Take a minute to recognize the achievements of our students for the 2012-2013 school year.

Society of Progessional Journalists' winner!

Selin Altintas, a 10th-grader, was the Washington, D.C.-area winner of this year’s Society of Professional Journalists’ high school essay contest.

In the annual essay contest, the society asked students in grades 9 through 12 across the country to write 300 to 500 words on “Why is it important that we have news media that are independent of the government?”

Selin was chosen the local winner by the society’s Washington Pro chapter. Her essay advanced to judging at the national level. Selin wrote about biased news media in Turkey.

Student wins 6th Congressional District Art Competition


Haley Johnson (11th) won the 6th Congressional District Art Competition and her photo “Ugandan Child” will be on display at the Capital for a year beginning this summer. Her work was chosen from artworks submitted across several counties including Montgomery, Allegany, and Washington.

Investment Club Earns National Recognition!


Three of PHS Business and Investment Club students received special recognition for their achievements in the national investment contest at the Maryland Council of Economics Education Awards. The invest-write contest is an essay competition where students analyze a publicly traded company and determine if that company’s stock should be rated a buy or a sell. Basically, the students not only needs to know the fundamentals of the company but also needs to analyze variables (corporate R&D achivements, government actions, and world events) that may affect the company in the future.

Twenty Thousand essays were submitted to the national SIFMA association office in New York. No school has ever placed three winners in the top 10, until now. Because we had three top 10 winners out of 20,000, our students essays received extra scrutiny and I was told, our students kept coming back to the top.
Congratulations to:
Andrew Bent (11th) (1st Place) – Won an all-expense paid trip to New York which includes a visit to the floor of the New York Stock exchange and a visit to the Federal Reserve, including the gold reserve vault.
Stephen Marsh (11th) (6th Place)
Ayush Goyal (11th) (8th Place)

University of Maryland Econ Challenge Winners!

Dhruv Shankar (11th), Dennis Levin (11th) and Perry Ya (11th) submitted a winning essay in the University of Maryland Econ Challenge competition. Their winning essay was focused on the underlying causes of the economic collapse of 2008. They were recognized at a banquet on the College Park campus and given a $500 cash prize for their efforts.

Top Awards in Theatre from MCPS!

Every spring, MCPS recognizes outstanding achievements of seniors in high school dance and theatre at the Superintendent's Performing Arts Awards Gala. Students are nominated by their teachers and awards are presented by the superintendent.
Congratulations to seniors Jennifer Kline, Rebecca Morris, and Alex Wiley. They recently received an award from Dr. Joshua Starr for being among the top theatre students of MCPS. Rebecca also sang one of her Guys and Dolls numbers, "If I Were a Bell", a "spotlights" which highlighted our schools dance and theatre program.

Chemathon Results!




The Chemistry team competed at the University of Maryland Chemathon. The teams did awesome with their best showing to date. There were 25 teams in level I and 19 in level II. The following are the results:
Level l
2nd place - Mendeleev Madness --- Sriramya Ayyagari (12th), Jamie Koenig (10th), Erika Espinoza (11th)
4th place - Hydronium Hijinks --- Zihan Guo (12th), Susan Ngo (11th), Aditya Nilacantan (9th)
5th place - Chemistry Poster --- Zihan Guo(12th), Ying Ngo (12th) (researcher)
***5th Place - Level l OVERALL

Level ll
1st place - Beat the Clock --- Matt Wade (12th) (leader), Smeet Butala (11th), Pushkar Aggarwal (11th)
1st place - Chemical Jeopardy --- Dhruv Shanker (11th) (leader), Anand Patel (12th), Ying Ngo (12th)
3rd place - Chemistry Poster --- Ying Ngo (artist & researcher), Susan Ngo (12th) (writer)
3rd place - Balancing Act --- Anand Patel (12th), Dhruv Shanker (11th), Ying Ngo (12th)
4th place - Chemysterie - Ying Ngo (12th) (leader), Matt Wade (12th), Smeet Butala (11th)
4rd place - LeChatelier's Lunacy --- Dhruv Shanker (11th), Anand Patel (12th), Pushkar Aggarwal (11th)
***3rd Place - Level ll OVERALL

Students earn National Spanish Examination Accolades!

The National Spanish Examinations are online, standardized assessment tools over 3800 teachers throughout the United States to measure proficiency and achievement of students who are studying Spanish as a second language.
National awards are determined by the Total Percentile as follows:
ORO (GOLD) - Students scoring at or above the 95th percentile are awarded a Premio de Oro.
PLATA (SILVER) - Students scoring from the 85th through the 94th percentiles receive a Premio de Plata.
BRONCE (BRONZE)- Students scoring from the 75th through the 84th percentiles receive a Premio de Bronce.
HONOR - Students scoring at or above the 50th percentile (national average) through the 74th percentile are awarded a Mención Honorífica.

Please congratulate the following students for they great job on the National Spanish Examination.

Ankita Sharma (9th)
Elena Lostoski (9th),Miranda Barrientos (9th),Suriya Kandaswamy (11th), Pei-yi Lin (10th)
Jennifer Dunn (9th), Seray Er (9th),Christy Ng (10th), Adam Rusak (9th),Yesenia Bonilla (9th),Eulalio Carranza (11th)
HONOR: 9th graders Erin Choi,Jonathan Garagiola,Khiem Han, Abdullah Tauqeer,Nathan Wade,
Emily Jia, Sonya Lew, 10th graders Valerie Bakly,Devika Haridas, Radiance Talley, 11th graders Christina He, Anna Lin and senior Foteine Dimitracopoulos.

Justin Kim elected as Student Member of the Montgomery County Board of Education


The results are in! Poolesville's own 11th grade Justin Kim is the new SMOB. Justin won with 64% of the vote. Thank you to everyone that has supported his efforts in the pursuit of this highly respected, difficult job.

The SMOB is a voting member of the Board of Education, and can cast votes on all items, with the exception of boundary changes, the capital and operating budgets, collective bargaining, negative personnel matters, and school closings. The SMOB receives a $5,000 college scholarship, student service learning hours, and one honors-level social studies credit.


In Montgomery County, the student Board member must win a spot on a final ballot, actively campaign and be elected by the majority vote of students in middle and high school. This unique opportunity in civic education allows our secondary students to experience the power of their vote. The student member on the Board of Education is an elected public official, sworn in by the clerk of the court.

Two Students to Present at Intel International Science and Engineering Fair


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Joy Zeng (12th) and Anirudh Gubba (11th) won an all-expenses-paid trip to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for their entries in the ScienceMONTGOMERY Montgomery Area County Science Fair. Joy Zeng's "Bioengineering: Targeted Thermal Ablation of Cancer Cells Using Biosurfactant Coated Carbon Nanotubes” and Anirudh Gubba's "Implementation and Analysis of Shape from Shading Techniques and Enhanced Make3D Software for the Creation of Morphable 3D Facial and Terrain Models" earned them a place at this presitgious event. Congratulations!

11th grader Caroline Kraegel won an Honorable mention in the SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) Junior Challenge.

"Lucid Dreams" by Caoline Kraegel

Entrants were asked to turn a fleeting moment or an intentional composition into a compelling work of art for a chance to earn a scholarship to attend a SCAD pre-college program. Students were asked to reveal a novel approach to conventional subject matter or capture a one-of-a-kind image to transcend a point-and-click mentality to deliver a truly evocative and interesting image.


BioGENEius Challenge Winner

Congratulations to Joy Zeng (12th) for winning the 2013 Maryland BioGENEius Challenge! Her project, Targeted Thermal Ablation of Cancer Cells Using Biosurfactant Functionalized Carbon Nanotubes won her top honors. She will proceed to national competition in April to present her research poster and give an oral presentation at the U.S. National BioGENEius Challenge in Chicago, IL.


The International BioGENEius Challenge is the premier competition for high school students that recognizes outstanding research in biotechnology. The BioGENEius Challenge program promotes excellence and enables students to continue research in biotechnology and design an original independent research project.

Debate Team Places Second in the County!


Edward Liang (11th), Vinay Sriram (11th), Nikhil Gowda (12th), Ayush Goyal (11th), Mr McKenna, Perry Ya (11th), and Dennis Levin

Congratulations to the Debate team for finishing in second place in the Montgomery County Finals! Coach Dan McKenna was not sure if that was possible a few years ago (given the size of the larger teams), but our team pulled it off with lots of playoff wins.

Vinay Sriram, Edward, Ayush Goyal, and Nikhil Gowda all placed in the semifinals, giving us two of the top four pairs in the county. Perry Ya and Dennis Levin made it to round of 8 as well. Congratulate them if you see them!

Junior Science and Humanities Symposium Winners!

The Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) Program has been an annual event since 1958. JSHS annually reaches about 10,000 high school students and teachers at regional and national symposia. Forty-eight regional symposia are held throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and in cooperation with the Department of Defense, schools in Europe and the Pacific. The annual national symposium brings together 240 high school students, their teachers, university faculty and other educators and scientists. The Academy of Applied Science, a non-profit educational organization in Concord, New Hampshire, administers the National JSHS Program. The National Association of Secondary School Principals has placed this program on the NASSP National Advisory List of Contest and Activities.



Seniors Stephanie Zhang, Anand Patel, Ying Ngo, and Mohammed Ahmad


PHS had a great showing at the MD JSHS. We are very proud of all of the presentations. We had 4 finlalists and two winners. Mahad Ahmad and Stephanie Zhang were finalist with winners Ying Ngo and Anand Patel (see the results below), more info at:

MD JSHS Oral Presentation Winners
• 1st Place: Lavanya Garnepudi - Centennial High School - Role of P-Glycoprotein Transporters Involved in Cancer Cell Multidrug Resistance
• 2nd Place: Jai Thakor - River Hill High School - A Nanofiber-Hydrogel Conduit as a Guide to Nerve Regeneration
• 3rd Place: Evan Smith - Baltimore Polytechnic Institute - PLGA Nanoparticles Encapsulating Anti-vascular Small Molecules for the Treatment of Breast Cancer
• 4th Place: Ying Ngo - Poolesville High School - Potential Therapeutic Delivery System Using the Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV) with an Attached Cell-penetrating Peptide Tag
MD JSHS Poster Presentation Winner
• 1st Place: Anand Patel - Poolesville High School - Searching for Transverse Wave Instabilities in the Maryland Centrifugal Experiment

Brian Liu, 11th grade SMCS Students has reached the semifinals of the Physics Olympiad!

Congratulations to Brian Liu!

The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) has announced the top students chosen to advance to the Semifinal round of U.S. Physics Team selection. Approximately 3,000 students participated in this first phase of the selection process, the Fnet=ma Exam, in January. Those students who qualified as Semifinalists, together with their physics teachers are listed on the web through a link at

AAPT began the program in 1986 to promote and demonstrate academic excellence. The International Physics Olympiad (IPHO) is a nine-day competition among pre-university students from more than 80 nations. The 2013 Olympiad will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, from July 7-15.

A second exam is used as the basis for selection of the 20 members of the U.S. Physics Team. In May these students will travel from schools all over the United States, to the University of Maryland-College Park for the U.S. Physics Team Training Camp. There, they engage in nine days of intense studying, mystery lab, daily exams, and problem solving.
At the end of that training camp, five students and an alternate will be selected as the "Traveling Team" to represent the United States at the IPhO. In July, the Traveling Team and their coaches will attend a three day Mini Camp of intense laboratory work before moving on to the IPhO.

Poolesville bring home 2nd and 3rd place in the AbilityOne Challenge

Two teams from Poolesville were among the five finalists taking part in the AbilityOne Network Design Challenge. 11th grade students Neel Deshmukh, Jessica Law, Brian Liu, Carlos Gonzales, Dennis Levin and Ryan Cho are to be congratulated on their outstanding work on the AbilityOne Design Challenge! For the second straight year PHS has had a team (this year 2 teams!!) in the top five in the nation.

The competition has students working in their science and engineering classes to design a device that would make it easier for people with disabilities to complete a task or improve productivity at work. The project required students to work with a local nonprofit that employs people with disabilities to determine needs, come up an idea and create a prototype.
abilityonesecond abilityonethird  

Forensics Team Results

Poolesville HS earned 5th place overall in the county in the MCPS Forensics League Final Tournament. This was achieved primarily through the accomplishments of six students:

Courtney Steininger (11th) – 1st place in MCPS for Extemporaneous Speaking; 4th place for Informative Speaking In Extemp., students select their topics during the tournament (covering local, state, national, and int’l current events), have 30 minutes to prepare a speech and are only allowed to have 28 words written on a card when they speak.

Kevin Ruano (11th)– 3rd place in MCPS for Persuasive Speaking

Jessica Ting (11th) – 5th place in MCPS for Persuasive Speaking; 6th place for Informative Speaking

Lauren Gross (11th) – 6th place in MCPS for Informative Speaking

Ryan Carroll (9th) made it to Quarter Finals in Humorous Literature
Julian Tash (11th) made it to Semi Finals in Persuasive Speaking
Courtney Steininger made it to Quarter Finals in Children’s Literature
Jessica Ting (11th) made it to Quarter Finals in Serious Prose

This is the largest number of students we have taken to Finals, and it is the first time we have had students qualify in 3 events! Congratulations!

Reflections Contest Winners!

Two PHS students have been recognized with *three *awards in the 2012-2013 Montgomery County PTA Reflections Awards of Excellence for Outstanding Interpretation of the Theme and Award of Merit winners for this year's program, "The Magic of a Moment".

Congratulations to the following PHS Students:

Emily Glinsmann, 11th Grade, Poolesville HS, Film Production, Award of Merit/Honorable Mention, Senior Division

Anna Lin, 11th Grade, Poolesville HS, Literature, Award of Merit/Honorable Mention, Senior Division

Anna Lin, 11th Grade, Poolesville HS, Visual Arts Award of Excellence for Outstanding Interpretation of the Theme. This entry will move on to the Maryland State Level Competition to compete with entries from other students in the State of Maryland.

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for PHS Students!

PHS had 11 winners at the Regional level of the Scholastic Art & Writing awards. Our region is “at large” and consists of Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Of our 11 winners, 3 received “Gold Key” which is the highest level and are automatically entered into the National competition.

Please congratulate:

Kali Wolin (12th)– Gold Key
Heather Johnson (11th)– Gold Key
Gillian Casey (12th)– Gold Key

Shannon Lock (10th) – Silver Key
Chelsie Pennello (11th)– Silver Key
Amelia Stone (10th)– Silver Key
Nikhil Tangirala 12th)– Silver Key

Caroline Kraegel (11th)– Honorable Mention
Kayla Carey (11th)– Honorable Mention
Annie Horrigan (12th)– Honorable Mention
Renee Huffert (11th)– Honorable Mention

PHS Students chosen for the Johns Hopkins University Art Show: Conumdrum, a juried exhibition

This year represents the largest number of entries in their seven year history. They received 127 canvases and 124 photographs representing students from 17 of the county’s 26 high schools. Please congratulate the following students for being juried into the show.

Xinyi Liu (12)-- Help

Christina Furr (12th)-- Perfection
Chelsie Pennello (11th)-- Pierece
Shannon Lock (10th)-- Music in my Head
Kali Wolin (12th)-- Crickets in the Soybean Field
Caroline Kraegel (11th)-- Dissolve
Xavier Laracuente (11th)-- The Lonely Luncheon
Katie Truppo (11th)-- Invention
Rachel Watkins (11th)-- Untitled
Renee Huffert (11th)-- Through the Looking Glass


Congratulations to Chelsie Pennello for winning 1st place for traditional photography.  


Students Standings in Science Competitions!


Congratulations to Senior Meghana Patel, a Siemens Semi-finalist!

The Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology recognizes remarkable talent early on, fostering individual growth for high school students who are willing to challenge themselves through science research. Through this competition, students have an opportunity to achieve national recognition for science research projects that they complete in high school. It is administered by The College Board and funded by the Siemens Foundation.

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Congratulations to Seniors Joy Zeng, and Anand Patel Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS) Semifinalists!

The Intel STS is the nation’s most prestigious science research competition for high school seniors. Since 1942, first in partnership with Westinghouse and beginning in 1998 with Intel, The Society for Science and the Public has provided a national stage for the country's best and brightest young scientists to present original research to nationally recognized professional scientists.

PHS Students the Best in the World for a Second Year in a Row!

Poolesville High School once again proved its expertise in the area of digital forensics. Competing in the 2012 DC3 Digital Forensics Challenge, the students from PHS represented the best of Digital Forensics in the state of Maryland, competing against 112 other teams. For the second year in a row a team from PHS placed first in the High School Category out of 45 high school teams competing from around the world.


PHSFalcons4 team members , Anirudh Neti, senior, Umesh Padia, sophomore, Ashwin Sekar, junior and Neel Virdy, senior, mentored by Jack Stansbury and Mark Estep are to be commended for their dedication and hard work. The team began this year’s competition last February and by completing assigned tasks, earned a place in the finals competition this November

In addition to being the Maryland Champions, Team PHSFalcons4 placed 1st overall in the World Wide High School category... The team fought hard to take the title ranking 1st out of 113 Maryland teams in the running from all categories: Civilian, Military, Government, Commercial and Academia (High School, Community College, Undergraduate, and Graduate).

We had another team compete as well, PHS SwagTag. This team’s final ranking will be announced in early December. Team members include: Annie Chu, senior, Vineet Padia, senior, Sidd Singal, senior and Joy Zeng, senior

Both teams worked on a set of increasingly more difficult challenges, from February this year through the end of October. Last year's team won with around 750 points. This year's winning team had over 2000 points.

Awards for Model UN Team at the University of Maryland Conference!

After spending 3 days in College Park participating on 3 different committees, four students walked away with awards. The first three went to students who participated on the Cold War committee.

Senior Diana Tappert won Outstanding Delegate for representing Joseph McCarthy. She did an amazing job and had the opportunity to use some very famous historical lines.

Senior Mahad Ahmad won Honorable Mention for representing Yugoslavian Minister of Intelligence. He did such a good job of upsetting the other Powers That Be (which was his role, historically), that his committee sent him on an errand and then voted to assassinate him while he was gone. He returned to find out he was dead and had been given a new persona. He stepped right into the role and did the extra research necessary to portray his character accurately.

Sophomore Mugeet Ahmad won Honorable Mention for representing Allen Dulles, Head of the CIA. This was his first tournament, and he did an excellent job against very experienced competitors. He was the youngest person on his committee.

Senior Becky Mann won Honorable Mention for representing Varys on the Game of Thrones committee. She was a successful leader on her committee and enjoyed the chance to be a little creative.

All of our students put forth their best efforts and represented PHS well. They engaged in a very rigorous level of debate and showed quite a bit of creativity. Be happy we live in today’s world and not the one created through teenagers re-enacting the Cold War. Their vision had the Soviet Union create the Moscow Pact, and all of Asia fell to Communism; Stalin survived; we fought and lost Vietnam by 1956; the Korean War was a bloodbath; and the US annihilated Japan with nukes.

MOOT Competition Winners!

Congratulations to juniors Courtney Steininger and William Durr. They competed in the 2nd annual Moot Court State Invitational tournament at University of Baltimore Law school. The team argued legal issues in front of a number of Maryland attorneys and a few sitting district court judges. Courtney and William defeated Owings Mill High School in the finals. Both were highly praised by the judges.


Moot court is a two-person appellate court exercise, a chance for students to engage in a legal give-and-take with real lawyers and judges. Moot Court provides an opportunity for students to hone their legal critical thinking and speaking skills.

Student Earns an Honorable Mention in DC Foto Week Youth Contest!

Please congratulate senior Ying Ngo who won Honorable Mention in the DC Foto Week Youth Contest! Her work was selected from many submissions throughout Maryland, Virginia and DC, and will be featured on the Washington Post’s website.

High School Cyber Forensics Challenge Finalists!

Congratulations to the PHS Team "PHS 2 and a Half Men", comprised of Juniors Krishna Sai Kollipara, Andre Guzman and Pushkar Aggarwal. This year's challenge was well attended with over 1300 student participants and almost 500 teams! "PHS 2 and a Half Men" are in the top ten finalists and will travel to New York City to compete in the finals!

Maryland Cyber Challenge and Competition (MDC3) Finals Competition Winners!

Congratulations to the six members of the team "PHS Falcons" who won the competition - and in doing so receive a $5,000 scholarship from the NSA...each! Team members include; seniors Anyuan Chu, Jeffrey Falgout, Anirudh Neti, Vineet Padia, Siddharth Singal, and sophomore Umesh Padia. These students have also been invited by the Department of Homeland Security to present at a local conference.

The purpose of the competition was to promote cyber security education, awareness and cyber careers to students with strong interests in STEM.

Siemens Semifinalist!

Congratulations to senior Meghana Patel for placing as a semifinalist in the 2012 Siemens Science Competition. Her competition paper was entitled: Investigating the Axonal Translation and Regulation of mRNAs That Encode the Enzymes Involved in the Catecholamine Biosynthetic Pathway". She is our first biology/ molecular biology/ biochemistry intern to be recognized!

The complete list of winners can be found here:

We are very proud of all the students who prepared entries - we had 18 fabulous entries this year!

Congratulations to Loci - The Poolesville Literary Magazine

The Literary Magazine Of Poolesville received a Silver Medalist Award for its 2012 issue. This is a tremendous achievement for these students as there was only one senior on the staff.