2021 Perry Award Winners
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.
From 1946 to 1976, Les and Barbara Perry dedicated their lives to Webb students. Among his many roles at Webb, Les served as athletic director, head football coach, head basketball coach, head baseball coach, advisor to the Block W Club, math teacher and assistant headmaster under both Steve Longley and Fred Hooper. Barbara was a committed dorm parent, providing the boys with much needed support. To this day, many alumni recall fond memories of Barbara inviting them into the Perry home for hot chocolate or punch and to listen to the Sam Spade Radio Show. Barbara also hosted the seniors for breakfast on Sunday mornings and organized table seating in the Price Dining Hall. Together, Les and Barbara made an indelible mark on Webb and legions of Webb alumni continue to profess their gratitude for a couple who, as one alumnus stated, “gave us a reason to be valiant, to be loyal, to be alive.”
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.
The Perry Award serves as a tangible reward for a job well done -for extraordinary dedication to the growth and development of Webb students. Each year the Perry Award winners are publicly honored to celebrate the program and the recipients. To view an article about last year’s recipients, please see the latest Report of the Schools publication.
Michael Szayni, Dean of Faculty, wrote the following of our two Perry Award recipients:
James Huerta, Humanities faculty, Coach
There are sometimes friendly, although heated, debates about soccer amongst faculty, but if you are a Barcelona fan, then things should be ok. If you want to learn how to have the perfect balance of nonchalant swag and witty charm, I’ve got the guy for you. And, it’s always possible to have a chat with the new neighbor at the tennis courts on the weekend with Ruth, Alma, and dog Bonnie in tow. Not only is it great to have James Huerta and his family on campus now, but he has been critically instrumental in advancing our conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion since joining Webb. From 9th grade Foundations of Civilization to Advanced Studies in Culture and Politics of the Border, from the JV soccer field to leading the Community Service activity, from chaperoning students attending the Student Diversity Leadership Conference to being a BIPOC student advocate, James has enthusiastically dedicated a helping hand to improve the lives of the students in our community.
It is this devotion and commitment that directly speak to the purpose of the Perry award. In the fall, James started an Educational Leadership program at the University of Arizona. It has been a pleasure for our community to hear about the social justice lens of his program and the ways in which he is already applying and advancing his thinking about policies and programs leading to antiracist institutions. Although it might seem small, one of his students put it best: “he comes with the best conversation starters, funny stories about trips he has taken, and the most representative PowerPoints I have seen in any of my classes.”
For his passion, his continuous pursuit of knowledge and care for our students, and for his commitment to the Webb community, please join us in congratulating James Huerta with this Perry award.
Meg Horejsi, Fine Arts Faculty, Artist
If you ever need to have your face printed on a cake, I know the right person for the job. If you ever want to gab about the ups and downs of your natal chart, that same person is who I have in mind. And, if you ever need to hear some epic tales of Willoughby the cat’s adventures, then surely there is only one person to talk to. Meg Horejsi is not only a fantastically interesting individual, but she has been deeply involved and innovative in our community since she joined Webb.
Taking the lead, Meg has invigorated the Digital Arts curriculum, and while exploring creativity and voice, she has steadfastly engaged her students around digital citizenship – lessons we all could use as we find much of our lives on the screen. It is this energy and commitment that directly speak to the nature of the Perry award. Meg’s care for students also shines in her work during the Summer Program, in the Art Studio, as a yearbook advisor, helping chaperone Leadership in the Wilderness class trips, and serving as Lead Class Advisor for the VWS sophomore class. On top of that is her care for her colleagues, and as one faculty put it: Meg is “a friendly and patient mentor to her peers who want to learn more about a particular skill she has in her vast arsenal of digital wizardry.”
We know that Meg had to turn down a residency in Iceland where she was going to dive into the world of webcomics and graphic novels on Vikings. While Meg might use this award for other endeavors, we know how important it is for her to continue to be a working artist, and what an opportunity that is for her students to see and learn from.
For her creativity, her push for personal development and student growth, and for her commitment to the Webb community, please join us in congratulating Meg Horejsi with this Perry award.