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Life Skills at Potomac

Capstone project

The eighth grade Capstone Project empowered students to find a story to tell. In this project, students learned about various forms and structures of storytelling. They each produced a 4-7 minute documentary that captured a story of their own or of a family or community member. Through these stories, the students not only learned how to document a story via video but also the power of moving past a “single story” to uncover connections, awareness, and empathy. Select students were invited to present their documentaries to the IS community.

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Speech and Debate Earn Top 5 Finish

The Potomac Speech and Debate program finished in the top five of all schools at the NCFL Grand Nationals this past weekend in Louisville, KY. The top five schools are awarded the Daniel Masterton Award for Forensics Excellence. The award represents the equivalent of a national team championship.  

Potomac was led by Taylor Burris '24. Taylor finished third in Extemporaneous Speaking. A strong performance in Public Forum debate led to a quarterfinal finish for Olivia Eads '23 and Natalie Roots-Nowakowski '23. Meredith Vorndran '25 was a semi-finalist in Congressional Debate, Hannah de Souza '25 quartered in Declamation, and Abigail Woldgebriel '24 made it to the octo final in Extemp. 

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. 

Ninth Graders Visit African American History Museum

Ninth graders visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture on Wednesday, April 19. Touring the museum in small groups, students found connections to their studies in biology, history, and English. After returning to campus, students reflected on their museum experiences through writing, art, and discussion. We were happy to return to the NMAAHC after a three-year hiatus and expect this trip to be an important touchstone for future ninth graders.

The members of the Hispanic Student Alliance led an assembly last Thursday to celebrate Hispanic culture. The students of the Upper School saw two contrasting samples of dance: Natalia Vilela's ‘24 traditional Peruvian dance "La Marinera" and Peyton Zarate’s ‘23 modern dance creation to Ricky Martin's "She Bangs." The audience was also treated to introductions and comments by Sophia Vilela ‘26, Alejandra Villafuerte ‘26, Ben Levy ‘25, N. Vilela, and Tea Picconatto ‘23 about the individual importance of their heritage, including learning some phrases in the traditional languages that their relatives speak. Another special moment was when Isabella Chumpitaz ‘24 shared pictures and the multiple emotions of her recent trip to Peru, when she got to see her full extended family for the first time. Picconatto concluded the assembly by sharing with us the joys and traumas of her family's departure from Cuba, before singing "Dos Oruguitas" from the Disney movie Encanto. ¡¡Mil Gracias!! 

Students hold flags on school stage
The commitment to diversity, inclusion, and cultural appreciation that Around the World reflects is deeply ingrained at The Potomac School. Last Friday's celebration reflected the strength and vibrancy of our community.
During the school day, classes visited the exhibits and spoke with the parents staffing the booths without the press of crowds. In the evening, things came to life as families filled Spangler to enjoy the Parade of Flags, student performances, engaging displays, and a delicious global tasting menu. A huge thank you to everyone who helped bring this meaningful event to life and to our performers who proudly shared their talents and cultures with us. Special thanks go to our 2023 event co-chairs, Haneez Zattam-Amr and Janet Manu, for their incredible dedication and hard work, and seniors Bethel Girma and Keyana McLennon for emceeing the performance portion of the event. See a photo gallery from Around the World here.
Ukraine Meal Packing

The Potomac community packed 20,000 meals last weekend for families impacted by the crisis in Ukraine.  Dozens of Potomac families joined the meal-packing effort organized by The Fathers Association of The Potomac School and the Parent Cultural Competence Committee. Students from the Upper School’s Global Perspectives and Citizenship (GPAC) program also were important partners in this great service event.