Vivian Webb School Celebrates 2022 Commencement
Vivian Webb’s Class of 2022 – which excelled despite incredible challenges – will be strengthened by the values the students learned at the high school, internet star Dr. Sandra Lee Rebish said in her keynote address at the school’s 39th Commencement Exercises on Saturday, June 4.
More than 400 families, friends, faculty, staff and students gathered at Webb’s Faculty Field for the boisterous commencement, which was punctuated by laughter, shouts and cheers. The celebration of the 48 graduates culminated a journey that included the pandemic-driven campus closure in March 2020, online instruction in 2020-21 and a triumphant return to in-person classes and boarding in 2021-22.
Rebish, a 1988 Vivian Webb graduate, is better known as “Dr. Pimple Popper” from her wildly successful YouTube videos and TLC series. After joking about performing an excision on stage to ensure her talk was memorable, Rebish told the graduates that they had already passed one of the toughest of tests.
“I can’t imagine how difficult it was to be a teenager, to navigate the stress and pressure of forging new friendships and new relationships and tackling these strenuous academic courses and applying to college,” Rebish said.
“And all of this while surrounded by concern over your well-being and the safety of your loved ones, and that all of this could be threatened by doing the most simple, the most mundane things – hanging out with friends, playing a sport, going home to just have dinner with your family.
“But you know what? You guys did it. You guys got through it all. You didn’t crumble under all that pressure. In fact, you guys excelled,” she said. “Life is about adapting to your environment and pivoting, changing direction when you need to.”
Rebish said it took her decades to really understand that the principles by which she lives were embedded at Webb: “Think boldly, mindfully, and creatively; act with honor and moral courage; lead with distinction; serve with a generous spirit.”
The graduates fill find they, too, have learned these lessons, she said.
“It’s actually a part of you now,” she said. “I think you’ll take them with you wherever you go.”
Graduates also heard from Head of Schools Taylor B. Stockdale, Associate Head of Schools Dr. Theresa Smith, Class of 2022 President Ruiwen (Jessica) Huang and Valedictorian Laura Huang Li.
“We have succeeded in a million different ways,” Li said. “Whether it be through getting into college, graduating or being first in line on sushi day.”
“We carry our achievements with pride. However, I hope after our four years at Webb, we have learned to celebrate not just our accomplishments, but also our failures. The not-so-showy stuff. The things we never put on display, hang on walls or wear around our necks. … Because all that has gone wrong has brought us equally as far.”
She said the magic of Webb lies in the small moments.
“Looking back at my time at Webb, the most significant and treasured parts were not my grades or my name on a plaque that I pursued so fervently. My favorite memories are the supposedly trivial experiences I underwent with my peers.”
In addition, two faculty members were honored with special awards for their dedication to students.
Humanities Lauren Hartle received the James T. Demetriades ’80 Endowed Prize for Unbounded Thinking and math teacher Stephen Caddy received the Jean. E Miller Excellence in Teaching Award.