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Potomac Stories

HSA Hosts Lunchtime Conversation

To mark the end of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Upper School's Hispanic Student Alliance hosted a lunchtime conversation featuring Silvia Thornton Freeman, director of education and arts engagement at DC's GALA Hispanic Theatre. In a conversation facilitated by club leader Tea Picconatto '22, Ms. Thornton Freeman spoke about the history of GALA and her role there. A Bolivian-American arts manager who has worked in the nonprofit arts sector for 15 years. Ms. Thornton Freeman came to GALA in 2009 as an intern and was later hired to facilitate student matinees. In this role, she solidified GALA’s Education Department by creating winning marketing strategies, building strong relationships with schools, and more. Mr. McLane treated the luncheon attendees to sopapillas, a sweet treat, at the conclusion of the conversation. 

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Game Changers Ice Skating with Second Story Returns

Last Wednesday, 12 members of the US Game Changers program hosted 14 guests from Second Story at the Pentagon Row Ice Skating Rink for an evening of skating, fun, and pizza. Students from both Second Story and Potomac celebrated the return of this long-standing event, a first time in three years. And for many of the students from Second Story, this was their first time ice skating. Thanks to Game Changers leaders Sally Bedell ‘23 and Sophia Smith ‘23 for helping to organize the meaningful event! Game Changers is a weekly mentoring program, hosted virtually and in person, each Wednesday evening during the Winter Sports season.

Lunar New Year Celebration

Tuesday brought a variety of performances, games, and opportunities for students to learn about and celebrate the Lunar New Year. From a professional Chinese opera performance to student-led performances arranged by US Chinese teacher Carol Jia, the assembly showcased some of the ways people around the world ring in the Lunar New Year. Afterward, the Crossroads was abuzz, with a calligraphy station, a chopstick competition, and a masterclass in making (and eating) dumplings, thanks to a crew of parent volunteers. Appreciation and applause to the students who modeled tremendous courage in getting up on stage and performing in a non-native tongue. Happy Year of the Rabbit!

"Shark Tank" Comes to the Upper School

Each fall, budding Potomac entrepreneurs spend a semester experiencing the realities of the business world, where creativity and practical skills combine to develop innovative ideas that work. This week, students in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, an Economics, Finance, Entrepreneurship, and Business Concentration (EFEB) course, culminated their semester experience with Shark Tank-style presentations in front of a team of volunteer sharks made up of Potomac faculty and staff, alumni, and Assistant Head of School Tim Jaeger.

Thirty-three students pitched a variety of products that included versatile and customizable sports/leisure bags (Buildable Bags), a contraption that disinfects and deodorizes sports equipment (Locker Room Hero), a baby swing that mimics a mother’s embrace (Huggy Hammock), and an eco-friendly confetti launcher for celebrations (Conservation Confetti). The panel of sharks asked probing questions about finances, marketing plans, future growth, logo selection, and more. They also offered their experience and guidance, which was well-received by all of the students.

Thanks go to alumni Abby Sullivan ’97, Reed Landry ’99, and Andrew Serafin ’92 for spending time with our students. Sean Moran and Harry Strong teach the class. Read more in Discovering an Entrepreneurial Spirit. 

This Tuesday morning's assembly offered opportunities for several students to share about interesting and engaging project-based assessments they completed during the first semester. Two groups from James Gillespie's Advanced Python Programming class (seniors Ben Bartlett, Devon Cleaver, Rohan Iyer, Caroline Norton, Tea Picconatto, and Samantha Taylormoore) presented classic games that they coded; two students from Jeremy Metz's Advanced Ethics class discussed using an ethical framework to better understand and debate divisive topics such as the death penalty, gun control, and animal rights; and members of Mia Fisher-Phillips' ensemble theatre classes shared about a project where they designed make-up and costumes, using recycled materials, for a hypothetical performance. The creative ways our teachers are testing their students' knowledge and skills never ceases to amaze!

Zahra Arabzada visits Potomac

Friday's assembly speaker was the impressive Zahra Arabzada, an activist for the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan. Ms. Arabzada shared her story of traveling to the United States to receive her education at St. George's School in Newport, RI, and then attending Hobart & William Smith Colleges. She now lives and works in Washington, DC, and during the withdrawal of American troops last summer, she helped secure the safe passage of her family from Afghanistan to Canada. Read More

A Great Student Diversity Leadership Conference

Six Potomac juniors recently attended the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) in San Antonio, TX, held in conjunction with the National Association of Independent Schools' annual People of Color Conference (PoCC). Potomac faculty and staff participated in PoCC while the students were taking part in SDLC.

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