Faculty puts exceptional and unseen effort into Unbounded Days

The+Unbounded+Days+program+is+now+in+full+operation+and+teachers+and+faculty+are+making+final+and+necessary+preparations+for+this+coming+March.+Given+our+busy+schedules+as+students%2C+it+can+be+easy+for+us+to+overlook+the+massive+and+unseen+efforts+made+by+the+entire+school+to+make+the+Unbounded+Days+possible.+

George Cardenas

The Unbounded Days program is now in full operation and teachers and faculty are making final and necessary preparations for this coming March. Given our busy schedules as students, it can be easy for us to overlook the massive and unseen efforts made by the entire school to make the Unbounded Days possible.

You spend the nights stargazing beside a mellowing campfire, taking in a vast canvas of white pinpoints that dot the night sky. Morning comes, you wake and prepare for the day ahead, filled with wonderful sights to behold and a lot of canoeing. The paddling is far from easy, but you know the struggle will be worth it. Many students taking the “Canoeing the Colorado River” course will experience moments just like these, ones of strife, joy, and satisfying perseverance.

For those who are not familiar with the program, the Unbounded Days “draws upon The Webb Schools’ enduring purpose of inspiring students to boldly reach for a greater sense of who they are and what they can achieve.” Students will choose a three-to-five-day course led by two faculty members. These trips are focused on a specific event or theme, like the “Rockstars” course which explores geology in Death Valley.

This year, Webb students have the chance to canoe the Colorado River, rock-climb through Joshua Tree, snorkel off the coast of Catalina Island, hike the L.A. trails, or explore SoCal skateboarding culture, to name a handful of the many available courses. The amount of effort faculty put into their courses shows how highly these biennial opportunities are anticipated.

“The final goal [of Unbounded Days] is to engage in the way that we learn best, which is with curiosity, joy, and exploration,” said Dr. Susanna Linsley, Director of Experiential Learning.

There is something to be said about the massive effort it takes to coordinate twenty-three unique Unbounded Days courses, one that is truly all-encompassing and requires the effort of every faculty member on campus.

“This couldn’t work without the help of every faculty on campus,” Dr. Linsley said. “There is nothing that we do on this campus that is not through the unfailing energy and support of Dr. Theresa Smith. Janet Peddy, the Chief Financial Officer, makes sure that we are able to manage the funding, find extra funding, and also make sure everyone has access to these things. Armando and his dining hall take on the herculean task of having lunches for everyone and packing five-days-worth of meals.”

“All of the marketing material comes from the photos that Scott Nichols take and William Diepenbrock in communications helps put together the catalog,” Dr. Linsley said. “Facilities get all the rooms ready, and Maintenance helps get the vans. Last time we had to rent 26 vans on top of the ones we already had. Tim Coates and the Tech Office make sure everyone has the technology they need. Every office and department have their role.”

This exceptional effort often goes unnoticed, but it is what makes the Unbounded Days possible. Everything from the local getaways to interstate travel must be accounted for and adequately planned for by faculty on campus, and every Unbounded Days course sees help from every department at Webb.

Dr. Theresa Smith, Associate Head of Schools, discussed her perspective on this program and how it ties with the purpose of Unbounded Days today.

“When we put together that mission statement in 2011, we were really trying to capture this spirit of taking time to immerse yourself in something to realize an expanded way of thinking about a subject, topic, or place and to give in to the idea of learning and playing going together,” Dr. Smith said. “In these relaxed moments, we have these big ideas and expansive realizations.”

From the colossal meal-planning work done by Dining Hall staff to the efforts of Janet Peddy, to acquiring proper funding, the Unbounded Days effort is one that requires the cooperation of the entire school. This coming March, as you embark on your own journey, remember to keep in mind the exceptional effort made by the Webb faculty to make this program possible.