March 2013

Wit's End . . . Notes from the Principal

Breath of fresh air.

Not what you might think. Yes, we marked the first day of spring last week, but we in Michigan are wisely patient and don’t expect the thermometer to take note. Yet, just days ago, I had an extended and deeply satisfying breath of fresh air. It came in the form of individual conversations with 18 of Mercy’s finest – seniors who qualified as applicants for Valedictorian or Salutatorian. Breath of fresh air. Yes, I describe it as one, long, sustained inhalation because although each interview was a mere 15 minutes, it was a single experience of exhilaration for me. I need to tell you why.

These girls are certainly ones who have achieved. The collection of colleges and universities for this group is stellar, some of the finest institutions in our state and across the country. The career paths are impressive, but what was more apparent to me was the fact that these girls spoke of wanting a vocation, a purpose, . . . not a mere job. Those moving into medicine mentioned the goals of opening free clinics, working in psychiatry, neuropsychology, or physical therapy. There was law, but the focus was civil rights or public policy changes. More than one said she hoped to “represent or help those who don’t have a voice.” There was business, and it included extending entrepreneur endeavors that have already begun. These girls think big – and spoke of everything from opening a healthy bakery so all, including the poor, could eat well, to plans to industrialize small rural areas with manufacturing plants which could stimulate rebirth. Collectively, there was a theme of making a difference, and hearing that phrase from their mouths resonated deeply within me. That’s what Mercy High School professes to do. Just maybe, it’s really taking root.

Their accomplishments, to date, are inspiring. GPAs, test scores, academic rigor – they’ve got that covered. But these girls are also journalists and editors of Newsprint, class officers, Human Relations Council members, participants in the International Thespian Society, Forensics, Girl Scouts, and the Tri-M Music Society. They’ve been Kairos retreat leaders, language honor society members, and represent every club Mercy offers. They’ve also covered the fields, the courts, the alleys, and the courses, having participated in no less than 12 of the 17 sports offered at Mercy!

Each girl spoke with ease when asked about the importance to her of a single Mercy value. These girls were both eloquent and composed. Human dignity was an innate right, not something to be earned. They spoke of respect and the value of each life, the very sanctity of life from conception through death. There was no need to offer these girls any prompts. Outreach, the assistance for the less fortunate, was a responsibility to them, not just an option. It is not enough to recognize suffering; it is an imperative to get to its source. Mercy is something to be given freely, not withheld. These young women have prayed with their feet – volunteered at work camps, done special needs rehabilitation, built with Habitat for Humanity, tutored the young, worked as hospital aides, and taken mission trips. They are touched deeply by the plight of others. So involved, but not self- involved. Breath of fresh air.

Contrary to what some might presume, given the accolades that these girls receive, all has not been easy. They have known hardship and experienced everything from family illness and disabilities, to serious accidents, surgeries, and recovery. They have seen job loss, parental separations, known death and incredible personal sacrifice. They are neither naïve and arrogant, nor jaded and cynical. Instead, each girl was quite animated when asked what insight she would offer a young girl just starting high school.

“Slow down and don’t worry so much.”

“Be excited about your future . . . it will be good.”

“Get involved . . . risk . . . mess up.”

“Have fun . . . find out what you’re good at.”

“Focus and work hard; you’ll be ready when things get harder.”

“Learn confidence, because that is so attractive!”

And almost all of them spoke about some variation of “Be yourself.” Even if you don’t know what that means or who that is, the message was simply: “Jump in.”

Each one was proud of herself, but so gracious and appreciative of each other. Remember, these were individual interviews. When asked about their impressions of the other 17, not one struggled for a response. Words like brilliant, focused, and humble were voiced. Generous, hard worker, leader and selfless were other descriptors. These girls really know one another and it was a real “love fest” to hear what they had to say about their classmates. As each conversation came to an end, I offered the opportunity to each girl to “have the last word.” I could not have scripted a better closure. In one way or another, the overarching comment was about gratitude: thankfulness for this opportunity, this school, these teachers. They expressed a love of all that is Mercy.

These girls are your girls. They are all of our students and all of your daughters. They are bright, challenged, and committed. They are articulate and hopeful and very socially conscious. Take a deep breath of this fresh air, and hold it for just a moment before you exhale.

Blessings to each of your families at this Easter holiday.


Carolyn Witte, Principal

Heart of Mercy

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

Mercy High School rejoices for Heart of Mercy Award recipients senior Maria Walawender and Pastoral Minister and Mercy Associate Mrs. Judi Griggs-Dennis 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. Dennis is Mercy. She works tirelessly behind the scenes and without attention and praise. She makes everyone feel loved and comfortable. Maria is a shining example of Mercy. She makes every person feel they can call Mercy home and treats everyone with the utmost dignity and respect.


Mercy Marlins Ice Hockey team made history on March 9th and won the school's first Michigan Metro Girls High School Hockey Association state championship by defeating Walled Lake 3-2! Click here to check out the Farmington Observer feature. As a celebration of their State Title, Mercy will extend the Easter holidy and not hold any classes on Monday, April 8th. Classes will resume on Tuesday, April 9th. Congratulations to the entire team and coaches:

  • Katy Kouvaris '16
  • Grace Martin '13
  • Julia Henderson '16
  • Lilly Blake '16
  • Riley Ruffing '16
  • Anna Julien '15
  • Cayla Edmond '14
  • Jacqueline Murphy '13
  • Madeline McClain '13
  • Jacqueline LaPres '13
  • Morgan DeBrincat '13
  • Elizabeth Carlson '13
  • Hannah Larkin '14
  • Rachel Bomya '13
  • Emma Zeumer '14
  • Anna Mondrusov '13
  • Julia McAree '15
  • Caitlin Conner '14
  • Caitlin Somerville '16
  • Head Coach: Brandon Malinowski
  • Assistants: Chad Behrik
  • Joseph MacDonald
  • Nancy Malinowski
  • Tony Valdes

Mothers Club

Please note the next Mothers Club meeting will be held on TUESDAY, APRIL 9 at 6:30pm in the Media Center (instead of April 8). All Mercy Moms are invited!

Stadium Chairs - The Mothers Club will be selling Mercy stadium chairs at upcoming meetings. They are $40 each and perfect for all Mercy sports, especially those that spectators watch from bleacher seats.

Senior All Night Party – Volunteers are needed for this important event. Please contact Committee Chair, Daena Nicholas at to provide your support.

Dads Club

Let's Bowl! Bowl, eat, laugh, and spend time with your Mercy girl on Sunday, April 14 at the annual Dads and Daughters Bowling afternoon. $12 per bowler. Click here for event details.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame - Dads and Daughters will be heading to Comerica Park to watch the Detroit Tigers take on the Atlanta Braves at 7:00pm. $16 per ticket and limited seats (40) available! CLICK HERE for information and sign up sheet. For questions or further inquiries, contact Michael Dunleavy at

Calling ALL MERCY DADS! Join us at our next meeting Tuesday, April 9 at 6:30pm in the Cafeteria.

Student Successes . . . APPLAUSE! APPLAUSE!

Congratulations to the following seniors who were selected as Valedictorian and Salutatorian Finalists:

Margaret Blake

Kathleen Coerdt

Gabriella D'Agostini

Megan George

Jaclyn Godwin

Christina Hadley

Erin Hand

Jamie Jeffries

Jessica LaRouere

Qingya Liu

Monica Mackie

Candice McKay

Sarah Montone

Natalie Perkins

Alexis Schultz

Emily Schumer

Maria Walawender

Mary Kate Winn

National Honor Society

CLICK HERE to see the newly inducted members of the National Honor Society!

Irish Court Queen

Allison Shaw '13 is the Queen of the Court of St. Brigid. She won the scholarship pageant in February and appeared in the St. Patrick's Day Parade to represent the Irish during the March festivities. She won a $1,200 scholarship, which she will use towards her college education. She received her crown from last year's queen, another Mercy grad Megan Haapala '09.
Science Olympiad

Mercy's Science Olympiad Teams competed in the Oakland County Regional Tournament at Oakland University on Saturday, March 16, 2013. The competition has 23 events students have prepared for since October. The Competitive team finished 11th out of 18 teams and earned a fourth place medal in Materials Science. The Alternate team finished 6th out of 10 teams and earned a 2nd place ribbon in Boomilever, 4th place ribbons in Astronomy and Forensics and 6th place ribbons in Circuit Lab, Elastic Launch Glider, Forestry and Thermodynamics. Competitive team members were: Gabrielle Barthel, Rachel Belans, Emily Crowley, Phoenix Dempster, Lana Grasser, Claire Lachner, Liz Lekarczyk, Qingya Liu, Sarah Schrimscher, Sydney Shuk, Rose Walsh, Alise Wenner, Adrienne Williams, Megan Yatooma, and Mackenzie Zierau. Alternate team members were: Chelsea Allen, Blair Cha, Jenna Chami, Emily Dulzo, Kelly Eusebi, Catherine Grabowski, Kelly Jahnke, Jessica Ko, Casey Lewry, Hannah Madill, Maureen McGough, Abigail Patenaude, Caitlyn Patenaude, Analise Sala, Kay Shin, Monica Shuk, and Catherine Vaitas. Teams were coached by Colleen McMaster Rozman and Lisa Schrimscher.

Mock Trial Team Wins Honorable Mention

The Mercy Mock Trial Team took their case and objections to the Oakland County Circuit Court to compete in the State Bar Michigan’s Mock Trial Regional Competition on March 9, 2013. Their voices were heard as evidenced by the Honorable Mention trophy they brought home in their first year of competition. Mock Trial simulates a real trial where student participants play the roles of attorneys and witnesses. Team members present their side of a hypothetical case, while competing directly against another school taking the opposite position. Twenty-eight teams competed. Mercy was one of only eight recognized for their exceptional performance.

Jackie Ciaramitaro ’13 (not pictured)

Kathryn Dunleavy ’16

Jessalyn Geer ’14

Haley Gold ’14

Nadia Hakim ’16

Gia Toler ’15

Alycia Washington ’15

Madeline Winn ’14

Mary Kate Winn ’13

Science Fair Grand Award

Mackenzie Zierau '15 was one of six students to receive a Grand Award at the Science and Engineering Fair of Metropolitan Detroit (SEFMD) held March 13, 2013 at Cobo Center in Detroit. Over 1,500 students from schools in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties competed at the SEFMD.

Mackenzie's project, "The Effect of GM-CSF on Classical and Alternative Activation of Macrophages" was entered in the Medicine and Health category. As one of the Grand Award winners, Mackenzie has received an all-expense paid trip to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) which will be held in May in Phoenix, Arizona. She is also eligible for scholarship opportunities from several local universities. Mackenzie's teacher sponsor at Mercy is Ms. Kathy Kitzmann, chemistry teacher and chair of the science department.

Mackenzie has had a life-long interest in science and last summer submitted a request to do research in the pathology lab of Dr. Steven Kunkel at the University of Michigan. Mackenzie spent the beginning of the summer learning various lab techniques and doing background reading before she developed the idea for her project. She plans to continue her research this coming summer.

Stay Warm, Show Spirit, & Help Others

For Mercy students, a typical day is filled with classes, studying, practices, rehearsals and club meetings. For a girl in Sudan, a typical day is filled with intensive labor while her brothers are off at school. The Sisters of Mercy are working to make a difference by building schools in Sudan exclusively for girls who would not otherwise have an opportunity for an education.


Our Mercy High School is teaming up with other Mercy sponsored high schools across the USA to fund the building of one of these schools. As part of our fundraising effort, the Mercy Mission Committee will be holding a drawing for this hand-crafted quilt. This beautiful maroon and gold quilt features multiple Mercy T-shirt logos and would make a lovely keepsake for your daughter during her Mercy years or as she heads off to college.

Tickets are $10 each. All proceeds will go towards the building of the Mercy school in Sudan. Half of the population of Africa lives on less than one US dollar a day, less than we spend on a cup of coffee or a snack. We hope you will support this worthy cause. Tickets will be available at the Mothers and Dads Club Meetings on April 9th and Women Mean Business on April 24th. You can also purchase a chance in the drawing or make a donation by contacting Mrs. Judi Griggs-Dennis at or 248-476-8020 ext. 1588. Any and all donations are appreciated! The drawing for the winning ticket will take place at the end of April (date TBD). Winner will be notified by phone and e-mail.

View this Video

French Immersion Experience for Prospective Students

Check out all the activities and fun from the Passport to France event held last month in this magnifique video!

Counseling Corner

FREE ACT & SAT PRACTICE TEST - Princeton Review is offering free practice ACT and SAT sessions for 9th and 10th graders in May. Please click here for all the information. You can also visit to reserve your spot.

Women Mean Business 2012

Women Mean Business: A Conference Featuring Women Who Make A Difference

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mercy High School Gymnasium

6:00pm - 9:00pm


On April 24th, 2013 from 6:00pm - 9:00pm, Mercy High School will once again host a unique evening for you and your daughters to meet some of Southeast Michigan's extraordinary female leaders. Please join us for a fascinating panel discussion hosted by Christy McDonald, special coverage anchor, WTVS Detroit Public Television. Panelists include: Diane Dietz ’78 (Big 10 Conference), Susan Goodell (Forgotten Harvest), Sue Martin (Eastern Michigan University), Patricia Kolowich, M.D. (Orthopedics), Sr. Marilyn Lacey, RSM (Mercy Beyond Borders) and Dayna Clark (WJR news).

This year, you and your daughters will again have an opportunity to network with women who will provide great career advice that will make a difference in your daughter's future. Mercy is the only all girls school in the area that offers this opportunity to go beyond the classroom to educate young women. Also new this year, we are offering a $750 Scholarship to the girl who attends the event and then writes the best essay about how the evening impacted her life. So please, mark your calendars to join us right here at Mercy for a very rewarding evening.

Each table will have a local woman professional who will lead the group discussion after the panel presentation and Q & A session. Many of them are Mercy Alumnae! There will also be a networking hour with the panel members and table leaders which includes hors d'oeuvres and desserts. Cost is $20 per person. REGISTER ONLINE HERE!


Latest and Greatest from the Alumnae Office

Tea for Tuition – A Worthwhile Tradition

The Alumnae Board invites all Mercy moms to host a table at Tea for Tuition!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

2:00 – 4:00 pm

Mercy Gymnasium


$25 per person includes gourmet hot and cold teas, appetizers and desserts.

Gift basket silent auction and drawings, with proceeds supporting the Alumnae Association Tuition Assistance Fund.

Ways to participate and help a girl become a Mercy Girl:

For more information, contact Margaret Haapala Kurpiers ’85, Director of Alumnae Relations, at 248-476-3270 or

Tech Talk

Mercy iPad Package - We are now taking orders from new students (required) and current students (optional) for the 2013 - 2014 Mercy iPad Package. Click here for details and to order your Mercy iPad package.

Stay up to date with the latest Mercy 2.0 details at

Sweepstakes 2013

SELL! SELL! SELL! The Mercy Sweepstakes Drive is underway and runs through April 23rd. Students were given all the details at our kick-off assembly on March 18th. Some of the all school incentives are: sell $50,000 and get March 27th off school for an extra long Easter Break; sell $100,000 by April 9 to earn May 24 off school for an extra long Memorial break; and sell $145 ,000 by the end of the drive April 23 and earn May 17 off school. There will be extra incentives, daily drawings, class and individual prizes. Thanks so much for helping your student, help Mercy High School!

MNotes . . . miscellaneous info you need to know!

Yearbook - The last few pages of the book are being sent to the plant and in May we will be distributing the 2013 edition of the Lore. If you haven't yet reserved your copy, you may still purchase one for $70 - check with Mrs. Smith for availability. Any extra books will be sold at distribution for $75. Students who purchase a book will also have access to the thousands of additional pictures the Lore staff takes throughout the year. Details regarding picture access will be shared with students in the coming weeks. Here's a sneak peek:

MOSAIC in your Mailbox - Keep your eyes out for the Spring 2013 issue of the Mercy MOSAIC Magazine coming in the next couple weeks.

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

Financial Aid Program - Please note, the Record of Services Hours deadline has been extended due to the Easter Break. The new deadline is Tuesday, April 9. You may drop off the Record of Service Hours form, mail, or fax the sheet to the President's office by April 9. The Fax number is 248-476-4278.

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.

MATH TUTORING - A volunteer math tutor is available every Tuesday and Thursday 3rd-6th hour in the Math Department. Mrs Carol Garibaldi would prefer students to sign-up ahead of time (on Math Office #3), but will take drop-ins as well. Have your daughter check the list of classes she is available to tutor at this time.

Look who is a Sweepstakes Drive winner!

Snapshot of Mercy

Faces of Mercy

The Mercy family gathers together at a spirited Pep Assembly. We are Mercy High School!

Mercy Month Ahead

Event Date / Time Location
Mercy MOMS Meeting Apr 9 / 6:30pm Media Center
Mercy DADS Meeting Apr 9 / 7:00pm Cafe
Easter Break Mar 28 - Apr 8  
Classes Resume Apr 9  
New Student Information Meeting Apr 15 / 7:00pm Auditorium
New Student Registration Apr 18 / 3:00 -5:30pm Media Center
Women Mean Business Apr 24 / 6pm Gymnasium
Fine Arts Assembly Apr 26 Auditorium
TEA for TUITION Apr 28 / 2:00pm - 4:00pm Gymnasium

If you have any questions or want to submit information contact school life calendar and the Mercy In The News articles. Check out 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.