Cindy Jiang ‘24
The arrival of spring term also means a new cycle of applications for leadership positions at the Academy, one that has prompted feelings of competition, nervousness, and excitement among the student body.
Mercersburg provides extensive leadership opportunities with different levels of commitment, ensuring all students’ opportunity to apply for one that is suited to their strengths, interests, and schedules. Whether it be class president, prefect, or procter, all students are encouraged to participate in the application process.
One of the most popular leadership opportunities is peer group leader. Betsy Cunningham, peer group coordinator, explains, “The upper class students have the opportunity to show enormous leadership growth through this process that involves the adults modeling activities, then observing the leaders, and finally providing feedback each week. They are geared toward helping younger students acclimatize to life at Mercersburg and building relationships across grade levels.” Responsibility and growth are valuable parts of every leadership position at Mercersburg.
Michele Poacelli, the Writing Center director, said even more about the benefits of leadership opportunities, stating that writing center fellows learn to be “patient, collaborative, and willing to sacrifice time to help others.” The true beauty of working in the Writing Center is the genuine support from the devoted leaders, who provide services that are “so much richer and deeper than grammarly.com can provide,” Poacelli added.
Poacelli noted that holding a leadership position can open up more opportunities for lowermiddlers, as they move into the upper grades. With more positions ope to underclass students, the sense of competition has been augmented as well. For instance, the peer group program had 60 applicants this year with only 20 open spots. Library leadership positions have also become fairly competitive. Alexandra Patterson, director of library services, said “Last year we received nearly 4 times the number of applications for library proctors as we had open positions.”
Gigi Devlin ‘24, provided her insights on the process, saying that she “applied to the library procter and community reading committees because they are things [she is] passionate about but also because they are helpful for the future. [She is] nervous to know if [she’ll] get them but [she is] hopeful.”
Regardless of what position students are offered, anyone involved in a leadership role will experience enormous growth through their services as they take on demanding responsibilities with the valuable qualities they possess.