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Potomac Stories

Intermediate School Students at All-District Band

Last month, 12 Intermediate School band students auditioned for the VBODA District 12 Honor Band, competing against 300 of the top middle school band students across Fairfax County. Five Potomac eighth graders were selected to be in the junior band: Luka Beslic, Sam Kim, Brandon Mayrhofer, Josh Reinecke, and William Shanmugam. The All-District Band event was held this past weekend. The students rehearsed for three days under the direction of renowned composer/conductor Brian Balmages, then performed a concert at Oakton High School. Congratulations to our band students!

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Grade 8 Capstone Projects Completed

Congratulations to the grade 8 students for completing and presenting their Capstone Projects on Wednesday, May 29. Each student produced a short documentary that captured a story of their own to share self-exploration. Through these stories, the students learned how to document a story via video and the power of moving past a “single story” to uncover connections, awareness, and empathy. Students' documentaries are available to watch via the Capstone website. Check out photos from their presentations.

Community Action Day!

On Monday, both grades left campus for their Community Action Days. The seventh grade community action program focuses on the environment, and the whole grade spent the day at the Alice Ferguson Foundation in Accokeek, MD. The eighth grade program focuses on food insecurity. Students spent their morning with six different community partners that address food insecurity in the local community. Students worked in community gardens, sorted donations, and delivered meals to those in need. After returning to campus, eighth graders practiced gratitude and wrote thank you cards to the community partner they spent the morning with. View the grade 7 and grade 8 photo galleries. 

Spanish Trip to the National Gallery of Art

The eighth grade Advanced Spanish class put their docent skills into practice viewing Spanish art in both the West and East wings of the National Gallery. The students have been studying how to discuss art by using Visual Thinking Strategies from Harvard's Project Zero. Student pairs led us to see Dalí, Picasso, Rivera, Gris, and Miro. Each pair led us through a thinking routine that led to spontaneous conversation in Spanish. To round out the trip, the class had lunch at Tìa Pepa next door to the famous Spanish Taberna del Alabardero. Students dined on Spanish favorites like gazpacho, jamon ibérico, and empanadas.

Let’s Dance Salsa and Bachata!

On Tuesday, IS students in eighth grade Spanish classes took a break from the classroom to visit Spangler and try out their Latin dance moves in the Fleming Multipurpose Room. Joined by a professional Latin dance instructor, students learned more about salsa and bachata and the basic steps of the two dances. After the lesson, the group enjoyed Latin American savory snacks and sweet treats outside the dance studio. It was clear that after a bit of practice, everyone felt the rhythm and enjoyed this cultural experience!   

Student Leaders Speak at Affinity/Alliance Groups Special Assembly

On Monday afternoon, eighth grade student leaders and members of the IS’s affinity and alliance groups spoke at an IS assembly. Matthew Bodi, Winn Chamberlain, Sarah Cheney, Esther Choi, Ismail Karim, Alya Khan, Alex Runde, and Jenna Zee recalled memorable moments, described what their groups mean to them, and shared what their groups are looking forward to this winter and spring. In addition, the IS community learned about upcoming related events: an opt-in pizza lunch for IS students who identify as mixed-race, a new affinity group for boys interested in joining a new affinity group, and Upper School affinity groups that will join the IS groups for cross-divisional gatherings.

Math Problem Solvers

This week, a dedicated group of IS problem solvers took on the challenges of the Mathematical Association of America’s AMC 8 math contest, a 25-question, 40-minute, multiple-choice examination designed to promote the development of problem-solving skills. Topics included, but were not limited to, counting and probability, estimation, proportional reasoning, elementary geometry, including the Pythagorean Theorem, spatial visualization, everyday applications, and reading and interpreting graphs and tables. While this is a national competition, Potomac emphasizes participating for the joy of embracing non-routine tasks and the opportunity to challenge oneself as a problem solver. Congratulations to the participants!