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Student Leadership

A class president gives remarks during the moving up ceremony in the Irvine Memorial Chapel.

We are committed to providing students with opportunities for growth and leadership.With this understanding, Mercersburg has intentionally and purposefully put in place a number of initiatives that contribute to developing a culture of student leadership. With greater responsibility and investment in the school, students learn to live up to expectations rather than conform to rules. Though only a few leadership opportunities are outlined below, moments for action are woven through almost every facet of student life, from proctors in nearly every building to ushers, club representatives, academic center ambassadors, and more.

Student leaders standing behind Keil Hall ready for Inbound.

Being a Peer Group leader was the highlight of my time at Mercersburg. I had a fantastic Peer Group experience, and I knew I wanted to be a leader since I was a freshman. I wanted our meetings to be fun but still worth their time. I wanted my Peer Group to feel like they could confide in me. This kind of leadership was more intimate than others I had held before, and it was a privilege to be a Peer Group leader.
Sarabeth Henne ’15, girls’ cross country captain, Peer Group leader

The leadership roles I held at Mercersburg helped me to learn how to effectively and efficiently lead others. Mercersburg is unique in that young individuals are blessed with the opportunity to lead others in a safe environment, with excellent faculty and staff to help them develop their leadership skills. The most important lessons I learned in my time at Mercersburg are: the importance of respecting others’ time, the importance of allowing others to bring their ideas to the table, and how to effectively build upon those ideas to make the team stronger.
Ashley Frederick ’13, Blue Key tour guide, assistant athletic trainer, Latin tutor, Burgin proctor, Spirit Committee member, Inbound leader, Student Council president, prefect

When I first arrived at Mercersburg, I would have considered myself timid and somewhat afraid to speak up; however, my leadership experiences pushed me out of my comfort zone, which is exactly what I needed at the time.
Roberto Solis ’11, class vice president, Irving president, Peer Group leader

Mercersburg as a whole has had the largest institutional influence on my life of any school, club, team, or organization with which I've been involved. The leadership roles I enjoyed while at the Academy were integral experiences in shaping how I conduct myself today. I strive to lead by example—to hold myself to a high standard, to be a servant leader, and to truly take an interest in anyone within my sphere of responsibility. And maybe most importantly, Mercersburg helped inspire in me the desire to seek out leadership roles.
Harrison Brink ’11, table proctor, golf team captain, prefect

The best part about leadership at Mercersburg is that it is natural. People are given the opportunity to create and run the organizations of their choosing. As teenagers, we all made mistakes, but the faculty weren't there to tell us how to avoid the obstacles; instead, they were there to help us when we stumbled.
Johnny Mancini ’14, Conduct Review Committee representative, Marshall Society officer, boys’ junior varsity soccer co-captain, ski team captain, prefect, Student Council vice president

The culture that the faculty and coaches at Mercersburg foster gives students a lot of autonomy to make critical decisions on their own with structured guidance when needed. This balance is crucial in student development, and it helps discipline student leaders to find creative ways to motivate their peers, amicably end disputes, and cultivate cooperation and collaboration. Because students at Mercersburg study, practice, and live together all day every day in this environment, it's like an incubator for leadership development.
Mark Herring ’09, Conduct Review Committee representative, Blue Key tour guide, men’s cross country captain, prefect

Being a prefect forced me to interact with people. And to do that, you have to come out of your shell, which definitely set me up for success moving forward in life, in terms of taking positions and doing things that I find uncomfortable. I helped found a national advocacy organization, won a scholarship to study for a masters at Cambridge, and had the chance to meet Bill Gates and heads of government. I’m now doing my residency in internal medicine in the Bronx, in a program specifically geared toward training doctors to advocate for underserved communities. I don’t think any of this would have been possible without me learning how to get out of my shell. And that started at Mercersburg.
Sami Kebede ’11, prefect

Leadership Programs

Project Wayfinder
Mercersburg has committed to a holistic education for each student. As such, we have partnered with Project Wayfinder, a program primarily for 10th- and 11th-grade students. The goal is to identify and support each individual in their own personal journey to determine their passion and, ultimately, their purpose in life. Through this process, students reflect on their core values and strengths, then explore beyond self to consider what resources they possess to support them during their journey as they step into life with a purpose.

Leadership Labs
Each year, student leaders return early to school to participate in our annual leadership training lab. Mercerburg’s newly elected and selected prefects, Student Council representatives, and mentors all return to participate in a forward-thinking curriculum and activities to help prepare them for leading their peers and community. Together, we explore topics like emotional intelligence, character strengths, listening, cultural responsiveness and perspective, and the importance of “leaning into discomfort” in order to challenge both ourselves and others to grow as a community. During the week, students also help prepare for new students to arrive and welcome them and their families at our New International Student Orientation and our New Student Inbound. The week culminates with students setting goals for the year and an action plan to execute those goals. The work from the lab continues throughout the year with continued collaboration, reflection, and feedback on these action plans in weekly meetings and three more daylong leadership labs in the fall, winter, and spring.


Leadership Opportunities