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Jen Y. a member of the class of 2000.  A very proud Stripe who returned to the Academy as an English teacher, eventually becoming chair of the English Department chair.  During her time at OLMA, Jen wore many hats that included the moderator of the yearbook and shared the same title for Sports Night where she teamed up with fellow classmates and now faculty members to continue that long standing tradition that dates back to 1979.

My Story

I am here [tonight] to express my unwavering support for the current students and faculty of Our Lady of Mercy Academy and to implore the Mercy Education System of the Americas and the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas to return to the table and work with the OLMA Preservation Coalition on a viable path forward.

I am both a Mercy graduate, Class of 2000, and a former OLMA faculty member of 15 years from 2007 to 2022.  I am also the niece of 4 proud Stripe alumnae. I believe in this school, in its mission, in the charism of Catherine McAuley, and in the tremendous impact an all-girls education has on the lives of young women.

Throughout my life, my Mercy experience has profoundly shaped who I am for the better.  As a student, I was given a foundation of academic excellence that left me incredibly well-prepared to succeed at the College of the Holy Cross and beyond.  Mercy also nurtured my faith and compassion, and instilled in me a sense of service and justice. Incredible and caring teachers such as Sr. Helen Lyons, Mrs. Joan Gordon, Ms. Loretta Sweeney, Mrs. Sheila Berg, and Sr. Jackie Walsh challenged me intellectually and held me to high academic standards, while also seeing me as an individual, recognizing my strengths and talents, and encouraging me to use them.  They, and so very many other Mercy teachers throughout the years, taught their students lessons both inside and outside of the classroom, and their guidance and mentorship extended well beyond my graduation.  I am honored and humbled to count myself among their ranks.

Crucially, Mercy also gave me both the confidence and courage to use my voice (spoken and written), a sentiment I have heard echoed again and again by countless other alumnae of all ages.  The impact of learning in an all-girls environment during the formative high school years cannot be overstated. It is this environment that provides young women with the space to grow into themselves, and to see themselves and other young women as leaders, intellectuals, artists, athletes, and performers. In a world where women are still fighting for full equity, a Mercy graduate goes out into the world knowing her worth, knowing that she has the right to a seat at any table and that her ideas deserve to be heard.  I think we have all seen that in action over this past month, including from the current students.  I can tell you firsthand as a recent OLMA teacher that this good work lives on today and these current Mercy girls already carry that legacy with them.

Finally, I know I am not alone in saying that I have Mercy to thank for giving me so many incredible, lifelong relationships, and I am forever grateful for all of them.  Mercy gave me a group of best friends who became my sisters, who have celebrated milestones together, supported each other through the most difficult of times, still talk nearly every day, and still laugh together so much.  I am lucky to be able to say the same of my colleagues, and have witnessed it again and again in the students, too.  Mercy honestly is a family, and the bonds that are created within those walls and rooted in our shared faith are truly timeless.

I feel so blessed to have been able to play a part in keeping the legacy of Mercy alive and passing it along to younger generations in my students, who make me endlessly proud to this day.  It has been a privilege to be a part of the Mercy experience and journey for so many young women over the years, and to be able to give back to the school that gave me so much.  As a member of the faculty, I aspired to make my teachers and mentors proud and to continue their life’s work.  I can tell you with full confidence that every OLMA teacher I have worked with takes pride in continuing both the tradition of academic excellence and upholding the legacy of the true Mercy spirit, imparting it to the next generation and ensuring that the Mercy spirit and the charism of Catherine McAuley are alive and well.  Our Lady of Mercy Academy stands for preparing young women to be life-long learners and empowering them to use their God-given gifts to make a difference in our world. 

Together, let us demonstrate the Principled Leadership that “puts Mercy values into action and works assertively for what is right.”

Together, let us find a way forward.  

Our Lady of Mercy, pray for us.

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