November 2014

Wit's End . . . Notes from the Principal

Overconsumption. Easy to understand that reference when we are just days away from the celebration of Thanksgiving. Typically, this is a day where we plan, in advance, to overindulge at mealtime, voice guilt about such activity, and then allow the self-fulfilling prophecy to occur. We give ourselves permission to ignore all the signposts of this activity and quite successfully rationalize that “It’s only one day”. No real issue here.

At this time of year, however (and it does seem to occur now every year), I consider overconsumption, overindulgence, frankly any overuse, far beyond a single celebratory holiday meal at the end of November. Consumption, and consumerism are closely interrelated and it does me good to be reminded of the current state of affairs.

In all likelihood you have heard some statistics regarding global inequality. I have as well. And yet, each and every time, as the chasm between the haves and the have-nots grows wider, I become newly startled. Currently, a conservative estimate is that the richest 20% of the world’s population account for 86% of the consumer spending. This 20% has the highest consumption of all food, energy, phone lines, paper, and vehicles to name only a few categories. Thus, this small portion exhausts the largest portion of resources. Is the consumption justified? We know it is not. Luxury gets confused with necessity. Wants are muddied to look like needs. Material values overshadow personal values. How can one even be expected to know the difference? If you like it and you can buy it, no further thought need occur. If you are reading these words, you are positioned in this top 20%. As a frame of comparison, the poorest 20% of the world’s population lack not only adequate food, but also shelter, housing, clean water and sanitation.

Time for a few more startling numbers. I am of the mind that significant portions of the planet might be well served if we could inoculate against what I term “vulgar consumerism.” The proof is in the money thrown at the beast. Estimates suggest 200 billion dollars a year is spent in the U.S. alone on advertising. Compare this shocking amount to an equally shocking second figure. A mere quarter of that total, 50 billion dollars, would be enough to provide food, water, AND basic education for ALL of the world’s poorest people. We spend more than this total annually on cosmetics, perfumes, pet food, ocean cruises, and ice cream. Think about that for a moment. Wants confused with needs? Yes. Are we stupid? Absolutely not. Have we been lulled into blind compliance? Maybe so. We are bombarded with the new, the latest, the gotta have, the don’t you deserve, and the can't be left out. Our senses and sensibilities are under siege with volumes of print material, radio ads, television commercials, internet pop ups, billboard sized flat screens on the highway, …. it never ends, and the marketing is now directed at younger and younger consumers.

So we are called to be generous, to be compassionate, to be merciful. We are constantly reminded that we must “pray with one’s feet,”* take action, provide service, and also that this kindness and charity is required of us all twelve months of each and every year. Those that have more must do more. The responsibility is ours. I would suggest to you that this responsibility is a privilege, not a burden. Each of us is fortunate enough to be able to give some away, to use less, to require less. But I would also suggest that there is no more difficult time of year to teach these lessons to children than the holiday season.

Here is a partial reason why. We can’t just look forward to the holiday for a few celebratory weeks. We have to begin the frenzy in October. The “big” shopping day of the year now occurs with greater and greater frequency. Thanksgiving day might have lost much of its family tradition some years ago and certainly, it is not a recent phenomenon that stores were first open at midnight, then it was 8:00 pm, now 6:00 pm and many don’t close at all. Blame the greedy retailers? Really? They can’t profit without paying customers, right? So the stores take heat for making the employees work on a holiday. Customers appear on the local news for the overnight camping they endured to get a deal. Traffic jams, road rage, irritated shoppers, anguish when the coveted item is sold out, . . . the stories abound. But these things haven’t unfairly happened to us as an unforeseen and unavoidable tsunami. We willingly participate in the crazy and some now call it a tradition to boot. We can choose otherwise.

Lest you think that I wish only to rain on your plans, such is not my intent. What I do wish, however, is that each one of us will make the conscious decision this holiday season to schedule at least one meal together with loved ones. The menu is far less relevant than the hands to be held around the table. The tradition of being together and voicing our gratitude should not be sacrificed under any circumstances. And the gratitude for our good fortune need not originate from a place of shame. Quite the contrary. We honor those with less by first appreciating what we have in abundance. Then, as we open our eyes and acknowledge all of the others in the world, we can take joy in extending our efforts to make things better for some of them.

Model that for our children, and we change the future they will inhabit.

Sincere blessings to each of your families.

Mrs. Carolyn Witte, Principal

*phrase attributed to Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who accompanied Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the march for voting rights in Selma, Alabama in 1965

Mothers Club

A TIME FOR PRESENCE - REFLECT and RECONNECT with your daughter at the Mother Daughter Evening of Spiritual Reflection on Sunday, December 7th at St. Edith Catholic Church. Mass is at 5:00pm with dinner immediately following. $20 per person. Reservations are limited so please register early. Forms and payment must be received by December 1st. Click here for invitation and registration form.

December Christmas Meeting - The December meeting will start the season with giving hearts and a celebratory spirit of Christmas. The Marlin Shop will be open from 6-8PM! We will enjoy a presentation from Sr. Marianne on “Who is Catherine McCauley?” in the Media Center at 6:30PM. Please remember to dress is in any Christmas apparel of your choice. We will have a catered dinner in the cafeteria and have an interactive program that will make your “jolly old souls” laugh! PLEASE RSVP for the December 1st meeting to: by Wednesday November 26th in the subject line: YES December 1st! The Senior All-Night Party committee will be holding a brief meeting after the regular meeting. Anyone bringing in a donation for the 36th Annual Auction to the December Mothers Club meetings will receive a chance to win a free ticket to the Auction!

Be sure to check out the Mothers Club web pages and calendar for more information about upcoming events and important notes. Follow Mercy Mothers Club on FACEBOOK: ALL MERCY MOMS are invited to our next Christmas Party meeting, Monday, December 1st at 6:30pm.

Dads Club

GRAND RAFFLE - LAST CHANCE! LAST CHANCE! The Dads Club's biggest fundraiser (and biggest payout) is in full swing. This Dads Club raffle benefits all Mercy girls. Donations are made to fund various school functions, clubs, activities and needs. Please join us in celebrating the Mercy experience with your daughters by purchasing the Grand Raffle tickets today!

ANNUAL WREATH AND ROPING SALE - Wreaths are a base of Fraser fir with boxwood, juniper berry, concolor fir and decorated with pine cones and a red ribbon. 24", 28" or 42" Wreaths; 20' or 60' Cedar Roping; and Merry Mix Swag available. You can also support Mercy by purchasing English Gardens Gift Cards for all your other Christmas decoration needs. CLICK HERE for pricing and to pre-order online. Pay for and pick up your items Tuesday & Wednesday November 25 & 26, noon to 3:00pm at the flagpole entrance.

ALL MERCY DADS are encouraged to meet, greet, and eat at our next meeting Tuesday, December 2nd at 6:30pm in the Cafeteria.

Focus: HOPE Food Drive

For over 20 years, Mercy has partnered with Focus Hope in supporting the food needs of the marginalized senior citizens residing in the Detroit Metro area. Collectively as a school, Mercy has been the second largest contributor of food and monetary donations next to Ford Motor Company. In essence, our Mercy Community lives out our values by embracing the annual Food Drive to help Focus Hope provide holiday food baskets to those seniors in need.

Once again, this year's voice to our Focus Hope Drive was Mr. Meloche along with committed Focus Hope Reps that account for the necessary food items collected from each advisee group. Our goal each year is to fill Focus Hope's semi truck with the food contributions of our Mercy family. We culminate our Food Drive by attending our Thanksgiving Prayer Service, realizing God blesses our efforts and the sacrifices that have been made for the good of others.

"Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion for the world is to look out; yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good; and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now." ~Saint Teresa of Avila

Please join us at the Thanksgiving Prayer Service and Focus: HOPE Food Drive closing on Monday, November 24th at 10:10am in the Auditorium.

Student Successes . . . APPLAUSE! APPLAUSE!

Congrats to these Class of 2018 Elected Officers!

President: Danielle McClain
Vice-President: Madeline Gwinn
Treasurer: Anne Acho Tartoni
Secretary: Brianna Buchanan
Human Relations Council: Isha Ganguli, Shannon Seabolt, Anastasia Warner & Anna Wiseley
Breast Cancer Awareness Day Jeans Fundraiser held last month raised over $4,200 and all of that was divided equally and donated to: St. Mary Mercy Hospital/Marian Women's Center; Beaumont Hospital/Sharing & Caring; Hubert Sanders & Family Relief Fund.
Spotlight on the MERCYAIRES
The Mercyaires performed an outdoor concert at the St. Regis Pumpkin Patch in Bloomfield Hills on October 24. They were also invited to be the featured vocal group at St. Mary's Preparatory Annual Auction on November 1. They performed with the St. Mary Jazz Band and soloists Marisa Maino and Megan Makarewicz were featured. These two soloists also performed on November 17th with the Paul Keller Orchestra at Zal Gaz Grotto in Ann Arbor. Mercyaires Lia Korzeniewski and Natalie Apollinari performed at State Musical Theater Solo & Ensemble Festival on November 8. Both girls earned "Excellent" ratings! Mercyaires Philomena Engel and Marisa Maino were selected to perform with Regional Honors Choir. They will perform on Saturday, December 6 at South Lyon High School. The concert is free and open to the public.

Let's Hear it for the STAFF!

English Teacher Mrs. Jan Mordenski was named as a Poet of Recognition by The Poetry Foundation. The Poetry Foundation is "an independent literary organization committed to the presence of Poetry in American culture." Aside from publishing POETRY magazine, they host readings, help promote writers and their works, and serve as a clearing house for all things having to do with poetry in our country. Their website is a wonderful resource for students and teachers, for anyone looking for a certain poet, a certain poem, a certain critical article regarding poetry, or even someone who just wants to browse for some topical or occasional poems such as "Love" or "Thanksgiving." Being listed with them is an honor for Ms. Mordenski because it not only denotes that she has a substantial body of published work, but that she has attained "national" status as an active American poet. Currently, the website features her poem, "Crochet" which was originally published in the literary journal, Plainsong.

Congratulations to Mercy Golf Coach Mrs. Vicky Kowalski for being named the Observer & Eccentric Girls Golf COACH OF THE YEAR!

Mercy Ski Coach Mr. Tom Gable was inducted into the Michigan High School Ski Coaches Hall of Fame.

Ethnic Bazaar 2014 - Come Together

Mercy Ethnic Bazaar 2014 will be held Tuesday, December 2nd (2nd-6th hour) in the Drama Studio. Enjoy dance, poetry, fashion, song, prayer, art, food, music, and more! Performances take place every hour and will celebrate our diverse heritages and unify our school. Put on by the Human Relations Council. Promote Unity. Embrace Diversity.





Let Us Pray

Mercy High School wants to join you in prayer. If you have a special prayer request, please use the online prayer intention submission form. It will be added to the Mercy Mothers Prayer Circle as well as copied to the Alumnae Office and Mercy Pastoral Minister.

The Mercy Mothers Prayer Group is an informal group which meets every Monday from 1:30 - 2:30 in the Mercy High Chapel, excluding days off and early dismissal. The Prayer Group recites the Rosary and The Chaplet of Divine Mercy as we lift in prayer specific intentions submitted online and those placed in the prayer box located at the reception area of the school. Please join the Mercy Mothers as they facilitate prayers for blessings and protection upon the faculty and staff of the school, students, the Sisters of Mercy, as well as all Mercy families and alumnae. If you have any questions please contact: Debbie Tisdel

A U C T I O N 2015

There is less than three months until the annual auction! A lot is happening with the auction and there are a lot of ways to be involved!

Auction acquisitions are in full swing and we need all hands on deck to get great items for this very important event. Remember, no item too big, no item too small, we are Mercy High School, we take it all! Need an idea for an acquisition? Look here to view the auction wish list. And remember…you don’t personally have to donate the item. Ask a local restaurant, spa, beauty shop, or retailer that you frequent and ask them to donate!

Advertising opportunities are still available for the auction and there are ads for both Mercy families as well as businesses. Advertising contracts are available here and ads are due by January 15th.

Tuition Raffle tickets will be mailed out in December. For every 5 tickets you sell you are entered into a raffle for two free auction tickets (a $250 value)! Keep an eye out for your packet and sell your tickets for a chance to win free tuition next year or $8,000 cash.

Take a look at our web page for information about volunteering and for acquisition ideas.

For more information contact Mercy's Special Events Coordinator, Lindsay Weismiller at and CLICK HERE for all things AUCTION. WE ARE MERCY!

Important Dates for Semester End

Tuesday, December 9 - Last day to test/quiz/formal assessment for ANY course.

Tuesday, December 16- All class assignments, except for Final Exams/Essays/Projects/Presentations, should be graded and posted by midnight for ALL Courses.

Sunday, December 21 - Friday, January 2 - PowerSchool will be turned off at midnight Sunday, December 21 and turned back on at midnight Friday, January 2 to allow for a true break.

Monday, January 12 - First semester grades will be reviewed, double-checked and posted by 9am.

The dates were created to give students and staff a true break over the holidays. Please note: Staff are not expected to answer emails over the Christmas Holiday. Emails can be sent but staff are not expected to respond until we return to school on Monday, January 5, 2015.

Final Exam/Essays/Project/Presentation Policy

Final Exams/Essays/Projects/Presentations will be weighted 20% of the final grade in ALL classes except for some courses in Performing Arts and Art departments.

All Final exams/Essays/Project/Presentations will be a common final assessment (exam, project, paper). This will be implemented in ALL courses. Exams need to be at least 75% the same for all students taking the course. The other 25% can be determined by each individual teacher.

Final Exam Schedule

Fall 2014

Wednesday, December 17

8:30 - 9:50 1st Hour

10:00 - 11:20 2nd Hour

Thursday, December 18

8:30 - 9:50 3rd Hour

10:00 - 11:20 4th Hour

11:30 - 12:50 5th Hour

Friday, December 19

8:30 - 9:50 6th Hour

10:00 - 11:20 7th Hour

We wish all of our Mercy students success in the final weeks of the semester and a blessed and relaxing holiday season!

Give Me a M, Give Me an E, Give Me a 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 Thursday, December 11 from 2:45pm to 3:30pm 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 if you will attend. Include your name, sport, and college. Don’t worry if you don’t know if or where you might be playing; another signing day will be held in the late winter and/or spring for more Mercy college-bound athletes.

Mercy athletes are always making headlines! CLICK HERE to read some of the recent sports stories featured in the news. TEAM ACCOLADES - Volleyball captured the DISTRICT and REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS! Swim and Dive won their 24th consecutive CHSL championship and are headed to the Division 1 State Finals next weekend!

It's beginning to look a lot like Basketball, Bowling, Figure Skating, Ice Hockey, Skiing and Pompon, everywhere you go. Check out the winter sports schedule available online and support your Mercy teams! There are even directions. Please help fill the stands with Mercy cheer and come by the Marlin Shop to score some Mercy gear.

National French Week 2014

Dr. Daniel Noren, Ferris State University, generously donated his time to speak to the students on French Africa and introduced us to “poulet mwamba,” an African chicken dish as an introduction to French African cuisine, prepared by the Mercy Cafe. Mr. Powell, father of Alex and Adriana Powell (grade 10), who just returned from France, shared some insights about growing up in France before residing in the United States. A “degustation de fromages,” a French cheese tasting experience was the lesson accompanying his presentation. Mr. and Mrs. Russenberger (parents of Clarissa, grade 9) were a delightful team who brought beautiful Switzerland alive for the students. Swiss fondue was the finale to this presentation and enjoyed by all as we dipped French baguette in the Swiss cheese fondue mixture.The French students celebrated National French Week, an annual event sponsored by the American Association of French, November 5-11. The students enjoyed wonderful speakers and enjoyed French cuisine from around the French speaking regions of the world.

Our taste buds for French cuisine did not end in the classroom! Some members of the French 2 classes went to Sur la table and engaged in a French cooking class with Chef Robert. It was a fun experience and the students had dinner together with the menu items they cooked in class. In addition, Chef Paul added to our French dining experience as 85 French students went to his restaurant Cuisine in Detroit to enjoy a French meal prepared especially for us. C’est trés délicieux!

The girls enjoyed studying about France and broadened their tastes of French cuisine from around the world! The theme of National French Week, “French: a mulit-faceted language,“ was proudly displayed on the tee shirts worn on the last day of National French Week with original designs created by all students.

Latest and Greatest from the Alumnae Office

Bunco Ladies Night Out

All ladies welcome - alumnae, Mercy moms, coworkers, neighbors, friends and family! Invite your current friends and come meet new ones. If you can throw dice, you know how to pay Bunco. Join us even if you’ve never played the game before. We’ll teach you in no time.

Friday January 23, 2015

7:00 pm

Mercy Cafeteria

Stay tuned to for more information.

Time to Celebrate!

It’s a Reunion Weekend and an Anniversary Celebration all in one! We invite all in the Mercy community to join us.


For more information, visit

MNotes . . . miscellaneous info you need to know!

Have you read MOSAIC? The Fall 2014 issue of the MOSAIC Mercy High School Magazine was mailed this month. If you have stories to share, please contact the Alumnae Office or Julie Earle at

Christmas Concert - The Mercy Music Department is proud to announce the Christmas Concert will take place on Sunday, December 14 at 2:00pm. The concert will feature Glee I, The Mercyaires and the Mercy Orchestra.
After School Tutoring - NHS tutoring will be held in N12 from 2:45-3:30 on the following dates for the first semester: November 25; December 1,2,8,9. Students can get help in any subject.
THE 2014-2015 MERCY STUDENT DIRECTORY IS ONLINE! The student directory is accessible to all parents and students online through PowerSchool. Login to PowerSchool and click on the STUDENT DIRECTORY icon. You can look at individual listings or the whole school. Please note if your daughter's entry is not displayed, a request was completed for address or phone number information to NOT be included in the student directory. The program used to post the directory pulls directly from the database and does not allow for individual record modification.

Physical and Athletic Forms - The MHSAA Physical & Athletic Forms must be turned in to Mercy before or during the registration periods. You cannot try-out on the first day of the season unless your physical and forms were turned in before or during the registration period. Athletic Code of Conduct is available Online here:

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

Congratulations to the cast, crew and directors for a wonderful production of "Godspell!" If you have a snapshot of Mercy to share, please send to

Mercy Month Ahead

Event Date / Time Location
Thanksgiving Prayer Service Nov 24 / 10:10am Auditorium
Mercy MOMS Meeting Dec 1 / 6:30pm Media Center
Mercy DADS Meeting Dec 2 / 6:30pm Cafeteria
Ethnic Bazaar Dec 2 / 2nd - 6th Hours Drama Studio
Mother Daughter Evening of Reflection Dec 7 / 5:00pm St. Edith
MASS Dec 8 Auditorium
Senior Athlete College Committment Event Dec 11 / 2:45pm Gym
Foundation Day Dec 12 Auditorium
Christmas Concert Dec 14 / 2pm Auditorium
Cocoa & Cram Dec 15 / 3pm Cafeteria
EXAMS Dec 17 (1,2); Dec 18 (3,4,5) Dec 19 (6,7) MHS
Christmas Dance and Vacation Begins Dec 19  
Classes Resume - Second Semester Begins Jan 5 MHS

If you have any questions or want to submit information contact Want even more? Click the school life calendar and the Mercy web site. 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

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