Mercersburg Academy - Review #10

Read more details about Mercersburg Academy on their 2019-20 profile page.
Mercersburg Academy
5

About the Author:

College EnrolledNew York University
Home Town, State North Attleboro, MA
Years Attended Boarding School2
Activities During Boarding SchoolI am a competitive swimmer so that was my main activity every semester, every year. I came from an intense club team back home, and I was worried I wouldn't be able to practice as much at a boarding school, but that wasn't the case. I practiced Monday-Friday 4-6 ( Which is when all after school activities take place) as well as Monday, Wednesday, Friday mornings and once on Saturdays. Morning practices are optional, but are highly encouraged for those with high goals! The coach, Pete Williams, is my favorite coach of all time. He is calm, caring, and hilarious when you get to know him. Truly made my Mercersburg experience. I also was a chapel usher, a chapel nursery babysitter, table proctor, and photo editor for the school newspaper.

Reflections and Advice:

1.) What do you think makes your school unique relative to other boarding schools?
I visited plenty of boarding schools when trying to make my decision, but honest to God, none of them give the same feeling when you arrive as Mercersburg. Its a combination of beautiful older buildings like South Cottage and Main hall, and incredible new ones like the Burgin Center and Lenfest. (Theres a new student center being built that will be done for the Fall of 2013 that looks absolutely amazing, I'm jealous). Also, the faculty at Mercersburg far exceeded all other boarding schools I had visited. They genuinely want to be there and teach. They truly enjoy what they teach and it makes learning so much easier, especially with small intimate classes.
2.) What was the best thing that happened to you in boarding school?
Boarding school allows you start fresh. Almost everyone who comes has a story, good or bad, as to why they decided to come. It really connects you well to everyone. I got lost in the mix at my old school, there were few opportunities to stand out. Its almost impossible to go unnoticed at Mercersburg, I could name every student. It felt amazing to be recognized for being intelligent, for putting hard work into your sport, or your work of art. In a school of 2000 if you aren't the one chosen you feel insignificant. I never felt insignificant at Mercersburg. I learned who I was because I was on my own. I did start to define myself in a way a never could because there are so many new choices and experiences. Mercersburg will always be home to me.
3.) What might you have done differently during your boarding school experience?
My advice would be do not hold back if you always wanted to try something, do it! Do not graduate saying I wish I had tried theatre or rock climbing...actually try it. Do not be afraid of applying for trips. I wish I had gone to Mercersburg in my 10th grade year so I would have had more time to experience it all. My biggest regret is not going on a school trip. The trips go everywhere, Africa, Italy, Chile, Costa Rica, France, Spain, and more. Every one I knew said these we're some of their best memories, I wish I took advantage of these trips. Don't let them pass you by.
4.) What did you like most about your school?
My favorite part about Mercersburg has to be the connections I made. The connections with my teachers, my advisor, and my classmates. They are relationships that don't just go away. My mother graduated in 1981 and she kept in touch with her advisor all through her life. He recently passed and she made sure she went to his Funeral in Mercesburg. People care and always will. You want a teacher you had 11th grade to read your college thesis? They will. Everyone at Mercersburg is with you every step of the way and it doesn't just end when you graduate. I cannot wait for reunion weekend.
5.) Do you have any final words of wisdom for visiting or incoming students to your school?
Have the chocolate chip pie, see the view from the top of the Chapel, if you are a girl live in South Cottage, and try EVERYTHING.

Academics:

1.) Describe the academics at your school - what did you like most about it?
I came from a very big public high school with classes of 30 or more, teachers who assigned busy work, and a 7 period a day schedule that never rotated. Mercersburg is the complete opposite. My classes all had fewer than 20 kids, so everyone was heard, teachers assign only homework that is necessary, and only 7 periods of classes. However, you only every have 6 a day and they rotate out. One day a week there is only four classes and you typically have only six classes. Many upper classes only have five. There are so many more options than standard schools and if they don't have it you can make an independent study! My favorite class was the Quinn-Ferg Honors Seminar. 11th graders and 12th graders must apply for this class and be picked. You study a different current issue almost every week ranging from the rising life span, to rise in Chinese world power, to modern art. We had a dinner with former Secretary of State Madeline Albright. You also work on an independent research project all year so there are no test or quizzes. Mr.Kantaros made it amazing!

Athletics:

1.) Describe the athletics at your school - what did you like most about it?
The athletics program made a major impact on my Mercersburg life. As a three season swimmer I got to know the gym very well. The team became my closet friends and I know that's the case for most athletic teams. Also, considering we are a small school there is no lack of school spirit. I loved going to baseball and soccer games and even our swim meets had lots of students. All of the coaches love their sports and most would do anything for their athletes. All our meets are pretty far so we get nice coach buses and hotels! Also, we get money for food. Some sports even bring student sections to cheer on athletes. Even though meets and games are far they're all still fun days, win or lose. There are many options from golf, to football, to out door education.

Art, Music, and Theatre:

1.) Describe the arts program at your school - what did you like most about it?
I didn't have much time to participate in many plays because of swimming, but I went to all of them. I have never seen a high school theatre program with better sets or costumes. The department fully dedicates itself to the students and it shows, the plays are amazing. I took acting 1 and it was one of my favorite classes. I also got to be in the senior production, it was my first play ever and it made me wish I did more! Its great because you have senior theatre participates in a play with swimmers, baseball players, dancers, and writers, everyone auditions! It was a great senior memory. Also, I had multiple friends in art programs like advanced studio art and it was hard for me to distinguish their art from famous artists. Mercersburg isn't just an academic school, there are great athletes, and great artists.

Extracurricular Opportunities:

1.) Describe the extracurriculars offered at your school - what did you like most about it?
I loved being a member of the Mercersburg News. We are one of the few high schools in the country that publish weekly, and every week contains a front page, features section, arts section, opinion section, sports section, and hustle and bustle. I was photo editor, so my job was to get all the photos for every page as well as format them for each page. The staff works hard every week and the articles are always well written. Seeing the paper come to print every week was always satisfying. I also enjoyed being a chapel usher, its easy, meaningful and got me to church. We are not a religious school, but the chapel has services every week. Students of all religions and beliefs come every now and then to see what a protestant church is all about. Everyone is very open minded.

Dorm Life:

1.) Describe the dorm life in your school - what did you like most about it?
I lived in Fowle hall 11th grade and South Cottage senior year. Many students say enjoy Mercersburg dorms while you can because we're spoiled compared to college. All are great size, air conditioned, and can be decorated an way you like. All dorms have a snack closet for cheap candy, soda, and healthy snack cravings! South Cottage is one of the smallest dorms and its great because we are our own little family. The dorm actually used to be a civil war hospital and has been refurbished. My room actually had a fire place! My roommate and I bunked our beds, had a big couch, and monitor to watch all our netflixs. I'm honestly going to miss my South Cottage family!

Dining:

1.) Describe the dining arrangements at your school.
Mercersburg is family style dining. The tables seat 10, but frequently aren't full. They have one or two faculty, a table proctor, and a few students of all ages. Tables are assigned randomly every two weeks to make sure Mercersburg is a real community. It might sound bad, but that's how I met a lot of my friends! There are salad and sandwich bars every meal as well as toasters, rice makers, microwaves, coffee, tea, basically anything you need if you don't love the meal. All lunches are required week days, Mondays are semi-formal because of tradition and then Tuesdays and Thursdays are casual required. All none required meals are buffet style with the option to sit where you want. This goes for all weekend meals. There are a lot of meals I'm going to miss at Mercersburg, especially pies!

Social and Town Life:

1.) Describe the school's town and surrounding area.
Mercersburg is a small town, but has all your essentials! Multiple places to get food, most go to dollar general, McDonald's, the local chinese place Egg Roll King (you'll always see the delivery man on campus) pizza places (Romeos is your weekly go to for pizza and ice cream, I still have gift cards I need to go back and use). Hair salons, a tiny movie theater, everyone favorite restaurant, Flannery's, and plenty of quaint places for family to stay like the Mercersburg Inn. There are plenty of trips to Hagerstown the town near by for Froyo, Chipolte, Panera, Starbucks, etc.. Lots of farms, but very beautiful!
2.) Describe the social life at your school - what did you like most about it?
This year the student center was put in the Edwards room while they build the new one, but it worked perfectly. Its where you get your mail, watch TV, play wii, get your mid day snack and coffee, stop at the school store, and talk for hours. People also hang out in between classes or study. In the spring semester campus is full of energy everyone is outside playing soccer, frisbee, foursquare, football, anything really! Its nice to just hang out outside on the quad before going to do work. I am jealous of all the students who will have the new student center, it looks huge, contemporary, and looks like there will never be a dull moment.

Daily Schedule:

Weekday
7:00 AMSwimming
8:45 AMAt 8:50AM your first class of the day (AP bio)
9:45 AMAt 9:50 second class(Buddhism)
11:00 AMThird class (free period)
11:45 AM11:55 lunch till 12:25
1:00 PMFourth class (anatomy)
1:45 PM1:50 next class (Quinn-FergHonors seminar)
2:30 PM2:35 next class (AP English)
3:45 PM340 classes over!
4:00 PMAfternoon activity (swimming)
Weekend
8:00 AMSwimming till 10
12:00 AMLunch in town
1:00 PMWalk to dollar general
3:00 PMTrip to the mall
7:00 PMMovies in Edward room
10:00 PMNight games on the quad
11:30 PMSenior check in
Read more details about Mercersburg Academy on their 2019-20 profile page.

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    Mercersburg has an incredibly beautiful campus. It is a place for reflection as much as anything else. The gothic chapel is designed by the architect who built Princeton University's chapel, and it carries a rich. . .
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  • Mercersburg Academy Alumni #3
    Class of 2017
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    Opportunity and Community were the two buzzwords that largely encompass my Mercersburg experience. What lies between these two speaks just as loudly. There is a certain "presence of the present" that exists at Mercersburg that. . .
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