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Irving-Marshall Week Set to Begin

As winter term comes to a close in late February, Mercersburg students prepare to compete as members of the Irving Literary Society and Marshall Literary Society, facing off in a variety of athletic contests and the all-important and highly anticipated Irving-Marshall speaking contest, Declamation. 

The official Irving-Marshall Week kicks off with swimming and diving on Sunday, February 25, and the competition continues each afternoon through Thursday, February 29. See a schedule of events here.

The Irving-Marshall Annual Fund Challenge runs through February 29. Throughout the challenge, alumni and parents can make a gift to either their own society or their student’s society. Donations earn points. 

“Irving Marshall Week is possibly the most anticipated week of the school year,” said Amy Shaffer Post ’02, Mercersburg’s social emotional learning counselor and the adviser for the Irving Society. “The energy on the campus is indescribable and contagious. My hope is that each member of the Mercersburg community finds a way to be a part of the week’s events, whether it be cheering on their society, participating in the events, or yelling their chants loudly at lunch. The magic of the week is in the participation.”

School Counselor Bethany Galey ’02, the Marshall Society adviser, said she is “eager to see how the hard work of the student officers is seen through the enthusiasm and participation of new and returning students … AND for a Marshall comeback victory!!

“My hope for this year is that students, faculty, and staff give themselves the time and space to relax more and have fun, as well as to experience the school spirit this long-standing tradition creates,” Galey said. “I hope the students go outside their comfort zone and try new things, and feel the support of faculty and staff. I am also impressed to see students take leadership roles and observe their moments of success, bravery, and talent.” 

Competitions include basketball, volleyball, dodgeball, squash, table tennis, chess, billiards, and checkers.

At Declamation, the culmination of the week’s events, each society is represented by five students who perform prepared monologues in front of the entire school. 

Following Declamation, the judges’ critiques will be compared, the results will be tallied, and Head of School Quentin McDowell P ’25, ’27 will announce the winning society at an all-school dance that night. Read more about Declamation here.

“As the week progresses, everything culminates on the Simon Theatre stage for Declamation,” Shaffer Post said. “To see the students sharing their gifts and talents with our community is such a highlight; but the biggest highlight for me is watching our entire student community, regardless of society, stand and cheer loudly for each declaimer. It is the moment where the community that is Mercersburg shines the brightest.”

Follow the action throughout the week on Mercersburg’s Instagram and Facebook pages. Live coverage of varsity competitions will be available at the following links:

For Declamation on Thursday, February 29, at 7:15 p.m. ET, all parents are invited to view the livestream of the event on the parent portal.