Letter From the President

Mercer Education, formerly Ivy League English, Inc. has gone through different stages of development as our 2005 name change indicates. ME’s programs and services are now much-expanded beyond the initial focus on language arts and ESL to include math, science, history, all levels of test preparation, and college admissions counseling. As we have grown into our current professional school setting, we have looked for efficient ways to provide our educational programs without sacrificing the quality of our service. Over the course of the school’s history, since its inception in 1999, it has been and continues to be rewarding to see both parents and students happy with the comprehensive level of attention and intelligent instruction we provide.

We are especially proud to see many of our students who attended or are currently attending the SAT/College Prep classes admitted to prestigious universities, and some of our bright younger scholars admitted to exceptional secondary schools. There is no doubt that the collaboration between caring parents, motivated students, and devoted teachers continues to promise and produce great success.

All of us at Mercer Education will continue to work on improving the school and making it among the finest of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. Our goal has always been to offer a fresh, unique and truly effective enrichment education service that is free of the indifference of a corporate franchise. We aim to make learning at Mercer Education an exciting, enjoyable and empowering experience for each of you.

Eric B. Cohen

President and Founder


Latest College Application News

As students prepare to head back to school, we are proud that so many of our graduating students are going off to the schools of their choice. Our congratulations to those current and former students who have received admissions to acclaimed universities and colleges for the fall of 2014. Your hard work has been well rewarded, and we hope that your admissions to top-notch schools will open doors for productive, successful futures. (2014 college application results will be posted shortly once more students receive word from the schools to which they have applied. Please refer to our "Testimonials" page for prior year acceptances.)

Student Work Showcase

Disillusionment About Diamonds - a book report by Judy Y., high school sophomore, spring of 1999

The famous Jazz Age writer F. Scott Fitzgerald again tackles the theme of disillusionment in his story "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz." The back cover of Fitzgerald's collection of short stories states, "[Fitzgerald's] portrayals of the manners and morals behind the pursuit of material wealth depict frenzied, intoxicating quests that inevitably result in a miasma of disillusionment and cynicism." The disenchantment of the three main characters in the story supports the interpretation.

The protagonist, John Unger, takes the lead in shattering his own illusion. Visiting his friend Percy Washington's luxury house in which the glitter of diamond sparkles from floor to ceiling, John loses his perspective of reality. As a result, he fails to recognize the danger that accompanies his knowledge of the Washington's wealth when he sees the aviators imprisoned underground for discovering the secret mountain of diamond. Instead of worrying about his safety, he falls in love with Percy's sister, Kismine, and wraps himself in a cozy illusion of security. He does not confront reality until Kismine unwittingly reveals the Washington's dirty little secret that her father Braddock has killed all past aviators before they could leave the house. John's first reaction to this news is one of outrage: "'And so,' cried John accusingly, 'and so you were letting me make love to you and pretending to return it, and talking about marriage, all the time knowing perfectly well that I'd never get out of here alive -'". (24) After the initial shock, John confronts reality and plans for an escape from the Washington's seemingly safe territory, which accounts for yet more disillusionment.

Also deceived by the seeming security of his territory, Braddock Washington resorts to an illusory option when the aero planes unexpectedly attack his diamond mountain. He decides to offer a bribe to God in exchange for the peace and welfare of his house. "'Oh, you above there!' The voice was strong and confident. There was no forlorn supplication. If anything, there was in it a quality of monstrous condescension." (31) Ironically, he faces the uttermost denial from a god in which he only believes in times of trouble: "God had refused to accept the bribe." (32) Thus rebuffed, Washington's final act is one of desperation: "Clear against the sky a broken, white-haired man was slowly descending the steep slope, followed by two gigantic and emotionless Negroes, who carried a burden between them which still flashed and glittered in the sun." (33) Unable to cope with the shock of rejection and defeat, Braddock retreats to his last option, he simply puts an end to everything, his life as well as those of the attackers and, most of all, his beloved mountain of diamond.

While Braddock dies with his disillusionment, his daughter Kismine escapes with her misconceptions of the world still intact. Having fled the explosion with her sister Jasmine and John, Kismine wakes up to a completely new existence when she realizes she has brought rhinestones, not diamonds, to support them for the rest of their lives. While Jasmine optimistically volunteers to take in laundry as a washwoman to support the three, Kismine recognizes the encroachment of a harsh new reality that signifies the end of her childhood bathed in diamonds:

"What a dream it was," Kismine sighed, gazing up at the stars. "How strange it seems to be here with one dress and a penniless fiance! ...I never noticed the stars before. I always thought of them as big diamonds that belonged to someone. Now they frighten me. They make me feel that it was all a dream, all my youth. (35)

The disenchantment of John T. Unger, Braddock Washington, and Kismine about diamonds supports the back cover's interpretation that "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz" portrays the intoxicating quest of wealth that inevitably results in disillusionment.


There was an old man of Glue - limerick by Kevin W., fourth grader, Fall of 2000

There was an old man of Glue
Whose favorite color was blue.
He asked a moose
"Which way is Toulouse?"
That old man of Glue


Something You Should Know About the "Tortoise and the Hare" - a reworking of a classic by Jason U., sixth grader, November 2000

Ever since we were little, Tortoise and I were enemies. I hated him, and he hated me. That's all there is to it. I hated him because he was a pest, and he hated me because I always beat him in everything.

One day, I was jogging, as usual. Then he came. That annoying shell-backed freak, I mean. "Hey, Hare!" he called. I replied with a grunt. Then he did the weirdest thing. He challenged me to a race! What kind of turtle asks a hare to race him? I assumed that he was once again trying to humiliate me, which he could never do, of course. Well, I run every chance I get, so I accepted the challenge with a "sure, whatever." He had it all planned out. It would be next Monday, the "big" race.

To prepare, I did nothing special. Hey, I was racing a tortoise, how hard could it be? In fact, if I just sat around eating junk food. I still would have beaten him. Every day I went out for a light jog. What really made me curious was that I never saw Tortoise working out. If I were the king of slowpokes, I would most likely train before racing a hare!

At last the day of the race came. I could finally get the thing over with. I set my water bottle beside a tree and went to the restroom. After I came back, my bottle was about a foot away from where I had placed it. When I picked it up, it looked as though someone had hastily tried to screw the cap on after removing it. Now, I tried not to be suspicious of Tortoise. One must never think ill about another without proof, I reminded myself. Instead, I assumed it was the wind or a bird of some sort that knocked into it. I took a quick drink and headed for the starting line.

The race soon started. As soon as the gun sounded, I was off like a bullet. I ran steadily until I could see the ribbon, which marked the end of the race. All of a sudden, I started getting dizzy. The next thing I remember was that I collapsed. Hours later, I woke up from a long sleep. I opened my eyes and what did I see? The turtle was already at the finish line! Shocked as could be, I sprinted after tortoise. Too late!

After doing a considerable amount of moaning and groaning, other animals of the town just rubbed it in by saying things like, "That Hare thinks he can beat just about anybody. Who does he think he is anyway? I hope he's humiliated forever!"

When I was walking home, I spotted Tortoise up ahead. He was strutting, proudly wearing a blue ribbon. I went up to him to congratulate him. I still hated his guts, but I thought being a good sport would make me feel somewhat better. I was just about to say, "Good job," when out fell a small bottle from his shell. Tortoise quickly grabbed it and stuffed it back. I couldn't clearly see it, but I could make out the words, "Sleeping Pills." It was hard not to jump to conclusions. It had been him! The water bottle and me collapsing during the race, it all made sense! I had been drugged!

Forget the "good job," I had to let the others know! For the rest of the day, I went around town telling people my discovery, but absolutely no one believed me! "Sore loser," they all called me. Unfortunately, all I could do was slump back home. To this day, nobody believes me. Mothers tell their children, "Don't be complacent like the Hare." Can you believe that? It's not me you shouldn't be like. It is Tortoise. Please, don't cheat!


There was an old man of Norway - limerick by Michael H., fourth grader, July of 2000

There was an old man of Norway
Who hit a golf ball in the fairway.
He jumped up and down,
Very much like a clown,
That enchanting old man of Norway


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