Cheering for the achievements of McLean High School students and staff!

Three artists earn Silver Medals in Scholastic Art Awards


Posted on March 29, 2017 by

Congratulations to Seijung Kim (Drawing & Illustration, “Unscrambled”), Rose Harris (Ceramics & Glass “Three Cups of Tea”) and Christian Flocos  (Sculpture, “Exhaustion”), who received Silver Medals in the 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. They were selected out of 330,000 entries, an impressive feat!

Varsity dance team wraps up their most successful season ever


Posted on March 27, 2017 by

Members of the dance team are:

Members of the dance team are: Seniors: Julia Kaufmann (captain), Chloe Kim, Annie Luo, Sophie Mariam (captain), Dana Schaumburg (captain), Neeki Souri (captain) Juniors: Cayla Davis, Taylor Jackowski, Dylan Laufman, Kaitlyn Merritt (junior captain), Rachel Remer Sophomores: Kaiti Bachman, Alyssa Montes, Carenna Slotkoff, Isabella Swigart, Elizabeth Turnage, Rachel Zhang Freshmen: Mason Glembocki, Emma Jolley, Jillian Keilholtz, Brianna Walia Coaches: Jen Koonce, Nicole Moffitt, Jesus Villeda

The varsity dance team recently concluded its competition season with 3rd place awards in both jazz and pom at the Reach the Beach Nationals competition in Ocean City, Maryland.  The dance team had its most successful season ever, winning several awards this year:

  • 1st place jazz, Sweetheart Dance Invitational
  • 1st place pom, Sweetheart Dance Invitational
  • 1stplace jazz, NDA Capitol Classic
  • 1stplace pom, NDA Capitol Classic
  • 1stplace team home routine, UDA Summer Camp
  • Superior trophy for highest average superior ribbons, UDA Summer Camp
  • Highest number of All-American Dancers at UDA Summer Camp; seniors Julia Kaufmann, Chloe Kim, Sophie Mariam, Dana Schaumburg and Neeki Souri were selected for the All-American Award
  • 2nd place solo award at Reach the Beach and 2nd place solo award at the Sweetheart Dance Invitational for senior captain Sophie Mariam
  • 3rd place solo award at Reach the Beach and 5th place solo award at the Sweetheart Dance Invitational for sophomore Isabella Swigart

Music department wins top prize at Worldstrides Orlando Festival of Music


Posted on March 27, 2017 by

mhs awards

McLean’s music department won the highest honor at the Worldstrides Orlando Festival of Music this weekend, taking home the top prize for the highest combined score of any music department.

Band Orlando 2017

Our bands received the following awards:

Symphonic Band – 1st place in class 3A, Superior Rating, Instrumental Sweepstakes Champions, Festival of Gold Award, Adjudicator’s Award, Outstanding Band Ensemble Award, Festival Sweepstakes Award – Grand Champions

Wind Ensemble – 1st place in class 2A, Superior Rating

Jazz Ensemble – 1st place in class, Superior Rating, Adjudicator’s Award

Concert Band – 2nd place in class 1A, Excellent Rating

Alonso Flores, Tina Hashemi and Ben Hacker earned Soloist Awards.

orch awards2

Our orchestras received the following awards:

Philharmonic Orchestra – 1st place with a Gold rating

Symphonic Orchestra – 2nd place with a Gold rating

Concert Orchestra – Bronze rating

The McLean orchestra program took home the “Outstanding Orchestral Group” trophy for being the highest scoring orchestras at the competition.

Our student conductor, Tashi Gyatso, and soloists Minseon Kim and Charlie Tucker of the Philharmonic Orchestra earned the coveted Maestro awards for their outstanding work on Josef Suk’s “Serenade for Strings.”

Congratulations to all of McLean’s talented musicians!

The Highlander newsmagazine wins a CSPA Gold Crown


Posted on March 22, 2017 by

The Highlander newsmagazine staff was presented with a Gold Crown at the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) journalism convention at Columbia University in New York City on March 17. This is their second year in a row to receive this prestigious award.

The Highlander is the ONLY high school newspaper/newsmagazine in the state of Virginia to win a Gold Crown this year!

CSPA’s Gold Crown is one of the highest honors in scholastic journalism. According to the CSPA website, “publications are judged on their excellence as shown by their design, photography, concept, coverage and writing.” Congratulations!

Sabrina Vazquez, Alex Mandanas, Emily O'Keefe, Anya Chen and Nick Monroy accepted the CSPA Gold Crown on behalf of The Highlander staff on March 17.

Sabrina Vazquez, Alex Mandanas, Emily O’Keefe, Anya Chen and Nick Monroy accepted the CSPA Gold Crown on behalf of The Highlander staff at Columbia University on March 17.

Musicians join All-State ensembles


Posted on March 6, 2017 by

Six of our students earned spots in the following All-State ensembles. Excellent work!


Jade Deatherage

Symphonic Band:

Daniel Arnold

Sarah Bonforte

Sarah Levy

Arman Parastaran

Concert Band:

Alex Simons

Three students make All-State Orchestra


Posted on February 28, 2017 by

Please join me in congratulating the following orchestra students for placing into this year’s Virginia All-State Orchestra:

Steve Han (cello)

Minseon Kim (violin)

Maxence Mouries (violin)

Steve Han and Minseon Kim both placed fifth in the state. The All-State Orchestra will perform at a special concert in April at Colgan High School.

Scholastic Bowl team finishes second in state tournament


Posted on February 27, 2017 by

This weekend, the Scholastic Bowl team competed in the VHSL State Tournament at William & Mary. The team, consisting of Justin Young, Mara Kessler, Carson Flickinger, Grace Chung and backup Evan Stoddard, finished in second place behind Robinson.  Justin was the second highest scoring individual in the entire tournament, which consisted of 24 teams and over 100 participants, earning him a spot on the All-State Tournament Team. Congratulations to the team and sponsor Jeff Brocketti!

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Highlander editor-in-chief Melanie Pincus named Virginia Journalist of the Year


Posted on February 21, 2017 by


Melanie Pincus has been named the Virginia Journalist of the Year by the Virginia Association of Journalism Teachers and Advisers.  Melanie, who is in her second year as editor-in-chief of The Highlander newsmagazine, works with teacher and adviser Lindsay Benedict.  Melanie will compete for the Journalism Education Association’s national award this spring.

Judges cited Melanie for her passion for reporting the news and for conducting outreach to middle school students to spread awareness of high school journalism and to provide information about media literacy.  She was also praised for her writing style, use of sources, professionalism in reporting about timely topics, skill at editing and providing feedback to colleagues, and keeping lines of communication open with the administration.  One judge stated, “Pincus’ portfolio looks like that of a college senior, with internships, awards, and hard news reporting that shows a hunger and knack for telling important stories. She takes stories that might appear mundane, such as teacher salaries, and explains them in a way that her readership will find compelling.”

It is a pleasure to work with Melanie, and this award is well-deserved!