April 2014

Mercy High School Monthly Parent E-Newsletter - April 2014

Wit's End . . . Notes from the Principal

Counterbalance. Seventy degrees as a high yesterday. Today, temperatures will struggle to reach thirty-five. Hot and cold. As residents of Michigan, where the change of seasons occurs as a date on a calendar long before the actual weather conditions catch up, we do appreciate the birth of spring because it follows the closure of winter. Counterbalance.  We know the change is coming and we remain optimistic that indeed warmer weather will arrive even if the universe toys with us weeks on end. But, how cool is this? Today, YES, we did break the record snow fall set back in 1880-81, and in true competitive spirit, we passed the 93.6 inch mark by a massive 1.2 inches!!!

Counterbalance. High and low. Light and dark. We live our lives with some recognition that the positive and negative, the good and bad, and the pleasurable and painful co-exist, and that to truly appreciate one, we are required to experience the other. It certainly follows that each of us might prefer an imbalance in these two conflicting realities, but in our most lucid moments, we understand that life will provide us with both, and we cannot expect the dose of each to be our choice. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if such were true?

As much as positive experiences and good news feed the soul, I know that the realization of one’s blessings must occur against a backdrop of bad news. Without one, the other has no meaning. Joy measures against known sorrow. Triumph is understood because of experienced tragedy. Success balances failure. Winning trumps losing, but losing is required for understanding to be present.

This notion of opposites is expressed by the Chinese concept of yin - yang. Simply expressed, it describes how opposite forces are actually interconnected and interrelate with one another to form a dynamic system. Both are required for growth and development. Consider the many examples of such forces that equalize, counteract, compensate, reconcile and actually harmonize in our individual existence. Take a look at ones I’ve included and consider how many of these elements have personal meaning for you due to recent events.

abundant scarce       messy neat
ally enemy       noisy quiet
best worst       near far
brave cowardly       offer refuse
cheerful sad       optimist pessimist
cruel kind       pure contaminated
despair hope       possible impossible
dull shiny       qualified unqualified
expand contract       question answer
external internal       rare common
feeble strong       rough smooth
float sink       scatter collect
generous stingy       strict lenient
grow shrink       transparent opaque
healthy sick       together apart
hinder help       us them
immense tiny       under over
interesting boring       voluntary compulsory
join separate       victory defeat
just unjust       wisdom stupidity
knowledge ignorance       weak strong
known unknown       yes no
limited boundless       young old
loyal disloyal       zip unzip
miser spendthrift       zenith nadir

Next time you seem deflated by a life circumstance, especially one that leans toward a feeling of despair or worthlessness, consider its opposite, the yin to the yang. It certainly might remind you to consider the whole, to look a bit harder to see the balance that exists or will quite soon. It is valuable for the instruction of our children that we help them see the logic that exists in the natural order of things. They must learn, and we must consistently remind them, to see all the events in their lives within a larger context of meaning and purpose. This strengthens their ability to cope with what they might like to avoid or dismiss.


Carolyn Witte, Principal

Heart of Mercy

If the love of God really reigns in your heart, it will quickly show itself in the exterior. ~ The Venerable Catherine McAuley

Mercy High School rejoices for 2014 Heart of Mercy Award recipients Mrs. Kathy Sill, Kelsie Arlin '14 and Sr. Marianne Bennett who live out the values of Human Dignity, Service, Justice, Mercy, and Option for the Poor. Thank you for being faithful and compassionate women of God who make a difference to everyone in our Mercy family.

Here is just some of what students had to say about these inspirational school leaders: Mrs. Sill is a woman of great strength and caring who works to teach students respect and responsibility and demonstrates how to be a self-sufficient, effective woman. Kelsie has the biggest heart of anyone I know and her compassion and faith will change the world in big ways. Sr. Marianne suppports those who are poor in faith and spirit. Her love for Mercy, students and staff motivates her service which is evident on all levels.

Mothers Club

Mercy Mothers Club Final Meeting & Dinner

Monday, May 5, 2014


Mercy Media Center

Join us at our final meeting of the school year as we bid farewell to the senior moms and say THANK YOU to all the Mercy moms who made our 2013-14 school year a success! There will be a catered dinner, so please RSVP by April 28th to mercymomsclub@gmail.com

Dads Club 

TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME on Friday, May 9th! Dads and Daughters will be heading to Comerica Park to watch the Detroit Tigers take on the Minnesota Twins at 7:00pm. $20 per ticket. There are limited seats available – First paid receive tickets! Respond to Michael Dunleavy and include the following: Student Name and Grade; Parent Name, Phone # and E-mail address; Quantity of Tickets. Please make all checks payable to Mercy Dads Club. Mail to: Michael Dunleavy, 36337 Old Homestead Farmington Hills, MI 48335. For questions, contact Michael Dunleavy at michael.dunleavy@astrazeneca.com or 248.396.6556.

Calling ALL MERCY DADS! Join us at our next meeting Tuesday, May 6 at 6:30pm in the Cafeteria.

Valedictorian and Salutatorian

CONGRATULATIONS to Valedictorian Teagan Dillon and Salutatorians Anjali Alangaden and Lindsay Hiser who will take the stage to speak at graduation. This distinction considers not only academic record but also leadership, service, and extracurricular involvement. Staff and the senior class provided valuable input and each candidate responded to a series of questions and was interviewed by members of Administration. The Mercy Administrative Team will be holding a Catherine McAuley Tea celebration in honor of all the finalists on May 2.

Hats off to the following seniors who were selected as Valedictorian and Salutatorian Finalists: Anjali Alangaden; Katharine Baird; Alycia Bellino; Teagan Dillon; Mackenzie Elkow; Jordan Ewald; Christa Greenwood; Lindsay Hiser; Sarah Hoffman; Sarah Kane; Sara Makki; Kara Peltola; Lena Pivetta; Gina Ruggirello; Melissa Schneider; Patricia Wallace

Student Successes . . . APPLAUSE! APPLAUSE!

National Scholastic Art Award Katherine Chmielewski '14 won a National Scholastic Art Award SILVER MEDAL. Her winning piece was created in Drawing 2 class as a junior. Another Mercy student, Hayley Caddell, was the model. The 2014 Scholastic Art Competition received approximately 255,000 submissions in 28 categories and only 1% received national recognition. Wow, Katherine!

Optimist Leadership Award - Taylor Babcock '15 won the Farmington/Farmington Hills Optimist Leadership Award. This award recognizes a junior from each of the 5 area high schools who have demonstrated leadership skills and human relationship development.

Orchestra - Congrats to Elise Scarchilli, Lydia Gier, Katy Schubert, Kaela Brown, Sarah Maxey, Nia Boone and Theresa Walle who participated at the State Solo and Ensemble Festival and all received Division II medals for their ensembles. Theresa Walle received a I on her cello solo and received a Proficiency Award of 95 for her performance.

Mercyaires - The Mercyaires went to State Solo & Ensemble Festival on April 21 and earned the highest possible rating in the "Excellent" category! Click here to listen to one of the songs they performed. The Mercyaires have been invited to participate in a High School Jazz Showcase featuring St. Mary's Preparatory Academy and the Harper Woods Jazz Bands. The Mercyaires will sing backed by a full big band and several Mercyaires will be featured as soloists. This collage concert will be held at Oakland University's Varner Hall on Wednesday, May 14 at 7:00. The concert is free and open to the public. We invite all Mercy family and friends to attend this concert and support this exciting partnership with St. Mary's Prep!

ART AWARDS - Congratulations to the following Mercy students who won awards in the 2014 High School Art Competition sponsored by the Farmington Area Arts Commission. Winning artworks will be displayed in a special exhibition at the Festival of the Arts (May 1 - 3). Awards will be presented on Thursday, May 1, at the Costick Center, beginning at 6:30 PM. Winners (or a representative) are required to be present to receive awards. Their families, friends, teachers and administrators are invited to attend the award ceremony.

Photography Category

1st Place - $100 - Marisa Siwicki - Juxtaposed Photo Montage

3rd Place - $50 - Hannah Newton - Juxtaposed Photo Montage

Honorable Mention - $25 - Karina Lloyd - Horse Photo with Purple Bridle

2-D Category

Honorable Mention - $25 - Kate Anderson - Self-Portrait Collage

Honorable Mention - $25 - Christina Gee - Charcoal 3-Quarter Portrait Drawing

3-D Category

2nd Place - $75 - Katherine Chmielewski - Cuff Bracelet

Powerful Poetry - Congratulations to Creative Communications Poetry Contest winners Katie Baird, Alycia Bellino, Paige Roberts and Kristin Swad. Kara Peltola, Jessica Rieckhoff, Gina Rugirello, Tori Sullivan and Patti Wallace were selected as 2014 Michigan Youth Arts Festival Creative Writing Scholars. Of the 34 Creative Writing MYAF Student Scholars, Mercy has 5 of them!

AdvanceEd Accreditation

Mercy completed the External Review process for our AdvancED accreditation on Wednesday, April 2, 2014. The AdvancED process gives educational institutions a framework for quality and continuous improvement so that they may achieve ever higher degrees of excellence. The External Review Team reviews, validates, and evaluates the evidence the institution provides. They interviewed all stakeholder groups, observed 32 classrooms, wrote and presented their report. Based on their findings, the External Review Team recommends that Mercy High School be accredited, pending further review and final action by the AdvancED Accreditation Commission. Thank you to all students and parents who helped in this process by submitting a survey or being a part of an interview. The team was impressed with our Mercy hospitality, preparation for the review and the welcoming environment of our school community.

Let's Hear it for the STAFF

Ms. Kathy Kitzmann received the 2014 James Bryant Conant Award in High School Chemistry Teaching at the American Chemical Society National Awards Ceremony & Banquet held in Dallas, TX on March 18th. What an amazing recognition! Be sure to check out this cool feature article of her Chemistry award and teaching at Mercy.

JCL Conference


On March 22, Mercy students attended the annual Junior Classical League Spring Conference. Students participated in and took home a plethora of state awards in academics (derivatives, vocabulary, Roman life, mythology, and grammar), athletics, costuming, and creative arts. Students will be recognized at Honors Convocation. Special congratulations go to senior Amelia Fanelli ’14, who led her Certamen (Quiz Bowl) team to the state championship. Very special congratulations go to Jensen Pecora ’15 (right), who was elected 2014-2015 President of the Michigan Junior Classical League! Mercy is proud to have such an outstanding representative from our school overseeing MJCL. Gratulamur celebramusque te, Jensen!

Catholic League School of the Year

Mercy has been named Detroit Catholic League Hall of Fame School of the Year! The James Leary School of the Year Award was created in 1980 in honor of the late coach and athletic director at the University of Detroit High School. This award is presented annually to the Catholic League school that best exemplifies spirit, sportsmanship and cooperation.

GM Designers Visit Art Classes

Art Department Chair Ms. Susan Smith coordinated with Mercy Alumna Heidi Bishop Bliss '89, Project Manager for GM Design Global Creative Resources, to present to art classes in the Apple lab on April 8th. Heidi, along with two other GM Auto Designers, Bo Sheperd and Matt Morgan, spoke about their auto design job experiences and duties, history of the GM Tech Center, and showed video interviews of other GM videographers and graphic designers. Bo is part of a design team which does the initial sketches for upcoming models. She just finished working on a future Volt and now is working on a Sonic. Matt does the clay sculpting of both 1/3 and 1/2 scale models of cars and the full sized clay model which look very realistic. Heidi emphasized that they look for college students who can draw and sculpt extremely well and for students with solid communication skills. She talked about the value of a fine arts degree for pursuing a career in automotive design and how many companies are looking for the same skill set and that they are especially looking to hire women.

Students Visit CBS Detroit

The Radio and Television Broadcasting class went on a field trip to CBS Detroit. They were able to see six radio stations including CBS radio, WWJ 950, The AMP 98.7, The Ticket 97.1, 104.3 WOMC, and 99.5 WYCD. The girls were taken on a tour of the radio stations and spoke with the Production Manager of The Amp 98.7 and the Vice President of CBS radio. Finally, the girls received a "shout out" on The Amp while they were live in the studio.

A.P. Government

Last month, Mrs. Richter took the AP Government students to the U.S. District Courthouse in Detroit for a tour and a look at our Judicial system at work. The girls met with the U.S. Marshal for the district, toured the lock-up, sat in on a criminal trial, had a Q & A with Judge Lawson and also witnessed the sentencing of a convicted drug dealer. The trip was enjoyed by all and ignited discussion in class regarding our judicial system and civil rights.

View this Video

Watch this fun "What is Mercy" video created by Kate Anderson and Karrah Wanagat for the auction. We Are Mercy!

Tech Talk

Mercy iPad Package - We are now taking orders for the 2014 - 2015 Mercy iPad Package. Click here for details and to order your Mercy iPad package.

Stay up to date with the latest technology info at it.mhsmi.org/.

Give me an M, give me an E, give me an R, give me a C, give me a Y

Attention Senior Athletes and Parents: Are you signing a National Letter of Intent or committing to play a sport in college? The Mercy Athletics Department will be hosting a group signing day to celebrate all athletes committing to play a sport next year at the college level, Wednesday, April 30 from 2:45pm - 3:45pm in the Mercy Gymnasium. You’re welcome and encouraged to invite your family and coaches. Please wear your college shirt. We will take individual and group photos. Light refreshments will be served. Notify Kate Scalzi at kmscalzi@mhsmi.org if you will attend. Include your name, sport, and college. If you attended the signing event in the fall, please come to be included in the large group photo which will be taken at 2:45pm and used in various publicity pieces.

Check out studentandathlete.com for plenty of Marlin sports coverage and Mercy In The News web page for articles. Spring sports are in action, so show your Mercy pride and cheer on our Marlins! Link to the athletics schedule and even get driving directions.


On March 21-23, members of Mercy's Business Professionals of America attended the State Leadership Conference in Grand Rapids. The 11 students were among the more than 2,500 students from across Michigan who attended business workshops, competed in events, met with business and college representatives and voted in the 2014-2015 State Executive Council. The Mercy chapter was recognized as the chapter with the largest membership increase. Chapter president Clair Lachner '15 accepted the award on behalf of the chapter.

Class of 2014 Activities

SENIOR PARENTS - Events, deadlines, details, and forms. Check out the Class of 2014 Senior Class Activities web page for all you need to know!

Sweepstakes 2014

BUY! BUY! BUY! SELL! SELL! SELL! The Mercy Student Sweepstakes Drive is underway and runs through April 30th. Students were given selling information and tickets. Each student is responsible to sell 6 books of tickets. $5 per ticket or $25 per book.

We're excited to announce that all drawings will be held at Mercy on May 15, 2014 and the grand prize is $10,000! Be sure to take a look at the tickets with new prize information. Get your Mercy Sweepstakes ticket for your chance to win big! Purchase from a Mercy student, stop by the Mercy Reception Area, or contact Lindsay Weismiller at lmweismiller@mhsmi.org or 248-893-3535. Thank you for supporting Mercy High School.

MNotes . . . miscellaneous info you need to know!    

Home Stay Program Opportunity for Mercy Families - Green Planet's home stay program has partnered with Mercy High School and is offering an incredible opportunity to families in Farmington Hills and the surrounding areas. If you are interested in making a positive impact on the life of an international student and live within 30 minutes of Farmington Hills, you may want to consider becoming a host family. Host families will receive a monthly stipend of $800 and have access to 24/7 support from local Residential Coordinators who can help with coordinating meeting your student upon arrival, keeping you connected with the school community, and mediating issues if they arise. Students come with their own insurance and spending money and stay for the academic year. Do you know someone who might be interested in hosting a student? For every approved host family that lists you as a reference on their application, you will be rewarded a $150 referral bonus. 

CAR POOL - The Mercy Car Pool List is emailed to all families in June. If you wish to remove your family's information from the listing, please e-mail Maureen Weiss at mpweiss@mhsmi.org.

Children's Books Needed - Earlier this month a group of Mercy girls visited Most Holy Trinity School in Detroit to bring books and read to the 1st and 2nd graders. The effort is a continuation of a service project started by Mercy graduates and is continuing with the help of sophomores Julia Shaw, Bridgette Conniff and Claudia Shaw. Inventory is getting low and they still have a big demand for children's books. The next stop will be in June to visit Children's hospital and the Ronald McDonald house. There are also several schools in the Detroit area that are in need of books. If anyone would like to donate gently used children's books, please email shawj@mhsmi.org. The students will gladly pick up books from your home.

YEARBOOK: We've placed our order. Have you? This spreadsheet lists all students who have not yet purchased a yearbook. We have 125 books remaining from our order and more than 350 students who have not yet purchased a book. The yearbooks will arrive near the end of May so make sure your daughter is guaranteed a record of this year. Yearbooks can still be ordered at www.yearbookordercenter.com. Type in the code 13826 to be directed to Mercy's site. Orders can also be given to Mrs. Hallie Smith. Cost is $70. If there are any extra books, they will be sold for $75 at distribution. Questions can be directed to Mrs. Smith at hlsmith@mhsmi.org or 248/893-3579.

AFTER SCHOOL TUTORING - The National Honor Sociey offers after school tutoring on Wednesdays from 2:45pm - 3:30pm throughout second semester. Tutoring sessions have four to five NHS members in the Media Center to tutor in all subject areas.

Mercy Mobile APP - Stay up to date with Mercy on the go! The Mercy High School mobile App is ready for download to your smartphone or mobile device. Simply search "Mercy High School" in your App store.

Snapshot of Mercy

Alumna Elizabeth Auffenberg '05 spoke to Ms. Susan Smith's Design Foundations classes about her journey from Mercy art student to New York jewelry designer at Oscar Heyman, 501 Madison Avenue. 

Mercy Month Ahead

Event Date / Time Location
Easter Break Apr 16 - Apr 25  
Classes Resume Apr 28  
Senior Athlete College Signing Event Apr 30 / 2:45pm Gymnasium
May Crowning May 5 - 9 Courtyard
Mercy MOMS Meeting May 5 / 6:30pm Media Center
Mercy DADS Meeting May 6 / 7:00pm Cafe
Father Daughter Golf Outing May 7  
Festival of One Acts May 10 Drama Studio
Spring Concert May 21 / 7:00pm Auditorium
Honors Convocation / Moving Up / Senior Parties May 22 MHS
EXAMS May 27 - 29 MHS
Graduation June 1 / 2:00pm
(Graduation practice is May 30th from 10am - 12pm.)
Detroit Opera House


Recognized by Apple as a distinguished school for innovation, leadership,and educational excellence.

If you have any questions or want to submit information contact jhearle@mhsmi.org. Want even more? Click the school life calendar and the Mercy website. And don't miss all of the latest Mercy In The News articles. Check out the current announcements and browse the home page links to see what's happening at Mercy.

Your Giving Story

Help a girl develop her faith, acquire leadership skills, and find her voice in an academically superior environment. Please consider making a donation to Mercy. Then share your giving story using this link. Your gift always makes a difference.