Family and Alumni Weekend Recap



More than 700 parents, grandparents, siblings, other relatives, alumni, and guests visited Mercersburg for Family and Alumni Weekend, October 18-20, experiencing school traditions like Step Songs at Main Hall and a bonfire on Tippetts Beach, attending classes, enjoying a Stony Batter performance of Our Town, and cheering on our Blue Storm athletes.

Other weekend highlights included a 30th anniversary celebration of the school’s Black Student Union, an all-school meeting with Ernest Green of the “Little Rock Nine,” college counseling sessions for parents, tours of the new Lloyd Aquatic Center, an all-school dinner in the Hale Field House, and a Chapel service featuring the Chorale.



Black Student Union 30th Anniversary

2019-2020 represents a pair of milestones in Mercersburg Academy’s history that are uniquely connected: the 55th anniversary of black student integration under Headmaster William Fowle and the 30th anniversary of the creation of the Black Student Union. Family and Alumni Weekend 2019 honored these two important moments in the school’s history of diversity and celebrated Mercersburg’s present commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion with a variety of BSU- and DEI-themed programming.



Schedule of Events

Curious what was offered at Family and Alumni Weekend? See the schedule below.

7 p.m. - Parent dessert receptions
Cofrin Gallery, Burgin Center for the Arts (9th grade)
Prentiss Alumni and Parent Center at North Cottage (10th grade)
Hale Field House lobby (11th grade)
Traylor Hall lobby (12th grade)
Parents will have the opportunity to meet their student’s class dean and other faculty and staff their student will be working with this school year


7:30 to 9 a.m. – Breakfast
Ford Hall

8 a.m. to 6 p.m. – Registration open
Simon Student Center

8:50 to 9:30 a.m. – Rotation 1 class visits
Relatives are invited to attend their student’s class; alumni are invited to select from the classes below.
AP English Language American Literature – Rutledge 102 (Doonie Brewer)
Human Geography – Lenfest 401 (Emily Parsons)
AP Physics Magnetism – Irvine 203 (Dave Holzwarth ’78)
Geometry – Irvine 406 (Sean Crocker)

9:35 to 10:15 a.m. – Rotation 2 class visits
Relatives are invited to attend their student’s class; alumni are invited to select from the classes below.
Stage Combat – Burgin LL04 (Kelly Dowling)
AP English Literature British and World Lit – Rutledge 202 (Frank Betkowski)
AP United States History – Lenfest 302 (Allison Stephens)
Second-Year German – Irvine 310 (Peter Kempe)

10:20 to 11 a.m. – Rotation 3 class visits
Relatives are invited to attend their student’s class; alumni are invited to select from the classes below.
AP English Language American Literature – Rutledge 102 (Michele Poacelli)
Positive Psychology – Lenfest 201 (Brett Potash)
Honors Second-Year Spanish – Irvine 314 (Tom Rahauser ’74)
The Nature and Meaning of the Universe – Chapel Undercroft (Will Whitmore)

11:05 a.m. – School meeting
Hale Field House

Featuring this school year’s theme of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with Ernest Green of the “Little Rock Nine,” John Henry ’91, Eyram Awittor-Awuma ’20, and faculty member Selas Douglas.

12 to 12:30 p.m. – Lunch
Ford Hall

12:45 to 1:25 p.m. – Rotation 4 class visits
Relatives are invited to attend their student’s class; alumni are invited to select from the classes below.
Voice and Vision – Burgin 203 (Syd Caretti)
AP Comparative Government and Politics – Lenfest 502 (Jay Bozzi)
Chemistry – Irvine 216 (Sue Malone)
Third-Year French – Irvine 306 (Ben McNeil)

1:30 to 2:10 p.m. – Rotation 5 class visits
Relatives are invited to attend their student’s class; alumni are invited to select from the classes below.
Power, Justice, and Authority – Rutledge 102 (Kristin Ahlgren)
History of the United States – Lenfest 201 (David Bell)
Parallel Histories – Lenfest 502 (John David Bennett)
Applied Human Anatomy and Physiology – Irvine 112 (Nikki Walker)
Third-Year Latin – Irvine Hall 315 (Tom Thorne)

2:15 to 2:55 p.m. – Rotation 6 class visits
Relatives are invited to attend their student’s class; alumni are invited to select from the classes below.
Introduction to Journalism – Rutledge 201 (Chip Patterson)
Human Geography – Lenfest 401 (Dan Walker)
Springboard: Maker’s Lab – Burgin LL06 (Franklin Bell)
AP Statistics – Irvine 403 (Julia Stojak Maurer ’90)

3 to 3:40 p.m. – Rotation 7 class visits
Relatives are invited to attend their student’s class; alumni are invited to select from the classes below.
Introduction to Dance – Burgin LL02 (Denise Dalton)
Wanderlust and Identity in American Literature – Rutledge 103 (Todd McGuire)
AP Chemistry – Irvine 210 (Jennifer Miller Smith ’97)
AP Macro/Micro Economics – Irvine 414 (Jeff Cohen)

3:45 to 4:30 p.m. – Head of school update with Katie Titus
Simon Theatre, Burgin Center for the Arts

4:30 to 5:20 p.m. – Financial aid session with the College Counseling Office
Edwards Room, Keil Hall
As the cost of college continues to rise, financial aid is more important than ever. In this session, learn about significant trends in financial aid, discover nuances in the process of applying for aid, and examine the various tools available to help pay for college.

4:30 to 6:30 p.m. – Open house
Lloyd Aquatic Center

5 to 6:30 p.m. – Black Student Union 30th anniversary reception
Prentiss Alumni and Parent Center at North Cottage

5:30 to 6:15 p.m. – Global Programs open house
Davenport Squash Center, Nolde Gym

5:30 to 6:15 p.m. – Open session for parents with Associate Head of School Julia Stojak Maurer ’90, Dean of Academics Jennifer Miller Smith ’97, and Dean of Curricular Innovation John David Bennett
Dickerman Lecture Hall, Irvine Hall 106

6:30 to 7:30 p.m. – All-school dinner
Hale Field House

8 p.m. – Step Songs
Main Hall

8:30 p.m. – Bonfire
Tippetts Beach


7:30 to 9 a.m. – Breakfast
Ford Hall

8 to 9 a.m. – Black Student Union alumni and student networking breakfast mixer
Jane Ford Lounge, Ford Hall
Enjoy a chance to catch up and network with other black alums over breakfast.

8 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Registration open
Simon Student Center

8:45 to 10:15 a.m. – College counseling drop-in stations
Vodrey Reading Room (Upper Level), Lenfest Hall
Financial Aid: A member of the college counseling team will be available to address questions parents have as they complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and CSS Profile, and as they learn more about the financial aid application process.

Quiet Room (Main Level), Lenfest Hall
Maia Learning: A member of the college counseling team will be available to provide assistance to parents as they log into and begin using our new college planning and application management platform, Maia Learning.

8:45 to 9:25 a.m. – College counseling sessions

Lenfest Hall 202
Getting Started: The Developmental Model
As our ninth- and 10th-grade students begin to explore life at Mercersburg, many are already thinking about college. This session will help parents of ninth and 10th graders better understand our developmental approach to college counseling as they support their students to be successful at Mercersburg and beyond.

Lenfest Hall 302
Parents in the Process: What Is My Role?
This session will offer advice to parents who may be eager to understand their role in helping students to edit essays, complete college application materials, and meet admission deadlines. We will also consider effective forms of communication between you, your student, and your college counselor as the college search unfolds.

Lenfest Hall 201
The Healthy College List
Deciding where to apply—and eventually where to enroll—can be a daunting task for any student. In this session, learn more about how we counsel each student to construct a targeted college list that reflects their interests, priorities, and academic profile. We will discuss our timeline and the many resources available to students and their families as they explore a wide range of college options.

9 a.m. to 12 p.m. – Adviser meetings for parents
Please contact your student’s adviser to make arrangements. Although these appointments typically take place on Saturday morning, they may be scheduled any time this weekend that is mutually convenient.

9:30 to 10:30 a.m. – Reunion Weekend sneak peek
Dickerman Lecture Hall, Irvine Hall 106
Alumni from 0s, 5s, 1s, and 6s who are interested in joining their class reunion committee (or who have already signed on) are invited to a special preview of Reunion Weekend.

9:35 to 10:15 a.m. – College counseling sessions

Lenfest Hall 201
When to Apply: The Truth about Early Admission
A record number of students now apply to selective colleges through early admission programs. In this session, we will consider the potential advantages and drawbacks of early admission programs—including Early Decision and Early Action—and offer guidance about how and when to determine if seeking early admission is appropriate.

Lenfest Hall 302
International Students and the College Process
The process of applying to colleges and universities in the U.S. may differ for international applicants in subtle and some not-so-subtle ways. This session is designed for parents of international students who wish to better understand those aspects of the college search.

Lenfest Hall 202
Athletic Recruitment and College Admission
Is your child an aspiring college athlete? In this session, our presenters will offer advice to parents who wish to support their student-athlete to achieve their academic and athletic goals. We will consider the implications of being a recruited athlete when applying to college and will discuss best practices for aspiring DI, DII, and DIII athletes.

10 a.m. – Boys’ cross country Family Weekend Invitational (with family meet-and-greet hosted by White Key)
Begins just east of Tippetts Hall

10 to 11 a.m. – Stony Batter production of Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.
Hale Studio Theatre, Burgin Center for the Arts
White Key will provide pre-show refreshments outside the theatre.
This performance is geared toward families with children, though all ages are welcome. Parental supervision is not required for children 6 or older, as faculty and students will be serving as chaperones so parents may attend adviser meetings and college counseling sessions. Walk-ins are welcome.

10 a.m. to 12 p.m. – Climbing wall open
Masinter Outdoor Education Center

10:15 a.m. – Girls’ cross country Family Weekend Invitational (with family meet-and-greet hosted by White Key)
Begins just east of Tippetts Hall

10:25 to 11:15 a.m. – College counseling guest panel
Simon Theatre, Burgin Center for the Arts
Glean insights about college admission from Catherine Davenport, vice president for enrollment and dean of admission at Dickinson College; David Phillips, vice provost for admission and financial aid at Johns Hopkins University; and Peaches Valdes, dean of admission at Hamilton College.

11:15 a.m. to 12 p.m. – Open session for parents with Associate Head of School Julie Maurer ’90, Dean of Academics Jennifer Smith ’97, and Dean of Curricular Innovation John David Bennett
Dickerman Lecture Hall, Irvine Hall 106

11:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. – College counseling meetings for 12th grade parents
Please contact your student’s college counselor to schedule an appointment.

11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Blue Storm picnic lunch
Outside Tippetts Hall (south side)

11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Black Student Union tailgate
Outside Tippetts Hall (south side)

12 p.m. – Boys’ JV soccer vs. St. James (with family meet-and-greet hosted by White Key)
South Field

12 p.m. – Girls’ JV soccer vs. Grier (with family meet-and-greet hosted by White Key)
Class of ’07 Field

12 p.m. – Girls’ JV volleyball vs. Grier (with family meet-and-greet hosted by White Key)
Plantz Courts, Nolde Gym

12 p.m. – Girls’ JV tennis vs. Jefferson (with family meet-and-greet hosted by White Key)
Smoyer Tennis Center

12 p.m. – Girls’ varsity tennis vs. Peddie (with family meet-and-greet hosted by White Key)
Smoyer Tennis Center

1 p.m. – Class fundraisers and swag pickup
Outside Nolde Gym

1 p.m. – Blue-White Swim Meet (with family meet-and-greet hosted by White Key)
Flanagan Pool, Nolde Gym

1 p.m. – Field hockey vs. Peddie (with family meet-and-greet hosted by White Key)
Regents’ Field

1 p.m. – Boys’ varsity soccer vs. Peddie (with family meet-and-greet hosted by White Key)
Steiger Field

1 p.m. – Girls’ varsity soccer vs. Peddie (with family meet-and-greet hosted by White Key)
Upper Field

1 p.m. – Football vs. Valley Forge Military Academy (with family meet-and-greet hosted by White Key)
Football field

1 p.m. – Varsity volleyball vs. National Cathedral School (with family meet-and-greet hosted by White Key)
Plantz Courts, Nolde Gym

1:30 to 2:45 p.m. – McFadden Model Railroad Museum open

5 to 7 p.m. – Postgame dinner
Ford Hall

5 to 7 p.m. – Dinner for black alumni/students and their families
Simon Student Center
A celebration of the 55th anniversary of black student integration at Mercersburg.

6 to 7 p.m. – Pre-show dessert reception hosted by White Key
Cofrin Gallery, Burgin Center for the Arts

7:30 p.m. – Stony Batter production of Our Town
Simon Theatre, Burgin Center for the Arts
Reservations are not required; all seats are general admission.

8:30 to 10:30 a.m. – Continental breakfast
Ford Hall

11 a.m. – Worship service
Irvine Memorial Chapel
An ecumenical service featuring the Chorale and a message by the school minister, Rev. Will Whitmore.

Looking for a lunch or dinner option Sunday? The Rotary Club of Mercersburg has partnered with Stoner’s on the Square, which will donate 15 percent of its proceeds October 20 to the Rotary International's fundraiser for polio eradication.