By Jack Mitchell
Forged from the loins of the gods, Keil Hall (aka K-Block) has been standing strong as the center of the universe since 1900. Keil’s fearless leader, Carl Stensland, received the torch of infinite light from former fearless leader Doug Smith in 2017. The gods took their time in the sculpting of Keil Hall. Perfectly chiseled above Rutledge Hall, K-Block rests upon the most desirable location on campus. Oozing with brotherhood and comradely, K-Block “keeps it tight.”
Brought together by an underlying sense of the greater good, the brothers of Keil Hall stand strong as they throw up the infamous K-Block X. Traditions run strong in Keil Hall, from poker night with Doug Smith, to philosophy for the deeper mind with Selas Douglas, to the legendary wing nights that all other dorms envy.
Wing nights, for those who don’t know, are the greatest thing to happen at Mercersburg Academy since the integration of girls. A thirty minute hype sesh filled with aggressive EDM, Katie Perry, and Taylor Swift gets the boys ready to feast. The men of the dorm line the hallway as the fearless leader rushes through the tunnel of fraternity while the boys cheer and holler for wings.
On the very first wing night of the year, Stensland gives the opening address. In unison, boys yell the dorm motto: “Freedom, Fraternity, and Fire Prevention.” At the end of the speech, the gang devours all 24 buckets of wings with laughter, joy, and even tears. The dorm motto is then forever ingrained in the minds of any former resident who has stood with the brothers of K-Block.
Freedom: every member of Keil Hall is free to be himself. The tight-knit culture created in Keil allows the students to open up to their fellow brothers and show them who they are; everyone is accepted. Keil is a utopia that rejects rigid social standards of what it means to be “cool”.
Stensland said, “Students feel free to be themselves; they feel comfortable and something else.” That something else is what makes Keil special, the unexplainable something that unites a group of misfit toys into a collection of strong, independent men brought together by the community created in the dorm.
Fraternity: part of the Sigma Delta Chi chapter of Mercersburg Academy, brotherhood in Keil runs deep. Being a part of Keil means havingat least forty-two companions around campus. A fraternity is built upon mutual friendship, respect, and desire to have a good time; Keil has an overwhelming abundance of all three.
Fire Prevention: on June 13, 1998, a treacherous thunderstorm passed through the Cumberland Valley. A lightning bolt struck the north chimney of Keil Hall, knocking it down and starting a fire in the 98-year-old dorm. The fire consumed the entire northern half of the fourth floor as well as the roof. Owing to the quick action of local firefighters, the building was saved. Since that day, we in Keil Hall have taken fire prevention very seriously. Fire prevention can save our lives and more importantly the dorm.
Keil, like any dorm, is just a structure of wood and concrete with rooms
not much different from the rest. It is the people who reside within that
make it special.
Former King of Keil and golf team legend Shayan Ghodsi ’18 said, “Keil Hall is a melting pot that shouldn’t otherwise work. We have athletes and studiers, socialites and introverts, and everything in between. The sheer number of personalities that the dorm boasts should not theoretically mesh together, but Keil’s culture of brotherhood and camaraderie creates what we see between its members year after year. The dorm is a unique environment that students are proud to be a part of. Keil truly leaves an impression on the people it touches, making it easy to love and hard to say goodbye to.”
We forget the cliques and popularity that often occurs in high school and remember K-block. To me, K-block will forever be the greatest dorm in the world.