I always thought the phrase “Define yourself. Here.” was kind of corny.
But when I look back as a 10th grader over my time here so far, I can see that it’s true! I really am discovering new things about myself and magnifying the parts of myself that I already knew. Musically, academically, and athletically, I definitely feel like I’ve defined myself here. And I have two more years to keep doing it.
Although I was really happy to come to Mercersburg, it was only after my first term here that I was truly sold on Mercersburg. I enrolled at first because of the campus and the school’s credentials—all the stuff you can see on paper.
But what made me want to stay are the people—the whole society or community that you can get a sense of, but you don’t get to know fully when you take a campus tour. So after my first term, I found that what I really love about this school is the community.
I had never been in a class with only 10 students before. I had always been in a class of 30. So that was an amazing change. I love my teachers. Ms. Mufson, my adviser, is just incredible.
And I love the way that the teachers reach out to us students all the time. We’re not just taught by them, we live with them in the dorms and we dine with them at just about every lunch and dinner. And they’re here for extra help whenever we need it.
Having that kind of resource is just invaluable, and living with your teachers puts a whole new perspective on them as people and on your relationship with them. That’s why I’m here.
You will always be heard by a teacher. You will always have a teacher checking up on your progress. Mercersburg lets you maximize yourself, and classes are tenfold more engaging, because the teachers are engaging and they care about you. It almost seems like that’s their second job—to be there for you. Everyone cares.
When I was in eighth grade, I had a choice: either my public high school with 2,000 students in my hometown of Asheville, North Carolina, or Mercersburg. My dad graduated from Mercersburg in 1985. He said, “This is where I went, and this is where I want you to go.” But he didn’t force it on me. He just said that he’d like me to at least interview here. When I saw the campus for the first time, all I could think was, “Wow!”
I was a serious competitive swimmer for eight years before I came here. That was also another thing that attracted me—Mercersburg’s great swimming history. I had a pretty good first season on the swim team here. I really like the team.
And then I joined the track team in spring. It was totally new for me. I had no idea I could run. It is one of the best sports I’ve ever tried. I actually won the IPSL in the two-mile and made it to States as a freshman. I actually elected to do cross country this fall instead of swimming.
But I’m also very musical. The Burgin Center for the Arts was a huge selling point for me. I’m in the Chorale, and I love it. There is no way the school’s admission materials can exaggerate what we have in the Burgin. There is so much there. I spend a lot of time there in the practice rooms working on my own music.