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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

An exclusive first look into the Bonnie Johnson Hall and the ribbon cutting ceremony

Stephanie Ma
Blue, white, and gold colored balloons surround the doorway to the new Bonnie Johnson Hall. Dr. Theresa Smith and Blake Johnson pose with large scissors, prepared to cut the ribbon as many faculty, alumni, and others watch and applaud. “I look at [the science lab] as a space where students are pursuing their own scientific questions, where they can collaborate with their other peers, and where discovery is happening,” said Lisa Nacionales, Science Department Chair.

Embellished with blue and gold balloons, the entrance to the long-awaited Bonnie Johnson Hall was adorned with a golden ribbon. On March 6, 2024, the ribbon cutting ceremony celebrated the opening of the Bonnie Johnson Hall to the Webb community. The lab was dedicated to and named after primary donor Blake Johnson’s (‘95) grandmother Bonnie Johnson.  

After months of detailed planning and construction, the new science lab has replaced the previous Ahmanson lecture hall, which was two stories deep with tiered seats and usually used for large meetings or presentations. Mr. Johnson, his family, other contributors, and faculty attended the new lab’s grand opening.  

The ceremony started with a speech from Dr. Theresa Smith, Head of Schools, introducing the construction process, the goals of the new laboratory, and expressing gratitude to all the lab’s donors. Mr. Johnson then cut the ribbon, and attendees entered to see the lab itself. Michael Hoe, Assistant Head of Schools, and Lisa Nacionales, Science Department chair, highlighted new features in the lab. 

New features include a sky-light, which shines both natural and artificial light into the classroom.  

Two fume hoods are placed in the lab, and the ceilings contain panels that absorb the sound of classroom chatter and loud machines to allow for a more focused classroom setting.  

To the side, there is a large prep room containing a deionized (DI) water station, crushed ice machine, and a fridge with a glass door.  

“The setup was so well thought out; it makes it a place that is on the cutting edge of science,” said Ms. Nacionales. “I’m really excited about that deionized water station: it really does make a difference in our labs, time and efficiency.” 

This water station is so important because of the use of deionized water. This water contains no dissolved minerals, allowing for control and accurate results during testing.  

Even small upgrades or additions such as deionized water or crushed ice can make a difference. Clean water is used constantly as it is the critical component of all solutions and everything science students do. 

Since the space used to be a lecture hall, it was quite deep, spanning two stories. The bottom section of the old hall, now the area below the lab, has been turned into a museum storage space for fossils.  

“The lecture hall doesn’t fit with our philosophy of learning or our needs. We needed more lab space, and the museum needed more storage,” said Mr. Hoe. “It made sense to maximize the use of that old lecture hall.” 

The science department is excited about the versatility and flexibility of the new lab. Many attendees asserted that it is a space where almost every Webb science class could be taught.  

“We want it to be flexible,” said Mr. Hoe. “We want to be able to imagine things that we aren’t doing yet that we can do now because of the Bonnie Johnson Hall.” 

Below are photos of the ceremony and the new science lab.

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About the Contributors
Stephanie Ma
Stephanie Ma, Co-Editor of Opinion
Meet Stephanie “Steph” Ma ('25), a harmonious force within the Webb Canyon Chronicle and Webb Community. This past summer Steph leisurely sojourned in Korea, where she indulged in delicious street foods such as fish cakes and tteokbokki. She continued her summer melodiously with visits to Boston College and NYU’s Clive Davis Institute, where she immersed herself in the world of music, recorded her own songs, and had her soul serenaded by Masie Peters while visiting her brother in Canada. Looking through her Spotify, you are sure to find the ballads of Taylor Swift and Joshua Bassett. A talented instrumentalist, she plays a multitude of instruments such as the violin, guitar, and ukulele, yet her compositions extend beyond melodies. At Webb, the humanities strike a chord in her heart, especially classes conducted by Ms. MacPhee. As a maestro of leadership, Steph serves on the VWS Honor Cabinet When writing for the WCC Steph meticulously pieces together articles, most notably her compelling piece on the UC strikes. Finishing with a crescendo we can all look forward to seeing Steph thrive during her third year at Webb, while we take delight in her enlightened and empathetic articles during her second year at the Chronicle.  Favorite Song: "Cool About It" by Boygenius
Leia Albornoz
Leia Albornoz, Co-Editor of Features
Now a junior, Leia Albornoz (‘25) is ready to leave an impact on her community. Very passionate about identity and representation of culture, she wants to influence those who share the same ethnicity as her to be proud and embrace their culture. During her free time, Leia enjoys hanging out with friends and making spontaneous plans. While not with friends, Leia spends a lot of her time painting and reading in nature. This year, she wants to paint the admissions fountain, as it reminds her of her current favorite collection of paintings called Water Lilies by Claude Monet. As a peer advisor, Asian Affinity Group leader, and an Editor of Features, Leia has stepped up and is prepared to show leadership around campus and in the newsroom. She loves to listen to music, and she finds herself dancing every time she hears a catchy beat. Leia best demonstrates her journalist skills in articles based around culture and identity topics that she cares a lot about. Her goal for this year's publication is to keep up pace in her work and push more articles that her peers would want to read.  Favorite Song: "Street by Street" by Laufey

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