< My Mercersburg Story

AnnaBeth Thomas ’15

When I think of Mercersburg, I see a better future. When I was a ninth grader, recent students came back to campus for Alumni Weekend. Even though I had no clue who they were, they made me feel included. I would tell every visiting student about the sense of community at Mercersburg. You can walk down a hallway, see somebody you might not know, say “Hi,” and know that they’re going to say “Hi” back.

I got the idea of attending a boarding school while looking around on Facebook and reading that one of my friends (Vivi Hyacinthe) went to a boarding school, but I didn’t know which one. I also knew that my grandfather went to a boarding school, but he never said which one. It was only much later that I found out that the school for both of them was Mercersburg.

Even though I had all of these unknown connections, I discovered Mercersburg on my own. When I looked online at Mercersburg’s website, I thought, “Wow, this looks so cool.” I could tell that it would give me many more opportunities than what my public high school would have afforded me.

I brought it up to my parents. At first they thought I was just in a phase or something, because it was early in my eighth-grade year when I decided I liked Mercersburg. Later I really started pushing harder, and my parents decided to let me apply. So that’s pretty much why Mercersburg was the only school I applied to. If I didn’t get in, I was planning to attend the high school that the rest of my friends back home were going to.

The school I saw as an applicant is definitely the school I’m experiencing now as a student. I’m naturally independent. I saw on the website that I could be really independent and thrive here. Now that I’m a student here, life here could not be better.

You get really close to a lot of people, including the teachers. At first, I thought the concept of having a teacher be not only my teacher, but also live in my dorm and be my coach was kind of weird. I thought they would be just like parents. And they really are, but in the best ways. I can be buddy-buddy with teachers, but they’ll also help me with whatever I need outside of the classroom and inside the dorm.

At first I thought the saying “define yourself” was a little corny, but now it strikes me as being very true, because at the public high school that I would have gone to, I would not have had the opportunities I have at Mercersburg that are truly defining me. But here, I can choose the path that I want. Especially in the fine arts department here. They have so much to offer. They give you opportunities to actually define yourself more than anything else that I’ve ever experienced. Ms. Mufson and Mr. Flowers there have taught me so much. They are the reason that I’ve thrived the way that I have.

It’s so much more challenging academically here than at my previous school, and I like that. The classes are a lot smaller here. At my former public middle school, we had 30 people in each class, so it’s so nice having 12 to 15 people here. And the students here are a lot more focused on academics, which makes each classroom a lot more compelling.

Ms. Malone is amazing. We do chemistry labs at least once a week. I remember at the beginning of the year, we did labs almost every day for the first two weeks to kind of get us into it. That was really great, because I love hands-on activities. At the public school that I went to, we had no labs. Teachers would just stand up and lecture. But the teachers here are much more engaging
I love dorm life. My roommate and I get along so well. I’m making so many life-long friends, my roommate especially — I want her to be in my wedding. She’s like my sister, because we live together. That’s how close you get with people here.

If you have a problem here, you know that somebody’s going to be there for you. We have such a sense of community here. And the teachers are in that. It’s not just the students, but everybody. The faculty live so close and they’re willing to do anything for you. I can call them up and tell them I really need a lot of help. And they’ll help me.

Founded in 1893 in the heart of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic, Mercersburg is a private, coed, college preparatory boarding school with approximately 440 students (15 percent are day), grades 9-12 and postgraduate.
We offer 170 courses, including AP and Honors, more than $6 million in financial aid, 26 varsity sports, and a state-of-the-art performing and visual arts center.
Located 90 minutes from Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, and within easy driving distance to New York City, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.
300 East Seminary Street, Mercersburg PA 17236