Westminster School begins a yearlong celebration of its 125th anniversary this month with a series of events in the areas of academics, athletics, arts and service. The anniversary’s theme, “Leading with Grit and Grace,” is based on the school’s motto of “Grit and Grace,” which has defined and distinguished the school and its graduates since its founding in 1888.
The celebration kicks off with the Westminster Teaching Symposium for teachers from New England independent schools featuring an address by Patrick F. Bassett, president of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS); dedication of a new synthetic field named for former longtime faculty member David Hovey and his wife, Jenks; and a reading by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jennifer Egan, who wrote the national bestseller “A Visit From the Goon Squad.”
Other activities throughout the year will include guest speakers in academics, athletics, the arts and politics, additional author readings, performing arts presentations, an alumni art show, an alumni athletics panel, an all-school community service day, and food and toy drives for the community. The school will also sponsor and participate in several Simsbury community programs and initiatives, including its most recent sponsorship of the fireworks at Septemberfest. The celebration will end in September 2013 with the dedication of two new student and faculty residences and a closing celebration.
“At this major milestone in Westminster School’s history, we look forward to paying tribute to its illustrious history, celebrating its national leadership among independent schools, and presenting programs in its core areas of academics, athletics, arts and service,” said Headmaster Bill Philip.
Westminster School was founded in 1888 by William Lee Cushing as a school for boys in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. It relocated to Simsbury in 1900 to a more expansive 200-acre location on Williams Hill that commanded vistas of the Farmington River. The school opened in the new location on Oct. 17, 1900, with 34 boys and six teachers. The original building still stands today. As the school’s programs and enrollment grew over the decades, it added a wide range of facilities and became coeducational in 1971.
Today, Westminster is a diverse community of 393 students, two-thirds boarding and one-third day, in grades 9-12 and postgraduate. The students represent 41 Connecticut towns and cities, 26 states and 19 countries. The school offers state-of-the-art academic, athletic and performing arts facilities, a challenging curriculum with 24 AP offerings, a three-season athletic program with 55 teams, an impressive arts program, and a wide spectrum of co-curricular activities. The school annually awards more than $4 million in need-based financial aid.
Additional information about the 125th anniversary celebration may be found at www.westminster-school.org/125