The Spangler Center for Athletics and Community 

A Potomac School education integrates academics, arts, and athletics, challenging students to develop their interests and talents in diverse areas. Physical education and athletics are an important part of the overall picture, reflecting Potomac's commitment to health and well-being, sportsmanship, teamwork, and the development of leadership skills. 

The Spangler Center, opened in November 2019, supports Potomac's robust athletics program, which fields 71 teams at various levels (intermediate, junior varsity, and varsity) in 25 interscholastic sports. The facility also offers resources to promote health and wellness, including a fitness center, a strength and conditioning room, a multipurpose studio, and an indoor jogging/walking track. 

The Spangler Center's flexible spaces can be configured for a variety of academic, athletic, and social events -- and its gymnasium is an indoor space large enough to accommodate the entire Potomac community for K-12 assemblies and other gatherings.

At Potomac, school spirit and a strong sense of community are important. The Spangler Center is an amazing resource that brings the campus community together and fuels our PANTHER PRIDE!

Spangler Center for Athletics and Community
Spangler Center
Thanksgiving Assembly

The Center will include:

  • a gymnasium with two full-size competition courts for basketball and volleyball, and divider curtains that allow for three full-size cross-court practice spaces
  • an indoor jogging/walking track
  • seven squash courts with spectator seating
  • a fitness center, strength and conditioning room, and multipurpose studio, all outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment and technology
  • a team meeting room, athletics offices, and conference room
  • the "Panther Den" student lounge
  • flexible gathering spaces that can be configured to accommodate a wide variety of academic, athletic, and social events
Anne Gao and one of her masks

Sincere thanks go to fifth grader Anne Gao and her family for donating 36,000 single-use face masks to the Potomac community. This was Anne’s brainchild, and she designed the masks herself. Just before Thanksgiving Break, Anne did some research and discovered that three-layer single-use masks can sometimes be more effective than simple cloth masks.

She explains, “I learned that a lot of fabric masks get thinner and less protective after they’ve been washed. I thought about what I could do to help people stay safe, and that’s when I got the idea.”

Anne developed the design for her mask – Potomac panther paws and the letter “P” on a blue background – and then her family arranged to have a generous supply of them produced.

The masks, which come in both child and adult sizes, were delivered to Potomac in late December. Some were distributed to families, faculty, and staff during the community-wide COVID-19 testing that occurred after Winter Break. Additional masks will be available around campus. Anne notes, “Whenever someone needs a mask, they will be able to grab one.”

Ultimately, Anne says, her wish is that “everyone in the Potomac community will stay safe and healthy.” Potomac thanks Anne’s for her creativity and thoughtfulness and the Gao family for their generosity. 

Kay Rollins

Big congratulations are in order for Kay Rollins ’21 on her debate success this past weekend. Kay competed virtually in the Billy Tate Southern Bell Montgomery Bell Academy (MBA) Tournament, which is only open to the top 16 high school extemporaneous speakers in the nation. This was Kay’s fourth year competing in this event. She remains the only freshman ever invited, returned for her sophomore and junior years, and swept the competition this year, earning first place and officially ranking #1 in the nation in extemporaneous speaking.

“This is a student who puts in the work when nobody’s paying attention,” reflects Potomac Speech and Debate Coach Harry Strong. “Winning a championship is not luck; it’s always won on work, and Kay works. She knows how to do it productively and she does it well beyond practice time. She is exceptionally well prepared, and it shows.”

Kay says, “I remember attending this tournament to watch my peers compete when I was in eighth grade, and I looked up to those students for so long. It is surreal to be one of those people now. Neither I nor my coaches have had a real winter break for years because we spend the time doing tournament prep, so it has been incredibly rewarding to see those sacrifices pay off.”

She is now looking forward to four National Championship events in April, May, and June. This includes the Tournament of Champions, which she has won for two consecutive years.

Kay has been involved in Potomac speech and debate for five years and competes in original oratory and public forum debate as well as extemporaneous speaking. At college next year, she plans to “continue debate in some capacity, maybe as a college-level competitor in parliamentary debate or by coaching high schoolers.” She hopes to major in either government studies or international relations.

Ben Choi

Congratulations to Ben Choi ’22, who was just named the second-place winner in the Polyspectra Make It Real 3-D Printing Challenge! This competition examines entrants’ 3-D printing designs and provides finalists with the materials to make their dreams a reality.

Ben, a junior in Potomac’s SERC program, became the challenge’s youngest finalist for his prototype of a prosthetic arm, controlled by a neural electrode placed on the scalp. Ben explains, “My initial inspiration came from watching a documentary about neural interfaces being used to control prosthetic limbs. A lot of them cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and require risky open-brain surgery, so I thought if I could make it less invasive and less expensive, that would result in prosthetic limbs being much more accessible.”

As the second-place winner, Ben has won $5,000 worth of materials, product testing, and other services that will help him move his project out of the prototype phase. Click here to learn more about Ben and the competition.

This has been a great year for Ben so far. In addition to this honor, he was named a 2019-20 U.S. Squash Scholar, and he was also selected for the highly competitive 2020 Northern Virginia Senior Regional Orchestra.