The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

Breaking News — Webb adopts “collegiate” starting in the 2024-2025 School Year

Jenny Tran (’24)
Just only few minutes after Dr. Smith’s email went up, a STAS discussion was initiated by a Clarence Deng (‘23)’s question of “What does Collegiate mean?” Student responses expressed both confusion and anger, wondering where the word “Collegiate” had appeared from. Some students even satirically closed their email to the chain with “Sincerely, name, Webb Collegiate class of 202#.”

For most Webb students, afternoon classes are usually marked with a mix of drowsiness and restlessness as they approach the end of the academic day. However, on Monday, March 27th, 2023, at 2:12 p.m., an impromptu outlook notification jolted the entire community awake with a surprise.  

Dr. Theresa Smith, Associate Head of Schools and Head Elect, sent an email to Student News titled “The Next 100: A New Model, A New Name,” forwarding the Board of Trustees’ decision and approval of our new school’s name beginning in the 2024-2025 school year — Webb Collegiate 

In the groundbreaking letter, the Board also elaborated on the reasons behind this name choice. The word “collegiate” demonstrates Webb’s rigorous academic program that stimulates a college-level learning experience. Yet despite its heavy affiliation with the word “college,” the name change will not bring about any structural academic changes. Rather, this new name acknowledges Girl’s Collegiate, a girls’ college preparatory school that became a benefactor of Webb when it closed in the 1970s, directly contributing to the Vivian Webb School’s establishment years later.  

However, many students’ immediate reaction to this news was surprise, confusion, and concern. During the latter half of many students’ C-block classes, over a hundred emails bombarded STAS in the span of minutes, many joking that the new initials, “WC,” is the abbreviation of “water closet,” or bashing the Board of Trustees and administration for making this decision. While freshmen cried out in protest, seniors humorously expressed their delight at graduating before the name change would take place. To convey the students’ dismay, a student even created an online petition minutes after the STAS blowup named “Webb Collegiate needs to be changed,” obtaining over 200 signatures within three hours.  

However, attempts were also made to quell the situation, bringing us back to the difficulties of discourse reminiscent of the “2021 STAS Bee Incident.” 

“I know all of us have thoughts about the recent name change, and STAS is a safe space for people to voice their opinion,” said Yoyo Meng (‘23), WSC student government president. “However, do please continue to keep STAS a safe space for everyone, stay civil, and refrain from targeting individuals and hateful comment.”  

To address the community’s opinions about Webb’s new name and give details behind the decision process, Dr. Smith followed up her previous email with an invitation to an informational session in Liu Cheung Theater at 6:30 p.m. on the same day.  

During the 38-minute meeting, Mr. Taylor Stockdale, Head of Schools, and Dr. Smith delivered a presentation about the name “Webb Collegiate” and further plans for rebranding Webb. The decision process consisted of surveying feedback and researching to form the criteria in choosing a suitable name — no radical departure, franchise, value differentiation, flexibility, establishment, and branding — to represent Webb’s values. Through meetings with selected members of the Board of Trustees and the consulting company Kilter, they had reached a consensus on the new name. 

Dr. Smith also went over some of Webb’s reasoning of using “collegiate” as the name.  

In the past, it has been a common name for boarding schools, and thus there is an established convention of using collegiate as part of high school name. When considering names like “The Webb School of California,” worries emerged surrounding the lack of representation of the VWS community. As a prestigious school, adopting the less common name of collegiate allows us to stand out among our competitors. Moreover, the meaning implied by the word reflects the rigorous nature of our academic program.  

Lastly, we are far from an ordinary high school. With the only nationally accredited museum on campus and extensive curriculum partnership with the Claremont Colleges, “collegiate” serves to expand the image of Webb. We want to “dream big,” perhaps one day expanding beyond just a school.  

While the process was presented clearly during the information session, there are still inquiries and doubts on whether the student leaders were surveyed, or was just added for credibility.   

“Student leadership [HCs’] input was considered quite a bit at the start when we discussed it at several meetings,” Ben Thien-Ngern (‘23) said. “But after that, they turned it into collegiate and student voices were left out completely. It came to us in surprise and a lot of students were complaining because student voices were not included in it at all.”   

The question-and-answer section after the meeting allowed us to gain insights into the heart of student objections. The following seeks to summarize some of the major concerns from the student body that were raised during the meeting.  

Firstly, collegiate is an antiquated noun used to refer to a school, an ironic contrast to Webb’s vision of moving forward in the next 100 years. Noun usage has almost completely disappeared since centuries ago, and now it is most used as an adjective.  

Secondly, we cannot ignore the abbreviation of our new school’s name — WC — a common name for water closet that correlates with the toilet emoji. Students worried that this association could harm our prestigious college prep school reputation and turn our students into “laughingstock among independent schools,” a valid concern raised by Webbies. The name “Collegiate” also sounds too much like the toothpaste “Colgate,” as students have already pointed out. Many question whether we can uphold our serious image with such a name.  

Thirdly, “Collegiate” could imply that we are already in college, and Webbies are afraid that it might exacerbate Webb’s existing prep school culture and toxic academic environment. Moreover, the confusing name makes it much easier for people to mistakenly think of Webb as a college instead of a high school, even though this is not desired.  

Most importantly, in making the final call, the Board failed to ask us what we truly wanted. Instead, they simply announced their reasoning behind the decision and expected us to embrace it. From student government, peer advisors, to dorm and day student prefects, no Webb students have shared yet that they were part of this “student leadership committee.” The only event in which they asked for student input was at the beginning of the year, where students wrote ideas on slips of paper. The administration also dismissed student proposals of adding a “school” or “academy” after collegiate to solve the WC initials dilemma, announcing that the decision had already been set in stone. 

However, it is also worthy to note that future branding would continue using just the word “Webb” and avoid the WC abbreviation. There are also school names that also use the “WC” abbreviation –– Western Christian, for example –– but the new branding model should not be bothered by the association.  

Whatever the name is and how we arrived at this point as a school remains in deep discussion and dispute, but the goal of this renaming is to keep the student experience unchanged and provide an experience where people will fondly remember their time here as just, “Webb.” 

“That [Webb]’s what we call our school in conversation with each other,” said Dr. Smith in the email addressed to the community. “And Webb will remain Webb.” 

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About the Contributors
Kaylynn Chang
Kaylynn Chang, Editor-In-Chief
An avid bookworm, journalist, and sushi lover, head day student prefect Kaylynn Chang (‘23) comes back to the Webb Canyon Chronicle for one last year as Editor- In- Chief! If you want someone to cook you a heartwarming meal, give you the best book recommendations, or help you with homework, Kaylynn is the right person for you. Equipped with a loud whistle, she manages to successfully get her voice heard through creative writing and independent journalism, as well as helping others achieve the same by leading affinity groups. She wants to continue using her talent and passion for justice for a career in law or politics after her Webb experience is over. When she’s not learning through everyone else’s life stories and memoirs, Kaylynn enjoys working out, cooking Korean food, and listening to her favorite songs by Cigarettes After Sex. From baking delicious snacks to giving you the most genuine advice, Kaylynn has the perfect recipe for looking after others and giving back to the community. As Editor-in- Chief, she hopes to make the WCC an accessible resource for all students and aspiring journalists to learn and share news about Webb.  Favorite Song: “Sunsetz" by Cigarettes after Sex 
Jenny Tran
Jenny Tran, Public Editor
Whether it is popping on a new vinyl or traveling across the world, Jenny Tran (‘24) likes to immerse herself in the moment and explore the culture around her. You can find her hanging out with friends in the South Hutch common room or listening to various music genres at any place and time. Her favorite artists include Suboi, Keshi, Tyler the Creator, and Blackpink. Whether across the Pacific Ocean in California or in her hometown of Hanoi, Vietnam, Jenny is probably watching the radiant moon listening to Super Rich Kids by Frank Ocean. At Webb, Jenny shines a light on women’s issues in different countries, Asian rights, and ESVI. As she moves into her third year on the Webb Canyon Chronicle, she hopes to continue advocating for her beliefs while exploring new mediums like poetry or photo galleries. As a Public Editor, Jenny also wants to bring more inventive and comedic ideas to the table. If you are ever in need of a good laugh, a music recommendation, or someone to go thrifting with, you should call Jenny Tran.  Favorite song: DO4LOVE by 52Hz & Willistic 
Emily Li
Emily Li, Chief of Media
Emily Li ('24) is not your usual iPad kid. You might see her using her tablet, but trust me: she isn't playing Roblox. She is a passionate artist who loves to create artwork on her iPad. Emily's favorite thing to draw is the people around her, focusing on experimenting with colors. She also enjoys dancing to popular K-pop stars IU and Mamamoo. Just like her top-notch dancing skills, she has a crazy tolerance for spicedo not be surprised when you see her empty bottle of sriracha. However, Emily's dynamic personality is not confined to her personal endeavors. As head peer advisor, she steps into a leadership role that suits her naturally empathetic and social nature. She finds joy in building bridges, fostering connections, and offering a sympathetic ear to those around her. One of Emily’s main goals this year is to give as much love as she can to the world. At the Webb canyon chronicle is to improve the diversity of articles and further refine the website after designing it. In a world where each stroke of her digital pen, every dance step, and all her interactions paint a picture of her vibrant self, Emily Li stands not only as a multitalented artist, leader, athlete and beacon of positivity, illuminating everything she touches with her unique and colorful perspective. 
Jenny Wang
Jenny Wang, Editor-in-Chief
Returning after a transformative summer at Northwestern University, Jenny Wang ('24) is rejoining the Webb Canyon Chronicle as Co-Editor-in-Chief, bursting with fresh journalism skills. Jenny is primarily humble when talking about her talents and interests, she occasionally forgets to flex that she is also a pianist, flutist, comedy enthusiast, and badminton pro. As a prominent figure at Webb, Jenny serves on the VWS honor cabinet, captain of the debate team, and chapel council. Finding comfort in shows like Grey's Anatomy and Gilmore Girls, she balances the demands of her busy life. Jenny's academic pursuits lean towards humanitarian issues; over the summer, she invested extra time into political risk research, specifically analyzing aspects of Israeli lifestyle. Beyond her academic commitments, Jenny's mission this year is to infuse WCC articles with potent and well-balanced viewpoints. Her intellect, vibrant personality, and unwavering laughter contribute to an environment full of energy and positivity. There is no doubt, Jenny Wang embodies a dynamic blend of talents, passions, and determination that enriches both the Webb community and the wider world. Through her versatile contributions and infectious laughter, Jenny's presence leaves an indelible mark, reminding us all of the power of embracing one's passions and sharing them with the world.  Favorite Song: "Welcome to Wonderland" by Anson Seabra

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