Webb's Pew Research Center

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

List of 4 news stories.

  • L to R: Rachael Schiffris ’11, Katherine Kilmer ’10, Ed Ratinoff ’83, Sarah Sun ’10, Ariel Fan ’10

    Networking Essentials with Webb Alumni

    Michael Simonelli
    On January 12, 2019 five accomplished alumni returned to campus for our first ever Networking Essentials with Webb Alumni session. The panel of speakers represented several industries including law, real estate, green energy and marketing. Eager students spent their Saturday afternoon with our incredible alumni learning about the vital skills needed to effectively network and succeed in the increasingly complex job market. Each panelist spoke about a different aspect of networking and gave a brief background of their journey after Webb.
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  • Young alumni panel at the Affiliates meeting

    Young Alumni Return to Webb

    During the first week back from winter break, students and parents had a chance to hear from young alumni about their experiences at college including managing academics and being away from home, maintaining a healthy mind and body, as well as a panel on college athletics.
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  • Marcelo Leonardi '94 Receives Distinguished Coaching Award

    USA Water Polo has announced Marcelo Leonardi '94 as the Midwest Zone recipient of the Sandy Nitta Distinguished Coaching Award. Leonardi is the Head Coach of the women's water polo team at the University of Michigan.
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  • Holiday Events in Los Angeles & San Francisco

    We enjoyed seeing alumni, parents and friends at the holiday events in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
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Webb News

List of 4 news stories.

  • Fall/Winter 2019

    “The process of finding the right college is more often than not riddled with anxiety for both students and their families. It is paradoxically both increasingly complex and more streamlined than ever. Technology allows students to simply add multiple colleges to the Common Application with a few clicks. And yet the convenience doesn’t reflect the intricate web of criteria that factor into applying to one college over another.”
    So opens the feature to our recent issue of WEBB Magazine. Reported and written by Christopher Michno, the piece delves into the myths and truths intertwined in the college admission process. He also offers up a series of personal success stories from recent Webb alumni now thriving at Stanford, Columbia, UC Berkeley and beyond. Part two follows young alumni who chose colleges related to their avocations—like art, business, engineering and others. The feature photography is done by Elisa Ferrari and focuses on the beautiful and varied architecture of the Claremont Colleges.
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  • Winter Dance Performance

    The Winter Dance Show 2019 UN / covered - is an exploration in what it means to cover and uncover - in music, dance, costuming, and text. Featuring choreography by dance coach and Webb faculty member Michael Szanyi and senior dance students, the show highlights self-expression through movement. How do we make something known? How do we bring that to light? By uncovering dance, the show asks audience members to explore how the study of movement informs their human experience.
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  • The Art & Science of Decision Making

    It is no accident, I believe, that at this very moment there is a riveting tale in The New Yorker  about the art and science of decision making. Or, at least, not an accident that I found it and read it. Here at Webb, at this time of year, there is no shortage of students and families making some of the most important decisions (they believe) of their lives--from admission to and enrollment at Webb, to college admission for our seniors. Joshua Rothman rights beautifully about it here, bringing in examples from Darwin, Tolstoy, the modern parent and more. Read it in The New Yorker.
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  • Dr. Farke & Alf Museum in The Washington Post

    Augustyn Family Curator and Director of Research & Collections Andrew Farke is quoted today in The Washington Post on the impact of the federal government shutdown on fieldwork planning for paleontologists. Beyond the impact on visitor centers at such places as Dinosaur National Monument and the Petrified Forest National Park, research and fieldwork on federal lands has been dramatically affected, too. Read more in The Washington Post.
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Sports Blog

List of 4 news stories.

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