Class of 2020 Graduation Celebration
Graduates of the Class of 2020 – reunited for a long-awaited in-person graduation ceremony on June 5 – celebrated the strengths that carried them through a year disrupted by pandemic and lauded The Webb Schools foundation that will guide them through challenges yet to come.
“It is difficult, really, for me to put into words what it means to be standing here seeing you in person and to seeing other classmates on the screen,” Head of Schools Taylor B. Stockdale said. “It couldn’t be better.”
About 200 family members gathered on campus on a warm afternoon to celebrate the Class of 2020 more than a year after the students graduated virtually. The live-streamed event featured 70 of the 97 graduates, including five who attended virtually.
The ceremony was historic on several fronts: Graduates represent the only Webb class to receive two diplomas on two different days; it was the first celebration on Webb’s new Centennial Field; and it was the first time Vivian Webb School and Webb School of California held a joint commencement ceremony.
Stockdale called students “the mighty Class of 2020” for all they endured. He shared that when he arrived at Webb 33 years ago, teacher Ramsay Harris told him that Webb was distinguished by its “fighting heart.”
Stockdale said the comment reminded him of an adage shared by his father: “A good education prepares you for a successful life … a great education goes one step further and prepares you for adversity.”
Associate Head of Schools Theresa Smith said the pandemic is among many challenges the graduates will face, including environmental issues, conflicts among nations and social crises within the U.S.
“These are challenges real and deep, and yet they are what your Webb education has been preparing you for,” Smith said. “You have the strength, the values and the wisdom to meet the challenges ahead.”
Webb School of California Senior Class President Jay Gupta echoed the need for graduates to prepare for disruptive events.
“Over the course of our lives we’re not going to have to weather just one or two of these COVID-like moments; there are going to be four or five. And only a few lucky ones among us are going to make it through each crisis without having to make any changes,” he said.
He urged graduates to build on their strengths and develop resilience.
“Resilience is about realizing those of us who have the best chance of succeeding are those who can reinvent themselves,” Gupta said.
Vivian Webb Senior Class President Sara Hagiwara said graduates will draw strength from their time at Webb.
“We consider this place to be a second home,” Hagiwara said. “What made the class of 2020 so unique was our collective strength…. Life isn’t always smooth sailing, and success comes with patience and diligence.”