Capstone Experiences


Mercersburg’s Advanced Program for Global Studies

MAPS is a two-year program that begins in 11th grade with a competitive application process. In 11th grade, MAPS students take the course “Thought, Knowledge and Belief,” which focuses on philosophy, ethics, politics, global topics, critical thinking, and community engagement projects. The capstone experience embedded in MAPS is a senior research project titled SEARCH: Study-Engage-Apply-Research-Create-Help. Each student is paired with at least one professional consultant outside of the Mercersburg community.

Using the principles of Challenge Based Learning, a student’s SEARCH project culminates in the successful completion and defense of a 25-to-30 page analytic research paper, a 10-to-15 page “call to action” community engagement proposal, and a 45-minute presentation of the SEARCH project to a panel of peers, professionals, educators, and experts.

MAPS students will be required to participate in a class trip (lasting approximately two weeks), offered the summer between the student's 11th- and 12th-grade year. Students will also be required to enroll in language study through Level IV, and advanced coursework in at least four different core disciplines.

For more information on MAPS, contact MAPS Director Peter Kempe ( by email or at 717-328-6380.


Springboard is a capstone senior seminar available for members of the senior class; completion of either MAPS or a Springboard course is required for all students. Springboard takes the principles of Challenge Based Learning and applies them to several different course selections designed around the passions of participating faculty members. The courses have ranged from 3D animation to creating business plans, from issues surrounding food and water to Mercersburg’s forgotten stories. Each spring, participating students give Springtalks (innovative presentations) for the student body.

Interested students should talk to their scheduling adviser, or guru, about how Springboard could augment their senior transcript. Contact John David Bennett ( for more information.
Founded in 1893 in the heart of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic, Mercersburg is a private, coed, college preparatory boarding school with approximately 435 students (15 percent are day), grades 9-12 and postgraduate.
We offer 170 courses, including AP and Honors, more than $7 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 of New York City, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.
100 Academy Drive, Mercersburg, PA 17236
GPS Address: 10951 Buchanan Trail West, Mercersburg, PA 17236