The Kohl Mansion, home to Mercy High School, is located on 40 acres of land in the Burlingame hills. The 63 room rose brick mansion was to be the central building in a grand estate which would include tennis courts, green houses, a rose garden, a large carriage house, and a 150,000 gallon reservoir. In 1924 the Sisters of Mercy bought the Kohl Mansion as their Motherhouse. The Sisters opened the high school in the Kohl Mansion in 1931 after building a new Motherhouse on the lower campus.
This past week, Mercy was pleased to welcome author Emily Jenkins. Ms. Jenkins, sometimes uses the pen name E. Lockhart, is an American writer of children's picture books, young-adult novels, and adult fiction. She is known best for the Ruby Oliver quartet (which begins with The Boyfriend List), The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, and the New York Times bestseller, We Were Liars. Her newest book, Genuine Fraud, is a psychological thriller about the story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the Judge.
Ms. Jenkins spoke to the girls about how she became an author and how in her case, she usually has 15-20 drafts prior to the books actual publication! She explained that in each draft, she re-arranges rewrites and continually works to perfect her story. She asked the girls if any of them ever felt "blocked" when writing, and explained to the girls that when she writes, she first creates image boards, that help her to get the image and mood of the scene or character that she wants to convey. It is this detail, and layer upon layer of influence, driven by the desire to explore an active emotion that ultimately helps her to craft the story.
Mercy girls enjoyed speaking with Ms. Jenkins and many stopped by for and picked up a signed copy of Genuine Fraud.
Last night, Sr. Marilyn Lacey '66, RSM founder and executive director of Mercy Beyond Borders, won the $1 million Opus prize during the ceremony held at Regis University. Sr. Marilyn is a graduate of Mercy High School Burlingame, and a former member of their Board of Directors.
Sister Marilyn Lacey founded Mercy Beyond Borders in 2008 after a visit to Sudan where she saw what she described as "by far the most devastated place" she'd ever experienced during her decades of work with refugees worldwide. With operations in South Sudan and Haiti, Mercy Beyond Borders brings hope to more than 1,400 women and girls annually by providing educational, economic and empowerment opportunities where there are few options to escape extreme poverty.
The three top finalists competing for this year's Opus Prize, a humanitarian award recognizing those working to solve some of the world's most pressing problems included Sister Marilyn Lacey, Mercy Beyond Borders, South Sudan and Haiti; Sister Stan Terese Mumuni, Nazareth Home for God's Children, Ghana and Dr. Jason Reinking and Dr. Noha Aboelata, Roots Community Health Clinic, Oakland, California. Sr. Marilyn and Mercy Beyond Borders won the $1 million prize, and the other two organizations received $100,000 awards for their humanitarian efforts.
The Opus Prize is an annual faith-based humanitarian award, recognizing leaders and organizations that develop creative solutions to some of the world's most pressing problems. The Prize is awarded in partnership with Catholic universities, providing new opportunities to inspire the next generation of servant leaders. Opus Prize laureates are motivated by remarkable faith to create new opportunities for transformation. The Opus Prize is given not only to expand the humanitarian efforts of the recipient, but to inspire others to pursue lives of service. Congratulations Sr. Marilyn for your service and a job well done!
This past Mercy Day, Mercy Burlingame Head of School, Karen Hanrahan took a moment at the end of mass to honor two Mercy students.
Ms. Hanrahan announced that Emma Miller of Woodside and Paulina Morearty of Burlingame had been named Commended Students in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program.About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are currently being recognized for their exceptional academic promise.
These commended Students placed among the top five percent of more than 1.6 million students that entered the 2018 competition by taking the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).
Last week Mercy High School Burlingame gathered together with their entire faculty and staff to celebrate Mercy Day and the extraordinary work of the Sisters of Mercy!
After an all school liturgy, the girls came up to begin their workshops.The sisters of Mercy work very hard to expose these areas of critical concern to us all and this year, Mercy created workshops lead by faculty, staff and Sisters of Mercy to raise awareness on these hard subjects affecting their lives including: Racism, Immigration, the Earth, Non-Violence and Women in the world today.
Shown in the photos are faculty Ryan McGoran lecturing on Racism and Sr. Diane Clyne, RSM speaking to the girls on Immigration. Students and faculty also raised over $1,700 for hurricane relief after the Contemporary Issues Class spear headed the effort to teach us more about the critical concerns focused on the Earth. Following the workshops the girls enjoyed lunch on the green and a spirited all school rally!
This past September during Mercy week, the students of Mercy High School gathered at Bel Mateo bowl for their student fundraiser!
The girls who have been working hard to bring in money to support the Bowl-a-thon. This student fundraiser has the girls using their social media account to reach out to family and friends to meet their goals!To date, they have successfully reached their goal of raising over $50,000 for the school with more funds still coming in. Way to go girls!!!
This past September, classes from 76 years out of Mercy to recent grads of 2012 gathered to celebrate their Homecoming Class Reunions! In all over 165 alums gathered to enjoy coffee with the Sisters of Mercy, followed by mass in the Mercy chapel and luncheon in the mansion.
This year's special guest was long time Mercy Alum Ruth Curran Dolim '41 who was at the mass and luncheon celebrating with her daughter Judith Dolim Shafer '77!
Congratulations to all of the classes – especially the Class of 1967 celebrating their 50 year anniversary! We are so happy that you "came home" to Mercy and look forward to seeing you all again soon!
On August 26th, in honor of Women's Equality Day, Congresswoman Jackie Speier took 100 high school girls from her district to the Rosie the Riveter Museum in Richmond, CA. The group rode over is busses and each group had a chance to talk directly with Congresswoman Speier of current events and concerns they face today. Click HERE to view the video!
During the global war in the 1940's, people on the home front came together as never before. At the Museum, the girls were able to meet a real "Rosie" and hear about WWII and the part that women played in this piece of history. It is a story of dedication and courage showing the struggles they faced in breaking down barriers which have shaped many of today's best social innovations. They were the leaders which charted the path and vision women walk today.
Jackie spoke about the end of the Women's suffrage and ending the wage gap in pay between women and men in the work place. She spoke about how this is a time of engagement, especially in the Bay Area and that above everything else, Love will win out.
Mercy High School is thrilled to have twelve girls in this year's cast. Special kudo's for being cast in the various parts goes out to: Klara La Guardia, Sophia Poblete, Bridget Callahan, Erin Murphy, Isabella Torre, Milena Musgrave, Maddie Dei Rossi, Siobhan Cloherty, Kat McGee, Kyra Comstock, Caroline Callagy and Mia Fallace. Way to go girls! To those of you who tried out and were not cast – please continue to work on your skills and consider being a part of the program by joining stage crew!
The sun may have been eclipsed today but nothing can eclipse all the amazing things that Librarian Sarah Murphy does for Mercy girls!
It was a special day on the patio as Mercy students took in the solar eclipse. Armed with glasses, pin hole and colander viewers the girls were able to take in this momentous occasion!
Special thanks to Luke and Lena Perkocha, freshman parents, who donated most of the glasses, and helped so much with all of the activities and to Sarah, for all your work in making this such a great teachable moment!
Looking forward to doing it again in 2024!
Pictured on the Senior Stairs are Denise Almendral-Malig '92 and her daughter Zhari, Nicole Fontana '90 and her daughter Katarina, Rena Dieckelt Gillian '83 and her daughter Erin, Bridget Giovannoni Kollaco '89 and her daughter Alyssa, Stephanie Uccelli Menner '78 and her daughter Alyssa, and Laura Scannell Callagy '87 and her daughter Caroline!
The tradition continues! Welcome to Mercy!
Veterans Tell Their Amazing Stories
This past March Mercy High School Burlingame was pleased to welcome six war veterans. These decorated Vets had served our country in WWII, the Korean Conflict and Vietnam. The girls were treated to some amazing stories of self sacrifice and of just what makes America great. Most of these men, were either underage just barely of age when the joined up to serve their country.
Last year, Aisling Horgan '17, was in Susan Roughgarden's US History class and she interviewed Jack McCloskey for an oral history assignment. Mr. McCloskey is quite a remarkable character and had an extraordinary career as a firefighter in San Francisco, and is a leader in the Bay Area Catholic community. He went to Riordan High School and is one of its most celebrated alumni. In fact, this year he opened the St. Patrick's Day luncheon in San Francisco and gave the invocation and other prayers in Gaelic. During his time in the service he was a Sergeant in the 1st Marines and he acted as the MC for this event as he is a storyteller extraordinaire!
Lt. Col. John Stevens, U.S. Marines, was at Pearl Harbor when the planes flew overhead. He fought throughout WWII, and also went back and fought in Korea. He is the 2nd VP of the Korean War Memorial Foundation (KWMF). The KWMF recently (August 1 2016) had the Ribbon Cutting of a Korean War Memorial at the Presidio of San Francisco. This was the culmination of a seven year effort. The KWMF is now embarked on a mission to educate the public about the Forgotten War. The San Francisco Unified School District has just approved incorporating curriculum about the Korean War into their syllabi."
Chief Johnny JonGordon spoke about WWII and the battles fought in the Pacific and the Leyte Operations and Luzon Attacks in December 1944. He explained to the girls how the battle of Guadalcanal was a major turning point of World War II as it prevented the possible lss of Henderson field, and thus saved Australia from the planned invasion. It marked the beginning of victory in the Pacific for the United States. Mr. Jongordon is the Founder of the USS San Francisco Memorial Foundation which was established in 1996 and has a monument out at Lands End commemorating the USS San Francisco and its men.
Doc Barker, joined the Navy as a Medic and was commissioned over to the Marines during the Korean Conflict. As Navy medic, he spoke to the girls about the challenges of medical triage and saving lives during enemy fighting and explained how in Korea it was all about taking the hill on the punchbowl and how the conflict was fought vertically and not horizontally.
Mike Belmiesseri was a tanker in Vietnam. He was barely 18 when he signed up and he spoke to the girls about the challenges of fighting in a conflict that people didn't understand and how hard it was for those returning Vets. He explained that without our help, communism would have overrun the country and that the world might be a much different place and that the United States did what it had to do to keep us all safe.
Everyone in the audience was mesmerized by each Vet's story and at the end, there was a standing ovation. Upon leaving, many of the girls lined up to shake hands with the Vets and to say "Thank You for your Service" to keep us and all Americans safe.
This past February Mercy Dance attended Jamz Nationals in Las Vegas. During day 2 of All Star and Schools Competition over 240 dance teams fought for 1st place amongst different 40 categories.Both the Mercy Lyrical and Hip Hop dance team rose to the challenge and at the end of the day were crowned National Champions!!!
The JV and Varsity Pom also had amazing showing in a highly competitive field with JV placing 4th and Varsity took home a 6th place.
We are very proud of all of our dance teams – they are such a committed group who constantly works hard – they are all champions in our book!
On a rainy day in January, the art classes visited the billiard room to watch and talk with Alexandra "Alex" Thrapp '06. Alex is a graduate of Laurea and holds a degree in Art Restoration and Conservation Science from Scuola Lorenzo de Medici and is here at the mansion restoring some of our older paintings.
In 2006 three days after her graduation from Mercy Alex Thrapp moved to Italy! During her junior year at Mercy she was part of the Lyons Youth Exchange Program and fell in love with Italy. She came back and vowed that she would go to college in Italy, and in fact applied to no US Colleges!
She moved to Florence intending to study photo journalism, but as the iPhones were just coming into play – now it seemed that everyone could be a "photo journalist." Not sure of her next career step, Alex happened to walk by the Conservation Labs and as they say...the rest is history!
In order to be accepted into the program, she needed to speak Italian, and for the next 6 months went to school from 8-3 to learn Italian in an intensive language program. Never learning a Romance Language, and having only had sign language before, Alex found that her skill in sign language actually helped her out. Sign language was originally developed in France and follows the same wording as the French language, and it allowed her to use this signing skill to help to learn Italian.
In about 2007 on a visit home, she sent an email to James Pennuto, the father of Celine Pennuto '09 asking him if she could stop by and visit his studio, just to see what he did as an Art Restorer and Conservator. This chance email worked into an internship, a job working under a Master Restorer and Conservator and a career that she absolutely adores and has a passion for!
While at Mercy, Alex will be working on three portraits that were recently decommissioned by the De Young Museum. Alex plans to work on these paintings for the next 3-4 months, and is currently working on the portrait of Frederick "Freddie" Kohl painted by Gerard Barry in 1912 and will then go on to the portraits of his parents.
The Kohl Mansion was originally built for the "smart set" to have a place to entertain and throw lavish parties on the Peninsula for the World's Fair of 1915. These painting of Frederick Kohl, and his parents originally hung on the walls of the Kohl Mansion, in the Reception Room and Entrance/Foyer When the mansion was sold to the Sisters of Mercy in 1924, the Sisters donated the portraits to the then Pioneer Society of California (which is now the De Young Museum and Legion of Honor).
A recent Mercy graduate, Bridget Bell '16, began working with her father Gary Bell on a documentary of the Kohl Mansion and its paintings, and this research led to finding these painting at the De Young. As Frederick Kohl had no heirs, the Sisters of Mercy are the official caretakers of these portraits and they were decommissioned by the De Young and returned to Mercy.
Working in the Billiards Room Alex told the story of the Kohl family to the students, and said that it is fitting that she is restoring "Freddie" to his former glory in what was said to be his favorite spot in the house! Saving history for the next generation is a real joy for Alex and we are thrilled to have her here to impart her knowledge on current Mercy students!
This past January, 13 Mercy graduates returned to talk to the senior class. The Alums from the class of 2015 and 2016 were a wealth of information for the seniors who will be facing the new challenge of college next fall.
The alums talked about college and learning to adjust to their new schools, how to manage their time, and encouraged the girls to get out of their comfort zone and to meet as many people as possible those first few weeks!
It was a great way for the seniors to ask questions from someone who has just lived the situation and each of them came away with some new tips and tricks for making the transition to college easier to handle!
Thanks to Cassie Miller, Ally Ick, Sammy Baker, Maddy Gaumer, Melissa Cagney, Emma Colquhoun, Madison Miller, Kari Putz, Rebecca Carmick, Marisa Gimball, Shannon Grady, Kendall Gordon and Hannah Collins for coming back and sharing their college experiences!
At the Annual Sisters of Mercy Employee Holiday Luncheon, Mercy Chorale groups were invited by Liz Dossa to come down and provide a bit of Holiday Cheer! The girls enjoyed performing for the group and at the end, the group posed for a photo with some of the Sisters.
Given as College Scholarships to the Class of 2017
Average Service Hours Annually
Students Average Class Size
Play more than one Sport
Mercy Sister schools globally
Students Average AP Class Size
Participate in an Extra-curricular Activity
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Students in Leadership
"Best of Both Worlds"
Mercy girls are part of a more than 80 year old tradition of inspiring young women to achieve great things, and they love it. At an all-girls school like Mercy, a girl occupies every role: every seat on student government or Kairos, every position on every team. Every day, a Mercy girl sees girls learning, growing and achieving – and she has more opportunities to do the same. At Mercy, young women are known, challenged and transformed.