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Ring Day for the Class of 2015, A Reflection by Erin Clark '05

by cnewman

(from left to right) Lauren Siminski, Morgan Reid, Keanna LcLaughlin and Emily Blidy
(from left to right) Lauren Siminski, Morgan Reid, Keanna LcLaughlin and Emily Blidy

On Thursday, February 6, 2014, Erin Clark '05 addressed the Class of 2015 and their families in the Mercy Center Chapel. Erin had many students, parents and staff members in tears as she recounted her days as a Mercy girl and the importance of receiving her Mercy ring, which she proudly wears every day. Below is her reflection that she shared on Ring Day.

My name is Erin Clark and I am a 2005 graduate of Mount Mercy Academy. As a proud member of the Mount Mercy Alumnae and Staff, I want to be one of the first to say congratulations on this monumental day in your education. We are so proud of all of the beautiful and intelligent young women that are here tonight and in just a few short months you will become the leaders of our school. By receiving your Mount Mercy rings, you have joined an elite group of well over 10,000 graduates who have sat in your seats and received the same rings you have.

As I sat down to compile my thoughts, it didn't take long before I glanced down at my hand and saw that special ring on my finger, as I do countless times during my day. That small gold ring with three letters, MMA, stared back at me. I thought about what this ring represents. It stands for the countless friendships that I made when I was a student here. It stands for the sacrifice that my family made to send me to Mount Mercy Academy to receive the strong, Catholic education that I did. It stands for the teachers who always put their students first and now that I am back at Mount Mercy, those same teachers who have become my dearest friends and role models. As soon as you stepped into the doors on your first day of school here you were Mercy girls but now you are able to wear your own symbol to remind yourself everyday how special these years were to you all.

When it came time for my older sister (Lauren Clark '03) to receive her Mercy ring, she asked my grandmother (Geraldine Hunter Clark '47) if should could wear hers, being a graduate herself. I remember the look in her eyes when it seemed that she did not want to part with her beloved Mercy ring. I thought to myself, being much younger and not a Mercy girl quite yet, WOW, she REALLY loves her ring! Now, almost ten years out of high school and having wore my ring day in and day out, I can begin to explain her hesitance.
I challenge you to wear this ring every day. When I think back to the entire journey this ring has been on with the thousands of Alumnae who wear it, I beam with pride. So whether you are having a ring passed down or a ring that is all your own, take pride and remember that this ring is not just a small, metal circle. This ring stands for you. This ring is the Circle of Mercy and symbolizes all those memories that can never be taken away. Congratulations, ladies!

Erin is the Director of Curriculum and Instruction and teaches in the Social Studies Department. Erin is recently engaged and looking forward to her upcoming nuptials in September of 2015.

"Mount Mercy has positively changed my life forever. Through the inviting community, I was able to grow as a woman, as a daughter, as a friend, and as a member of society. Throughout my time here I have gained an education in both academic areas and life in general through the school's ongoing efforts to educate students on gender inequality, racial injustice, and environmental crisis'. Furthermore, Mercy has given me the space to gain confidence that 4 years ago I never would have guessed I would have. Mount Mercy has helped me take that initial step toward becoming the strong woman of color I am today. At Mercy you are more than just a student, you are whoever you wish to be."

Melina Courtney

Class of 2022

"My future, success, and the ability to be an empowered woman in society come from Mount Mercy. My school is a strong foundation for my role in life. From attending Mount Mercy, I can say with confidence, that I will graduate with the mindset that I can accomplish anything. Mercy is my home and my sanctuary to be whoever I want. Mount Mercy has been bringing forth generations of strong intellectual women into the world, and I am more than honored to be one of them. Mercy teaches girls more than academics, but also about the world around us. As a mercy community, we give back to the world because it is our home. From my four years at Mercy, I have been educated on pushing for equality and peace and the understanding that there is no limit to what I can do. I have the confidence to go out in the world and make a difference because being a Mercy girl has given me that opportunity. "

Cassidy Reid

Class of 2022

"Mercy is more than just a school. Mercy is my second home and a shoulder to lean on. Mount Mercy has given me the confidence and resources to pursue my passions and make the world a more inclusive place, propelling me to take strides into male-dominated fields. Mercy blessed me with an environment to grow intellectually and in the community, giving me the foundation to make a tangible impact while making lifelong friendships."

Adrianna Awald

Class of 2022

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