September 2009

Wit's End . . . notes from the principal

Cause for celebration.

A simple phrase and one used to describe a myriad of circumstances.For those of us in Michigan, especially in southeastern Michigan, recent challenges in the economy have reduced the frequent use of such a phrase.Our resilience as a people is quite remarkable and many of us have weathered financial setbacks while maintaining optimism.

As we open this school year, it is indeed cause for celebration and it is important that we understand why.There is a vision here at Mercy that extends beyond looking simply at the year ahead.That vision has always been a hallmark of this institution and in recent years our focus has been on the need for an updated physical environment. So, in 2005-2006, the school commissioned work to develop a facilities master plan.Such a plan was necessary so that the future capabilities and viability of this wonderful high school would happen by design and not by accident or happenstance.As stewards of this particular kind of education of young women, education steeped in the charism of our foundress, Catherine McAuley, it was important that we develop a road map of sorts so that future needs might be decided upon that would fit our mission, our site, our values and ensure the quality of our product.

This facilities master plan has given us a document to dream toward and the next step was to prioritize what needed to happen first. The science wing renovation surfaced as our number one priority. We moved forward with a capital campaign targeted on this as one current need.As we all know, soon after, the economic downturn sent real shock waves through the country and Michigan was especially hard hit.Even though times were tougher than any of us have known in recent decades, Mercy chose not to back pedal or retreat from its important plans. Cause for celebration.

We have an amazing community of Mercy: dedicated staff, past and present students and parents, friends and donors who see the value of a Mercy education. Through their generosity, we have realized a dream . . . the completion of state of the art classrooms for the teaching of the sciences. The dedication of our new environment, the blessing and ribbon cutting were moments to be marked. This was quite an achievement due in no small measure to the vision we held and the belief that education must continue to move forward despite setbacks.It is the same vision that has brought us to this new school year and the realization of yet another goal, our total one-to-one tablet pc initiative.All four grade levels now have the powerful tools necessary in education. The barriers to how, where, and when information can be obtained are forever changed.This took years of careful planning because few other schools in the nation have responded to the shift in the educational paradigm.We did the careful research and decision making to position this school, and your daughters, to be ahead of the rest.The advancements in technology continue to happen at a pace beyond what can be regularly communicated to the public. Even so, Mercy has positioned itself to offer the finest opportunities to your daughter and prepare her for what’s coming – not by hearing about the challenges, but rather by experiencing and solving them firsthand.

This is a remarkable time in education here at Mercy and God’s hand in all of this is not to be overlooked.We are blessed that our hard work and foresight are rewarded.We are blessed to have a professional staff who update and modify the curriculum here at Mercy and anticipate what college and career success will require. We are blessed to be surrounded by a positive spirit seen in our parents who wrestle with the difficulties of the economy but sacrifice to offer hope for their children.All of this is cause for celebration.

I am so grateful to be a part of Mercy’s legacy that will outlast all of us.

Mrs. Carolyn Witte, Principal

Mercy MOMENT of the Month

"We dedicate this science wing and ask your blessing upon it and every student that will walk its hallways."

A new chapter of "Celebrating Women in Science" began at Mercy High School Friday, September 18 with the dedication, blessing, and ribbon cutting of the renovated science wing.Students, staff, parents, Capital Campaign donors, political officials, and honored guests werecaptivated bykeynote speaker and 1987 Alumna Luanne Thomas Ewald, VP Business Development and Strategic Planning for Children's Hospital of Michigan.

She emphasized the importance of women in science, technology, engineering, and math and showcased some fellow Alumnae making a difference in the science world. Her engaging presentation highlighted how "Mercy introduces students to the science and technology of today with the expectation that they will get involved and impact the science and technology of tomorrow. You are the future scientists anddoctors and engineers that will develop a cure for cancer, develop new medications, new jets, new cars, new energy."

After the auditorium assembly Fr. Mark Brauer, Pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, offered a prayer of blessing, "Lord, God Almighty in your kindness hear our prayers. We dedicate this building to the education of youth, to the progress of the sciences and to learning. Make it become a center where students and teachers, filled with the words of truth, will search for the wisdom that guides the Christian life and strive wholeheartedly to stand by Christ as their teacher, who lives and reigns with you one God forever and ever."

The dedication and ribbon cutting was performed by President Sr. Regina Marie Doelker, Board of Trustees Member Bill Valade, Principal Carolyn Witte, Associate Principal Will GScience Department Chairperson Kathy Kitzmann, 2009 Teacher of the Year Madame Joyce Campbell, and Student Council President Katelyn Constantakis. Attendees toured the science site which features increased work space of new lab, lecture, and prep rooms equipped with new desks, stools, chairs, microscopes, refrigerators, digital science balances, data projectors, air conditioning, new fume hoods, and safety showers. CLICK HERE for more photos and stay tuned to for video footage!

THANK YOU for helping us build Mercy's Future!

Mothers Club

THANK YOU to all the moms who attended our first meeting. It wasuplifting to see so many moms interested in Mercy Mothers Club and what we do. Our second meeting will be Monday, October5th at 6:30 in the media center. We hope to see you all there as we will be unveiling some exciting changes for Mothers Club. Be sure to check out the Mothers Club home page and calendar for more information about upcoming events.

NEW MOMS WELCOME DINNER - Coming up on Monday, September 28th is the New Mom Welcome Dinner for all moms of freshwomen and transfer students. If you have not received your invitation please contact Kathleen Donnelly at or 248.471.2003.

FALL FASHION - Mothers Club FASHION SHOW and Fall Boutique will take place on Sunday, October 25th at the Rock Financial Showplace. Spend an afternoon enjoying great fashion and fabulous shopping, lunch, and raffle hosted by Jackie Paige of FOX 2 Detroit. CLICK HERE for all the runway details and reservation form.

Dads Club

Happy HALLOWEEKEND at Cedar Point! The annual Dads and DaughtersCedar Point trip will be held Saturday, October 24. All rides are open and once darkness falls, Cedar Point becomes a giant haunted amusement park. Snacks, movies, and refreshments on the bus ride and an opportunity to spend a whole day of roller-coasting fun with your friends and DAD! Bus leaves Mercy at 9:00am. CLICK HERE for all the wicked info and sign up online at

ALL DADS are welcome at our next meeting October6 at 7:00pm in the Cafeteria.


Back to school. Back to class. Back to business.The 741young women of Mercy filled the Auditorium on September9th for the opening school prayer service and to give a resounding reception to the 190Freshwomen,7 new Sophomores, and 4 new Juniors who joined our Mercy family.

Another warm welcome to the 3 new staff members who willmake Mercy their home:Math Teacher Mrs. Patty Perry '96; Religious Studies Teacher Mr. Joe Gerardi; and Social Studies Teacher Mr. Gary Morris.

Help us welcome even more Mercy girls to our fantastic school!Spread the good word about our upcoming Mercy Open House, November8 from 1pm - 4pm. Contact for more admissions information.

Guess What?

117 students took 165 AP Exams last May. 73% scored a 3 or higher overall,14 out of 15 AP American Government students scored a 4 or 5, and 80% of AP English Lit scored a 3 or better. 15 students from the Class of 2009 earned AP Scholar Awards in recognition of their exceptional achievement on the AP Exams. Those are some serious studious stats!

Advisor. Author. Advocate. Ambassador.

Mr. Larry BakerEnglish and AP Government Teacher Mr. Larry Baker is all four and then some.He was selected as an Apple Distinguished Educator and attendedthe premierprofessional development program sponsored by Apple and Full Sail University in Orlando this past July. According to Mr. Baker this ADE Summer Institute was, "first class, stimulating, challenging, renewing, and empowering." He networked with the othervisionary ADE'sof the present and past and learned about Apple products and applications for the classroom.

At the institute there was a personal development piece where he was guided todevelop a “brand” for himself. This was done through a series of exercises that ended up with a portrait and a professional-standard high definition personal video being cut and processed by university students. The other main component of the program, besides branding and personal sharing, was the orientation to “Challenge Based Learning.” This is a more personalized approach to learning and is designed to break down the limits of the the school walls and teacher to student teaching. It emphasizes the teacher’s role as a guide and uses technology to tap into global resources. Mr. Baker has plans to incorporate a very central CBL project into his AP American Government course this Fall.

He alsovolunteered to substitute for the Regional Apple Educational Development Executive for the Michigan Association of Public School Academies workshop. The topics will be quick and easy podcasts and free tools for implementing a 21st century learning environment. Mr. Baker says, "I'm helping Apple and they have given me a chance to hone my presentation to fellow educators, something I am eager to do at this point in my career." Click through his sites at:; MHS Courses; Web Warriors. And check out this article about ADE Mr. Baker in the Michigan Catholic!

Pastoral Ministry Retreat Program

Pastoral Ministry has received a grant from the Sisters of Mercy to assist students in need with the costof the Kairos Retreat. The grant is for $3,575.00 and is funded by the Sisters of Mercy Ministry Project Fund. Any student who wishes to attend a Kairos Retreat this year and needs assistance is asked to contact the Pastoral Ministry Office for details and the formto apply for a partial Kairos Scholarship. Mercy, along with the Sisters of Mercy arecommitted to making our retreats accessible to all students and this grant will certainly assist us in making this a reality for our students. THANK YOU Sisters of Mercy!

What's New . . .

LOOKIN' GOOD - Not only did Mercy High School get reconstructed science labs, but also repaired sidewalks, parking lot patches, more electronic books for themedia center, 6 data projectors (thanks to the Mothers Club), computer network upgrade for improved wireless connectivity, and landscaping and irrigation to the front lobby entrance (thanks to the Dads Club).

CASHLESS CAFE - Students will have the option of using their Mercy student ID card as a pre-paid debit account in the Mercy Cafe. CLICK HERE for all of the information. Receive $20 extra for every $200 loaded on your card until October 16th. If you have any questions about this program, please contact the Mercy Cafe Director Anne Hallberg at 248.893.3536 or

ASK AL - Atomic Learning isour online resource for software training and is available to our students and their families in school and at home throughout the school year. Atomic Learning’s innovative approach to software training focuses on answering common questions encountered when learning and using software. How do you cut and paste in Word? How do you add animation to a PowerPoint slide? How do you crop a photo in Photoshop Elements? Just ask AL.

2. Enter the following user name and password:User Name: mercyhsparentsor mercyhsstudents Password:marlins
3. Type your question in the search box and click on Go!
4. An answer will be provided in the form of a one to three minute tutorial movie. The movie will walk you and your child through all the steps needed to complete the task.

Our school is dedicated to providing the highest quality technology resources available in order to prepare our students for their futures. That is why we are making Atomic Learning available to you—we want you to have the resources to help your child with school work. And while you’re at it, you can use Atomic Learning to learn about software applications that interest you!

Counseling Corner

PrepHQ - Have questions about planning for college? Visit the Mercy Counseling Department website, PrepHQ. PrepHQ is an internet-based resource designed to help students and parents organize, plan for, and initiate the college planning process. Take a few minutes to explore specific colleges, learn about college visits to Mercy, get ACT and SAT testing information, learn about Scholarships, read announcements, and get links to other valuable college related resources. Go to and click on COUNSELING to begin exploring this rich resource.

Senior Parents - Your invited to attend Senior Parent Night on Thursday, October 1stat 7 PM in the Mercy Auditorium. The college application and admissions process will be discussed among other senior related events.

Freshwomen Parents - Catch up on ninth grade news! CLICK HERE to read the September issue of the monthly newsletter exclusively for freshwomen and their families.

Counselor Contact Information - 9th Grade, Trish Brown (, 248.893.2431; 10th - 12th Grades, (A - G) BlaiseLowe (, 248.893.3513, (H - O) Arpna Hessler (, 248.893.3517, (P - Z) Kristen Casey (, 248.893.3526; Administrative Assistant, Jennifer Burek (, 248.893.3541.


Fourth is Growth! 2009-2010 brings Mercy full circle in its Tablet 1:1 Computing Program. With tablet pc’s in every staff and student’s hand, Mercy has worked every year to realize a data projector and screen in every classroom. The school’s learning management system (MOODLE) was complemented last year by DyKnow, a collaborative set of software tools enabling a high degree of interaction and note taking within the classroom. The summer’s work included a bump of 2-3 times the wireless transmission speed for the North to South teaching areas with the adoption of the new 802.11n wireless standard; a fuller capacity wireless switch; new access points and increased speeds from the school’s area switches back to the server room. This project is the phased beginning of our next generation wireless as only the current freshwomen have "n" capacity in their wireless network cards. The balance of the school continues on the 54.4 mb of the 802.11a standard.

Reminder: Mercy’s web site has links to: File Access, Email and PowerSchool. Students also have internet access outside of school to DyKnow and the eHelpDesk through their MOODLE access. Please reinforce with your daughters the importance of saving their school work to their school network drive (backed up nightly) as well as those files and personal photos, videos, music on a disk drive at home. When hard drives go bad, students do not have to suffer lost work and downtime.

Related Links:

The Mercy I.T. Dept - Sr. Adele Stommel, IHM, Director; Mr. Tom James, Network Administrator; Mr. Gary Bank, Technical Support Coordinator

A U C T I O N 2010

The 31st Annual Mercy High School Auction will be held Saturday, February 27, 2010 at the Diamond Center at Rock Financial Showplace. Planning is already underway and WE NEED YOU to be a part of the largest parent fundraiser of the year! DONATE.VOLUNTEER.ADVERTISE. ATTEND.

Join us for our next Auction Committee meeting Wednesday, October 14th at 6:30pm in the Advancement Office Conference Room. Contact Auction Coordinator Kari Weber at 248.893.3535 or

CLICK HERE to check out photos from past Auctions, get donation ideas and more!

Latest and Greatest from the Alumnae Office

October Dining at Olgas

Dine out at the Olga’s Kitchen at Twelve Oaks Mall or The Shops at Old Orchard to support Mercy High School during Thursdays in October: October 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 from 10:30am-9:00pm. Simply CLICK HERE to print off a copy of this flyer and include it with your bill.A percentage of your bill will be donated to the Mercy Alumnae Association Tuition Assistance Fund.Dining out never tasted so good!

Celebrate the Mercy Alumnae Legacy

Did you know that there are 73 alumnae who have a daughter (or two…) currently enrolled at Mercy? If you are a Mercy alumna-mom you are invited to join us for a mother-daughter dinner to celebrate the Mercy Alumnae Legacy.

Thursday, October 8


Mercy High School Media Center

Contact Jennifer Stark in the Alumnae Office at or call 248.476.3270.

Influenza Response – Common Sense and Personal Responsibility

With all the updated information available regarding the two types of influenza (seasonal flu and novel H1N1 flu), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends both vaccines for all children six months through 18 years of age.Adults can also be vaccinated. Parents need to make their own decisions regarding these recommendations in consultation with their own physicians.

Anyone with flu like symptoms should be kept at home.Students should stay at home for at least 24 hours after they are free of fever without fever reducing medication.Parents are asked to plan ahead and decide who would care for your daughter should she become seriously ill.Mercy staff will assist her while she is absent so that she can remain reasonably current with assigned work.

Reinforce these behaviors with your daughter to reduce her risk of getting and spreading flu viruses:

  • washing her hands often using soap and warm water for 30 seconds
  • using hand sanitizer
  • coughing and sneezing into her sleeve or elbow rather than her hands
  • not touching her eyes, nose or mouth as germs spread that way


Look out! Ms. Linskey's scooter is on the loose! If you have a snapshot of Mercy to share, please send to

MNotes . . . miscellaneous info you need to know!

You have Mercy mail! Be sure to check your mailbox next month for the Mercy High School Magazine MOSAIC with spotlights on service, science, andalso included will be the 2008 - 2009 Annual Report. CLICK HERE to read past issues.

SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSPRINT-THE VOICE OF MERCY HIGH SCHOOL!Stay connected to the school you know and love with a unique student perspective!A complete 12-page newspaper filled with everything from school news to world events, exciting features, sports, and entertainment, Newsprint is the source that links the Mercy community to the rest of the world.Support the staff of talented young Mercy women and enjoy informative and entertaining features by purchasing a subscription to this award-winning, student-produced paper. Newsprint is disbributed to students at school but it can be also be delivered directly to your home or place of work.The price is $12.00 for the year (6 issues). Please send your name, preferred mailing address and email, along with a check for $12.00 (payable to Mercy High School) to: Ms. Lynn Waldsmith, Newsprint Advisor Mercy High School, 29300 W. 11 Mile Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48336-1409. CLICK HERE to read past issues.

THE 2009 LORE YEARBOOK The award-winning Lore will be sold October 5th - 9th for $60. It's your opportunity to go green and save some green. The Lore will be printed using recycled paper and in November will be sold for $65. So, don't wait; order yours today! Last year we sold out, leaving many girls disappointed they hadn't pre-ordered a yearbook. Senior ads are due November 16. Contact with any questions.

Look who is a Sweepstakes Drive winner!

Mercy Month Ahead

Event Date / Time Location
Mercy Day Mass
Sept 24 / 12:55p
Parent Night Sept 24 / 6:30p MHS
Homecoming Dance Sept 25 / 8p Gymnasium
NEW MOMS Welcome Dinner Sept 28 / 6:30p MHS
SENIOR Parent Night Oct1 / 7p MHS
Mercy MOMS Gathering Oct5 / 6:30p Media Center
Mercy DADS Meeting
Oct6 / 7p Cafe
Mercy Alumnae Legacy Reception Oct 8 / 6 - 7:30p Media Center
SENIOR Class Mass Oct 9 Auditorium
Pizza, Jamz, and Jeans Oct 15 / 6p Cafe
Parent / Teacher Conferences
Oct22 / 2p - 4p and 6:30p - 8:30p
Dads Club Cedar Point Trip
Oct 24 / 9a MHS / CP
Mothers Club Fall Boutique & Fashion Show
Oct25 / 11a - 4p Rock Financial
OPEN HOUSE Nov8 / 1p - 4p MHS

THANK YOU for taking the time to read the MERCY MEMO. The purpose of this parent newsletter is to inform, enlighten, and entertain. The OCTOBER MEMO will be delivered to your inbox by October 21.If you have any questions or want to submit information contact

Want even more? Click the school year calendarand the Mercy website. And don't miss all of the latest Mercy In The News articles.Check outthe current announcements, view past issues of the MEMO newsletter, and browse the home page yellow box to link to what's happening today @ Mercy.