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Class of 1978

Catherine Blackwell, Class of 1978Catherine R. Blackwell

WHS Activities: B.S.U. (11,12); Cheerleading (11,12); Honor Society (11,12); Marching Unit (9,10); Softball (9)



Anne Redstreake French

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Wissahickon is proud to honor Mrs. French - a remarkable teacher, coach, mentor, philanthropist, volunteer and social justice warrior who passed away on March 30, 2022.  As an educator, she moved her students and colleagues alike with her genuine desire to know and connect with everyone on a deep interpersonal level. Mrs. French began her career at The Pathway School, a residential school for young people with learning disabilities and emotional challenges, before she transitioned to teach social studies at WHS, Pottsgrove School District and Hill Top Preparatory School.  She tutored and mentored students, coached Debate and Speech, and track and field.

Former students said she sparked their intellectual curiosity and brought history to life, inspiring them to be independent thinkers, fact defenders, and ultimately, better world citizens.  She helped them to be accepting of all opinions and ideas and emphasized diversity and inclusion.

Beyond the classroom, Mrs. French was a tireless volunteer. She served as a Cub Scout den mother, Youth Group Leader and instructor. She participated in protests for equality and peace and helped raise money for the Progeria Research Foundation and other charitable organizations. She volunteered for Meals on Wheels, Manna on Mainstreet and Haiti Outreach Ministries to name a few.

Mrs. French left a lasting mark on all who knew her.  Her life was truly a blessing to all of us who felt her light and warmth. Her loving, guiding, and moral presence will be deeply missed—by family, friends, and the many souls she touched so deeply in her time here.

Hope LairdHope Thompson Laird

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Before she even left Wissahickon High School, Hope Thompson Laird knew that she wanted to work with students with special needs, and she has never wavered.

Her senior year she participated in Social Lab, where she gained valuable experience in a special education classroom at the middle school, fueling a desire to teach. After graduation from Gwynedd Mercy College, where she received a Distinguished Teacher Award, Mrs. Laird began teaching in Pennsylvania and then North Carolina, her current home. 

She has taught all aspects of special education at the preschool and elementary levels, including classroom programs for the multi-handicapped, severely and profoundly mentally handicapped, autistic support, learning support and alternative education. She has been awarded Teacher of the Year three times, as well as Teacher of the Year from the Catawba County Autism Society.

After the death of her daughter in 2015 from an undiagnosed congenital heart condition, Mrs. Laird and her husband formed an organization called Love for Lauren to raise awareness and funding to educate others about Congenital Heart Defects. She is passionate about improving screening for this silent killer of teens and young adults. Wissahickon applauds Mrs. Laird’s longtime commitment to enhancing the lives of others.