The following faculty and staff were honored during Parents Weekend with Coach of the Year awards, Joann Robinson Staff Distinguished Service Award and the Les and Barbara Perry Awards.
VWS Coach of the Year – Malick Mbengue
Our VWS coach of the year has also overseen a quick turnaround in the fortunes of his team. In year one, the team finished 5-9-2 and missed out on the postseason. In year two, the soccer program blossomed both in terms of numbers as a JV team was established, and in terms of record as the team surged to a 21-3 overall record advancing to the playoff quarterfinals. With his warm smile and sons in two, this coach inspires both on and off the field. Our VWS coach of the year is Malick Mbengue.
WSC Coach of the Year – Stephen Caddy
The WSC coach of the year has a passion for his sport that is contagious and inspiring. His weekly emails regarding the exploits of his team are informational and entertaining and show why he is such a successful coach. In his first year at the helm of his team, they had just one win as they learned his systems and rose to his expectations. In year two, the team tallied 16 victories, the first ever league title for volleyball in school history, and reached the playoff quarterfinals. His athletes said they couldn’t wait to come back next year and improve even more. The 2019 WSC coach of the year is Stephen Caddy.
The Joann Robinson Staff Distinguished Service Award was established in 2012, to honor an exemplary staff member for their long term and dedicated service to the Webb community. This year’s recipient of the award is Sergio Alcaraz.
Without giving away any ages, the recipient this year is a proud member of the very unofficial “Webb Half Their Lives Club” – it is a group of people who have been here at this school working day in and day out for more than half of their lives. While here, he has lit up the campus with his smile and his spirit. He stays in touch with more alumni than most anyone else here. Whether it be as a member of the Kitchen Services Staff for 20 years, promoted to the position of cook in 2016, or as a soccer coach, or an organizer of evening soccer in the Perry Gym, or countless other activities, or now as a member of Security Operations and Special Events Team, Sergio embodies the very best of this place as he makes real and genuine connections to both students and colleagues in ways that are impactful, meaningful and genuine. In his own way, he reminds us of the importance of our community, of connecting and laughing, of being human and getting the most out of life. He’s an educator in the truest sense of the word, and I for one have always admired and respected his passion for being an integral part of the Webb family. For these reasons and more, it is my very great honor to confer the Joann Robinson Staff Distinguished Service Award to --- Sergio Alcaraz.
Les and Barbara Perry Awards:
For over 95 years, The Webb Schools have remained steadfast to the standards of distinguished academic and athletic achievement complemented by a dedication to principles of unwavering ethical behavior and personal responsibility. These are the ideals upon which the school was founded - ideals which have been embodied by Les and Barbara Perry.
Each year, department heads are encouraged to nominate faculty members who are deserving of a Perry Award. In addition, faculty members are encouraged to apply for a Perry Award directly. A small advisory committee made up of the assistant head of schools, the director of studies, and dean of faculty reviews the applications to make recommendations to the Head of Schools. The number and amount of Perry Awards made each year might vary, and could be used for a variety of purposes: sabbatical support, study abroad, conference attendance, research, continuing education, and more.
Who would take a busload of students all the way to the Arizona border in search of a weather balloon launched in Claremont? Diving fully into the spirit of Webb’s Unbounded Days program, Andrew Hamilton did – a symbol of his passion for and commitment to experiential learning. Since joining Webb in 2012, Andrew has played an instrumental role in innovating our science curriculum. Eager to ensure the success of our sophomore IPC course, Andrew helped revamp the entire curriculum with the IPC team this past summer. At the same time, Andrew also wrote an entirely new astrophysics curriculum aimed at taking advantage of Webb’s observatory – further demonstrating his commitment to pushing the curriculum and pushing himself. Beyond the classroom, Andrew is an amazing mentor to students, both in his role as robotics coach and also as the WSC Lead Class Advisor for the Class of ’22. It’s clear, that while we’re all lucky to call Andrew our colleague, at the end of the day, he is here for bettering the minds and lives of the students. I mean, how much more “Perry” can you get? For his unwavering commitment and dedication to Webb both in and out of the classroom, please join us in congratulating Andrew Hamilton with this Perry Award.
When Morgan left Webb a couple of years ago, we knew we were losing a good one. Thankfully, she was just out in the world bettering herself and learning more before coming back to us – gaining a fresh new perspective on what language looks like outside of the Webb bubble. Morgan’s dedication to her craft is evident within the walls of the Old Schoolhouse where her students not only explore the technical aspects of Spanish, but the culture, history, art, and current events of various countries around the world. Her classes model what it means to “fully immerse oneself” in the language and her students navigate through her class with a smile on their face and a genuine interest in the subject matter. Morgan’s work to differentiate the Spanish curriculum to help meet students where they are epitomizes the spirit of the Perry family. Furthermore, Morgan’s presence permeates beyond the classroom: she is not only an excellent coach, but a vital role model for our female student-athletes. She pushes students to extend themselves both physically and mentally and exemplifies what it means to live a healthy, balanced, life. Our students at Webb are better for it. For her dedication to her craft, for instilling passion in her students and athletes, and for her overall commitment to our community, please join us in congratulating Morgan Kapp with this Perry Award.
If there is a camera pointed at you, chances are Scott Nichols is behind it. In his role as Director of Digital Communications, he works hard to capture the myriad moments that make up the Webb experience – and no shot is out of his reach. The night sky over the observatory, sleek swimmers racing underwater, aerial shots of our 150-acre campus, friends studying together in the library stacks – Scott strives to document and share it all. Scott’s dedication to and appreciation for the political process is no less steadfast. Introduced to his first political candidate at the age of two, Scott has worked for multiple political campaigns and more recently has sought to merge these two interests – photography and politics – by photographing candidates during the 2016 election. For the upcoming February primaries, Scott plans to head back to his home state of New Hampshire and continue this work as a photojournalist, and in the process we know he will help the election come to life for our students as well. Indeed, Scott models passion, curiosity and civic engagement to our students, whether he is showing an environmental studies class proper planting techniques (he is an avid gardener himself) or meeting with an advisee who needs a kind word after a busy day. For sharing in so many special moments, for his commitment and dedication to the Webb community, for being a role model to our students, please join us in congratulating Scott Nichols with this Perry Award.
When we advertised a position to teach one section of psychology in the summer of 2011, we had no idea if we would get any applicants. Enter Michael Szanyi, then a graduate student at nearby Claremont Graduate University. Watching him teach a sample class as part of the interview process, we knew he was made for this work. After teaching that class, we asked him to staff our evening academic labs. Then to run our dance program. And so the slow reeling in of Michael to the faculty began. Anyone who has worked with Michael, who has experienced his kind spirit, his dedication to students, his thoughtfulness and creativity, and his tremendous work ethic, understands why we needed him to be part of this community. Michael embodies the all-in Webb teacher. A full-time humanities teacher, head of our dance program, VWS Head of Dorms, WSC Lead Class Advisor for the class of 2021, Summer Program Dean of Students – he wears many hats. The spirit he brings to these roles is singularly wonderful, whether hosting a Britney Spears dance party for his dorm residents, prodding faculty to participate in Theme Days dress-up or giving a well-researched chapel talk on the WSC motto. For his attention and care to our students, for his willingness to dive in to all aspects of school life, and for his warm smile and tremendous heart, please join us in congratulating Michael Szanyi with this Perry Award.