Top 100 Best High Schools 2013 – Winston Churchill – Newsweek – 97/100
Winston Churchill High School, often referred to as WCHS or Churchill, is a high school in Potomac, an unincorporated section of Montgomery County, Maryland.
|Winston Churchill High School|
|Motto||School of Excellence
Where Excellence Soars
|Principal||Dr. Joan C. Benz|
9th Grade: 501
10th Grade: 531
11th Grade: 510
12th Grade: 545
|Location||Potomac, Maryland, USA|
|District||Montgomery County Public Schools|
|Rival||Thomas S. Wootton High School; Walt Whitman High School|
|Newspaper||The Churchill Observer|
|Website||Winston Churchill Home Page|
11300 Gainsborough Rd, Potomac, MD 20854, United States
The school is named after Sir Winston Churchill, British statesman and politician who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during and after World War II. The school was founded in 1964 and 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 2013–2014 school year, is Dr. Joan C. Benz.
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. 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, according to U.S. News & World Report 
Departments and programs
Churchill has nine academic departments: Art, Computer Science, English, Foreign Language, Mathematics, Performing Arts, Physical Education, Science and Social Studies.
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 outstanding 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.
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.
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: 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 bands and 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.
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.