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Class of 2020 celebrates Webb's 150th graduation with in-person ceremony
Class of 2020 celebrates Webb's 150th graduation with in-person ceremony
rmitchell@webbschool.com

Ceremony video - https://www.facebook.com/TheWebbSchool

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The Webb School's 50 seniors graduated during the 150th commencement ceremony on July 11, capping an unprecedented end to the 2019-2020 school year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Family and friends joined faculty and staff in following social distancing and other safety protocols to honor the class. The ceremony was livestreamed.

Among those leading and participating in the combined baccalaureate and commencement ceremony were Phil Coop '66, trustee emeritus and former chair of the Board of Trustees; Ray Broadhead, outgoing head of school; L.R. Smith, faculty member and chapel director; the Rev. Nolan Brunson, Bell Buckle United Methodist Church pastor, baccalaureate speaker; Anna Allison '20, Honor Council president; Janet Linton, pianist and school choir director; Susan Mullen, violinist and school string ensemble conductor; and Nicole Taucare, dean of academics and arts. Also attending the ceremony were George Huddleston Jr., trustee; and Webb Follin III, Alumni Board chair; and Ken Cheeseman, Webb's new head of school. Student Body President Kojo Kufuor '20 of Accra, Ghana, gave the student address during the ceremony.

Broadhead welcomed guests and congratulated the graduates saying, "With great pleasure and honor, we welcome each person gathered today at the 150th Commencement Exercise of The Webb School for the Class of 2020. The faculty and trustees join me in expressing appreciation for the presence of parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles, and friends of this talented senior class." He added, "It is wonderful to see many members of the Class of 2020 here today, and I hope the rest of the class is joining us through livestream."

Broadhead expressed appreciation to the many faculty and staff members and others who helped make the day possible and the WSPA members "who have beautifully decorated the Barton Athletic Center for this special occasion." He added. "Last, enormous special thanks to Chadd Bridwell and Jamie Newberg (director and assistant director of college counseling), who have been instrumental in organizing this day with the variety of safety measures to keep us all as safe as possible."

Parents of Webb 2020 graduates were recognized. "We are very grateful for your support throughout the years, and your trust in us.  And I am sure that your son or daughter is thankful for the opportunity that you have given to them," he said.

Broadhead noted that the class of 2020 had the most unique finish to a school year in the history of the school. Your losses have been great, and I am so pleased that we are able to gather here today to celebrate you. When you gather as a class at future reunion years, you will all remember how you spent your last two months at Webb – distantly. 

"We are very proud of you for all of your accomplishments. You have worked very hard to reach your academic goals, and you have been leaders on the playing fields, the courts, the courtroom (as regional champions in Mock Trial) and on the stage. Your academic accomplishments include two National Merit Scholars, Tiger Wang and Addie Stanley, many winners of national academic awards, and many very strong performances on the national Advanced Placement Exams."

Broadhead continued, "Your class is filled with talented musicians, actors, artists, and singers. The play and concerts this shortened year have been wonderful and enjoyable. In athletics, many athletes have been named to All-District and All-Region teams while working with teammates to produce competitive sports teams, including the varsity boys' basketball team that made it to the state quarterfinals. Sadly, our spring sports were just beginning ... when their seasons were interrupted. We had also planned a special spring concert and play to celebrate Webb 150. They will both take place in the upcoming year.

"The faculty and I congratulate the members of the class of 2020 for all of their accomplishments and for having achieved this important milestone in their lives."

Speaking about faculty members, Broadhead said that they have an extraordinary dedication to students. He added, "To the class of 2020 – if you have not thanked them already, I do hope that you will not let today go by without personally thanking those teachers and administrators who have made a difference in your life during your time at Webb."

The ceremony was also a time to honor faculty members who will celebrate service anniversaries in August at the annual recognition dinner. Included were: five years: Joe Griggs '05, Andrew McRady '86, Buck Smith, Tabetha Sullens '94, Jack Taylor and Andrew Stimpson '99; 10 years: Jon Bloom and Sarah Swafford; 15 years: Julie Harris '95 and Melissa James; 20 years: Jacquelyn Boyanton, James Garcia and Janet Linton.

English teacher Buck Smith received the David Newton McQuiddy Award that honors a teacher who has integrity, is loyal to Webb and its ideals, is dedicated to the profession, and who encourages sound character development and academic excellence. The recipient of the award is selected by a vote of the student body. Broadhead said that this year's recipient, "one of the most positive people that I have ever met. He delights in the opportunity to work with Webb students every day. He is committed to his craft, and spends countless hours grading papers and preparing for each day. As lead advisor of the 10th grade, he has worked hard to build class unity each year. His development of the 10th grade trip to Chattanooga is one of the highlights. He has also spearheaded the development of a world class skeet program. His 'skeet feet' have won numerous national awards.  He is one of the most respected members of the faculty. His integrity is rock solid, and he personifies the mission of the school. Most important, he does it all because he is passionate about the development of young people."

Also presented, the Head of School's Award is funded by the J Murray Hill '75 Endowment. This award is intended to be given by the Head of School to fund any appropriate annual expense. For this school year, it was designated to cover the cost of funding a few students who joined the LIFT program in the middle of this year. We are most grateful for Mr. Hill's generous gift.

A complete listing of recognitions and awards presented to students during the commencement ceremony included the following.

Anna Allison was awarded the Community Service Award in honor of her exceptional service to the community.

Haojing "Amy" Chen received the Joseph Conrad Book Prize, that is decided by the junior and senior English teachers. This award is presented to the international student who demonstrates the greatest proficiency in English through his or her performance in English classes.

Kyle Clonce received The Albert Duling Incentive Award presented to that student, regardless of age or grade level, who has demonstrated his or her ability to overcome adversity during the school year just concluded; and this student has indicated a growing awareness of and commitment to Webb School's ideals and standards. 

Sydney Cohen earned the book award for her excellence and achievement from the LIFT Department. She also received the John Freeman Athletic Award that is decided by the Athletic Department and is given annually to the "upper school student who best models the joy of sport and competition, a high level of effort and achievement, a keen sense of integrity and sportsmanship -- who "exemplifies playing the game with honest zest and a ready smile."

Jael Davis was presented the book award for excellence and achievements in Theatre Production Performance for Dynamic Duo, stage.

Olivia Greer was awarded the Community Service Award in honor of her exceptional service to the community.

Dalton Gregory received the book awards for his excellence and achievement in Mock Trial, American Government and Politics, and Advanced Art. Gregory received the Community Service Award in honor of his exceptional service to the community.

Dacey Goodwin was presented the book award for her excellence and achievement for Outstanding Tech Stage Management. She also received The Joseph Peters Meersman Jr. Award, decided by the Theatre Department. She was presented the Community Service Award in honor of her exceptional service to the community.

Ella Harris received the book awards for her excellence and achievement in Creative Writing, French AP, Theatre I, Advanced Piano, Introduction to Statistics, and Math Modeling and the Community Service Award in honor of her exceptional service to the community.

Keon Johnson was presented the book award for his excellence and achievement in Pottery. He also received the John Freeman Athletic Award that is decided by the Athletic Department and is given annually to the "upper school student who best models the joy of sport and competition, a high level of effort and achievement, a keen sense of integrity and sportsmanship -- who "exemplifies playing the game with honest zest and a ready smile." 

Noah Jolley received the book award for excellence and achievement in Wilderness Instruction and Leadership Development. (WILD).

Michael Jones received the book award for his excellence and achievements with Music Design and Composition for Theatre and Theatre Production Performance for Dynamic Duo, stage.

Kojo Kufuor was awarded the book award for his excellence and achievement in Theatre Production Performance for Dynamic Duo, stage.

Wesley Ledbetter received the book award for his excellence and achievement in Personal Finance. He also received the Dale Hyatt Memorial Award that is decided by the Athletic Department and is presented to two upper school athletes who demonstrate honor, pride, and a genuine love of athletics. This student exhibits all of the characteristics of good sportsmanship. The athlete is selfless and generous in helping other Webb athletes to excel. This athlete shows respect for players, coaches, and officials, and maintains a good sense of humor.

Abbi Lowry received the book award for her excellence and achievement in Latin IV Honors and Anatomy and Physiology.

Mackenzie McKillip received the book award for her excellence and achievement in French AP.

Kat Pugh was presented the book award for her excellence and achievement in Latin III.

Adelia Stanley received the book awards for her excellence and achievement in Strings Orchestra and Theatre Production Performance for Dynamic Duo, stage. She also received The Marjorie Iley Manley Award that goes to a student that best combines an appreciation of music and foreign language.

Yuting "Carol" Su was presented the book award for her excellence and achievement in Creative Writing.

Andrew Turner received the Outstanding Boarder Award that is decided by the residential faculty and given to the resident student/students who best exemplifies the qualities, which contributes to boarding school life.

Chloe Tyner received the Senior Achievement Scholar-Athlete Award. This award is voted on by the varsity coaches to recognize one female student and one male student who have excelled both academically and athletically. The requirements are as follows: Play two varsity sports senior year, play at least four varsity sports in their Webb career, and an overall GPA of at least a 2.5 at the end of the first semester of their senior year. She was also awarded the Community Service Award in honor of her exceptional service to the community.

Donovan Vincent received the book award for his excellence and achievement in Contemporary Essay and Stories

Lily Walker received the book award for his excellence and achievement in AP Environmental Science.

Tiger Wang received the book awards for his excellence and achievement in English IV AP, Spanish AP, European History AP, Democracy, Calculus BC AP, and Physics C AP. He also received The Schornstein Award, The Henry Harrell Mathematics Memorial Award, The Shevlin Brooks Bigger Science Award, The Webb Follin Award, The John Hardin Highest Scholarship Award, and The Anna Landis Hightower Award.

○      The Schornstein Award – the family of Richard Schornstein Jr. presents a prize to that student or students, regardless of classification, whom the faculty judges to be the hardest worker in school.

○      The Henry Harrell Mathematics Memorial Award is decided by the Math Department which honors the memory of a graduate and friend of The Webb School. The award was established by Mrs. Henry Harrell in memory of her husband. The award is given to the graduating senior who has demonstrated excellence in all of the mathematics courses he/she has undertaken at The Webb School.

○      The Shevlin Brooks Bigger Science Award, decided by the Science Department, is given by family, friends, and classmates to honor and perpetuate the memory of Shev Bigger '79. The award is presented to recognize outstanding achievement in the study of science.

○      The Webb Follin Award is in memory of Gerald Webb Follin, and is given to the senior with the highest cumulative English grade average. A student must be at Webb a minimum of at least three years to be eligible.

○      The John Hardin High Scholarship Award -- The Webb School makes an award of 100 new dollar bills to the graduate who achieves the highest average in his/her senior year.

○      The Anna Landis Hightower Award is presented annually to that member of the graduating class who has maintained the highest academic average in his/her four years at The Webb School.

Gianna Wagnon received the Dale Hyatt Memorial Award that is decided by the Athletic Department and is presented to two upper school athletes who demonstrate honor, pride, and a genuine love of athletics. This student exhibits all of the characteristics of good sportsmanship. The athlete is selfless and generous in helping other Webb athletes to excel. This athlete shows respect for players, coaches, and officials, and maintains a good sense of humor.

Mian "Steven" Wu received the book award for his excellence and achievement in Multi-Variable Calculus.

Jingchao "Alan" Yang was presented the book award for his excellence and achievement in Statistics AP.

Xi "Justin" Zhu was presented the book awards for his excellence and achievement in Introduction to Folklore, French III, and AP Art and Design. He also received The Senior Achievement Scholar-Athlete Award. This award is voted on by the varsity coaches to recognize one female student and one male student who have excelled both academically and athletically. The requirements are as follows: Play two varsity sports senior year, play at least four varsity sports in their Webb career, and an overall GPA of at least a 2.5 at the end of the first semester of their senior year.

Capping the awards was the announcement that Tiger Wang received the John Lewis Morgan Award that was established to perpetuate the years of meritorious service to The Webb School.  This award is made annually to the student who has maintained a high standard of excellence in his or her academic work and demonstrated the highest qualities of good citizenship in the service of the school. The award celebrates the life of John Morgan, who served on The Webb School faculty for 43 years and also served as head of school from 1959 until 1963. This award recipient is selected by vote of the faculty, and it represents the highest award presented to a member of the senior class.  

"This student is the most remarkable student I have seen at Webb in my 10 years here," said Broadhead. "His passion for learning, his humble manner, and his commitment to making the world a better place is laudatory for one his age. He is so wise beyond his years. The faculty still talk about his junior project last year, where he explained how he created a better App for RenWeb (Student Information System). His teachers all remark about how unique he is in his quest for knowledge. You just witnessed how many book awards and department awards he received. He is truly an amazing young man, and he will bring his talents next year to Yale University."

Old Guard and Ancient Guard

As is the custom at graduation, two groups at Webb are recognized. The Old Guard is composed of students who have attended Webb for four or five years. The list includes the following:

Kyle Clonce

Haojing Chen

Sydney Cohen

Jael Davis

Shemar Fray

Dacey Goodwin

Lousia Greenberg

Dalton Gregory

Ella Harris

Keon Johnson

Noah Jolley

Michael Jones

Zachary Jones

Abigail Lowry

Mackenzie McKillip

Vraj Patel

Sara Smith

Adelia Stanley

Nathan Thompson

Chloe Tyner

Tiger Wang

Alan Yang

Justin Zhu

Members of the Ancient Guard are students who began their careers at Webb in the 6th or 7th grade.

Ancient Guard Since 7th Grade

Bailey Chance

Olivia Greer

Wesley Ledbetter

Young Seo Lee

Lily Walker

Ancient Guard Since 6th Grade

Anna Allison

Charlee Davis

Isabella Insell

Anna Catherine Pugh

Donovan Vincent 

Summa Cum Laude graduates -  students whose GPA for all years in high school was 4.3 or higher – included Amy Chen, Louisa Greenberg, Dalton Gregory, Ella Harris, Firus Khamidov, Abigail Lowry, Mackenzie McKillip, Catherine Pugh, Adelia Stanley, Carol Su, Andrew Turner, Chloe Tyner, Tiger Wang, Steven Wu, Alan Yang and Justin Zhu.

Magna Cum Laude graduates – students whose GPA for all years in high school was between 4.0 and 4.29 – included Anna Allison, Max Kwarteng, Wesley Ledbetter, Hongrui Peng and Rogen Xu.

Cum Laude graduates – students whose overall average for his/her years at Webb is 3.7-3.99 – included Sydney Cohen, Charlee Davis, Jael Davis, Dacey Goodwin, Isabella Insell, Young Seo Lee, Vraj Patel, Georgianna Wagnon and Lily Walker.     

The Class of 2020 includes: Anna Allison, Arianna Boyle, Bailey Chance, Amy Chen, Kyle Clonce, Sydney Cohen, Charlee Davis, Jael Davis, Shemar Fray, Hanna Gao, Alex Garrett, Dacey Goodwin, Louisa Greenberg, Olivia Greer, Dalton Gregory, Ella Harris, Amos Howard, Isabella Insell, Keon Johnson, Noah Jolley, Michael Jones, Zachary Jones, Firuz Khamidov, Kojo Kufuor, Max Kwarteng, Wesley Ledbetter, Young Seo Lee, Abigail Lowry, Adam McAbee, Mackenzie McKillip, Mary Okon, Vraj Patel, Hongrui Peng, Javonte Platt, Azaria Porter, Catherine Pugh, Sara Smith, Adelia Stanley, Carol Su, Nathan Thompson, Andrew Turner, Chloe Tyner, Donovan Vincent, Georgianna Wagnon, Lily Walker, Tiger Wang, Steven Wu, Rogen Xu, Alan Yang and Justin Zhu.