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Honoring the Men of Mercy

by cnewman

While Mount Mercy Academy proudly continues its 110 year tradition as an all-girls Catholic high school, we are  always astounded by the support of so many dedicated men. From the devoted fathers to the male faculty to the loyal community members, the students at MMA are so blessed.

We thank each and every man that stands beside a Mercy Alumna in support of her alma mater. We thank each and every father or grandfather that supports his Mercy student and her classmates. We thank the men in our community who believe in MMA and support the school out of love and loyalty. The men we have selected as our "Men of Mercy" represent so many others that offer their support as well. Through these nine men, we honor all of you.

Mercy Dad and 2015 Gala Co-Chair, Michael Lempko believes in the mission of Mount Mercy Academy. He and his wife Cathleen Canney Lempko '84 teach their daughters (Molly '14 and Brigid '17) the importance of education, compassion for others, leadership, and most of all, respect. "Everyone knows that values start at home but as kids get older, there are sometimes influences that we can't control. By sending our daughters to Mercy, we know that they are being taught the same values that we believe in." Michael is an active parent and member of the Mercy community because he wants to make sure that MMA will be around for a long time to teach young women important values in life. He comes from a large family of Mercy Alumnae: besides his daughters and his wife, are his mother, Sheila Ryan Lempko '55 and sister Mary Lempko '86. 

Timon graduate and husband of Sheila Robertson McCrea '96, Steve McCrea naturally understands and lives the Mercy mission. He teaches AP US History, Global History and Economics to eager Mercy students that love his teaching style. Students have been mimicking "Mr. McCrea" in Spirit Week skits and Halloween costumes with his coffee cup in hand - even voting him Favorite Teacher in the yearbook. "I want my own daughters to come to Mercy."


The Mercy connection for Michael DeLellis started 24 years ago, when his family chose MMA for their daughter Kim. She was a talented basketball player and played on Varsity her entire time at Mercy - her senior year winning the NYS Catholic High School title. Mike became the "voice" of the Mercy Magic basketball team, announcing at every home game for over 20 years. While always an active Mercy parent, Mike also fundraised for the sports program and chaired the very first McAuley Gala. "Each year my wife asks if I am still going to the basketball games. My answer is always 'of course.'  I feel so good when they win and I hurt so bad for them when they lose. But win or lose, I am always proud of them for representing MMA with class and pride."

Matthew Ondesko is a 1994 graduate of Bishop Timon-St. Jude High School and Managing Editor for the Community Papers of WNY. Growing up in South Buffalo and attending Catholic schools, he was brought up in the culture of community support. From the creation of the Wounded Warrior Project Basketball Event to the Annual Sports Banquet that his paper sponsors, Matt is focused on helping bring positive publicity to Mercy. His positive messages about MMA in the newspaper, participation on the Recruitment Committee and his personal support of Mercy events prove Matt cares about the growth and sustainability of our school. "I believe this community needs Mount Mercy Academy."

Alex Ladowski is MMA's science department chair and teaches Earth Science and upper level Biology courses. Alex also serves as the Coordinator of the Academy of Science and Healthcare as well as the STEAM Grant Coordinator. As the grant coordinator, it is his responsibility to use available Oishei Foundation funds to develop a unique STEAM-based educational program at MMA, that centers around our Academy of Science and Healthcare. So far, we have purchased iPads for teacher use in the classroom, new projectors, brand new lab probeware, college grade anatomical models, and have developed a new STEAM based Physical Science course. "You really feel like you are part of something here. The level of community that is exhibited in this school is so unique, and as an educator I feel like I can truly make a difference in the lives of our students."

John Herman, Chief Operating Officer of Mercy Hospital, has served on the Mount Mercy Academy Board of Trustees for the past four years and currently serves as the Chairman. Over the last 4 years, Mercy's Board, Administrative Team and Educators have worked tirelessly to improve the academic and financial performance of the school. John is focused on positioning Mercy to provide an exceptional educational experience that prepares the students to excel in top-tier colleges and as productive members of the community. "I recognize the value of working in a strong community with a dedicated, skilled workforce. I believe a strong educational system sets the base. I support MMA because it offers students in Western New York a unique, challenging, mission-focused high school educational opportunity that prepares them for a successful collegiate experience. Mount Mercy Academy, Trocaire College and Mercy Hospital together make the community stronger."

Rick Wilson is the husband and father of Mercy graduates - wife Rosanne Simoncelli '75, and daughters Lauren '02, Merrissa '04 and Brianna '08. Rick was a product of public schools and was skeptical of investing so much money in his daughters' education when he already lived in Orchard Park, with access to a wonderful school district. He appreciated the Mercy values all around him and wanted that same successful experience for his daughters. "The kindness, faith, education and guidance that his daughters found here were worth every penny. Today I feel it is my opportunity to give back to Mercy for all the good things it has given our family. That is why I try to give as much time as I can. Last year, I was elected to the Board of Trustees and each year I play a big role at Breakfast with Santa." (he is Santa, wink).

John Glose is a proud member of a Mercy legacy family - his grandmother, mother, and sister. He became a Mount Mercy Academy athletic supporter at a young age from watching his sister play. John's coaching career at Mercy started eight years ago and now John currently coaches MMA varsity soccer, basketball and tennis teams. "I support Mercy because I love the South Buffalo community and I get to coach the best young women in WNY." John Glose is a graduate of Timon and Canisius College with a Master's degree in Physical and Health Education and is the Physical Education Teacher for Erie II Chautauqua-Cattaraugus County BOCES Baker Road Alternative Education Center.

Since Ian was a child, his connection to Mercy was strong - Ian's mother is Jean Campbell, who has worked at Mount Mercy Academy for 19 years. She was diagnosed in July with Osteogenic Sarcoma, which is a very aggressive cancer. She has started her treatment which prevented her from returning to work this fall. Three years ago, Ian proudly followed in his mother's footsteps and joined Mercy's Theology Department, teaching Catholic Social Teaching, World Religions, the Problem of Suffering and AP Psychology. "I love how Mercy is Catholic school-meets-South Buffalo. There is an atmosphere of family and solidarity here that I really enjoy. Even though we are an old school, this place is still bounding with potential for the future."

"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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