22 MARCH/APRIL 2019 | BETHESDAMAGAZINE.COM
Editor & Publisher
WHEN WE BEGAN PROMOTING the first
Extraordinary Teen Awards in 2009 and the fact that
parents could nominate their own kids, someone on
the Walt Whitman High School listserv wrote that it
“was like throwing red meat to the lions.”
Over the last 10 years, we have received more than
a few nominations from overzealous parents. Those
nominations all seem to begin with some variation
of: “I know that all of the teens that are nominated
are extraordinary, but my son/daughter really is
As a judge for the awards in each of the 10 years,
I can say that virtually all of the nominees really are
I decided to start the Extraordinary Teen Awards
after reading about the “All- Met” athletes in The
Washington Post. At the end of each high school sports
season, the Post highlights the best players (as selected
by the coaches) in each sport. Three of my four kids
played high school sports at Bethesda-Chevy Chase
High School, so I appreciated the coverage of local
student-athletes in the Post and The Gazette.
I realized, however, that students who excelled in
other pursuits received virtually no coverage. The
Extraordinary Teen Awards recognize students who
are standouts in school, are well-rounded and are
passionate about one or more extracurricular activities
(including sports). We’ve honored students who are
actors, directors, dancers, musicians, artists, writers,
debaters, scientists, computer programmers and
entrepreneurs. Most have been school leaders, deeply
committed to community service.
Many of our winners have had unique interests.
There was the expert on Clara Barton from Holton-
Arms, the Bullis student who was working to design
drones to help locate disaster victims, the bagpiper
from Rockville High School, and the Whitman senior
who started a business photographing kids with
special needs after taking pictures of his younger
brother, who has autism.
Nominations for the Extraordinary Teen Awards
come from teachers, counselors, principals, coaches,
friends, neighbors, employers, aunts and uncles,
grandparents, siblings and, yes, parents. I’m moved the
most by nominations from siblings, perhaps because I
can’t imagine either of my older brothers nominating
me back when I was a teenager. (They might have
if there had been such a thing as “Annoying Teen
I have the privilege every year of reading all of
the nominations we receive and weighing in on the
choices. In doing so, I get a glimpse of the difficulty
that college admissions officials face when deciding
who to accept and who to reject. The vast majority of
the nominees are impressive and inspiring.
Choosing the award winners this year was harder
than ever. The 12 who were selected demonstrate a
level of sophistication and commitment that I couldn’t
have imagined when I was their age. Our profiles of
the 2019 winners begin on page 97—followed by an
update on the lives and accomplishments of several of
our winners from the first two years.
I hope you enjoy reading about the Extraordinary
Teen winners—and all of the other stories in this issue.
Thank you for reading Bethesda Magazine.
to our readers
10 YEARS OF EXTRAORDINARY TEENS