Gigi Devlin ’24
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, planning and participating in Global Program travel has been impossible for the past year and a half. But as life at Mercersburg slowly goes back to normal, with in-person classes and minimal Covid restrictions, students can start to think about summer plans. So what does this mean for the Global Programs? What can we expect this year?
In the past, the school sponsored trips during spring break and over the summer that would travel internationally and within the United States. They often met up with alumni or partnered with schools in the places they visited.
“COVID has made the school rethink our programs and what they bring to the students,” Justine O’Connell, director of Global Programs, said. “I hope to send out students on international trips this year and open up their eyes to all the fantastic places and people of the world.” This is one of the reasons that she believes Global Programs are so important to the school. According to O’Connell, “They allow the community to become stronger and more well rounded with the knowledge they bring.”
The programs that will be offered this year are still going through risk management processes, ensuring that the trips are safe for students, and final approval. One goal this year is to honor past popular Mercersburg trips such as those to Italy, the Bahamas, and San Francisco. If all plans go smoothly, this year’s trips will be announced prior to Thanksgiving Break.
Folake Okunsanya ’22, alumna of the San Francisco 2020 tour, said, “I’m excited for the return of Global Programs and for people to discover the world outside of Mercersburg’s bubble.” Her hope is that future programs will allow students to bring back and share knowledge with the community. Tomiwa Salako ’22 said, “My trip to San Francisco introduced me to a new career path. For that opportunity to be back for new students is terrific.”
Latin teacher Tom Thorne has led over twenty trips in his time at Mercersburg and would love to lead more. “It is vital that all of us understand that the part of the world that we experience every day is only a tiny fragment of the human experience,” he said.
O’Connell hopes that in the future, every student who comes to Mercersburg will have the chance to travel with the school. If students have questions, she is open to inquiries and would love for people to contact her by email or at her office on Irvine’s second floor.