By: Isabella Van Ess ‘22 News Reporter
Boarding schools are known for their postgraduate programs. Postgrads (or PGs) are students who decide to take an extra year of high school to improve their athletics or academics before attending college. Their presence on campus at Mercersburg Academy normally has a positive impact on the community, that is, if they come into their fifth year of high school with an open mind.
Many of the PGs this year are thinking of it as a “redo” senior year; theirs, of course, was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. Trevor Torres ’21, a PG from Greenville, North Carolina, says “I feel like the PGs here all get along and enjoy each other’s company.” His classmate, Aidan Henry ’21 agreed, adding, “I can’t think of more sincere, charming, hilarious, and endearing friends that I would rather spend my time with. We are all thankful to be here and are trying to get the most out of our Mercersburg experience.” The PGs are happy to have this extra high school experience and eagerly make the most of their time together.
The PGs usually quickly form their own tight-knit group because they seem to have many similarities and common interests. The most noticeable similarity is that many of them have been recruited by the United States Service Academies and share similar goals and ambitions. Henry explains, “Most of us knew each other briefly before coming here. Next year most of us will be on the same collegiate athletic teams or will be competing against one another, so we already had that in common coming into Mercersburg.”
Although they come in with a positive mindset, some of the student body feel intimidated by them. Torres suggests that it’s because they’re older and bigger than the majority of the student body, especially the underclassmen. Lily Gugino ’24 says that she knows it’s not on purpose, but “it seems like the PGs are their own separate group and only hang out and talk to each other.” And although she’s not necessarily intimidated by them, she thinks that they physically look scary just because of their age and stature. Henry explains, “We definitely feel judgment from other students occasionally. We are at an age where we know who we are and we aren’t afraid to be ourselves.”
Although there are cons that come with the age gap between a postgraduate and an underclassman, there are also some pros. Yes, age is what separates them from the rest of the community, but Henry explains, “With that comes knowledge and life experience. In the same way we are there for each other, we are also here for our fellow students because we see ourselves in our classmates in that we have been in their shoes before.” Savannah Pentz ’23 pointed out that all the PGs are always nice and easy to talk to. “You can talk to them about anything and they always have some sort of advice,” Pentz said.
The PGs are always a burst of energy on campus who are sure to bring excitement and perhaps even a little wisdom to the campus atmosphere.