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Life Skills at Potomac

Based on course enrollments, the growth of the Investment Club, and the popularity of Shark Tank-style projects in the Upper School, we know that financial literacy, economics, and entrepreneurship are topics that spark our students’ interest. In addition, Potomac defines financial literacy as one of the critical life skills that we aim to help all students develop. After several months of focused discussion, Upper School faculty and administrators have created a pilot concentration program to allow deeper exploration of one or more of these topics of interest. 

The Economics, Finance, Entrepreneurship, and Business Concentration (EFEB) pilot is open to any rising junior, with the exception of those who are already enrolled in another Potomac concentration program. This new concentration requires student participation during their junior and senior years, as well as over four weeks of the summer in between. In addition to summer work and a senior capstone project, EFEB asks students to choose from a variety of courses that already exist within our Upper School program. An expression of interest form was shared with the sophomores and is due by June 7. We are excited to offer this pilot opportunity to the Class of 2024!

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  • financial-literacy


Speech and Debate Continues Strong Performances

Ranked 79 in the nation, Potomac’s speech and debate team has had several strong performances this year. In late October, 18 debaters competed in the 40th Annual Florida Blue Key tournament at the University of Florida, placing fourth against larger Florida programs. While at UF, Taylor Burris '24 placed second in both extemp and impromptu speaking. Ethan Maher '25 placed third in congressional debate.  

Separately, 41 team members recently traveled to Philadelphia for the Villiger tournament at St. Joseph's University. It was our program's best Villiger performance in memory, placing fourth overall against some of the nation's best programs. Potomac students faced and won many rounds against the nation's first- and third-ranked programs at Villiger. 

The most notable wins came in the final round of congressional debate as Armaan Sethi '26 and Sebastian Gardner '25 finished first and second, respectively. Those performances were backed up by Adrian Atwater '24 and Maher, who also advanced to the finals. Burris and Hannah de Souza ’25 continue their leadership in speech events with a season-long series of high placements. 

Two additional debaters won the inaugural Brown University Public Forum tournament in early November. Congratulations to Sasha Leifer '26 and Tristan Mankovsky '27 on their championship.

Grade 2 Visits the National Museum of the American Indian

Second graders recently took a field trip to the National Museum of the American Indian! Students were able to explore and think about how culture is conveyed through stories, dance, music, art, and values. Teachers helped students find examples of how where you live affects how you live. It was an educational day, and the students enjoyed the museum.

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.

National Flags and Cultural Identity

Ms. Christina Salamone’s and Ms. Tracy Jaeger’s Spanish 3 classes enjoyed a recent visit to the Lower School for some exploration and inspiration for their Hispanic Heritage Month project. After delving into questions about identity terms such as Hispanic, Latino, Latinx, and Latine, students viewed the flags of all 21 Spanish-speaking countries and perused the many materials and visuals posted in the LS hallway. Each student selected a particular flag and country of interest to research. The final product was a series of oral presentations and conversations about the diverse cultural identities and culture depicted on many of the Hispanic flags studied. Thank you to our LS colleagues for sharing your space and display with us.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the eighth grade math classes each enjoyed a visit from Potomac parents, past and present, along with alumni, to discuss financial literacy. The eighth grade students are currently exploring long term growth of monetary investments and exponential growth in their curriculum, and the speakers, who are all experts in finance and financial literacy, helped the students dig deeper into this important topic. 

Indigenous People’s Day Assembly

Last Friday, the Upper School gathered in the Crossroads to recognize Indigenous People's Day. The assembly began with a land acknowledgment read by Nadia Pardesi, Lower School math specialist and DEI coordinator. Following this acknowledgment, Charaun Wills, Upper School science teacher and DEI coordinator, helped to explain the purpose of land acknowledgments and the purpose of our assembly. Robert von Glahn, Upper School history teacher, and grade 12 dean, and Austin Davis, Upper School English teacher and director of student life, then walked our students and faculty through an activity that would help not only acknowledge the history of indigenous people but center their voices in describing the present reality of their communities. To conclude the assembly, students were encouraged to visit a map produced by Native Land Digital to explore which indigenous communities have lived in places important to them. Once students identified these communities, they followed links provided in the map to learn more. Overall, students and faculty alike were able to identify the historical presence of indigenous peoples in our country and challenge commonly held myths and stereotypes about indigenous peoples and their communities.