Mount Mercy Academy honors graduates at Its 113th Baccalaureate Mass

The Mount Mercy Academy Class of 2018.

On May 21, Mount Mercy Academy’s 113th graduating class held its Baccalaureate Mass and Awards Ceremony at the Regional Sisters of Mercy’s Chapel. 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 2018.

Paris Green (East Aurora) delivered a reflection during the mass during which she highlighted how her faith has grown and developed as she became a woman of Mercy. She commented that she believes a Mount Mercy education is the most beneficial education for young women and that it helped to touch and change her mind in so many ways. Green believes that she is ready to take on the world thanks to her Mercy education.

Gifts, medals and 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 NY 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. They completed all components of the Mount Mercy Science Academy program and have earned a white lab coat signifying their accomplishment. Julia Acosta, Olivia Cudney, DesTiny Overton, Sophia Robinson and Alexis Sandor of Buffalo, Mary Bala, Allison Rogowski and Paige Siebold of West Seneca, Mary Barnes of Fredonia, Christina Billittier of Angola, Emily Lewandowski of East Aurora, Danielle Lewis of Cheektowaga, Chloe Manikowski of Depew, Kayleigh Mighells of Lackawanna and Lindsey Szumigala of Elma have completed all components of the Mount Mercy Science Academy program and have earned a white lab coat signifying their accomplishments.      

The English Department recognized three seniors, Green, Olivia Harrington of West Seneca and Shea Halpenny of Lackawanna who have shown dedication and excellence in their English courses by demonstrating a high level of maturity and thoughtfulness in reading and writing. They consistently exceed expectations and strove for mastery in all tasks. Emma Fredo of Buffalo and Abigail Swiger of Lackawanna were recognized for displaying a genuine love for reading by expressing interest and engagement in their English courses.

The Social Studies Department recognized Emily Burns of Buffalo, Siobhan Harrington and Elizabeth Pantano of Buffalo, Szumigala, Billittier and Green for their interest in and appreciation of history and the social sciences.

Seven students were recognized for their achievements in the new Women in Social Sciences Program. They have shown interest and an appreciation for history and the social sciences and have participated in field experiences outside of the classroom. Green and Burns were recognized for completing Women in Government with Honors, O. Harrington and Swiger completed Women in Psychology with Honors and S. Harrington finished Women in Law and Government with Honors, Megan Michalski of Buffalo earned Honors in the Women in History program and Yamilet Montanez of Buffalo completed the Women in Psychology program.

The Mathematics Department presented awards to four students, Hannah Bray of West Seneca,  Abigail Hillery of Hamburg, Abby Lopez of Derby and Sandor who have shown great dedication and interest in the field of mathematics and have demonstrated outstanding achievement not only in their courses, but also on the New York State Regents Exams.

The Science Department recognized Skylar Pasternak of Buffalo, Bala, Barnes, Lewandowsk, Mighells, and Sandor for their interest, dedication and scholastic effort in the sciences.  

The Languages other than English Department recognized three seniors. They were honored for outstanding academic achievement. Swiger was honored for Spanish IV, Acosta was recognized for Spanish V and Halpenny was acknowledged for Latin IV.

The Art Department lauded four students for outstanding creativity and effort in Digital Photography and Media. Honored were Halpenny and Julia Khoury, Margaret O’Malley and Naomi Parisi of Buffalo. Palmisano, Pasternak and Swiger were honored for their outstanding craftsmanship, originality and creativity in their drawings, painting and digital art.

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

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 2018 are Acosta, Bala, Barnes, Burns, Cudney, Green, Halpenny, O. Harrington, Hillery, Lewandowski, M. Michalski, Palmisano, Pantano, Parisi, Pasternak, Rogowski, Sandor, Swiger and Catherine Roth of Fredonia.

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 Alyssa Heseltine of Buffalo.

The Theology and Campus Ministry Departments presented the Service Award to Overton, Roth, Nora Galley of West Seneca and Le’Azjha Young of Buffalo for their extraordinary commitment to service work, both in their school and community. They have demonstrated incredible work ethic and dedication in servicing 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 awarded to the young women who have a commitment to bettering themselves, their school and their community. Their Strength of Character has helped them to achieve their goals and will guide them in making the right decisions in the future. Their remarkable Courage will aid them in meeting all of the challenges they may face ahead. Lauryn Whitfield of Lackawanna and Fredo were recognized. 

Halpenny 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 Fiona Danahy of Buffalo and Barnes.

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

Mount Mercy’s top three students from the Class of 2018, Lewandowski, Bala and Green, have received a Scholarship for Academic Excellence from the NYS Education Department.

Olivia Harrington won the Vigilant Fire Company of West Seneca’s scholarship.

The Greater Buffalo Alumnae Panhellenic recognizes outstanding high school women who plan to attend a four-year college or university where National Panhellenic Conference fraternities exist. These women reflect the spirit of fraternity women by exhibiting such values as strong work ethic, academic achievement, kindness and community involvement. This year the Greater Buffalo Alumnae Panhellenic honored Sandor.  

The Senior Athlete Award is given to Hillery, 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 63 young women of the Mount Mercy Academy Class of 2018 earned over $14.6 million in merit-based scholarships and grants!

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