education. The first project supported by the fund will be constructing a colorful tile mosaic depicting the history of the Sisters of Mercy and SBA.

Each year as part of Catholic Schools Week, St. Bernard Academy students organize a fundraiser to support the Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville. This year, students chose to support the Pediatric Cancer Unit at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. The fundraiser theme was “Rock Your Recess,” where students dedicated their recess time to “rock” baby dolls or stuffed animals in honor of the medical professionals and volunteers who care for children at the hospital. Family and friends donated to support the students and their rocking efforts. This year our students raised almost $29,000 – our highest fundraising total ever during Catholic Schools Week and double last year’s record-breaking amount!

Mercy High School – Farmington Hills, Michigan

Congratulations to the 14 students from Mercy’s Art Department who won 32 awards in this year’s Regional Scholastic Art Awards competition. Special congratulations to seniors Kaylin Collins and Anna Jain who had award-winning portfolios.

Congratulations to Sophia Tesic '21 who was named a Finalist in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program!

Math Teacher Mrs. Vicky Kowalski and Special Academic Programs Specialist Dr. Alison Kline-Kator made their commitment as Mercy Associates in February 2021. Vicky and Alison have spent the last year discerning a call from God to actively engage in a commitment to mercy within a formal relationship with the Sisters of Mercy. They join our current Mercy Associates Judi Dennis, Dr. Cheryl Kreger, Colleen McMaster and Sandy Mals.

Mercy Career and Technical High School - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Students assembled Blessing Bags for local Philadelphia folks experiencing homelessness. Blessing Bags are filled with essential items, including hats, gloves, socks, hand warmers, soap, mouthwash, masks and snacks. They also include personal notes of encouragement from our students.

Mercy Tech's 9th and 10th grade students participated in a virtual Occupations Day. This all-alumni event included representatives hailing from industries such as IT, Healthcare, Cyber Security, Cosmetology, Business, Culinary Arts, and Engineering Security.

Amir McIntosh, C’24, marched with his Boy Scout Troop 358 for the virtual Inauguration Day Parade! He is working his way up to Eagle Scout, and is part of a troop with more Eagle Scouts than any others in the Philadelphia area.

Mercy High School – Omaha, Nebraska

In the spirit of Mercy’s FIESTA 2021: Saints & Superheroes, hundreds of loyal supporters, families, alumnae and friends exemplified those roles in making the first-ever virtual FIESTA a great success. The inspirational online event on February 20, 2021, raised more than $350,000 for the school’s Negotiated Tuition Program, which provides tuition assistance to families who otherwise may not be able to attend Mercy. Close to $2 million in tuition assistance is distributed annually thanks to generous donors and fundraising events like FIESTA.

Three Mercy High School seniors have received the prestigious Heider Foundation Grit Scholarship to Creighton University. This is the highest number of Mercy recipients for this award since the award’s inception. The half-tuition scholarship recognizes students who have a high aptitude to succeed but whose talents are not evident when measured by the standard academic metrics used to qualify students for significant merit scholarships at Creighton University. The scholarship winners were Erin Schartz, Stephanie Hernandez and Anou Akot pictured left to right with President, Sr. Delores Hannon, RSM.

Enthusiastic and successful students are Mercy’s best brand ambassadors, ensuring a Mercy education is available to any student for future generations to come. That is the primary reason the Shadow Hostess program was formed. Trained and selected by Admissions Director, Mrs. Anne Zadina McGill ’00, these current students are responsible for the schools’ shadowing program, one of Mercy’s most effective recruitment tools. This effort is designed to help make prospective students feel like Mercy Girls by giving them a feel for the school. These visits include attending classes, going on tours and making the visitor feel welcome. For many middle school students, the decision of which high school they will attend, often is one of the first important ones that they make in their young lives

The Campus Laboratory School of Carlow University - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Second grader Iyla Jain recently won a mask design contest for her tropical design mask. Happy Masks will be donating 5% of all sales of this design to Our Clubhouse in honor of Iyla's father, who passed away from cancer four years ago. During that time, Our Clubhouse provided a great deal of support to Iyla and her family. Iyla demonstrates how CLS students and families use their skills and talents to make a difference for others.

CLS is striving for the Anti-Defamation League No Place for Hate designation this year. Middle school students are designing activities and lessons for our community related to inclusion, acceptance and diversity. Once completed, our school will join many others in officially declaring ourselves a No Place for Hate zone!

Congratulations to our 8th Grade Robotics students this year for their perseverance through this unprecedented and difficult year. All three teams earned awards! Congratulations Carlow Toon Squad for earning the MOTIVATE AWARD! Congratulations to the Carlow NanoBots for being awarded the BREAKTHROUGH AWARD! Congratulations to the Carlow Climbers for being awarded the ENGINEERING EXCELLENCE AWARD!

Mercymount Country Day School - Cumberland, Rhode Island

March 1 marked the 100th day of school at Mercymount! 100 days smarter, and 100 days steeped in Mercy!

Members of the 7th and 8th grade class were inducted into the National Junior Honor Society on Friday February 26. The ceremony was Zoomed from the library to families at home as well as other classrooms on campus.

Members of the Mercymount Faculty and Staff celebrated vocations during Catholic Schools

Mount Saint Mary Academy – Watchung, New Jersey

Three seniors, Sabrina DiIorio, Simone Koryszewski and Andrea Ruiz, were recently notified that they were chosen by Columbia University to continue their successful journeys at the prestigious school in the fall.

Nearly 20 Mount Saint Mary Academy students participated virtually in the BLAST Program from Rutgers Medical School by watching the Anatomy Dissection/Discussion. According to Dr. Michael Bernard, Mount science teacher, "The program is used not only to educate high school students, but to get medical students to experience talking about what they have just learned the previous semester."

The following students announced their athletic commitments:

  • Maggie Barr (senior) - lacrosse, Sacred Heart University,
  • Molly Catchpole (junior) - field hockey, Univ. North Carolina,
  • Sarah Gresham (junior) - lacrosse, Virginia Tech,
  • Simone Koryszewski (senior) - lacrosse, Columbia Univ.,
  • Ella Romeo (junior) - lacrosse, Davidson College,
  • Lily Kumar (junior) - field hockey, Univ. of Pennsylvania,
  • Amanda Romano (senior) - track & field, Washington & Lee University

Bishop Feehan High School – Attleboro, Massachusetts

Bishop Feehan recently completed a school-wide celebration of Black History Month that included efforts across all aspects of our Feehan community. These February happenings were just a part of an ongoing focus at Feehan around Diversity & Inclusion. Events included speakers, multimedia experiences highlighting Black Americans and a banner where students can pledge their support to make Bishop Feehan a welcoming place for all.

Students and faculty gathered for an inspiring March for Life on Holcott Drive. The school said: “We pray for a world where every life is celebrated, values and protected.”

The annual talent show competition – Feehan’s Got Talent – took place virtually as part of the Catholic Schools Week celebration. Watch it here!

Instituto María Regina – La Ceiba, Honduras

On March 12, staff members participated in their first retreat of the school year. It was a Lenten retreat, and the experience ended with Mass concelebrated by Father Oscar, Father Rene and Monsignor Michael Leningham. More pictures are available here.

In March, an email exchange was started between 7th graders at Instituto María Regina and Mercy Montessori in Cincinnati, Ohio!

Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School - Chicago, Illinois

Last February, we celebrated “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day!” Over 20 alumnae and friends joined our Macs via Zoom to share their experience as engineers.

Senior AP Art & Design students Sasha Anoshenko, Isabelle Arquilla, Hannah Novak, Lizbet Perez, Grace Rowan and Lindsey Vidmar received over $833,000 in scholarships from a range of colleges based on their senior portfolios!

This Black History Month, our Black Student Union members held a variety of events throughout the month, such as Black Alumnae Interviews, Black History Month prayer service and a virtual Muntu Dance performance.

Mercy High School - Middletown, Connecticut

Students at Mercy High School in Middletown, joined by their school’s president, have launched a podcast to connect students with alumnae and the community, while providing a hands-on opportunity for students to take on the role of journalists, learning interviewing skills and technical aspects of producing audio programs. In Episode 11, alumnae and Students 4 Change club members discuss important topics concerning social justice.

Rosary for Peace and Students 4 Change club members collected over 300 coats for families in need as part of their "Dream 'n Act" Coat Drive held in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Robotics Team, TechTigers #3654, was asked by Collins Aerospace to gave a virtual presentation “Introduce a Girl to Engineering" -a virtual demonstration of their robot and to showcase what the team does for FIRST Robotics competitions and to the community. This event was part of Collins Aerospace Girl Day 2021 program which is held every year during the National Engineers Week. The Mercy girls explained to younger girls what they do and what is involved in engineering.

Gwynedd-Mercy Academy Elementary - Spring House, PA

Gwynedd-Mercy Academy students made 96 Kindness Cups, 44 Homework Helpers, 186 Helena's Hope Bags, 104 Crafts for Fun, 39 Baby Bundles and 23 scarves to benefit Mercy Ministries throughout the Philadelphia area. GMA families contributed to fund this project, and our students enthusiastically acted to #MakeMercyReal.

We served 8 Slices of STEM to Gwynedd-Mercy Academy Elementary families as a community builder and fun creative thinking exercise. To replace our annual STEM Family Night, when we host activities throughout the building, families received 8 Slices of STEM boxes and a ZOOM link to engage with each other and our STEM Director for tech support.

In a small way nearly 140 Gwynedd-Mercy Academy Pre-K to grade 8 families walked in the footsteps of Catherine McAuley on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Participating in an at-home service activity, they assembled 1400 sock rolls to be distributed to the homeless. Socks are the most requested item at homeless shelters. The Giving Tree, a local charity founded by GMA parent, Bridget Leary, facilitated our efforts to aid local shelters, bringing some warmth, comfort, and nourishment to those in need.

Mercy Montessori – Cincinnati, Ohio

Junior High students from Mercy Montessori and Instituto María Regina (La Ceiba, Honduras) have started an email-pal program. Students from Mercy Montessori will send their emails in Spanish, and students from Instituto María Regina will send their emails in English, helping to improve foreign language skills and cultural awareness for both schools. We are grateful for this partnership and enriching experience that was arranged through Mercy Education!

Mercy Montessori Upper Elementary students share the beautiful song, "Light a Candle for Peace" by signing the words to a recording of the song.

Ten teams of Mercy Montessori Junior High students will be moving on to the state competition for National History Day! Mercy is proud of the hard work of all our students who compete annually in National History Day. This has been a Mercy tradition since 1983.

Mercy High School – Baltimore, Maryland

Mercy High School proudly "united in service" with three other area Catholic schools to collect and donate professional attire for men and women seeking employment through the Attire 4 Hire and Suited for Success Greater Baltimore programs. The overwhelming success of the collection led to filling four buses with clothing! Read more here.

Mercy celebrated safely offering athletics all year and the highly anticipated spring sports season opening on March 1, as highlighted in the story, "What's the Magic Behind Mercy High School's In-Person Learning and Activities This Year?"

The "curtain" went up on Mercy's first-ever virtual musical, Getting to Know...Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, on March 25. Kudos to the staff and students for re-imagining what the show could be with the use of green screen technology!

St. Catharine Academy - Bronx, New York

Mahnoor S., a junior at St. Catharine Academy, has been accepted into Stanford University’s INSPIRIT AI (artificial intelligence) engineering program. This virtual paradigms program is a global collaborative summer program. The mini-lab projects will consist of artificial intelligence on self-driving cars, cancerous cells, lung x-rays, environmental engineering and COVID-19 genomics.

Mahnoor will also work with professors and post-doctoral students from prestigious universities and colleges including: MIT, Brown, Cambridge, and Harvard, and SCA STEM teacher Sheree Petrignani. Ms. Petrignani says, “As her teacher mentor, I will also be doing professional development for AI core technologies. I am proud and just as excited to see her journey with seriously stellar students across this country, and I am glad to be her mentor.

Jessie Ripoll Primary School - Kingston, Jamaica

Jessie Ripoll Primary celebrated "Jamaica Day" under the theme: “Reggae, the Message of Resilience and Triumph.” Jamaica Day is a national celebration of the country's rich cultural heritage and legacy.

Jessie Ripoll Primary through its Guidance and Counseling Committee encouraged nonviolence through a "Peace Day" Lunch Hour Concert. Over 350 students logged on. The theme was: “Let us Shape Peace Together.”

Mount St. Mary Academy – Little Rock, Arkansas

Emily Coffey, college counselor at Mount St. Mary Academy, is one of 12 college counselors from high schools across the country – and the first ever from an Arkansas high school – to receive the 2021 Counselors That Change Lives Award.

Mount St. Mary Academy held its 2nd annual Week of Giving, March 15-19, with the goal of raising $150,000 for the school's annual fund campaign. More than $10,000 was raised by student callers during an hour-long phonathon on Monday evening that was livestreamed to help kick off the special week.

Mount St. Mary Academy celebrated its 170th birthday on February 5. Founded in 1851, it is the oldest continuously operated school in Arkansas and the third oldest Mercy school still in service.

Walsingham Academy – Williamsburg, VA

Bryce McHose, a member of Walsingham Academy's Class of 2024, has been recognized as one of the top student volunteers in Virginia for his "exceptional initiative in service to the community." Last year Bryce started the Williamsburg Area Thirst Project, a non-profit organization that works with the support of young people—like Bryce—to end the global water crisis by building freshwater wells in developing areas. Pictured are members of the Thirst Project at their car wash fundraiser.

Walsingham Academy's first-ever virtual auction fundraising event took place at the end of February. We raised an incredible $140,000!

Mount de Sales – Macon, Georgia

The Diversity Awareness Club (DAC) sponsored a school-wide drive for the Brookdale Warming Center. The MDS community stepped up by filling 12 large boxes full of necessities, including toiletries, games, and warm clothing.

Alpha Primary School – Kingston, Jamaica

Alpha Primary School collects donations and distributes them among nearby children’s homes each year. Gift donations which were previous collected from the student body were delivered by Miss Richards (Grade 3 Teacher) to the Child Development Agency during the month of January 2021. The items brought joy to some children who were in state care.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced schools in Jamaica to engage the students online. Some of our teachers had challenges because they did not have the necessary equipment to function effectively in the virtual space. With the help of the Religious Sisters of Mercy and Jamaica Impact, donations in the form of electronic devices were delivered to a number of our teachers to assist with online engagement.

Mercyhurst Preparatory School – Erie, Pennsylvania

In January, Mercyhurst Prep presented a double feature of radio plays, The 39 Steps and War of the Worlds, via livestream. To perform the plays safely, the cast was physically distanced on stage and each actor walked to a particular microphone to perform. Foley artists created the sound effects for the plays right on stage!

The Mercyhurst Prep speech and debate team finished second in the district this year. Two students were named grand champions in their individual events. Many team members qualified for the Pennsylvania High School Speech League (PHSSL) state tournament.

This year's Catholic Schools Week offered students the opportunity to donate items to Mercy Center for Women, an organization that provides services for women in the community who are homeless or need some assistance with personal development. The response was overwhelming!

Mount St. Mary Catholic High School – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

The Rocket weight lifting teams recently competed at the STATE powerlifting meet! MSM powerlifter Meralyn Staudt placed second in her weight division and is now the state record holder in squat after she successfully lifted 325 pounds on her second attempt and then broke the state record again on her third attempt when she successfully lifted 340 pounds!

Rocket Boys Basketball recently qualified for the Oklahoma High School STATE Basketball Tournament! They finished 5th in the state!

Mount St. Mary Catholic High School recently hosted their annual fundraising gala - virtually! Despite the hardships this year has brought, our incredible Rocket community came together to rally around our amazing Rocket students! The theme was Mardi Gras and together, we raised $146,554!

Infant of Prague Catholic Nursery and Kindergarten – Mangilao, Guam

IOP students made cards with messages of appreciation to all the sisters during Catholic Schools Week.

For our Lenten offering and Almsgiving, IOP children have been collecting coins for Haiti.

We harvested our first crop, eggplant, from the children’ garden as we continue teaching them about our home, Earth.

Alpha Institute - Kingston, Jamaica

Robert Barton, a past Alpha student who emigrated to the United States and has since retired from a career in the education sector, established an award for a current Alpha student. Three students - Joel Brown, Eric Thomas and Neon Witter - made it to a final consideration by the award committee because they all exemplify the criteria established by Mr. Barton including “determination in working hard and to persevere in order to succeed at an outstanding level even when lack of resources, personal difficulties and other obstacles seem unsurmountable.”

The Alpha Institute launched a new podcast – “Being Alpha.” Listen to stories from the Alpha community and meet the people involved including past students, members of the Mercy community and the local music fraternity. Hosted by Alpha students and past students, "Being Alpha" features stories about Alpha in its own words.

Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women - Rochester, New York

Recently, Mercy earned the 2020 College Board's AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award for attaining female student representation in AP Computer Science Principles. This honor acknowledges the outstanding work Mercy is doing to engage our students in computer science. We are preparing Mercy Girls for the high-paying, in-demand jobs of the future and giving them the opportunity to help solve some of society's most challenging problems.

March 4 marked 100 days until graduation for our seniors. To celebrate this milestone, the Class of 2021 gathered to hear words of encouragement from their class officers and administration. The girls were then shown a video of well wishes from faculty and staff members. We’re so proud of our seniors and all they’ve accomplished.

In February, Mercy launched our new, self-guided 3D virtual tour. Alumnae, parents, and prospective students and families can get a glimpse of what makes Mercy special by stepping inside our halls to experience our classrooms, science labs, gymnasium, Performing Arts spaces, Motherhouse Chapel, and more. Click here to access the 3D Virtual Tour.