Through the years, George Mason High School’s student body has seen lots of talent come and go, and it seems only fair that we recognize these graduates as they continue to make a good name for Mason. One particular graduate from 2009, Katie Potrykus, is especially deserving of our recognition.
Katie Potrykus is currently attending school in the Conservatory at Shenandoah University. Her major is in Music Therapy with psychology and voice concentration minors-- needless to say she’s been pretty busy.
If that wasn’t enough, she is also a guitarist and lead singer of the band Dear Creek which is comprised of Portykus’ classmates at SU. The band has been playing together for over two years now and is currently comprised of Alex Salser (guitar), Robin Rhodes (bass), Maddie Newell (keys, accordion, vocals), Joe Hilling (drums, washboard, vocals), and of course Kate Portrykus (guitar, lead vocals).
They recently opened for artist Grace Pettis at The Mockingbird restaurant in Staunton, Virginia which was Katie’s favorite show that they have played together. In terms of what may come after college, Potrykus makes no promises of the band remaining together. The band has accepted the fact that they are all individuals who will end up doing whatever is the best after they graduate.
Potrykus first walked these hallowed halls in her sophomore year of high school in 2006, already a budding musician. Mason proved to be a great outlet for her talent and ambition in music, providing many musical opportunities and supplying a ton of other talented students for her to play with. Opportunities like the JV and Spring Shows, the George Mason Coffee House, and even being able to write songs for class assignments helped to foster Potrykus’ musical aspirations. She talks of how supportive the Mason teachers/administrators always have been of the arts, and how much that encouragement helped her to flourish.
“I owe a lot of what I was able to achieve in high school to my teachers. The endless support that I received throughout my years there helped push me to not stop reaching for my goals. Music is my passion. The Mason faculty recognized that and gave me confidence in my choice to pursue what I love.”
Katie plans to broaden her education in grad school, where she wants to study special education and continue practicing as a music therapist. She said that she wants to work in a school system so that she can do what her teachers did for her, which was “offer a positive learning environment and foster the growth of those who aspire to be something.”
Being a music therapist in a school system is what she considers her dream job, but she is also ecstatic about the idea of being a special education teacher. She longs for a future where she can “enable everyone to live a fulfilling life, regardless of disability or general hardships,” and both occupations would gratify those desires.
When I asked her what she thought about the path she was on, and how far she had come since high school, she responded nostalgically.
“I am thrilled to be moving on to bigger things, but I will never forget my high school years… I will always be grateful that my parents chose to move to Falls Church City so that I could attend George Mason High School.”
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