October 17th & 18th, 2008
On October 17th and 18th, Whitby School welcomed over 600 adults and children who commemorated Whitby’s history and 50th anniversary with a Founders Day celebration and Alumni Party. Current and past families, alumni, students, staff and friends traveled from as far as Florida and Milwaukee, some being reunited after many years, for this special occasion. The two-day celebration also recognized the founding of the American Montessori Society (AMS) at Whitby in 1960 under the direction of Nancy McCormick Rambusch, Whitby’s first headmaster.
Jack Blessington, Whitby’s second headmaster from 1962-1973, brought humor and a lively tone to the proceedings as he addressed guests, sharing the rich history of the school’s founding. Current board member Rich Lukaj, and Head of School Doug Fainelli, provided an overview of the school’s continued commitment to the founding philosophy and excellence, combined with news of the International Baccalaureate program. Barbara Brent, Assistant Head for Children’s House, and Kathleen Hennessy, Alumnus and current parent and board member, unveiled a landscape architectural drawing of the Marcy Rafael Educational Walkway to be constructed around the lake on campus, in honor of Marcy Rafael’s contributions to Whitby. Also speaking at Whitby’s Founders Day celebration was Richard Ungerer, American Montessori Society’s Executive Director. Each of Whitby’s honored guests received a hand-made Thank-You card from Lower and Middle Elementary students.
Whitby’s traditional release of the doves concluded the formal part of Friday’s celebration, which was followed by a family buffet picnic with games and entertainment for the children. True to both its Montessori roots and philosophy of multi-age activities and inter-generational collaboration, Whitby Middle School students led the school’s younger children in painting pumpkins and face painting.
The following evening, over 100 alumni, special guests and friends reunited to further celebrate Whitby’s 50th anniversary and the forming of the American Montessori Society (AMS) at Whitby in 1959. Guests included several founders, and Whitby's second and third Heads of School, Jack Blessington and Paul Czaja. The school’s Skakel Wing and Rambusch Wing were officially dedicated with new signage, and The Montessori Library and Technology Center was officially named.