Mercersburg Magazine - Winter 2020

Page 36

Exploring 55 Years of Black Student Integration By Aba Sankah ’20, Audrey McGrory ’20, Caroline Kranich ’20, and Julia Borger ’20

uring the first weeks of school, alongside “What colleges are you applying to?” Mercersburg seniors are often asked, “What Springboard class are you taking?” Springboard, one of the Academy’s two capstone programs, allows students to combine their interests and talents for a yearlong, immersive project that they present in April. One standout Springboard course is Parallel Histories. (Don’t fret, it has no correlation with math.) Facilitated by John David Bennett, dean of curricular innovation and director of Springboard, Parallel Histories focuses on moments in the history of Mercersburg Academy and their relation to what was happening nationally and globally at the same time. As a part of this class, in September we began to research the story of black student integration at Mercersburg Academy, a topic of particular interest considering this year marks its 55th anniversary.

Starting the Search

On our first day of class, we listened to an interview about Tom Leslie ’66, the first black

graduate of the school, and the notorious 1964 football game between Mercersburg and RandolphMacon. The voice in the interview belonged to Ron Simar, a player in the game for Randolph-Macon,



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