Mount Mercy Academy honors graduates at its 112th Baccalaureate Mass

Mount Mercy Academy’s 112th graduating class held its Baccalaureate Mass and Awards Ceremony at the Regional Sisters of Mercy’s Chapel on May 22. The evening began with the class sharing its last mass together and concluded with the recognition of student accomplishments, the presentation of special awards, and culminated in the announcement of all the academic monies earned by the Mount Mercy Class of 2017.

Clare Smokowski (West Seneca) delivered a reflection during the mass in which she highlighted how her faith has grown and developed as she became a woman of Mercy.  Smokowski urged her classmates to strive for authenticity and to find their best selves.

Gifts, medals or certificates were distributed to the officers of various clubs, the editors of the school publications and members of the music department who participated for either three or four years. Also recognized were the students with perfect attendance during their senior year.

The Mount Mercy Science Academy provides an advanced academic track for students interested in health/science professions, which exceeds the New York State Regents program. Seven students have completed a four-year journey which has included a rigorous course of study, attending experiential field trips, learning from the advice and guidance of guest speakers in the medical sciences, rotations of shadowing healthcare professional at Mercy Hospital, 30-hour internships and written work reflecting these experiences. Arielle Brown, Mallory Ashe and Avyana Taylor of Buffalo; Elizabeth Colton and Lindsay Diamond of Orchard Park; Clare McKeone of Hamburg and Jenna Wagner of West Seneca have completed all components of the Mount Mercy Science Academy program and have earned a white lab coat signifying their accomplishments.         

Smokowski was honored by the English Department for her love of literature and excellent writing skills throughout her four years. Brown was recognized by the English Department for her commitment to improvement of her English skills.

The Social Studies Department recognized Anne Bamrick (Buffalo), Jillian English (Hamburg), Diana Henshaw (West Seneca), McKenna Kearns (Buffalo), Sheryl Little (Cheektowaga) and Smokowski for their interest in and appreciation of history and the social sciences.

Two students, Samantha Budzinski (Williamsville) and Brianna Gawronski (Dunkirk), were commended by the Mathematics Department. The math awards are presented to two students for their outstanding achievement in the field of mathematics throughout their years at Mount Mercy. These students earned mastery scores on their mathematics Regents exams and challenged themselves by taking AP Calculus during their senior year.

The Science Department recognized Budzinski, Gawronski and Colleen Finn (Buffalo)   for their interest, dedication and scholastic effort in the sciences.

The Languages Department recognized four seniors. Kearns was honored for outstanding academic achievement in Spanish IV. Smokowski and McKeone were recognized for outstanding effort, interest, academic achievement and overall growth in Spanish V. Kate Haettich (Buffalo) was acknowledged for outstanding effort, attitude and achievement in Latin IV.

The Business Department honored 11 students for attaining the necessary business skills to carry into the world of work. Receiving recognition from Buffalo were Kearns, Hannah Colin, Erin Fahey, Emily Gall, Caitlin McNamara, Marisa May, Claire Termini and Grace Welsby. Also receiving recognition were Elizabeth Hughes (Orchard Park), Alison Marabella (Cheektowaga) and Emmaline Robinson (West Seneca).

The Art Department lauded seven students for outstanding creativity and effort in Digital Photography and Media. Honored were Bamrick, English, McKeone, Robinson and Molly Griffin, Grace O’Neil and Kelly Thomas of Buffalo.

The National Choral Award is presented to students who have made the greatest contributions to the vocal program. Sharing the award this year were Henshaw and Smokowski.

McAuley Scholars are those students who through their career at Mount Mercy Academy maintained a minimum of a 95 average. These students are required to take at least two AP or college-level courses beginning in their sophomore year. The McAuley Scholars from the Class of 2017 are Bamrick, Budzinski, English, Finn, Gawronski, Smokowski, Samantha Lawicki (Buffalo) and Allyson Pfeil (West Seneca).

The Amy Getty Award is presented to a senior who is dedicated to helping her classmates achieve their best selves while working to develop her own skills and talents at Mount Mercy Academy. The words character, integrity and compassion describe Erin Murphy (West Seneca).

Elizabeth Colton (Orchard Park) and Little earned the Service Award for extraordinary commitment to service work, both in school and community. These students have demonstrated incredible work ethic and dedication in serving the needs of those around them.

The entire senior class was recognized for successfully completing the Leadership Program, a program offered to students to learn more about varied aspects of leadership since it is one of the five hallmarks of a Mercy education.

The Triple C Award is presented to young women who have demonstrated continuous character, courage and commitment over their years of high school. For overcoming obstacles and exhibiting the strength of character to successfully achieve their personal and academic goals, Claire Koessler (Derby) and Jenna Wagner (West Seneca) were recognized.

Finn was recognized as the winner of the 2016 Community All-Star Award from Independent Health which recognizes a student who has made a positive difference in the lives of people at school and in the community.

The Ryan Purcell Memorial Foundation was established in 2012 in honor of Ryan Purcell, whose life came to a tragic end. Ryan was a well-liked and compassionate student, who through tireless efforts devoted his short life to empowering other student to believe in themselves and reach their full potential both in and out of school. On behalf of Dr. Peter and Lisa Purcell and their family, Mount Mercy was honored to present the Ryan Purcell Memorial Team Spirit Scholarship to Alison Marabella and Emily Gall.

The Wegmans Scholarship was given to English, a student who is looking to advance toward a higher education. This student is caring, respectful, empowered, has high standards for herself and wants to make a difference.

The Benjamin Milak Memorial Scholarship is granted to a student who has displayed honesty and sincerity throughout her four years of high school. The committee that interviewed Jenna Wagner was so impressed with her honesty and sincerity that it reminded them of Benjamin. They have no doubt that she will represent their important scholarship in a very positive way.

The New York State Comptroller’s Achievement Award is presented each year to students who have excelled academically and shown leadership potential by volunteering their time to serve the school or community. Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli recognized Budzinski, Finn and Smokowski.    

Mount Mercy’s top three students from the Class of 2017, Budzinski, Finn and Smokowski, have received a Scholarship for Academic Excellence from the NYS Education Department.

Erin Stoklosa of West Seneca won the West Seneca Women’s Club scholarship.

The Senior Athlete Award was given to Gawronski, the senior who exemplifies not only athletic ability, but sportsmanship, leadership and character. During her four years at Mount Mercy Academy, this young woman excelled in at least two sports and was recognized by her coaches, teammates and other individuals within the Monsignor Martin League.

The fifty-two young women of the Mount Mercy Academy Class of 2017 earned a total of $9.5 million in merit-based scholarships and grants.

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