Anchors Aweigh Masthead
December 2015

December brings to Mercy High School many reasons to celebrate!

In the liturgical calendar, we celebrate Advent - a holy season of hope-filled waiting for the birth of Emmanuel, God-with-us. This preparation for the Christmas season is marked by other important celebrations.

This year in particular, December 8 had great significance:
  • We celebrated the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and were reminded of the example of Mary, the mother of Jesus, who opened the doors of her heart to God's saving action.
  • We gave thanks for the legacy of Mother Mary Baptist Russell and seven other Sisters of Mercy who traveled from Ireland to the shores of San Francisco in 1854 and opened many doors of Mercy through ministries of education, health care, and housing.
  • We joined with Pope Francis and the universal church to mark the beginning of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy that will extend until November 20, 2016. Pope Francis calls all of us to "open the doors of mercy" by dedicating our lives to living God's mercy.
In addition, on December 12, we celebrated both the Feast of our Lady of Guadalupe who opened her heart to the indigenous people of the Americas, as well as the foundation of the Sisters of Mercy in 1831 by Venerable Catherine McAuley.

As we prepare to enter into the Christmas season and the New Year, we continue to celebrate and give thanks for the many dedicated members of our community who open the doors of their hearts and live God's love and mercy: alumnae, board members, donors and foundations, faculty and staff, parents, students, and the Sisters of Mercy. In particular, we give thanks for our faculty and staff who provide the young women of Mercy High School with an excellent education that is rooted in the gospel message and the mission and legacy of Mercy.

Throughout this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, may we continue to reflect God's merciful love.

Wishing you Advent and Christmas blessings, as well as a Happy New Year!

In gratitude,
Rita E. Cutarelli, Associate Principal of Mission and Campus Life
Audrey Magnusen, Director of Advancement and Alumnae Relations
Daniel Meyers, Director of Academic Affairs
Janine Nolfi, Director of Student Activities
Laura Schulkin-Parnell, Director of Counseling
Lorelei Zermani, Director of Finance and Human Resources
In This Issue
Helen Fisicaro

Helen Sigmund Fisicaro '69, running for San Mateo County Supervisor in June 2016, stated, "I want to continue working to make our county a more vibrant place for all of us to live, work and do business."

For over 40 years, Helen has been committed to serving her family, neighbors, the City of Colma and San Mateo County. She has represented Colma residents on the City Council since 1994, where she served six years as Mayor. Helen has volunteered on numerous nonprofit Boards and County Committees, working to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide shelter, food, affordable housing and job training for those in need. Helen is the proud mother of Regina Fisicaro '96.

Kay Petrini

It started with the required 3-mile run freshman year, and Kay Crisman Petrini '83 hasn't stopped since. This past July, she ran the San Francisco Marathon for the fourth time (her eighth marathon overall). Although Kay is a "back of the packer," she manages to get through 26.2 miles thanks to the inspiration of her teachers and role models at Mercy: Ms. Debbie Mathews (lovingly remembered as "Ms. Log") and Ms. Julie Ortiz '63. Both of these outstanding educators taught Kay that one doesn't have to be the most talented athlete to be a strong and fit young (now middle-aged!) woman. She is forever grateful to Ms. Mathews and Ms. Ortiz for this lesson, and considers it a privilege to have taught alongside them at Mercy during the past decade.


It's time to plan for 2016 reunions! Please call or email Audrey Magnusen at 415.337.7218 for information on being a class reunion coordinator.
Class of 1956 - 60 years Coordinator: Anne Marra Doran '56
Class of 1971 - 45 years
Class of 1976 - 40 years Coordinator: Chris Powis Emerson '76  
Class of 1981 - 35 years
Class of 1986 - 30 years
Class of 1991 - 25 years
Class of 1996 - 20 years
Class of 2001 - 15 years 
Class of 2006 - 10 years

Save The Date: Class of 1966 Golden 50th Reunion

Sunday, June 5, 2016
Luncheon at the Lake Merced Golf Club
2300 Junipero Serra Blvd., Daly City, CA 94015
11:00 am to 3:00 pm
Luncheon Chair - Nancy Dito '66 | 415.608.5792

Thursday, September 22, 2016
Mercy Day Eucharistic Liturgy with the Mercy student body, faculty and staff, celebrating the founding of the House of Mercy by Catherine McAuley in Dublin, Ireland. The liturgy will include the Class of 1966 as honored guests and the 50th Golden Diploma commemoration followed by a campus tour, program and reception in Rist Hall. Would you like to be on the committee for this special day? Contact [email protected].

Save The Date: Class of 1956 60th Reunion

September 17, 2016 
On June 11, 1956, a class of 173 seniors received diplomas and became the first graduating class of Mercy High School.

El Rancho Inn - 1100 El Camino Real, Millbrae, California 94030
Chair:  Ann Marra Doran '56 | 925.513.2862

Like us on Facebook 
Follow us on Twitter  


Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy:
December 8, 2015 - November 20, 2016

Pope Francis
On April 12, 2015 - the Second Sunday of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday - Pope Francis released a document entitled Misericordiae Vultus (The Face of Mercy), thus proclaiming the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. In Scripture, a jubilee was called every 50th year and was meant to serve as a sort of societal "reset" button: all were called to focus on repentance, redistribute wealth to include the poorest of the poor, erase all debts, let the land lie fallow, and release all slaves and prisoners. The intention was to restore human relationships and correct societal injustices.

The practice of calling a Jubilee Year is common to the Catholic Church, occurring every 25 to 50 years. In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis invites us to consider how we will live mercy - how we will "mercy" in our daily lives. The community of Mercy High School enters into this Jubilee Year with both enthusiasm and gratitude!

From the Director of Academic Affairs:
Parents and students: Please make all personal and vacation plans in accordance with the school calendar posted on the Mercy website. NO student will be excused from these exam dates. DO NOT schedule holiday plans before Friday, December 18, 2015 nor beyond the start of 2nd Semester classes on Monday, January 4, 2016.

Christmas Holiday: Monday, December 21, 2015 to Friday, January 1, 2016
Second semester classes begin Monday, January 4, 2016 at 8:00 am.

From the Business Office:
It is time to file for tuition assitance for the 2016-2017 school term. You can find the application by going to  under the "Parent" link -- then "Tuition Assistance". Read the information and click on the red 'Tads' link to file. Please note the deadline is January 8, 2016. You can only be considered for tuition assistance if you have filed.

Any questions, please contact Mrs. Zermani.

Support Mercy High School as your giving choice for 2015!

Parent Giving Program

The Parent Giving Program is a four year commitment made by parents during their student's freshman year. We ask each family to pledge or give annually any amount that is reasonable for them. We are thrilled to announce that we are close to completing the Theatre seat and Theatre upgrade appeal, "Take Your Seat". Whether $25 or $2,500 your participation is so appreciated. Currently for this school year we are at 15% parent pledge commitments. Our goal is 100%!

Please join us this year as your giving choice. Every gift is 100% tax deductible. Your name, as you wish, will be included in the 2015-16 Mercy News Annual Appeal. If your company matches, your gift is doubled! If you have recently made a gift, thank you! For your convenience, you may go to online giving.

Annual Fund
Annual Fund Thermometer

The collective support of alumnae, parents and friends has generated funds for Mercy's most critical need: tuition assistance. We are asking you to consider a gift this year to help us reach our Annual Goal of $1,000,000 by December 31, 2015! We are at an amazing 63% of our goal. It doesn't take a large donation to have a big impact. Gifts to Mercy's Annual Fund, whether $25 or $2,500, create one of the school's most significant sources of support. Click here to make an online donation. If you have already made a gift to MERCY HIGH SCHOOL for 2015-16, thank you!

Gifts of cash, check or credit card are tax deductible and provide immediate funds to the school. Pledges are encouraged and payments can be set up monthly or quarterly. The easiest way to donate is online.

Transfer of Stocks

Gifts of stock are accepted through a Direct Transmittal from your Broker. Please call the Advancement Office for instructions (415) 337-7218.

Giving Levels

Catherine and William Callaghan Circle $50,000 +
Catherine McAuley Circle $10,000 - $49,999
Mercy Society Circle $5,000 - $9,999
Principal's Circle $2,500 - $4,999
Red & White Circle $1,500 - $2,499
Skipper Circle $500 - $1,499
Friends $1 - $499

Current Capital Projects at Mercy

"Take Your Seat" Theatre campaign to replace all existing seats. The total campaign goal is $200,000. Please consider this appeal as another year-end choice.

"Stairway to Heaven" Rooftop Terrace is on the 4th floor, extending off of the former community room in the convent. The outdoor Rooftop Terrace will be a beautiful 1,000 sq. ft. space for all types of Mercy events, receptions and student use. Your gift will enhance the terrace with seating, lighting and plants!
Stairway to Heaven Project

Top Giving Alumnae Classes to Date 2015-16
1st Place 1980
2nd Place 1965
3rd Place 1961
4th Place 1983
5th Place1960
6th Place1957
7th Place1972
Top Giving Classes Parent Pledge
1st Place Class of 2017 Parents
2nd Place Class of 2016 Parents
3rd Place Class of 2018 Parents
4th Place Class of 2019 Parents

Recycling Image

The Technology Department recycles used cell phones, laser toner and inkjet cartridges throughout the school year. Please have students drop off items in the Computer Lab, room 319.
 School News
  Soul Sisters at St. Mary's Cathedral

A special Mass was held at St. Mary's Cathedral on Sunday, November 22nd, in honor of Consecrated Life. Mercy's Soul Sisters from left to right: Crystal Tobar '17, Isadora Sousa '17, Jannella Natan '16 and Heidy Qi '16 were invited to provide the liturgical dance for the High Mass. Many members of the congregation came up to the Soul Sisters afterwards to say how prayerful and beautiful they were and that this was their first time seeing liturgical dance included at Mass. They added a wish in hope that liturgical movement is included more in the future!

Winter Pops Concert 2015
Yuletide Cheer was the theme for this year's Winter Pops Concert held at
Mercy High School on Dec. 3, 2015. Getting us in the holiday spirit was Mercy's Dolce Show Choir, Mercy Chorus A, Riordan's Mens Chorale and St. Gabriel's Crooners. It was an evening of wonderful music with a grand finale of all choirs combined under the direction of Ms. Laura Flaviani, Music Teacher and Music Director of Mercy High School, San Francisco.

Christmas Assembly 2015
On Wednesday, December 9th the student body, faculty and staff gathered in the theater for this year's Christmas Assembly planned and organized by the ASB. The skit included some of our favorite Christmas characters such as Rudolph, Frosty, Olaf, Santa, the Grinch, Charlie Brown and more! The Christmas assembly ended with our traditional Twelve Days of Christmas routine which involves 78 students and faculty/staff wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 

 An Event Commemorating Kristallnacht
On November 10th, the Farkas Center for Holocaust Education in Catholic Schools hosted an event in commemoration of Kristallnacht. We were delighted to have over 100 Mercy students as well as a number of students from other area schools, including Riordan. Those in attendance were introduced by former Mercy teacher, Jim McGarry, to the documentary 50 Children, The Rescue Mission of Mr. and Mrs. Kraus. This documentary chronicles the Kraus family and their journey to obtain visas for 50 Jewish children to bring them to the United States to avoid the horrors of war.

Following the film, an interactive discussion led by Rabbi Peretz Wolf-Prusan allowed the students to compare the events of the film with current events. The most notable moments were the realization that during World War II the United States rejected a bill that would have allowed more refugees into the U.S. One of the most poignant quotes of the film was from one of the 50 children, Henny Wenkart. She stated, "What people don't understand is that at the beginning, you could get out. But nobody let us in. Everyone could've been saved. Everyone." The students pointed out the parallels between what happened in World War II and what is happening in the world today. Many students also shared their own family's stories of loved ones who came to the U.S. to escape harsh conditions in their countries of origin. It was a thought-provoking and enlightening event.

US Navy display Thanksgiving cards from Mercy students.  
Remember those Thanksgiving cards our students created in Ms. Ovares' Spanish classes? Well, the troops received them! Here are some members of the United States Navy, who are currently deployed in Bahrain, reading the cards we sent them last month. Our prayers and well wishes are with them always, especially now during the holiday season. 

Campus Ministry Leadership
Six members of the Class of 2017 have assumed leadership roles as members of the newly formed Campus Ministry Core Team Executive Board. These students--each in her second or third year on the Core Team--meet weekly with the Director of Campus Ministry to make decisions and set direction regarding the spiritual and liturgical life of Mercy High School. They then mobilize and lead the rest of the Core Team in putting these plans into action. For our Eucharistic Liturgy in celebration of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Executive Board developed a series of tableaux, or still-life scenes, in order to dramatically and creatively interpret a reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. They also created a podcast that invited our community to reflect upon and enter into the Holy Year of Mercy declared by Pope Francis. The members of the Core Team Executive Board are Jeannelle Malunay '17, Jacqueline Fukumoto '17, Reyna Morabe '17, Kathy Valencerina '17, Lesley Arroyo '17, and Cat Gargolo '17.

Advent Liturgy
On December 3, Mercy marked the first week of Advent with a Liturgy of the Word at which Kathy Valencerina '17 presided and Catalina Gargolo '17 preached. In her homily, Catalina reflected on the healing Jesus extended to a blind man, inviting the assembly to consider ways in which we can spiritually be blind to our own goodness, to God's love, or to the suffering of others. Our Advent celebration continued on December 8, with a Eucharistic Liturgy honoring the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary as well as the beginning of the Extraordinary Jubilee and Holy Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis.

In preparation for the Year of Mercy, the Campus Ministry Core Team interviewed students, faculty, and staff about their understanding and experience of the Gospel value of mercy. Listen to what they discovered here.

American Red Cross logo
During our lifetime, almost all of us will know someone who needs a blood transfusion--and the only source of blood for transfusions is volunteer blood donations. On February 8, 2016, Mercy Women in Medicine (WIM) seniors will sponsor their annual Blood Drive for students, faculty and staff, families and alumnae. We hope you will support the efforts of WIM by registering to donate blood. More information will be sent out to you in January, but mark your calendars now for February 8th.

Some seniors have already received college acceptances! So far, students have received admission letters from Middlebury College in Vermont, North Carolina School of the Arts, Dominican University, Holy Names University, and University of Portland. Congratulations, Seniors!

January is a busy month for the Counseling Department. On January 7, the sophomores and juniors will attend a PSAT/SAT Workshop at Mercy to analyze their scores and learn how to prepare for the new SAT in spring. Freshmen, sophomores and juniors will select next year's classes on Programming Day, January 13th. College Night for Juniors and Families will take place on Wednesday, January 20. This event kicks off the college planning process. Speakers from various colleges will give presentations about the application process at community colleges, public and private colleges and universities, and will distribute information materials. A representative from Kaplan Test Prep will also present information about the New SAT. The juniors too will participate in group workshops and begin individual meetings with their counselors and college counselor to discuss college choices.

History Class and the '60s   
Mr. Gutierrez's U.S. History class recently went back in time to the "decade of change, the 1960s." Student groups presented a news show detailing the important stories of the year; from the assassinations of JFK, MLK and Malcolm X, to the Apollo space program and, of course, Woodstock. The students learned why this decade is still important to us today. 

Meg Bender-Stephanski
Meg Bender-Stephanski '17, a current junior at Mercy High School was awarded a position in the JFCS Holocaust Center's Manovill Holocaust History Fellowship. The fellowship allows students "a rare opportunity to study the Holocaust and patterns of genocide at the college level." Eight fellows are selected from a pool of applicants from many Bay Area high school juniors and seniors. Meg has always been interested in history but credits Mercy's Courage and Spirit Series, highlighting the Holocaust and its importance, for sparking her interest to get more involved with education surrounding the Holocaust, different genocides, and injustices around the world. Through the Manovill Holocaust History Fellowship, she will be participating in research in the Tauber Holocaust Library and Archives and writing a college level thesis on the topic of her choosing.

Upcoming Events
December 2015
December 14-16
Final Exams
December 17-18
Alternate Exam Day
December 21 - January 1
Christmas Vacation
Friday, December 25
Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord - Merry Christmas
January 2016
Friday, January 1
Happy New Year
Monday, January 4
Classes Resume
Tuesday, January 5: 9:45am
Epiphany Liturgy of the Word
Wednesday, January 6: 6pm
High School Placement Test Prep Night
Saturday, January 9: 8am
High School Placement Test
Sunday, January 10
Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord (last day of the Christmas Season)
Thursday, January 14: 8am
Senior Retreat (1/2 Class)
Friday, January 15
Intersession Balances Due
Monday, January 18
Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday - No Classes
Wednesday, January 20: 6pm
Junior Parent/Student College Night
January 22, 23, 29, 30: 7pm
"Allegro" Winter Dance Concert

February 2016
February 1 - 5
Spirit Week
Wednesday, February 10: 9:45am
Ash Wednesday Eucharistic Liturgy
Wednesday, February 10
Lenten Food Drive Begins
Thursday, February 11
WITA 8th Annual Exhibition (Pavilion)
Friday, February 12
Father-Daughter Dance
Monday, February 15
Presidents' Day Holiday - No Classes
February 18-19
Frosh / Soph Overnight Retreat
Friday, February 19
8th Grade Girls Night In
Tuesday, February 23: 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Intersession Parent Meeting for Overnight Courses
Friday, February 26
Skipper Fundraiser Holiday - No Classes

March 2016
February 29 - March 4
Intersession Week
Tuesday, March 8: 6:30pm-8:00pm
Winter Sports Banquet
Friday, March 11: 9:45am
Lenten Liturgy of the Word
Friday, March 11
Battle of the Avenues Benefit Rally at Archbishop Riordan High School
Saturday, March12
14th Annual Grammar School Art Exhibition
March 13-16
Western Catholic Education Association (WCEA) Accreditation Visit
Thursday, March 17: 9:45am
Courage & Spirit Assembly
Friday, March 18
Mother-Daughter Movie Night
Saturday, March 19
Booster Club Casino Night
Sunday, March 20
Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord
Tuesday, March 22
Sophomore Service Retreat (Students in Ethics Classes)
Tuesday, March 22
Lenten Food Drive Ends
Wednesday, March 23: 9:45am
Holy Week Liturgy of the Word
Thursday, March 24
Holy Thursday - No Classes
Friday, March 25
Good Friday - No Classes
Sunday, March 27
Solemnity of the Resurrection of the Lord
March 28 - April 1
Easter Break - No Classes

Frosh-Soph Overnight Retreat
"My Soul Has Grown Deep Like the Rivers"
February 18 (8:00am)--February 19 (3:30pm), 2016
Click here to complete an application.

  Winter Dance Allegro

Winter Dance Concert: Allegro
January 22, 23, 29, 30, 2015
7:00 pm
Mercy Theatre

Intersession 2016
Intersession will take place February 29-March 4, 2016.