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A Mercy Education of Academics and Empathy

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By Megan Roell, a graduating senior at Mercy McAuley High School in Cincinnati, Ohio

High school at Mercy McAuley has been an exciting four years. There have been countless opportunities for me to grow and learn in ways I never expected, and with my best friends by my side all the while. I have met so many wonderful women and encountered a multitude of beautiful perspectives, each expanding my mind in various ways.

Nevertheless, my high school career was not always a smooth, straightforward path. I faced challenges while trying to find my identity in a chaotic society that constantly had me questioning myself and everything around me. However, I was not defenseless in this world that seemed to be against me. I had a Mercy community that strengthened me with its tremendous support and a Mercy education that armed me with an extraordinary set of skills and values. With these irreplaceable tools, I was able to tackle each obstacle with a unique sense of compassion and determination. Now, equipped with what my years in a Mercy school have given me, I will bring that compassion and determination with me as I look for answers in a world full of questions.

In the past year, the world has grown even more curious, as we’ve witnessed unprecedented events and radical change, while also gaining more awareness of the wrongs that have lingered in the United States for centuries. The COVID-19 pandemic, race riots and 2020 presidential election are only a few items on a long list of recent headlines that have caused an international uproar. While countries learn from these crises that change must happen with a whole team effort, Mercy schools have worked to prepare their students with excellence and leadership to put these changes into effect. They have worked to nurture young women to seek answers and to be the solution to problems we face today and tomorrow.

At my Mercy school, I have been given opportunities and experiences that have shaped me into the bold, compassionate and enthusiastic learner I am today. From touring a courtroom to delving into Shakespeare’s deep understanding of human nature, I have been pushed by my teachers and peers to consider each bit of new information as an opportunity for growth. Even ordinary classroom experiences have taught me things such as empathy, patience and acceptance, which alone could bring an end to many of the problems in the world. A Mercy education is not just about academics; those who receive a Mercy education are taught to be confident individuals with good character, ready for anything.

Empowering young women to learn and create a world they want to live in is an outstanding aspect of a Mercy education; however, in my experience, that is not the premier facet of it. Teaching young women to build their lives on a rock of faith is the foremost objective. Whether it be a deep reflection in my theology lesson or a Hail Mary prayed by the whole class before a math test, faith is incorporated into each day. By making prayer so relevant and familiar, my teachers have bolstered the idea that faith can help you achieve anything. They inspire me to live each day moving forward and closer to God by making Christ’s love known to anyone and everyone. This is what I will carry with me throughout my life: my love for Christ. My teachers have taught us, not only in their teaching but by their example, to radiate this love. Each day, I see my teachers living the core Mercy values. They strive to help their students reach excellence, lead their classrooms with mastery in the subjects and serve their students with compassionate hearts, helping us reach our full potential.

I will forever be grateful for my Mercy education and the work of the sisters who have devoted their lives to Mercy schools. Because of these things, I feel confident that I will be able to achieve anything I work at. I have found my identity, comfortable with deviating from the norm and passionate about making a difference. My Mercy education has readied me to find answers and create solutions in our growing society.