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!
Congratulations to the seven Potomac seniors who have qualified as semifinalists in the 69th annual National Merit Scholarship Program! Katharine Kanner-Bitetti, Kate Tuttle, Audrey Rentzepis, Abigail Park, Paul Witkop, Daniel Overdeck, and Max Zeldes (l to r) are among just 16,000 high school seniors nationwide to receive this recognition. Semifinalists can continue in the competition for approximately 7,140 National Merit Scholarships, worth nearly $28 million, which will be awarded next spring.
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
Wishing the Potomac Class of 2023 a year filled with new opportunities, personal growth, continued curiosity, balance, purpose, and enjoyment. As you head to college, know that our community is cheering you on – for you are prepared, capable, principled individuals with extraordinary potential to be changemakers. We hope you form strong communities and that you will share your generosity of spirit wherever life takes you! Go well! (And please keep in touch!)
Over the last two months, the US Service Learning Club engaged in a project to create 120 summer learning kits for rising first through fifth grade students served by Potomac's community partner, Arlington Housing Corporation (AHC). Club leaders conceived the idea for the service project in response to the learning loss experienced by AHC youth during the pandemic. To begin, club leaders brainstormed with education staff member Laney Parrott from AHC to plan the kit contents collaboratively. They partnered with Lower School learning specialists to identify developmentally appropriate enrichment games. Each kit includes math and reading games, a summer reading bookmark, and an "inspirational message" coloring page with a handwritten note from a club member. On Tuesday, Laney visited Potomac to meet student leaders and pick up the kits that will be used during summer camp and later gifted to provide at-home learning resources. Thank you to US students for helping empower summer learning among local youth!
Congratulations to 11 of our students for being named Academic All-Americans by the National Speech and Debate Association – a new school record. These students were recognized by the large crowd at the annual debate banquet two weeks ago. This year's winners are Mika Dewar '23, Taylor Burris '24, Abigail Woldgebriel '24, Graeme Evans '24, Elizabeth Forster '24, and Adrian Atwater '24.
Five seniors won the award as second-semester juniors last year. Those students are Ben Joel, Pippa Westland, Shelby Willcox, Olivia Eads, and Natalie Roots-Nowakowski.
Last week the ASIA Club hosted an assembly to recognize AANHPI Heritage Month. In the cozy setting of the lower Crossroads, students gathered to view a short PBS film, A People's History of Asian America. The film was followed by a panel of students and faculty, Mr. Lu, Kate Choi '25, Bella Kim '25, Emma Chun '23, and Sahil Sardar '25, moderated by Michelle Ahn '23 and Christian Lam '25. The panelists shared their experiences growing up as Asian Americans, their relationships to their families and cultures, and how they hope to share their identity and culture with others. They also spoke about their Asian American role models and favorite Asian dishes. Thank you to the panelists for sharing stories and personal memories.