Meet Esteemed Westminster Alumnus Yohannes Abraham
“Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.” —Marian Wright Edelman
Education is something much more powerful and important than a set of facts in a textbook. It’s the means to open up opportunities, including those that help you serve those around you.
At Westminster, we believe this deeply, and one alumnus who perfectly encapsulates these ideals is Yohannes Abraham, class of 1999.
Meet Yohannes Abraham
Yohannes Abraham graduated from Westminster School in 1999. He went on to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology before attending undergraduate classes at Princeton University. Continuing his distinguished educational career, Abraham then earned a juris doctor (JD) degree at Yale University.
In his professional life, Abraham helped to elect then-senator Barack Obama by managing engagement in key swing states. During President Obama’s second term, Abraham worked for the White House administration. More recently, he served as the executive director of the Biden–Harris transition. (To hear him speak on this historic presidential event, listen to this episode of the podcast Transition Lab.)
To learn more about his political background, feel free to also check out this quick biography of his impressive career.
5 Quotes from Abraham about His Time at Westminster
Westminster is proud of our curriculum and approach to education, but nothing brings us more joy than hearing the appreciation and gratitude our former students have for their time here. Here are a few examples of what Abraham had to say about his formative years as a proud griffin.
“When I look back on both high school and college and think back on what allowed me to thrive in those environments, it really comes down to the rock-solid academic foundation that I received at Westminster.”
A rigorous academic curriculum grounded in the classics is one essential pillar of the Westminster program. Westminster asks a lot of its students because we know the tremendous potential of even very young learners. Given the environment and opportunity to explore that, our students consistently feel prepared for the challenges that await them in the next stages of their academic, professional, and personal lives.
“At Westminster, you get a set of teachers and administrators that truly care. That are committed not only to their profession but are committed to students’ holistic growth.”
Westminster prides itself on developing the whole child. It’s not just about learning how to compose an essay or dissect a great piece of literature. It’s also very much about learning the guiding principles of respect for yourself, respect for others, kindness, gratitude, and open-mindedness.
“You get exposure to a set of extracurricular activities that stretch you and expand your horizons. And, without you knowing it, teach you a set of skills that prove hugely valuable in the challenges that life throws at you.”
Whether it’s the drama program or the athletic department, Westminster knows extracurriculars provide so much value for young students. They introduce developing minds to new ideas. They teach effective time management. Most of all, though, they imbue students with core skills that benefit them long after that one specific program is over.
“The teachers and administrators really do love all the students that come in and out of their doors. And that’s not something you get everywhere.”
A school is about a lot more than the facts you learn in a classroom. It’s about the holistic environment that’s created and the encouragement students are given to discover, to find their voices, and to develop a lifelong love of learning.
That happens when students are inspired, and inspiration comes when a trusted mentor recognizes, nurtures, and encourages a child’s potential. At Westminster, we’re so lucky to have an entire teaching and administrative staff filled with these kinds of life-changing mentors.
Get to know some of our staff members better in these teacher spotlights:
“I wish every kid had a chance to have an education like I received.”
Especially during the formative, foundational years, it matters what you learn and how you learn it. It’s the reason we’re so adamant about the benefits of a private education starting in preschool. Through all the amazing opportunities Abraham has enjoyed, he continually comes back to his foundation at Westminster as a guiding principle in his success.
To hear Abraham in his own words, check out this short video.
Interested in learning more about what the Westminster program can do for your child? Please join us for a virtual open house.