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Potomac Stories

Three US Students Accepted to Honor Orchestras

Congratulations to Charlotte Gabriel ’25, Miqy Khapra ’26, and Sasha Leifer ’26 for being three of the five Potomac students accepted to the 2023 VBODA District 12 Junior and Senior Honor Orchestras after highly competitive auditions in November. The other two students are from the IS. The orchestras, each made up of 80 of the best student string players in northern Virginia, will be led by Foster Beyers, director of orchestras at JMU, and Todd Parrish, a well-known string educator and composer. Each group will rehearse extensively before sharing the results of their hard work in a concert for friends, teachers, and families at 3:00 pm on Saturday, January 14, at Langley High School. All music enthusiasts are invited to attend!

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Senior Projects Showcases Range of Knowledge and Capabilities

This week, the Class of 2024 completed and presented their senior projects. The students worked on these during the month of May, sharing their progress in small groups once a week. At the conclusion of their projects, all of our graduates shared their work with their peers and faculty, effectively communicating what they learned, the challenges they overcame, and their hopes for future endeavors in presentations earlier this week. Lola Monroe, Laith Weimer, Nat Estes, Rachel Robbins, Mackenzie Fulgham, and Cole Griswold were selected to present at this year's Senior Project Showcase. Their projects included teaching in the Lower School, internships on Capitol Hill, research for a synagogue, and music production.

The Class of 2024 is an accomplished, creative, and hard-working group. Their diversity of skills and interests was reflected in their projects and included interning at a real estate development firm, creating unique works of art, supporting repairs and improvements to our campus, filming a documentary on the spring musical – Hairspray, coaching various teams on and off campus, training as a guide at Manassas Battlefield, shadowing health care providers, contributing to the work of a number of community partners, and running and writing about an experiment documenting the switch from a smart to a flip phone. Great job, class of 2024! You have so much to offer. 

SERC 10 students recently presented their research proposals. Students spent the past few months reading peer-reviewed journal articles, learning about their topics, and developing a research question to address a scientific issue that has yet to be answered. Proposals covered topics such as dietary changes to prevent colorectal cancer; the creation of apps and devices to enrich the lives of people with such ailments as lung disease, heart arrhythmia or apraxia of speech; the use of AI to study topics such as autoimmune diseases, upper limb prosthetics and antibiotic resistance; and designing enzymes, hydrogels or nanoparticles that can treat such issues as diabetes, degradation of plastics and the prevention of skin cancer. 

YouToo Tennis hosted its last session on Sunday, culminating a month-long spring program in partnership with the Autism Society of Northern Virginia (ASNV). The reciprocity between participating youth from ASNV and Upper School student volunteers was visible in each session, with all students benefiting from the meaningful experience together. A special thanks to YouToo leaders junios Anaahita Kaashyap, Sonali Sachdeva, and Cooper Schirmeier for their dedication throughout the year to help this 12-year service program continue to thrive. Thank you also to the US volunteers and the faculty chaperones, for their commitment, dedication, and engagement with our participants, making it a positive and meaningful experience for all. 

Grade 9 Water Testing and Research

Grade 9 biology classes have been busy with chemical and biological stream monitoring activities in Pimmit Run this week. This lesson is just one part of Potomac’s stream monitoring protocol that supports research published by the Virginia Save Our Streams program. The research began in the fall with students measuring chemical indicators of water quality, such as pH, dissolved oxygen, nitrate, and phosphate levels. In the winter, they measured salt levels before and after winter storms. Now, students are focusing on catching and counting the macroinvertebrates. For their final project, students will analyze and explain the data they've collected to propose an "action plan" for the Potomac community based on the results. Throughout, they will add their data to the Clean Water Hub - a collection of citizen science data on stream health. Our student objectives are to evaluate the many qualities of the section of Pimmit Run that passes through Potomac’s campus and better understand ecosystem principles in a real-life situation; to become a citizen scientist and contribute to a larger set of data; and to inform our community and consider being a change agent. Experience the lesson here.

You Can’t Stop the Beat!

This past weekend, Potomac Upper School theatre students presented the iconic Broadway musical Hairspray to record-breaking crowds! The musical blended students of all co-curriculars for the first time in Potomac School history and even included a live student pit band on stage! The musical was a tremendous success, leaving the audiences dancing out of the Langstaff Auditorium after every performance! Seniors taking their last Potomac bow on stage as performers, musicians, or working technical roles were Rachel Nelson, Jack Morgan, Elis Germanis, Graeme Evans, Isabella Sequar, and Katherine Kanner-Bitteti. View the gallery here.

Peter Chang Visits Potomac

Renowned chef Peter Chang recently visited Potomac, bringing his wealth of culinary experience and success. Students from various classes, including Chinese language courses, the Adventure, Food, and Travel English elective, and juniors and seniors in the EFEB program were given the unique opportunity to hear about Chef Chang's inspiring journey and how he built his culinary empire. He emphasized that there are no shortcuts to success; the key lies in diligence and perseverance. Chang, who now owns 16 successful restaurants, captivated students as he prepared a traditional Chinese dish – which they were delighted to sample!