It has been 10 years since Our Lady of Mercy (OLM) Catholic High School in north Fayette County opened its doors. It has been a decade that has led to many achievements and one that points to an even brighter future.
OLM opened its doors in 2000 for grades 9 and 10 with an enrollment of 70 students. The school at that time offered a few sports and fine arts, said Principal Danny Dorsel, adding that OLM’s first graduating class came in 2003 when 19 students received their diplomas.
Now 10 years later a lot has changed. Enrollment for the 2010-2011 school year is now 316. But there is more, Dorsel said. OLM now offers 16 sports (24 teams with junior varsity and varsity) and has won six state championships in track and cross-country and numerous individual state titles.
OLM today offers a complete dance program, visual arts, band and drama and has 16 student organizations and clubs, Dorsel said.
“Last year we received one of 25 Hewlett Packard Education Grants worth $265,000, Dorsel said. ”We were the only Catholic school in the nation to receive it.”
And in 2008, Dorsel continued, OLM instituted the House System so that each child belongs to a group in which they get to know faculty, staff and students in each grade.
Also noteworthy was that 100 percent of the 54-member 2010 graduating class was accepted to a college or university and eight signed to play college athletics. OLM students in 2010 garnered $5.6 million in scholarships.
“Since 2000, Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School has had the pleasure of serving as the only Catholic high school in Atlanta south of I-20. In the last few years we have seen a large increase in enrollment. I think our success in having students be accepted into the college of their choice and the majority of them with large scholarships has been a real drawing factor for us,” Dorsel said.
“Also, we offer the traditional math curriculum and a full 180 days of instruction. We also have a dedicated faculty with an average of 15 years of teaching experience.”
Dorsel said all faculty members interact with the students on various levels outside the classroom, whether as a
coach, fine arts instructor, or club moderator.
“This aspect really helps build the sense of community. Our families are also very involved, said Dorsel. “In fact, the families are required to give 20 hours of service to the school through volunteer efforts. This initiative helps create the family atmosphere that is so important in forming children.”
OLM on Aug. 13 held its 10th Anniversary Celebration, filling the auditorium for a special mass attended by clergy and alumni.
Dorsel said OLM has rolling admissions, so it is never too late for a family to explore if Mercy is right for them. Those interested in learning more about OLM should contact admissions director Sandy Martin at 770-461-2202 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.