Potomac School News

Potomac is Victorious at the Tournament of Champions

An unprecedented 14 Potomac School students competed in the prestigious Tournament of Champions for speech and debate at the University of Kentucky in the last week of April. Qualifying for this national tournament is in itself an accomplishment, and winning in any of its divisions is very difficult – the competition is fierce and the judges adhere to the highest standards. The Potomac contingent performed admirably, giving the tournament their all.

Notably, Virginia state champion Christian Herald ’21 excelled in the Original Oratory division. The sophomore advanced over more experienced senior competitors again and again, until she was defeated in the semifinal round. 

Kay Rollins ’21, who is currently ranked #1 in the United States for Extemporaneous Speaking, was seeded second after the preliminary rounds and breezed into the final. Ultimately, Kay won with ease – like Christian, she was pitted against many older competitors, and she walked away with first place in her division. Kay joins an elite field of female extemp competitors who have won a national championship

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Potomac Robotics Teams Dominate in State Championship

Congratulations to the incredible members of our Upper School robotics program! This past weekend, Potomac sent nine of our 12 teams (12A, 12E, 12F, 12G, 12H, 12J, 12M, 12N, and 12P) to the State Championship in Doswell – and rocked the event. Not a single Potomac team had a losing record!

After the first day of competition, three teams (12A, 12F, and 12G) were entirely undefeated. By the end of qualification rounds on the second day, 12G was still undefeated and in second place. Team 12F finished with a record of 7-1, and 12A ended with a record of 6-2. While not undefeated on Friday, 12H ended the tournament with a record of 6-2 as well.

Eight out of nine Potomac teams (12A, 12F, 12G, 12H, 12J, 12M, 12N, and 12P) made it to elimination rounds. As part of the fifth-seed alliance, 12F made it to the quarterfinals. Teams 12A and 12G joined forces as the second-seed alliance and reached the finals. In the skills challenges, 12A ranked third, 12E ranked sixth, 12G ranked seventh, and 12F ranked ninth. These accomplishments mean that 12A, 12E, 12F, and 12G have all been invited to compete in the World Championship.

Meanwhile, Potomac won a third of the awards that the tournament gave out! Team 12E won the Innovate Award in recognition for team members' unique use of sensors and excellent automation of their scoring mechanism. Team 12G won the Amaze Award, which is the second-most prestigious award given to a team. Finally, the Potomac program as a whole won the Inspire Award, which is testament to how far all five robotics coaches have taken the program this year.

Team 12A consists of John Djorup, Michael Djorup, Aneesh Edara, Akash Gupta, Akshay Gupta, Robert O'Brien, and Yumn Teshome.

Team 12E consists of Jonas Huff, Jodie Kuo, Bryce Lukacs, Harper Malesardi, Max Wehner, and Sean Yap.

Team 12F consists of Rajan Bhargava, Zoe Dubelier, Weston Hicks, James Jordan, Kenny Lin, Rachel Miller, John Murphy, and Marshall Riccardi.

Team 12G consists of Ben Choi, Matthew Giuliano, Christopher Kang, Arjun Kumar, Jake Levingston, Scott Trundle, and Jared White.

Team 12H consists of Jack Domagala, Drew Johnson, and Simon McGraw.

Team 12J consists of Hollis Cutler, Kylie Fischer, Jun-Young Hong, Eleanor Nuechterlein, Anna Takis, Margaret Taylor, and Ellie Yoon.

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Potomac Breaks Ground for New Center for Athletics And Community

Rain was in the forecast for September 7 – the first Friday of the new academic year at The Potomac School – but sunny skies prevailed, allowing the school's traditional Opening Assembly to be held outdoors as planned. The annual ceremony includes a procession of seniors and kindergartners, remarks of welcome, and the presentation of Potomac's Excellent Teaching Award. This year, something special and entirely new was added to these traditions: a ceremonial groundbreaking for the school's Center for Athletics and Community.

Technically, the ground at the construction site was broken before the school year began, with site preparation having gotten underway in July. But with the students back on campus, this was the first opportunity for the Potomac community to celebrate this milestone moment together. Head of School John Kowalik notes, "This new building is for the benefit of our students, and we want them to be informed and excited about it. So we decided to hold our groundbreaking at a time and place where the students could be part of the fun." And fun it was, with all the members of the Potomac community donning white construction hats and the school's mascot, the Potomac Panther, distributing the ceremonial shovels and high-fiving the groundbreakers as they prepared to turn over dirt that had been trucked in from the construction site.

Potomac's 76,500-square-foot Center for Athletics and Community will include a gymnasium with one competition basketball court and three practice courts; an indoor jogging track; seven squash courts; a weight room, cardio room, and multipurpose activity room; and flexible gathering spaces. In combination with the school's existing facilities, the center will support a robust athletics program that fields teams in 26 interscholastic sports. In addition, the new facility will meet the school's need for an indoor gathering space large enough to accommodate the entire Potomac community.

John Kowalik explains, "Potomac is committed to being a connected community, and we have events throughout the academic year that are designed to bring our entire K-12 community together. With 1,050 students plus faculty and staff – and, for some events, parents -- we do not have an interior space large enough to accommodate everyone. We can hold certain events outdoors; but when the weather fails to cooperate, we have to move into our current gym and decide whom to exclude. Not a happy decision – and one that we will no longer have to face when the new center comes on line."

He adds, "The limitations of our current athletic facilities also affect scheduling, negatively impacting both athletics and academics. The new center will give us increased flexibility and be an important asset for our overall program."

The Center for Athletics and Community was designed by CannonDesign and is being built by Coakley & Williams Construction, with completion slated for late fall 2019. Potomac CFO and COO Dyana Conroy says, "Both of these firms have extensive experience in the education sector. The team from Cannon invested significant time in getting to know our school, our program, and our aspirations for this facility. Their work combines creativity with practicality, and they have designed a beautiful addition to our campus that will meet our most pressing needs. Coakley & Williams is another outstanding partner. We have worked with them on previous projects here at Potomac, and we continue to be impressed with their professionalism and commitment to quality."

John Kowalik concludes, "This is an exciting time for The Potomac School. We look forward to a new facility that will enhance our students' experience and help to sustain the strong sense of community for which Potomac is known."

 

 

 

Potomac dignitaries participate in the groundbreaking. Left to right: Matthew Giuliano '19, president of the Student Government Association; John Mathews, head of the Middle and Intermediate Schools; Nancy Powell, head of the Lower School; John Kowalik, head of school; Dr. Marjorie Brennan, chair of the Board of Trustees; Tim Jaeger, assistant head of school; Doug McLane, head of the Upper School; Daija Yisrael '19, vice president of the Student Government Association

 

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Carolyn Beaumont Takes Fifth Place in National Science Competition

Potomac senior Carolyn Beaumont ranked fifth in the 78th Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation's oldest and most prestigious science and mathematics competition for high school seniors. Her achievement, which comes with a $90,000 award, was announced on March 12 at a black-tie gala at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.

Carolyn was named a Top 40 Finalist in January. She and her fellow finalists spent Sunday, March 10, presenting their research projects to the public, as well as to a number of leading scientists. The following day, the finalists divided into groups by state of residence and met with government officials and staffers. Carolyn and the other Virginians spoke with a member of Senator Mark Warner's staff about their work and the importance of government support for STEM education.

As a student in Potomac's Science and Engineering Research Center (SERC) program, Carolyn spent two years working on her geochemistry research project. She examined the way water reacts with magma, with the goal of testing the theory favored by geologists about the composition of water during a volcanic eruption. In addition to her Potomac research advisor, Dr. Isabelle Cohen, Carolyn worked with an outside mentor, Dr. George Cody at the Carnegie Institute of Science's Geophysical Laboratory. There, she used technology that allowed her to create models of magma and observe its reaction with water. Ultimately, Carolyn's discoveries turned out to be remarkable: She showed that volcanoes react differently depending on the amount of water present in the magma. This runs counter to the thinking of professional geologists, making Carolyn's project a source of new and important information.

Dr. Cohen observes, "Not many high school students can say that they have disproved a scientific theory. That accomplishment indicates the magnitude of Carolyn's potential as a scientist."

Reflecting on the competition's final days, Carolyn notes, "All of the questions that the judges asked were really interesting. I got to meet some professional geologists – one of them actually works in the same field that I've been studying, and I loved hearing her perspective on my research. It was amazing to have my work recognized in a way that allowed me to have an impact on the scientific community!"

She adds, "This was one of the best weeks of my life. I didn't feel pressured to make the top 10. All I was hoping to get out of the experience, I had already gotten. It was great to be able to share my research, and I loved talking with so many people who are passionate about science! I was really happy about the entire process; winning fifth place was just the icing on the cake."

Carolyn will attend Harvard University in the fall..

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Valentine's Day Event Supports Hospitalized Service Members

On January 27, nearly 150 individuals, from kindergartners to octogenarians, took part in The Potomac School's third annual Intergenerational Valentine's Day Service Event, hosted by Vinson Hall Retirement Community. The participants included Potomac families and older adults affiliated with Vinson Hall and the McLean Community Village Association. Working together, they assembled 60 care packages for military personnel convalescing at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital.

Among the items included in the packages were knot-edged fleece blankets and cheerful Valentine's Day cards – both made by hand at the event.

The school's Parent Association Service Learning Committee organized the event, and Potomac parents generously donated their time and talents, as well as the necessary supplies, to make it successful. First grader Henry Feder was an enthusiastic participant, as were his mom, Sara Feder, and grandmother, Judy Feder. Reflecting on why their family decided to take part, Sara said, "It's important to let members of the military know that we appreciate them, and this event is one way to do that. Plus, it's fun for people of all ages to get together to do service!" Judy agreed, noting, "It's a pleasure to do service with my daughter-in-law and my grandson."

Potomac parent Gia Cillizza spoke of a personal motivation that resonated with many of the event participants: "My dad and grandfathers served in the US Army and the US Navy. We want to show current members of the military how much we appreciate their service." Vinson Hall resident Bitsy Kotite concurred, noting, "My husband served in the US Army for 33 years, and my son was a student at The Potomac School for four years. So I came today to support both groups."

The military connection was underscored in remarks by Major Alan R.M. Boyes of the Defense Intelligence Agency. He spoke about the rehabilitation work being done at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital and noted how much the care packages would be appreciated.

The event was also a powerful reminder of how rewarding service can be. Robyn Lighthammer, a McLean Community Village Association board member, reflected, "There is a natural curiosity in the heart of a child and infinite wisdom in the heart of a senior, and intergenerational programs bring these kindred spirits together! Seniors benefit greatly from opportunities for engagement and service, which ultimately reaffirm a greater purpose in life." It was clear that the younger participants found the experience equally meaningful. Potomac second grader Sofia Elrefai shared, "At our table, we made three blankets for the soldiers! That was the best part." Fifth grader Claire McEwen reflected, "For me, the best part was making the Valentine's Day cards. When you decorate a card, you think about the person who will get it and you feel thankful."

Throughout the academic year, Potomac students participate in a diverse array of service activities through the school's integrated K-12 service learning program. The program focuses on four broad themes poverty, hunger, and homelessness; the elderly; literacy; and the environment and the school partners with a variety of nonprofits in the wider community. Students at each grade level engage in age-appropriate activities that help them learn about the issues and take an active role in making a positive difference. The Parent Association Service Learning Committee supports and enhances this program by sponsoring events that bring Potomac families together to serve the community.

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Potomac Auction 2019: What a Feeling...

Potomac's 2019 Scholarship Auction is almost here! Click here to see the auction catalog, which contains a number of amazing items and experiences. 

There are several ways to support this important initiative, which raises funds for student scholarships and faculty professional development. Here's how you can get in on the fun:

1) There is still time to RSVP – grab some friends or, if you prefer, we will seat you at a table of parents from your child's grade or athletic team. 

2) The Online Auction is going strong! Click here to view the fun, food, and travel opportunities that this auction offers.

3) Finally, there are just a few tickets left in our Best of Live raffle. Remember, this is your chance to win one of our live items for just $100. The Best of Live winner will be drawn before the live auction on March 2, but you do not need to be present to win. Buy a ticket today!

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Diversity Hiring Fair - Saturday, February 2

Potomac welcomes more than 35 schools and over 150 candidates to its annual Diversity Hiring Fair on Saturday, February 2. Now in its seventh year, the Diversity Hiring Fair brings together many of the DC area's leading independent schools and talented, motivated individuals interested in employment with these organizations.

The Diversity Hiring Fair is a great chance for schools and job candidates to learn more about one another and potentially find a fabulous fit. Everyone is welcome to attend the fair, and registration is free for all candidates.

Click here to learn more.

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Fourth Grader Wins K–4 Division of Council for Economic Education Student Writing Contest

Kaida Mizzo '27 has won the K–4 division of the Council for Economic Education's 2018 Student Writing Contest. This year, the competition asked students, "What economic advice would you give to the president of the United States?" Almost 4,000 students in grades K-12 from across the nation entered.

Mizzo learned about the contest from her teacher, Leigh Anne Scanzera, who encouraged her homeroom students to take part. "I like to do extra challenges sometimes – they can be really fun," Mizzo explains. "The day after I got the assignment, me and my dad looked up some articles about tariffs. I spent the weekend highlighting important parts of the stories I was reading, and based my writing off of that."

The competition limits student entries to 50 words. Mizzo wrote: "My advice is to lift tariffs against goods imported from China because they hurt US citizens more than help them. Tariffs cause a domino effect – prices go up so people buy less, companies sell less, in result, companies go out of business and people may lose jobs."

Mizzo, who hopes to become a lawyer someday, says that she was careful about how she approached her response; she took several pages of notes before writing out her entry. "I wanted to make sure I got my point across about how tariffs can be a problem in the United States," she says. She found out that she had succeeded in that when Scanzera pulled her into the hallway and told her that she had won.

"We were jumping up and down!" Mizzo says. "I was so excited."

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Potomac Sophomore Selected for USA Debate Development Team

Potomac sophomore Kaitlyn Maher has been chosen for the highly selective USA Debate Development Team. Each year, after a rigorous application process, the National Speech & Debate Association picks 12 American high school students who have distinguished themselves in World Schools Style debate to receive this honor. The group will compete throughout the US over the course of the year. (An additional 12 students, usually high school upperclassmen, are selected for the USA Debate Team, which travels internationally.)

"I was so thrilled when I found out I'd been accepted," Maher says. "As someone who is interested in a career in international affairs, I see this as a significant opportunity. With World Schools debate, you analyze how political, economic, and social issues affect various nations. For example, one United Nations treaty can end up impacting millions of people globally. This is a way of engaging in topics that I'm passionate about and brainstorming solutions that could change the world."

Maher has been involved in speech and debate since the eighth grade. She has also been a professional singer and actress since early childhood. She explains, "I was drawn to debate by the opportunity to leverage my public speaking skills and my passion for reaching a broad audience." In addition to World Schools Style – a type of debate that focuses on global issues and involves speeches made by two teams of three members each – Maher also competes in three other styles: parliamentary debate, public forum debate, and extemporaneous speaking.

She credits her Potomac coach, Harry Strong, with providing her with mentorship and inspiration during the application process. "Mr. Strong really encouraged me to reach for this opportunity, to believe that I had the talent and could achieve this," she explains.

Maher has already completed her first tournament with the USA Debate Development Team, which took place in New Orleans. She will soon travel to Cornell University for her next competition.

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French Students Sharpen Skills in Quebec

A vibrant group of 17 rising junior and senior French students, led by two US teachers, spent an active immersion week in Quebec this June. The group followed the Saint Lawrence River during their travels, making their way from Montreal to Tadoussac, and participating in a variety of activities.

Students went hiking, canoed in a large Algonquin rabaska, attended Montreal’s FrancoFolies music festival, danced in a traditional Canadian “sugar shack,” and went whale watching on the Saguenay fjord. They practiced their French skills throughout the trip, but counted two experiences as especially great language development opportunities: speaking French during environmental and historic bicycle tours of Quebec City, and participating in an interactive improv “game show” that focused on Quebecois history. As they say in Quebec, “C’était du fun!”

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Potomac Senior Wins Scholarship in Junior Achievement Essay Competition

Junior Achievement of Greater Washington recently announced the winners of its 2017 Junior Achievement Essay Competition. Potomac School senior Mike Grimes was selected as the second- place winner in Virginia. He will be awarded a $10,000 scholarship for this accomplishment.

The essay prompt was "Several great entrepreneurs, including Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, dropped out of college before getting their degrees. How important do you think a college degree is to your future success?" More than 1,100 students across the region submitted essays in response. They were judged based on creativity and originality, persuasiveness, grammar and spelling, understanding of the subject matter, and relevance of the response to the topic question.
 
Grimes, who lives in Washington, DC, wrote about the "10,000 Hour Rule," cited by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers, which posits that approximately 10,000 hours of practice is required to become truly expert in any skill or area of endeavor. Grimes asserted his belief that college is a place to begin acquiring this extensive experience – a place that offers "access to teachers, technology, and other resources critical to reach mastery."
 
This fall, Grimes will be enrolled in the College of Charleston's Honors College. He plans to major in finance and commercial real estate and minor in entrepreneurship. He will reside in the college's Entrepreneurship Living Learning Community, where he will have daily interaction with students with similar interests. At Potomac, Grimes plays point guard for the varsity basketball team and is involved in peer leadership activities, serving as a mentor and role model for younger students.
 
Founded in 2008, the Junior Achievement Essay Competition is sponsored by David M. Rubenstein. First-, second-, and third-place winners are selected from Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, and each of these winners is awarded a $10,000 scholarship. One grand-prize winner is selected to receive a $20,000 scholarship. All of the scholarship recipients are recognized by Junior Achievement and Mr. Rubenstein at a private awards ceremony, held this year on May 21.
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Varsity Baseball and Softball Teams Win MAC/ISL Season Title

Congratulations to our varsity baseball team, which won the MAC regular season title, defeating Georgetown Day with a score of 11-0. The boys played extremely well on their Senior Day. While the Panthers have achieved seven baseball league titles, this is the first time since 1996 that Potomac has won the regular season title outright. The team beat Maret 4-3 in the MAC semi-finals and will play St. James in the finals.

Potomac'S softball team defeated Holton-Arms 16-1 in the opening round of the ISL Tournament behind the strong pitching of Caroline Culp. They next beat #3 seed NCS 15-0 in the semi-finals and took on Flint Hill in the championship game. Tied 2-2 going into the 7th inning, Potomac batted through the line up and scored 6 runs to secure the ISL tournament championship and are also the ISL co-champions. 

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Students Perform On-Site Research in Costa Rica

A group of 10 sophomores and two teachers with an interest in marine biology spent nine learning-filled days in Costa Rica over Spring Break. These adventure seekers joined with Ecology Project International and partnered with field researchers during an investigation of rainforest frogs and the nesting habits of leatherback turtles. Their work took them through the Veragua Rainforest, on a visit to the Pacuare Reserve, and to Cahuita National Park for a snorkel!

In addition to exploring diverse tropical ecosystems and contributing to ongoing local conservation practices, the students spent a day conducting their own research, which focused on the effects of nonpoint source pollution and trash generated on site. One of their favorite moments was meeting a group of Costa Rican high school students, who were veteran members of the program. Everyone brought back fabulous photos and plenty of great memories!

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SERC Student Named Regeneron Scholar

Senior Jasmine Terrones has been named a Top 300 Scholar in the 77th Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation's oldest and most prestigious science and mathematics competition for high school seniors. More than 1,800 students nationwide entered the competition this year, and being selected as one of the top 300 is a significant honor.

Jasmine's research examines possible adverse health effects of sustained exposure to WiFi radiation. To begin exploring this question, she developed an experiment to assess the cellular-level effects of continuous WiFi exposure on the common fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster). Jasmine explains that a new generation of fruit flies is produced every 20 days, making it possible to study any potential effect over the course of several generations within a compressed timeframe.

Jasmine's research advisor, Dr. Isabelle Cohen, notes, "As a student in our SERC program, Jasmine exemplifies the innovation and creativity that are foundational to success in scientific research. I have been impressed by her hard work and dedication throughout this project, and I am struck by her humility upon receiving national recognition for her work. It is well deserved, and I am thrilled for her."

As a result of being named a Top 300 Scholar, Jasmine will receive a $2,000 award. The Potomac School will also receive $2,000, to be used in support of STEM education. Later this month, the Regeneron Science Talent Search will name this year's 40 finalists, who will compete in Washington, DC, in March. We congratulate Jasmine on her accomplishment and wish her continued success!

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Congratulations to the 27 MS, IS, and US musicians who represented Potomac at the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association Solo and Ensemble Festival this past weekend. The students received valuable feedback on their performances, all of which were rated either "excellent" or "superior." To view a complete list of the students who participated in the festival,

Upper School Participants
Superior Rating
Alexis Watkinson, flute
Henry Boehm, violin duet (with David Boehm)
Tiffany Huff, violin

Excellent Rating
William Bailey, violin

Intermediate School Participants
Superior Rating
Audrey Lee, flute solo
Maia Phillips, flute solo
Ashleigh Watkinson, saxophone solo
Ben Choi, violin
Alex Christ, viola
Terrence Jen, violin
Teddy Ross, violin

Excellent Rating
Kate Stockton, bass

Middle School Participants
Superior Rating

Aidan Corwin, trombone solo
Selma Elrefai, trumpet solo
Garrett Hicks, tuba solo
Christopher Lee, clarinet solo
Nicholas Marks, trombone solo
Sydney Rushing, flute solo
Jake Adamac, Nathan Alexander, Stefan Harvey, trumpet trio
Lara Barabanov, Erin Pacious, Mimi Vrondran, brass trio
Charlotte Caulfield, Natalia Vilela, woodwind duet
Aidan Corwin, Nicholas Marks, Alex Mathews, low brass trio
Diane Hallam, Fifi Loza, Audrey Rentzepis, Sydney Rushing, woodwind quartet
Christopher Lee and Ben Levy, woodwind duet
David Boehm, violin
David Boehm, violin duet (with Henry Boehm)
Kate Choi, cello
Bella Kim, cello

Excellent Rating
Zachary Lighthammer, saxophone solo
Lindsay Baker and Isabella Chumpitaz, woodwind duet
Caroline Kaleda, Ava Rentzepis

 

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Boys and Girls Varsity Squash Teams Become National Champions

Last weekend was a truly remarkable one for Potomac's girls and boys varsity squash teams as they swept the competition in the 2018 US Squash High School National Championships in Philadelphia.

The girls varsity squash team seeded 5-8 in Division 4 of the High School Team Championships, and took home the national title with a 4-3 victory over Westminster Schools of Atlanta. To get to the finals, Potomac beat Tabor Academy 4-3 and Darien High School 6-1. In the semifinals, they toppled number-one seed Middlesex School in a very close 4-3 match.

In the finals on Sunday in Philadelphia, freshman Elizabeth Egger led off with a brilliant 3-0 trouncing of her opponent. Senior captain Justine Thoma, sophomore Jun-Young Hong, and senior captain Caroline Jackson faced tough opposition, and came up short. Next, freshman Aalia Husain forced her opponent from corner to corner. Sophomore Charlotte Ellis won three games, and senior captain Mary Kate Ausbrook played the final match, to the deafening chants of the Westminster crowd.

Mary Kate split the first two games, lost the third, and won in the fourth, bringing the game score to 2-2. Sensing the tide had turned, the Potomac team amped up the cheers, and Mary Kate took the final game with an impressive 11-4 score.

The boys team entered the championships seeded at third place in Division 3. They began their campaign against Millbrook School in the Round of 16, winning a closely contested match. In the quarterfinals, the Panthers faced the Packer Collegiate Institute, cruising through with a 6-1 win.

The semifinal was a repeat of last year's Round of 16 match against Rye Country Day School. This year, RCDS was seeded second in Division 3. Last year's defeat was still fresh in Panthers' minds and served as excellent motivation to overcome their opponents. Freshman Eric Lovallo managed to defeat his opponent in a nail-biting five-game match, clinching the fourth win needed to put Potomac through to the final.

In the final, the Panthers faced The Masters School. With the overall score tied at 3-3, freshman Matthew Granovsky made an impressive comeback after losing the first two games, and ultimately won final score of 11-4.

Congratulations, Panthers!

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25 Potomac School Students Earn National Merit Scholarship Recognition

Twenty-five seniors at The Potomac School have earned special recognition from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Potomac students received the following distinctions:

  • National Merit Semifinalist (among the top 16,000 scorers nationwide): Madeline Cunnion, Tracey Mills, and Jasmine Terrones
  • Commended Student (among the top 50,000 performers nationwide): Caroline Case, William Debayo-Doherty, Laila Germanis, Jason Gould, Seyoung Hong, Helen Horan, Caroline Jackson, David Kiernan, Nicole Manning, Maria Petrosinelli, Matthew Plaza, Thomas Rollins, Catherine Rooney, Tyler Sanok, Chloe Searchinger, William Socas, William Thompson, Brian Wilson, Jolie Zhang, and Tina Zvinys
  • National Hispanic Recognition Program Recipient (among the top 5,000 scores out of the 250,000 Hispanic students who took the PSAT): Farris Sepúlveda,
    TJ Sharkey, and Jasmine Terrones
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IS Debaters Excel at Tournament of Champions

Eighth grade debaters Kay Rollins and Christian Herald gave strong performances at the National Middle School Tournament of Champions (TOC) at the University of Kentucky this past weekend.

Kay is a double national champion, winning in both extemporaneous speaking and original oratory. Having also competed at the High School TOC earlier this spring, Kay is the first 8th grader in the 44-year history of the high school tournament who advanced to semi-finals. Christian, who had only competed in two other tournaments this season, also saw success in Kentucky, taking 6th place in original oratory.

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VISAA Honors Girls Athletics  Director

Girls Athletics Director Dr. Cas Blanchard has been honored as one of seven members of the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association's (VISAA) inaugural Hall of Fame class. She was inducted into the Hall of Fame at a ceremony held in Richmond, Va., on May 8.

Dr. Blanchard was recognized for her outstanding accomplishments as an educator and her extensive work with the VISAA. She helped to establish the organization's structure as a member of the initial VISAA committee from 1997 through 1998, then served as the northern region representative on the VISAA Executive Committee from 2001 to 2014. Beginning in 2002, Dr. Blanchard concurrently served as VISAA secretary. Since 2006, she has chaired Virginia's state-wide sports committees for girls tennis and lacrosse, having founded the girls lacrosse committee.

Dr. Blanchard has been Potomac's director of girls athletics since 2001. She also coaches in Potomac's Intermediate School girls basketball and soccer programs. Asked what she most enjoys about her job, she observes, "It's a privilege to work with our student-athletes, coaches, and parents. There is a terrific spirit at Potomac that makes every day enjoyable." She adds, "I always like to see a team improving over the course of time. And every once in a while, you have a special team that has a special season, and that's really rewarding."

Head of School John Kowalik notes, "For the past 16 years, Cas Blanchard has set a high standard, encouraging our student-athletes to give their best in terms of effort, perseverance, sportsmanship, and teamwork. At Potomac and across the state, she is recognized as someone who genuinely cares about students and has helped to make athletics an integral aspect of independent-school education. We are delighted that she has received this honor from the VISAA."

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