Nominations for the Heart of Mercy Award began Jan.. 28 following an all-school mass celebrating Catholic School’s Week. President Cheryl Kreger introduced the yearly nomination process, explaining how one student and staff member each receive the honor.
The award focuses on the Mercy values of service, option for the poor, human dignity, mercy, and justice. A rotating committee is formed from members of administration, a student, a past recipient, and a Sister of Mercy to determine the awardee. The committee looks to recognize those in the school community who live the values out on a daily basis and inspire others to do the same. Though seniors often receive the award, students from every grade are eligible.
Microbiology teacher Mr. Gerard Meloche, a 2000 winner, served on the committee twice before.
“It’s just discussion from people who care about the winner of this award,” said Mr. Meloche. “There really isn’t an issue of favoritism or popularity because the award is something greater than that.”
Unlike Teacher of the Year, a person may only receive the Heart of Mercy once. Though Mr. Meloche won Teacher of the Year in 1992, he sees the Heart of Mercy as a greater honor.
“When I won the Heart of Mercy, honestly the first thing in my brain was ‘Oh my gosh, I don’t deserve this,’” he said. “You compare yourself to kids who win the Heart of Mercy and think that you can’t possibly belong on the same stage as them. People see through everything and look to your soul. It has immense value, and it is a very humbling experience.”
Other staff winners include Mrs. Kathy Sill, Sr. Marianne Bennett, Ms. Judi Dennis, Ms. Trish Brown, Ms. Colleen Rozman, Mrs. Ann Marie Lusch, Ms. Kathy Kitzman, Mrs. Carol MacLennan, Ms. Mary Harkness, and Ms. Janice Mordenski.
While sometimes the winner may be clear, Mr. Meloche said this is not always the case.
“Sometimes we really have to go back and forth. All I can think of when I’m sitting out in the auditorium is ‘I sure would love to tell those other 20 kids what kids said about them,’ ” he said.
Students and staff are asked to take time to write about someone they know who lives out the values on a daily basis.
Nominations are accepted through Feb. 19 and can be turned in at the Reception Area. The Heart of Mercy will be awarded at mass on March 25.