By Imani Wj Wright, Special to the AFRO

Western High School, one of the most revered schools in the country, recently celebrated their 175th anniversary at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore. This Red and Black Ball consisted of an award ceremony and music that kept attendees chair dancing all night. Patrice Sanders, FOX Morning News, served as the emcee.. 

The night began with highly respected jazz artist, Maysa Leak, singing some of her most popular music, solo and recorded with her internationally recognized group, Incognito. The Baltimore native mentioned during her set that she was disappointed after finding out she had not been accepted to Western High School when she was younger. Maysa’s statement would come back to resurface later on that night. 

The Western High School Alumnae Association Planning Committee: (L-R) Donnice Brown ‘87, Teri Cussacc ‘91, Juernene Bass ‘75, Charlotte Jackson ‘75, Jonnilee Fryer ‘73, Aimee Ayers ‘89, Tanya Deshields ‘73, Tracey Morton ‘85, (Not pictured) Shanae Williams ‘98, Vernice McKee ‘88.

Western honored several Honorary Doves and two Legendary Doves. The Legendary Dove awards were given to former students who went on to reach immense levels of success in their chosen careers. The first Legendary Dove award was given to Captain Beverly Lynn Burns, the first woman to captain the Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet. Her speech was filled with stories of triumph and humor. She shared the time Muhammad Ali boarding one of her planes and thought something was wrong because a woman was in the captain’s seat. She later attributed his ensuing win to her interaction with him. 

The second Legendary Dove award was given to radio co-host, Robin Quivers. To some, Robin may be viewed as not just being a Western legend, but a legend within the world of media as a whole. Following Quivers’ graduation from Western, she became a nurse. Realizing she didn’t truly feel fulfilled, she entered broadcasting, and as many know, she co-hosted the Howard Stern Show, one of the most listened to and influential shows of all time. Her very defined and distinctive voice permeated through the room as she gave her speech. Towards the middle of her speech Quivers asked the crowd: “What was that young lady’s name? Mya? Mia?” The whole room corrected her in unison saying: “Maysa!” Quivers continued with a smile and subtle laugh: “Yes her. [It was funny hearing her say she was disappointed to not get in. But that just shows how respected Western was.]”  

Western High School alumni, family and friends gathered at the B&O Railroad Museum in Downtown Baltimore, Md.

“Our mission was to change the world, and make it a better place for women.” 

“…And they worked us; it was like I was waiting for a break that never came.”

Event chair Shanae Williams pretty much summarized the Western experience in a few statements. 

“I always say, I went to Western as a little girl, and I left a young lady,” Williams said.  

“Western girls are known for their class, for their smarts, and their style.”