Observing Miss Winsor's Birthday on Campus

November 1, 2021—In honor of Miss Winsor's birthday on Halloween, Founder’s Day was acknowledged on campus throughout the week. 

On Monday morning, students enjoyed donuts and apple cider in the courtyard during snack (pictured). And at the Upper School meeting, students played Kahoot! trivia to test their knowledge of the school’s history. [Want to test your Winsor history? Scroll to the end for answers!] Questions included:
  • When did the Winsor tradition of Shakespeare plays begin? 
  • When was the first Under the Lights? 
  • When did Athletics adopt the wildcat as our mascot? 
  • Where was the original swimming pool located at 103 Pilgrim Road? 

The top five trivia winners received prizes and there was a tie for fifth place. In order, the winners were Allison Chan ’23, Anne Moghtader ’25, Ally Kennedy ’23, Emma Sun ’22, Austin Forrester ’23, and Avery Dolins ’23.

Head of School Sarah Pelmas also set aside a portion of the weekly Assembly to reflect on Founder's Day, which, contrary to what you might think, is not the day that Winsor was founded. On Founder’s Day, we celebrate Mary Winsor’s birthday, the founder of the school, and by extension, the school itself. Born on Halloween, even after she had retired from the school, Miss Winsor would return to campus for a costume parade and a tea party in her honor. 

Ms. Pelmas said, “we celebrate Founder’s Day not because we want the school to be exactly as it was in 1886, or even in 1986, but because we want to honor the spirit and energy that created this incredible place.” She went on to share, “Mary Winsor’s founding values included her family’s history being abolitionists and progressives who envisioned women as equal contributors in this society. She knew that communities could only move forward if they are ‘generous-minded,’ seeing the good in others and seeing that same light in themselves.”

Acknowledging the history of the institution, Ms. Pelmas shared, “we could look back at 1886, at the whiteness and wealth of the school, and we could be angry and negative and critical.” Instead, some students chose to wear black to honor the Black and Brown students from the 1960s and 70s and 80s and 90s who were the “first” to come to Winsor. Those trailblazers “worked so hard to make [Winsor] a place we all deserve to be, a place that belongs to all of us,” said Ms. Pelmas. The students who wore black this week, “were highlighting that not everything about the origin of this school should be maintained, and they were engaging the school in an important conversation about who is here and what we choose to celebrate.”

Miss Winsor “didn’t specifically plan for you sitting here with your friends and teachers," said Ms. Pelmas, "but she made a school that could. And generations of teachers and students before all of us were also working toward a better Winsor and a better world.”

Winsor history Kahoot! quiz answers: 
  • The first Shakespeare play was Twelfth Night and it was performed in 1931.
  • The first UTL was in 1994.
  • The wildcat mascot was adopted in 2002.
  • The original swimming pool was located in the basement.