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Centennial Westridge school 2013-2014

Volume 6 | December 2013

Westridge Athletics: An Illustrious History by Fran Norris Scoble

There is no way Mary Ranney could have imagined the passage of Title IX, which became law on June 23, 1972. Senator Birch Bahy said at the time, “ an important first step in the effort to provide for the women of America something that is rightfully theirs — an equal chance to attend the schools of their choice, to develop the skills they want...” Title IX ushered in the modern era of women’s sports. Such a statement from a United States senator would have been unimaginable in 1913, a year when women did not yet have the right to vote in national elections. Nevertheless, from its earliest beginnings, Westridge had a robust and lively tradition of athletic competition. Mary Ranney herself created an intense intra-school rivalry between Greeks and Romans that resulted in many hard fought and closely contested athletic events. Perhaps one early indication that Westridge School would have a long, illustrious history of athletic achievements was the fact that Mary Ranney located the school adjacent to an

existing family gymnasium, which she promptly rented from the Fleming family to serve as a meeting space and as an athletic venue. Later, Tod Ford, whose daughter Marian ’27 was a Westridge student, purchased the “Old Gym” and donated it to Westridge. In 1919, equipment for basketball and volleyball was installed on campus and a diamond laid out for baseball. According to Helen Dakin Forve ’23, “everyone played baseball... We played all the time—before school, after school, at recess and at noon…after gobbling sandwiches on the back steps.” Westridge produced many dominant tennis players from the early ’20s. In 1920, four Westridge students competed in the annual Ojai tennis tournament. In the 1930s the athletic program blossomed. Ruby Bishop ’31 and Jane Sharp ’32 represented Westridge in regional and national tournaments winning numerous titles. In 1931, Ruby won the girls national singles championship by defeating the number one nationally ranked player at the time, Alice Marble!

westridge beginnings

1969 | Roland E. Coate, architect, guides the building program for 10 years and proposes three phases for the school’s growth. In phase I, the study hall becomes an expanded library and lockers are provided for storage. Phase II, a building campaign which includes a science center, a fine arts center, a performing arts center (in the old gym), a new gymnasium, an athletic field and tennis courts, and a parking lot, is approved with a projected cost of $1,467,000.

1970 | Mrs. Herrick describes 1971 | Westridge applies for a use permit to remodel the student body: “They still want Pitcairn House as an arts center. uniforms but they would like to embellish them whatever way they 1973 | Mrs. Katherine B. Trower follows Elizabeth Edmundson Herrick as Westridge’s sixth headmistress. choose... they do desire more The Herrick Quadrangle is dedicated. School opens with freedom in their daily lives, specifically freedom to come and go from 327 students, including 40 sets of sisters, 30 alumnae school during the day. This is known daughters, and an increasingly diverse student population. as ‘Open Campus’.”

In time, Westridge added gymnastics, swimming, and field hockey. To accommodate the expansion of the athletics program, Westridge built a playground and athletic field at the corner of Pasadena Avenue and Glenarm “despite the protest of nearly 50 local residents!” In a charming 1952 Spyglass account of an epic field hockey battle between Westridge and Marlborough, Daphne Sanders ’49 writes, “Proud moments stud the annals of Westridge athletic history! There were the days when Ruby Bishop ruled the tennis courts. No one will forget the dramatic baseball contest when Jay Butler brought in the winning run by walloping the ball to the bottom of Madeline hill! But most deathless of all is the victory of the immortal hockey eleven who, led by Priscilla Merwin ’34, triumphed over the Marlborough varsity in the last five seconds of play!” The list of outstanding athletes and competitors who have represented Westridge with honor, sportsmanship, and distinction is long and includes national champions, Olympians, and California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) champions. The school’s history of great anecdotes of both victory and defeat provide evidence that Westridge was always about “Striving to Rise” on the field and on the court with an intensity that equaled the dedication to academics and the arts. Many years ago, an outstanding Westridge softball player asked me this question: “Does Westridge want us to win or to have fun?” I paused before answering, “Let’s do both.” Indeed, our history tells us that is just what we have always done. Jane Sharp ’32 (left) and Ruby Bishop ’31

w e s t r i d g e

s c h o o l

Homecoming Friday, January 10, 2014

3:15 p.m.

Celebrate Westridge Athletics, then and now! Join in the fun with half-time contests during the soccer and varsity basketball games, and don’t miss delicious Pie ‘n Burger. A $5 ticket buys you a burger, fries, and dessert!

Varsity Soccer vs. Webb richard n. frank athletic field

5 p.m. Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony H offma n Gymn asium

Westridge Alumnae: Remember to stop by the Alumnae table to pick up your special Homecoming gift!

5:30 p.m.

Invitations have been mailed! RSVP by January 6 to or 626.799.1053, ext.273.

Varsity Basketball vs. Heritage Christian hof fman gymnasium

1974 | The Herrick Bowl is inaugurated, honoring the class with the highest percentage of participation in the Annual Fund. Seniors are installed in the Cum Laude Society, the first academic honor society at Westridge. 1975 | As Caltrans begins construction to extend the 210 Freeway to California and route traffic down Pasadena Avenue, Westridge Trustees Mrs. Susan Sweezy and Mrs. Ellen Ellis gather neighbors’ signatures and work to gain city approval for Madeline Drive to become a cul-de-sac. Within a week, the cul-de-sac is constructed at no cost to Westridge.

1976 | The property on the corner of Orange Grove and State Street is acquired to build a parking lot at the suggestion of architect Whitney Smith. 1977 | Nancy Hughes Owen becomes Westridge’s seventh headmistress.

1979 | The old gym is transformed into a Performing Arts Center. 1980 |One hundred forty alumnae are entertained on Alumnae Day with a fashion show of clothing and uniforms from Westridge’s past.

westridge Centennial Speaker

presented by the Westridge Parent Association

Martha Adams Senior Producer, Girl Rising

7 p. m. • T u e s d ay

January 21, 2014 westridge school Fran Norris Scoble Performing Arts Center 6:30 p.m. Reception • 7 p.m. Discussion, including clips from the film The Westridge Parent Association will host a discussion with Girl Rising Senior Producer Martha Adams, named in 2013 by Newsweek as one of the “125 Women in the World Making an Impact.” Her shows, films, and photographs have been featured in over 188 countries on networks such as Discovery Channel, National Geographic, and VH1. Adams is the producer of Kill Box, winner of New York Festivals’ “Best Documentary Special” and a gold medal winner of “Outstanding Political Affairs” at the Cine Awards. She also assisted in production with George Clooney on Playground, a feature documentary focusing on the trafficking of children in the United States. Girl Rising is a film and movement about the power of the education of girls to transform societies. The film presents the remarkable stories of nine girls around the world, such as an orphan girl in Cambodia picking garbage to survive and finding her way to an education. Girl Rising is directed by Oscar nominated Richard Robbins and narrated by actresses such as Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Salma Hayek, Alicia Keys, Cate Blanchett, Selena Gomez, Kerry Washington, Priyanka Chopra, and Chloë Moretz. Prior to the speaker presentation on January 21, a free, full length screening will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday, January 17 in the Fran Norris Scoble Performing Arts Center. To learn more about the film and view the trailer, visit The film is rated PG-13 for mature content. There is no violence, nudity, or swearing, but it includes difficult themes and images. Middle or Lower School students must be accompanied by a parent. RSVP for each event by Tuesday, January 14 at or 626.799.1053, ext. 273. If you have any questions, please contact WPA President Allison Obico,

1980 | Computer science is required for every 4th through 8th Grade student. By 1983, a $125,000 grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation will complete the school’s plans for a comprehensive computer science program.

1982 | Athletic programs grow by leaps and bounds; Westridge fields 15 teams, including its first swim team in decades. A jog-a-thon raises funds for the athletic field. 1985 | The Owen Trophy is established in honor of the retiring headmistress, to be presented to the class with the highest dollar contribution to the Annual Fund.

Special Film Screening Westridge School

Fran Norris Scoble Performing Arts Center

7 p. m. • f r i day

January 17, 2014 Girl Rising is a groundbreaking feature film about the strength of the human spirit and the power of education to transform societies. The film presents the remarkable stories of nine girls around the world, told by celebrated writers and voiced by renowned actors. The film uses powerful storytelling to deliver a simple, critical truth: Educate Girls and you will Change the World.

1986 | Elsa “Midge” Bowman becomes Westridge’s eighth headmistress. Alumnae gather to honor and sing with retired Glee Club director Dr. Howard Swan, and an endowed music chair is created in his name. The first Grandparents Day is held, with over 100 grandparents visiting their granddaughters’ school.

1988 | The Alumnae Association announces that Margaret Brackenridge Jones ’21 and Marian Brackenridge ’2l are the recipients of the first Mary Lowther Ranney Alumna Award for distinguished alumnae. Westridge prepares for its 75th Birthday.

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Pasadena, CA Permit No. 1986

324 Madeline Drive Pasadena, California 91105

Invitations for

Centennial Weekend

will be in the mail

January 2014

Festival of the Arts Thursday, March 20, 2014


at the Pasadena Museum of History Friday, March 21 — Sunday, March 23, 2014

reunion Day Friday, March 21, 2014


The Celebration of the Century Saturday, March 22, 2014 If you have questions or do not receive your invitation in the mail, please contact Centennial Coordinator Ava Megna,, 626.799.1053, ext. 297.

Farewell Brunch Sunday, March 23, 2014

Centennial - Westridge Newsletter, Volume 6  

Volume 6 - December 2013 issue of Westridge School's newsletter dedicated to its 2013-2014 Centennial year.

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