Meet Ashley, a senior at Westridge and one of our Admission Ambassadors. Get to know her in our latest Q&A.
Why did you choose Westridge?
A lot of the reason was that my older sister was here before me. Both of us started at Westridge in fourth grade, so even before I came here, I knew all of her teachers and I would visit her classes in my little stroller; being here already felt like coming home. It seemed like a close community, and I think that now, after being here for nine years, that initial impression has really rang true. I’m so happy that I decided to come.
What is your favorite part of being at a girls’ school?
Because I came to Westridge at such a young age, I never really thought twice about it being an all-girls school. It didn’t strike me as a reality until high school when I saw how different a girls’ school education is from that of my friends who are at co-ed schools. It really gives you the opportunity to feel comfortable in your learning environment and feel confident to speak your mind, and you never have to hold back on things that boys might not understand. I think a common misconception is that because we’re not exposed to boys in the classroom setting, when we go to college we won’t know how to interact with the other sex. But I don’t think that’s true at all – if anything, I think it’s more empowering for us to grow and learn in an environment like this and then use whatever we’ve learned outside of school. I’m a senior now, and the unfamiliarity of college isn’t scary to me, because I know that I’ve gotten such a strong foundation here at Westridge and I can take that wherever I go.
What is/was your favorite class at Westridge?
I think right now it’s probably Ethics, with Ms. Greenstone. When I was younger, I really loved all the options in the History department. I think people often get so caught up in taking APs or Honors classes – and of course, those are important – but I took Ethics as a double History [i.e. in addition to required history courseload]. I love that because it’s not an AP course, we don’t have to follow a certain curriculum. It’s like a college course; it’s all very discussion-based, there are no restrictions on the subject matter, and it’s so open and tailored to our interests. And because it’s Ethics and it’s all about people’s morals and other people’s beliefs, I like that it can extend into our own lives and what’s happening in the world right now. A lot of times, we’ll drop everything and start talking about real-world issues and how what we’ve been learning ties into that.
What is one thing you wish you had known before coming to Westridge?
I think I loved Westridge on its own, even not knowing this. After being here for so long, I’ve seen that even people who come in ninth grade can create such a strong bond with teachers and people they have in their classes, and I think that’s so rare – especially in high schools. It’s amazing. When you go to a school where you’re able to drop into a teacher’s office and not even talk about a test or an assignment but just about how your winter break was, that’s how you know it’s home. The teachers here have been such a big part of why I’ve stayed at Westridge for so long.
Why do you recommend Westridge to other girls?
I think Westridge is so much more than putting a group of girls together in a classroom. You have the opportunity to build off of each other’s experiences, learn new perspectives, and there are so many events like Big & Little Sisters and Town Meeting that no other school has – co-ed or all girls. That’s something that’s very special about us. We range from 4th-12th grade and always find a way to unite the community in some way or another. I’m a younger sister and an older sister, and my older sister recommended Westridge to me, and if I could recommend it to my younger brother, I would! Even my parents’ love for this school is really telling of how much it has impacted us for the better.
What do you think makes Westridge “Westridge”?
Besides the fact that we have a beautiful campus and we’re an all-girls school – which you can say about a lot of other schools – what makes us so special is that we’re a school that’s over 100 years old, and we still hold onto traditions like the Halloween Parade, or Big & Little Sisters and Greek & Roman. We’ve found a way to grow with the world and manipulate the traditions to fit young girls today. When the alumnae visit, I know that there are things that are still the same as when they were here, but there are things that are different and I think that’s because the school is growing with the community.