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    Meet the Women Behind the Building Names: Celebrating Women's History Month
    Posted on 03/14/2019
    Archival photo of Catherine Blaine

    Meet the Women Behind the Building Names

    There are a handful of buildings throughout Seattle Public Schools that have names connected to women who have played a part in the history of this nation.

    March marks the recognition of Women’s History Month, and to commemorate, here are a few stories of the women whose contributions are woven into the geography of the city.


    Image of archival newspaper with photo of Jane Addams news article title "Jane Addams: A Friend of the Poor"Jane Addams Middle School

    Jane Addams Middle School named after Jane Addams.

    Originally opened in September 1949 by the Shoreline School District, the school was also meant to serve as a community center for the north end. The name for the new school was chosen in an essay contest sponsored by Shoreline School District. Students were asked to write about various Nobel Prize winners and the winning entry was submitted by a Maple Leaf Elementary student. The piece discussed the life of Jane Addams, a noted American social worker who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.

    Addams was a pioneer American settlement activist, social worker, philosopher, sociologist, and leader in the women’s suffrage movement. In March of 1953, the Board of Directors for Seattle Public Schools passed a resolution to jointly operate Addams with Shoreline during the 1953-54 academic year. The school was annexed July 1, 1954 into the Seattle school district.


    Archival photo of Catharine Blaine with text "Mrs. Catherine Blaine Seattle's first school teacherCatharine Blaine K-8

    Catharine Blaine K-8 School named after Catharine P. Blaine.

    On September 3, 1952, the Seattle school district opened Catherine Blaine Junior High School to 534 students to serve the needs of the growing Magnolia community population.

    The school was the first west of the Mississippi to be planned and financed jointly by a school district and a parks department, with all facilities included under one roof. Nearly 100 years prior to the opening of the school, Catherine Paine Blaine became the first teacher to establish a school in the early days of Seattle. Catherine P. Blaine’s husband was Seattle’s first minister.


    Archival photo of Louisa BorenBoren STEM K-8

    Louisa Boren STEM K-8 named after Louisa Boren Denny.

    The site of Louisa Boren Stem K-8 is not far from where those who arrived on the shores of the future city of Seattle in the early 1800s landed. In the early 1960s, the West Seattle community needed a junior high school because of overcrowding at local elementary and high schools. In September 1963, Boren opened its doors to over 800 students in grades 6-9.

    Louisa Boren Denny, a Seattle founder and proponent of women’s suffrage, symbolizes the pioneer ideals of courage, selflessness, and ingenuity. A teacher in Illinois, at the age of 24 she headed west by wagon train with her mother and stepfather. After arriving at the point they named Alki in 1851, she made the Puget Sound area her home until her death in 1916. She was the wife of David Denny, a member of the Denny Party who are generally credited as the city of Seattle’s founders.


    Photo of Akiko Kato Kurose with a teacher at a deskAki Kurose Middle School

    Aki Kurose Middle School named after Akiko Kato Kurose.

    Originally Casper W. Sharples Junior High School, Aki Kurose Middle School Academy was renamed after Akiko Kato Kurose in November 1999.

    Kurose was a peace activist and educator who helped bring Head Start programs to Seattle schools. She led a life of example, affecting so many thousands with a message of nonviolence and progressive education. A Seattle native, she was honored for her work as an educator by two American presidents, the United Nations, various governors, and city officials. Additional honors include the Seattle Public Schools Teacher of the Year Award, the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching, the National Science Honor Roll of Teachers, the United Nations Humans Rights Award, and the Asian Pioneer Award for Peace.


    Archival photo of Loyal TreatLoyal Heights Elementary

    Loyal Heights Elementary School named after Loyal Treat.

    Local Ballard legends hold that Harry Whitney Treat, a prominent landowner, donated five acres to the district “with the condition that a school be built and named after his daughter Loyal.’

    District records from the 1930s, however, indicate that the land was purchased.


    Photo of a statue of SacajaweaSacajawea Elementary

    Sacajawea Elementary School named after Sacajawea.

    The school was named after the Lemhi Shoshone Indian woman who helped to guide the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805-06. Sacajawea is best known for her role as interpreter and for being the only woman on the famous excursion.

    She has since been memorialized with statues, monuments, stamps, and place-names. In 2000, her likeness appeared on a gold-tinted dollar coin struck by the U.S. Mint. In 2001, President Bill Clinton granted her a posthumous title of honorary sergeant in the army. It is one of four district schools honoring Native Americans in name (others are Leschi, Chief Sealth, and Robert Eagle Staff) and the only one named for a Native American woman. The school was officially named Sacajawea School on July 31, 1956.

    Hazel Wolf STEM K-8 School

    Hazel Wolf STEM K-8 School named after Hazel Wolf.

    An environmentalist and activist, Hazel Wolf lived in the Seattle area for most of her life. She was active in advocacy for immigration rights and was a leader of the Seattle Audubon Society, local non-profit environmental organization. Wolf is credited with helping to start 21 of the 26 state chapters of the National Audubon Society. Throughout her life, she is also noted for her passion in human rights, communism, labor issues, world peace, and feminism. Her accolades include the Sol Feinstein Award from State University of New York, the National Audubon Society’s 1985 Conservationist of the Year and the Association of Biologists and Ecologists of Nicaragua’s 1988 Award for Nature Conservation. In 1996, former Washington State Governor Mike Lowry declared March 10th, her birthday, as “Hazel Wolf Day”.