PHS Valedictorian: Lilia Potter-Schwartz

Teenage entrepreneur and incoming Yale scholar

Amelia Soler-Sala, PaperClip Staff/Writer

Lilia Potter-Schwartz, a Portsmouth native and valedictorian at Portsmouth High School, sat down with me to discuss a few details about her incredible organization, high school career, and ambitious life goals. 

From the time that she was a child, Potter-Shwartz has always been fueled to succeed. 

In 2016, when she was just 12, she founded her volunteer organization EFAC S2S (Education For All Children Student to Student), a branch of EFAC that aims to connect American students to Kenyan school children. 

In high school, she only expanded in her quest to accomplish. She took on leadership roles as the Student Council President and serving PHS as the Executive Board Member of the National Honors Society. She is also a Student Facilitator for WeSpeak, an organization for New Hampshire students to speak on important social issues.

Additionally, Potter-Schwartz’s extracurriculars included the Peer Leadership club and the Varsity Math Team as well as the captain of the cross-country, swimming, and track and field teams. She has also played violin for the past 14 years and is a member of the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra and the NH all-state Orchestra.

Some of her many hard-earned accomplishments include the Cross-Country MVP award (2021), Cross-Country Coach’s Award (2020), and Swim Team Hardest Worker and Coach’s Awards (2018, 2019, 2020) as well as being honored with the NH All-State Orchestra 4-year-award, the first time this has happened in over 35 years at PHS. 

In terms of national awards, Potter-Schwartz was chosen as one of only 161 presidential scholars in the nation in 2022. She was also a  recipient of the Prize Book Award from the Harvard Alumni Association and the Academic Excellence in Math Award from the Kim Lim Foundation.

Outside of school, Potter-Schwartz enjoys practicing violin, running 5ks with friends, spending time with her sister, paddle boarding, and eating Mexican food.

In her last week of high school, she is facing many bittersweet emotions and is sad to be leaving PHS and all of the people who made up her incredible high school experience. 

To her, graduation is very symbolic in preparing her for the next chapter of her life and beyond.

Amongst all of these emotions, she is excited about attending her dream school in the fall. She will be attending Yale and will be studying Biophysics, with a focus on global health in hopes of becoming an epidemiologist. 

After college, she hopes to join the CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service after which she will work to get a Ph.D. or go to medical school for Epidemiology.

With all of these accomplishments, Potter-Schwartz has a few recommendations for fellow high school students. Above all else, she preaches putting yourself out there and not bringing preconceived ideas of anything when you try new things.

We cannot wait to see what she does next! Good luck Lilia!