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Mount Mercy Juniors Honored With College Scholarships and Awards

   Mount Mercy Academy had its annual fourth quarter honors assembly last week. Students were recognized for their contributions to the music department and other school organizations.  Highlighting the assembly was the announcements by the guidance department of the members of the junior class who were awarded scholarships to specific colleges and national organizations.  The students will be awarded a scholarship to that college, contingent on the student’s attendance at that school. Nominations are based on numerous factors, such as academic achievements, leadership qualities, community involvement and standardized test scores, as well as faculty recommendations.

    The University of Rochester’s George Eastman Kodak Young Leaders Award was presented to Madeline Fecio of Buffalo.  The award is given to a junior who displays strong leadership skills, is receiving excellent grades in a challenging curriculum, and participates in and shows dedication to varied, extensive, and time-consuming extracurricular activities.

    Evelyn Nowak of Orchard Park was given the University of Rochester’s Xerox Award for Innovative and Information Technology. The award is presented in recognition of outstanding achievement in the pursuit of innovative approaches and an appreciation for the possibilities of technology.

The University of Rochester’s Bausch & Lomb Honorary Science Award was awarded to Allysyn Pajek of West Seneca.  The award is presented to a student for her outstanding academic achievement and superior intellectual promise in the field of science. 

    Chloe McHugh-Freedenberg of Lakeview was the recipient of the University of Rochester’s Frederick Douglass & Susan B. Anthony Award in Humanities and the Social Sciences, This award recognizes a student who demonstrates a commitment to understanding and addressing difficult social issues and is dedicated to continuing her unfinished life’s work.  Equal emphasis on study, community action, and dialogue is encouraged. 

    Clarkson University recognizes high school juniors that demonstrate strong leadership qualities, outstanding academic achievement, have made positive contributions to our school and community, and have expressed an interest in the fields of science, engineering, or business. Hannah Dierolf of West Seneca earned the Clarkson University School Leadership Award and Bridget Whelan of West Seneca received the Clarkson University School Achievement Award

    Grace Harrington of West Seneca was honored with the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Computing Medal Award.  The award is given to a high school junior based on her accomplishments as a student, her involvement as a member of the school and community and her commendable computing abilities.

The Rochester Institute of Technology also recognizes a student who has not only attained outstanding academic achievement, but has also shown exceptional creativity and innovation in doing so.  Madelyn DiGiore of Lakeview received this award.

The Niagara University St. Vincent de Paul Medal is awarded to a student who exhibits compassion for peers, initiative, empathy for those less fortunate, humility, and leadership in the community.  This year’s medal recipient was Kathleen Ball of Buffalo.

Hope Willert of West Seneca was given the St. Michael’s College Book Award.  St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont, grants this award to a student who has demonstrated a sustained and sincere commitment to scholarship, volunteerism, and leadership within her community. It recognizes an individual who believes in serving others as an extension of her Catholic faith.

             The Elmira College Key award was presented to Jenna Shalloe of West Seneca in recognition of exceptional scholastic achievement, leadership, citizenship, and participation in extra-curricular activities. This individual excels in all areas, is a true role model, and exhibits qualities which may be seen as the “key” to success.

     The Randolph College Book Award was awarded to Jessica Shaw of Buffalo based on her achievements in academic excellence and her leadership potential.   

Keuka College’s George H. Ball Community Achievement Award was given to Brigid Burke of Buffalo, a student who has qualities that embody the values of Keuka College, including: integrity, academic excellence, diversity, leadership, service and social responsibility.  

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York awards their Rensselaer Medal to a student who excels in advanced math and science courses and exhibits significant interest and involvement in extracurricular activities.  This year the medal was awarded to Olivia Larson of Orchard Park.

Wells College in Aurora, New York awards their 21st Century Leadership Award to students who embody the spirit of sincerity and intellectual qualities of a strong leader in her school and community activities.  Melanie Bebak of Cheektowaga and Olivia Seifert of Lakeview have demonstrated superior integrity, trustworthiness, self-confidence and intellect, while possessing the characteristics of the highest form of ethical leadership.  

    Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania offers their Rachel Carson Healthy Planet Award and Scholarship to a high school junior who shows leadership and passion for sustainability and the environment, social justice and policy studies, or an interest in writing and the sciences.  The scholarship was given to Erin Jackson of Buffalo.

    The LeMoyne College Heights Award recognizes a high school junior who is “reaching for the heights” in the classroom and in service to her school and community.  This award is intended to help promote and recognize academic achievement, service, and leadership, which are important aspect of the tradition at LeMoyne College.  Jillian Kotwica of Orchard Park received this award.

    Natalie Redmond of Buffalo received the Russell Sage College Student Sage Award that recognizes the characteristics of academic excellence, student leadership and community involvement that define a woman of influence.  This individual is an academic and social leader, possesses powerful communication skills and leads debate on critical issues. She is motivated to serve and inspires others to develop and grow.

    In addition, Larson was named as one of twenty semi-finalists for the third annual Yale Bassett Award for Community Engagement.  This award was established by the faculty of Yale’s Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration who sought to honor emerging leaders who, like Ebenezer Bassett, distinguished themselves through a record of creative leadership, public service, academic distinction, interdisciplinary problem solving, and experience addressing societal issues.  Over 1,200 high school juniors from across the country submitted applications.  

Senator Timothy M. Kennedy of New York State’s 63rd District requested nominations for the New York State Senate Youth Leadership Recognition Awards.  These awards recognize juniors for their achievements in academics, athletics, and community service and the great work they do to benefit their communities.  Larson was honored for Excellence in Academics, DiGiore for Excellence in Athletics and McHugh-Freedenberg for Excellence in Community Service.

    Larson also was recognized by The National Catholic Educational Association as an honorable mention selection for the 2019 Youth Virtue, Valor and Vision Award.  This awards program was created by the NCEA in the belief that ordinary people doing extraordinary work for the good of others is truly the force that can and will change the world

Each year, students in grades 9 through 11 take the PSAT exam.  When they are juniors, students are eligible to enter the National Merit Scholarship Program.  If a student meets a certain Selection Index, which is determined each year based on all students’ PSAT scores, then they can be eligible for this program.  Mount Mercy is honored to announce that, out of 1.6 million entrants, one of our students, Madeline Fecio is among the 50,000 highest-scoring participants who will be recognized in the fall.  It will be announced this fall if Fecio is named as a National Semi-Finalist.

Bridget Whelan was also honored with a special award, The Courage and Perseverance Award, given to a student who has demonstrated great strength, resilience, and perseverance to keep moving despite any adversity.  This student has overcome great obstacles while maintaining a positive attitude, and she strives to achieve her best each and every day. Facing challenges that would discourage most of us, Whelan maintained an academic status of First Honors on a regular basis.  She is also a wonderful friend to her classmates and is an inspiration to all.




Caption:  Evelyn Nowak’s family celebrates her award with her.


Caption:  Jenna Shalloe shows off her award.


"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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