Spending time with classmates and other Webb alumni, faculty and staff filled the recent Alumni Reunion Weekend for those who traveled from near and as far away as 2,500 miles. There were classes in session to attend, an Alumni Hangout at Atterholt Grove, All-Alumni Social, Brunch and Alumni Awards Ceremony and class parties. Also, part of the celebration were campus tours led by students; clay target shooting; a class with Michael Stem, pottery teacher; and archives open to peruse with Susan Howell, archivist; and Hannah Little, library director.
Saturday featured the brunch and awards ceremony with the welcome by 2023 Reunion Chair Jami Averwater ’13, and Alumni Board President Libby Willis ’80 presented the Alumni Board Report. Head of School Ken Cheeseman also gave a State of the School Address.
Highlights of the ceremony was the induction Brian Singer ’78 into the Distinguished Alumni Society. He was introduced by Marion Marks, ’66, a former teacher of Singer’s. Also, the John B. Hardin Service Award was presented to Claudia Hazelwood. She was introduced by Trustee Sandi Jobe Puet '95. To watch the video with Head of School Ken Cheeseman’s state of the school, Alumni Board President Libby Willis’ report, awards presentations with remarks from Brian Singer and Claudia Hazelwood and reunion awards presented by Reunion Chair Jami Averwater, click here.
The members of the Class of 1973, celebrating their 50th Anniversary, were recognized and presented with Golden Guard pins. Other awards included the Alumnus/a who traveled the farthest, presented to Ransom Jones ’88, who traveled 2,500 miles from Alaska; and the Class Attendance Award, presented to the Class of 1973. Each class agent was also recognized and presented a gift for his or her “hard work and dedication” to classmates.
In welcoming those attending and congratulating Singer and Hazelwood for the honors, Cheeseman told the alumni, “Greetings to all of you! To you, our alumni, Welcome Back to your beautiful and much beloved Webb campus! On behalf of our current students and families and our faculty and staff, I thank you for your support and encouragement for the work we do. We cannot be our best and boldly live out our mission and vision without you.
"We opened our school year with 415 students from 11 states and 20 countries across 5 continents. We also have the most diverse faculty in the history of The Webb School. The beauty of so many different cultures and ethnicities coalescing around our mission makes our Webb community strong and unique. We are so privileged and grateful to live, study, and work in such an extraordinary community.”
Cheeseman recounted numerous highlights of the fall semester and added, “Not only have our faculty, staff, and students immersed themselves in a plethora of academic, arts, and athletic programs, but we completed our every five-year Southern Association of Independent Schools reaccreditation process, culminating in a team of five men and women spending three days on campus. The team assessed our compliance with each of the rigorous standards that SAIS upholds, and then assessed our new strategic plan for its consistency with our mission and best practices in independent education. At the conclusion of their visit, they unanimously recommended Webb for reaccreditation. … I received the official word from the SAIS Board of Trustees that they enthusiastically accepted the visiting team’s recommendation after thoroughly reading the team’s report.”
The visiting team summary included the following:
“Summary: The visiting team found in The Webb School a very good school held in high esteem by every stakeholder group. There is a clear sense of pride in The Webb School. During our time on campus, five areas consistently rose to the forefront in terms of the highly valued strengths:
A spirit of growth permeates the community.
A spirit of collaboration among faculty, administration, and staff is driving this “transformative moment” in teaching and learning.
The importance of diversity - Alumni, students, parents, administration, board, and faculty place great value in the school's rich diversity.
Transformative experience – students, alumni, and parents spoke with great passion about the transformative impact of The Webb School on its students.
Emerging voices – school leaders and faculty place genuine value in student and faculty/staff voices.
The school is to be commended for embracing both the strategic planning and SAIS accreditation process. The School Report is comprehensive and transparent and will provide a clear road map for school improvement over the next five or more years. We made every attempt to be thoughtful with our recommendations, and while we acknowledge that the strategic plan is ambitious, we know the school will make every attempt to fulfill the vision of the plan.”
Cheeseman noted that "as part of the strategic plan ratified by the Board of Trustees, we developed a vision statement to augment the mission and light our path for the future. That vision is for Webb to develop future global leaders who pursue excellence through academics, arts, and athletics, with character above all else. While all of this statement is important to our work, the final prepositional phrase identifies the purpose behind all we do: Character above all else. A significant tool in building Webb character is our honor code. Just like when you alumni were students here, we began the year by re-teaching both what and why of our timeless honor code and having every student sign the honor and premise books in front of their peers.
“As I close, I want to thank you for coming back; you are always welcome. As we continue to help Webb thrive and flourish, we need your help to support and encourage the work of the faculty and our current students. So, when a member of our Alumni & Development team calls, please say 'yes'. Enjoy the day, fellowshipping and remembering the foundation you received here at Webb.”