Westlake Archive Staircase officially opens

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Director of Admissions Elizabeth Riordan speaks at the opening ceremony, which celebrates the inception of the Westlake Archive Staircase.

By Katharine Steers ’22

The Westlake Staircase officially opened at the start of the school year.

The staircase features artifacts from Westlake School prior to merging with Harvard School in 1991. The majority of the objects included in the staircase had been kept in the school archives. However, in the case of the dress worn by Shirley Temple ’45, it was acquired by the school from its owner.

The staircase includes pictures of old uniforms, catalogs and an electronic interactive device that features the timeline and history of Westlake. It also contains documents such as a transcript of Temple’s grades.

“I think the women will really appreciate and really love what we did with the staircase. It’s a way to honor their contributions to the school, and the history of Westlake School,” school archivist Eric Yin said.

The old Westlake building used to be where the Sprague Field is today.  According to Yin, when the school tore it down, it was almost as if the last of Westlake was gone, so the staircase is a sentimental tribute to Westlake school.

“When current Harvard-Westlake students travel through the staircase, they’ll get to see a glimpse into the history of the school,” Yin said.

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Individuals at the ceremony cut the string, officializing the opening of the Westlake Staircase.

 

Westlake alumnae as well as Harvard-Westlake staff gathered for the ribbon cutting on Sept.18.

“I am very excited to see it and that they have done something to incorporate a bit of the old Westlake into Harvard Westlake,” Allison Demoff Jacoby ’89, P’22, said.

Jo Ann Schaaf Ganz ’47, P ‘71, ’74, one of the contributors to the staircase project, spoke of why it was important to her.

“One reason I wanted to contribute was because I went here when it was Westlake School for Girls, and I’ve always felt that probably the majority of students that go here don’t realize it was once a very fine girls’ school. I was anxious to have the history reestablished in a way that I hope the students and others will realize,” Ganz said.

 

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