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.
Tri-School Productions debuts West Side Story, starring students from Mercy, Notre Dame and Serra. The beloved musical has inspired generations of theater fans with its heart-wrenching tale of star-crossed lovers Maria and Tony, based on a Romeo and Juliet theme that has stood the test of time since its opening in 1957.
"Tri-School Productions is immeasurably proud to bring West Side Story to our community this spring," says Drama Director and Production Manager Lawrence Long. "The show is a wonderful representation of the good and bad in life. The issues that society faced half a century ago are still relevant. Our students have worked tirelessly on this iconic show, bringing thrilling dance numbers, gorgeous singing and a story that resonates with social issues as relevant today as when it was first performed. It's a tragic story that's told with so much beauty."
The audience will enjoy captivating sets, colorful costumes and unforgettable music and dance numbers as the Sharks and Jets dance their way through heated turf wars fueled by immigration and racism.
"The opportunity to play this lead role during my senior year of high school is amazing," says senior Holden Boger, who plays Tony. "The role of Tony is very emotionally intense, and it requires a lot of hard work and contemplation of character choices and motivations. The story centers on this idea that we all have something in common. It's a challenge I am thrilled to take on!"
Mercy senior Isabella Torre plays the role of Maria, a hopeless romantic who falls in love with Tony, regarded by some closest to her as the enemy. Torre notes how different Maria is in Act II, compared to Act I. "Through the life experiences and events that unfold, she goes from being young and naive to suddenly very mature," she explains.
NDB sophomore Sophia Bouzid, who plays the feisty Anita, has a lot to manage, particularly with the powerful music and dance number, "America." "It's all about breath control," she says. "All while presenting the intense emotions that my character experiences."
Director and Choreographer Gennine Harrington calls the show "a choreographer's dream."
"It's awesome to have teens playing teens," she adds. "In the end, the audience is left with a powerful message–hate kills and love wins."
The show will be presented in Serra's Gellert Auditorium March 16, 17, 23 and 24 at 7:30pm; and at 2pm March 18. CLICK HERE for tickets!
This past week, Mercy High School had CodeHS come to visit and work with the AP Computer science classes. Their teacher, Mrs. Pat Bradley stated that, "Girls participated in an hour of code"and at the end of class, they had each created an app for their cell phones. Which was very cool!"
CodeHS is a comprehensive teaching platform that helps high schools teach computer science. They believe that coding is a foundation skill, just like reading and writing. Their mission is to empower all students to meaningfully impact the future by learning to code.
This past week, Mother's of Mercy Alumnae, MOMA's returned to Mercy for a pre-Christmas wine and cheese get together!
For many this was their first time back to Mercy since their daughter's graduation. They were able to reconnect with old friends, and everyone enjoyed seeing the mansion decorated for Christmas!
Mercy was happy to get these wonderful Mom's back on campus and look forward to making this a yearly event!
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.
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.