U.S. News has released their ‘Best High Schools’ list (national and by state).
4 of the top 5 Maryland schools are in MoCo.
5. Quince Orchard
Clarksburg comes in 20th. The Maryland state list goes up to 54 and then lists schools in alphabetical order.
Conspicuous by their absence are schools we usually see on these types of lists, like B-CC, Blair, Richard Montgomery, and Whitman.
The full lists and criteria for rankings can be found here: https://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/maryland/rankings?src=usn_tw
Montgomery County has strong ties to many celebrities, but we wanted to list a few that aren’t discussed as much as the usual suspects.
This list looks at just 10 of the many celebrities with ties to the county we love!
You may recognize her from one of her many movie or television roles (Kindergarten Cop, Junior, Jericho, NCIS: Los Angeles, etc.), but before she went to Hollywood, Reed lived in Silver Spring and attended Springbrook High School.
Perhaps best known for his role as a villain in the first Fast & the Furious movie, Yune has had a successful TV and film career since the late 90s.
Yune (then Yun) was born in D.C., but attended Our Lady of Good Counsel High School (then in Wheaton).
Many recognize Heard as the Dad from Home Alone, but there was a time the actor was approaching A-list status in Hollywood.
Heard was from Chevy Chase. Sadly, he passed away in July of 2017.
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The actress and comedian has appeared on multiple Comedy Central Roasts as well as her own NBC sitcom, Whitney.
She was born and raised in nearby Georgetown, but attended St. Andrews in Potomac, where she graduated in 2000.
Baker is one of those actors that has been in everything. You know who he is, you’ve seen him plenty, but you just never knew his name.
Born in New York and raised in Virginia, he finished out high school in MoCo when he graduated from Georgetown Prep in 1976.
Murray was introduced to most of us as Thackery Binx in Hocus Pocus (the young man that was turned into a cat). Later on he started in JAG and is currently in a starring role in the hit CBS series, NCIS.
Murray is from Bethesda.
You may remember Davidson as one of the breakout stars of In Living Color, but he has also appeared in many movies (Ace Ventura, Juwanna Mann, etc.).
Davidson graduated from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in 1982.
He has played the role of a police officer in just about everything! You may recognize him from his role in HBO’s The Wire, Law & Order: SVU, Blue Bloods, etc.
He is a graduate of Blair High School in Silver Spring.
Jane has had a very long lasting and successful Hollywood career. You may remember him from his starting role in The Punisher, his HBO series Hung, or his current Netflix original movie, 1922.
He graduated from Wootton High School in 1987.
You’ve probably seen him in his role in the popular teen drama The O.C., or the country music series, Nashville. He also released an EP in 2015.
Carmack is a graduate of Magruder High School.
Have you ever wondered what any of the local high schools are named after? Some are fairly obvious and well known, but others aren’t. We decided to take a look at the 26 MCPS high schools and the origin of their names.
Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School
Named after two of the areas the school serves, the name Bethesda was taken from Jerusalem’s Pool of Bethesda. In Aramaic, Bethesda means “House of Mercy.” In Hebrew, it means “House of Kindness.”
Chevy Chase was named after the Chevy Chase Land Company, a real estate development company that was founded in 1890. At that time, they purchased land stretching from DuPont Circle to Jones Bridge Road. The name Chevy Chase is derived from the Medieval English Ballad of Chevy Chase.
Montgomery Blair High School
Montgomery Blair was a politician and lawyer from Maryland. He represented Dred Scott in the 1852 Supreme Court case that decided 7-2 against Scott, finding that neither he nor any other person of African ancestry could claim citizenship in the United States. This decision was later nullified in 1863 after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
Blair also served at Postmaster-General in the Lincoln Administration cabinet from 1861-1864 (during the Civil War).
James Hubert Blake High School
The school was originally going to be named after The Muppet Show creator and University of Maryland graduate, Jim Henson. When his estate declined the honor, the school was named after James Hubert Blake.
Blake was a Baltimore ragtime musician of the early and mid-20th century. On his 92nd Birthday, Blake said “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.”
Winston Churchill High School
After spending 3 years known as “Potomac High School,” (a few have commented that it was known as “North Potomac High School”) the school name changed in 1967 to honor Sir Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during World War II.
Winston Churchill also won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 for his lifetime body of work.
Clarksburg High School
The high school is named after the area it is located in. Clarksburg is named for Trader John Clarke and was established at the intersection of the main road between Georgetown, Frederick, and an old Seneca trail.
Damascus High School
The high school was named for the area it is in. Damascus was originally named “The Pleasant Plains of Damascus” after Damascus, Syria.
Damascus was incorporated for a 34 year period in the late 20th/early 21st century, but the townspeople requested incorporation be withdrawn so that Old Quaker Rd. could be paved into a state highway.
The Thomas Edison High School of Technology
A vocational/technical high school in Wheaton, Edison is different than other MCPS high schools in that students typically spend half their day there and the other half at their home school.
The school is named after Thomas Alva Edison. Edison has been described as “America’s greatest inventor.” He is the inventor of the motion picture camera, the incandescent light bulb, and many more items that have been groundbreaking and useful throughout time.
Albert Einstein High School
The school is named after German-born theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein. He is best known for his mass-energy equivalency formula E = mc2, which is considered the “world’s most famous equation” by many.
Einstein has four academies as part of the Downcounty Consortium, the largest one being The Visual and Performing Arts Academy.
Gaithersburg High School
Gaithersburg High School was founded in 1904 as “Gaithersburg School” and offered grades K-12.
The school/city is named after Benjamin Gaither. Gaither built his home near what is present day Summit Hall in 1802 when Gaithersburg was known as Log Town. The name was changed to Gaithersburg in the 1850s.
Walter Johnson High School
The school is named after the late Washington Senators pitcher, Walter Johnson. Johnson lived nearby in a Bethesda home that still stands a few miles from the school on Old Georgetown Road.
Walter Johnson retired to Germantown in 1933, where he owned a farm in the location where the Gunners Lake community is in present day. He was elected as a Montgomery County commissioner in 1938.
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John F. Kennedy High School
The original plan was to name the school “East Wheaton High School,” but due to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the school was re-named after him.
John F. Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States. Kennedy was a member of the democratic party and represented the state of Massachusetts in the House of Representatives and State Senate prior to his presidency. Commonly referred to as “JFK,” he was assassinated on November 22nd, 1963.
Colonel Zadok A. Magruder High School
The school is named for Colonel Zadok A. Magruder. Magruder was a Revolutionary War patriot and farmer. He moved to Montgomery County as a young man and ater on he inherited 600 acres of land in the Norbeck area before building a home in Redland in 1750.
Magruder helped establish Montgomery County’s government in 1776.
Richard Montgomery High School
Richard Montgomery is the oldest high school in MoCo. It was established in 1892 and was then known as Rockville High School. Rockville Colored High School opened in 1927 so the school was re-named after Richard Montgomery in 1935 to distinguish between the two.
Richard Montgomery was an Irish-born soldier who first served in the British army. Montgomery later took on the patriot cause and fought for America during the Revolutionary War. Montgomery County is named after him.
Northwest High School
Northwest High School was Germantown’s second high school and was established in 1998 to alleviate some of the crowding at Seneca Valley High School.
The school is named for its geographic location. It is located in the northwest part of the county and serves students from Germantown as well as a small portion of students from Gaithersburg and Darnestown.
Northwood High School
Northwood High School was established in 1956 and was closed in 1985 in a contested decision that aimed to alleviate the concentration of minority students enrolled at Blair High School. The school reopened in 2004.
The school was named after the area it was in (then known as Northwood). While I wasn’t able to find information on the origin of the Northwood name, the school’s mascot during their first 29 years of existence was the Indians. A 2001 vote by the Board of Education banned ethnic and race-based team mascots at county schools, so alumni from the first graduating class in 1958 and the first class of the new Northwood chose the Gladiators as the new mascot.
Paint Branch High School
The school was founded in 1969 . Their fight song, ‘Hail to the Panthers,’ is sung to the tune of ‘Hail to the Redskins.’
The school was named after Paint Branch Creek, a 14 mile long stream that flows through Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.There’s even a College Park based band known as Paint Branch Creek.
Poolesville High School
The core of the building, which still stands, was built in 1911 when the school was established. From 1911 until 2002, the school mascot was the Indians until the school’s students voted to change the mascot to the Falcons, following an initial vote to keep the mascot that was overruled.
The school and town are named after John and Joseph Poole. The brothers owned 160 acres of land in the area that was later named after them. The town was actually legally known as /The Commissioners of Poolesville’ until 2010 when residents voted to change the name to ‘The Town of Poolesville.’
Quince Orchard High School
A relatively new school, established in 1988, the school won a 4A Maryland State Football Championship in 1991 just 3 years after opening (they won a second time 16 years later, in 2007).
The school was named after a quince orchard that existed across from the school’s current location. A quince is a yellow fruit that looks similar to a pear.
Rockville High School
Not to be confused with the original Rockville High School, which was later re-named Richard Montgomery, this school was named after the city it’s in.
Before settling on the Rockville name, the area was called Owen’s Ordinary (there’s currently a Pike & Rose restaurant with the same name), Hungerford’s Tavern, and Daley’s Tavern. Rockville was later chosen because the region was crossed by Rock Creek. At the time, Rockville Pike was known as “Rock Creek Main Road.”
Seneca Valley High School
The school currently sits on the land that was once a farm owned by late Washington Senator’s pitcher, Walter Johnson. The school is due to be demolished with a new building coming in 2020 that would be the largest in Montgomery County.
The name comes from the Native American tribes of the Great Seneca Nation, who once lived in the area. Many early homeowners in surrounding areas found arrowheads in the ground.
Sherwood High School
Established in 1906, it is the third oldest high school in Montgomery County (after Richard Montgomery and Gaithersburg).
The school is named after the farm that was once on the land the school was built on. The farm was named “Sherwood Farm” due to the many trees on the property, which reminded settlers of Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest.
Springbrook High School
Springbrook is part of the Northeast Consortium, along with Blake and Paint Branch High Schools.
The school is named after the upper Northwest Branch spring-fed tributary that runs along side of the school’s property.
Watkins Mill High School
Even though the school is surrounded by Montgomery Village, the address has remained Gaithersburg.
Watkins Mill is named for one of the grist mills where corn was ground up. The Watkins family once lived in the area and owned/operated one of the mills.
Wheaton High School
The area of Wheaton was previously known as Leesborough until 1826.
Wheaton is named after the Union General, Frank Wheaton. Fun fact: The inventor of the first home television set, C. Francis Jenkins, lived in Wheaton, at Windham Ln and Georgia Ave.
Walt Whitman High School
Whtman was established in 1962. 30 years later, the building was demolished and a new building was constructed. It opened in 1993.
The school is named after Anerican poet and journalist, Walt Whitman. Whitman is perhaps best known for his poetry collection, specifically Leaves of Grass.
Thomas S. Wootton High School
Wootton was once named the 17th best high school in the United States by Newsweek.
The school is named for Thomas Sprigg Wootton. He founded the county by introducing a bill that split Frederick County into three— Frederick, Montgomery, and Washington counties in 1776.
Last year 17 teams, including teams from Montgomery, Frederick, and Howard counties, competed in the first ever Xpro Upper County Classic 7on7 Tournament at Watkins Mill High School.
Watkins Mill head coach, Mike Brown, would like to take this year’s tournament to the next level by adding teams from Northern Virginia, Prince George’s County, and Baltimore.
The cost is $250 for one team or $200 per team if more than one team signs up from one school (A and B team).
Springbrook High School won last year’s tournament...who’s taking home the first place trophy this year???
Montgomery County has been home to many firsts, but here are ten you not have known about:
Cava opened their first fast-casual restaurant on Bethesda Avenue in Bethesda in 2011.
Curtis Pride, a Kennedy High School graduate, became the first deaf baseball player in the majors since 1945.
The first Toys R Us ever was on Rockville Pike in Rockville. It opened in 1957.
First Kid, Barron Trump, attends St. Andrews Episcopal School in Potomac.
The first Jerry’s opened in Wheaton in 1964.
Rockville native and Wootton High School graduate, Mack Hollins, caught his first touchdown against the Washington Redskins. He also won his first Super Bowl in his first season with the Eagles.
The Persian kabob chain started out in MoCo in 1989. Their first location was in Behesda.
Katie Ledecky is the first athlete from the D.C. metro area to win AP Female Athlete of the Year. She grew up and still lives in Bethesda when she’s not at school at Stanford.
The first California Tortilla opened on Cordell Avenue in Bethesda in 1995.
Jeff Halpern is the first MoCo (and D.C. area) player to play for the Caps. He attended Churchill High School in Potomac.
In the last month we have seen a few Wootton High School graduates do some pretty great things.
2011 graduate, Mack Hollins, won a Super Bowl ring with the Philadelphia Eagles in his rookie season after being drafted in the 4th round.
2012 graduate, Haley Skarupa, helped the U.S. women’s hockey team win their first gold medal since 1998.
Four of the five members of O.A.R. graduated from Wootton (three of them in 1997 and one in 1998). The band has seen a 46% spike in Spotify streams between February 9th and 16th. This is because the International Olympic Committee banned Russia from this year’s Winter Olympics, but allowed individual competitors to participate under the name of “Olympic Athletes from Russia,” which has been shortened to OAR by commentators.
“I think it’s mostly my mom playing our new song for her friends.” joked O.A.R. lead singer, Marc Roberge.
Wootton High School’s offensive coordinator, Chris Papadopoulos, first brought up the high school’s success in a tweet from earlier today.
In a matchup that many consider the biggest rivalry in women’s hockey, Team USA was able to beat Canada 3-2 in a shootout to capture the gold!
This ended Canada’s four gold medal streak and gave Team USA their first gold in women’s hockey since 1998.
Rockville native and Wootton graduate, Haley Skarupa, had one shot on goal in the game, but has played a major role in helping bring back U.S. women’s hockey to glory.
Congratulations to Haley and Team USA!
We sifted through the hundreds of MoCo facts we’ve come across and chose these ten to share with you today.
Tell us your favorite Fun MoCo fact that wasn’t on this list, and you may see it on one of our future lists!
1. Brookeville was the United States capital for a day on August 26th, 1814 after the British troops burned down the White House during the War of 1812.
2. Though MoCo was named after Richard Montgomery, it was Thomas Wootton that founded the county by introducing a bill that divided Frederick into three counties in 1776 (one was Montgomery County).
3. The robin is the official bird of MoCo and the Dogwood is the official tree.
4. Damascus was originally known as “The Pleasant Plains of Damascus.”
5. The Montgomery Village symbol is not trees. It's 2 stick figures reaching toward the heavens in a gesture of friendship and peace.
6. From 1987-2004 Northwood was not its own high school (it was used to hold students from other high schools during renovations).
7. The hit 90s series, Beverly Hills 90210, was originally going to be set in MoCo and called Potomac 20854.
8. Gaithersburg’s original name was Logtown. It officially took on the Gaithersburg name in 1878.
9. The inventor of the first home television set, C. Francis Jenkins, lived in Wheaton, at Windham Ln and Georgia Ave.
10. Wheaton was known as Leesborough until being renamed Wheaton in 1869.
In this list you’ll find athletes with ties to MoCo that are/will be competing in the Winter Olympics. In addition to those competing, a couple alternates have MoCo ties as well. Check it out!
Maame Biney is an American short track speedskater that currently resides in Reston, VA.
WUSA9 tweeted that “18-year-old Maame Biney is the first black female to qualify for a U.S. Olympic speed skating team. She moved to Wheaton, Maryland from Ghana when she was just 5 years old.”
Ashley Caldwell is an American freestyle skier. Though she was raised in Northern Virginia, she was born in Montgomery Village, MD (I wonder where in the village she was born 🤔).
Haley Skarupa is a forward for the National ice hockey team. She grew up in Rockville and graduated from Wootton High School. She played on the coed Wootton hockey during high school as well.
Quinn Carpenter and Lorraine McNamara are the second alternate ice dancing pair. They live and train in MoCo. Carpenter is from Wheaton and McNamara is from Germantown.
There are two that’ll be playing in the SuperBowl for the Philadelphia Eagles with strong MoCo ties (one more is on the Eagles’ practice squad).
Ronald Darby attended Potomac High Shool in Oxon Hill (P.G. County), but longtime MoCo sports reporter, Brandy Louis Simms (@BLS1969), revealed that Darby’s mother attended Seneca Valley High School in Germantown.
Mack Hollins is a Wootton High School graduate. He caught 16 passes for 226 yards this season. His lone touchdown came earlier this year against the Washington Redskins.
Billy Brown is a member of the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad. The rookie tight end hasn’t been signed to the active roster this season, but the Eagles coaches remain high on the Gaithersburg Trojan graduate.