On June 2, 2012, The Webb Schools graduated the largest class in its history – 108 graduates – in a year marked by significant achievements, including the 3oth birthday of Vivian Webb School and the 90th anniversary of Webb School of California.
The seniors of Vivian Webb School, 55 Daughters Strong along with family and friends, gathered on Faculty Field in the morning to receive their diplomas. Head of Schools Taylor Stockdale reflected upon the legacy of the class, “you have strengthened just about every aspect of your school.”
VWS Valedictorian Tiffany Fan reflected on her profound sense of family during her time at Webb.
“Soaked in sweat and splattered up to my elbows with paint, I sat back and looked around at what we had helped accomplish. The foundation for the new community center was carefully laid, the house we had just painted was drying in the blazing sun, and the staircase to make travel along the river safer for the children was finally finished. My volunteering in the Nananu Village of Fiji was incredibly rewarding because I was able to see immediate improvement as a result of our hard work.
When I returned to my host family every day, they immediately welcomed me, a stranger, with joyful smiles and open arms. Though no biological connection, I was instantly part of their family. Wrapped in the peaceful silence and majestic landscape of Nananu, I thought back on the family - or families, I should say - that I had left back in California.
The badminton program at Webb was also established my freshman year. Little did I know when I signed up that in less than four years, our team would grow into one of the closest families that I have ever seen. We win together, lose together, teammates. But that’s not all; we are together, all the time. Some have even referred to us as our own clique! Because of our tight bonds, we were able to go from zero wins the first year to 2nd in league to league champions to finally, CIF Southern Section Division II Runner Ups this year. It is amazing what were we able to accomplish because we are and will always be a family. Familial love can be so powerful.”
This year’s commencement speaker for Vivian Webb School was Dr. Janel Henriksen Hastings ’87, vice president for institutional research at Harvey Mudd College, who serves as president of the Alumni Council and was recently elected to the Board of Trustees.
“What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? I truly believe that this question speaks to the most basic character trait that The Webb Schools has, for over 90 years, nurtured in its students: that of the Unbound Thinker.
And it’s important to be mindful of this because these schools were established by two individuals who were the personification of The Unbound Thinker: Thompson Webb, and his wife, Vivian.
While the Webb School of California has embraced traditions and a rich history that characterizes it as the premier secondary school for boys in the Western United States, Vivian Webb School is, by comparison, still in its first chapter. Our school has now celebrated its 30th anniversary – 30 years of excellence in preparing young women to lead not only academically, but also morally, and with character.
Vivian Webb School is now poised to embrace its own history and its own traditions. And to do so, we must first ask the question: Just how well do we know Vivian Webb, the extraordinary and fearless woman after whom our school was named? She was not just the wife of the founding Headmaster of The Webb School of California. She was much more than just the mother of four boys. Letters, interviews, anecdotes and writings, compiled by The Webb Schools in collaboration with Vivian’s grandchildren, bring into further detail the rich and storied life of a woman who was truly a force of nature.”
Click here to view a full gallery from the 2012 VWS Commmencement
Late in the afternoon, 53 boys of Webb School of California assembled with family and friends on the Alamo lawn to receive their diplomas from Head of Schools, Taylor Stockdale, who remarked, “In just moments, you will receive a diploma, which states your graduation number, my signature, and the school crest with our motto, Leaders, not ordinary men. What it won’t state is something I hope you know in your heart. You have made this place even better and stronger than you found it four years ago. You have upheld our cherished traditions admirably and as such, honor, leadership and service have never been stronger on this campus.”
WSC Valedictorian Jordan Burns ’12 used a metaphor of how the Colorado River and the streams that flow into it have formed the majestic Grand Canyon as he talked about the effect of parents and others who have influenced the lives of his class in the following way:
“I am inspired by the relationship between the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River that has shaped it.
For roughly the past 17 million years, the Colorado River, flowing swiftly and steadily, has formed the incredible wonder of the world we call the Grand Canyon. Over time, the river has slowly changed the canyon, deepening and widening it, and exposing the diverse and beautiful layers within, shaping it at the whim of its flow.
But the Colorado River is not simply one stream of water. There is the main river, yes, but countless other streams contribute to this constant reshaping of the huge canyon.
I like to think that each individual person is their own separate wonder of the world. The atoms that make up our bodies are just as old and sturdy as those that make up the Grand Canyon.
Although it's good to value the onetime impactful action a person may do for us, we should value the regular things our loved ones do for us, every time that they do it. Our parents are our Colorado River. Their persistent care has slowly shaped us.
Think about Webb as a great canyon, with all its possibilities waiting to be uncovered by the rivers that run through it. Just like the tributaries that shape the canyon and join up with the main river to continue their change, some people's influence also spreads far and wide from their original source.”
Upland-based physician, Dr. Rahmi Mowjood ‘90 served his alma mater as commencement speaker.
“It’s amazing what you will learn tomorrow. Today may mark the end of your high school education, but it is just another step in what will hopefully be a lifetime of learning. And I don’t mean just in school or from books. I mean from people. From movements. From experiences. From failures and successes. From Life. Remember that you are ALWAYS learning, even when you think you are not. Even while you are dreaming—you are learning. You saw Inception, right? Every day there is a chance to bring something new to your table—and the great thing is, sometimes you will never know where that will come from. So keep your mind open, and never turn down an opportunity to better yourself, to broaden your mind, and to learn. Because believe it or not, who you are now may be different from who you will be in 20 years. You all have only just begun to grow, so don’t ever put a cap on what you can learn.”
During the ceremonies, Stockdale presented the following teaching awards: Thompson and Vivian Webb Excellence in Teaching Award – English teacher Dr. Tracy Miller; Jean E. Miller Excellence in Teaching Award – Biology teacher Kevin Quick; James T. Demetriades ’80 Endowed Prize for Unbounded Thinking – English department chair Andy Dahlstrom; and The Laurence McMillin Excellence in Teaching Award – Spanish teacher Morgan Kapp.
Click here to view a full gallery from the 2012 WSC Commencement