Springboard is a capstone course for members of Mercersburg’s senior class. Though each Springboard is quite different in terms of subject material, the goals of each Springboard are the same: to delve deeply into a topic, ask questions and generate knowledge, and create a polished presentation that will be evaluated by a panel of experts. Springboard engages students through field trips, talks with experts, and a wide range of activities and skill development. Based on the principles of Challenge Based Learning, the program encourages students to think critically and identify problems to solve, challenges to face, or projects to develop. Further, not only is this a great opportunity for students to connect with alumni, but it can also be an enriching experience for our volunteers.

Questions regarding the program can be directed to John David Bennett (bennettj@mercersburg.edu).

Springboard options for 2019—2020:

List of 4 items.

  • COMMARTS: The Art and Business of Graphic Design

    Arts faculty member Kristen Pixler helps students learn and master skills in design of 2-D and interactive media as well as the business aspects of working as a commercial artist.
  • Entrepreneurship

    Faculty member Todd McGuire leads students through the process of making a business plan. Students must pitch their finished business plans to a panel of local business experts.
  • The Fight Against Disease

    Science faculty member Eric Hicks guides students in the course as they investigate and study some of the diseases that pose a threat to the 7.6 billion humans on our planet. Participants work to become experts in a particular disease through their own research and then identify and answer challenges related to that disease.
  • Maker’s Lab

    Franklin Bell (science) and Andy Brown (robotics) accompany students through the innovative process of turning an idea in the mind into a reality made by the hands. Students create a product of their own design according to a challenge or a need that they identify.

Previous Offerings

List of 5 items.

  • 3D Computer Graphics

    This course challenges students to see their world differently through the intersection of math and 3-D modeling. Students create objects using Maya, which is a CG industry software enabling exploration of special effects, animation, and 3-D printing.
  • Business of Sport

    Fewer people know and recognize the CEO of Apple, Inc. than the head coach of the New England Patriots of the NFL. There are as many business deals discussed and sealed on golf courses than at regular meetings. Real Madrid (Spain) is a soccer franchise worth $3.44 billion, while CrossFit is a fitness business that generates $4 billion a year. Nearly 80% of Americans make use of services provided by local recreation departments.

    From Walt Disney Corporation to local YMCAs, from the NBA to youth baseball in Mercersburg, organized sports and physical activity opportunities captivate our attention, our emotions, our time, and our money in a way that few other things in our lives do. The Business of Sport provides students with the opportunity to explore the wide array of elements that contribute to one of the most dominant influences in today's world. Opportunities abound, from analyzing ticket sales to social media's impact on fan loyalty. From how World Cup soccer tournament sites and Olympic venues are selected to how the local youth basketball club secures a practice space,with insurance. From why women will pay $75 to participate in a 'Dirty Girl Mud Run' to how UnderArmour became a world-recognized brand.

    This course also offers the opportunity for crossover and interconnectivity with the Entrepreneurship course as well as the Parallel Histories course. Interestingly, one area for students to explore could be very close to home - Dr. William Mann Irvine's use of athletics to help build and sustain Mercersburg Academy. 
  • Education Across Borders

    This course focuses on issues that create borders and boundaries in education and examines why these borders exist, how they inhibit those excluded or marginalized, and, ultimately, how we can mitigate such borders (while analying why it is important to do so).
  • Global Food Chain

    Students in the Global Food Chain course investigate issues and challenges in the food industry and how those issues affect communities large and small. In the course, food is the vehicle for understanding our modern, global lives.
  • Performance as a Creative Collaboration

    Director of Theatre Laurie Mufson inspires students to explore modern theatre techniques and then create their own theatrical production. Students are involved with every step of the production process, from writing the script and lighting to casting and directing.

List of 4 items.

  • Parallel Histories

    Students unearth and investigate connections between national and international historical events and the parallel effect the events had on Mercersburg Academy (or that Mercersburg had on the events themselves). Beyond the history, students develop the skills necessary to tell the compelling stories of some of history’s most interesting times. This course is taught by Doug Smith, school archivist and John David Bennett, springboard director and dean of curricular innovation.  
  • Positive Psychology

    Faculty member Brett Potash introduces students to the basic tenets of positive psychology through readings, activities, and application to students’ lives. After engaging in significant self-reflection on their own strengths, students will ultimately be involved in creating something—whether at the personal, institutional, or social level—that draws on those strengths to make their lives fuller and more meaningful.
  • Rapid Application Development

    Sean Crocker, mathematics faculty, will challenge students to write programs or create mobile apps that solve problems right here on campus. Students will learn by doing as they master programming languages and identify real obstacles on campus and beyond.
  • Write Your Novel

    Dean of Curricular Innovation and English teacher John David Bennett works with students on composing a work of fiction over the course of the year. Products can include a 35,000 word novel; 25,000 words of short stories; a three-hour play; a screenplay for a two-and-a-half-hour film; or teleplays for four episodes of a television series, including a one-hour pilot.
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