Chantler Newton ’21 Front Page Editor
Since March 19, Mercersburg Academy’s students have been moving through their online classes via GoogleMeet, connecting in small GoogleHangouts with both their fellow students and teachers. Not only do students hear from far flung community members Monday through Friday in class, but they have also stayed connected via interactive, daily emails from administration, Instagram takeovers by current students, and creative Virtual ’Burg SAC activities, such as Virtual Campus and at-home scavergerhunts. If nothing else, Mercersburg community members can take one thing from this experience: no matter how far away the community may seem, no distance can tear them apart.
Instagram is the primary social media platform in charge of keeping Mercersburg’s spirit alive. Due to the distancing circumstances, the use of communications technology has become more important than ever. While on campus and in class, Mercersburg faculty consistently encourage students to use screens as little as possible. In fact, students often receive varying forms of reprimand when seen using technology past certain hours or in public spaces. Nowadays, however, the Mercersburg Instagram account is utilized in the best interests of the community. Students, like Clara Getty ’21, Ellie Liu ’21, Ryan Bland ’21, and Zoe Gooch ’20, have broadcast their advice for living at home and even answered prospective students’ questions via live stories. It’s clear to see that small gestures such as these from the Mercersburg administration and students have kept community members and prospective families engaged about life on campus despite the global crisis. In addition, members of Mercersburg administration have posted daily about faculty life on an empty campus, sharing features on the chalk art of faculty kids on the Quad and spring views across campus.
Another platform the school has utilized is school email. In order to ensure that all community members stay updated and engaged, students receive emails about a wide range of topics and interactive experiences. From senior Grace Lewis’s demonstration on how to make lemonade, to dorm polls, to upper middler Bryce Mitchell’s quarantine vlog, and, of course, a quotation of the day, students are, no doubt, engaged from afar. Updates such as these are sent every evening, providing the community with plenty of options to stay connected with their second family.
Communication has encouraged students and faculty members to feel connected, involved, and even entertained amid the home boredom. In this time of social distancing, it is most important to remain lighthearted by allowing students to put their own twists on Instagram posts and encouraging involvement in fun activities that put smiles on Mercersburg faces all around the world. While staying home all day, and maybe even inside, this sense of familiarity is especially helpful. Together, as one Mercersburg community, if they continue to reach out and stay connected, the world might seem a bit more like it used to.