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Westernport Elementary School Celebrates 100 Years in the Community
On Wednesday, November 9, 2022, Westernport Elementary School hosted a recognition ceremony celebrating 100 years in the community. Students and staff in attendance were clad in matching sweatshirts specially designed using a picture drawn by alumni, Krystle Everline Wack, for the event.
Chaired by the school's library media specialist, Deb Hendrickson, the program included a welcome by the school principal, Mr. Derek Horne; the Pledge of Allegiance; the Star Spangled Banner; a timeline of the school's history by fifth grade students; proclamations and messages by the Mayors of Westernport and Luke; and a concluding school song performed by students entitled "We're the Calico Cats" written by former music teacher, Patty Zimmerman.
In addition to students and staff, those who attended the program included past principals of WES, retired WES teachers and staff, representatives from the Towns of Westernport and Luke, representatives of the Westernport Historical Society and the Allegany County Old Schools project, officers of the Bruce High School Alumni Association, and Mr. Jeff Blank, ACPS Superintendent of Schools. Two special guests were Florence (Tinsley) Welsh and Tara (Hanna) Fazenbaker, daughter and granddaughter of Pearl (Lambert) Tinsley, who was a member of the first Bruce High School graduating class in 1932. They also represented one of several five-generation families whose members have attended the school.
The cornerstone of the school was laid on November 9, 1922, back when the building was named Bruce High School in memory of Oliver Bruce, an educator in the community. The first graduation was held in the school's gym on June 25, 1923. On September 4, 1924, 156 students and ten faculty members moved into the building.
In the late 1930's, an addition was made to expand the building, and the cafeteria and kitchen were also added. In April of 1958, the building was renamed Westernport Elementary School. The calico cat was adopted as the school mascot in 2001 and also became the official cat of Maryland.
Among some of the contents of the 1922 cornerstone is a copy of resolutions passed by the Board of Education naming the school Bruce High School; programs from commencement ceremonies since 1893; a 1923 Silver Peace Dollar presented by the Alumni Association of Westernport High School; photographs of former school buildings; names of the teachers and students of the Westernport High School to name a few.
In addition to Mrs. Hendrickson, other Westernport staff members who volunteered to serve on the 100th Anniversary Committee included Kaylin Cadwallader, Shelly Fitzgerald, Katelyn Hendrix, Jennifer Hughes, Tim Martin, Devin McGregor, Brittany McMahon, and Amy Smith.
Special thanks went out to members of the Westernport Historical Society and other community members who shared memories of attending school at Westernport Elementary.