The 131st academic year at Mercersburg Academy officially began with Convocation Monday, September 4, in the Irvine Memorial Chapel. Maria Kimsey, who will retire as associate head of school for finance and operations at the end of September, was the featured speaker. The first full day of classes was Tuesday, September 5.
Kimsey, who has been at Mercersburg since 2005, has an extensive background in the corporate finance world. A certified public accountant, Kimsey was vice president of finance for Boehringer Mannheim, now known as Roche Diagnostics. Prior to Mercersburg, she was associate head of operations and chief financial officer at the Park Tudor School in Indianapolis, IN, where she oversaw the finances, facilities, human resources, technology, food service, and auxiliary services departments. Kimsey holds a bachelor’s degree and an MBA from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, as well as a graduate certificate in educational leadership for independent schools from Johns Hopkins University.
Other participants at Convocation included Head of School Quentin McDowell P ’25, ’27, School Minister Rev. Dr. Will Whitmore, Student Council President Jordan Yuan ’24, School Organist and Carillonneur James Brinson, and the Mercersburg Chorale.
During the service, McDowell presented Andrew Leibowitz ’24 of Whitehouse Station, NJ, with the Robert Michelet (1930) Prize and Harry Cameron ’26 of Carlisle, PA, with the John Culbertson (1924) Prize. The Michelet Prize recognizes distinguished scholarship, character, and school spirit during the previous 11th-grade year, while the Culbertson Prize recognizes the exceptional promise and outstanding accomplishment of a student entering the 10th grade.
In keeping with tradition, each of Mercersburg’s four grades was represented at Convocation by a class flagbearer. Participating students were 12th Grade Class President Sihyeon Bae ’24 (Seoul, South Korea), 11th Grade Class President Taimur Rehman ’25 (Greencastle, PA), 10th Grade Class President Cole Piraino ’26 (Chevy Chase, MD), and Teagan Mewett ’27 (Knoxville, TN), a member of the incoming 9th grade class.
Mercersburg’s 2023-2024 student body is composed of 451 students, including residents of 28 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and 46 countries. The school welcomed nine new faculty members this fall, representing various academic departments, including English, math, and science.
The past week featured the arrival of the student body in several waves, training for dormitory prefects and other student leaders, Inbound (orientation) activities for new students, and Performance Group Activities that included sports, theatre, dance, Community Engagement, and others. Students also had the opportunity to try out three days of an alternative schedule of classes before officially jumping into the regular routine Tuesday, September 5.