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Life Skills at Potomac

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!! 

  • cultural-competence
  • life-skills
  • pp-04-20-2023
  • world-languages


Lunar New Year Parade

The Middle School has celebrated the Lunar New Year in several ways these past few weeks. Most recently, fifth graders wound their way around campus to celebrate the Year of the Dragon with their annual Lunar New Year dragon parade. This was the first year that second graders joined the parade. View the photo gallery here.

ASIA Club Hosts NBC4 News Anchor

Last week, the US ASIA (Asian Students In America) Club hosted its annual assembly and invited guest speaker Ms. Eun Yang to Potomac. Ms. Yang is the primetime news anchor at NBC4 Washington. She shared about her childhood growing up as an immigrant in PG County, her experiences in college that led her to broadcasting, and some of the challenges she has faced throughout her career, including the time that she was fired! Ms. Yang encouraged students to work hard and believe they are more than their grades and transcript. We thank Ms. Yang for coming to Potomac. 

Sophomores recently had an opportunity for a meaningful visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Students were invited to learn about the atrocities committed during the Holocaust but also to bear witness to resilience and resistance despite the unspeakable horrors of World War 2. Our students engaged with artifacts with the utmost respect, and some even had the chance to speak with survivors after a tour of the exhibits. Beyond the connections to lessons in their history and English classes, our sophomores had the opportunity to reflect on human suffering along with a persistent spirit of hope. After returning from the trip, students joined small groups to share what they learned and experienced in the museum, ensuring that the lessons of the Holocaust continue to resonate and inform our understanding of history and humanity. 

Grade 9 History Explores World Religions

The grade 9 history class, Early Civilization and Global Contact, completed their annual unit on major world religions with a panel featuring Potomac faculty members Shveta Khullar, Nadia Pardesi, Antonietta Pilkerton, and Sharon Stein. The panel spoke to the entire grade about what religion looks like in each of their lives and the benefits and challenges of living and working in a religiously diverse community. The panel was a great way to bring to life the work ninth graders have been doing in class over the past few weeks, and we're thankful for our faculty members who enthusiastically jumped at this opportunity to share a part of their lives with our community. 

Student Leaders Speak at Affinity/Alliance Groups Special Assembly

On Monday afternoon, eighth grade student leaders and members of the IS’s affinity and alliance groups spoke at an IS assembly. Matthew Bodi, Winn Chamberlain, Sarah Cheney, Esther Choi, Ismail Karim, Alya Khan, Alex Runde, and Jenna Zee recalled memorable moments, described what their groups mean to them, and shared what their groups are looking forward to this winter and spring. In addition, the IS community learned about upcoming related events: an opt-in pizza lunch for IS students who identify as mixed-race, a new affinity group for boys interested in joining a new affinity group, and Upper School affinity groups that will join the IS groups for cross-divisional gatherings.

The Holocaust and Human Behavior class visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum before the break. During the semester, they began by studying the roots of antisemitism and scientific racism before the Weimar Republic and the eventual rise of the Nazi party. They then considered how the gradual build-up of Nazi policies against Jews led to the Final Solution and the destruction of Jewish communities across Europe. They also examined Nazi policies against other groups of people in Europe at the time. Understanding these ideas helped students explore the museum in depth as they pondered the choices that individuals made during this era. They will continue using their new understanding as they work on their final projects for the semester.