April 2015

Wit's End . . . Notes from the Principal

Appreciation of moments. How would you rate yourself? Do you consider yourself grateful? If so, under what circumstances? Each day provides dozens, maybe hundreds, or at times, even thousands of singular moments. Which ones get your attention? I get it. Legitimately, one might say that any appreciation is relative; it depends upon the specific situation. Your response and reaction, like mine, is impacted by many factors. I investigate this topic because as the school year winds up, winds down, and makes all the necessary twists and turns, self- awareness might be helpful.

Singular moments don’t always get our attention. There are far too many and a great deal of them might qualify as routine, insignificant, and forgettable. Take those out of consideration. The ones remaining in a given day probably get strung together into events or experiences. Are they noteworthy? Maybe if they surround something either very positive or very negative, a high or a low, we take notice. We acknowledge big things: moments of singular recognition, times when we have the spotlight. These might be good or bad, happy or sad. It could be one’s birthday or anniversary, an award presentation, a competition wherein you fare well, an achievement. It could be a pleasant surprise, an honor bestowed, a party given. If the memorable event brought significant sadness, it could be unexpected loss, death of a family member, an illness, accident, hardship, or setback.

Maybe things didn’t even happen directly to us. We can witness moments, have the vantage point of spectator, and experience a different level of appreciation for those moments. The depth of joy can be quite magnificent when good happens to one we love, or one we view as deserving. Such depth of feeling can also be painful, if the moment is disappointing or tragic, and especially if unforeseen and undeserved.

I suggest to you that in all cases, an appreciation of moments, is the direct result of your attitude. Usually, I get full agreement on that premise, until I add that one’s attitude is not determined by others. Rather, your attitude is always your choice. Before you vigorously nod in the affirmative, understand what that means. In all circumstances, the good moments as well as the bad moments, you choose how you will feel and that means you have to own your attitude. No one makes you feel the way you feel. You can’t blame or credit someone else. No more “You made me so happy.” or “You made me so mad.” Do not despair. This is truly great news. To be happy or mad, elated or disappointed, accomplished or frustrated . . . whatever you’re feeling, it is YOUR choice, and consequently YOU have the control of what you do with that feeling and how you respond to it. Don’t misunderstand. Things do happen and at least some of the time, we may have little or no ability to alter the occurrence. What we always have, however, is the opportunity to react and respond.

So what about your appreciation of moments? This time of year, I hear one phrase repeatedly, from both adults and teens: “This year is going so fast.” Rationally, we know that this year is going at the same rate as every other year. Time is not passing more quickly. If it appears to be so, it might mean that many, many moments are getting by us without our recognition. Multi-tasking may have become our norm. Doing one thing at a time might now be outdated. Leisure, yes that term still exists and describes some activity, is not to be envied. You can create it and choose it. The refusal to do so is a decision which rests solely with you.

There are moments yet ahead, moments to be appreciated and celebrated and they should not be squandered. Just like you, I never know how many more I will get. So today, and for each 24 hours that remain in this school year, choose to notice the small, the random, the unimportant. Catch yourself standing still, breathing slowly, smiling at something comical. Point out such observations to your kids. Try and get them to do the same. Count to 10. Vocalize some gratitude.

In short, choose to give the lion’s share of appreciation to all that is positive in your life. It is a powerful perspective from which you can see the world.

Carolyn Witte, Principal

Mothers Club

Senior All Night Party Countdown CONTINUES! Graduation is almost upon us and the Mercy Mother’s Club still NEEDS YOU! The response for the Sign-Up Genius has been awesome! We have added additional needs to our list - so if you have not (all classes please) go to the link now and let us know you can help. We need Dads to help with Thursday set-up, it’s a Mercy community event.

Senior Moms – we are selling Grad yard signs ($10/each). The MMC toted signs to our meetings, SANP decoration workshops and athletic events in April. The next opportunity for purchasing will be at the last Mercy Mother's Club meeting, Monday, May 4th.

Graduate Pearls - LAST CALL FOR THE pearl bracelet/earrings set to go with the necklace the girls receive from the school for graduation (ssshhhh – the necklace is to be a surprise!). Click here for order form. Orders due by April 30th – get your orders in today! They will be delivered the same day as the pearl necklaces at Baccalaureate.

Last Meeting of the School Year - All Mercy Moms are invited to attend the Mercy Mothers Club Meeting onMonday, May 4th! Whether you have never attended or have attended them all, you won't want to miss this one! A lovely program has been planned by your 2014-15 Executive Board.

Please click here for more meeting information. This catered event will require an RSVP. Please respond to mercymomsclub@gmail.com with the subject line: YES to the MAY 4th Meeting! There will be a 'special something' for every mom who attends!

Dads Club

Golf with your Mercy Girl on Thursday, May 7 at Bay Pointe Golf Club. 9 holes of golf, prizes, dinner. Registration begins at 12pm and shot-gun start at 1pm. Click here for more information and registration form.

TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME on Friday, May 8th! Dads and Daughters will be heading to Comerica Park to watch the Detroit Tigers take on the Kansas City Royals at 7:00pm. $25 per ticket. There are limited seats available, first paid receive tickets! Respond to Michael Dunleavy at Michael.dunleavy@astrazeneca.com and include the following: Student Name and Grade; Parent Name, Phone # and Email; Quantity of Tickets. Please make all checks payable to Mercy Dads Club. Mail to: Michael Dunleavy 36337 Old Homestead Farmington Hills, MI 48335.

Calling ALL MERCY DADS! Join us at our next meeting Tuesday, May 5 at 6:30pm in the Cafeteria.

Student Successes . . . APPLAUSE! APPLAUSE!

Optimist Leadership Award - Katie Birecki '16 won the Farmington/Farmington Hills Optimist Leadership Award. This award recognizes a junior from each of the 5 area high schools who has demonstrated leadership skills and human relationship development. She serves as an iWizard leader and recently was among five co-editors who published a collection to iTunes called iPad Tips and Tricks. Katie is incredibly intelligent, sincere and generous with her time and sets the very best example for other students.


Michigan Youth Arts Festival Creative Writing Contest - Congratulations to these students who have been named "Student Scholars" because of their fine work submitted to the Michigan Youth Arts Festival Creative Writing Contest: Amy Vlachos; Alexis Verderbar; Julia Kirby; Maddie George and Marie Camp. The high quality of these poems has earned these girls attendance at the Festival to be held early in May at Western University.

Congratulations to Alexa Rybicki '18 for winning 3rd place in the American Legion Auxiliary Essay Writing Contest!

Theresa Walle '15 was one of five prize winners for the 21st Annual Madrigal Chorale Vocal Scholarship after competing in the final round concert at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Rochester. She will use the scholarship money to attend Westminster Choir College's Summer Solo Vocal Artist Program. She also received an Excellent at Michigan School Vocal Music Association State Solo and Ensemble.







View this Video

Watch the Mercy Staff "Shake it Off" at the Sweepstakes Drive Assembly!


Habitat for Humanity By Danya Ziazadeh

On Easter morning, 15 excited girls loaded duffel bags, pillows, sleeping bags, cleaning supplies, snacks, and eventually, ourselves, into a van and bus that would take us to Richmond, Kentucky.

Caroline Bland, Phoenix Dempster, Rose Dyar, Emily Gates, Sara Henning, Darby Horne, Jill Jennings, Casey Lewry, Lizzie Lilley, Ann Mark, Jenny Parrinello, Katie Rizik, Julianna Schneider, Arianna Watson, and Danya Ziazadeh (myself) traveled with Mrs. Dennis, Mrs. Sharp, and Sarah Dennis in order to build a house for Habitat for Humanity.

When we first arrived, we were struck with how small, yet cozy, the dorm was. It was quickly learned that there were two showers to share between the 15 of us. Community living was key; we had to learn how to share our space with one another, one hundred percent of the time. But with all the loving personalities, it was so easy. Everybody was already friends with one another, but in the one week we spent together, we formed unbreakable bonds. Between card games, reading magazines, braiding each other's hair, or simply talking with one another, friendships grew stronger.

We met with the Habitat for Humanity managers and members that were housing us, along with our construction manager, Marty, a patient and hard-working man without whom we could not have accomplished anything. When we first arrived to the house, we noticed that only the base foundation had been laid out. Marty informed us that it was up to us to put the interior and exterior walls up. He also mentioned that if we finished the house, we would put up a tool-shed. We immediately began stepping forward, ready to transport the walls from the ground up to the base of the house.

After shifting, turning, lifting, and pushing, most of the walls were placed in the correct location. Over the next few days, work varied from continuing to transfer and lift walls, to finally nailing them in to the foundation of the house using 16-penny nails, to nailing Oriented Strand Board (OSB) to the walls of the house using 8-penny nails, and to wheel-barrowing and shoveling gravel so the toolshed could have a sturdy foundation.

The most rewarding moment, however, was meeting the woman for whom we were building the house. Everybody was suddenly struck with the fact that the house we were building would provide somebody, this kind woman, warmth throughout cold nights and provide her with shelter. The thought that we were building a house suddenly became very real - and it was.

On Thursday, we were let off the construction site early in order to travel to Natural Bridge State Resort Park. The hike up was beautiful, but nothing could compare to the view at the top of the Natural Bridge, the final destination of the hike. Trees, cliffs, and small streams were sprinkled everywhere around the park, and at the top, everything was visible for what seemed like miles. Everywhere we turned, we were shown the beauty of God's creation.

Within five days, the interior and exterior walls had been put up. The house, with the exception of the roof, was completed. Leaving Saturday morning was bittersweet. We were excited to see our families, but were sad to say goodbye to the incredible people we had met and to the place that had housed us for the week. It was small, but it was filled with so much love. As we spent our last few hours as a group together, we realized that during our week, we not only built a house, but we built on our friendships and our faith.

We Can Do It! By Ana Warner and Blair Cha

Mercy's newly formed robotics team did an amazing job as a rookie team in the nationwide robotics competition called FIRST. The team, called the Riveters in honor of girl power, was created this year with support from nearby high schools Farmington, North Farmington, Frankel Jewish Academy, and West Bloomfield, adopting Rosie the Riveter's signature red and white polka dot bandana and blue work shirt as its uniform. FIRST's robot-building challenge changes each year; this year the goal in each two-minute match was to stack short recycling boxes called totes and large cylindrical recycling cans for points. On each side of the playing field are three different teams' robots, working together to create stacks.

The team aimed for at least 76 points in each match, going to the state championships, and maybe even the world championships. Even though the majority of new members from Mercy were not familiar with FIRST Robotics, the mentors taught everyone one on one, from mechanical skills - how to use a drill, operate machines, and shape metal - to programming procedures and tools, and most importantly, how to operate as a team. The mentors are parents and friends of students from all over the Farmington district. Being the strongest supporters and true leaders of the team, the mentors guided everyone to learn, challenge, and aim high. During the two months before the first competition started, the Riveters had the option of choosing what areas they want to specialize in. The three large categories were C.A.D (Computer-Aided Design), electrical and programming, and mechanical. Students in these three categories often cooperated together to build the robot. Students were encouraged to participate in other fields, such as presentation, business, and spirit. When the theme of Recycle Rush was released from FIRST Robotics, the Riveters put their heads together and brainstormed the design of the robot, analyzed the game, and came up with a winning plan of how to score points. With the help of mentors, students quickly made real life prototypes to test out. After going through numerous challenges and failures, they succeeded in creating their robot, Rosie Dos. After 6 weeks, all teams' robots have to be completed and placed in a bag at midnight. Students were given out-of-bag times, however, to fix the robot. During out-of-bag times, the Riveters, driven and determined, quickly worked on the robot to enhance its qualities. After meeting two times a week and the Saturday meetings, Rosie Dos was finally ready to compete.

At the team's first competition at Southfield High School, they earned an average of 26 points per match in the qualification rounds and ranked 21 out of 40 robots. The team was picked by the fourth alliance to join them for playoff rounds. In the playoffs, the alliance kicked their scores up to an average of 67 points per match. The alliance won third place overall in Southfield.

At the second competition in Bedford, teams were well prepared for the game. The Riveters ranked 13th in qualification rounds, averaging 90 points per match, and became the captain of the eighth alliance for playoffs. The alliance didn't advance to semifinals but had hopes of earning enough "qualifying points" to go to the state competition, where the top 102 teams in Michigan compete. At the awards ceremony, the Riveters won the Imagery Award for their unmistakable uniforms and their arsenal of red with white polka dot buttons, balloons, bandanas, and bows. Unfortunately, Mercy's team barely missed the qualification for states by just 2 points. Next year's plans include expanding the team with more students, extending their work to include outreach programs, and doing even better in competitions.

Watch the robot, Rosie Dos, number 1481 in action here https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Gtoe2VuJT74.

2015-2016 Athletic Information

Upcoming Try-Outs

Summer Camps at Mercy

  • Basketball June 22 - 25
  • Field Hockey June 15 -18
  • Soccer July 6 - 9
  • Volleyball All Skills 6th-8th Grades: July 13-15; 9th Grade: July 20-22; 10th-12th Grades July 21-23; Position Specific 7th-12th grades July 27-28

All 2015-16 Athletes will need the COMPLETED MHSAA Physical, performed on or after April 15, 2015, and the three Mercy Athletics forms.The Mercy Athletic Code of Conduct is available here. The MHSAA Physical and 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. View the MHSAA 2015-16 Calendar here.

*NEW FOR 2015 -2016: All eligible Athletes will need a wristband for the 1st day of Try-Outs! The wristband will be given when the MHSAA Physical & Mercy Athletic Forms are turned in. Please contact kmscalzi@mhsmi.org for further information. Be sure to visit mhsmi.org/athletics for updates and 2015-2016 Sports Season date information.

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, Monday, May 4 from 2:45pm - 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 kmscalzi@mhsmi.org if you will attend. Include your name, sport, and college. If you already attended the fall signing event, you don't need to be present.

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.

Busy Month for Latin Students

On April 17, a group of Latin students visited the University of Michigan for Copley Latin Day. There were over 300 students in attendance from high schools in the Detroit and Ann Arbor area. Students toured campus, participated in oratory and costume contests, learned about ancient Roman games from a distinguished professor, and even toured the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology.

On April 25, Latin students traveled to Grant, Michigan for the annual Junior Classical League convention. Students took home awards in oratory, costuming, art, and academics. The following students received state awards:

  • Costume Contest (Hephaestus & Aphrodite)
  • 2nd: Alaina Skellett ‘17 & Bianca Seely ‘17
  • 2nd: Lilian Lebednick ’17 & Ellie Janitz ’17
  • Vocabulary
  • 1st: Ellie Janitz ‘17
  • 2nd: Arianna Watson ‘15
  • Oratory
  • 3rd: Katherine Colleran ‘17
  • 3rd: Ellie Janitz ‘17
  • Grammar
  • 3rd: Jensen Pecora ‘15
  • 3rd: Ellie Janitz ‘17
  • Dramatic Interpretation
  • 1st: Phil Engel ‘16
  • 2nd: Lilian Lebednick ‘17
  • Derivatives
  • 1st: Phil Engel ‘16
  • Arts—Information
  • 1st: Bianca Seely ‘17
  • 3rd: Lilian Lebednick ‘17
  • Mythology
  • 2nd: Mary Dunstone ‘18
  • 2nd: Phil Engel ‘16
  • Arts—Models
  • 2nd: Lilian Lebednick ‘17
  • Roman Life and Culture
  • 2nd: Phil Engel ‘16
  • Arts—3D
  • 1st: Alaina Skellett ‘17
  • 2nd: Lilian Lebednick ‘17
  • 3rd: Vayda Suleiman ‘17

Congratulations to the three Mercy students that were elected to the State Board of the Michigan Junior Classical League! Katherine Colleran ’17 (Historian), Phil Engel ’16 (President), and Ellie Janitz ’17 (TAEDA Editor) You can learn more about Mercy’s Latin program by accessing: https://www.facebook.com/mercyjcl

Class of 2015 Activities

SENIOR PARENTS - Events, deadlines, details, and forms. Check out the Class of 2015 Senior Class Activities web page for all you need to know! Prom instructions and graduation ticket process info just updated.

Sweepstakes 2015

The Mercy Student Sweepstakes Drive was a success earning over $155,000 for Mercy. All prize drawings will be held at Mercy on May 15, 2015 and the grand prize is $10,000! Congratulations to the following for being top sellers:


  • First Advisee Group with 100% Turn In - Mr. Meloche
  • Top Selling Advisee Group - Ms. Susan Smith
  • Top Staff Sellers - Mrs.Ewald; Ms. Hanna and S. Nancy Thompson
  • School Top Seller - Kaitlin Bayer, 2nd Top Sellers Allison Lobbia and Marissa Lobbia
  • Top Seller by Grade - 12th Grade Chrissie Clayton, 11th Grade Matisyn Ficara, 10th Grade Morgan Brietzke, 9th Grade Margaret Ewald
  • The Sophomores were the top selling class and earned a day off Friday, May 8th!

UNIFORMS 2015 - 2016

Journey to Ireland with Mercy!

In celebration of Mercy High School's 70th Anniversary, alumnae, parents and friends are invited to accompany President Dr. Cheryl Kreger on a pilgrimage to Ireland May 9 - 18, 2016. Spend 10 days and 8 nights traveling through Galway, Sneem and Dublin.

Take the Catherine McAuley Walking Tour in Dublin and see the sites of Mercy associated with her life, including the first House of Mercy on Baggot Street. This trip will be a unique opportunity to take in some of Ireland's most important religious sites and attend mass in historic churches as well as learn about life, tradition and music with members of a small Irish village.

The inclusive travel package is offered through Corporate Travel Service.

Click here to read through the itinerary brochure and trip details.

Click here to book your trip online.

We hope you can join Mercy in Ireland for this trip of a lifetime!

Beginning with the 2015-2016 school year, Mercy will be using Educational Outfitters in Farmington as our exclusive uniform vendor. Uniforms may be purchased in the store as well as online. Online ordering link will be available in May 2015 and posted on our web site here: mhsmi.org/curriculum/uniforms. Also note the Mothers Club is collecting clean used sophomore and senior uniforms. Please donate kilts, blouses and sweaters that are part of the uniform dress code to the Reception Area.

The kilt colors and accessories for the 2015-2016 school year will be as follows:

  • Class of 2019 - blue / green plaid skirt, navy blue quarter-zip and sweater
  • Class of 2018 - blue / maroon plaid skirt, maroon quarter-zip and sweater
  • Class of 2017 - solid black skirt, black quarter-zip and sweater
  • Class of 2016 - solid gray skirt, gray or white quarter-zip and gray sweater

There will be a new uniform item offered for the 2015-16 school year. In addition to the banded white blouse, there will be a banded white polo. Students will have the option to wear either the blouse or the polo. The polo will be available in long and short sleeve.

Kilts, blouses, polos, and sweaters must be purchased from Educational Outfitters. Quarter-zips must be purchased from the Marlin Shop.

Click here for more information and online ordering link will be posted soon!

Educational Outfitters
23317 Orchard Lake Road
Farmington, MI 48336

MNotes . . . miscellaneous info you need to know!

Yearbook - There was a delay sending pages to the publisher so the yearbook may arrive during the last few days of school. This will limit availability to sell yearbooks to all students. To guarantee your daughter receives a book, please purchase a book for $70 at www.yearbookordercenter.com and type in 13826 to be directed to Mercy's page. Checks for $70 made out to Mercy can also be given to Mrs. Hallie Smith. We only have 70 books left for more than 300 students who have not yet purchased the 2015 yearbook.

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.

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.

Sophomore Day Off - Sophomore Parents! Please note the Sophomore Class earned a day off of school on Friday, May 8 for being the top selling Sweepstakes Drive class.

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Snapshot of Mercy

Chrissie Clayton, Megan Haase, Morgan Pfaff and Chloe Churukian enjoyed breakfast with Mrs. Cindy Richter and her two daughters as part of an item they won at the Mercy Auction. Yummy fun!

Mercy Month Ahead

Event Date / Time Location
Senior Athlete College Signing Event May 4 / 2:45pm Gymnasium
Mercy Mothers Club Meeting May 4 / 6:30pm Cafeteria
Mercy Dads Club Meeting May 5 / 6:30pm Cafeteria
Senior Portfolio Art Showcase May 6 / 7:00pm Media Center
Father Daughter Golf Outing May 7 / 12:00pm Bay Pointe
Father Daughter Tigers Game May 8 / 7:00pm Comerica Park
Evening of Acting May 13 / 7:00pm Drama Studio
Spring Concert May 19 / 7:00pm Auditorium
Honors Convocation / Moving Up / Senior Parties May 26 MHS
EXAMS May 27 - 29 MHS
Baccalaureate Mass & Senior Farewell June 3 / 6:00pm Auditorium
Graduation June 7 / 2:00pm 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 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.

Mercy High School Mission

Mercy High School, a Catholic college preparatory school immersed in the tradition of the Sisters of Mercy, educates and inspires young women of diverse backgrounds to lead and serve with compassion.