Monthly Archives: September 2022

Mercy Day 2022: Celebrate with Service

Nearly 500 Mount St. Mary Academy students, faculty and staff spent the morning of September 23rd volunteering at 22 locations across central Arkansas. The schoolwide day of community service took place in honor of Mercy Day. This special day, celebrated by the global Mercy community, commemorates the day Catherine McAuley opened the first House of Mercy on Baggot Street in Dublin, Ireland, in 1827 to serve the sick and poor.


In the spirit of the Sisters of Mercy founder, Mount St. Mary honors this important date in history each year by completing acts of service on its campus, in its surrounding neighborhood and throughout the Little Rock area. This year, to recognize its milestone five-year anniversary, Mercy Education invited its 55 member schools to “Celebrate with Service” by collectively accruing five years’ worth of service – 43,800 total volunteers hours – in honor of Mercy Day. Mount St. Mary Academy proudly contributed 988 hours toward this goal.


This year’s Mercy Day activities included cleaning and picking up trash, preparing meals, sorting clothing, and helping with various additional tasks at churches, schools and organizations that serve those in need. Work was completed at the following sites: The Allen School, Allsopp Park, Calvary Cemetery, Camp Aldersgate, CareLink, Central Arkansas Library System, Easterseals, The Helping Hand of Greater Little Rock, Home for Healing, Jericho Way Day Resource Center, Little Rock Compassion Center, Live Thankfully Little Rock, Missionaries of Charity Abba House, Museum of Discovery, Recycle Bikes for Kids, River City Ministry, St. Joseph Center of Arkansas, St. Theresa Catholic School, Stewpot, War Memorial Park and Mount St. Mary Academy.


Once service work was completed, the MSM community gathered together in the McAuley Center gymnasium for a special all-school Mercy Day Mass. The day of celebration ended with Mercy Education’s missioning of Sara Jones as Mount St. Mary Academy’s new head of school. Mount was honored to have Kimberly Baxter, Mercy Education associate director for programs and services, in attendance to lead the special ceremony.


View photos from this year’s Mercy Day at

Two MSM seniors named National Merit Semifinalists

Madeline Dalton ’23 and Anya Ratycz ’23 have been named Semifinalists in the 68th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. High school juniors across the country entered this year’s scholarship competition by taking the PSAT qualifying test last fall. As two of the highest-scoring entrants in Arkansas, Madeline and Anya join the group of academically talented high school seniors – representing less than one percent of the Class of 2023 nationwide – that has the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,250 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million that will be offered next spring.


Next Steps in the 2023 Competition

To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the Semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a school official, write an essay, and earn SAT or ACT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.


From over 16,000 Semifinalists, more than 15,000 are expected to be announced as Finalists in February. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.


National Merit Scholarships

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2023. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 950 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 180 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their specified criteria. In addition, about 160 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 3,800 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.


The National Merit Scholarship winners of 2023 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join nearly 368,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.


Congratulations to Madeline and Anya!

MSM junior honored by College Board National Recognition Programs

The College Board has named Sofia Theodore ’24 a recipient of the National African American Recognition Award and the National Hispanic Recognition Award for her outstanding academic accomplishments in high school and on College Board assessments. She is among the 62,000 students from across the country who received academic honors from at least one of the organization’s four recognition programs in August 2022.


In addition to granting academic honors that can be included in college and scholarship applications, the College Board National Recognition Programs create a pathway to higher education for academically competitive underrepresented students by meaningfully connecting them to colleges and universities across the country through Student Search Service. This College Board service allows institutions to identify awardees and conduct intentional, tailored outreach to them based on their Recognition Program award.


More than 180,000 students from all 50 states were eligible to apply. Students must have a GPA of 3.5 or higher and have excelled on the PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10, or earned a score of 3 or higher on two or more AP Exams. They must also identify as African American or Black, Hispanic American or Latinx, Indigenous, and/or attend high school in a rural area or small town.


The College Board initially launched the National Hispanic Recognition Program 38 years ago to increase access to higher education for academically competitive Latino students. Research showed that awarded students who also opted into Student Search Service had improved college enrollment and received additional funding. The first program’s success led College Board to expand the Recognition Programs in 2019 to include African American Recognition, Indigenous Recognition, and Rural/Small Town Recognition.


Congratulations, Sofia, on this wonderful honor!