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Potomac Stories

Architecture: A Regional Classroom

Upper School architecture students recently made two local site visits to gather first-hand information for design projects. Architecture 1 students explored the neighborhood around the historic Friendship Baptist Church as they reflected on the history of Southwest DC. This extra context will help them to imagine a respectful new use for the deconsecrated church.

Advanced architecture students visited historic Lockhouse #25 to learn about the Canal's 200-year history and seven renovated lock-keeper's houses. This is part of a collaborative design challenge in partnership with the local non-profit organization, The Canal Trust, to imagine and model 21st-century overnight lodgings for travelers along the 185-mile C&O Canal towpath.

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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.

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. 

ASIA Club Hosts NBC4 News Anchor

Last week, the US ASIA (Asian Students In America) Club hosted its annual assembly and invited guest speaker Ms. Eun Yang to Potomac. Ms. Yang is the primetime news anchor at NBC4 Washington. She shared about her childhood growing up as an immigrant in PG County, her experiences in college that led her to broadcasting, and some of the challenges she has faced throughout her career, including the time that she was fired! Ms. Yang encouraged students to work hard and believe they are more than their grades and transcript. We thank Ms. Yang for coming to Potomac. 

Career Lab Highlights Variety of Professions

Last week, the Career and Professional Skills Committee and the Alumni Office hosted Jack Moore ’11, producer at Bethesda Game Studios; Bria Peace ’16, assistant vice president at Bank of America Wealth Management on the Hedge Fund Origination team; and Naki Franklin ’17, YouTube channel operations coordinator for Nickelodeon as panelists for this year's second Career Lab for juniors and seniors. They shared their insights and advice on their journey after Potomac, their jobs, and their perspectives on work and the future of work.