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Taylor Stockdale
Several weeks ago in Sunday Chapel, one of our highly talented and devoted faculty members gave an address to the students that I thought was particularly moving.

When in chapel, you may remember that the handcrafted wooden pews tend to creak at the slightest movement, and so it is common to hear an occasional light creaking sound throughout a service. When the pews don’t creak at all, I know that the speaker really has the full attention of the audience and what he or she is saying is reaching all of us in a deep and meaningful way.

On this night, as I looked out on the students from the altar, I noticed a particular attention to our speaker, as his message was both relatable and insightful. The gist of it was that we as students and adults tend to learn much more from defeat and failure than we do from success. He was making the point from an athletic standpoint, using the recent Sochi Olympics as his reference point (he also happens to be an Olympic-level speed skater and cyclist), but it soon became clear that his message related to all facets of life.

As people, young and old, we succeed and we fail. Dealing with success is straightforward enough, but how we deal with failure and adversity can often define us. Some of us emerge stronger and more resolved from it, and others recoil, see themselves as victims and become defeated. Of course, it got me to thinking about Webb and our mission, and how important it is to foster not only the academic skills and habits of mind that will generate success in life’s pursuits, but also the inner strength and fortitude to pick oneself up from defeat, dust off, and move on as a better, wiser, more determined person.

You will find bundled with this issue of WEBB magazine The Centennial Strategic Plan 1922-2022, a plan anchored in our mission of honor and moral courage and framed by our five distinctive qualities. In it you will note that The Webb Schools—Webb School of California, Vivian Webb School and the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology—are on a journey in time. Soon we will be celebrating our first century. This approaching milestone encourages us to look backward. Reminiscing has its own value, but knowing our history also offers perspective needed for moving forward. In creating an elaborate strategic plan for leading Webb’s three institutions into its second century, we recognize our past and present strengths. We also imagine Webb reaching new heights.

While most plans of this nature are politely glanced at and placed on a shelf, only to be reviewed every several years, this plan deserves far more respect. For it contains goals and aspirations that few schools would have the courage to establish. It seeks, on one hand, to honor fully our founders’ vision of a place that defies modern day trends and relativistic culture, and encourages an education deep in developing inner fortitude and moral courage. And on the other hand, it is truly forward looking, harnessing all that is changing in education and in the world—establishing a dynamic experience for our students, which is unparalleled at the high school level in depth and in impact.

Recently, I was reminded by a Webb student that the two Chinese symbols for “crisis” mean “danger” and “opportunity.” That twofold meaning needs to become Webb’s template for moving forward at a time when many disastrous situations are converging. Life in the 21st century will have multiple challenges, many of which are now beyond our imaginations. Such times will require exceptional leaders, able to be flexible while remaining true to unyielding principles of right behavior.

As my favorite philosopher once said, a good education prepares you for success, but a great education prepares you for failure. At Webb, since our founding, we have been all about striving for success and excellence. And at the same time, we have known that inner fortitude, strength, honor and having the moral courage to do the right thing, even when the right thing was the toughest path to take, are the attributes that count most.
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Alumni News

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  • 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. 
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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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.
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  • 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. 
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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Sports Blog

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