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

September spotlight: uniquely talented Webbies in the 2023-24 school year

This+series+spotlights+five+uniquely+talented+Webbies+from+different+schools+and+grade+levels.+
This series spotlights five uniquely talented Webbies from different schools and grade levels.

Before October break has even begun, Webbies are already immersing themselves in Webb’s creative spaces. From the music rooms to the art studio, Webbies are taking this year to explore some of their unique and quirky skills, hoping to showcase their hard work to the rest of the community. We are highlighting five students through brief profiles of their artistic occupations – keep an eye out for their talent around campus! 

 

Oliver Yuan (‘25) – Beatboxing

Meet Oliver Yuan (‘25), a maestro of sound, who effortlessly recreates melodies, sounds, and mesmerizing beats with his voice, a skill widely known as beatboxing. As a self-taught virtuoso, he has impressed many with this rare talent on multiple occasions, including Webb’s own open mic event. During the pandemic, Oliver dedicated his time surfing through YouTube tutorials to hone his craft. His passion grew when he met Jordon Sun (23), a former Webb senior whose electrifying beatboxing performance left Oliver awestruck at one of Webb’s open mic events. Oliver believes that beatboxing serves as a firm foundation for his personal growth, fostering greater extroversion and enhancing social skills. As the former leader of his middle school beatboxing club, Oliver aspires to organize Webb’s own beatboxing club to promote these ideals, with already garnering interest from prospective members. Amongst Webb’s constellation of talents, Oliver’s beatboxing prowess stands out as like a soloist on a stage. So, when you attend the next Webb open mic event, be sure to keep an eye out for Oliver, gracing the stage with his captivating beats! 

 

Bella Schnurer (‘27) – Chess 

Bella Schnurer’s (‘27) journey with chess is an inspiring story of rediscovery. She entered the world of chess but soon found herself too busy with school to keep playing. It was only after a friend challenged Bella in a chess match that her interest was rekindled. Despite a later start in a chess academy, she rapidly ascended through its ranks, overtaking many players with years of experience. Bella’s exceptional skill has even allowed her to defeat players rated significantly higher than her. As a female player in a male-dominated field, Bella has faced occasional underestimation from her male counterparts; however, she has never failed to prove them wrong. One of Bella’s favorite memories is defeating a highly ranked opponent, who was overconfident due to Bella’s low rating at that time. This left him speechless by the end of the match at a SuperStates Championship in Valencia, California. While she enjoys the adrenaline that comes with securing a win during hard matches, her favorite moments are the shared glances and laughs with friends during tournaments. For Bella, it is not just about winningchess is a reflection of her life’s broader strategies and decisions. 


Cynthia Lou (‘27) – Irish whistle, ocarina, kalimba 

The distinct sound of the Irish tin whistle in the Titanic soundtrack immediately entranced Cynthia Lou (’27). While most people would simply admire the composition of such unique and captivating music, Cynthia takes it a step further and teaches herself how to play uncommon instruments, resonating with the unique timbres. As a long-time alto and soprano saxophone player, she uses her musical expertise to pick apart and master not only the Irish whistle, but essentially any instrument that catches her attention. She utilizes similar finger techniques (for wind instruments) and standard musical notation to adapt her skills and knowledge to new instruments. Cynthia loves the expressive freedom her “casual instruments” allow, and the fact that she can use them to manifest any creative idea she has into a tune. Ultimately, Cynthia views music not as a stand-alone art form, but rather as something integral to the culture of a community. Recently, she was inspired to take up the kalimba, a miniature finger keyboard, after she traveled to an ancient Chinese town in which locals were selling kalimbas among other traditional keepsakes. One of Cynthias favorite culturally significant instruments is the ocarina, a traditional Central American wind instrument that she plays on a regular basis outside of her dorm. Cynthia passionately investigates the intersection of music, history, and culture as she experiments with playing both familiar and original pieces on an impressive range of instruments during her weekends at Webb. 

 

Bella Choi (‘24) – digital art/3D modeling  

While YouTube animation videos first sparked Bella Choi’s (‘24) interests in digital art, the subsequent projects she undertook prove that she is serious about this passion. Bella continuously emphasizes the importance of learning the fundamentals of digital modeling. The goal of creating original stories also pushed her to keep improving her skills. Over the summer, Bella attended the Gnomon Program, an intense four-day training camp in Hollywood that introduces high school students to the basics of 3D animation. Animation requires mathematical calculations, persistent illustrations, and flowing creativity with character motions. It’s all about anticipating the characters’ movements and understanding why we act the way we do –– unearthing deeper emotional motives. 

“It’s hard work,” Bella said.  

Similarly, Bella cares deeply about people with neuro divergences –– a traditionally underrepresented group –– while illustrating 3D models. She cautions against using the word “disability,” and instead “differences,” because people who see things in scattered ways are shown to organize shapes in more unique ways. Just like a fever dream, people with neuro divergences are able to create meaning out of nothing. On a different note, Bella gravitates toward horror concepts, not jump scares, but images that create unsettling moods. As a student in Honors New Media and Communications, she is currently working on an animation film that portrays a creature pained with grief, expanding the boundaries of horror as a category.  

 

Armen Xue (‘25) – music composition 

Armen Xue (‘25) is a magician of sound, who brings forth an often underappreciated and misunderstood genre to Webb: dubstep. The genre evolved from drum, bass, and grime and is commonly described as having a dark tone with syncopated rhythms and aggressive synth melodies. While drawing during quarantine, Armen’s playlist randomly shuffled him to “One Two” by Virtual Riot, sending him tumbling down the rabbit hole of dubstep. Using nothing but a laptop, GarageBand, and a pair of headphones, Armen worked toward making 100 tracks, learning from YouTube tutorials and Deadmou5’s masterclass. Armen has played the piano for about a decade and learned a small amount of music theory; however, he relies mostly on his intuition, which has built his own voice in dubstep. While he experiments and tries different genres, Armen’s signature style is a cutesy aesthetic form of color bass, which unlike the atonal dubstep many associate with the genre, is melodic and emotional. He shares his music on Instagram with his friends, and now uses Logic, an upgraded form of Garageband. While he still uses a minimal setup of a laptop and headphones in his dorm room, he has begun using a DJ controller this year to try remixing and playing with others’ music. More than adjusting a volume knob, DJ requires not only skill in transitioning songs but also in appeasing an audience. As a member of student government, he is now the main DJ for Webb’s social events, and he hopes to bring with him a new appreciation for the complexity and beauty of music and dubstep. 

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About the Contributors
Taya Sibichenkova, Chief Editor of News
Taya Sibichenkova’s (‘24) kindness and commitment to bettering the world through medicinal and environmental studies shines throughout every aspect of her life. From dedicating her summer to researching population health alongside graduate scientists, to sharing her passion for nature as a children’s science camp counselor, to creating an independent research proposal on drug repurposing at the Claremont Colleges, Taya’s interest in health is boundless. Partly driven by her selfless, caring personality and ability to think outside the box, Taya knows the importance of a holistic approach to medicine and a health As Chief Editor of News, she is ready to recognize and spread awareness of the issues our world faces, such as her article on the timeline of the Ukraine-Russia war. Yet Taya’s leadership is not just limited to news and science. For two years now, she has served as a welcoming admissions ambassador. When Taya isn’t busy being a real-life superhero, she enjoys brewing kombucha, knitting, watching sci-fi movies, and playing the guitar. This year, Taya is excited to bring her interests in health sciences and environmental justice to the newsroom and beyond.       Song: Heat Above – Greta Van Fleet
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
Eric Luo, Co-Editor of News
A skilled conductor Eric Luo (‘25) adeptly orchestrates a symphony of diverse talents, weaving together creative writing, music, and culinary arts. This summer, he not only sharpened his writing skills at a Kenyon College creative writing camp but also explored African history at a Stanford summer camp. As a multi-instrumentalist, he is proficient in saxophone and is self-taught in bassoon and piano. He takes this musical passion a step further by creating compositions on digital audio workstations, such as Logic. Alongside his commitment to composing music and writing, Eric is a cooking enthusiast, dedicated to both the scientific and artistic aspects of gastronomy. Eric’s cooking skills venture beyond conventional recipes as he channels his passion toward cheese-making. Driven by his curiosity for food chemistry and biology, Eric started making cheese during the pandemic. While he loves Brie and Gorgonzola, a timeless classic mozzarella is his favorite to create. From his experimentation in culinary science to writing styles particularly in creative nonfiction essays Eric continually challenges himself. This year, he also aims to experiment in the Webb Canyon Chronicle and transition from feature articles to publishing more opinion pieces to foster change by promoting underrepresented points of view in Webb and the world at large.   Favorite Song: "Big Toe" by The Growlers
Elena Petrova, Copy Editor
Elena Petrova (‘25) calls Moscow home, knowing every street and every pigeon, and yet she has been chased through the city for holding a piece of paper questioning the authority of her country's president. Always wanting her voice heard, she fights for her future and her community, hoping for a day when Russia can be free. As such, Elena looks forward to indulging her fascination with Russian and Soviet history and culture in Advanced Studies Cold War class. She also gives others a voice: as a passionate learner of many languages, she helps six students, including a Webb alum, embark on their linguistic journeys by teaching them English and Russian. As a Webbie, Elena serves this community as a prefect in Appleby, and a stage manager for this year’s fall play. Though she is very busy, you can also find her cooking new recipes, including her favorite dish: ratatouille. This year, Elena hopes to balance her urge to serve others with protecting her mental health and well-being. At the Webb Canyon Chronicle, she hopes to continue making the student community’s voice heard through more opinion articles, understanding that authority shall be questioned.   Favorite song:  ОГНЕЙ by SALUKI
Ben Madanski, Staff Writer
The ability to visualize a swing plays a crucial role in the game of golf. Practicing this skill as a varsity golf player at Webb, Ben Madanski (‘26) applies such clarity and confidence to life. Though mostly spent in his home in Claremont, Ben’s summer was nevertheless fulfilling as he took a course on AP Chemistry, a subject avoided by many, simply because it is fun to create chemical reactions. Ben applies his problem-solving skills to debate as well on the Webb team. Contrary to his calm demeanor, Ben argues passionately in heated debates to practice the skill of using logic to persuade others. When he is not busy solving chemical equations or winning debates, he enjoys shopping with a small group of friends as he prefers the intimacy of a small friend group. Joining the WCC as a staff writer this year, he hopes to bring attention to climate change protests. As a debater, Ben stands behind a logical persuasion of beliefs and not the hindrance to everyday life that Ben believes to happen in many such protests, such as blocking traffic to capture attention. No matter what, Ben does not succumb to the pressures of life and takes his swing exactly as he envisions.    Song: "From the Start" – Laufey 

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