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Student Leadership

Vision & commitment

At Potomac, student input is valued, especially when it impacts the community and student experience. Leadership opportunities begin in kindergarten and evolve in multi-faceted ways by the time students arrive in the Upper School. 

While leadership is an umbrella term that covers a variety of life competencies like executive functioning, self-efficacy, initiative, motivation, and critical thinking and problem-solving – we provide our students with opportunities to grown their confidence and leadership skills using the lessons from Potomac's Life Skill and Public Speaking curriculum. 

Some opportunities include:

  • Leading clubs and committees
  • Peer leadership
  • Peer tutoring
  • Student Government Association
  • Leading Lunchtime Conversations
  • Service Learning Student Leaders
  • YouToo Tennis
  • Transformations 'n Tutoring (TNT)

I currently lead the Fem n' STEM Club, an interdivisional initiative aimed at empowering young girls in STEM fields through a variety of fun STEM-themed activities. We work with the administration of multiple divisions to coordinate regular meetings for these activities, as well as maintain a social media account and organize activities for the Upper School as well. Being selected to lead the spring of my sophomore year, was really meaningful, as I got to become the role model whom I once looked up to.

Grace Lee '23

empowering students TO TAKE THE LEAD

Potomac has a primary responsibility is to amplify the lives of students, specifically by empowering them to mold the kinds of experiences that distinguish Potomac and make it exceptional. As an administrator who teaches, coaches and advises, US faculty member Jake Westermann sees the ways in which students are impacted by opportunities at Potomac, the lessons they learn, and the skills they develop. Mr. Westermann meets weekly with the Student Government Association, pulls together student committees, oversees the school’s clubs program, runs lunchtime conversations, and works directly with student leaders in numerous capacities.

He described three recent examples of ways the school has empowered students: establishing financial literacy student leaders; hosting a Model UN conference; and forming a student committee focused on increasing equity at Potomac. These three examples reveal common threads: students taking the lead on important scholastic initiatives with faculty providing guidance and logistical knowledge. Potomac students were empowered – given the agency that enabled their ideas to flourish.

Collaborating to Strengthen Community Action

Student leaders from the Service Learning Club and Student Diversity Leadership Conference collaborated with faculty to strengthen the Upper School’s Community Action Program (CAP). The group discussed ways to center the program around equity and empower student leaders. The ideas generated will inform our programming this year and in the future. 

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Girls wear sweaters on beach


The Potomac Upper School Summer Leadership Seminar is a multi-day workshop, combining virtual and in-person meetings focusing on the relationship of character, commitment, empathy, service, and other life skills in the development of leadership. Open to all students in grades 11-12, the program changes each year to emphasize different aspects of leadership training.

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The Upper School participated in activities designed to encourage conversations around equity and inclusion. The event was facilitated by students who have attended the Student Diversity Leadership Conference and affinity group leaders.

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Upper School Lunchtime Conversations

Lunchtime Conversations in the Upper School is a panel discussion series that focuses on current events and topics of interest suggested by student clubs. As many student clubs in the Upper School are affinity or alliance based, some conversations allow students to explore how current events intersect with parts of their identity. The Hispanic Student Alliance hosted a conversation featuring GALA (Grupo de Artistas LatinoAmericanos) Hispanic Theatre’s Director of Education and Arts Engagement, Silvia Thorton Freeman. The event was in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month and gave students an opportunity to learn about GALA’s commitment to providing opportunities for Latino artists, educating the youth, and engaging communities in an exchange of ideas and perspectives. The Virginia Teen Democrats and the Middle Eastern North African Alliance student clubs jointly hosted a lunchtime conversation focusing on the political and cultural oppression of women in the region. By exploring movements of resistance and examples of female bravery and perseverance, those in attendance were able to develop informed opinions about the events in Iran and explore their responsibilities as global citizens in addressing the current issues.