s part of Reunion 2017, Catherine Grainger and Wendy Skolfield came to WT to share family lore about their great-great aunts, Miss Elizabeth ‘Bessie’ Mitchell and Miss Mary Graham Mitchell, WT’s visionary founder. Catherine and Wendy’s mother, Mary “Mimi” Mitchell Smith ’43,
was the daughter of Russell Mitchell, Miss Mitchell’s nephew and ward. This was their first visit to Pittsburgh since Mary’s funeral in 1947.
Originally from Laurencekirk, Scotland, Mary and Bessie traveled extensively as part of their continued education. Bessie traveled to Italy to study under Madame Maria Montessori, and Mary traveled to Germany to learn about the German education system.
Catherine and Wendy’s WT journey began on Thursday, October 12, and included interviews and storytelling with fifth grade students. On Friday, they attended the Alumnae/i Explorers Panel, were recognized during the All-Class Luncheon, and connected with alumnae who knew their family members.
“We were so deeply moved by everything we saw at WT. It was such an honor to be there and to witness the exciting things happening in the classroom, and it was a thrill to see our family’s heritage embedded in the values of the school. Wendy and I don’t know what was more prominent: our tears or our goosebumps,” shared Catherine Grainger.