December 2011

Mercy High School Monthly Parent E-Newsletter - December 2011
Wit's End . . . Notes from the Principal

Tender Mercies

In 1983, I saw the above named film. It was what I have come to describe as a quiet movie, one of those stories that has a profound impact and communicates its truth without flash or fanfare. It is the story of a middle aged, down on his luck, washed up country western singer, Mac Sledge, now a drifter, who happens upon a little motel/gas station in west Texas. Rosalie, its owner/operator provides Mac a room in exchange for work, and in the course of time, offers him both refuge and a chance at redemption.

A young widow, made so by the war in Vietnam, Rosalie lives here alone but for a young boy, Sonny, clearly the love of her life as well as the image of his father. It is her sheer acceptance of this stranger that awakens in Mac a belief that his life still offers opportunity. She is a woman of faith, and although she could be embittered with her lot in life, she sees, instead, all that she has as reason for daily gratitude. As Rosalie comes to know the difficulties of Mac’s past, fame, alcoholism, a failed marriage and career, and an estranged older daughter with whom he hopes to re-engage, she encourages him to remain hopeful and to believe that he too has countless blessings, should he choose to see them. Until he can forgive himself for past mistakes, he cannot move forward.

As I said at the opening, this is a quiet movie, but one whose message is enormous. Rosalie comes to love Mac Sledge, something he thought impossible, and she does so simply by seeing the good in him. She sees him as one of her own blessings and tells him so. “I say my prayers for you, and when I thank the Lord for His tender mercies, you are at the head of the list.”

Tender mercies. We all have them. We don’t often take notice. Instead, we focus too much of our energy on what’s missing, what should have, but did not, happen. The disappointments cloud our ability to recognize the points of gratitude. Just days ago, I had one such moment of clarity. It began with a phone call at 4:25 am last Thursday and these two words: emergency appendectomy. Our son, 26, was calling from his local hospital in Cincinnati, where he had driven himself some two hours before and was now awaiting the surgeon’s arrival. He said he’d like us to come down. A four hour drive. We were soon on our way.

Now understand. A surgery was going to be done on our son. We wouldn’t make it there until it was over. I would miss at least the next two days of work. Our staff Christmas party at Mercy was to be held Friday afternoon, the one gathering each year of the entire staff, and it was to be a marvelous spread of great food and even better company. Wouldn’t be there. Saturday was the date scheduled for most of my family to celebrate Christmas this year, over in Holland, Michigan. Five of my eight siblings, along with their families, were set to gather at my sister’s home along with my parents, ages 90 and 91. We look forward to this event every year. It’s a 24 hour raucous fun fest of food, games, a gift exchange, and a lot of laughter. Wouldn’t be there.

Tender mercies. Oh yes, indeed. Here’s why. Our son called from the hospital. He had safely arrived. The appendix was seriously inflamed; it had not, however, ruptured. The surgeon was on his way. We were out of state, but fortunately hours away, not days. We made our drive through rain. It was December 15th; it very well should have been snow, if not ice. As it turned out, the surgery would be laparoscopic, not open. As already noted, we wouldn’t be there in time, but a close friend of our son’s was, a 58 year old college professor who treats Scott like family. He had called us just before 5:00 am while enroute to the hospital, and he stayed there for hours until we arrived. Yes, my son and I would miss the Christmas celebration, but my husband was able to head home and join our daughter in Holland. I was able to stay with my adult son (who was released the very same day as the surgery), wait on him, keep him comfortable, monitor both nourishment and meds . . . in essence, have a few days as mom. I was then able to drive him back to Michigan on Sunday. He had planned to come in on his own for a two week vacation before all of this happened.

Tender mercies. All kinds of things could have been different. Yes, some minor disappointments but more so, many unforeseen blessings. This Christmas I will be grateful, once again, for my family – especially my husband and my children – and the time we have spent together in the past twelve months. I will be thankful, as was Rosalie, for His tender mercies.

May you as well.  Merry Christmas.

Mrs. Carolyn Witte, Principal

Mercy MOMENT of the Month

Stepping Across Borders

Human Relations Council proudly presented "Stepping Across Borders," Ethnic Bazaar on December 1st with 120 student participants. The Drama Studio was packed with cheering students and proud parents watching the wonderful performances. ETHNIC BAZAAR has been a favorite Mercy tradition which highlights the diversity of Mercy through song, dance, poetry, prayer, food, fashion, and art. It brings the Mercy community together to experience and embrace our uniqueness. This year's festival featured Fillipino, Irish, African American, Chaldean, and Indian performances. Everyone at Mercy takes pleasure in this special day to honor, educate, and incorporate different ethnicities.

Mothers Club

December has been a busy month for Mothers Club. The Mother Daughter Evening of Reflection was a priceless memory to be treasured by all! Thanks to Debbie Padalis, Peggy Griffin, Debbie Bowen and all their gracious volunteers for a lovely evening.

Special thanks to the Mercyaires, Livonia Italian Bakery, Orin Jewelers, Kate Scalzi (Mercy Spirit Wear), Mary Lou Messana (Raffle), and all the Mercy Moms who made our Mothers Club Holiday Party on December 5th a huge success. The entertainment, food, shopping and, of course, the raffle prizes, were outstanding. It was so nice to see so many moms!

There will be NO JANUARY MOTHERS CLUB MEETING. ALL MERCY MOMS are invited to join us for our next meeting February 6 at 6:30pm in the Media Center.

Dads Club

What a fun time we had at the Holiday Bonfire Thursday night! A rip roaring good time was had by all that attended. The fire was warm, the ground a little mushy and with the aid of the wind the wood supply burned quickly. Check out and link to the photos here and videos here. Send your bonfire photos to and we will update the albums.

Bring a plate to pass and your dancing shoes and join us at the annual Dads and Daughters BARN DANCE on Friday, January 20th from 7pm - 11pm at the Lazy J Ranch in Milford. Reservation forms are available here. Cost is $40 for you and your daughter, $15 for an additional daughter.

SELL! SELL! SELL! The Dads Club biggest fundraiser (and biggest payout) is in full swing. The Grand Raffle tickets were mailed to everyone last month. Bright Pink tickets for $20 each. Sell 5 and get the 6th one free! Drawing will be at the Dads and Daughters Dance on February 18th 2012. Grand Prize $10,000. You need not be present to win but it’s a whole lot more fun if you are!

Luck of the Irish! Irish Raffle is going on now for $5 per ticket or a book of 5 for $20. The winner will have the option of Fitzpatrick Castle Ireland trip or $2500. Any and all Mercy organizations can keep 50% of all ticket sales. Call Don Esper or email inquiries to Drawing takes place at Cowley’s Irish Pub on St. Patrick’s Day.

Calling ALL MERCY DADS! We welcome and encourage you to come meet, greet, and eat at our next meeting January 10 at 7:00pm in the Cafeteria.

Heart Centered in God

In celebration of the Founding of the Sisters of Mercy 180 years ago, Mercy warmly welcomed Pages of History Live Theatre - Living History for the performance of "Heart Centered in God - Catherine McAuley, First Sister of Mercy." This production was beautifully written by L.E. McCullough and performed by seasoned interpreter Lisa Bansavage who gave us a glimpse into the day-in-the-life of Catherine McAuley. It showcased Catherine's vision of establishing the "Houses of Mercy" that gave shelter and job training to thousands of women in 1830s Ireland.

The Mercy community gathers each year to commemorate the anniversary of our founding. December 12, 1831 was the official beginning of the congregation of the Sisters of Mercy and is a most significant day in our Common History as Mercy people. Today members of Catherine’s religious community, the Sisters of Mercy, and the greater Mercy family are part of Mercy schools and hospitals around the world who share Catherine’s dream of reaching out to those who are most in need of help and healing.

"May God preserve and bless you and grant you all the graces and precious gifts reserved for this holy season," Catherine McAuley, Founder of the Sisters of Mercy.

Day with Drew!

Brittany Wenzel '13 won the opportunity to bring Lions Quarterback and former Michigan State Quarterback Drew Stanton to Mercy for the day on December 6th. Her father Brian attended a benefit for Stanton’s High 5ive Foundation and was the winning bidder on a silent auction item which was for Stanton to visit a school. Stanton is actually from Farmington and attended Harrison High School.

Stanton graciously walked the halls with Brittany and attended her Anatomy and Physiology class, lunched in the cafeteria, and spoke to the physical education and swim class about fitness and being a professional athlete. Not to mention he signed many autographs and posed for plenty of photos.

He did not leave empty handed though, since the Mercy High Student Council donated $1,000 to his charity the High 5ive Foundation which supports 5 organizations including Special Olympics of Michigan, Children’s Miracle Network, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Orchard’s Children’s Services, and Community Inclusion Recreation. The mission of Drew Stanton’s High 5ive Foundation is to improve the quality of life for all people with varying disabilities through raising public awareness and inspiring individuals toward achieving personal goals which at one time seemed unattainable.

Everyone at Mercy was thrilled to welcome Stanton and enjoyed all the stories he shared about his life, his foundation, and being a quarterback in the NFL.

Maddy Doyle Gatorade Player of the Year

The awards just keep coming for volleyball standout Maddy Doyle '12. In its 27th year of honoring the nation's best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with ESPNHS, announced Maddy as its 2011-12 Gatorade Michigan Volleyball Player of the Year. The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court, distinguishes her as Michigan's best high school volleyball player. She is also now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Volleyball Player of the Year award announced later in December.

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by ESPNHS and the Gatorade high school sports leadership team, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport. As part of Maddy's honor, The Gatorade Company will send a trophy and banner within the next few weeks to Mercy High School to be formally presented to Maddy.

Congratulations to Maddy, all the coaches and the entire vollebyall team! Mercy is so proud of you!

Give Me a M, Give Me an E, Give Me a R, Give Me a C, Give Me a Y!

CONGRATULATIONS to Swim Coach Shannon Dunworth who was named MISCA Division I Swim Coach of the Year. What an honor to receive this recognition from his peers!

Special shout-out to Ice Hockey who is icing its competitors. They defeated Div 1 Northville last week and won the Suburban Tournament. Basketball continues to dominate on the court with wins all around for Frosh, JV, and Varsity. Figure Skating took 5th in their first competition. Bowling begins league matches in January and the Ski team will hit the slopes next month.

Check out some of the newspaper feature articles about our amazing athletes! There's more . . . here are some awards and highlights from all SPORTS 2011.



Time to show some spirit for Mercy Winter Sports! CLICK HERE to view the Athletics Calendar and even get driving directions. If you know of more sport honors, please send to Kate Scalzi at

Mercy Link Crew Presents...

Freshwomen STRESS BUSTERS! Come relieve some pre-exam stress with your classmates.
  • Wednesday, January 4th: "Sleeping Beauty Room" a comfy, relaxation zone for 9th graders during unscheduled time. 1st through 7th hours in the Media Center group study room.
  • Thursday, January 5th: Yoga Relaxation, 3:00pm -4:00pm in the Media Center (no previous Yoga experience required.)

Cocoa & Cram

Monday, January 9, 2012

3:00PM - 4:00 PM, Mercy Cafeteria

Every Mercy Freshwoman is invited, encouraged, and wanted to attend! Link Leaders will provide study activities to help 9th graders creatively prepare for their first high school exam week.

A bottomless hot cocoa bar will be provided and this event is absolutely free! (...and helpful! …and tons of fun!)

Auction 2012

Tired of shopping, but still want to help with the Auction? Afraid of the mall and just don’t know what to donate? We have the solution for you! Mercy High School is registered at Macy’s, Pottery Barn and Target. Visit their web sites, pull up the registry for Mercy (use “Mercy” as first name and “School” for the last name) and choose anything listed. The stores will even send your gift directly to the school. What could be simpler?!

Special thanks to the Mothers Club for letting us use their Christmas Meeting as a gift gathering party for the Auction. Everyone who brought an auction donation to the meeting received a chance for a free auction ticket. We had over 30 donors! Congratulations to Karen Jocque on winning the free ticket. Karen brought in a number of donations that she had solicited from businesses in her neighborhood.

Gift Gathering Parties are being scheduled for the Northville, Plymouth, Grosse Pointe and Wixom areas. More event details coming soon. If you would like to host a gift gathering party in Farmington or another Mercy community, please contact Auction Coordinator Kari Weber at

We are looking for special photos and video clips of Mercy events to be included in the Auction video. These could be athletic photos, scenes from the play, ethnic bazaar footage, anything that highlights our students' activities. Please put “Auction Photos” in the subject line and send your electronic photos and video to

Remember to save your baskets and packing material. Send them into the school in January and we will turn your leftovers into beautifully packaged auction gifts.

THANK YOU for your participation in the largest parent fundraiser of the year and please bid with heart on Saturday, February 25, 2012.  Invitations will be mailed in early January. CLICK HERE for all things AUCTION.


The Ceramics class rocked the Raku technique last week. Special guest instructor Nancy Flake, who currently studies Art Education at Oakland University and holds a degree from College for Creative Studies, helped the girls create unique pieces using the Raku process. Raku is traditionally characterized by hand molded clay which is put in low firing temperatures after pieces are removed from a torch flame while still glowing hot. In the traditional Japanese process, the fired raku piece is removed from the hot kiln and is allowed to cool in the open air or in a container filled with combustible material.

Students crafted small medallions, put on a Raku glaze, torched them until they were glowing red, and gave them to Ms. Flake who put them in the steel containers with paper and cardboard to build a small flame and then covered it to let the heat create an irridescent glow to their medallions. What a rewarding experience!

PASSPORT to FRANCE for Prospective Students

Attention 7th and 8th grade girls! Please join us for a morning of French conversation and culture at Mercy High School. The day will be hosted by the Mercy High School French Department, French Honor Society, and French Club.

Saturday, February 11, 2012
9:00am - 1:00pm
Cost: $30

Prospective Mercy girls are invited to come to Mercy for the ultimate French immersion experience! You will learn basic French vocabulary and conversation and learn about regional French cuisine, customs, music, and art. The day includes a typical French breakfast upon arrival and students will have hands–on experience making their own crepes for lunch. Participants will also receive a special French souvenir. Merci!

Space is limited! Please CLICK HERE for more details and registration form. Contact Madame Joyce Campbell, Language Department Chair, at or 248-476-8020 with any questions.

MNotes . . . miscellaneous info you need to know!

Shop. Give. Make a Difference. If you are ordering gifts online, go to ONECAUSE first. Hundreds of online merchants like Nordstrom, Lands End, Amazon, and more will give Mercy a nice percentage from every item you purchase. Simply register your information and select Mercy High School (ID 130214). If you are out and about Christmas shopping at Target or picking up some tasty holiday fare at Gordon Foods or Meijer, please be sure to designate Mercy. Click to register at,, or click here for more rewards program information.

Ornament Your Tree! For only $15 give someone a treasured Mercy memory that will add beauty to their Christmas for years to come. Stop by the Mercy Advancement Office to make this special holiday purchase. LIMITED SUPPLY!

YEARBOOK - Have you seen our latest video? Find out why Lore is worth every penny at If you haven't purchased your yearbook yet, time is running out to guarantee your copy. Yearbooks can be ordered at for $70. Lore will be our largest book in recent years with more of the photographs, stories and captured memories you've come to expect from this award-winning staff.

Yearbook Ads: If you have not yet submitted text and/or pictures for your ad, please send them in so that the staff can begin designing the ad. A limited number of spaces are still available for those wishing to purchase an ad. Parents can celebrate their daughter's achievements by placing an ad in the 2012 Lore. Friends can also put ads in the yearbook. Prices start at just $25. Specifics including size and rates can be found at View pictures, videos and stay informed about everything related to the yearbook by joining our Facebook group 2012 Lore ( Your comments and answers may appear in the 2012 Lore.

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

PLEASE NOTE for future planning purposes exam days are January 10, 11, 12 and the second semester begins Tuesday, January 17. Also note winter break vacation days are on the following Fridays and not over a week period: January 13; February 10, 17; March 2, 9.

LIVING STATIONS - Tickets are now on sale for Living Stations, An Epic Theatrical Experience at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, March 16th through April 1, 2012. Living Stations is a deeply moving musical production of Christ's journey to Calvary. Last year the entire Freshwoman class was able to attend thanks to a generous parent donation. CLICK HERE for more details, times, and to order tickets to this life changing spiritual event.

Look who is a Sweepstakes Drive winner!

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Snapshot of Mercy


Salmagundi is an annual Christmas bazaar Latin Club fundraiser set up in the South Alcove filled with treasures and treats. Students and staff purchased some chocolate-covered pretzels, hand-made Christmas ornaments, and other student-made crafts & creations. If you have a snapshot of Mercy, please send to

Gift of a Mercy Education

The Gift of a Mercy Education gives forever. Today, there is an urgency and sense of the importance of providing a Catholic, college preparatory education for young women who can and will make a difference. Personally and professionally, Mercy women are a gift to the world around them with their values and commitment.

Help us continue this important work through your gift today. The Annual Fund helps provide tuition assistance as well as support for operating and program budgets. It plays a key role in keeping Mercy High School the premiere all girl high school in Michigan, offering a Catholic education that is second to none.

Visit our secure online giving site or send your check to the address below to get your donation in before the end of the 2011 tax year. Your generosity will allow us to continue to offer The Gift of a Mercy Education to our 750 current students and to generations of young women to come.

Mercy Month Ahead

Date / Time
Christmas Holiday Break
December 21 / 11:25 Dismissal
January 4 / Classes Resume
Evening of Acting January 5 / 7:00pm MHS
Mercy DADS Meeting
Jan 10 / 7p
EXAMS Jan 10 - 12 MHS
Second Semester Begins Jan 17 MHS
OPEN HOUSE Jan 29 / 1pm - 3pm  

Catholic Schools Week

January 30 - February 3 MHS
The JANUARY MEMO will be delivered to your inbox January 19. If you have any questions or want to submit any educational stories or share some good Mercy news, contact Want even more? Click the school year calendar and the Mercy web site. And don't miss all of the latest Mercy In The News articles. Check out the current announcements, view past issues of the MEMO newsletter, and browse the home page links to see what's happening at Mercy.


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