Seniors Present MAPS, Springboard Capstone Presentations

Throughout the month of April, the 118 members of Mercersburg's senior class are giving their capstone presentations. All seniors are enrolled in one of the school's two capstone experiences—MAPS (Mercersburg's Advanced Program for Global Studies) or Springboard—and successful completion of one of these two experiences is a requirement for graduation.

Eight Springboard courses are offered this year: Business of Sport, COMMARTS: The Art and Business of Graphic Design, Entrepreneurship, The Fight Against Disease, Maker's Lab, Write Your Novel, Positive Psychology, and Rapid Application Development. Students will present individual and group projects, which are known as "Springtalks."

The Springtalk Showcase, a culminating event of Springtalks, will be held Monday, April 29, at 7 p.m. in the Burgin Center for the Arts' Simon Theatre, and the Maker's Lab Expo will be taking place on Thursday, April 18 at 7 p.m. The Showcase spotlights one student (or multi-student group) from each of the school's eight Springboard capstone courses. The event is a required appointment for all Mercersburg students.

View the schedule of this year's Springboard presentations.

"One of the Springboard teachers stopped me on the sidewalk yesterday," said John David Bennett, the dean of curricular innovation and a Springboard faculty member. "He was ecstatic because a few of his students had run into problems with their projects' logistics, and they were having to find new, creative solutions. What they were coming up with ranged from clever to brilliant. As the teacher sort of skipped away, he turned around and said, 'Every class should be like this.' That might be a little hyperbolic, but seeing a student take control of her project's fate and do it well — that's unbelievably fulfilling."

SEARCH presentations, which are given by the 10 senior students enrolled in MAPS, cover topics including technology's impact on the way we read, misunderstanding the effects of drug addiction, art therapy's innovative approach for treating autism, and how new media has polarized politics. "SEARCH" is an acronym for Study-Engage-Apply-Research-Create-Help, and students give these 45-minute presentations to a panel of peers, professionals, educators, and experts from both inside and outside the Mercersburg community.

View the schedule of this year's MAPS SEARCH presentations.


"The motto for Mercersburg's Advanced Program for Global Studies is 'Knowing is not enough, one must also apply. Willing is not enough, one must also do'—a quote from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, arguably one of the greatest German poets, writers, statesmen, and philosophers of his time," said Peter Kempe, a MAPS faculty member. "It states eloquently one of the core objectives for MAPS. Whether it is in the 11th-grade TKB class (thought-knowledge-belief) or in the 12th-grade SEARCH class, MAPS students are asked to think critically and to reflect on fundamental questions in the areas of existence, values, and reason."

The MAPS presentation follows the successful completion and defense of a 25-to-30-page analytic research paper and a 10-to-15-page "call to action" community engagement proposal, as well as a four-week international travel experience with homestay and an independent academic component, language study through Level IV, and advanced coursework in at least four different core disciplines. 

"The students have worked and prepared for this culminating event of their research all year," Kempe said. "This is the sixth year since the program's implementation, and we look forward to another round of interesting and captivating presentations."

Faculty members involved in the courses include MAPS faculty Kempe, Jay Bozzi, and David Bell, and Springboard teachers Rick Hendrickson, Nikki Walker, Kristen Pixler, Franklin Bell, Dave Holzwarth '78, Todd McGuire, Bennett, Eric Hicks, Brett Potash, and Marcus Jaiclin. Julia Stojak Maurer '90 is assistant head of school for academic affairs, and Eric Hicks is the school's academic dean.

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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.
300 East Seminary Street, Mercersburg, PA 17236
GPS Address: 10951 Buchanan Trail West, Mercersburg, PA 17236
717-328-6173