January/February 2024 Accolades

January/February 2024 Accolades
Dani Seiss

We are sharing Student Accolades from:

It’s Academic >> 
Quiz Bowl >> 
Art Awards >>
Debate >> 
JCC Maccabi Games >>
AIMS Dance Festival >> 


It’s Academic:

GDS competed in the It’s Academic high school quiz show back in December with a team that included Ben Hellman ’25, Haughton Neppl ’27, Isaac Seiken ’25, and two alternates: Luke Fedorchak ’24 and Henry Fragale ’26. Accompanied by GDS High School Principal Yom Fox, with High School History Teacher Susan Ikenberry and Associate Director of College Counseling Shawn Miller acting as coaches, GDS came out among the nine best teams in the city and won two games.

But there are more opportunities ahead to move up. “We're hoping to be among the three best or the best,” said coach Susan. 

Out of 81 teams in the region, GDS won rounds against La Plata and Watkins Mill and so continued another round against Paul VI and BCC. They are now in the final nine and will be headed to the playoffs in April. 

Principal Yom Fox said afterward to the team: “What set GDS apart was your willingness to communicate with each other and come together to determine the right answer. It was sportsmanship at its finest. You should be very proud of yourselves.”

It’s Academic! is included in TV Guide’s list of "Fifty Greatest Game Shows of All Time.” The famous, long-running (61-year-old) show, sponsored by David Rubinstein (chairman of the Kennedy Center, the National Gallery of Art, the Council on Foreign Relations, and The Economic Club of Washington, DC), moved from WRC-TV to WETA this year. The studio is small, but there's room for 13 guests other than the students, principal, and coaches. And they welcome mascots!

The semi-final match is scheduled for April 14.  GDS’s competition will be with Landon and Sandy Spring Friends. The winner will stay on for the Championship Match on the same day.

Quiz Bowl:

In early December GDS students Luke Fedorchak ’24, Henry Fragale ’26, and Haughton Neppl  ’27 competed in the Texas Quiz Bowl Alliance’s Holiday Party and Eggnog Varsity Quiz Bowl Tournament. GDS went undefeated for all nine rounds against teams from around the country winning first place and qualifying for the 2024 National Academic Quiz Tournaments High School Nationals to be held in Atlanta this spring.  

Haughton scored the highest as an individual in the tournament, scoring twice as many points as the second-place finisher. 

Then on February 24, GDS hosted its first ever Quiz Bowl middle school tournament. The school was packed with 125 students from around the region who competed on 28 different teams.   

Members of the GDS History Bowl and Quiz Bowl groups. Students with medals participated in the GDS History Bowl group that competed at the tournament hosted at GDS on November 11.

GDS fielded three teams (totaling 13 students) in the 6th grade and younger division. GDS’s A team went undefeated in eight rounds finishing as the champions! 

GDS’s B and C teams also did well finishing in fifth place with a 5-3 record and ninth place with a 4-4 record.  

The MS GDS Quiz Bowl team just formed in January and this was their first in-person tournament ever. Way to go, Hoppers!

In addition to team trophies, medals were also awarded to the top 10 individual scorers in each of the two divisions. Of note, out of about 60 students in the 6th grade and younger division, Paul BlochPrime ‘31 was the highest individual scorer.  Nate Feldman ‘30 and Jake Teitelbaum ‘30 placed 4th and 8th, respectively, and Oliver Elleithee ‘31 placed 10th. Congratulations to all players who had the enthusiasm and courage to put their knowledge (and stamina!) to the test. 


In early January the GDS Debate team competed against 85 other schools and 737 competitors at the national tournament held at Lexington High School in Massachusetts.

Captain Clio Blum ’25 described the scene: “We battled the snow in Boston and even had to stay an extra night out in Delaware on our way back because of the icy roads.”

Head coach Gabe Koo shared that GDS had five of the top 16 and three of the top eight winning teams (more than any other school) and two teams qualified for the tournament of champions (TOC), the national championship for all debaters. 

The outcome being well worth braving the weather, two of the Novice teams: Mina Holtzman ’27 and Rhea Ganta ’27 made it all the way to Semifinals, while Madeleine Genia ’26 and Emi Fitzgibbons ’26 made it to Quarterfinals.

Varsity team Ike Song ’24 and Dhilan Desai ’25 made it to Semifinals, while Hercules Zhang ’24 and Mark Orr’s ’24 Varsity team made it to Quarterfinals. Both fully qualified for the TOC.

Other GDS Varsity teams also placed: Emma Renigar ’26 and Sam Wood ’26 made it to the Quarterfinals and got their first bid to the TOC. Clio Blum ’25 and Caroline Garland ’24 made it to Octofinals, where they lost by a mere one vote, and Ananth Mangalam ’27 and Jacob Tobias ’27 made it to Octofinals as well! (After eight preliminary rounds the 16 best teams compete in knock-out debates known as the Octofinals.)

Then in early February, GDS debated at the Pennsbury tournament just outside of Philly which hosted 85 schools from 11 different states for a total of 750+ students. 

Congratulations go to Ike Song ‘24 and Michael Dobbs ‘25 for going undefeated in the preliminary rounds and battling it up to finals where they lost by just one vote. 

Congratulations to Emma Renigar ’26, Sam Wood ’26, Rhea Ganta ’27, and Mina Holtzman ’27 for breaking into eliminations and making it to Octofinals!

Ike placed first in speaker awards, Michael placed third, Rhea placed 8th, Emma placed 14th, and Mina placed 17th out of the entire pool!

And congratulations to our novices Mason Bronner ‘27 and Joseph Xu ‘27 for championing the novice division!

Special congratulations to first-year debaters, Mina and Rhea — the coaches felt they were ready for the big leagues. They responded with a winning record and made it to the top 16!

The JCC Maccabi Games:

Congratulations to Theodora Foer ’26 and Jessica Berger ’25 on winning the gold in Soccer at the JCC Maccabi Games! 

The JCC Maccabi Games are Olympic-style sports competitions in which 3,000 Jewish teen athletes from around the globe compete in the world’s largest Jewish youth sporting event.

Art Awards:

ESU Shakespeare-–

Please congratulate Quinn Shields and EJ Mazo, winner and runner up in the ESU Shakespeare Competition at the High School.

Quinn represented GDS at the DMV competition on February 27th at Madeira.


Congratulations to Elodie Fleurence’25 for winning the YoungArts Award for Accomplishments in Discipline. The YoungArts Award is part of the National Foundation for the Advancement of Artists, and helps connect artists to funding, residences, exhibition opportunities, and career development. 

Included (below) are some of her favorite works: State of Mind, Caution, and Varicose.


State of Mind


AIMS Dance Festival:

In early January, GDS Middle School dance students won the award for “Best Overall Middle School Performance” at the AIMS Dance Festival. The festival is held and sponsored by The Association of Independent Maryland and DC schools (AIMS) and is designed for students/dancers grades 6-12, offering an opportunity to meet fellow dancer/students from other AIMS schools, to experience dance presentations, and to participate in dance classes with top-notch dance instructors from the region. 

Please congratulate the participating students on their award!

Class of ’28

  • Lara Belayachi 
  • Saida Debgupta
  • Saide Elleithee
  • Lindsay Anne Fuzesi
  • Liora Grasheim
  • Justin Heffernan
  • Charlie Meilser 
  • Abby Orseck
  • Alex Price
  • Zoe Stutson
  • Sage Vogelstein 

Class of ’29

  • Tessa Bash
  • Grace Bowen
  • Lilly Escola
  • Max Goldman
  • Cassidy Holmwood
  • Blake Karanjia
  • Anna Lundman
  • Eesha Parekh
  • Sophie Samuel
  • Wynne Schneiderman-Hordell
  • Elle Squire
  • Livvy Wachs




January/February 2024 Accolades
  • Accolades