Although Mount Mercy Academy students and staff participated in many service opportunities in October and November, the school outdid itself in December, participating in a multitude of service activities. This year, Campus Minister and senior theology teacher Mary Colby is asking members of the senior class to plan and coordinate a service project. During December, 12 seniors initiated service projects and the seniors also took part in other service and hospitality activities for the Sisters of Mercy.
Some of the senior class-sponsored activities included an Advent Prayer Service, a Christmas Countdown Challenge, decorating parts of the school to create a festive atmosphere, handing out candy canes on St. Nicholas Day, and creating ornaments that listed the students’ favorite Christmas traditions. The seniors also made and delivered Christmas cards for Mount Mercy’s neighbors on Red Jacket Parkway to help share the magic of the season.
The school’s Student Government, led by advisers Laura Kelly and Brittany Sanscrainte, helped organize a drive to send a candy gram to each of the Sisters at the Mercy Center. In addition, several seniors enjoyed an afternoon of “Cookies and Cocoa” with the sisters.
On Dec. 12, Foundation Day, the day the Sisters of Mercy officially became an order, the senior class waited outside the chapel to present each Sister with a flower and a note that said Happy Foundation Day.
Senior Josslynn Strang (Westfield) organized a card-making event to make cards for the Sisters and her classmate Madeline Kotwica (Orchard Park) led a group that decorated the Mercy Center for Christmas. Lauren Vogel, a senior from West Seneca, organized a gingerbread house decorating event with the Sisters. Seniors Chloe Diebold and Sarah Kobler of West Seneca coordinated two groups at the West Seneca Senior Center. The girls assisted with the holiday party and enjoyed chatting with the seniors at the center during the event.
Abbigayle Reid, a senior from Buffalo, organized a cookie decorating party at her house. Focusing on Catherine McAuley’s gift of hospitality, the girls gathered to decorate cookies for St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy.
Senior Jessica Osuch, also of Buffalo, recruited volunteers to help with the Elderwood Senior Care Annual Christmas Party. The girls enjoyed interacting with the residents and helping out.
After school a group of volunteers went to Our Lady of Black Rock to help with the Christmas Pageant. Senior Kaitlyn Leaty (Buffalo) helped gather volunteers to serve dinner, assist with costumes and serve cookies and cocoa at the pageant reception.
Megan Cycon, a senior from West Seneca, served as team leader for making a summer barbecue-themed dinner at the Ronald McDonald House.
Seniors Breanna Sikora of Buffalo and Julia Jaworski of Lackawanna led service projects at St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy. They worked together with their groups to organize the clothes in the men’s donation room and to display items on the shelves in the St. Luke’s Mall so community members would be able to shop.
A team of volunteers led by senior Bella Longo (Lackawanna) assisted at the West Herr Christmas Wishes Event at Cheektowaga High School.
Grace Willert, a senior from West Seneca, organized a service project to assist teens living in foster care in the local community. She and her team created care packages for girls at Hillside Children’s Center.
Sister Jenny Wilson, RSM, Mary Colby and a group of seven students spent a day at St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy helping to distribute more than 1,400 bags to the community for Christmas.
The school’s National Honor Society volunteered to help out at the Alumnae Association’s annual Breakfast with Santa event. The members assisted with the food distribution, taking photos, making crafts, helping Santa deliver gifts and leading songs.
The school’s Environmental Club, assisted by Ian McCracken, held an Ugly Christmas Sweater fundraiser to raise money for the club and Maiti Nepal, an organization that works against sex trafficking. These are two causes that are part of the Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy.
During the month of December, 40 percent of the school community volunteered to help serve an organization in the community. The Mount Mercy community continues to follow Catherine McAuley’s vision of compassionate service and affirming the dignity and uniqueness of individuals.