February High School Accolades 2022

Danny Stock

Good work and meaningful accomplishments should never go unnoticed. On a semi-monthly basis, readers are invited to browse recent High School accolades.

Gxrls in STEM Magazine

The winter issue of the student-run magazine Gxrls in STEM spotlights sustainability. The publication—led by editors-in-chief and co-founders Avani Ahuja ’22 and Layla Dawit ’22 of Sidwell friends—proudly showcases the work of ten GDS High School students from writers to artists to graphic designers from 9th–12th grades. For those new to the magazine, Gxrls in STEM was “created to bring together gxrls across the world and inspire us to pursue our interests in STEM.” This issue is dedicated by the co-founders, who will be signing off this year as they graduate, to “the readers, writers, editors, and illustrators that have stayed with us through this incredible and tumultuous journey.” 

We encourage you to dive into the magazine and enjoy the work of the following GDS High School students—and their GDS High School faculty advisors, science teacher Elaina Berres and math teacher Suzy Hamon.

Avani Ahuja ’22, Madeleine Popofsky ’22, Eleanor Gaugh ’22, Liz Higday ’25, Lucie Johnson ’23, Elsa Cutler ’23, Lindsay Lamken ’25, Hana Sakr ’24, Carmen Gitchell ’22, Maya Landweber ’22 


Thanks to GDS Debate Head Coach Gabe Koo for the following update:

Over the winter, GDS Debate has continued to compete at various tournaments with accolades to show.

At the John Edie Holiday Debates Hosted by The Blake School, our seniors Julien Berman ’22 and Addie Lowenstein ’22 (“GDS BL”) made it to the sweet sixteen. GDS BL has now received three bids to the Tournament of Champions. They are batting a thousand when it comes to national qualifications to this end-of-the-year championship. 

The team of Mark Orr ’24 and Ike Song ’24 (“GDS OS”) also competed at the Blake tournament and ended with a winning 4-3 record in the varsity division. GDS OS was just one win away from making it to the elimination rounds. Quite an impressive feat considering they are sophomores competing against juniors and seniors.

At the Lexington Winter Invitational, the team of Sophie Bronner ’23 and Griffin Brown ’23 (“GDS BB”) made it to the octofinals of the tournament. GDS BB lost on a close 2-1 decision, narrowly missing the bid based on the split panel.

Several of our first year debaters also debated at this tournament. The team of Ila Dohrman ’24 and Caroline Garland ’24 and the team of Darwin Gu ’24 and Hercules Zhang ’24 both enjoyed some wins as they ended with records of 3-3. 

Our 9th grade team of Clio Blum ’25 and Ava Ginsberg ’25 broke into the elimination rounds with a 4-2 record. There they proceeded to rattle off wins in the quarters, semis, and finals to become the Champions of the novice division! It is the first tournament win in any division for GDS this year.


As in years past, GDS artists and writers won prestigious recognition for their work in the 2022 DC Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. 


GDS honors 18 artists this year on their 32 total awards! You can view the full list of winners on the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards website.

Ally Brangham ’23, Painting and Drawing: 1 Gold Key, 2 Honorable Mentions
Edie Carey ’23, Photography: 1 Gold Key, 1 Silver Key
Mia Chevere ’23, Digital Art: 1 Honorable mention
Zaira Chowdhury ’23, Photography: 3 Silver Keys, 1 Honorable Mention
Anna Ford ’24, Painting: 1 Gold Key, 1 Silver Key
Nava Mach ’23, Painting:1 Honorable Mention
Jake Markarian ’22, Mixed Media: 1 Silver Key
Maya Raman ’23, Digital Art: 2 Silver Keys, 1 Honorable Mention. Painting 1 Silver Key
Annabel Williams ’22, Painting: 2 Silver Keys 
Sophie Wohlstadter ’23, Sculpture: 1 Gold Key 
Tate Buchwald ’23, Ceramics: 1 Silver Key (Flower Vase) -
Yuanhe (Hercules) Zhang ’24, Photography: 1 Silver Key
Maddie Feldman ’22, Photography: 1 Silver Key
Kaiden Yu ’23, Photography: 1 Gold Key
Leah Junzhe ’24, Photography: 1 Gold Key, 1 Silver Key, 1 Honorable Mention
Max Stumpf ’24, Photography: 1 Gold Key, 1 Silver Key 
Harrison West ’22, Photography: 1 Silver Key
Darwin Gu ’24, Photography: 1 Honorable Mention


GDS honors 15 writers this year on their 30 total awards! You can review the full list of writing awards here. From the more than 1,800 works submitted this year, 412 Honorable Mentions were awarded to promising works, 185 Silver Keys were awarded to distinguished works, and 132 Gold Keys were awarded to the most accomplished works, which are automatically forwarded for consideration at the national level of the Scholastic Writing Awards. Additionally, five American Voice Nominees were selected as the strongest regional works and entered as finalists for the Bay Area Writing Region's National American Voices Medal, to be announced in March. GDS senior Leila Jackson was selected as one of the five American Voices Nominees for her poem “ode to family not-tree.”

Avani Ahuja ’22, Critical Essay, “Prudence Crandall: Reformer, Pioneer, Educator,” Silver Key
Sosi Audain ’25,  Novel Writing, The GIVID, Gold Key
Laila Bapna ’25, Poetry, “Pass Me the Oar,” Honorable Mention
Julien Berman ’22, Poetry, “The Memories I Think I Have,” Silver Key
Julien Berman ’22, Dramatic Script, “So This Is It, Then,” Honorable Mention
Antonia Brooks ’23, Dramatic Script, Fall Short, Gold Key
Katherine Davies ’24, Poetry, “The Last Time,” Silver Key
Navin Desai ’23, Critical Essay, De Mule uh de World: How Zora Neale Hurston Uses Mule-hood as an Illustration of the Black-Female Experience in a Society Structured for Everyone Else, Honorable Mention
Navin Desai ’23, Poetry, “Markets of India,” Honorable Mention
Navin Desai ’23, Critical Essay, Chinua Achebe, Gold Key
Navin Desai ’23, Personal Essay, When I Was First Told, Gold Key
Leila Jackson ’22, Writing Portfolio, Monstrous, Honorable Mention
Leila Jackson ’22, Poetry, “Pragma for Country on Fire,” Silver Key
Leila Jackson ’22, Poetry, “melanin (i.e. dirt),” Silver Key
Leila Jackson ’22, Poetry, “birdseed,” Honorable Mention
Leila Jackson ’22, Poetry, “Sand,” Honorable Mention
Leila Jackson ’22, Poetry, “Tyrannosaurus Ano(rex)ic,” Gold Key
Leila Jackson ’22, Poetry, “ode to family not-tree,” Gold Key, American Voices Nominee
Lindsay Lopez-Isa Lamken ’25, Humor, Secret Santa, Honorable Mention
Zoe Maas ’26, Poetry, “Teardrop,” Gold Key
Amelia Oscherwitz ’24, Personal Essay & Memoir, My Fall From Eden: The Last Sleepover, Silver Key
Nicholas Penniman ’22, Poetry, The House on the Corner, Honorable Mention
Nicholas Penniman ’22, Poetry, “In Between America,” Honorable Mention
Nicholas Penniman ’22, Short Story, Let’s Go Where We’re Going, Gold Key
Nicholas Penniman ’22, Short Story, A Ghost Story, Gold Key
Madeleine Popofsky ’22, Poetry, “Prism,” Honorable Mention
Anna Shesol ’24, Poetry, “This Summer,” Honorable Mention
Adina Siff ’23, Short Story, The Poets' Unstitched Souls: Fake Girl's Stream of Consciousness, Honorable Mention
Adina Siff ’23, Poetry, “Poems of Twisted Love,” Honorable Mention
Adina Siff ’23, Short Story, Second Half, Gold Key

New Website for The Augur Bit

This winter, GDS’s High School student newspaper, The Augur Bit, launched a new website, which they hope will “present our journalism online in a more accessible and aesthetic way.” Editors Ethan Wolin ’22, Anna Shesol ’24, and Andrew Mikhail ’23 acknowledged the many contributions to the redesigned website. In their January announcement, they wrote, “This digital renovation is the culmination of months of work by Laith Weinberger, the Bit’s tireless website manager. He received assistance from the head of online distribution, Sadie Foer, as well as from a trio of middle school helpers—eighth graders Nile Crawford, Sanae Debgupta and Ivy Sand.” Congratulations, Augur Bit.

National Journal of Chinese Scholastic Writing

Thanks to High School Chinese teacher Min Wang for sharing the following update:

I would like to share some great news with you regarding the publication of essays from six GDS Chinese language students in the top national journal in North America. The journal mostly publishes essays from Chinese language students at university/college level, including Williams College, Yale, Georgetown University, etc. In 2022, the journal received 96 submissions from 28 programs, and they selected 41 essays to publish. 

In the past four years, 17 students’ essays from GDS have been published: three in 2019, four in 2020, four in 2021, and six in 2022.  

Congratulations to 韩达莲 Daria Hoehn-Saric ’25, 司淑菲 Sofia Sevak ’23, 艾亚诺 Adriano Arioti ’24, 代善 Shai Dweck ’22, 古乐安 Noah Kubler ’22, and 俞仲威 Kaiden Jungwei Yu ’23!

Model UN

GDS’s Model UN team found great success at the North American Invitational Model UN (NAIMUN) held at the Washington Hilton! The team was led by seniors and club heads Annabel Williams, Seth Riker, and Alex Verbesey. It was the first time the team competed in person since 2020—such fun to be back together!

Kudos to Max Burns for receiving a Verbal Commendation as an award for his role as Guglielmo Piani during the historical crisis presented in Manuel Quezon’s Cabinet!

The team: Annabel Williams, Seth Riker, Alex Verbesey, Max Burns, Nico David-Fox, Laura Belle Kaufman, Lexi Rabasco, Aidan Mostashari, Benjamin Fitzpayne, Juni Irving PettyJohn, Pierce DeCain, Amelia Oscherwitz, Joya Breinholt, Emma Nelson, and Caroline Antonipillai

Grasslands: GDS’s High School Literary Journal

In case you missed it, check out the Winter 2022 Issue of Grasslands from January! Congratulations to writers Leila Jackson ’22, Nick Penniman ’22, Julien Berman ’22, Max Wang ’23, Sophie Wohlstadter ’23, and Ollie Alfonso-Frank ’23 as well as artists Annabel Williams ’22, Jake Markarian ’22, Edie Carrey ’23, Ava Blum ’23. Thanks to their faculty advisor Fatmata Koroma from the College Counseling office.

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