Winston Churchill High School (Potomac, Maryland)
|Winston Churchill High School|
|11300 Gainsborough Rd, Potomac, MD 20854
|Other names||WCHS, Churchill High School, CHS or Churchill|
|Former name||Potomac High School|
|School district||Montgomery County Public Schools|
|Principal||Dr. Joan C. Benz|
9th Grade: 551
10th Grade: 531
11th Grade: 510
12th Grade: 545
|Rival||Thomas S. Wootton High School|
|Newspaper||The Churchill Observer|
|Website||Winston Churchill High School's home-page|
The school is named after Sir Winston Churchill, British statesman and politician who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during World War II. Founded in 1964 as Potomac High School, the school's name was changed to "Winston Churchill High School" three years later. Churchill is part of the Montgomery County Public Schools system. The majority of the students come from Herbert Hoover Middle School (75%) and Cabin John Middle School (25%). The principal, as of the 2017-2018 school year, is Dr. Joan C. Benz, who will be replaced by Brandice Heckert on June 1st, 2018 after Dr. Benz announced their retirement.
- 1 School awards and recognition
- 2 Departments and programs
- 3 Misconduct
- 4 Athletics
- 5 Notable alumni
- 6 References
- 7 External links
School awards and recognition
Churchill has been in the top 100 High Schools in the United States for years, climbing to as high as 42 in 2007 and 75 in 2017 . Churchill earned the 2007 Maryland Blue Ribbon Award, and it was selected by the U.S. Department of Education as a 2007 National No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon School. In 2012, Churchill was rated the best high school in Maryland and fifth among non magnet schools nationally according to U.S. News & World Report. In 2016, the same report ranked Winston Churchill High School 94th in national ranking, 2nd in Maryland High Schools and 146th in STEM High Schools with 83.9(out of 100) College Readiness Index. In 2017, Churchill was ranked the best high school in Maryland and 75th in the nation by U.S. News. 
Departments and programs
The Autism Program provides a program for students with low-functioning autism. In the Autism Program, students learn how to improve their skills at undertaking certain tasks. Students in this program also learn speech.
The school also has a Signature Program, which allows students the opportunity to follow one of several course paths to specialize in a particular career field. The Signature Program comprises three academies: The Academy of Math, Science, & Technology; The Academy of International Studies; and The Academy of Creative and Performing Arts.
The Bridge Program provides a program for adolescents and young adults with learning/emotional disabilities. The program's intention is on fostering academic skill development and altering behaviors that interfere with academic learning. It is supervised by an interdisciplinary team intended to meet the needs of socially vulnerable middle and high school students who may be challenged by problem-solving abstract thinking, organizing and planning, interpreting social cues, establishing relationships with peers, coping with anxiety, changes in routine, and transitioning.
Churchill is well known for its performing arts programs. Many theater productions are put on regularly, including several nights of one-act plays in which many students are able to participate. Theater classes at three levels and a television production class are taught under the direction of Naomi Ratz, also the director for the fall musical and winter play.
Churchill also has an outstanding show choir program. Simply Irresistible is the all-female group, and Showstoppers is the mixed-gender group. Both groups regularly compete within Montgomery County, as well as regional and national competitions. Churchill also hosts its own show choir competition annually, The Mid-Atlantic Show Choir Showcase.
Under choral director Matthew Albright, Churchill has four choral music groups: Voice of a Generation (VOAG), Simply Irresistible, Jazz Ambassadors and Showstoppers.
Voice of a Generation is a non audition group for students who like to sing, and learn about the study of music. Students learn how to sight read and read music, as well as improve their performance skills.
Simply Irresistible is similar to voice of a generation, however it is an all girls show choir ensemble put together through highly selected auditions. Shows off female students with more than average musical ability and interest. Students in this group work with a variety of music including jazz and pop music, but also work with sacred and secular music to practice good vocal technique.
Jazz Ambassadors is an audition co ed ensemble with an focus on developing vocal technique. Most songs are challenging jazz music, but can often be stretched to arrangements of all different kinds of music like pop or classical.
Showstoppers is like simply irresistible an honors show choir group with students selected through auditions and must have previously held positions in a choir at Churchill. This group shows musically challenging music to students with incredible talent and passion. Most of the music is popular, but much like the other groups, any musical style, including sacred and secular works are rehearsed and performed. This group also offers many leadership positions that allow students to get more involved in the Department as a whole.
In 2007, Churchill's fall production of Singin' in the Rain was nominated for 6 Cappies High School Theater Awards, winning Best Orchestra (for the third consecutive year), Best Cameo Actor, and Best Cameo Actress. Only one other school received more awards.
In 2009, Churchill's fall production of Rent: School Edition was nominated for 4 Cappies High School Theater Awards: Best Male Vocalist, Best Female Vocalist, Best Orchestra, and Best Song. Churchill won awards for Best Female Vocalist as well as Best Orchestra.
Past spring musical performances include:
- 2013 – Peter Pan
- 2012 – Legally Blonde
Past fall musical performances include:
- 2016 -- A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
- 2015 -- How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
- 2014 -- Little Shop of Horrors
- 2010 – Anything Goes
- 2009 – Chicago
- 2008 – Rent (School Edition)
- 2007 – Kiss Me Kate
- 2006 – Singin' in the Rain
- 2005 – West Side Story
- 2004 – Big the Musical
- 2003 – Guys and Dolls
- 2002 – The Music Man
- 2001 – Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
- 2000 – The Pajama Game
Churchill is well known for its annual Blast from the Past production, in which more than 200 student singers, dancers and musicians perform a variety of popular songs. These songs range from the 1920s to modern day, and they all relate to a selected theme for each school year.
Kristofer Sanz conducts Churchill's orchestras. Former conductor of the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras (MCYO) Philharmonic Orchestra, David Levin, widely considered one of the best music educators in the Washington area, held the position until his departure in 2012.
Ariel Allal, a graduate from the University of Michigan, directs the bands and teaches AP Music Theory.
Many students form their own bands, typically of a rock variety, and the school occasionally facilitates this by sponsoring a battle of the bands or band performance. Sometimes, the school has sponsored day-long concerts to take place on school grounds. For example, The Merritthon, a fundraising event for Leukemia research, occurred annually from 2002 to 2004.
In 2009, the instrumental music program won four awards at the Windy City Classic, including Best Symphonic Band, Best Orchestra, Best Classical Soloist and Best Overall Program. The jazz band received second place in that category. All three groups received a gold rating.
Churchill produces three publications, all of which have won awards: its newspaper, The Churchill Observer; its yearbook, Finest Hours, and its literary magazine, Erehwon. Each publication is accompanied by three levels of instruction in the related publishing topics.
Grade changing scandal
In January 2010, a criminal investigation exposed a grade changing scandal at Churchill. Law enforcement, prosecutors, and school officials examined the actions of many students who used a USB key logger to compromise teachers' passwords and alter the grades of hundreds of students. Three of the eight students identified as agents withdrew from the school, others were expelled.
Vandalism by Walter Johnson High School students
During the 2016–2017 year, on a day with a basketball game between Winston Churchill High School and Walter Johnson High School, Walter Johnson High School students put vulgar graffiti on Winston Churchill High School property. The graffiti insulted star basketball player and Brown University lacrosse commit, Reed Moshyedi. This caused $100,000 in damage.
Churchill High School offers the following sports:
|Season||Sport||Number of Championships||Year|
|Fall||Cross country, boys||4||1968, 1975, 1977, 1978|
|Cross country, girls||2||1979, 1991|
|Field hockey||2||1978, 1983|
|Golf||14||1976, 1987, 1988, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2014, 2015|
|Soccer, boys||7||1980, 1985, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1999, 2002, 2009,2018?|
|Winter||Basketball, girls||2||2002, 2003|
|Ice hockey||5||2006, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016|
|Indoor track, boys||2||1976, 2011|
|Swimming and diving, girls||3||2009, 2012, 2015|
|Swimming and diving, boys||1||2018|
|Outdoor track, boys||1||1976|
|Wiffleball||5||1969, 1978, 1980, 2011, 2012|
- Susan C. Lee (class of 1972) – state senator, Maryland General Assembly
- Samuel L. Stanley (class of 1972) - President, Stony Brook University, State University of New York
- Elisa New (class of 1976) - Professor of English at Harvard University
- Brian Holloway (class of 1977) – professional football player, All Pro, Stanford graduate, NFL first round draft pick
- Jeffrey Allan Kemp (class of 1977) – NFL player, quarterback for Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers; son of Jack Kemp
- Michael Hardt (class of 1978) – philosopher, author
- Kenny Kramm (class of 1979) - entrepreneur, inventor of "FLAVORx"
- Darren Star (class of 1979) – television creator and producer (Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place, Sex and the City)
- Marti Leimbach (class of 1981) – novelist
- Bruce Murray (class of 1983) – international soccer player; two-time All American at Clemson; selected to College Team of the Century; member of 1988 Summer Olympics and 1990 FIFA World Cup soccer teams; National Soccer Hall of Fame
- Paul Palmer (class of 1983) – NFL player, first round draft pick
- Lori Alan Denniberg (class of 1984) – actress and voice actor
- Deborah Copaken Kogan (class of 1984) - writer and photojournalist (Shutterbabe)
- Mike Sacks (class of 1986) – magazine editor, humor writer
- Julie Kent (class of 1987) – American Ballet Theatre, principal dancer for 22 years
- Mike Barrowman (class of 1987) – swimmer, 1992 Olympic gold medalist, 200 meter breaststroke
- Jimmy Kemp (class of 1989) – CFL football player
- Jordan Ellenberg (class of 1989) - mathematician and author, How Not to Be Wrong
- Rachel Nichols (class of 1991) – ESPN reporter
- Jeff Halpern (class of 1994) – NHL player, first from Southeast U.S.
- Robyn Cohen (class of 1994) - actress
- Dhani Jones (class of 1996) – professional football player, TV personality, The Travel Channel and CNBC
- Bryan Cogman (class of 1997) (did not graduate) - Emmy Award-winning writer, Game of Thrones
- Ben Feldman (class of 1998) – actor, Drop Dead Diva, Mad Men
- Kelen Coleman (class of 2002) – actress, The Office, The Mindy Project, The Newsroom, The McCarthys
- Jerome Dyson (class of 2005) – professional basketball player
- Neil Vranis (class of 2008) – soccer player
- Kamie Crawford (class of 2010) – Miss Teen USA 2010
- Shinsaku Uesugi (class of 2010) – chess player (Chess Olympiad)
- Joshua Coyne (class of 2011) – composer and musician
- Taylor Momsen (class of 2011) (did not graduate) – actor, Gossip Girl); musician, The Pretty Reckless)
- "Parent And Student Handbook 2012–2013" (PDF). Retrieved January 26, 2011.
- "Updated: New Principals Named for Whitman, Churchill High Schools". Retrieved 2018-05-24.
- "Gold Medal Schools". U.S. News & World Report. November 29, 2007. Archived from the original on December 1, 2007."Winston Churchill High School". U.S. News & World Report. June 7, 2017. Archived from the original on June 7, 2017.
- Jacobson, Erica (December 13, 2006). "Two local schools awarded Md. Blue Ribbon designation". Washington Examiner.
- "Winston Churchill HS Named National Blue Ribbon School". October 2, 2007. Retrieved May 15, 2010.
- "Best High Schools". May 8, 2012. Archived from the original on May 8, 2012.
- "Best High Schools". September 25, 2016.
- "U.S. News 2017 rankings".
- Donaghue, Erin (November 4, 2009). "Signature Program faces more hurdles at Churchill". Potomac Gazette.
- Silverman, Speri (March 20, 2010). "School Based Services".
- "WCHS Choral Music Department". www.wchsarts.com. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
- Mack, Jean (May 17, 2007). "And the Nominees Are..." The Washington Post. Retrieved February 5, 2009.
- Vaughn, Peggy (June 13, 2007). "Wootton, Churchill students bring home some Cappies". Potomac Gazette.
-  Archived August 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
- "2009 National Capital Area Nominees".
- Cetron, Ari (June 18, 2003). "Rock for the Cure". Potomac Almanac. Retrieved May 23, 2010
- "MSPA 2003 Publications Contest Results". Maryland-District of Columbia Scholastic Press Association. University of Maryland. 2003. Archived from the original on April 24, 2009. Retrieved February 5, 2009.
- "Publication Awards Recognize Best in Area". Maryland-District of Columbia Scholastic Press Association. University of Maryland. Winter 2002. Archived from the original on April 24, 2009. Retrieved February 5, 2009.
- "MSPA 2002 Publications Contest Results". Maryland-District of Columbia Scholastic Press Association. University of Maryland. 2002. Archived from the original on April 24, 2009. Retrieved February 5, 2009.
- Birnbaum, Michael; Morse, Dan; Johnson, Jenna (March 4, 2010). "Criminal investigation opened in grade-changing scandal at Churchill High". The Washington Post. pp. A01. Retrieved May 16, 2010.
- Stabley, Matthew (January 31, 2017). "High School Basketball Rivalry Causes $100,000 in Damage By Vandals". NBC4 Washington.
- "Fall Record Book" (PDF). Retrieved May 15, 2010.
- "Winter Record Book" (PDF). Retrieved May 15, 2010.
- "Maryland Scholastic Hockey League Past Champions". Mshl.org. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
- "Spring Record Book" (PDF). Retrieved May 15, 2010.
- Tisha Thompson (July 16, 2015). "'Game of Thrones' Writer Credits Churchill High With His Success". WRC-TV. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
- Churchill statistics from MCPS
- Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association
- The Churchill Observer