About

News

Heavy on the Secret Sauce

Taylor Stockdale
I was recently back at my childhood home in Coronado, Calif., taking care of my mom who still resides there. We love to tell stories of when we were young and growing up in that enchanted town in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Back then it was a sleepy beach community with only a ferry connecting the island to San Diego. There was very little development beyond the iconic Hotel del Coronado, rows and rows of Craftsman homes, and a few stores lining the main street of Orange Avenue. There were no fast food restaurants allowed in Coronado at the time, and the concept of “fast food” was still relatively new.

Every once in a while, my mom would declare that for dinner, we would forgo the usual and instead drive to Imperial Beach, a town eight miles to our south, to a Jack in the Box. We would scream with excitement, and pile into our 1964 Volkswagen Bug. As the youngest, my “seat” was the well in the back. We’d drive south on the Silver Strand, which is a narrow spit of land between the ocean and San Diego Bay. At that time, there were no homes or buildings between the two towns. It was pitch black aside from an occasional naval ship coming into port off in the distance. All we had were those small VW headlights as we made our way to what we thought of as the best eatery in the world!

The biggest moment when we pulled up to the drive-through (which was a revolutionary concept) was to say, “heavy on the secret sauce.” At the time, Jack in the Box was advertising its “secret sauce” as the element that made its burgers so good. We always wondered what was in that secret sauce...a huge with some extra relish, but it was seen as almost magical.

We’d eat our dinner in the car (don’t ask me how), and drive home satisfied and talking on and on about what exactly was in that sauce. Whatever it was, we knew it made all the difference.

So, why do I recall this story? Well, I have long believed that Webb too has its own version of a secret sauce—something hard to identify, hard to describe, but it’s the stuff that makes The Webb Experience so rich and so distinctive.

Recently, a group of young alumni came back to an Affiliates meeting so that they could share their experiences as college students having just graduated from Webb. The parents of current students asked many questions about how well these recent graduates were prepared and what to expect in the first year in terms of transition for their own children. The alumni ranged in age from college freshmen to seniors, and their colleges were spread throughout the U.S.—East Coast, West Coast and everywhere in between. They were men and women, day students and boarders, domestic and international, and students of all different interests—athletics, the arts, the museum, etc. It was quite a good sampling of young alumni, and I was fascinated by what they had to say.

College is hard—they all agreed on that. By and large they felt really well prepared for the challenges. But what they talked about mostly was how closely they stay connected to each other as Webbies after graduation, and how often they draw on their experiences from their Webb days in college life. Each of them was so articulate and passionate about their lives. I was overwhelmed with a sense of pride. They all spoke of initiating conversations in classes, approaching their professors to discuss material, in every way taking responsibility for their college experience. They all displayed a great work ethic and confidence that I am sure has set them apart from other students. Of course, all this is the result of putting highly talented and devoted teachers together with motivated students in a small, supportive community during their formative years.

You hear me speak often about Webb’s mission, our goals and benchmarks, our strategic vision, and our financial position. These measurements are essential to our quality and our future as an educational community. But what is equally important is maintaining Webb’s secret sauce. It’s the intangibles that are difficult to identify, articulate and measure. It’s the time between classes, the walk up chapel hill, the buzz before formal dinner, the hanging out on a Peccary trip, the quiet moments at sunrise when you can hear coyotes howling in the foothills, and the smell of eucalyptus after a good rain. It’s all of those times on the Alamo lawn, or on the pool deck, on the trails above campus, or out in front of the library dressing up our favorite statue. It’s students taking responsibility for themselves and caring for their friends, and having real and meaningful relationships with the teachers and staff. It’s all of those things—structured and unstructured—that create that distinctive buzz on our campus that I simply don’t feel or see any place else.

In each edition of WEBB Magazine, we seek to show you stories and examples of some of Webb’s ingredients. In this issue for example, we highlight our amazing alumni network, examples of altruism and generosity, the burgeoning afternoon program and the anatomy of a chapel talk. Past issues have covered our evolving curriculum, the great teachers of our school, the remarkable Alf Museum, and the value of endowment. Through it all, though, keep in mind that the best parts of this place are difficult, if not impossible, to identify. As someone who has been here for more than 25 years, I’m still trying to identify exactly what is in Webb's secret sauce.
Back

Read More News

Alumni News

List of 4 news stories.

  • The Webb Fund: Give by June 30

    From classroom technology to financial aid, The Webb Fund contributes to many aspects on campus. Use our secure online giving form at webb.org/giving to make your gift today. The 2017-18 Webb Fund campaign ends on June 30 at 11:59 pm. If you need assistance, please contact The Webb Fund Office at giving@webb.org or call (909) 482-5288.
    Read More
  • Jean E. Miller

    Jean E. Miller In Memoriam

    We learned from Jinx Tong (VWS dean from 1991-1996, and director of residence from 1983-1991) that Jean E. Miller passed away on Tuesday, May 22 at the age of 90 years old.   
     
    Jean was born in Brockton, Massachusetts in 1928. She attended Pembroke College (the coordinate women’s college to Brown University) and graduated with an A.B. in English in 1949. She enjoyed a long and celebrated career as an educator in private schools across the country.
    Read More
  • Head of Schools Taylor Stockdale speaks at Webb's annual Head's Reception on May, 19, 2018.

    PHOTOS: Over 50 Attend Annual Head's Reception

    Over 50 people gathered at Head of Schools Taylor and Anne Stockdale's home last month for Webb's annual Head's Reception.
    Read More
  • Alan Hau ’04

    Alan Hau ’04 Launches New Business With Philanthropic Mission

    Alan Hau ’04 hopes to make a positive impact on the LGBTI community in Hong Kong with his new business, Wooven.
    Read More
Archive

Webb News

List of 4 news stories.

  • SendGrid CEO Sameer Dholakia ’91: How a Good Guy Finishes First!

    Self-pride in Silicon Valley is every day, ordinary, embarrassingly understated even. Egomania, some say, a character requirement for success. Really, only the true tyrant can be hailed visionary there. And yet, swimming against such mythical miscalculation is Webb alumnus Sameer Dholakia ’91, CEO of SendGrid. He and the billion-dollar start-up he leads are both kind of a big deal—and for all the right reasons.  
     
    In the June issue of 5280—Denver’s Mile High Magazine, writer Spencer Campbell profiles the man and the company he leads; SendGrid is headquartered in Denver, but also has offices in Menlo Park.
    Read More
  • The Webb Fund: Give by June 30

    From classroom technology to financial aid, The Webb Fund contributes to many aspects on campus. Use our secure online giving form at webb.org/giving to make your gift today. The 2017-18 Webb Fund campaign ends on June 30 at 11:59 pm. If you need assistance, please contact The Webb Fund Office at giving@webb.org or call (909) 482-5288.
    Read More
  • Webb 2018 Commencements in Pictures

    On Saturday, June 2, members of the Class of 2018 were welcomed into the hallowed ranks of Webb alumni. At 10:30 a.m. on Faculty Field, 50 Vivian Webb girls received their diplomas. Entrepreneur and educator Melissa Barnes Dholakia ’87 provided an engaging, memorable commencement address. Barnes Dholakia is a founder of MBD Partners which supports new and existing public K-12 schools in areas of school design, goal setting, monitoring and performance reporting. Her work focuses on increasing opportunities and outcomes for students, especially the educationally underserved.
     
    At 5:00 p.m. on the Alamo Lawn, World-Series ring-bearer Jeff Luhnow ’84 offered his career in Major League Baseball as a parable in perseverance and unbounded thinking to 49 Webb School of California boys. Luhnow is the general manager of the Houston’s Astros; he was previously the vice president of scouting and player development for MLB’s St. Louis Cardinals.
    Read More
  • The Webb Schools

    Webb and Hotchkiss were among four leading boarding schools recently recognized for encouraging and fostering independence. Study International based in Europe, an organization that provides independent news and counseling for international students, highlighted Webb in a feature on the virtues of boarding schools.
    Read More
Archive

Sports Blog

List of 4 news stories.

Archive
The Webb Schools Boarding Preparatory School California Private School Financial Aid Paleontology College Placement Top Academics Faculty Ph.D Community Fun