Tyrone Junior to Attend Mercersburg Academy in the Fall

Junior+Aden+McCracken+at+a+visit+to+Mercersburg+Academy%2C+which+he+will+attend+in+the+fall.

Photo courtesy of Aden McCracken

Junior Aden McCracken at a visit to Mercersburg Academy, which he will attend in the fall.

While not a senior, Tyrone junior Aden McCracken is probably experiencing many of the same emotions that the Class of 2020 are having right now. Because like the seniors, McCracken has likely spent his last day as a student walking the halls of Tyrone Area High School.

A top student as well as a member of the varsity swim team, YAN club, drama club, chorus, and other extracurricular activities, McCracken plans to attend Mercersburg Academy in the fall for his senior year of high school.

The atmosphere of Mercersburg is so welcoming. When I was there, I was greeted with warm smiles and friendly faces.”

— Aden McCracken

Mercersburg Academy is a college preparatory boarding school in Mercersburg, PA. The school has 442 students, 84% of whom live on campus. Students come from 27 different states, the District of Columbia and 36 different countries.

Admission to Mercersburg is very competitive, with only a 33% acceptance rate. After graduation, 63% of Mercersburg students attend post-secondary schools on the U.S. News and World Report’s Top 50 National Universities or Top 50 Liberal Arts College lists.

While he will miss his Tyrone friends and family, McCracken is excited for the challenge ahead.

“The atmosphere of Mercersburg is so welcoming. When I was there, I was greeted with warm smiles and friendly faces. Along with this, the instruction at Mercersburg provokes thought and open discussion rather than memorization and regurgitation,” said McCracken.

Mercersburg offers many extracurricular activities as well as study-abroad experiences. Mercersburg puts a focus on the values of character and community with students from around the world.

“I just felt at home and knew I was just meant to be there,” said McCracken.

McCracken was also considering the possibility of studying abroad. McCracken has taken Spanish I and II. This year he is taking Spanish III online.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, he applied to SYA for a full scholarship to study in Zaragoza, Spain. SYA’s goal is to get students to put more effort into their education while learning a language.
Last summer, McCracken studied abroad in Merida, Mexico through a full Global Navigator Scholarship which focused on language proficiency.

“Aden works hard every day, every minute. He gives 100 percent and applies himself to every task he tries. He is an excellent student,” said Spanish teacher Holly Sechler.

McCracken was also hoping to attend SAMS, a six-week selective summer program at Carnegie Mellon University this summer. There, he would have studied college-level math and science classes, but due to COVID-19, the program has been canceled.

Aden works hard every day, every minute. He gives 100 percent and applies himself to every task he tries. He is an excellent student”

— Holly Sechler

McCracken was saddened by the news, but he is glad that he will have more time to spend at home before he leaves for Mercersburg.

As a member of the swim team, McCracken qualified for districts in the 200 yard IM and the 100 yard butterfly.

McCracken also volunteered for YAN events such as the Halloween Event for students and families up to the fourth grade and the 4-D Movies where he has been one of the main characters for the past few years. He even helps run the weekly meetings that YAN members attend.  He has also been in TAHS musical productions and performs with POPS Extension.

McCracken is well respected by his teachers as one of the top students in his class.

“Aden is a conscientious student who always gives 110% to his schoolwork and our club activities, “ said Tracy Redinger, Co-Chair of YAN and 11th-grade World Cultures teacher. “He willingly participates in class discussions and/or reviews, and is a dependable individual who gets the job done,”

In college, McCracken plans to major in aerospace engineering and minor in Spanish. He hopes to attend Brown, Carnegie Mellon, Caltech, or MIT.