The Foundation's Launch Year

Foundation + School First Collaboration
Western’s 175th Anniversary Year!

On November 1, 2019, Michelle White, principal of Western High School, joined with Western High School Foundation and Maryland dignitaries to announce the beginning of a year-long celebration of Western High School’s 175th Anniversary as the oldest public school for girls in the nation, founded in November 1844. Much has been achieved since the celebration’s beginning! Covid-19 interrupted several planned 2020 gatherings and necessitated Western’s leaders and faculty to focus completely on the important work of educating students virtually. Yet the school, alums, business and community leaders pressed on for Foundation advances and an iconic virtual celebration April 29, 2021, at 7:00pm.

August 2019

Western High School Banner donated by alum and erected on the South wall of the building.

Local artist Jess Pfohl commissioned for Western High School notable alum portraits and installed in front hallway.

September 2019

Western alums greet incoming students with gifts commemorating 175th Anniversary.

October 2019

Western alums greet incoming students with gifts commemorating 175th Anniversary.

October 2019

National Coalition of Girls Schools presents Principal Michelle White with the Red Lantern Award for shining the path for all-girls schools nationwide.

October 2019

Business Volunteers of Maryland Selects Western High School for Laureate Education Day of Service.
Official Ceremony on November 1, 2019 in Western Library featuring top state and city government leaders. Western High School Boosters host Anniversary “Fascinator” Brunch. Western Alumnae Association hosts Red & Black Ball. New official Western High School Facebook page launched. Western receives excellent press coverage of Anniversary from Baltimore MagazineBaltimore Sun and WBFF-TV.

December 2019 - March 2020

Western students visit Anna Deavere Smith at NYU.

Western High School Foundation is incorporated. Officers installed: Carolyn O’Keefe (’74) president; Luwanda Jenkins (’80) vice president; Carla Nealy (’82) treasurer; Christine McKee (’74) secretary. Constance Baker, Esq. (’65) is named Foundation’s legal advisor.

​Covid shutdown begins.

May - July 2020

The Lois and Irving Blum Social Justice Activism Scholarship is established at Western and awarded to Western Graduate, Isis Carter, Class of 2020 who will attend Goucher College.

​Foundation names new members, Lee Kappelman, WHS 1972, and Maria del Reyes Buzaitis, SVP Laureate Education.

Westernites Reunite Campaign, chaired by Shiela Pollikof King (’80) is launched to identify and re-engage alum.

Fall 2020

Planning begins for April 2021 Gala starring ​Anna Deavere Smith. Annual Giving campaign launched, surpassing goal. Laureate Education makes a major gift as well as a generous contribution by an anonymous donor.

The 175th Anniversary Gala

And then…Covid 19 hit! And our Anniversary Gala went virtual! But the Foundation pressed forward! More than 2,000 people attended that nite! Many donated $175 in honor of the anniversary and posted selfies and chats throughout the online event, adding to the Western sisterhood exuberance that night. Watch the event again to celebrate Western past, present and future all over again!
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