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!
“You have to see it to be it,” is a motto Middle School Coding & Game Design Teacher Sally Miller frequently repeats to her students, and this year the 7th and 8th graders are diving deeper into issues of representation in STEM fields than ever before.
Westridge is thrilled to announce the appointments of two, director-level administrators as part of the implementation of the 2020-2025 Westridge Strategic Plan. Ian Tatum will join us as director of equity, leading our school-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion programs. James Evans will join us as director of teaching and learning.
This Monday, April 12 at 7 pm, the first episode of the Chamber Orchestra’s new music history podcast will kick off a 28-day celebration of the underrepresented voices in music history. The podcast, entitled Crescendo: Amplifying Global Voices, will air at 7 pm every weeknight for 28 days on the new Westridge radio station KWST. Each student in the Chamber Orchestra created their own podcast episode that explores the musical contributions of underrepresented groups such as female composers and minority people, communities, and cultures.
Speech & Debate Team Conquers Online Tournament Format, Many Qualify for Prestigious National Competition
The Westridge Speech and Debate Team has now been competing in online tournaments for more than a year, and the team has met the challenge with great success! They have taken advantage of the opportunity to virtually compete in out-of-state tournaments they wouldn’t normally participate in and proved that they hold their own against competitors across the country.
Westridge is partnering with the National Coalition of Girls' Schools (NCGS) and 10 other Los Angeles-area girls' schools for a free virtual event for prospective families and community organizations to learn about the effectiveness and unique environment of girls’ schools.
First Tiger Week Offers Students Hands-On, Experiential Learning from Home with Nearly 60 Faculty-Led Workshops
This week was Tiger Week at Westridge, a celebration of experiential learning featuring nearly 60 virtual workshops for students of all ages to explore a wildly diverse range of non-academic topics, from dog photography and woodworking to web app game design and music journalism.
Last weekend’s Alumnae Weekend celebration kicked-off in earnest with a virtual cocktail reception honoring ceramics teacher Juanita Jimenez who will retire in June after 50 years at Westridge. After a series of heartfelt and emotional tributes from Head of School Elizabeth J. McGregor and alumnae, Juanita was named the school’s third-ever honorary alumna.
Yesterday, Upper School students welcomed LaRae Cantley, co-founder of the Housing Justice-LA podcast, to speak at their Upper School Town Meeting on the topic of homelessness.
Our first virtual Alumnae Weekend took place last weekend, with an impressive turnout of alumnae from across the country and as far as France, Germany and Wales and representing classes from 1948 to 2020 at the online events.
Next month, the Westridge Theatre Department will present its spring production, Eden Experiments, which was written, designed, and scored by students in a collaborative creative process unlike anything Westridge has done before.
When you hear the words “vocabulary quiz,” you probably don’t think of visual art pieces, songs, or poetry. But those were just a few of the creative responses that resulted from the most recent vocabulary quiz in John Cross’s 7th grade English class.
Lower School Spanish Students Create Their Own Codex Inspired by the History and Culture of the Aztec Empire
After studying the Codex Medoza, a document created in the mid-1500s to document the society of the Aztec Empire before the Spanish conquest, 5th and 6th grade Spanish students stepped into the shoes of Mexica high priestesses to create their own historically accurate strips of codex.
Peer-to-Peer’s Love Your Body Week Provides Space to Explore the Effects of the Pandemic on Body Image
This week the student support group Peer-to-Peer hosted their annual Love Your Body Week, with a special focus on how the ongoing pandemic and remote learning have impacted student’s body image.
Since January, Upper School Chamber Orchestra students have been creating their own music history podcast episodes uncovering the musical contributions of minority people, communities, and cultures. Their 15-minute episodes will air on the new Westridge radio station KWST.
After starting on-campus athletic conditioning earlier in the month, we welcomed our first groups of students back to the Westridge campus on Wednesday for small-group social emotional learning gatherings!
8th Grade Mandarin Chinese Students Create Lion and Dragon Heads Guided by Research into Chinese Culture
In honor of Lunar New Year, 8th grade Mandarin students crafted miniature lion or dragon heads this week, using recycled materials and basing their design choices on research into Chinese culture.
In a follow-up to our October student assemblies on microaggressions (which covered what microaggressions are and how they affect our community), Director of Lower & Middle School Dr. Zanita Kelly and facilitator and culturally responsive teaching expert Ian Tatum led another series of assemblies on how to respond to and disrupt microaggressions in the moment they occur.
As we continue our work to expand the voices and perspectives in our curriculum, we asked our teachers how they are recognizing Black History Month in the classroom. Classes from grades 4 to 12 and from the arts to math have linked curriculum to the observance of the month. In addition, many faculty members commented that their work this month is part of a year- or semester-long approach.
Lower School Student Activities & Leadership Council Teams Up with Middle & Upper School Leaders to Host Lunar New Year Assembly
In lieu of the traditional dragon and lion dances Lower School students perform annually for Lunar New Year, this year the Student Activities & Leadership Council (SALC) joined forces with Middle Schoolers to host an all-school assembly on the origins and traditions of the holiday.
In a year that is breaking many college admissions norms in terms of volume of applications and changes to requirements due to impacts of COVID-19 on the Class of 2021, 76% of the Westridge senior class has received at least one acceptance to date.
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.