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Potomac Stories

Students Learn About Angklung Instrument 

Lower School students recently participated in an educational program with visiting musicians, arranged by the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Washington, DC. The students learned about the angklung, an Indonesian musical instrument made from bamboo, which symbolizes unity and community. Topics included how and where the instruments are made, the significance of using bamboo, and the geographical layout of Indonesia and its more than 17,000 islands.

Professor Diah Ayu Maharani, DDS, PhD, the Educational and Cultural Attaché at the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, attended the program in support of bringing awareness of Indonesian culture to Potomac’s students. Read more

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Taylor Burris '24 continued her run of success, finishing fourth at the Harvard National High School Invitational Forensics Tournament in extemp, was runner-up at Metro Extemp Finals, and added the Metro championship in impromptu to her list of accomplishments. Placing at Harvard is difficult as nearly 5,000 students from 462 U.S. and international high schools traveled to this year's tournament.

Sebastian Gardner '25 semi-finaled at Harvard in congressional debate, matching our highest finish at the Harvard debates in five years. Gardner and Armaan Sethi '26 both won leadership awards at Harvard.  Ethan Maher '25 was invited to the prestigious Harvard Congressional round-robin tournament the day before the main event. Alexander Bauer '25 joined Sethi and Maher with a quarter-final finish. Graeme Evans '24 also advanced to the quarter-finals for Potomac in humorous interpretation at Harvard.

The speech students only had a few days to recover from Harvard as they faced the challenges at the WACFL Speech Metro Finals this past Saturday, winning team sweeps for the metro schools in Northern Virginia.  

Burris' Metro title in impromptu speaking led the speech effort. Isabella Chumpitaz '24 was the runner-up in oral interpretation. Charlotte Ross '26, Meredith Vorndran '25, Burris, and eighth grader Anika Agrawal qualified for two events for the NCFL tournament. Finally, congratulations to Thomas Shanmugam '26 and William Shanmugam '27 on their wins at the DCUDL public forum tournament this past weekend!  

AI Assembly Tackles Hot Topics

On Tuesday, the newly formed Upper School AI student committee hosted an assembly focused on the potential benefits and challenges of generative artificial intelligence. Students moderated a panel of three leaders in AI – U.S. Congressman Don Beyer, Professor Brian Hall, and Dr. Sarah Murphy Gray – who spoke to this technology's influence in politics, sports, defense, business, social media, and beyond. All three described themselves as "AI optimists," with a real sense of how AI could transform the world positively, but they guided students not to lose touch with the humanities as we learn these tools. Student moderators Kasim Khapra '25, India Cairncross '25, and Arav Bhargava '24 demonstrated real leadership in facilitating a discussion with the panelists and soliciting questions from the audience. This assembly was first and foremost student-generated, and it was exciting to watch their work over several months pay off. View photos from the discussion.

Romeo and Juliet Captivates 

Congratulations to the cast and crew of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Their performances over the weekend showed the wide range of talent here at Potomac. Read the preview of the show from The Current, written by Trevor Nelson ’27 and Brandon Mayrhofer ’27. Please view the photo gallery.

Grade 3 Scientists Share Experiments

Last Friday’s Grade 3 Science Fair was a day of discovery, learning, and excitement. Over the past month, our third grade scientists worked on perfecting their experiments in preparation for their presentations to the Potomac community. Some projects explored extracting DNA from strawberries, honey crystallization, what liquids help plants grow, and beta fish behavior. Check out the photos

Learning About Biodiversity on Smithsonian Field Trip

Students in the Biodiversity & Conservation class traveled to the Natural History Museum to participate in the Reefs Unleashed program led by museum staff. Students learned about Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS), a nondestructive tool that Smithsonian scientists use to measure the biodiversity of coral reefs all over the world, then observed and analyzed data from images of ARMS plates to better understand the impact of ocean acidification on coral reefs. Applying their knowledge of marine ecosystems to their observations, students developed hypotheses to explain the differences in reef biodiversity. 

Lunar New Year Parade

The Middle School has celebrated the Lunar New Year in several ways these past few weeks. Most recently, fifth graders wound their way around campus to celebrate the Year of the Dragon with their annual Lunar New Year dragon parade. This was the first year that second graders joined the parade. View the photo gallery here.