Category Archives: Arts

McLean band wins National Program of Excellence Award


Posted on November 13, 2015 by

McLeanMarchingBand2015The National Band Association has selected the McLean High School band program for a National Program of Excellence Award, as well as winner of the Southern Division Excellence Award. The NBA’s award recognizes high levels of program excellence and band programs that challenge students over a continued period of time.

To be considered for the award, band director Chris Weise had to submit materials to show the band’s history of success over the past four years. Those areas included performances, competition rankings and scores from Concert Band ensembles, Marching Band, Percussion Ensemble, All-District Band and All-State Band, Jazz Ensemble, Solo/Ensemble and Guard.

Weise and his staff also had to submit concert programs from the past four years and recordings from the bands in the last two years. McLean’s nationally acclaimed program is made up of three concert bands, two jazz ensembles, three winter guards, two percussion ensembles, and the Highlander Marching Band.  They all perform regularly in our region and across America.

Congratulations on this well-deserved honor!


Governor’s School offers Highlanders enriching experience


Posted on September 30, 2015 by

Governor’s School is a challenging and enriching Virginia program designed for highly motivated students. The selection process is extremely competitive, and we are so proud of the following students who participated in Governor’s School this summer:

Hannah Aaronson (Agriculture)

Shuqiao Chai (Agriculture)

Caitlin Dozier (Medicine and Health Sciences)

Bomi Kim (Humanities)

Katherine Ohlson (Visual and Performing Arts)

Gulenay Saydahmat (Medicine and Health Sciences)

Fatima Shabaz (Humanities)

Two informational meetings will be taking place for interested 10th and 11th grade students to discuss Governor’s School residential programs for the summer of 2016.

The first meeting will take place on Thursday, October 8th, at 3 p.m. in the Career Center for students interested in applying to programs in the Visual & Performing Arts (Visual Art, Dance, Instrumental Music, Vocal Music, or Theatre).

The second meeting will take place on Thursday, October 15th, at 3 p.m. in the Career Center for students interested in applying to programs in Academics (Humanities, Math/Science/Tech, Agriculture, Life Science/Medicine, and Mentorships in Engineering and Life Sciences).

If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Allman or Mr. Burke in Student Services.

Thank you for a great year, Highlanders!


Posted on June 19, 2015 by

Today, June 19th, marked the last day of the 2014-2015 school year.  This school year, our students have found success in and out of the classroom.  I have enjoyed sharing the many accolades our students and staff received over the course of the year here on Reilly’s Raves, and I can’t wait to continue with it next year.

This year’s graduating class is well-prepared to take on the next challenges in their lives.

*The Class of 2015 has 8 National Merit Finalists.

*As a class, 95% will be attending a post-secondary institution, 6 students will attend U.S. Service Academies, 5 students will enter the United States Armed Forces, and 2.3% will enter the workforce and engage in other activities to determine their future goals.

*This year’s class will be matriculating to 137 colleges and universities throughout the United States and abroad.

*The Class of 2015 has been offered and accepted over 8.1 million dollars in scholarships.

A special thanks to our PTSA officers: Elia Femia, Alison Senold, Sophia Bruner, Kirsten Huber, Jeannie Thomas, and Laura Przypyszny.  Their continued support of our students and teachers remains appreciated by all.  Also, thank you to Beth Raymond and Jen Herzberg for organizing our faculty luncheons, and to the Abi-Najm family for providing the staff a delicious end of the year lunch from Lebanese Taverna.  Finally, I’d like to thank all of the parents and students who made special treats and brought food Friday mornings. The staff truly appreciates your generosity and thoughtfulness.

During the summer, I will send updates about the opening of school as the date draws near. Students who have graduated will be removed from receiving Keep In Touch messages and rising freshmen will be added during the summer. To add or remove your email address from a school, go to   Please check the McLean High School website for updated information, and I will send out KIT messages to keep you informed.

On behalf of the faculty and staff at McLean High School, we wish everyone a safe and relaxing summer!

Students presented with awards at May 21 ceremony


Posted on May 27, 2015 by

Congratulations to the following students, who were presented with awards at a ceremony in Student Services on May 21.

Alexandria Valley of the Scottish Rite Glass Scholarship: Jaqueline Rhodes



American Association of University Women McLean Branch Math Achievement Award: Kathryn Howley

2 Howley


American Association of University Women McLean Branch Science Achievement Award: Gulenay (Rose) Saydahmat

2 Saydahmat


Anastasia Stewart Chunilal Foreign Language Scholarship: Genesis Pedraza



Anna M. DeConti Math Award: Michelle Vaccaro



DECA Principles of Marketing First Place, Virginia: Olivia McAuliffe



Virginia Association of Journalism Teachers & Advisers jDay Write-Off Contest:

Broadcast Division, First Place: Lama Al Rajih

News Writing Category, Third Place: Hee Young (Christine) Cheon



Juniper Networks Engineering Scholarship: Hye In (Lauren) Yeom



Michele Shoemaker-Liebel French Awards:

Academic Excellence: Rebecca Hall

Love of French: Christine McCulla



Nancy Lancaster Lindjord Memorial Scholarship: Katherine McGinn



National Merit Washington and Lee University Scholarship: Heather Pincus



President’s Volunteer Service Awards

Gold Award and Certificate of Excellence: Olivia Powell

Silver Award: Eva Femia

Bronze Award: Emma Chamberlayne



Raudenbush Spanish Awards

Spanish 1: Monica Fontana

Spanish 2: Jiwon (Gwenyth) Choi

Spanish 3: Omar Allabadi

Spanish 4: Hannah Aronson

AP Spanish: Lizzy Brown-Kaiser



Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Medal Award: Richard Ohr



Scholastic Art and Writing Award, National Medal: Shin Ae Choi



Student Peace Awards of Fairfax County: Soobin Wang



U.S. Figure Skating Gold Level Achievement: Victoria Boinest



McLean Nominee for VHSL Charles E. Savedge Scholarship: Andrea Delgado



Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Emerging Leader Scholarship: Jack Holland


McLean Theatre Co. nominated for 21 Cappies


Posted on May 27, 2015 by

Congratulations to Amy Poe and the McLean High School Theatre Co. students for earning 21 Cappies nominations for their production of Big Fish. To learn more about the Cappies, please visit:

Category Nominee
Rising Critic Jessica Scarano
Returning Critic Gillian Wright
Returning Critic Jack Posey
Returning Critic Zoe Le Menestrel
Graduating Critic Emma Paquette
Graduating Critic Marielle Burt
Sound Zack Alvarez, Jared Jacknow, Emma Knapp, Max Speil
Lighting Tristan Froats, Jared Jacknow, Avery Madore, Max Speil
Sets Faris Assaadi, Ben French, Luke Gagorik, Joe Miller
Costumes Miranda Creason, Marzanne DeLapp de Anaya, Breezy Johnson, Jessica Scarano
Props Camille Calderon, Havi Carrillo-Klein, Kevin Pfeil, Brittany Regas
Special Effects and or Technology Kate Callahan, Isabel Zapata
Stage Crew Marielle Burt, Breezy Johnson, Thomas Kelty, Blue Morph Suit Crew
Choreography Marielle Burt, Rebecca Stewart, Jamie Wertz
Ensemble in a Musical The Company
Featured Actor Matt Lucero
Supporting Actor in a Musical Jack Posey
Lead Actor in a Musical Alex Stone
Critic Team McLean High School Critic Team
Song “Be the Hero”
Musical Big Fish


Lily Lord wins Hal Leonard Vocal Competition


Posted on May 4, 2015 by

Lily Lord was just announced as the first place winner of the national 2015 Hal Leonard Vocal Competition in the Musical Theatre: High School Voices (Ages 16-18) category. Lily has been a McLean Madrigal for the past three years and is an active member of the McLean Theatre Company.

Check out Lily’s award-winning video!

Senior completes National Gallery of Art High School Seminar


Posted on April 22, 2015 by

Senior Apiding Osika successfully completed the High School Seminar at the National Gallery of Art, a 10-session program that introduces upper-level high school students to the skills necessary to study art history and art-making techniques by drawing on the rich collections at the National Gallery of Art. At the end of the seminar, Apiding presented her research to an audience of teachers, parents and museum visitors. Very impressive, Apiding!

Shinae Choi wins Silver Medal in National Scholastic Art Awards


Posted on March 27, 2015 by

Shinae Choi, one of Swapna Elias’s AP Studio Art students, won a Silver Medal at the national level for her art portfolio in the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards of 2015. Only 20 other Fairfax County students won national awards, and only three other students won for their portfolios. Only the top 1% were recognized at the national level. With more than 300,000 students participating, this is an incredible achievement. Excellent work, Shinae!