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Reed Widdoes ’15

There isn’t one thing that sums up my Mercersburg. Really Mercersburg is my Mercersburg. It’s everything not any one thing.

Mercersburg to me is being able to pursue anything that I could want to do or accomplish anything I might want to accomplish. That is what makes Mercersburg so special to me.

I give a lot of campus tours to visiting families and future students. I’m always asked what it’s really like here.

I always tell them that Mercersburg keeps you busy, but you’ll have fun, you’ll learn a lot, and you’ll learn how to succeed. Basically this is hard work, but if you do it, you’ll get a high reward.

My dad’s side of the family went to boarding school. At the beginning of my eighth grade year, I decided that boarding school was definitely where I thought I would be able to succeed.

I looked at a lot of schools up in New England. But I’m from Pittsburgh. I had very close friends of mine in the grade above me at my old school whose parents recommended Mercersburg, so I came to look at it, and here I am.

When I first saw Mercersburg it was truly beautiful and friendly. The environment here was so much more pleasant than the other schools.

Everyone at Mercersburg that my family and I passed during our visit said hello and asked how we were doing. At the other schools, we’d walk by, and the students wouldn’t even make eye contact.

I’m now in the 10th grade, and what I have found as a student is exactly what I expected to find here. Everybody is here to become educated in an enjoyable manner, and Mercersburg does that really well. It’s a community feeling. You know everyone, and everybody knows you.

It’s weird. I’ve been thinking about “Define Yourself. Here.” lately. What I’ve come to learn is that you don’t really see it happening, because as you change, you don’t really think about how you’ve changed. But as I look back at my eighth grade year, I can see how much different I am now.

I know Mercersburg has helped me decide who I want to be, what I want to become. I may go to college two years from now and find out that, oh, I’m actually this instead of that. But as of right now, Mercersburg is extremely helpful. And if I make a shift in direction in college, I’ll know how to do it, because I’ve done it before—at Mercersburg.

Academically, coming here was a little difficult. The private school I went to before I came here was rigorous for a middle school. Still, Mercersburg has been able to challenge me in ways that my old school really couldn’t.

And the relationships I have with faculty here are tremendous. Just the fact that I can walk down the hall or walk down the sidewalk to my teacher’s apartment or office, knock on the door, and ask him a question or ask him for advice is enormously helpful.

I tell my friends back in Pittsburgh about this, and they are extremely jealous, because it’s so simple, and it benefits my learning just by having them so close to where I’m living.

In the sports world, I’m a big skier, and an equally big lacrosse player. The ski team’s a blast. It’s fun, and I’ve become a heck of a lot better skier. I truly love lacrosse. I’ve been playing it since I was young. Whether it’s morning practices or playing on the turf for an entire Sunday afternoon, I’m really involved in the team.

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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 440 students (15 percent are day), grades 9-12 and postgraduate.
We offer 170 courses, including AP and Honors, more than $6 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 to New York City, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.
300 East Seminary Street, Mercersburg PA 17236
717-328-6173