Virtual Alumnae Weekend 2021
Thank you for joining us on March 12 & 13, 2021 for our online events!
Scroll down to view video interviews with our Distinguished Alumnae Award recipients, downloadable alumnae recipes, virtual classes, video tours of campus, and more.
Celebrating Juanita Jimenez's
50th Year at Westridge
Join us in honoring Ceramics Teacher Juanita Jimenez, who will retire in June 2021 after 50 remarkable years at Westridge! When she arrived at Westridge in 1971, Juanita Jimenez (then Muñoz) thought she would be here for one year, but her love of her students, the art, and the community kept her coming back. Juanita’s first ceramic class was held in a garage with a single potter’s wheel and a hole in the ground for clean-up. The ceramics program expanded quickly under her guidance—aided by her tendency to recruit any students she found on campus with a free period to enroll in her class. After only two years, the program outgrew the garage and moved into Pitcairn House. In 1978, a dedicated ceramics studio, the Laurie ’68 and Susan ’71 Frank Art Studio, was constructed.
Juanita holds a special place in the hearts of so many students and alumnae who learned not only how to throw a pot from her, but also to trust in themselves, explore their own creative abilities, and to have patience and appreciate process.
2021 Mary Lowther Ranney Award Recipient
Jossalyn Turner Emslie ’83
Jossalyn Turner Emslie ’83 is a primary care physician working primarily with underserved and needy populations, intent on providing her patients with the best quality care they don’t have the means to obtain. She volunteers and mentors youth via the League for Crippled Children at Orthopaedic Hospital, a health organization for children from poor, uninsured, or undocumented backgrounds.
Following Westridge, Jossalyn earned a B.A. in English literature at the University of California, Los Angeles; M.S. in biology with emphasis in California ecology at California State University, Los Angeles; and M.D. at the University of Southern California. Jossalyn holds interests in a myriad of subjects including reading, writing, and language, as well as co-running the Westridge Alumnae Readers' Book Club. She maintains numerous outdoor pursuits, such as hiking, camping, backpacking, orienteering, ecosystems, and preserving nature. Other interests include history, math, science, art, philosophy, antiquity, performing arts, music, museums, handwork crafts, and woodworking. If she’s not learning, she’s making.
With two daughters who attended Westridge, Caitlin ’12 and Maddie ’16, Jossalyn became a valued mentor and influential leader with Girl Scouts for 16 years, and helped develop a high performance rocketry program at Westridge. She remains passionate about women’s issues and empowering girls, and has offered a medical internship shadowing program to Westridge seniors.
Jossalyn is a one-of-a-kind trailblazer. She’s backpacked the entire Gabrielino trail; camped at the beach, desert, forest, mountains, and snow; recorded and reported watershed data, bird counts, and soil health; designed, built, and competed to become a national champion in remote-operated vehicles on land, air, and water; corresponded with state governors, presidents, queens, first ladies, poet laureates, and the United States Congress about STEM programming for girls; researched the 10 primary ecosystems of California; and taught hundreds of younger scouts. As a State Ranked Orienteer, she’s gained self-confidence, navigation, and courage.
Jossalyn ranks high in our hearts at Westridge as a lifelong learner dedicated to being her best bold self, while serving countless others.
2021 Distinguished Young Alumna Award Recipient
Jade McKnight ’09
Jade McKnight ’09 brings people together by supporting health and wellness, whatever the circumstances.
Jade received her Bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Amherst College, and moved to Philadelphia to begin her career in non-profit programs. In providing health services, Jade witnessed firsthand the gaps in services that existed in the community. By 2017, the opioid epidemic was nearing a frightening peak in Philadelphia, and the demand for public health services was sky-rocketing. After working as a paralegal at a public interest firm, Jade made a huge shift and took a job at a non-profit public health organization and began graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania. Jade was awarded her Master in Public Health degree in December 2019. Jade moved home to Pasadena in May of 2019 and works as a school health program coordinator, managing programs that the school districts may not have resources to provide.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, Jade’s work as a school health program coordinator was quickly pivoted. As an employee at a government funded agency, Jade underwent FEMA Disaster Service Training and worked with LA County first responders to staff one of the first COVID-19 testing sites in the South Bay region of Los Angeles. Nearly a year later, Jade continues these duties as a Disaster Service Worker, working 30 additional hours a week at the test site, in addition to managing school and community-based programs and grants with local mental health providers and school districts in the Beach Cities.
Jade is thrilled to be back in Pasadena, around family and close friends. She is hopeful for the future and thankful for the gift of life.
Nominate the next Mary Lowther Ranney Distinguished Alumna Award recipient!
New math and rocketry teacher Dan Perahya was hired with a mandate to grow the Westridge rocketry program. After approximately five years of increased student interest and some great success in the Team America Rocketry Competition (TARC) program, the school wants to create opportunities for students to go deeper in the actual science of rocket science, and Perahya is ready to take students there.
We asked our teachers how they have recognized the culture, history, and contributions of Hispanic Americans during Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month in their classrooms. Classes in Lower and Middle School from arts to technology have linked curriculum to the observance of the month, September 15-October 15, and to the celebration of Día de los Muertos, which takes place November 1-2.
Speech and debate season is off and running and Westridge middle and upper school students made a strong showing at two top competitions in recent weeks—the Yale Tournament and the Jack Howe Tournament.
This assignment was inspired by the book Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg, which teaches creative problem solving by looking at blobs, spills, messes, and ripped corners as opportunities for something beautiful.
First Big & Little Family Activity Asks Students to Share What Westridge Means to Them...with Legos!
This week, our Big and Little Families had their first activity of the year—a challenge that asked them to depict what Westridge means to them in Lego form!
Congratulations to Grace N. '22 who was selected as a finalist for the Tournament of Roses Royal Court this week! Finalists were selected based on academic achievement, community and school involvement, public speaking ability, and demonstrated leadership.
This year, Middle School students are stepping up to the plate to lead their peers during new student-led activity mornings, better known as “SLAM.”
Our 9th and 10th grade retreats kicked off this week with an action-packed day filled with outdoor team bonding activities led by the Wilderness Outdoor Leadership Foundation (W.O.L.F.).
Congratulations to our five Westridge seniors who were announced as semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship Program this year: Clara K., Grace K., Claire S., Guilia W., and Charlotte Z.!
This Lower School art project is a tribute to this year’s theme announced at Convocation of “interdependence,” and it mirrored a project happening simultaneously at Marymount High School.
The number of Upper School club offerings exploded this year, with 50 different clubs introduced at the virtual club fair (nearly doubling the number of club offerings in just two years)!
Today, new students, faculty, and staff were initiated as either Greeks or Romans in a Winnie the Pooh-themed initiation ceremony!
After Convocation officially kicked off the school year last week, our new 7th grade students embarked on a three-day program hosted by Middle School faculty and staff and designed to prepare them to thrive academically and socially in Middle School.
The Westridge library is launching a new program this fall entitled “Westridge Reads," which will give students, faculty, and staff a chance to connect by sharing their personal book recommendations with the community.
We are excited to welcome new faculty and staff members to the Westridge community!
More than 20 students in the Class of 2028 chose to spend their last week of summer getting to know their classmates and honing their writing skills in an optional writing workshop led by Director of Lower & Middle School Dr. Zanita Kelly.
Congratulations to our Middle and Upper School Latin students who scored above the national average on the National Latin Exam and received awards for their high scores! These students took the National Latin Exam with approximately 130,000 students across the country and more than 40 Westridge students earned cum laude, magna cum laude, maxima cum laude, and summa cum laude awards.
The spring athletics season is coming to a close and we are so proud of the amazing performances from all teams! Our athletes brought home Prep League championships, broke personal records, and showed their mighty Tiger spirit.
The Upper School Chamber Orchestra concert will premiere next Friday, May 28 at 7 pm on the Westridge YouTube channel.
For their final project in their Modern World Systems class, 10th graders took the reins from teacher Sandy de Grijs to demonstrate their understanding of complex topics: modern genocides and human rights violations.
Check Out Spyglass
Our student newspaper Spyglass is entirely online and reporting on local and national news, entertainment and media, politics, COVID-19, and all things Westridge culture. Check out their latest edition below!
Westridge Theatre Presents: Eden Experiments
*Rescheduled from original dates
Saturday, April 17 at 7 pm*
Sunday, April 18 at 2 pm*
Eden Experiments is a hit reality show attempting to answer the question "Are humans innately good or bad?" Six teenagers are raised with zero human interaction and only the company of classic literature or reality TV. After 18 years, when the teens are finally allowed to meet, will evil and reaction shots triumph? Or can our heroes improvise a more poetic ending? Written, designed, and scored by students in a collaborative devising process, this original work seeks to 100%-scientifically resolve the question of human nature. Tickets are free but reservations are required.
Explore More of Our Campus (Virtually)
We may not be able to host you on campus this year, but we'd love to show you around virtually! Click below to explore Westridge through an interactive map, scroll through photo galleries and program highlights, and watch videos created by students, faculty, and administrators about life at our school.