Caroline Simpson ‘22 News Reporter
The weeks between the 2020 fall term and 2021 winter term will look very different from any other term in Mercersburg Academy history. The campus will be closed from the Thanksgiving holiday until the new year. Meanwhile, the school will be participating in intensive courses—one course for four weeks—for the first time, with one week in person and the others online.
Camille Smith ’22 said, “Some courses are going to be harder to learn online compared to others,” but she added, “It’s great that we have the opportunity to experience both ways.”
Traditionally, the three weeks in between the breaks are beloved among the students because of the holiday spirit in the air, but this year we will be at home. The hope is that students will enjoy the intensive courses enough to still have fun during this time.
Students had many options when choosing their intensive courses, with options ranging from business to knitting. Bella Jones ’24 felt that “students are excited about the intensive course, but many did not know what course to take, or if they would enjoy the course they picked.”
With so many courses to choose from it’s hard to know which would be best, but Smith said that “students are excited to learn something new” and that it was really helpful “that there were so many options so we could choose something that interests us.”
Gordy Simon ’21 mentioned that the intensive course “will be a nice change of pace” and he likes the idea of experiencing a wide variety of new subject matter.
What do students predict will be the most enjoyable course? Marco Malo ’21 suggested that “the cooking courses seem to be especially popular.” He also noted that courses may be ‘hit-or-miss,’ with students either loving or hating the course they receive.
History teacher Alliosn Stephens is teaching an intensive course called “Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity (SEED)” which is a course that “asks participants to consider their values and biases (we all have them) and how we came upon these components of our identities based on our life experiences.” Stephens believes that the course will encourage “individuals to see the commonalities that they have with others and to understand and respect the differences between us.” She will be teaching this course alongside English teacher Leela Woody. To achieve its goal the class will have to use “activities, texts, reflection, and story-telling.”
Stephens believes the downside to the winter intensives is that students will only be able to take one course, but Simon thinks that having only one course class will be a benefit, because the majority of the course will be online.
Overall, students seem excited about the new intensive courses and are eager to learn about new topics.