School hosts reunions for Westlake and Harvard alumni


Photo Printed with Permission of Errisson Lawrence

Members of Westlake School for Girls’ class of 1991 pose for a photo. They were the final class to graduate before the Harvard-Westlake merger.

Lucas Cohen-d'Arbeloff

The school hosted a reunion for the Westlake School for Girls at the Middle School on Nov. 6, including various graduating classes between 1955 and 1991, with the class of 1991 being the final class to graduate from Westlake before the school merged with the Harvard School for Boys.

The event began with speeches by President Rick Commons, Associate Head of School Laura Ross, Head Prefect and Chronicle Executive Editor Quincey Dern ’22 and Westlake Class Presidents Joy Langford ’91 and Suzanne Siskel ’70.
In her speech, Dern said despite not attending an all-girls institution, current female students at the school feel empowered by Westlake’s history.

“I’m an older sister, and [Head Prefect Jade Stanford ’22] is the youngest of three sisters, so we understand the meaning of sisterhood,” Dern said. “Even though the merger happened over 25 years ago, the females on this campus remember and have deep appreciation for Westlake and the legacy of the women who came before us.”

Following Siskel’s remarks, attendees took photos, toured the Middle School and explored the Westlake Staircase, a tribute to Westlake’s legacy on campus.

The event included a memorial celebration for Barbara Jacobson, a Westlake teacher who passed away this year. In addition, the reunion featured an archives booth with curated Westlake memorabilia and yearbooks, lawn games such as jump rope and cornhole and an art booth where alumnae and former faculty could sign their names.

Associate Director of Alumni Relations Ivy Bunnak (Connor ’24, Collin ’27), who organized the event, said it served as a refreshing return to normalcy after the COVID-19 pandemic caused last year’s reunion to be canceled.

“It was nice to see people back on campus,” Bunnak said. “This [event celebrated] the last two years of reunions [because] it was postponed, so we were able to have a larger group and celebrate more [reunions]. I think it was great because people were happy to see one another after being at home for a while.”

Ross said she appreciated speaking to alumnae about how the current ideals of the school are rooted in its past.

“It was kind of a neat thing, talking about how the leadership of women and girls is in the DNA of [the school],” Ross said. “It was so cool to talk to some of these women about their experiences and what they learned.”

The Harvard reunion included Harvard’s final class—the class of 1991—and took place Nov. 13 at the Upper School, featuring dinner, drinks and campus tours.