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Potomac Stories

Grades 10 and 11 Community Action Days

Grades 10 and 11 began their year of service together last Thursday and Friday as part of our Community Action Day Service Learning program. In advisory groups, students learned about, selected, and visited one of 18 local community partners across the DMV over the two days. Following their morning of service in the broader community, students returned to campus and participated in different “Changemaker Projects,” which offered an opportunity to continue serving others and our natural world on campus. Some students chose to serve our school community by removing invasive species on campus with Sean Conroy and Albert Pingree or reading and playing with Lower School students. Others chose to continue to serve the broader community by making birthday kits for the students of Second Story in Vienna, making welcome home kits for clients of New Hope Housing, or making literacy kits for the students at Arlington Housing Corporation. Check out galleries from grade 10 and grade 11

Many thanks to our community partners for hosting our students, for taking the time to educate them about the needs in our community, and for the ongoing important work being done in the greater DMV. Follow them on social media to learn more about the great work that they do: 

Red Wiggler Community Farm, Bikes for the World, Leveling the Playing Field, CentroNia, A Wider Circle, Rosemount Center, Food & Friends, Women Giving Back, Food for Others, Capital Area Food Bank, Habitat ReStore, Main Street Child Development Center, Chesterbrook Residences, Sasha Bruce, DC Central Kitchen, Washington Parks & People, Falls Church McLean Children’s Center, Common Good City Farm 

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Alumni Speakers Share Insights with Upper School

Career Lab: Security Robots on the Job! – The Alumni Office, in partnership with the Career and Professional Skills Committee (CAPSC), kicked off the Career Lab 2023-24 speaker series by hosting Erik Schluntz ’11. Erik is the co-founder and CTO of Cobalt Robotics, a 160-person company that has raised over $90M to build safety and security robots. He shared his journey as an entrepreneur and answered questions from our students. Read more about Erik in the Spring 2023 issue of The Term magazine.

Thanks to CAPSC seniors – Leila Bodner, Daelyn Dimps, Sofya Donets, Auden Easter, Nuna Endale, Nathanial Estes, Kerri Greene, Emmy Holland, Campbell Hughes, Madeleine Magielnicki, Will Mellis, Zoe Myslewicz, Paige Ramsey, Laith Weimer, and Abigail Woldgebriel – for their work in shaping this program.

Lunchtime Speaker: Chris Martin '14 Shares About Coffee, Anxiety, and Credit Card Debt – Chris Martin '14, a lifer, spoke to the Upper School about his time here as a student-athlete, his challenges and wins both in the classroom and on the football and basketball teams, and the deep bond he has maintained with his Potomac teachers and friends. He also answered questions and shared his vision for his company. 

Chris is the founder and CEO of the recently launched LA-based company Symphony, an SEC-compliant stock market for music. Chris and his co-founder, Kyle Rose, also have a podcast titled "Coffee, Anxiety, and Credit Card Debt," where they discuss the stories behind some of the world's most innovative companies, ranging from Twitch to Home Depot and Reformations to Glossier.

US Students Visit National Portrait Gallery

On Tuesday, students in Advanced United States History visited the National Portrait Gallery to see part of the permanent collection exhibit titled, Out of Many; Portraits from 1600 to 1900. Students examined the artist's choices about how the subject was portrayed and analyzed the museum curators' descriptions of the paintings. The knowledge gained from this experience will be applied to a unit project later this winter when students design their museum exhibits about American experiences during the Civil War. Students will choose what to include in their exhibit and how to frame those items in a historical context. The trip was a great reminder of the many museum opportunities we have in our area.

Grade 12 Community Action Day

On November 16, Potomac seniors engaged in their final Community Action Day, supporting 13 community partners across the DC metro area, including Cameron's Chocolates, the Greater DC Diaper Bank, and Higher Horizons. In the afternoon, the students selected a Changemaker Project, led by peer senior leaders, to continue serving others on campus. Making an impact both within and outside of our Potomac community, the seniors created 30 grab-and-go snack packs for families at Ronald McDonald House, prepared the LS and MS garden beds for the winter, boxed and sorted books to prepare our donations from the Book Fair, and engaged with Lower Schoolers. View a gallery of photos from the day and check out the full list of our community partnerships.

To feature the work and mission of our partners, the Upper School Service Learning Club took over Potomac’s Instagram stories that day. Check out the highlights @potomacschool to see the day from their eyes. 

Grade 9 Community Action Day

Last week, our ninth graders participated in their Community Action Day. Students engaged in volunteer opportunities with 14 local community partner organizations for a morning of service in the broader community. In the afternoon, students continued their day of service back on campus by engaging in changemaker projects. They chose from projects including repurposing activities, sorting donations to share with local organizations, or creating graduation cards for the women of Together We Bake. It was a full day of community engagement and service– many thanks to our community partners for hosting our students and teaching about community needs. View a photo gallery from the day and check out a full list of our community partnerships. Consider following them on social media to learn about more ways to serve. 

Sophomore SERC Students at MIT

Sophomores in the Science and Engineering Research Center (SERC) concentration traveled to MIT last week to meet with professors and tour labs. The purpose of the trip was to expose students to cutting-edge research in a variety of fields as they begin to explore a specific area for their SERC research projects. Students learned about research in various fields, including hydrogen fuel, nanoparticle-derived cancer treatments, and nuclear fusion. Ms. Laura Petro and Mr. Bill Peery accompanied students on the trip. 

Chinese Class Culture Exchange

The Advanced Chinese class had a virtual language and culture exchange with students from Yiwu, China. Mr. Doug McLane was joined by Mr. Shen, the Yiwu International School’s head, to present the program and underscore the profound significance of cross-culture connection. Throughout the exchange, students shared insights into their campus and daily lives, bridging geographical boundaries through the power of technology. They practiced their Chinese with native speakers, engaging in meaningful conversations and transcending linguistic barriers. The students also immersed themselves in one another's cultures, dispelling misconceptions and gaining a deeper appreciation for the beautiful tapestry of differences that make our world rich and diverse.