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Mercersburg A magazine for Mercersburg Academy family and friends

VOLUME 40 NO. 2 wi nter 2014


NO. 2 WI NTER 2014

A magazine for Mercersburg Academy family and friends


Daring to Lead: Access and Excellence


Deborah J. Simon Gives Nearly $107 Million

Read full details of the record-setting pledge by Deborah J. Simon ’74 and her foundation, as well as the announcement of Mercersburg’s Daring to Lead Campaign. Page 3

Grand Opening: Simon Student Center

Take a tour of Mercersburg’s stunning $13.2-million nerve center for student life, which opened for business in the fall. Page 8


1,019 Words

Enjoying the great outdoors in the middle of campus. Page 12

Daring to Lead: A Campaign for Access and Excellence

An inside look at Mercersburg’s newly launched $300 million comprehensive campaign and how it supports students, faculty, and the school’s bright future. Page 14

Mercersburg Profiles

These stories of access and excellence include a recent Mercersburg graduate committed to rebuilding and empowering her war-torn homeland. Page 24

You Should Know

Head of School Douglas Hale and Deborah J. Simon ’74 cut the ceremonial ribbon to officially dedicate the Simon Student Center September 20. The 41,000-square-foot space at Ford Hall includes a glass-enclosed oval student lounge, a new game room and cafe, a private HDTV theatre, and more. (Turn to page 8 to see additional photos.) Photo credits: p. 2 Chris Crisman; p. 3 (Simon) Peter Olson; p. 4 Bill Green; p. 5 Olson; p. 6 (Basij-Rasikh) Jillian Kesner, (all others) Stacey Talbot Grasa; p. 7 (new faculty) Green, (others) Kesner, (Boyatt) courtesy Jessica Boyatt ’82; p. 8–9 (all photos) Greg Holder; p. 10–11 (exteriors) Kesner, (all others) Holder; p. 14 Ryan Smith; p. 15 (top left) Eric Poggenpohl, (all others) Smith; p. 16 (top right) Olson, (bottom) Poggenpohl; p. 17 (all photos) Olson; p. 18 (bottom) Green; p. 19 (all photos) Olson; p. 20 (top) Smith, (bottom) Kesner; p. 21 (Simon) Olson, (Chapel) John McKeith; p. 22 (Frantz) Smith, (bottom) Poggenpohl; p. 23 Poggenpohl; p. 25 courtesy Tony Trenga ’67; p. 27 courtesy Vanessa Youngs ’03; p. 29 (middle) Lafayette College/, (bottom) courtesy Travis Youngs ’06; p. 31 Lee Owen; p. 33 Green; p. 34 (all photos) Green; p. 35 (Chorale) Green, (Band) Richard Rotz, (Kim) Mark Flowers, (headshots) Grasa; p. 36 (baseball) Ron Agnir, (lacrosse) Smith; p. 37 (lacrosse) Smith, (softball) Agnir; p. 38 (all photos) Kesner; p. 39–41 (all photos) Green; p. 43 (Bliley) Holly Czuba ’01. Cover illustration: Peter Hoey

Green Inks

From the Head of School Via Mercersburg Arts Athletics Alumni Weekend Class Notes Mercersburg magazine is published three times annually by the Office of Strategic Marketing and Communications. Mercersburg Academy 300 East Seminary Street Mercersburg, Pennsylvania 17236 Magazine correspondence: Class Notes correspondence: Alumni correspondence/ change of address: 800-588-2550

2 3 34 36 39 41 Read us online: Editor: Lee Owen Class Notes Editor: Tyler Miller Contributors: Jillian Kesner, Zally Price, Fatima Rezaei ’13, Wallace Whitworth Art Direction: Aldrich Design Head of School: Douglas Hale Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications: Wallace Whitworth Assistant Head for Enrollment: Tommy Adams Assistant Head for Advancement: Brian Hargrove

© Copyright 2013 Mercersburg Academy. All rights reserved. No content from this publication may be reproduced or reprinted in any form without the express written consent of Mercersburg Academy. Mercersburg Academy abides by both the spirit and the letter of the law in all its employment and admission policies. The school does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or national or ethnic origin.

From the Head of School

Living Our Thanksgiving As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John Fitzgerald Kennedy 35th President of the United States


ven though Thanksgiving is a secular holiday, the act of giving thanks is, of and in itself, a spiritual act—one present in most cultures and embedded in the ethos of most of the world’s religions. As we can intuit from the quote above, John F. Kennedy seemed to grasp the importance of expressing feelings of gratitude by living out that virtue in the course of our everyday, workaday lives rather than by simply talking about it; President Kennedy was a man of actions as well as words. As we all know, he died 50 years ago this past November from an assassin’s gun in Dallas, Texas. Given the timing of that event, perhaps also coupled with my own impressionable age at the time, I’ve always associated his death in some small but significant way with Thanksgiving Day. Tragically, bullets may kill presidents, but thankfully, though, they cannot kill their ideals, which live on to inspire and motivate us still. This fall at Mercersburg, we have been blessed and inspired by some extraordinary events about which we are all truly thankful—in particular, the largest gift in our school’s history ($100 million from Deborah Simon ’74 and her foundation) and the October announcement of the Daring to Lead Campaign with its audacious goal. Also, thankfully, the Board of Regents has emphasized that Mercersburg will use this campaign primarily to bolster and support our most valuable and precious resources—our students and faculty and staff. What a remarkable time it will be when our words are fully transformed into action, and we eventually remove all barriers preventing us from making a Mercersburg education available to any student we know should be here! With Daring to Lead we ask of ourselves what we ask of our stu-

dents: to be open always to a multitude of possibilities, to share opportunity with others, and to hold fast to our core values—even as we stretch beyond the limits of what we once perceived as achievable. We’re also thankful, of course, for myriad other good things which have marked this fall; the opening in September of the stunning Simon Student Center and 1893 House; the launching of our two new senior capstone experiences, SpringBoard and MAPS; our students achieving remarkable academic success in all sorts of venues; our varsity athletic teams competing strongly and winning several league championships; 56 Mercersburg students tirelessly completing over 1,100 hours of community service during the fall term—service that included such varied efforts as baking cookies for St. Jude’s Hospital, participating in the Heart Walk, giving blood during the Red Cross’s annual blood drive, making trips to nursing homes, fasting for 36 hours to raise money to help feed a hungry child. And the list goes on. The motivation which supports and underpins all these enterprises matches up exactly with what President Kennedy espoused. These Mercersburg faithful are demonstrating their highest gratitude for their Mercersburg experience. And they are not satisfied simply to utter words of thanks and good cheer; they are living a spirit of appreciation and gratitude through their actions and their support.

Douglas Hale Head of School

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D at es to Rem em b er

Feb 23–27 Irving-Marshall Week

Mercersburg A roundup of what’s news, what’s new, and what Mercersburg people are talking about.

(Declamation: Feb 27, 7:15 p.m., Simon Theatre)

Mar 21 Cum Laude Convocation, 11 a.m.

Irvine Memorial Chapel

May 24 Commencement, 10:30 a.m. Jun 5–9 Reunion Weekend Schedule subject to change; for a full and updated schedule of events, visit

Deborah J. Simon ’74

Deborah J. Simon ’74 Pledges Nearly $107 Million to Mercersburg Gift Launches $300 Million Daring to Lead Campaign In gratitude to an institution that helped shape her life at a pivotal time, Deborah J. Simon ’74 of Indianapolis, Indiana, and the Deborah Joy Simon Foundation have pledged to make a $100 million gift to Mercersburg, the largest gift the school has ever received, and the second largest single gift ever made to an independent school in the United States. The Simon donation is the lead gift in the school’s Daring to Lead estimated $300

million comprehensive campaign, and includes a matching component to encourage additional campaign contributions. In addition to funding an endowment for financial aid, the campaign will also support faculty development, enhanced facilities, and innovative programming at the school. A member of Mercersburg’s Board of Regents, Ms. Simon was a student here from 1972 to 1974. When combined with recent campaign gifts that include support

for a new student center, Ms. Simon and her foundation have pledged total campaign gift amounts of $106,955,000. Ms. Simon announced the pledge October 10 at a special school meeting in the Burgin Center for the Arts’ Simon Theatre before the entire student body and faculty, her fellow members of the Board of Regents, special guests, and members of the media. She was joined on the stage by continued on page 4


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Head of School Douglas Hale and Board of Regents President David Frantz ’60. “We are thrilled beyond words for this transformational gift and the confidence that Deborah and her foundation have placed in us,” said Hale. “Because of their vision and generosity, young men and women from all walks of life will have access to an extraordinary education that will allow them to realize their potential.” “As a member of the Board, I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with Doug Hale for a number of years, and am inspired by his vision for Mercersburg as a leader in independent school education,” said Ms. Simon, who serves as a vice president of the Board of Regents. “This is a place where faculty are encouraged to experiment with new ideas and technologies to engage students more fully in their education.” The Simon gift will enable Mercersburg to realize one of its most important goals: to ensure that a Mercersburg education is affordable to every student the school admits. Mercersburg is committed to enrolling a student body that is not only ethnically and geographically diverse, but reflects the socioeconomic continuum. Currently, 32 percent of students receive need-based financial aid, and 49 percent receive a combination of merit and need-based scholarships toward tuition. “Deborah’s gift has shined a light on the Mercersburg tradition of a rigorous education and an egalitarian, student-centered culture as a model for secondary education across the country,” Hale said. “We are hoping her generosity inspires others to be part of the philanthropic tradition in secondary education, because an investment in our youth at adolescence is a powerful

force for good.” “Mercersburg aspires to provide national leadership in experiential learning that weaves technology into the classroom,” said Hale. For example, on the heels of providing iPads for all students, in summer 2012, a number of Mercersburg faculty wrote, designed, and implemented their own e-textbooks for a variety of subjects including algebra, American studies, AP Latin, and writing music, aligning them with lessons and weaving interactive experiences throughout the curriculum. Ms. Simon is a daughter of the late Bess

What Students are Saying I am blown away by Ms. Simon’s love for the Mercersburg community and her desire to support the school so that future generations can have their Mercersburg experience. The experience of stepping outside your shell and trying new things is so hard to come by, and I am excited to know that so many future students will have these one, two, three, or even four years to do that here. —Meghan Peterson ’14, Greencastle, Pennsylvania

Meshulam Simon and the late Melvin Simon. In 1960, her father founded Melvin Simon & Associates in Indianapolis, a company that he and her brother David grew to become Simon Property Group Inc., the largest real estate investment trust in the world. Active in supporting youth education, Ms. Simon is chair of the Board of Directors of the Simon Youth Foundation (, a public charity that operates in 13 states to provide financial and academic support to high-school students at risk of dropping out of school. The Deborah Joy Simon Foundation is a private foundation

I am truly proud of Mercersburg. The fact that an alumna of our school has such great attachment to the school gives me a genuine sense of community. The members of the Class of 2013 who graduated last year have told me that they still feel closely connected to Mercersburg and that they truly miss this place, and I believe that this $100 million gift represents the intimacy and the connection that the alumni feel toward the school. —Gun Ho Ro ’14, Daegu, South Korea

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Simon and Head of School

Douglas Hale meet with media following the announcement

The Announcement

Following are Deborah Simon’s remarks from the school meeting October 10 where she announced the $100 million pledge to her alma mater. My father taught me the spirit of tikkun olam, which is Hebrew for “repairing the world.” If it were not for his love and his generosity, I would not be here today; he was truly my hero. He taught me the value of honesty, integrity, and charity, and he gave me the ability to practice all these traits in my lifetime. Mercersburg changed my life. My teachers, friends, and advisers engaged me fully in the life of the school—from Stony Batter to being manager of the girls’ field hockey team, and also to declaim twice as a member of the Irving Society, and to write for the school newspaper. I graduated from Mercersburg with the confidence and resolve to engage with and support the institutions, the causes, and the people most important to me. I remain thankful to my parents for having the courage to send me to Mercersburg and the dedicated teachers who supported me while I was here. I am here today because Mercersburg remains among my highest priorities. For nearly 20 years, I have served Mercersburg as a member of the Board of Regents, and have had the good fortune of seeing firsthand how Mercersburg continues its legacy to shape the lives of students in important ways. I have witnessed again and again the devotion of faculty and staff, and their love in continuing this fine legacy has inspired me to support the school as a volunteer and a donor. I must share with you that my friends on the Board are among my closest friends—and a lot of them are here in front of us—because we’re all united in this love for Mercersburg. This legacy here has lasted 120 years, and hopefully, as you forge ahead, you will continue this legacy and continue repairing the world. That is my hope; that daring to lead, to innovate, to evolve, to inspire, and yes, to dream will be your legacy to the school—that helping others will influence your life. With all that in mind, my father used to tell me, “You can be anything you want or dream of.” Keeping that in mind, and with the desire to help students and teachers to achieve all they can be, while keeping our legacy of place secure, I announce today that it is with great joy that I personally, and through my foundation, will contribute $100 million to Mercersburg in support of our students, our faculty, our programs, and our campus. My father’s favorite poem was “If—” by Rudyard Kipling. He often quoted passages from the poem. My favorite line was, “If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run, then yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it.” I hope you all can fill the sixty seconds to be the best you can be and protect this wonderful legacy we have. Join me; the best is yet to come.

that makes grants for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, and educational purposes. “Many people consider preparatory schools to be places that shape students to a certain mold. But Mercersburg was, and continues to be, a place where every student can be himself or herself,” said Ms. Simon. “Mercersburg remains dedicated to bringing out the best in what each student has to offer. It’s freeing and empowering as a teenager to be accepted for your uniqueness, and to grow up with friends from different cultures and backgrounds.” During her career at Mercersburg, Ms. Simon was actively involved in Stony Batter Players, the student theatre organization founded in 1899, in which Academy Award-winner Jimmy Stewart ’28 was a participant. In 2006, she contributed $3 million to build a 600-seat, state-of-the-art proscenium theatre within the school’s Burgin Center for the Arts. This fall, Mercersburg also celebrated the dedication of the newly renovated Simon Student Center [page 8], which will be the nerve center for the school’s Residential Life program. A $5 million gift from Ms. Simon helped develop this project, which is part of the Daring to Lead campaign. Over the years and including the current pledge, Ms. Simon and her foundation have given a total of $111,208,830 to Mercersburg. Previous gifts of this caliber to independent schools include former kindergarten teacher Barbara Dodd Anderson’s $128 million gift to the George School in 2007 and a $100 million gift by Walter Annenberg to the Peddie School in 1993. Mercersburg’s previous largest contribution was a $35 million gift in 2000 by alumnus and former President of the Board of Regents H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest ’49, who has given a total of more than $70 million to the school. His earlier gift for the school’s Centennial Campaign supported the construction of Lenfest Hall, the Academy’s 45,000-volume library.

The Simon Challenge The commitment from Ms. Simon and her foundation includes a $25 million challenge that will engage the full Mercersburg community in earning part of the gift. For more information, visit or scan this QR code with your mobile device.


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’Burg’s Eye View

campus notes

The 2013–2014 Mercersburg student body includes 435 students representing 26 American states and the District of Columbia and 40 nations of the world. 52 percent of the student body is male, while 48 percent is female. 13 percent of the student body are legacy students (defined as those with a parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent who also attended Mercersburg). There are 130 students in the senior class.

Counselors (NCC). She oversees the human development program for lower middlers (10th-grade students) and often contributes to school committees on topics including residential life, curriculum, citizenship, and wellness. She and her husband, Dean of Students and fellow faculty member Tom Rahauser ’74, are the parents of three Mercersburg alumni: Eric ’05, Tim ’07, and Laura ’12.

At the school’s Opening Convocation in September, the Michelet Prize was aw a r d e d t o Tommy Zhou ’14 of Shanghai, C h i n a . T h e aw a r d is presented to the student who, during Zhou the upper middler (11th grade) year, most distinguishes himself or herself in scholarship, character, and school spirit. The award is supported by an endowment established by Simon Michelet in memory of his son, Robert ’30, whose career at the Academy and at Dartmouth College was almost ideal in its quality and influence. The yield on the endowment is presented each year to the recipient on the assumption that it will be for use during the senior year. Bea Morrow ’16 of Dallas, Texas, was named this year’s recipient of the Culbertson Prize. The award is supported by the F.M. Kirby Foundation of Morristown, New Jersey, which established an Morrow endowed program of scholarships to honor the late John H. Culbertson ’24. It recognizes a student entering the 10th grade who gives evidence of exceptional promise and who has already demonstrated outst anding accomplishment. Susan Rahauser, Mercersburg’s director of counseling services and a faculty member since 2000, was the featured speaker at Convocation. Rahauser is a licensed professional counselor and is credentialed by the National Board for Certified

Two Mercersburg faculty members have been chosen as recipients of a pair of annual awards that recognize excellence in teaching. Fine arts faculty member Denise Dalton is the 2013–2014 Ammerman Distinguished Teaching Award for Religious & Interdisciplinary Studies honoree, and mathematics teacher Amy Kelley was selected to receive this year’s Zern Excellence in Teaching Award. Dalton, the Academy’s director of dance and a member of the faculty since 2002, just completed a fiveyear term as head of the fine-arts department. Dalton Her choreography has been featured regionally and nationally, and she has led trips of Mercersburg students that combine dance with community service to South Africa, Swaziland, India, and Peru. Kelley came to Mercersburg in 2011 from Georgia College & St ate University, where she was an associate professor of mathematics. She is teaching algebra II and post-AP linear algebra Kelley this fall and is also team-teaching 3D Design, which is one of the inaugural offerings in Mercersburg’s SpringBoard capstone course program for members of the senior class. Both teaching awards are awarded to a Mercersburg faculty member on an annual basis. The Ammerman Distinguished Te a c h i n g A w a r d f o r R e l i g i o u s & Interdisciplinary Studies was established by Andrew Ammerman ’68 and his mother,

Josephine, while the Zern Excellence in Teaching Award was established by Allen Zern ’61 and his wife, Judith. Ammerman is an emeritus member of Mercersburg’s Board of Regents, while Zern has served on the Board since 1995 and as a vice president of the organization since 2002.

Fa l l s p e a k e r s i n Mercersburg’s 2013 –

2014 Monday Evening Lecture Series included

Shabana Basij-Rasikh, who delivered the Schaff Lecture on Ethics and Morals in September, and Robert Basij-Rasikh Sapolsky, who gave the Ammerman Family Lecture in October. Basij-Rasikh, a native of Kabul, Afghanistan, is managing director of the School of Leadership, Afghanistan (SOLA). She completed high school in Wisconsin under the auspices of the Youth Exchange Studies (YES) Program, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and is the same initiative that originally brought Mercersburg alumna Fatima Rezaei ’13 to America to study [page 31]. While attending Middlebury College, Basij-Rasikh founded HELA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering Afghan women through education. Through work with foundations and public talks across the U.S., she raised funds to construct a high school for girls in her ancestral village and to build wells on the outskirts of Kabul to give communities access to clean drinking water. Sapolsky, a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University and a science and nature writer, is a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow. He is the author of A Primate’s Memoir, The Trouble with Testosterone, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, and Monkeyluv: And Other Essays on Our Lives as Animals. Sapolsky was awarded Rockefeller University’s Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science for 2008; his articles have appeared in publications such as Discover and The New Yorker, and he writes a biweekly column for the Wall Street Journal called “Mind & Matter.”

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120 Years of Athletic History, Now On Permanent Exhibit Nolde Gymnasium, which has served as the headquarters for Mercersburg’s athletic teams for more than a century since its construction in 1912, is now home to several interactive and informational displays spotlighting the school’s rich sports tradition. Uniforms, mementos, and even Olympic gold medals are incorporated into the exhibition, which begins in the Class of 1959 Lobby outside the Flanagan Pool and continues throughout several corridors of the gymnasium. Trophies, plaques, game-used equipment, and other memorabilia continue to be displayed in the Fulton Trophy Room and throughout the gym complex.

Faculty member Mark Flowers and his students talk via Skype with Jessica Boyatt ’82

Once Lost, Now Found Art students solve a Mercersburg mystery




In 1992, Jessica Boyatt ’82 was a graduate student at Ohio University and working on a master’s in photography. She struck up a conversation with Jay Quinn, then the director of development and alumni affairs, who suggested that the school display some of Boyatt’s photographs she had taken on several trips to the Appalachian region of eastern Kentucky as part of her master’s thesis. She returned to Mercersburg that year for her 10-year class reunion, where the images were put on display. More than two decades later, 18 framed black-and-white photographs were discovered in the attic of Landis House, home to Mercersburg’s Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations. Fine arts faculty member Mark Flowers gathered the photographs and asked his Advanced Studio Art students to unravel the mystery; the only solid clue surrounding the images’ origin was the name “Boyatt” written on the back of one of the mats that framed the photographs. By the end of the class period, the students located Boyatt, who is now a clinical psychologist in Brookline, Massachusetts. “It’s something that would have taken six months to figure out before technology, but it only took a matter of minutes with what we have available today,” Flowers says. “Having iPads in the classroom was a definite advantage.” Boyatt, Flowers, and members of the class conversed via Skype later in September, and that same month, Boyatt’s photographs—22 years after they were taken in 1991—were put on exhibit for a second time at Mercersburg. The show, titled “Blacks in Appalachia” and featuring images of African American coal-mining families going about their daily lives, ran in the Burgin Center for the Arts’ Niche Gallery this fall. “I was so happy to discover the photographs still existed—it was out of the blue,” said Boyatt, who holds degrees from Brown University, Ohio University, and the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. “And to know that the kids there were involved in the investigative work to figure it all out is terrific.”

New faculty members appointed for the 2013– 2014 academic year include (L–R) Molly Serpi ’09 (fine arts intern), Marcus Jaiclin (mathematics), Hope San Filippo (classical & modern Peterson languages), and Katherine Dyson (English/history), as well as Kristen Peterson (advancement & alumni relations).

In Our

Next Issue

The spring 2014 edition of Mercersburg magazine will feature an in-depth look at the school’s two new capstone experiences for members of the senior class—Mercersburg’s Advanced Program for Global Studies (or MAPS) and SpringBoard—and a photo tour of 1893 House (above), the new multidimensional residence for Mercersburg’s head of school.



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Grand Opening Simon Student Center About the Simon Student Center

Deborah J. Simon ’74 contributed a $5 million lead gift for the project in honor of her parents, the late Bess and Melvin Simon, in recognition of their courage and wisdom in providing her the opportunity to attend Mercersburg Architect: Centerbrook Architects, Centerbrook, Connecticut Total square footage: 41,000 (the previous student center was 34,000 square feet) Dedication: September 20, 2013 Total cost: $13.2 million

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CLOCKWISE FROM BOTTOM: M4 Theatre with large HDTV; New entrance from upper level of Ford Hall; Suerken Spotlight (in memory of faculty emeritus Paul Suerken); True Blue Cafe



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TOP, LEFT TO RIGHT: A display of school spirit; The exterior of the student center; Class of 2011 Porch; Irving-Marshall Wall BOTTOM: Lissette Game Room

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A New Look

To take a virtual tour of the Simon Student Center, visit www.mercersburg. edu/ssctour or scan this QR code with your mobile device.



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1,019 Words Students and

faculty enjoy the Class of 2011 Porch of the new Simon Student Center on a September evening. Photo by Ryan Smith.



Mercersburg magazine winter 2014

Our Moment to Shine Young lives take shape at Mercersburg Academy — and they take off.

Students learn by doing and, in the process, discover who they are, what they love to do, and where in the world they want to go. Today is a defining moment for Mercersburg. Thanks to the momentum generated by remarkable leadership gifts, this campaign presents an opportunity for all of us to help this school continue to evolve in the most exhilarating ways. Together, we will take bold steps to create a landscape where young people can and will discover their best possible selves. In the democratic spirit of this great institution, we invite your leadership as a participant in their futures — and our shared future. PLEASE JOIN US IN DARING TO LEAD.

Mercersburg magazine winter 2014


This campaign will commit $300 million to: • Remove all financial barriers so we can enroll any student we know should be here. • Recruit, retain, and champion the best faculty anywhere. • Invest smartly in innovative academic and residential programs that change students’ lives. • Create facilities that deliver programs in the best possible ways, fulfill our master plan, and anticipate how programs might grow and change. • Grow our endowment to ensure greater financial stability, flexibility, access, and affordability.

Like every momentous undertaking at Mercersburg Academy, the Daring to Lead Campaign is grounded in the egalitarian tradition of this exceptional community — and its time-honored values.

“This campaign is a game changer. We are always pushing young people to stretch beyond their usual sense of what they can accomplish, to take risks, to build confidence. Now it’s our turn to stretch as a community. Daring to Lead will ensure that Mercersburg is never defined by any lack of resources but instead by how strategically and intelligently we deploy them.” douglas hale, head of school


Mercersburg magazine winter 2014

Making Mercersburg Affordable for All Families WHAT DARING TO LEAD WILL DO Build endowed funds for financial aid by $70 million, substantially increasing access for the best students, including those from middle-income families. Mercersburg must be able to pursue and enroll any student we know should be here.

“When I was 8 years old, I watched a movie about this young lady who was homeless and went to Harvard. I remember my dad asking me, ‘What college are you going to?’ I told him, ‘I’m going to Harvard.’ It’s kind of funny now because I am going to Harvard, but I remember thinking, there’s no way that happens in real life. It’s just a movie. Now I want to be another story that proves success can happen to anyone if you work really hard, dedicate your time and your life to it, and are lucky enough to go to Mercersburg.” melody gomez ’13

Mercersburg magazine winter 2014

Ensuring the Best Faculty Anywhere WHAT DARING TO LEAD WILL DO Commit $35 million to recruit, retain, and support the best teachers anywhere. We will keep them on the leading edge through year-round professional development opportunities, workshops with visiting experts, and intensive summer learning experiences.

The Daring to Lead Campaign is about who we are and what we can become. It secures our future by building on the best of this great institution. Our shared success depends on the depth of our collective participation.

“Our goal is to have the best trained and educated faculty in the secondary independent school world. That goal is about so many things: the kinds of people we are able to bring in, professional development, technical training, and training about teaching and living in a residential environment. We have a fantastic opportunity right before us. And it’s about the relationships between faculty and students. When I was a student here, I felt a connection with teachers I hadn’t ever felt before. That should never change. In fact, it should only get better.” dr. julia stojak maurer ’90, academic dean math and robotics faculty member


With this campaign, Mercersburg sets out to do what we ask of our students: to be always open, share opportunity with others, and stick with our values — even as we stretch beyond the limits of what we once perceived as achievable.

Mercersburg magazine winter 2013


Becoming a Model for Innovative Education WHAT DARING TO LEAD WILL DO Dedicate $30 million to build and drive our core academic and residential mission, with an emphasis on advancing technology and programs that connect students to the world. To set the pace and break new ground, Mercersburg must move strategically and nimbly — and faster than ever before.

“We’re constantly thinking about how we teach and create new programs to spark learning. The new senior academic capstone experiences — MAPS and SpringBoard — are great, interdisciplinary examples. Students will become experts on a subject and reach for a goal that’s not just a file on their hard drives. They’ll present in a forum much like a TED Talk. These projects will result in something permanent, public, or publishable. They can show their work to external audiences and be proud. I can’t think of a better way to prepare students for college, careers, and life.” emily howley, english and history faculty member, springboard director


Mercersburg magazine winter 2014

Upgrading Facilities to Advance a Mercersburg Education WHAT DARING TO LEAD WILL DO Invest $80 million in updating and building extraordinary spaces to serve our students and enhance our campus. We constantly examine our facilities as programs evolve, and this campaign continues this evolution, from the recently completed Simon Student Center and 1893 House, to the transformation of North Cottage into the Alumni & Parent Center, to new faculty housing, and the future field house and aquatic center.

Every year, Mercersburg renews itself as a unique community. However, once in a generation, we have the opportunity to evolve dramatically by acting on our shared vision. The Daring to Lead Campaign offers just such a challenge.

“Mercersburg has always been wise in its creation of spaces to deliver programs, and we must continue this approach. The field house and aquatic center will reflect this tradition, meet our year-round needs, and become embedded within the life of the school. The field house will allow practice space for every team during inclement weather, as well as competition space for some teams. The aquatic center will embody our heritage of swimming excellence and serve the larger community, welcoming swim clubs from miles around. Both facilities will help us attract talented student-athletes who would not have considered Mercersburg otherwise.� rick hendrickson, director of athletics

Mercersburg magazine winter 2014

“The future for this school is bright. We’ll be able to offer more scholarships. We’ll enable every teacher who wants to do so to pursue advanced degrees. We’ll be able to give students unique experiences, like the program that takes them to Peru to help underprivileged children. The Annual Fund helps underwrite all of these things and ensures that what makes us great will be here for all future students.” deborah simon ’74, vice president, board of regents co-chair, daring to lead campaign

Engaging the Entire Community in Fulfilling Our Vision WHAT DARING TO LEAD WILL DO Add $35 million to the school through the Mercersburg Annual Fund — gifts that strengthen our financial stability and academic excellence. Together, we must renew our quest to become the best Mercersburg we can be year after year.


“Daring to Lead is about positioning this school for the best tomorrow. In a world where innovation and adaptability are keynotes, the need to have resources at the ready is compelling. We have shown how adept we are at long-term planning. Now we need to match this with the capacity to move quickly in the short term. This flexibility will allow us to continue providing the most outstanding education for our students.” david frantz ’60, president, board of regents

Achieving Flexibility for the Future

WHAT DARING TO LEAD WILL DO Enhance Mercersburg’s financial stability with $50 million in discretionary endowment, enabling us to sustain the beauty of this campus, pursue unexpected opportunities, and fund new priorities when they emerge. We must be strategic in our commitment to excellence, innovation, access, and success. Through deferred and planned giving, as well as sustaining support, the Campaign will achieve this critical goal.

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Our Moment to Lead This is an extraordinary moment. We have the right leadership to set our course for decades to come. The stakes have never been higher. They begin with the next student who steps onto our campus for the first time because a donor’s generosity paved the way. Students launch their lifelong journeys here. Now we can make this inspiring starting point available to all students from every economic background and ensure that outstanding faculty continue to guide them inside and outside the classroom. A student’s life journey can take a turn for the better at Mercersburg. Help us continue to change lives and make dreams come true on this beautiful campus. LET’S LEAD. TOGETHER.


Mercersburg magazine winter 2014

Access & Excellence Mercersburg’s history is full of successful

alumni whose enrollment at the Academy is a direct result of the generosity of those who have gone before—and of the current generation of the school’s supporters. Today, almost half (49 percent) of the Mercersburg student body receives some sort of merit or need-based financial aid. On the following pages are just a few stories of graduates who have used their Mercersburg experiences as a springboard to impactful careers and futures beyond this corner of south central Pennsylvania. One was a “working boy.” Another helped break down barriers by his very presence. Still another overcame distance, language, and cultural issues to become the first citizen of Afghanistan to graduate from Mercersburg. “Being given a chance and an opportunity means a lot to me,” says second-generation alumnus Travis Youngs ’06 [page 27], who followed his father and sister to Mercersburg. “It means that someone out there truly believes that the amount of money a person has does not determine his character and potential. People with the ability to be successful can be anywhere; we just have to find them. I’m certainly grateful for the opportunities that have been given to me.”

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Order in the Court As a U.S. District judge, Anthony Trenga pursues justice for all By Lee Owen B e f o r e h e was a f e d e r a l judge (nominated by a president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate with strong bipartisan support) or a successful trial attorney with more than 30 years of distinguished success arguing criminal and civil cases, Anthony Trenga ’67 was already a leader—at Mercersburg. Trenga was president of his senior class at the Academy and a member of the Senate. He was also president of the Spanish Club and Caducean Club; served as a proctor on the second floor of Main Hall, as political editor of the Mercersburg News, and as a Chapel usher; and was chosen as headwaiter of the dining room in his final year at the school. It was a fitting honor for a student from the small western Pennsylvania mill town of Wilmerding who truly worked his way through Mercersburg, and not just in the classroom. Back then, Trenga and his fellow scholarship students were known as “working boys”; they waited tables in the dining hall in exchange for tuition. Today, students take turns handling these duties for familystyle meals in Ford Hall (which was built during Trenga’s career as a student; before then, students and faculty dined together in the Edwards Room of Keil Hall). “There’s no doubt in my mind that Mercersburg was life-changing for me,” Trenga says. “While I probably would have gone off to college and been perfectly fine and had an enjoyable life, there’s no doubt that the Academy opened up opportunities for me I would not otherwise have had.” Trenga’s hometown of Wilmerding,

A Judge Without Borders Tony Trenga has hosted delegations of visiting judges from Ukraine and Russia as part of the Open World Leadership Program, which is a program sponsored by Congress to promote the interaction of judges from the U.S. and abroad—primarily from nations that were once part of the Soviet Union. Additionally, in February 2013, Trenga visited Tunisia as part of a three-judge delegation for a weeklong conference with Tunisian judges on a wide range of issues surrounding judicial independence and transparency in the judicial process.

southeast of Pittsburgh, was founded in 1890 by the industrialist and entrepreneur George Westinghouse, who invented the railway air brake and built the Westinghouse Air Brake Company offices and factory there. Like many towns of similar origin, the fortunes of Wilmerding mirrored those of its largest employer, and it seemed nearly every family in town had a connection to the company in one form or another. Trenga’s father (also named Tony) worked for Westinghouse earlier in his life but had become the local postmaster by the time the younger Trenga was growing up. Trenga’s initial connection to Mercersburg came via his uncle, Angelo, who was working as a bartender and heard about the school through word of mouth. “He passed it on to my father, we got in touch with the school, I made an application, and was admitted,” Trenga says. “I’ve always been enormously grateful that the

school essentially covered the entire cost of my attending.” Trenga’s older brother, Larry, had attended Valley Forge Military Academy, but Mercersburg was young Tony’s first real exposure to private school. “I found it to be an exciting environment,” he says. “Kids were there from all over the world. Clearly the academic offerings were much more extensive than anything I had been exposed to in my local public schools. And it certainly fostered a need for independence and self-reliance on my part. “It was clear to me I had come from a bit of a different background than some of the other kids there. But I found refuge and comfort in the way the working boys’ program was structured at the time. There was a real sense of camaraderie among us; I think we saw ourselves as having a little more of a real-world outlook on things than


Mercersburg magazine winter 2014

Trenga hosting a March 2013 Mercersburg alumni event in Alexandria, Virginia

some of the rest of the guys.” At Commencement, Trenga received the Working Boy Prize, which was awarded to the scholarship student with the highest academic average. Trenga went on to Princeton University, where he initially planned to pursue engineering but developed a strong interest in politics and international matters. “I was always science-oriented, even though I was interested in social issues,” he remembers. “But I really got caught up in the student movement and the politics of the day—they captured my interest and I went off in that direction.” So he enrolled in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and studied for a summer in Russia. “After that, the law seemed to be a natural progression for me,” he adds. Following his graduation from Princeton, Trenga earned a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and spent a year clerking for Ted Dalton, a U.S. District Court judge in the Western District of Virginia. He went to work for the Washington office of Sachs, Greenebaum & Taylor in 1975 and became a partner there in 1982. In 1987, he began a 10-year stint with the Northern Virginia firm of Hazel & Thomas before moving in 1998 to Washington-based Miller & Chevalier, where he served as chair of that firm’s litigation department and as a member of its executive committee. “I had an active trial practice my whole career,” Trenga says. “I was fortunate to be involved in all kinds of cases in terms of subject matter—both criminal and civil—and also to represent all types of different parties to cases. I represented people with limited means all the way up to large corporations. And some of the most interesting cases I was involved in really didn’t seem to line up with any particular profile. Some of the cases in which I think I made the greatest contribution to helping people might be those which some might characterize as relatively small cases. I always thought the most interesting case was the case I was actually working on. Every case is a different life lesson in people’s hopes and dreams, human weaknesses, and human foibles.

“Some of the cases I was involved in were extraordinarily complicated. I was involved in a major piece of litigation surrounding stealth jet fighters, and I dealt with a lot of securities-fraud matters and corporate claims by and against corporate officers and directors. Trial lawyers pride themselves on having the ability to try pretty much anything in terms of subject matter, and we sometimes describe our specialty as making complicated things simple. It’s always a challenge to reduce a case to its essentials and present it in a way that is faithful to the subject matter, but at the same time allows the jury to understand why your client should prevail.” In 2008, Trenga was nominated by President George W. Bush as a U.S. District judge for the Eastern District of Virginia and confirmed by the Senate. Trenga is one of two Mercersburg alumni currently serving on the federal bench, along with John E. Jones III ’73, who represents the Middle District of Pennsylvania and is a member of the Academy’s Board of Regents. “It was really fairly improbable that it happened, because it happened fairly late in my career,” says Trenga, who is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers. “I had been involved to a certain extent politically over the years—but as a Democrat, not a Republican, so it was a little unusual that I was able to be appointed by the Bush administration. I attribute that to having the support of the practicing Bar and the two senators from Virginia, Jim Webb [a Democrat] and John Warner [a Republican].” Trenga and his wife, Rita, recently celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. They have two children: their daughter, Elizabeth, is a former AmeriCorps volunteer who recently returned to the U.S. after also serving in the Peace Corps in Guatemala, and their son, Anthony, is in medical school. “As a lawyer, your obligation is to argue a case within the bounds of ethics in a way that promotes the interests of your client,” Trenga says. “As a judge, your obligation is to come up with the right decision according to the law and the facts of the case, no matter who prevails. All that matters is trying to get the right result.”

Mercersburg magazine winter 2014

Family Ties Clarence, Vanessa, and Travis Youngs are linked by blood and Blue By Lee Owen Three individuals. Two generations. One successful family. And one high school alma mater spanning two different eras. Clarence Youngs ’68, a native of the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, was one of Mercersburg’s first African-American students. He came to the Academy in fall 1965, one year after the school admitted African-American students for the first time. (Two African-American students enrolled at Mercersburg for the summer 1964 term, and three students were part of the entering fall 1964 class.) Three decades after Youngs graduated from Mercersburg, his daughter, Vanessa ’03, arrived on campus for the first of her four years, and was followed soon after by son Travis ’06. So Mercersburg became a Youngs family tradition, as well as an avenue to three varied careers in the fields of education, finance, and athletics. The father: Clarence Youngs ’68

“Everything was different when I got to Mercersburg,” says Clarence Youngs, who spent 31 years as a teacher and administrator for the New York City Department of Education before retiring in 2008. “The environment was different. The people were different; I came from a place where everyone looked like me and went to a place where there were hardly any faces that looked like me. But I had always wanted to be out among the trees and nature, and I enjoyed that part of Mercersburg. For the most part, people were friendly and accepting.” The elder Youngs discovered Mercersburg through a program called A Better Chance, which was founded in the early 1960s to increase educational opportunities for students of color at the height of the civilrights movement. He chose Mercersburg over Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. (Years later, both Vanessa and Travis also became involved with A Better Chance, which continues to send qualified students to Mercersburg.) The summer before he came to Mercersburg, A Better Chance sent Clarence and other students from the program to Dartmouth College for several weeks

The Youngs family: Travis ’06, Gwynne, Clarence ’68, and Vanessa ’03



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“For me, going to Mercersburg only strengthened my values, because what I found there was so aligned with what my parents had taught me.”

— Vanessa Youngs ’03

to help with the adjustment process to a new academic environment. “It was like going from cold water to hot,” he says. “When I realized that Mercersburg was where I was going to be for a while, I really decided to buckle down and hit the books.” Clarence lived on the third floor of Tippetts Hall—across the hall, it turns out, from a room Vanessa moved into years later when she came to the Academy. He was a key contributor to the track & field team, even setting the school triple-jump record; today, Travis holds Mercersburg’s indoor school record in the event (42 feet, 6 ½ inches). “I really learned to be independent at Mercersburg, and that there were people out there I could really trust and that could help me—and all I had to do was ask,” Clarence says. “It taught me that I could reach for whatever was out there.” Clarence graduated from Mercersburg and Hobart College before a period spent working in a home for boys charted his course for the future. “I had interviewed at Standard & Poor’s,” he remembers, “but the week before I was to start work there, I decided instead to go into education.” As a teacher, Clarence (who went on to earn a master’s from the College of New Rochelle) worked with physically challenged and emotionally disturbed children in schools in the Bronx and Manhattan. “It was so rewarding to see the kids come in every day,” he says. “You knew they were limited but they always had smiles on their faces. And I remember working with kids for whom it was such a joy for them to say they could read.” Clarence later moved into an administrative role and eventually retired as an assistant principal at Mickey Mantle School (P.S. M811) in Manhattan. His wife, Gwynne, also worked in New York City schools as a teacher and assistant principal before she retired. The couple continues to live in Mount Vernon, New York.

The daughter: Vanessa Youngs ’03

Though she had heard stories of Mercersburg from her father growing up, Vanessa Youngs’ first visit to the campus was in early August 1999, just three weeks before she enrolled. “My father and I went here at very different times,” she says. “When he was here it was all-male and more strict, and of course he was one of only a few African Americans on campus—while when I was here I was vice president of the African-American Student Union. So it was interesting to see him look at the campus for the first time in so many years.” Just as her father had (and as her brother would later), Vanessa starred in track & field at Mercersburg; she also co-captained the girls’ varsity squash team and was a class officer and a member of the Fifteen, sang in the Chorale, and served as a prefect in Tippetts. “Mercersburg really gave me a lot of confidence,” she says. “My mom always talks about how when we went off to Mercersburg, some of her family and friends would ask how they could send us away. Her response was that they had given us the training we would need for life—and so sending us to Mercersburg was a kind of test to make sure we stuck to our values. For me, going to Mercersburg only strengthened my values, because [what I found] was so aligned with what my parents had taught me.” Vanessa mentions her faculty adviser Beth Pethel and Sue Malone, who coached her in track, as profound influences from her Mercersburg days. She matriculated at Lafayette College, where she studied anthropology and sociology and minored in economics and business, and was a member of the Leopards’ 4x100-meter relay team that still holds the school record (47.46 seconds). She spent four and a half years as an analyst for the City of New York’s Office of Management and Budget, where she worked on projects for the city’s Taxi & Limousine Commission, its Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and its Department of Buildings. In her free time, Vanessa completed a master’s from the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy—and then a social-media posting, of all things, pointed her path toward a certain Pennsylvania Avenue. “When I graduated, I thought it might be a good time to transition into something new, though I wasn’t sure what exactly I wanted to do,” Vanessa says. “I saw on Twitter that the White House was accepting applications for its internship program. So I applied, and I worked that fall with the National Economic Council. It was amazing. I worked on initiatives and issues surrounding jobs, women, and the economy.” In February 2013, Vanessa started at Moody’s Investors Service as an associate analyst in its Public Finance Group, where she reviews outstanding bond ratings in several states. She also joined Mercersburg’s Alumni Council in the fall; she had previously served as a class agent and on her 10-year class reunion committee.

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“I recently attended an event where Mr. [Douglas] Hale challenged alumni to talk about Mercersburg at least once a day,” Vanessa says. “I’ve accepted that challenge to reflect the strength of our alumni network and to be a spokesperson for what Mercersburg can offer. “I went to Mercersburg at age 14, and when you’re growing up with people, those are crucial years. I have really positive memories of it and my friends from high school are still my friends today.” The son: Travis Youngs ’06

Like his sister before him, Travis Youngs chose Mercersburg entirely on his own. “My parents and A Better Chance presented Mercersburg as an option, but no one forced me to go here,” he says. “I looked at some other schools, but I remember coming here to visit and loving it.” Travis and Vanessa overlapped at Mercersburg during the 2002–2003 school year, his first (and her last) at the school. He recalls a running joke between the siblings about Clarence frequently sending mail to Mercersburg that required one sibling to find the other on campus. “Had he not done that, we might not have seen each other much,” says Travis, who quickly carved out his niche in hopes—like many siblings—of avoiding a successful older sibling’s shadow. Travis carried on the Youngs family lineage in track & field while also playing basketball and serving as a prefect in Fowle Hall and a headwaiter. He developed a strong interest in the science of physical fitness while working with faculty member Mark Cubit, who coached him in basketball and now serves as director of the school’s McDowell Fitness Center. “As we worked together and discussed different strength techniques, I started to think about how I could take what I learned at Mercersburg and use myself as a ‘lab rat,’” says Travis, who majored in exercise and sports science at Ursinus College (where he still holds the school’s indoor triple-jump

record, just as he does at Mercersburg). “I was a super-skinny kid and am still pretty lanky—but I’ve worked on it and have put on 15 pounds of muscle over the last seven years, which is hard to do for a person of my stature.” Travis landed an internship with the Philadelphia Sports Clubs his freshman year of college; today, three years after graduating from Ursinus, he has built a strong client base as a personal trainer with the same company. “I’ve stayed with it, worked with it, and made it a job,” he says. “And I don’t just manage my clients; part of my job is to make sure I can drive new business. You can be the best trainer there is, but if


you can’t sell yourself, it doesn’t matter. “The people I work with range in age from 15 to about 65, but if you put all of us in the same room, you would see how we’re connected. We all have a similar work ethic and a similar style. My goals match up with their goals.” Travis also works on a volunteer basis with Ursinus track & field athletes and assisted Ursinus head coach Chris Bayless with the launch of the Sly Fox Track Club. And he hasn’t stopped competing; he is a regular in CrossFit and traditional track & field competitions with twin goals of qualifying for the CrossFit Games and a national triple-jump event.

Above: Vanessa Youngs (red top) competing for Lafayette College At left: Travis Youngs competing for Ursinus College


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Rezaei’s painting “Clouds”

Mercersburg magazine winter 2014

Brave New World From Afghanistan to Mercersburg and beyond, an alumna’s epic journey continues By Fatima Rezaei ’13 I was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1994, right about the time the Taliban regime was coming to power. I was just 2 years old when my father decided that our family—my parents, me, and my three siblings—should flee the country for safety. We went to Iran, simply because the border was open between Afghanistan and Iran. It also helped that in Iran they spoke Farsi, which is the same as Dari (the language we spoke), and also practiced the same religion. My father thought it would be the easiest change for my mother, who does not speak any other languages. Almost two decades later, and 7,000 miles away, I am a graduate of Mercersburg and am in my freshman year at Bucknell University. Five years ago, even, this would have been an impossible dream. But I was lucky. I have received the support of so many people to get to where I am today. I went to school until eighth grade when we lived in Iran, but then the laws changed for refugees—which is what we were—and I could no longer go to school. My father worked in a different city than where we lived; he would come see us on the weekends. Because of this, we decided to move to another city that was closer to my father’s job. So our refugee identification cards had a different city than where we lived, and we were then prevented from attending school in the new city. After that, it was always a struggle to see if we would be able to attend school. The last month of every summer, I would always hope and pray to be allowed to go to school. My older brother was one of the top students in his high-school class and was accepted to one of the top colleges in Iran to study mathematics, but when he arrived they refused to enroll him because he was an Afghan refugee. He was so disappointed, and instead he went to work in a cotton factory. He never ended up going to college, but attended private institutes and studied computer science. He earned certificates from companies like Cisco and Microsoft. It was safer for us to be in Iran, but it was not easy and we did not have access to any opportunity for improvement. So we decided that we should live in our own country, even though it was more dangerous—we thought it was a better option than living in Iran any longer. Afghans have lived with war for several decades, and all these years of war have had negative impacts on our economy, politics, society, and culture. Since 2001, I think the Afghan people feel somewhat safer, and although war continues and we continue to face attacks by terrorists, we keep up hope that one day we will live in peace.



Mercersburg magazine winter 2014

“I loved all the different cultures and that there were people from so many different backgrounds.”

In my country, the people work for their dinner today, and then the next day, they work for their dinner again. They don’t live for the day after. The situation is very unstable and they can’t be sure about the future. I just hope that my people have a chance to receive a good education and are able to stand for themselves and manage practical solutions for the country’s problems. I wish everyone involved in Afghan politics would take note of this and help provide a safe country for the new generation. It’s hard to find jobs in Afghanistan, because there aren’t very many factories due to the lack of reliable electricity. And we have a very young population: more than 65 percent of Afghans are under age 25. All these young people are ready to work, but there are no jobs for them. Education is very important to them, since they know they need to be educated in order to work—but not only is there a real shortage of schools and colleges, we essentially do not have master’s programs. If you want an advanced degree, you have to go somewhere else. It was when I was attending a public, girls’ only high school called Rabia-e Balkhi that I first learned of the KennedyLugar Youth Exchange and Study (or YES) Program. I had to take three different tests to be eligible for it. About 4,000 students applied and just 34 were chosen, and I was one of them. I was so shocked to be

— Fatima Rezaei ’13

accepted because my English at the time was not good—I had only started learning English in the eighth grade, and had missed almost an entire year of school after leaving Iran and moving back to Afghanistan. So I arrived in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. I told myself it was going to be completely different from what I was used to, so I should just be ready and flexible. And as I expected, everything was the complete opposite. I lived for the first couple of months with a “welcome family,” Nathan and Threslyn Ward, who later came to my Mercersburg graduation. Then I moved in with my official host family, Eric and Lisa Fidler and their two beautiful daughters. I felt like a guest in their house at first, but they were so welcoming and they really made me feel like a member of their family. And they truly are like my real family now; I love them. During the year I attended Chambersburg Area Senior High School, I met Laura Puckett, who has two sons, Robert ’97 and John ’04, that graduated from Mercersburg. She brought a group of exchange students to the Academy for a tour. And I applied to Mercersburg and was accepted. I received the Peyton and Tod Duncanson ’41 Scholarship, which made it possible for me to attend Mercersburg and stay in the U.S.; the YES Program was a one-year scholarship and so I would

have had to go back to Afghanistan had I not found out about Mercersburg. (I also received some aid from the Afghan Girls’ Financial Assistance Fund, or AGFAF, for other expenses such as transportation and books.) My family back home was very open to the idea of me studying in the U.S.; my mother was hesitant at first, but my brothers were so supportive and even happier about it than I was. They knew it was such a great opportunity for me to come here. I think my mom hesitated because of societal pressures and not wanting to let me go by myself. But she has always wanted us to do what is best for us and never tells us not to do something unless it’s too dangerous. Other than my immediate family, I didn’t tell any of my other relatives I was coming here because I wasn’t sure they would be happy about it. And after I left they asked my mom why she let me go, but she said it was what I wanted to do and that she thought it would be good for me. By the time I got to Mercersburg, I had already done my crying and finished my struggle with homesickness, since I had already lived in America for a year. So it was easier to adjust to Mercersburg, and I felt more independent and more responsible, even though there are a lot of rules at Mercersburg. I loved all the different cultures and that there were people from so many different backgrounds. I would tell myself, “Don’t be homesick. Look at all these people from so many different countries. You aren’t the only person going through this.” We all experience the same thing living at boarding school, and I think we all help each other when we’re in the same situation. It was a great experience living and studying there for two years. The community is very supportive. (The dining hall even added Afghan beef as an entree.) The teachers and faculty try their best to help

Mercersburg magazine winter 2014

the students—they don’t do everything for us but they help us do it ourselves, which helps us gain independence and confidence. By the time we graduate, we are ready to go out into the world and do whatever we want. I tried so many different things at Mercersburg—I played basketball and soccer and threw the discus and shot put in track & field. I was in Voices for Justice and helped organize a book drive to support schools in Afghanistan. I also discovered during my year in Chambersburg that I really liked art, and when I came to Mercersburg I took Painting I. Mr. [Mark] Flowers moved me into Advanced Studio Art my senior year, and it was a great class. One of my pieces (a painting called “Clouds”) was even chosen to be part of the school’s permanent collection, which is such a great honor. My neighborhood in Kabul is a newer neighborhood, at the edge of the city and somewhat safer than some of the neighborhoods closer to the main population areas. I’ve been back three times since I first came to the U.S. to study. It is quiet, but there is still a nervous feeling for everyone. The Taliban doesn’t like us

Rezaei receiving the Head of School’s Purchase Prize at Commencement from Head of School Douglas Hale


studying in the U.S. But you know what? Enough is enough. We can’t keep being afraid. So we do what is necessary for us. I’ll go home and I am not afraid. The worst that could happen is that I could die. That’s all. I’m planning to study global management at Bucknell and perhaps computer science as a minor. I want to do something business-related to help the people back home. And even if I don’t go back to Afghanistan after college, I want to work to support Afghanistan, because I love my country. My goal is to give back to the communities that have given me so much—and not just Afghanistan, but Mercersburg, and Bucknell, and my host family, and all those who have done so much for me. I was the first Afghan student at Mercersburg, and I hope to not be the last. Rezaei is one of four members of Mercersburg’s Class of 2013 studying at Bucknell this year; the others are Phoebe Moore ’13, Jennifer Nelson ’13, and Chandler Steiger ’13.



Mercersbu rg magazi n e wi nter 2014

D ates to Re me mb e r

Feb 7–9

Stony Batter Players Winter Musical: Legally Blonde, Simon Theatre, Burgin Center for the Arts

Feb 23

Winter Student Music Recital (2 p.m.), Boone Recital Hall, Burgin Center for the Arts

Apr 4

Spring Pops Concert (8 p.m.), Simon Theatre, Burgin Center for the Arts

Apr 26

Spring Dance Concert (8 p.m.), Simon Theatre, Burgin Center for the Arts

Schedule subject to change; for a full and updated schedule of events, visit

Stony Batter Players directors: Laurie Mufson, Matt Maurer, Steve Crick

above: AnnaBeth Thomas ’15,

Caldwell Butler ’14, and Amber Heffernan ’15 in The Caucasian Chalk Circle

right: Emma

Clarke ’14 and Zach McDonald ’17 in The Caucasian Chalk Circle

Mercersbu rg magazi n e wi nter 2014


The Chorale performing at Opening Convocation


directors: Richard Rotz, Jim Brinson, Jack Hawbaker, Michael Cameron

Concert Band

Visual Art

faculty: Mark Flowers, Kristy Higby, Wells Gray

Juny Kim ’14 (above) with her 3D surface drawing, “Treasure,” which received an honorable-mention award at Wilson College’s Juried High School Art exhibition this fall. Other students with work chosen for the exhibition included (from left) Natalie Burkardt ’14, Steven Jo ’14, Andy Mangham ’15, and Grace Caroline Wiener ’14.

Andy Mangham ’15, tonal drawing

Athletics D ates to Re me mb e r

Feb 7–9

Boys’/girls’ basketball at MAPL Tournament (at Pottstown, Pennsylvania)

Boys’/girls’ squash at National High School Team Championships (at Philadelphia)

Feb 15

MAPL Indoor Track & Field Championships (at Lawrenceville, New Jersey)

Feb 21–22 Eastern Interscholastic Swimming & Diving Championships (at La Salle University, Philadelphia)

National Prep Wrestling Championships (at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)

Schedule subject to change; for a full and updated schedule of events, visit

Spring 2013 Varsity Athletics Roundup Baseball

Captains: game captains selected Most Outstanding Contributions Award: Colin-Gibbons Fly ’13 G. Brent Gift Award (most improved player): Brad Wastler ’14 Henry B. Swoope Jr. ’23 Award (sportsmanship/ good fellowship): Lorenzo Vazquez ’13 Head coach: Karl Reisner (22nd season) Record: 22–3 (8–1 MAPL); MAPL/IPSL champion Highlights: The Blue Storm won the Mid-Atlantic Prep League outright, marking the third-straight year that it has won or shared the conference title; it is Mercersburg’s eighth MAPL baseball title in the past 13 years… Gibbons-Fly, Vazquez, and Tiger Smith ’13 earned first-team All-MAPL honors while Jamie Cooper ’13 was an honorablemention selection… Gibbons-Fly led the team with a .584 batting average and 31 runs batted in and also hit six home runs; Vazquez hit .532 with a team-high eight homers and drove in 30 runs… Smith was 7–2 on the mound with a 1.60 earnedrun average and 74 strikeouts in 48 innings of work; Michael Collins ’14 was 7–1 with a 1.86 ERA… the team also cruised to the IndependentParochial School League crown, defeating St. James in the championship game and winning all four games against members of that league… the [Chambersburg] Public Opinion chose Vazquez (first team), Collins (second team), and Trustin Riley ’14 and Chris Thomas ’14 (honorable mention) to its area All-Star teams… Riley and Vazquez were Academic All-MAPL selections.

Boys’ Lacrosse

Captains: Matt Hirshman ’13, Michael Hutwelker ’13, Alex Kraus ’13 Most Outstanding Contributions Award: Hutwelker Most Improved Player Award: Nathan Marincic ’15 Nelson T. Shields IV ’70 Lacrosse Award (spirit/teamwork/sportsmanship): Kraus Head coach: Mark Schindler (2nd season)

Record: 5–13 (0–5 MAPL) Highlights: Hutwelker was a first-team All-MAPL and All-IPSL selection as a goalkeeper, and was joined by Kraus and Will Walter ’14 on the AllIPSL squad… Walter led the team in goals (40), assists (20), and points (60); Kraus was the team leader in groundballs (62), and Hutwelker tallied 195 saves in 18 games… in Mercersburg’s first year competing in the Metro Independent Lacrosse League, or MILL (which features nine schools in the greater Washington area), the team went 2–3 against other league members and Hutwelker and Walter earned second-team all-league honors, with Hirshman earning an honorable-mention nod and Michael Conklin garnering the league’s Assistant Coach of the Year award… five of the team’s losses came by a total of six goals… one of the team’s victories came against Grand River Academy (Ohio), coached by Mercersburg alumnus Ben Axelrod ’08… Hutwelker will play at VMI next season… Marincic and Jack Flanagan ’14 earned Academic All-MAPL honors.

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Girls’ Lacrosse

Captains: Megan Lafferty ’15, Madeline Shearer ’13, Hanna Warfield ’13 Most Outstanding Contributions Award: Shearer Most Improved Player Award: Syd Godbey ’14 Head coach: Sarah Mason (4th season) Record: 12–6 (1–4 MAPL); IPSL champion Highlights: The Blue Storm posted its best record since 2008 and won the IPSL championship (the first league title in team history) and the seasonending Prep Lacrosse Classic… the team beat MAPL rival Peddie for the first time in the history of the program… the squad went 4–1 against IPSL foes, including a victory in the league championship game against St. John’s Catholic Prep… Warfield joined a select group of athletes to earn 12 varsity letters in four years… Shearer and Alyson Kinney ’15 were named first-team All-MAPL and were joined on the All-IPSL squad by teammates Warfield and Gabby Cuzzola ’14… Cuzzola scored a team-high 52 goals; Kinney provided 37 goals and a team-best 28 assists… Warfield led the team in groundballs (42) and draw controls (64)… Lafferty made 147 saves in goal… Shearer and Woodli Krutek ’13 were both four-year letterwinners… Shearer and Ellie Clark ’15 were Academic All-MAPL selections… Katherine Dyson, who had previously been head coach at St. James, has been named head coach for the 2014 season.


Captains: Emma Cranston ’13, Meg Peterson ’14, Paige Richardson ’14, Shelby Smith ’14 Most Outstanding Contributions Award: Sydney Reath ’15 Most Improved Player Award: Madi Johnson ’16 Head coach: John David Bennett (4th season) Record: 13–9 (2–7 MAPL); IPSL champion Highlights: The team went a perfect 6–0 against

IPSL opponents, including a 15–0 shutout of St. John’s Catholic Prep in the league title game… Reath was named All-MAPL and a Public Opinion area All-Star for the second-straight season after hitting .618 with 28 runs batted in and compiling an 11–6 mark with a 1.49 earned-run average and 129 strikeouts on the mound… Richardson (.379, 15 RBI, 10 doubles) was a second-team Public Opinion All-Star selection and an honorable mention All-MAPL choice, while Smith (.433, three home

runs, team-high 35 RBI) garnered honorablemention recognition from the paper and joined Reath as an All-IPSL selection… Cranston, who led the team with 35 runs scored, was a four-year letterwinner and earned 12 varsity letters overall for her Mercersburg career… a year after winning the Pennsylvania Independent Schools state title, the team advanced to the semifinals of the event before falling to Episcopal Academy… Reath and Peterson were named Academic All-MAPL.

Boys’ Tennis

Most Outstanding Contributions Award: Pearce Bloom ’14 Most Improved Player Award: Jason Cui ’13 Head coach: Eric Hicks (19th season) Dual match record: 7–6 (1–3 MAPL); IPSL champion Highlights: The year finished with a bang, as the team’s 6–1 season-ending win over Kiski helped clinch the Centennial Cup (an allsports competition against a traditional rival) for Mercersburg… the team won its secondstraight IPSL title by winning 12 of 13 matches in the semifinals and finals against St. John’s Catholic Prep and St. James… Bloom, who played at No. 1 singles, was an All-MAPL selection and an Academic All-MAPL choice and was joined by Albert Lam ’14 and Elliot Hicks ’16 on the All-IPSL team… Hicks became the first ninth grader to win a bracket in the history of the MAPL Championship when he claimed the No. 3 flight… the squad’s top four singles players all return for the 2014 season.


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Girls’ Outdoor Track & Field

Most Outstanding Contributions Award: Sarah Firestone ’13 Robert Fager Black ’07/’45 Trophy (sportsmanship/loyalty): Brittany Burg ’13 Edward J. Powers ’37 Award (most improved athlete): Maddie Nelson ’15 Head coach: Nikki Walker (4th season) MAPL/IPSL finish: 4th/1st Highlights: Firestone’s second-place effort in the javelin at the Penn Relays was the highest finish for a Mercersburg athlete in the prestigious event since 1936… she repeated as state champion in the javelin and won her third-straight MAPL crown in the event, and raised her school record to 152’ 1”… the team took fifth at the PAISAA Championships, led by Firestone’s javelin title and her second- and third-place finishes in the discus (92’ 6”) and shot put (32’ 0”), respectively… Teal Tasker ’15 was the MAPL champion in the triple jump (a school-record 34’ 11”); other top MAPL finishers included Burg (100m/13.04/2nd and 200m/26.91/3rd), the 4x400m relay team of Burg, Nelson, Tasker, and Katie Miller ’15 (4:18.86, 3rd), and the 4x800m relay squad of Miller, Nelson, Leah Cook ’15, and Kelly Hamilton ’13 (11:22.30, 3rd)… along with Firestone (discus/javelin/long jump/shot put) and Burg (100m dash and 300m hurdles), IPSL event winners included Meredith Mountain ’15 (110m high hurdles), Tasker (200m/triple jump), Nelson (800m), Lola Tijani ’13 (high jump), Lexa Treml ’16 (pole vault), and the aforementioned 4x400m relay team… Melody Gomez ’13 earned 12 varsity letters over her four-year career… Cook and Hamilton earned Academic All-MAPL honors.

Boys’ Outdoor Track & Field

Most Outstanding Contributions Award: Zack Holzwarth ’13 Robert Fager Black ’07/’45 Trophy (sportsmanship/loyalty): Stefan Kempe ’13 Edward J. Powers ’37 Award (most improved athlete): Jan Smilek ’16 Head coach: Frank Rutherford ’70 (13th season) MAPL/IPSL finish: 5th/1st Highlights: Holzwarth was the MAPL champion in the pole vault (12’ 6”) for the second-straight year; he finished third in the event at the PAISAA state meet… also at the PAISAA Championships, Rahul Sharan ’13 was second in the discus (113’ 8”) and Smilek took seventh in the mile… in addition to Holzwarth, other top MAPL meet finishers included the 4x800m relay team of Kempe, Smilek, Alex Jackson ’15, and Newell Woodworth ’15 (8:52.86, 2nd), the 4x100m relay squad of David Coly ’15, Bruno Marangoni ’13, Kam Undieh ’15, and Dre Wills ’13 (45.62, 3rd), Marangoni (100m/11.74/4th), and Jordan Allen ’15 (triple jump/38” 6”/4th)… IPSL event winners included Austin Hess ’13 (pole vault, 10’ 0”), Boaz Pogue ’15 ( javelin, 111’ 11”), and the 4x200 relay team of Allen, Pogue, Christian Dittmar ’15, and Raj Singh ’15 (1:41.40)… Sharan and Max Furigay ’15 were named Academic All-MAPL.

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Relive the Traditions:

Alumni Weekend 2013

The Octet Reunion Concert in the Simon Theatre

Brent Gift (right), who is retiring after the 2013–2014 academic year, was honored following the alumnae volleyball game



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Alumni Weekend 2013

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Class Notes

Members of the Class of 1953 gathered during Alumni Weekend. Front row (L–R): Jack Bream, Jim Horn, Chris King, Dan White. Row 2: Robert Morrison, Don Harper, Hank Burhans, Jay Long, Ron Rahn, Chuck Loughran, Jack Pettit. Row 3: John Ross, Nick Taubman, Walter Burgin, Stu Horner, Jaime Delgadillo, Bill Draper, Howard Abrams, Fred Morefield, David Egloff. Row 4: Dick Conboy, Mickey Hunt, Neil Hyland, Harry Moorefield.


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W. Hampton Shuford’s wife, Joanne, passed away May 31, 2013.


Bill Buchheit and Dick Wilson celebrated July 4th at Bill’s home in Flourtown, Pennsylvania. A good time was had by all. Dick is retired as professor and chair of the political science department at Rutgers University and Bill is retired as professor and chair of neurosurgery at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.


Walter Clarke welcomed his eighth grandchild this past summer.


Richard Stever visited campus in June for the first time since graduation. He is retired from dentistry and lives in Spruce Creek, Pennsylvania.


Gary Wormser was quoted in the July 1, 2013, issue of The New Yorker in “The Lyme Wars,” an article about the controversies surrounding the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease. Gary is chief of the division of infectious diseases at New York Medical College. Gertrude W. Zeger, mother of Jim Zeger as well as the late Dennis Zeger ’63 and the late L. Chris Zeger ’68, died July 12, 2013. She was also the grandmother of Jami Swailes McCall ’86, Andrea Zeger ’90, and Michael Zeger ’96, and the widow of the late Lawrence Zeger ’34.


Bill Kemper was elected to a four-year term on the Corvallis [Oregon] School Board after having been appointed in April to fill the remaining two months of a vacated seat. “My interest in Mercersburg is greatly piqued since we are entering a second phase in a plan to roll out iPads to all students in the district,” he says. “It is an ambitious project, and getting insights from Mercersburg’s experience will be very

Bobby Malone ’93 and his wife, Jaime, visited Mercersburg for Bobby’s 20th reunion in June and grabbed a few shirts for their sons, Reilly and Patrick (pictured after their 2nd birthday party on their first train ride).

helpful.” Bill adds that all three of his children are schoolteachers. Stephen Signorile’s wife, Helene “Lanie” Signorile, passed away July 10, 2013, and his mother, Frances Signorile, died July 29, 2013. Sam Stites shares that he has two children, four grandchildren, and a flats boat. “Summers in Durango and Montana and winters in Marathon, Florida,” he says. “Fish with Chuck Kraus in all the above places. Getting too old to bow hunt and haul large animals so fly-fishing is what we do now. Still married to Gwyneth, the girl I courted while I was still at Mercersburg. Forty-three years of training has worn off some of the rough edges. Life is pretty good with great friends and beautiful places to live.”

’68 Barry Marshall earned a doctorate

of business in international music business from Argosy University. Barry is an associate professor at the New England Institute of Art and Emerson College in Boston. He has lectured or performed over the last few years in Lisbon, London, Belgrade, Budapest, Vilnius, Tallinn, and Rome, and still regularly performs and produces recordings. He shares, “I’m ready to work for the next 30 or 40 years!”


Two novels by Steven Schaufele, The Owl and the Pussycat and Another Think Coming, have been published and are available on Amazon.


Scott Christopher and his wife, Elizabeth, had artwork featured in an exhibition titled “Crescendo to See” during September and October at Gallery 50 Contemporary Art in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Eric Scoblionko writes that his eldest child, Seth, married Reena Teichman in May. “All the Scobes were in attendance for the grand celebration,” Eric says.


Robert A. Raley, father of Bob Raley, Suzette Raley Hopkins ’81, and Peggy Raley Ward ’85, and grandfather of Natalie Hopkins ’09, passed away June 3, 2013.


Allyson Cornish has been transferred by the U.S. Department of State to Haiti, where she is executive office manager to Ambassador Pamela White at the U.S. Embassy in Port-auPrince. She writes that the challenge to recover and rebuild Haiti after the earthquake remains formidable, but she is impressed with the programs that have been implemented for doing so. She’s also delighted to be using her French again and is fast learning to be a Creole cook.


Ellen Potocki Liss was inducted into the Rome [New York] Sports Hall of Fame.

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Marriages 2.

1. D. Lloyd Reichard II ’60 married Galyna Viktorovna Liashchenko August 12, 2013, in Hagerstown, Maryland. 2. The wedding of Jamie Gelo ’98 and Anthony Eric DiCesare, June 8, 2013 (L–R): Frank Hamilton, Eric and Jamie, Megan George Herold ’98.


3. Pia Streicher ’00 married Andreas Müller July 6, 2013, in Worms, Germany. 4. The wedding of Ann Marie Bliley ’01 and Kyle Ester, August 31, 2013, in Estes Park, Colorado (L–R): Kyle and Ann Marie, David M. Bliley ’58, Emily Claire Price ’01, Holly Czuba ’01.


5. Morgan Higby-Flowers ’03 married Virginia Griswold June 29, 2013, in Asheville, North Carolina. 6. The wedding of Taylor Miller ’05 and Ryan Reid ’05, July 13, 2013, in Mercersburg (L–R): Alicia Krawczak ’05, Ryan Reid ’05, Jacob Hoffman ’06, Taylor Miller Reid ’05, faculty member Denise Dalton, Tracey Manner ’05, Garrett Fix ’05, Kate Eckhart ’05, faculty member Jack Hawbaker, Karen Hawbaker. Not pictured: Stephanie Turner McGraw ’06.

3. 5.


7. Luciana Bolona ’06 married Jose Antonio Castro November 13, 2012.

Richard Bayley ’84 and Deborah Hawks, October 13, 2012. Patrick Lykins ’98 and Missy Huntsman, May 21, 2011.


Flynn Corson ’99 and Kate Cameron, June 4, 2011. Eric Kass ’99 and Barri Rappel, April 16, 2011. Tim Laddbush ’99 and Pamela Darmofalski, August 16, 2013. Rebecca Lowe ’99 and Paul Buckle, June 12, 2013. Pamela Aquino ’06 and Carlos Acosta, December 12, 2012. Faculty member Marshall Carroll and Sara Jungerheld, July 13, 2013.


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Patrick Lykins married Missy Huntsman May 21, 2011. The couple has two daughters, Reagan and Harper.


Flynn Corson married Kate Cameron on June 4, 2011. The couple has a son, Kelly Flynn, and two daughters, Maeve Ailish and Imogen Poppy (born in October). Flynn is assistant head of school at Pacific Buddhist Academy in Honolulu.

L–R: Thomaz Mourão ’11, his sister Anna ’14, and their mother Simone at Anna’s 18th birthday party in Brazil.


Ben Graham and his wife, Brigid, welcomed a daughter, Nora Christine, June 17, 2013. “Mom and baby are doing great and older sisters Emma (5 years) and Sara (20 months) love the new addition!” he says.


James Barnes has left IBM and now does WebSphere Portal consulting for Asponte Inc.

’97 Larissa Chase Smith and her sister,

Rahde Franke ’06 (right) is an assistant director of alumni relations at Union College, where he ran into Jack Flanagan ’14 while Jack was on a college visit and interview there.

Rebecca Lowe ’99 married Paul Buckle June 12, 2013, on the Greek island of Santorini. The couple moved to Westport, Connecticut, in July to prepare for Rebecca’s new role as studio anchor of NBC/NBC Sports Network’s English Premier League soccer coverage, which began in August. When Rebecca ever gets a day off, she looks forward to catching up with other alumni from 1999 in the area—and visiting Mercersburg!

She was a prep-school swimming AllAmerican at Mercersburg and later an NCAA Division I All-American at Syracuse University. Ellen is a data quality consultant for Carbonview Research and lives in the Atlanta area with her husband and two daughters.


Amy Sheridan Fazackerley’s father, R. Champlin “Champ” Sheridan, died August 7, 2013.

Brechyn Chase ’03—a.k.a. rootsrock and Americana duo The Hello Strangers—have signed a contract with IMI Music in Nashville, Tennessee. “Now recording can officially begin!” says Larissa.


Jamie Gelo married Anthony Eric DiCesare June 8, 2013, with classmate Megan George Herold serving as matron of honor. The couple lives in Austin, Texas, with their “four-legged furry child,” PaRappa the Rapper. “I am the Office Goddess for uShip. com,” says Jamie. “Any Mercersburg reality TV junkies might recognize the name from A&E’s show Shipping Wars and, if ever in Austin, are welcome to look me up for a tour of the office and some real Texas BBQ.”

Eric Kass married Barri Rappel April 16, 2011. Eric and Barri met in college at the University of Hartford and moved to Baltimore after graduation. Eric is an occupational health scientist and national capital region manager for TTL Associates Inc., and senior project manager in charge of hazardous material remediation for EQ Northeast Inc. He is in his second year at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health, where he is pursuing a master’s degree in public health with a concentration in occupational and environmental health. Barri is the records and registration manager at the Community College of Baltimore County. They are expecting their first child in December. Tim Laddbush married Pamela Darmofalski August 16, 2013, at the Bluemont Vineyard in Bluemont, Virginia. Tim works for GHT, a mechanical and electrical engineering firm, and Pamela works for Riverstone Residential Group as a program director. The couple lives in Falls Church, Virginia, with their oversized puppy, Boss.


Michael Galey was selected for inclusion in the Pennsylvania edition of Super Lawyers magazine as a “Rising Star” in the category of employment and labor law.


Jamie Blackburn graduated from George Washington University Law School and practices energy law in the Washington office of Day Pitney. His wife, Victoria Leontieva Blackburn, will attend business school at Duke University for the next two years before returning to Accenture. Romone Penny writes that his company, Pursuit Sports Group (which he founded in 2012), has a new website,


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Matthew Brennan was promoted to assistant vice president at F&M Trust. A personal investment counselor and assistant investment & trust services officer, Matthew joined F&M in 2010, having previous experience as a financial representative, legal assistant, and hedge-fund research assistant. He is responsible for providing comprehensive personal financial planning and investment, trust, and insurance services to customers primarily in Fulton and Huntingdon counties in Pennsylvania. Matthew lives in Chambersburg and is working toward his chartered financial analyst certification. Jeffrey Sellman is attending the Drexel University College of Medicine.


Pamela Aquino married Carlos Acosta December 12, 2012, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The couple lives in Washington, D.C. Andrés Gómez Rodriguez spent time with faculty members Nikki Walker and Frank Rutherford ’70 during their summer trip with students to Costa Rica. “It’s always an honor for me to have people from the ’Burg visit,” Andrés says. “We even had some time to visit the 30-meter ficus and climb inside of it.” (Nikki and Frank also ran into Yacdany Chavarria Ugalde as well as Sarah Burbank ’95 on their trip.) Andrés has converted his parents’ home into Camino Verde Bed & Breakfast in the Cloud Forest of Monteverde.


Kat Fleck joined Octopart Inc. in New York City in April as a new account specialist. She and her son, Noah, who turned 5 in June, relocated to Hoboken, New Jersey, and are enjoying their many adventures in the city. In her spare time, Kat is finishing her bachelor’s degree in anthropology through Temple University. Kate Manstof graduated from George Mason University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in communication and journalism. She has become an English as a Second Language tutor and volunteered in Bagamoyo, Tanzania, for seven months, where she worked as a teacher and as manager of a team of locals helping farmers grow their own businesses. Kate is preparing to move to Tel Aviv, Israel, to be a coexistence volunteer for a year in a Jewish/Arab community. She is

To Tristan Bechet ’91 and his wife, Michelle: a son, Cassian Cameron, January 21, 2013.

To Ben Graham ’94 and his wife, Brigid: a daughter, Nora Christine, June 17, 2013.

To Chris Holbert ’91 and his wife, Lisa: a son, Gavin Porter, June 22, 2012.

To faculty member Nate Jacklin ’96 and his wife, Lindsay: a son, Matthew Scott, August 14, 2013.

hoping to master her fourth language, Hebrew, while living abroad.


Kiersten Bell graduated from Kenyon College, where she majored in molecular biology with a minor in anthropology and was an eight-time NCAA Division III swimming AllAmerican. Kiersten teaches biology and chemistry and coaches volleyball and swimming at Virginia Episcopal School in Lynchburg, Virginia. Peter Jones graduated magna cum laude from Colby College with honors in economics and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He is a research associate in the economics department at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Ronald MacDonald is working for British Airways’ I.T. department. Ovie Onobrakpeya is a student at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law. Molly Serpi graduated in spring 2013 from Muhlenberg College with a bachelor’s degree in history and technical theatre. She was an accomplished stage manager as a student at Mercersburg and at Muhlenberg, and is holding a yearlong appointment as an intern in technical theatre at Mercersburg.

Tommy Whyel is pursuing graduate studies in accounting at Wake Forest University.


Britta Sherman is on track to graduate from Radford University in December 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in geospatial science. There she received the Dean’s Scholar award from the College of Science and Technology and was nominated for the university’s Distinguished Woman of the Year award. Britta completed a summer internship in the GIS/IT Department for the City of Frederick, Maryland, and plans to look for employment and graduate school programs in geospatial intelligence.


Christian Binford was named the 2013 Pitcher of the Year for the Lexington Legends, the Class A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. Christian posted a 2.67 earned-run average (third best in the South Atlantic League) and struck out 130 hitters while allowing just 25 walks. He accepted the award during a ceremony in September at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium.


Over the summer, Lane deCordova attended the CAP21 musical theatre conservatory and theatre company in New York City. CAP21 is a six-week intensive course in musical theatre, singing, dance, and acting.


English teacher and Mercersburg News adviser Jim Applebaum has been elected to the executive board of the Pennsylvania School Press Association, which is the oldest scholastic press association in the U.S. and promotes high school journalism (including yearbooks and literary reviews) through a variety of statewide workshops, conferences, and competitions.


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Obituaries ’29

Harold P. White, February 19, 2013. (’Eighty-eight, Marshall, baseball, football, orchestra, band, Glee Club, choir) Harold graduated from Rutgers University and worked in sales and public relations for Walker Gordon Dairy, Sheffield Farms, Puritan Dairy, Johanna Farms, and Tuscan Dairy. He retired in 1995. His wife of 71 years, Bessie, preceded him in death; survivors include two daughters, five grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, and a sister.


William S. Rothermel, February 8, 2011. (Marshall, football, Chemistry Club) Bill graduated from Colgate University. At Jefferson Medical College, he was inducted into the U.S. military. He completed an internship in Harrisburg and was discharged from the service with the rank of captain. After his residency, he spent two years at Aultman Hospital in Canton, Ohio, before becoming chief of radiology at Conemaugh Valley Memorial Hospital in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. In 1953, he returned to Aultman Hospital, where he worked as associate director of radiology and then president of the medical staff, retiring in 1982. He was preceded in death by his wife, Esther. Survivors include a daughter and a son, six grandsons, and five great-grandsons.


James A. Hoch, May 25, 2013. (Irving, soccer) Jim, the son of the late J. Albert Hoch (1917), graduated from West Chester University. He served in the Army’s Signal Corps during World War II and rose to the rank of first lieutenant. He began his teaching career in 1946 with the Mercersburg School District and taught and coached at the former Mercersburg High School. He became principal of James Buchanan Junior-Senior High School and later organized the first middle school in the Tuscarora School District, serving as its principal until he retired in 1979. His wife, Ruth Goodwin Hoch, preceded him in death. Survivors include three children, 10 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren. David T. Wild, November 6, 2012. (Marshall, track & field) David attended Franklin & Marshall College and was a retired investment broker for McDonald & Company in Cleveland, Ohio. Survivors include his wife, Nancy; three children, six grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren; and a nephew, David Heckert ’70.


Everett R. Carll, June 9, 2013. (’Eighty-eight, Marshall, Chemistry Club) Everett attended Princeton University before joining the Army and serving in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. He worked for the U.S. Postal Service, including several years as superintendent of a post office in his native Bridgeton, New Jersey. Following his retirement from the Postal Service, he spent 20 years with H&R Block. He was preceded in death by his wife, Alice. Survivors include two sons, three granddaughters, and four great-grandchildren, as well as cousins Justus Livingston ’44 and Sallie Livingston ’82.

S. Thomas Cummings, February 1, 2008. (’Eighty-eight, Marshall debater, cheerleader, Glee Club, Press Club, Les Copains) Tom graduated from Princeton University and the University of Pittsburgh. He was a clinical child psychologist for 47 years. His wife, Helen, preceded him in death; survivors include two sons, a daughter, and four grandchildren.


Alan J. MacDonell, October 1, 2009. (Irving, swimming, football) Alan was a champion swimmer at Mercersburg and at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, his collegiate alma mater. He was a Navy veteran of World War II and later a water-well contractor and business owner in St. Cloud and Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Survivors include his wife, Roberta; two sons and four daughters; and 14 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Francis A. March IV, May 19, 2013. (Main Annex, Marshall, track & field) Francis graduated from George Washington University and was an Army veteran of World War II and the Korean War. He worked as a procurement officer for the Immigration and Naturalization Service, retiring in 1987 after nearly 40 years of federal service. Survivors include his wife of 49 years, Lilly Rothwell March; two children and a stepdaughter; three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren; and two sisters.


Thomas H. Hardinge Jr., May 29, 2012. (Marshall, track & field, Glee Club) Tom attended the University of Virginia and served in the Third Army Signal Corps under General George Patton. He was vice president of Statton Furniture Manufacturing Company in Hagerstown, Maryland, from 1955 until he retired in 1990. His first wife, Pamela, and second wife, Shirley Ann, preceded him in death. Survivors include two sons (including Hunt Hardinge III ’72) and a daughter; six children and four great-grandchildren; a sister; and a great-niece, Jessica Statton Peachey ’94. Tom was the brother-in-law of the late Philip Statton ’36 and the late Robert Statton ’38. Robert E. Kerper Jr., May 31, 2013. (Marshall, swimming) Bob was a national prep-school swimming champion in the 100-yard backstroke at Mercersburg. He entered the Navy and served as a physical training officer. After his discharge from the Navy, Bob graduated from West Chester University, where he won four intercollegiate swim championships, the state two-mile track championship, and set many records in cross country. He spent a year teaching and coaching at Mercersburg before beginning a 40-year business career in which he held positions in industrial relations, advertising, public relations, and sales promotion, ultimately retiring after 28 years with Cabot Corporation. He authored three books and served on the advisory board of the International Swimming Hall of Fame. Bob was preceded in death by his first wife, Regina Gruber Kerper, and second wife, Arlene Hoffmann Kerper. Survivors include his wife, Mary-Elizabeth; two daughters, two sons, three grandchildren, and a great-grandchild; and two stepsons and 12 step-grandchildren.

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Edward B. Collum, August 1, 2013. (South, Marshall, football, basketball, baseball) Ed attended Cornell University before a two-year tour in the Navy, where he represented the Pacific Fleet on its basketball team. After returning to Cornell and earning a degree in civil engineering, he went to work for the Henderson-Johnson Company of Syracuse. Ed became president and CEO of the company and worked there until he retired to Naples, Florida. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Cynthia. Among his survivors are his wife, Mary Louise “Pooh” Collum; two sons and two grandsons; five stepchildren, 12 step-grandchildren, and two step-great-grandchildren; and a brother, Thad ’49. Richard R. Hoke, March 10, 2013. (’Eighty-eight, Irving, Stony Batter, Les Copains, Chess Club) Dick graduated from Franklin & Marshall College and Lancaster Theological Seminary and attended graduate school at Harvard University, the University of California at Los Angeles, and Claremont Graduate University. Dick retired from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania after a career in social-work management. Survivors include his wife, Nathalie Patterson Hoke; four daughters and a son; and nine grandchildren.


J. Reid Dietz, August 2, 2013. (South Cottage, Marshall, Glee Club, Chemistry Club, The Fifteen, Cum Laude, Lit Board, Rauchrunde, Dance Committee, Stony Batter, Gun Club) Reid, the son of the late Ernest C. Dietz ’19, graduated from Yale University and served as a naval officer during the Korean War. He specialized in computer and telecommunications sales during his career, including postings at IBM, GTE, and MCI. Survivors include his wife, Betsy, as well as three children, two grandchildren, and two stepchildren. Frederick G. Taylor, July 21, 2013. (Main, Irving, News Board, KARUX Board, football, wrestling, tennis) Frederick graduated from Ohio State University and spent 34 years with the Ohio State Federal Savings and Loan Association. Survivors include his wife, Joan, as well as a son and two daughters.


John S. McCreary, March 30, 2013. (South Cottage, Irving, News Board, Glee Club, Octet, Concert Band, Blue and White Melodians, orchestra) John was canon organist emeritus at St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Honolulu, Hawaii, and organist and choirmaster at ‘Iolani School. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth “Betsy” McCreary; a son and daughter; two grandchildren; and a brother and sister. Rudy L. McWhorter, July 4, 2013. (’Eighty-eight, Irving, class officer, Rauchrunde, Concert Band, Blue and White Melodians, orchestra, track & field) Rudy attended Ohio Wesleyan University and graduated from the West Virginia University School of Pharmacy. He was a retired pharmacist and a Navy veteran. Survivors include his wife, Virginia, and a son and daughter. William A. Spiegler, January 23, 2012. (South Cottage, Marshall, News Board, KARUX Board, Chess Club, Paideia, Stony Batter, Les Copains) Bill earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northwestern University; he was a writer by trade and worked as a consultant for White Star Communications. He was preceded in death by his wife, Zeva, and is survived by a son.


Donald C. Miller, August 4, 2013. (South Cottage, Marshall, Radio Club, soccer, basketball, baseball) Don attended the University of Maryland and was an Army veteran. He was co-owner of Miller Chevrolet, from which he retired in 1985. Don lived in Ellicott City, Maryland. Survivors include his wife, Linda Krichten, and a brother. Richard G. Semple, February 25, 2013. (South Cottage, Irving, Laticlavii, Glee Club, Jurisprudence Society, Varsity Club, track & field) Richard graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University and embarked on a 24-year career as an Air Force pilot. He served in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Arctic, and North America, including a tour as an AC-130 Spectre gunship commander. He lived in Spokane, Washington. Survivors include his wife of 46 years, Cathie, as well as four children and six grandchildren.


James D. Fallon III, June 23, 2013. (Marshall) James earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Delaware. He joined the Peace Corps after college before being drafted into the Army and was stationed at the Pentagon. He later worked in the automotive business in Newark, Delaware, and was a resident of Landenberg, Pennsylvania.


Henry T. Cochran, July 14, 2013. (Main, Irving, Octet, Stony Batter, tennis) Harry earned a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and a master’s in mathematics from the University of Maryland. During his professional career, he was CEO of numerous companies in the U.S. and China, including Change Safe LLC, Content Integrity Inc., AutoNOC China Ltd., Advanced Visual Systems Inc., Expressway Technologies (Henco Software), and SinoHub. Survivors include his wife, Jin Lan, as well as two daughters and five grandchildren. Harry was a cousin of the late Fred Jameson ’70. R. Clamer Miller Jr., April 17, 2013. (Keil, Marshall, Laticlavii, Caducean Club, football manager) Clamer lived in Bradenton, Florida.


Burleson Grimes II, June 27, 2013. (Irving, French Club, Spanish Club, Boys’ Club, WMER, Psychology Club, Jurisprudence Society, Stony Batter, Gun Club, News, Varsity Club, cross country, wrestling, lacrosse, fencing) Burley graduated from Ohio State University and served in the Navy as a lieutenant aboard the aircraft carrier USS Hancock during the Vietnam War. He owned and operated several farms in Ohio and previously owned Grimes Tractor Company. Survivors include his wife of 29 years, Deborah Hill Grimes; a son (Burleson ’05) and a daughter; and two sisters (including Louise Grimes Bietendorf ’76) and two brothers (including Doug Grimes ’69). Ivan A. Sag, September 10, 2013. (Tippetts, Irving, cheerleader, Chess Club, Concert Band, French Club, German Club, Psychology Club, Stony Batter) Ivan was a renowned researcher, teacher, and expert in the field of linguistics. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester, a master’s from the



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University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he worked on his dissertation with the preeminent linguist and thinker Noam Chomsky. Ivan was the Sadie Dernham Patek Professor in Humanities and a professor of linguistics and symbolic systems at Stanford University, where he had taught since 1979 after beginning his career as an assistant professor of linguistics at Penn. He was an originator and developer of generalised phrase structure grammar (GPSG), head-driven phrase structure grammar (HPSG), and sign-based construction grammar, and authored or co-authored numerous books and publications. Ivan was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Linguistic Society of America, and earned the LSA’s Victoria Fromkin Prize for distinguished contributions to the field of linguistics. He was the featured speaker for Mercersburg’s Cum Laude Convocation in 2008. Survivors include his wife, Penelope “Penny” Eckert.

class agent, as a member of the Class of 1987’s reunion committee, and on the Alumni Council. His father, Regent Emeritus and former director of development and alumni affairs Thomas W. Mendham Sr., died in February 2013. Bucky is survived by two sons, his mother, and a sister, Holly Mendham Hartshorn ’90.


Breandan C. Fay, September 25, 2013. (Fowle/Main, Marshall, football) Breandan was completing work on a master’s in business administration and lived in Pittsburgh. In addition to his parents, survivors include two brothers (including Ryan Fay ’01); his grandfather, Bob Fay Sr. ’46; and an uncle (Bob Fay Jr. ’81) and two stepuncles (Chip Strotz ’69 and Bob Strotz ’73).

Lawrence S. Stewart, April 10, 2013. (Marshall, Caducean Club, Jurisprudence Society, Spanish Club, Paideia, KARUX, News, Astronomy Club, cross country, wrestling) Larry graduated from Loyola University and Auburn University. He taught Spanish at Auburn, was a general contractor, and worked as a project manager in California, Texas, and Florida, and internationally in Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, and Aruba. Survivors include a son and a brother.


Robb F. Howell II, February 27, 2013. (Chapel usher, dorm prefect, Caducean Club, Gourmet Club, Film Club, Youth Club, football, lacrosse, swimming) Robb graduated from Ohio State University and joined Hobart Brothers, initially overseeing the establishment of Saudi Hobart Welding Industries in Dammam, Saudi Arabia. His career in welding spanned more than 20 years. Most recently, he was the owner and president of MCD Plastics and Manufacturing in Piqua, Ohio. Survivors include his wife, JoAnn; a son and daughter; and two brothers and two sisters.


Bruce J. Findlay, May 17, 2008. (Chorale, Madrigal Singers, Stony Batter, dorm prefect, News, Computer Club, Chess Club, fencing) Bruce graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He had several patents registered with the U.S. Patent Office, worked in the software business, and lived in Taiwan. Survivors include his wife, Ellen, as well as a brother (Andrew ’79) and sister (Lois ’80).


Thomas M. Covell, June 17, 2013. (Fowle) Thomas attended Boston University and lived in Boulder, Colorado. Survivors include his father, mother and stepfather, and a brother.


Thomas W. Mendham Jr., September 14, 2013. (Keil, Marshall, baseball, wrestling, Chorale, Octet, Stony Batter) Bucky graduated from Muhlenberg College and worked in finance for Merrill Lynch and Citigroup; he lived near Princeton, New Jersey. He served as a


Justin F. Vaughan, May 31, 2013. (Main, Irving, football, Peer Group) Justin attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and Pennsylvania State University. He was vice president and director of technology at Carnegie Wealth Strategies in Atlanta. Survivors include his parents, his brother, his girlfriend, and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.


Former faculty/staff/friends Hampton P. Abney, former faculty member (1956–1963), head of the Spanish department, and director of dramatics, June 16, 2013. Roy G. Peck Jr., former staff member (1956–2010) and father of Advancement & Alumni Relations staff member De-Enda Rotz, July 27, 2013. Robert W. Rankin, faculty emeritus, June 17, 2013. Bob was born in Buffalo, New York. He graduated from the University of Connecticut and did graduate work there and at Trinity College. He taught at Mercersburg from 1956 to 1992 and was head of the history department for 18 years. He was dormitory dean of both ’Eighty-eight Dormitory and Fowle Hall, and was also affiliated with Keil Hall. Bob served as a faculty adviser to the Senate and the Jurisprudence Society and as chair of the Discipline Committee, was in charge of the dining hall, and was a member of the National Council for the Social Studies and the American Historical Association. He received a Fulbright grant to study at the Institute of Political Studies at the University of Paris. Bob was Mercersburg’s 1991 Alumni Council Service Award honoree and lived in South Windsor, Connecticut. Survivors include a brother and several nieces and nephews. R. Champlin Sheridan, Regent Emeritus and father of Amy Sheridan Fazackerley ’89, August 7, 2013. Champ was a member of Mercersburg’s Board of Regents from 1991 to 1994; he had also served as vice chair of the board of trustees at his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University.

All together. An egalitarian spirit, sense of place, and relationships that stand the test of time continue to define our community of learning. Team up with Daring to Lead.

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Mercersburg Magazine - Winter 2014