Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Potomac rower heading to Beijing

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A local rower has qualified for the U.S. Olympic rowing team and will soon be heading to Beijing.

David Banks, 24, a Potomac native and graduate of Winston Churchill High School, began his rowing career at Stanford University in 2001. Nationally, he finished ninth in the men’s pair at the second 2008 Selection Regatta and seventh in the Championship Eight at the 2007 Head of the Charles Regatta in Massachusetts. Internationally, he won the bronze in the four at the 2008 FISA World Cup stop in Lucerne, Switzerland. Now, the next stop on his journey is the 2008 Olympics.

Banks was invited to train at the training camp at U.S. Rowing in Princeton, N.J., and had been training there for about two years where he was selected for the Olympic team. He leaves for Beijing July 25. ‘‘From now until then, we’ll get some hard work done, trying to get the boat going faster,” Banks said. ‘‘It’s nothing too different than what we do normally.”

Banks’ family, who live in Potomac, immediately started making travel plans for the trip to China when they heard the news. ‘‘We’re just thrilled,” said his father, Darryl Banks. ‘‘We’re so happy for David who has really just put so much of the last 18 months into this quest.”

Banks graduated in from Stanford with a bachelor’s degree in urban studies in 2005 and a master’s degree in construction management in 2006. After his rowing career, Banks hopes to work in construction and development. His favorite sport – other than rowing – is basketball.

‘‘It’s a great honor,” Banks said of his selection. ‘‘I’m going to try to represent my country and my family well over there.”

Potomac residentawarded Fulbright

Hats off to Potomac native Mohsin Mohi-Ud-Din, a Fordham University graduate who has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Scholarship in Education. Mohi-Ud-Din will travel to Morocco as a part of the scholarship, an international educational exchange program.

The scholarship program, in which students, scholars and teachers – both American and international – travel abroad to study, research or teach was established in 1946. More than 1,450 U.S. citizens were awarded the Fulbright U.S. Student Scholarship, and over 250,000 people have traveled worldwide through the Fulbright Program. The program operates in 155 countries worldwide.

In Morocco, Mohi-Ud-Din will be developing music and arts programs for orphanages in Casablanca and Tangiers in order to facilitate communication between Western and Islamic societies. Mohi-Ud-Din will also research the relationship between Islamic spirituality and the arts.

Potomac resident gets a glimpse behind the curtain

A Bucknell University student and Potomac native has won a prestigious summer internship position at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. Rachel Sherbill, a graduate of Winston Churchill High School, began work in May as a production intern at the Kennedy Center.

The production department at the Kennedy Center is responsible for producing events at the Center’s seven theaters, nine stages and non-theater spaces. Sherbill will help out with administrative tasks, research long-range projects, and work on events as a production assistant.

She will graduate in 2009 from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, where she is majoring in theater and economics. Sherbill is involved with the school’s Department of Theatre and Dance, and works as a teacher’s assistant within the department. She has also been named to the Dean’s List at Bucknell and is also a member of the Chi Omega sorority on campus.

Potomac Scout wantsresidents to ride on

A Potomac scout is making it a bit easier for residents to get out of their cars and hop on public transportation. For his Eagle Scout project, Brendan Barber improved Ride-on bus stops along MacArthur Boulevard. Soliciting donations and help from the community, Barber built wooden park benches and landscaped the surrounding areas at Brickyard Road and Mountain Gate drive, improving access to Ride-on bus route 32.

Barber said he hopes the project will help encourage more residents to use the bus system.

Sisters competeand win big

Two Potomac sisters came out on top June 30 at the Roanoke Valley Horse show. Miranda Gali, 12, and her sister Sophia, 10, both won titles at the show, which was held at the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Virginia. Both girls won top division titles at the competition. Riding Chris Craft, Miranda Gali won the championship in Large Green Pony Hunters and rode horse Catamaran to Reserve Championship honors in Medium Pony Hunters. Her little sister Sophia was the champion for Small Pony Hunters atop Miss Australia.

The show is the longest running professional sporting event in the Roanoke Valley. Winners are awarded more than $250,000 in prizes.

This column is for you. Send press releases, news tips and other information to Erin Donaghue by phone to 301-280-3007, by e-mail, by fax to 301-670-7183 or by mail to 9030 Comprint Court, Gaithersburg, MD 20877.