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

Administrators reveal details of Webb’s new school model

The Vivian Webb and Webb School crests rest side by side in the Vivian Webb Chapel. The crests represent each separate school and their respective foundations. “I feel like a lot of Webb has revolved around this with school model, and I feel like combining the schools would change a lot of traditions and it would take away a lot of history that we’ve had,” said Ale Fountain (‘24), a junior day student. Ale refers to Webb’s plan to eventually reconstruct the two schools and rebrand as one co-educational school. For upperclassmen, this change does not impact much, as they will finish their Webb experience under the two-school system. However, for current underclassmen, their entire Webb experience might shift.

On March 17th, 2022, Webb shocked the community with their decision to transition from the binary school system to a singular school system. This excited some students, confused others, but mostly left everyone with questions about the future.

Students hoped that a return to in-person school – in the fall of 2021 – would answer the questions that lingered after the announcement, but the information that was released was mostly about marketing instead of shaping the community to prepare for transition.

“We had a whole discussion about it during lunch,” said Jack Yuan (‘26), a freshman boarder. “We know that the classroom and everything would not be two schools, it would be one school altogether — the learning system and the activities. And I feel like it’s just like any other school, because before coming to Webb, I went to a co-ed school.”

Although some students are confused about certain specific changes that will occur, the overall bridging of communities excites many others.

“If they combine [graduation], honestly, I think that’s better than just bringing people together,” Jay Pang (‘25) said. “Because I feel like it might be kind of sad if it’s your final moments with your classmates, yet you’re separated from a lot of people in the other class.”

With excitement also comes some concerns about the longstanding traditions of the two-school model.

“I feel like that combining schools would change the Webb experience for a lot of kids,” Ale Fountain (‘24) said. “It would also make it difficult for new students to connect with past alumni, due to how they won’t have the same experiences to bond over. The split school model is an integral part to how Webb operates, and your first two years having separated classes and certain school specific traditions have a large impact on how you experience your time at Webb.”

At Webb, traditions are integral to both our community morale and overall experience. Many students fear that due to this seemingly drastic change, they will not experience traditions they have looked forward to for years.

“I think our Candlelight Ceremony is really important because you kind of get to build up to it,” Lauren Duffy (‘25) said. “If you see it since your freshmen year, you want to do it as a senior.”

“My school closed down in 8th grade so I didn’t have my 8th grade year, and I had seen those traditions since preschool. So I know not having those is really sad. I was like, ‘No, I don’t get to do all these things that I got to watch all of my peers get to do.’ For [sophomores] it’s going to be harder. For incoming freshmen, it’s not going to be as hard because they are not going to observe it as much.”

While the new school system seems to be in the distant future, the administration has already begun cultivating changes under the surface, starting with a new leadership structure and a new name.

“I think the[change] has already started,” said Rick Duque, WSC Dean of Students. “There’s the new leadership for the Dean of Students office, which Mrs. Lantz was just named — Dean of Students. And then in [the Dean of Students Office] will be the Dean of Campus Life and the Dean of Residential Life. So, we’ll make up the Dean of Students Office, and that will start next year.”

Students and the administration have the same goal: they want to preserve the core values of each tradition at Webb. Although the future is still subject to change, student opinions are valued in this transition as the administration understands the importance of individual voices.

“We plan to have a committee on traditions and ceremonies that’s going to include students,” said Dr. Theresa Smith, Assistant Head of Schools. “It’s going to be really important to include alumn

On March 27th 2023, Dr. Smith forwarded a letter from the Board that informed the community via email that “Webb Collegiate” will be the Webb’s name starting the 2024-25 school year. This announcement met with backlash from the student body, with people expressing their dissatisfaction through an email chain on STAS.

In terms of confirmed changes for the student body, the school has begun implementing shifts affecting rising juniors and seniors.

“The Honor Cabinet members and the advisors have been working since September to research other schools’ HC models and how they work,” said Sarah Lantz, VWS Dean of Students. “And we are currently in the process of proposing a structure of one HC for next year, so that by the time students are applying to be HC members in mid-February, we know how many students will be on it. It will be one body next year.”

As the future Dean of Students under the new administrative system, Dean Lantz explains that the Honor Cabinet, one of the only leadership groups that operate under school distinctions, will merge to become one group. This marks as the most significant change affecting rising seniors, as other leadership groups will continue under their current system.

“I think the dorm councils have been already functioning as one,” Dean Lantz said. “They do a lot together now, but not everything. So, for an upperclassman, there won’t be much change next year except for the HC. When the sophomores, the rising junior class, are seniors, they’re likely to see maybe some changes in advisory, maybe some change in the Chapel program — in how we do all of that. A lot of that is going to be determined next year.”

Anticipation and anxiety undoubtedly arises with so much uncertainty.

“Overall, I am kind of excited, but also I am a little bit concerned at the same time,” said Stella Wang (‘26), a freshman who, along with the rest of her class, studies in single-school core classes and VWS freshman seminar.

However, the deans have emphasized that the merge will not feel as drastic or jarring as it may seem.

“I think students will be surprised that the community ‘feel’, the feeling of going to Webb, and being a Webb student may not change as much as they feel it is going to,” Dean Lantz said. “Like I said, I was in a group of freshmen this afternoon at Health and Living and I asked the students if they chose Webb specifically because it was the two-school model, and they said, ‘no, I didn’t even realize I was going to have single gender classes.’ We do very much feel like a co-educational school and have these pieces that are single gender. How can we preserve the pieces that mean the most for students and allow for the most personal growth?”

Dean Lantz raises an interesting point: many students come into Webb expecting a co-ed school structure, only to be surprised by the single-gender bits and pieces.

“At first, I didn’t know Webb had a two-school model,” said Evan Chang (‘26), a . “It didn’t really bother me that much, I guess it’s like we have separate classes and all, but overall, if it’s not like, fully separate, like an all-boys school, then it doesn’t really affect me much.”

For many freshmen, the merge does not provoke feelings of concern, as they have not experienced or witnessed many of the hallmarks of the two-school model, such as Candlelight dinner and ceremony, senior trips, and graduation.

Moving forward, rather than viewing the one-school model as a cause for negative changes, Webb can see it as an opportunity to pioneer new traditions.

“I think that we want to continue to honor the traditions that we’ve had, and also it’s an opportunity for us to make some new ones,” Dean Lantz said. “I’ve heard for a long time that Vivian Webb students want to sign an Honor Pledge, that they want to be a part of that and have that same kind of ceremony.”

Many students are excited for this new change as they look towards the future of community programs as a place to foster stronger connections.

“I’m actually really excited,” said Kenny Clay (‘25). “I feel hopeful for it, because while I understand that there are some logistic challenges that come with the blending of the schools, at the same time I feel like there’s a lot of new opportunities for building new relationships that normally wouldn’t happen in our two school spaces. If certain things were different, then it would allow for the flourishing and building of a tighter knit community, and that’s what I am most excited about — the growing of a new community.”

This new system will preserve all of the pieces that make Webb special to students and administration understands that their voices are integral to this process.

“What we do know is that we don’t want to throw everything away,” Dean Lantz said. “We want to maintain the pieces of the program that make sense for Webb and for Webb students. There’s a lot of work in the next 12 to 18 months that really needs to get done on how we can best serve the Webb students in listening to them and what are the pieces of the program that they like as far as traditions and trips and ceremonies.”

However, such inclusion and transparency are easier said than done, since the student body holds undoubtably diverse views and perspectives.

“I feel like the administration talks to a lot of people who are confident and people who talk about their opinions, and a lot of times these are people who have more co-ed friend groups and who are more comfortable talking just in general,” Lauren Duffy (‘25) said. “So, I think that it is going to be harder for people who don’t feel as comfortable in a space that is co-ed to integrate things like advisory and things like chapel, where it’s just more personal.”

Currently, there is no confirmed answer of how advisory and chapel will operate under one school.

Moving towards this massive change, the entire community will be affected in a myriad of ways. This is when support will be needed the most from every facet of the community. We already see this support coming from student leaders, administration, and students who take the time to ask clarifying questions. Students are excited to have their voice heard in this process and even more excited to see the new opportunities that this new school system will bring.

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About the Contributors
Narineh Madikians
Narineh Madikians, Public Editor
Narineh Madikians (23) is coming back to Webb for her senior year as a completely new person. Along with her new position as the Webb Canyon Chronicle's new Public Editor, Narineh is also a head peer advisor and a member of the VWS varsity volleyball team. Even though her senior year is full of change, Narineh still loves humanities courses from past years such as Advanced Studies Creative Nonfiction. She encourages everyone at Webb to take this class as it has made a significant impact on her writing techniques. This year, she is focusing on the future while also trying to stay present at the moment, hoping to make as many lasting memories as she can before she leaves for college. After a long and busy week at school, Narineh uses her weekends to recharge. She loves to go out with her friends or stay at home and watch movies with her parents and three dogs: Jeckie, Dash, and Rex. At the end of the day, Narineh unwinds by listening to her favorite artists such as Mac Miller, Frank Ocean, and Childish Gambino. Narineh will use her new and old experiences throughout Webb, the WCC, and outside life, to make her senior year unforgettable.   Favorite Song: "Crimson and Clover" by Tommy James and The Shondells
Nancy Lin
Nancy Lin, Editor-In-Chief
Passionate, open-minded, and ambitious are three words that describe Nancy Lin (‘23), and with these characteristics, she is ready to lead The Webb Canyon Chronicle as the Editor-in-Chief.  Nancy is a very involved student at The Webb Schools, showcasing her strong leadership skills as vice student body president, a source of her strong leadership skills. Nancy was first born in Shanghai, China but then later moved to Vancouver, Canada where she spends most of her time away from Webb. Nancy spends her free time in many different ways: listening to a variety of music genres, practicing golf, playing the piano, baking, and rewatching for the billionth time, The Notebook. On the days she spends at home, Nancy makes sure to visit her family, spend time with friends, and most importantly, see her dog Yuanbao!  Although she likes her sweets, like chocolate, she also enjoys a nice Italian or Korean dinner. She stays up to date on school events and is very passionate about international news and global affairs. This year, Nancy is ambitious to hit the ground running as a new Head Editor, excited to publish stories about Webb and the world beyond.   Favorite song: "Runaway" by Kanye West

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