The Westminster Schools

The Westminster Schools is a Kindergarten–12 private school in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, founded in 1951.

The Westminster Schools
Seal of The Westminster Schools
1424 West Paces Ferry Road, NW


United States
Coordinates33°50′39″N 84°26′10″W / 33.84426°N 84.436242°W / 33.84426; -84.436242
School typePrivate school
MottoAnd Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and favor with God and man (Luke 2:52)
Religious affiliation(s)Christian
Established1951; traces origins to 1878[citation needed]
FounderWilliam L. Pressly
PresidentKeith Evans
Teaching staffnot reported[1]
GradesKindergarten through 12[1]
Enrollment1,873 (2017-18)[1]
Student to teacher rationot reported[1]
Color(s)   Forest green and white
Athletics conferenceGHSA Region 5-AAA
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools[citation needed]
NewspaperThe Westminster Bi-Line
Endowment$306 million[2]

History edit

Westminster originated in 1951 as a reorganization of Atlanta's North Avenue Presbyterian School (NAPS), a girls' school and an affiliate of the North Avenue Presbyterian Church. Dr. William L. Pressly of Chattanooga, Tennessee's McCallie School served as Westminster's first president. The school moved to its current campus in 1953 as the result of a land grant by trustee Fritz Orr.

Also in 1953, Washington Seminary, another private school for girls, founded by two of George Washington's great-nieces in 1878,[3][third-party source needed] merged with Westminster. The resulting school was coeducational until the sixth grade, with separate schools for boys and girls continuing through the twelfth grade, a practice that continued until 1986 and provided the basis of Westminster's plural name.

In the mid-1950s, Westminster became a test site for a new advanced studies program that would later become the College Board's Advanced Placement program. In 1962, the administration building, later named Pressly Hall, was constructed, bringing the number of permanent buildings on campus to four.

In the early 1960s, the school barred black students and only rarely allowed African-Americans on campus.[4]

In 1965, the school's trustees voted to adopt a nondiscriminatory admissions policy.[5]

Until 1978, the school also operated as a boarding school, using Tull Hall as a dormitory.

In 2006 the school ran a campaign attempting to raise $100 million to further increase its endowment size. The campaign was at the time the third-largest ever for an independent school in the United States.[6][third-party source needed]

Campus edit

The quadrangle located on Westminster's campus.

Westminster is situated on a wooded campus of 180 acres (0.73 km2) in the Buckhead community of Atlanta. A new campus road, completed in June 2004, rerouted traffic away from central campus. In addition to a new junior high facility, completed in August 2005, Westminster has five main high school academic buildings – Campbell Hall (1952), Askew Hall (1951), Robinson Hall (1992), Broyles Hall (1987), and Pressly Hall (1962). Pressly Hall houses administrative offices, the Malone Dining Hall, and McCain Chapel. Turner Gymnasium underwent major construction and expansion completed in 2000. Broyles Arts Center houses the orchestra, band, theater, and art programs, and also the Campus Center, an area for students to socialize during free time that includes a concession stand, which is currently used periodically by the middle school band(as of 2022). The recently renovated Scott Hall (2013), once nearly obsolete after the construction of the Junior High School building, now houses the campus bookstore and technology department. Love Hall (1995) serves as the elementary school. Tull Hall, which was once the dorm rooms for boarding students now serves as a preschool. Barge Commons (2021) serves as the “front door” of the campus, housing a chapel overlooking the high school buildings lining both sides, a computer lab, snack bar, and admissions office, as well as many places for students to relax and socialize.

The campus hosted the Atlanta Marathon from 1964 until 1980.[7] During the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, the Torch was run through campus. The floor used for the basketball games during the Olympics is now in the school's Lower School gymnasium.[8]

Westminster is currently implementing an extensive campus renovation to enhance teacher-student connection. Campbell Hall received a complete renovation, a new 28,000-square-foot upper school academic building (Hawkins Hall) was built, and a new parking deck was completed. The main athletic stadium was rebuilt, along with a community plaza. Westminster Center, a large community gathering space, is under construction.

Athletics edit

Westminster fields 84 athletic teams, including baseball, basketball (boys' and girls'), cheerleading (football and basketball), crew, cross country (boys' and girls'), football, golf (boys' and girls'), gymnastics, lacrosse (boys' and girls'), soccer (boys' and girls'), softball, swimming and diving (boys' and girls'), tennis (boys' and girls'), track and field (boys' and girls'), volleyball, squash, and wrestling.

For the 2012–13 school year, Westminster was named the nation's best overall sports program for its eleven state championships and four second-place finishes.[9] Nearly a decade later, for the 2021-22 school year, Westminster was again named the nation's best overall sports program with ten state championships, two second-place finishes, and a final four appearance from the boys' soccer team.[10]

These teams have won 290 state championships since 1951, including seven in the 2016–17 school year. Westminster has received the Georgia Athletic Directors' Association Director's Cup in its respective classification in 17 of the 18 years it has been awarded, 2000–2008 and 2010–2017.[11] The varsity boys' tennis team won the Georgia State High School AAA State Championship in ten seasons in a row, 1999–2009. The boys' team has yielded many Division 1 NCAA scholarship tennis players over the years, and it has won several regional tournaments as well. The men's and women's swimming & diving teams have won 34 state championships under former coach Pete Higgins, whose accolades through 51 years of coaching include membership in the Georgia Aquatics Hall of Fame, recognition of January 5, 1990 as Pete Higgins Day by the City of Atlanta, among others. Westminster fields the sole varsity squash team south of Woodberry Forest School in Virginia featuring full interscholastic competition; the team placed 16th in the 2004 U.S. National High School Team Championships, held at Yale University, and the Squash Cats also won the title in 2012, 2016, and 2018.

In 2014, Westminster moved up a class from AA to AAA. In 2015, Westminster's football team won the AAA state championship for the first time in 37 years against rival Blessed Trinity Catholic High School in overtime, with a final score of 38–31. In 2016, Westminster's baseball team won the AAA state championship for the first time in 41 years, also against Blessed Trinity Catholic High School, sweeping the championship series in a pair of one-run victories. Westminster's boys and girls soccer teams have won the most state championships in Georgia High School history. The 2019 boys team also finished the season ranked #1 in the nation by MaxPreps meanwhile the 2021 girls team finished as the unanimous #1 team in the nation and again by MaxPreps in 2022.[12]

Extracurricular activities edit

WCAT edit

WCAT, the school's broadcast program, streams events and school activities online. In the 2016–17 school year, more than 45 students from all three divisions helped stream more than 220 events. Since its inception in 2010, the program has won 8 awards and 7 honorable mentions from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Southeast division.[13] In 2017, WCAT won its first-ever National Student Production Award from NATAS for Best Sports – Live Event Broadcast.[14]

Policy debate edit

The Policy Debate team has won 16 state championships as well as many large national tournaments, including the national Tournament of Champions five times.[citation needed][15] The team also won the National Debate Coaches' Association Championships in 2007, 2014, and 2017.[16][third-party source needed]

Robotics edit

The robotics team at Westminster began in 2008 and is identified as FRC Team 2415, the WiredCats. The team has qualified for the FRC international championships every year since their inception, more than any other team in the state.[17] They placed 5th at the Houston International Championships in 2017 after winning their subdivision at the International Championships, being one of few teams in Georgia to have made it to the Einstein Field Bracket.[17] The team won the Peachtree District Championship in 2018 and 2019.[17] They have other accolades including ten regional/district event wins in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019, the chairman's award in 2010, and the engineering inspiration award in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, and 2018.[17]

Notable people edit

Alumni edit

Notable alumni of Westminster include:[18]

Faculty edit

  • Cynthia Potter, Olympic bronze in 3 meter springboard diving, 1976
  • Mike Swider, head football coach at Wheaton College, 1995–2019; coach at Westminster 1978-1985 (including Class AAA State title in 1978 and state playoffs in three other seasons)

In popular culture edit

  • The film The Blind Side was filmed on the school's campus in June 2009, with students, parents, teachers and coaches acting as extras.[31]
  • In Lauren Myracle’s The Winnie Years, Winnie Perry starts attending the school in the seventh-grade.
  • The high school scenes from film Senior Year a movie featuring Rebel Wilson were filmed at Westminster.
  • The movie After was also filmed on campus

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d "Search for Private Schools - School Detail for THE WESTMINSTER SCHOOLS". US Department of Education. Retrieved 21 February 2020.
  2. ^ "Charity Navigator Rating – The Westminster Schools". Retrieved 2020-06-01.
  3. ^ [1] Archived March 9, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Kruse, Kevin M. (2013-07-11). White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism. Princeton University Press. p. 143. ISBN 978-1400848973.
  5. ^ Purdy, Michelle A. (February 2016). "Blurring Public and Private: The Pragmatic Desegregation Politics of an Elite Private School in Atlanta". History of Education Quarterly. 56 (1): 61–89. doi:10.1111/hoeq.12149. ISSN 0018-2680. S2CID 152265272.
  6. ^ "Teaching For Tomorrow Assures Excellence for Today." Adams, Abby. The Westminster Bi-Line, December 8, 2006. pg. 3.
  7. ^ Ludwig, Scott (2013-04-30). Distance Memories: Reflections of a Life on the Run. iUniverse. ISBN 9781475985771.
  8. ^ "Our Campus – The Westminster Schools". Retrieved 2017-11-12.
  9. ^ "High School Sports News Articles – MaxPreps – Westminster wins 12–13 MaxPreps Cup". MaxPreps. 2013-08-05. Retrieved 2014-03-20.
  10. ^ "MaxPreps Cup: Westminster of Georgia wins 2021-22 title for best all-around high school sports program". MaxPreps. 2022-08-04. Retrieved 2023-02-11.
  11. ^ [2] Archived November 26, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "UNITED SOCCER COACHES NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL RANKINGS SPRING GIRLS". United Soccer Coaches. 2021-05-04. Retrieved 2021-05-14.
  13. ^ "Making the Grade: Student broadcasters win regional Emmy". Retrieved 2018-03-27.
  14. ^ "Winners of the 2017 National Student Production Awards at Emerson College in Los Angeles". Retrieved 2018-03-27.
  15. ^ "Results History". 13 June 2017.
  16. ^ "Debate Team Reaches Semifinals of Tournament of Champions". Retrieved 2017-11-12.
  17. ^ a b c d "WiredCats - Team 2415 ()". The Blue Alliance. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  18. ^ "2008–2009 Alumni Donor Proof" (PDF). The Westminster Schools. 2009-06-28. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-09-05. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
  19. ^ "Margaret Mitchell (American novelist)". Retrieved 2009-09-06.
  20. ^ 1918 Facts and Fancies Yearbook
  21. ^ Staff Writer (February 11, 1998). "Evelyn Howren, winged way into history as female pilot in WWII". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. p. C6. Archived from the original on December 13, 2018. Retrieved December 12, 2018 – via
  22. ^ 1964 Lynx Yearbook
  23. ^ 1973 Lynx Yearbook
  24. ^ "Helen Ballard Weeks: Executive Profile & Biography – Businessweek". Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  25. ^ 1975 Lynx Yearbook
  26. ^ 1991 Lynx Yearbook
  27. ^ 1992 Lynx Yearbook
  28. ^ "Alum Takes the Helm of GQ". Retrieved 2022-12-25.
  29. ^ "Alumnae Appointed to Top Georgia, U.S. Courts".
  30. ^ "Carter Hawkins '03 Named Cubs General Manager".
  31. ^ Hartstein, Larry (July 2, 2009). "Sandra Bullock movie takes over Atlanta private school". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2015-11-05.

External links edit