Senior, Stone Ridge
School of the Sacred
ELIZA POGGI Senior, National Cathedral School
As a member of the Choir of Men and Girls at Washington National Cathedral, Eliza Poggi sang at
the funerals of President George H. W. Bush and Sen. John McCain in 2018. She has dedicated
about 15 hours per week since sixth grade to the selective group (just one singer is admitted out
of every five that try out) and has taken on a leadership role as a head chorister.
“She works exceptionally hard,” says Canon Michael McCarthy, music director at the private
National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C. “She has not been shy about speaking out.”
Eliza chose not to participate when the choir sang at President Donald Trump’s inauguration
in January 2017 for several reasons, including his anti-Muslim rhetoric and stance on climate
change. She did participate in the inaugural prayer service. “I could reconcile that because no
matter what side you are on [on] the political spectrum, you can agree the president right now
needs some prayers,” says Eliza, 18, of Chevy Chase Village.
Eliza’s interests include studying Arabic and geology. Her internship at the University of
Maryland involved traveling to California’s Catalina Island to collect rock samples with a team led
by Sarah Penniston-Dorland, an associate professor of geology. “She is a real go-getter, [a] quick
learner, and is able to synthesize information quickly,” Penniston-Dorland says. In the fall, Eliza
plans to study geology and geophysics at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.
At home, Eliza helps her family take care of her father, Matt, a former U.S. Navy doctor
with multiple sclerosis who became a quadriplegic the summer before her freshman year. The
experience has taught her resilience and empathy, especially when dealing with others who used
to annoy her with their complaints about how busy they are. “I have no way of knowing what’s going
on in their lives,” she says.