Onward and Upward: Springboard in NYC

By Katherine Reber
NEWS Reporter

Last weekend, Jenny Bell ’17, Emma Claire Geitner ’17, and Katherine Reber ‘17 made the trek to the Onward 2017 event in New York City to join English Department Chairperson John David Bennett to lead an interactive class called “Past Meets Present” about the SpringBoard class, Parallel Histories.

Bennett began the presentation by discussing the nature of the course as well as several pieces of Mercersburg Academy history students have uncovered in the past few years. Next, the students discussed their project – the history of the first women at Mercersburg – and presented alumni, faculty, and parents with some of the information collected through the Mercersburg News, the Karux, and in speaking with alumni and faculty who were at Mercersburg in the early years of co-education.

The group’s goal in discussing this information with the audience was not so much to chronicle a history as it was to start a discussion, because ultimately, the subjective history of being among the first women did not and does not belong to historians. While the class itself was not particularly interactive, students were caught in a whirlwind of conversation with alumni afterward. These conversations engaged subjects ranging from the lyrics of the original rendition of the Octet staple “Summertime” to perceptions ofARTS by mercersburg parallel smaller former headmaster Bill Fowle to a brave transgender alumna, Donna Frank, who graduated in the early Seventies.

As the night continued, so did conversation, though students did not limit ourselves to activities related to SpringBoard. For example, they were seated at dinner with Carl Gray ’05, who worked on Hillary Clinton’s advance team this past year, and enjoyed performances from Octet and Magalia, as well as an entertaining and enlightening Q&A session with Head of School Katie Titus.

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