Entrance to Western High School, red Brick with birds on side and large red sign with white lettering
Screenshot from YouTube video of Western High School's 175th Anniversary celebration.

The Western High School Foundation will celebrate its legacy of honoring excellent teaching with a Golden High Tea on Nov. 4 at The Village of Cross Keys.

Western High School, founded in 1844, is the oldest all-girl public high school in the nation.

“Now, more than ever, Baltimore city students are in need of special expertise, supportive environments and superb teaching to meet current challenges,” read the press release announcing the event. “Western is lighting the way in two ways: in its daily performance of its excellent diverse team of teachers and in helping address the teacher shortage through its Teacher Academy of Maryland.”

The Golden High Tea will take place at the Delta Marriott at The Village of Cross Keys at 3 p.m., hosted by the foundation and a team of volunteers. They chose a teatime celebration because “Western girls are ‘steeped’ in teaching excellence during their high school years with resonance throughout their lives.”

The event will honor teachers past and present, with educational leaders, community supporters, and alumnae in attendance. Eva Scott, the first African American teacher hired at Western, beloved by generations, will receive a lifetime gold medal. Deborah Phelps, longtime influential education advocate, will be the keynote speaker on attributes of gold-medal teaching for today’s students.

“Western has so many extraordinary assets, and chief among them is the caliber of our faculty,” said Brittany S. Horne, Western High School’s new principal. “Since starting this summer, one after another, each teacher has impressed me by their expertise and love for our students.”

The Golden High Tea will launch Western’s year-end fundraising to raise money for the Western High School Teacher Academy of Maryland. This was among the first Teacher Academy of Maryland (TAM) programs established by the State of Maryland in 2005. The program created specialized courses and in-person student teaching for students who register for TAM in their sophomore years. Successful completion grants students eligibility for certifications and scholarships.

The curriculum was intended for 10-15 students initially, and it has remained that size throughout the years. TAM’s lead teacher, Dr. Jaqueline Krikorian, however, reports that 45 sophomores have registered. Believing that the surge is inspired by Western’s emphasis on leadership in career and community, Krikorian said, “There is a defined career path and a clear need for teachers in our city, so our girls are stepping up to play a consequential role in the community.”

Landa McLaurin, an alumna from Western High School’s class of 1968 and a former Western principal, said that in addition to curriculum advantages, “Western students have a natural head start in becoming great teachers. They have observed and been taught by Western’s best-of-the-best educators. Daily, they see a prime model of teaching to guide their aspiration.”

Tickets to the event are sold out, but you can learn more about the Western High School Foundation by clicking this link.

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