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Citizens of the Year

Honorees to be featured at Potomac Day parade on Oct. 20 and chamber ceremony at Normandie Farm in November.

— The Potomac Chamber of Commerce named the Potomac citizens of the year this past week. The Citizen of the Year, Youth of the Year, and Businessperson of the Year are scheduled to ride in convertibles in the Potomac Day parade on Oct. 20. The Potomac Chamber of Commerce will honor each of them at a ceremony at Normandie Farm in November.

Lindsey Thaker, of Holton-Arms School, and Jonathan “JD” Dyer, of Bullis School, are the 2012 Youth of the Year.

“I have lived in Potomac for 15 years and have been to many Potomac Day celebrations,” according to Thaker. “I love seeing our whole town come together.”

Thaker gave a speech to her peers in the Holton-Arms Upper School about the importance of maintaining relationships with grandparents with dementia and Alzheimer’s and created brochures and a video to help youth and teens maintain strong relationships with grandparents.

“To me, that means looking them in the eyes, holding their hand and talking to them with the same respect and admiration as you would anyone else. Just because communication is difficult doesn’t mean it’s impossible,” she said.

Thaker has been in the Potomac Girl Scout troop 1799 since first grade, is a Chinese speaker since kindergarten at Potomac Elementary, and helped start a comedy club at Holton-Arms.

“To provide relief through laughter during packed, stressful school days,” she said.

Thaker is on the hockey and softball teams at Holton-Arms and is also a lifeguard.

In the summer of 2012, she traveled to Hawaii on a service trip about essential ecosystems. “We educated tourists on how to help preserve coral reefs and marine life,” she said. In 2011, she went to New Orleans to clean up Katrina damage. She has also been to India with eight peers and helped organize a carnival for youth who live in poverty.

Holton-Arms School Dean of Students Lisa Craig nominated Thaker, of Potomac.

“I love seeing our whole town come together.” — Lindsey Thaker, Co-Youth of the Year

JONATHAN “JD” DYER is an Advanced Placement and honors student at Bullis, a member of the National Honor Society, active participant in student government, and a “leading member” of the Bullis varsity football team, according to Andrew C. Delinsky, Upper School Principal of Bullis School.

“Scholar, athlete, community service leader, and one of the most thoughtful men I have ever taught,” said Delinsky. “Perhaps the most amazing aspect of JD is what he has overcome.”

Dyer was in a coma for weeks after a serious car accident in middle school. He repeated the eighth grade to regain full cognitive ability, said Delinsky.

“His story is amazing, especially considering he has emerged as a top student, leader, thinker, athlete and community ambassador,” he said.

Dyer proposed a shoe drive last year, and the Bullis School collected more than 500 pairs of shoe to ship to Haiti. He volunteered time at a “Wider Circle,” an organization that provides furniture and household necessities to families coming out of shelters. This school year, Dyer took a seminar called “Poverty and Equity in Montgomery County.”

“He has clearly thought deeply about the challenges of poverty in our own area,” said Delinsky. “He wants to bring jobs to needy communities and also reform the government. JD thinks deeply about the world around him, and has the talent and passion to make a big impact in his community, now and in the future.”

LOIS WILLIAMS, a Potomac resident of 46 years, is this year’s Potomac Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year.

West Montgomery County Citizens Association honored Williams with a plaque in May for “extraordinary contribution to WMCCA and the Potomac community.”

Williams has worked with and for West Montgomery for 40 years and has served as the newsletter editor and board member.

“She has a lot of knowledge of the history of the Potomac area,” said Barbara Hoover, a member of the West Montgomery board of directors.

She promoted membership in the citizens’ association through designing the new membership brochure, according to Sue-Ann Norian of Potomac.

“She has always been an advocate for WMCCA,” said Norian, working on issues pertaining to watershed awareness and environmental protection and leading a West Montgomery project honoring students collect data and who work on stream valley protection.

Williams calls West Montgomery “an opportunity for people who live in Potomac to have a voice in the halls of government.”

THE CHAMBER’S BUSINESSPERSON of the year is Dr. Gerald L. Boarman.

“Under the dynamic leadership of Dr. Gerald Boarman, who became fifth head of school in 2010, Bullis has expanded its valuable role in the community,” according to Tom Sullivan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Bullis School. “Giving back to the community and to those less fortunate is a primary focus integrated into school life all year long.”

Events Boarman has helped the Bullis community initiate or support include: 5K Races that raised money for families of soldiers who were killed in service as well and to women’s shelters and Habitat for Humanity; cereal drives that donated more than 1,400 boxes of cereal to Manna Food Center; blood drives and clothing drives and Thanksgiving Basket Program and Apple Pie Bakes for county families; upper school visits to local nursing homes; annual spring performing arts reception for nursing care facilities; and tennis academies for youth with Down Syndrome.

The community service program extends past the local community, according to Sullivan, including building a children’s library at CASA Multicultural Center in Langley Park, weekly work at Martha’s Table in Washington D.C, Habitat for Humanity Projects from D.C. to West Virginia to Guatemala, and global service trips have sent students to help in under-developed regions of Cambodia, Argentina and other countries.

Boarman “has opened the campus to invite the community to a wide array of cultural events of campus, including art shows, holiday chorales, jazz cafes, musicals and dramatic performances, dance shows and more,” such as the Potomac Theater Company, Spirit of Uganda and China Cultural Arts Group.

Sports organizations including Bethesda Lacrosse, Rockville Football and the Potomac Memorial Day Soccer Tournament have used the Bullis campus.

Bullis School, a college preparatory school with 675 students, serves students from third grade to senior year of high school. The Potomac school moved from Silver Spring in 1964.