THE WEBB SCHOOL
Welcome 2021! Fall/Winter 2020-2021
THE WEBB SCHOOL
Kenneth C. Cheeseman Head of School
Head of School Q&A
Webb 150 Update
…Like a cyclone
WEBB COMMUNICATIONS EDITOR:
Director of Communications DESIGN & LAYOUT:
Graphic Designer CONTRIBUTORS:
Director of Advancement Services
Alumni Research Assistant
Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving
Kristen Linton ’00
Director of Leadership Annual Giving
Director of Alumni and Development
Page 15 Fall Recap
Page 23 Sports
The Webb School Magazine is published biannually in the summer and winter by The Webb School, 319 Webb Road East, Bell Buckle, Tenn. The Webb School is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization: 640401875. The Webb School complies with all applicable anti-discrimination laws and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, ethnic or national origin in the administration of its educational policies and programs, admissions processes, scholarship and financial aid programs, employment practices, athletic and other school administrative programs.
319 Webb Road East Bell Buckle, Tenn. 37020 1-931-389-9322
2 Alumni Board 100!
Page 29 Class Notes
On the cover: Head of School Ken Cheeseman in front of the Will Webb Building with bell tower that is home to the Admissions Office.
A NOTE FROM THE HEAD OF SCHOOL
Overcoming unprecedented challenges, summer and fall “huge success” By Ken Cheeseman
leadership team, faculty, and staff all pulling together, we would not have been as successful as we were without our parents and students being such gracious and good partners throughout the semester. So, my pride and gratitude come not only from the outcome of a successful semester but also from an entire community who worked selflessly to accomplish an important goal. Throughout the semester, even amid all of these challenges, I grew to better understand the particulars and nuances of The Webb School culture fueling my ever-deepening love for our school. I often walk around campus and thank God for the blessing of leading Webb. We have a beautiful campus, which is likely more beautiful than ever with the recent attention to the buildings and grounds. Its external beauty reflects well the heart and soul of the school: its people who are committed to living out the mission and enduring understandings that shape the lives of our many alumni. While it certainly borders on the cliché, I count myself a greatly blessed man and educational leader to be at Webb. Not only are we now in a strong position but the future is bright, and I am excited to meet, get to know, and walk with our alumni and Board to forge a path that leads Webb to be among the best small boarding/day schools in the U.S.
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I am often asked some version of this question: “So, how did your first semester as head of school at The Webb School go?” That is a BIG question whose answer could be quite voluminous. The short answer is that Webb was significantly impacted by several events occurring beyond the Webb community. Considering the impact of COVID-19, racial tensions rippling throughout the U.S., the most divisive presidential election of my lifetime, the economic uncertainties affecting most of our families, and the fear and anxiety created by the aforementioned four challenges, the summer/ fall of 2020 was a huge success. Now that we are looking back on the semester, I can say that the boldness, tenacity, and sheer hard work with which our leadership team led the school to open and remain open in-person framed our success this semester. Some in our community openly questioned the wisdom of such a plan and some communicated their fear and concern, both perspectives I received with as much grace and care as I could. This was clearly one of those moments that called for decisiveness. While we experienced our fair share of ups and downs associated with our decision, we provided our students with the safest, most normalized education possible. Additionally, we were exceedingly blessed to provide an online companion platform that allowed all of our students who could not or did not yet feel comfortable being in-person to join our in-person faculty and students. The creation and maintenance of our online platform gave us great flexibility and kept us safe by allowing anyone who felt any symptoms to stay home and continue to grow, stay on pace academically, and stay connected to his or her peers and teachers. Was it perfect? No, but it worked quite well. A related positive and outgrowth of our in-person decision and success and the positive spirit it created has been the highest enrollment in school history. By early in the semester, we had 330 students under contract, with about 80% in-person and the rest virtual. We have an additional 12 students after the semester break, continuing to record new historic enrollment totals. I am proud of this, in large measure, because it represents much deep, sacrificial, and intentional good work on the part of our leadership team, faculty, and staff. Our efforts were supported by a Board of Trustees who were willing to boldly walk with us to provide the necessary financing and infrastructure to prepare for a myriad of safe in-person protocols. Even with the Board,
with Head of School Ken Cheeseman
(Editor’s Note: During Ken Cheeseman’s first months as head of school, the professionalism, resilence, support, care and concern from all constituencies have strengthened his confidence that Webb can be among the best small boarding /day schools in the U.S. In this recent Q&A interview, he recounts some challenges and triumphs of summer and fall 2020 as well as visions and goals to prepare Webb for the next 150 years. On Pages 6 and 7, Jim Callis, associate head for finance and operations, and Tabetha Sullens, assistant head for student affairs, share some thoughts about their new roles at Webb, the leadership team, and excitement about Webb’s future.)
As COVID-19 continued to alter our daily lives throughout summer, Webb accomplished a “Safe Start” for on-campus learning in addition to online learning during the fall semester. What were the most significant aspects of planning and execution required to care for the health and well-being of students, faculty and staff? As the year progressed, what were the main adjustments required to ensure on-campus learning could continue?
Perhaps counter-intuitively, the greatest challenge to in-person planning and successful execution was working through the fears and concerns of the faculty and parents. We had to create means by which we were really listening, acknowledging and giving space for people to work through their fears and concerns. We had to be open to allowing our faculty to input when they did not agree with a particular protocol; we had to be transparent, flexible, and willing to change if something was not working. Beyond that we had to create partnerships and alignments with a myriad of health-care and educational associations to leverage their research and emerging experiences to drive our planning and our communication of our planning. We also needed more hours from all of our people and more people to create and then execute our plans. This is where the Board of Trustees was instrumental in providing the resources to the leadership team to bring the plan to fruition.
Beyond the pandemic and based on your extensive exp erience in the administration of privat e and independent school s, what are some of the “normal” adjust ments for a new head of sch ool, and what was your experience at Webb? For any new head of schoo l, it is wise and important to invest in relationships first and for emost. Getting to know fac ulty, alumni, parents, students, and the Board is a critically important part of learning the cultur e of the school. It also allo ws for the building of mutual trust an d confidence, necessary tw in pillars when, not if, a new head has to make tough decisions. W ell, given the necessity to ma ke many difficult decisions even before I was officially on payroll, I did not have the luxury of a normal adjustment. Thankfully an d by the grace of God, som e of the good will that my leadershi p team and Board had cre ated in the community was graciousl y imputed to me and allowe d me space to make some necessary tou gh decisions. My team, par ticularly the Alumni & Developme nt team, was creative in giv ing me opportunities and Zoom facetime with many constit uents throughout the fall to virtua lly begin building that mu tual trust and confidence.
aspects of of Trustees supported all In what ways has the Board strengths of the are at d of school? Wh hea e am bec you ce sin bb We these groups y and staff, and how have ult fac m, tea p shi der lea r you positive force for Webb? supported you and been a several pages, wers to which I could write ans the , ion est qu big a is This wrapped in e. In short, unity of purpose cis con be to pt em att l wil but I with a clear enduring understandings the tenets of the mission and minated illu e hav e to good governanc and collective commitment s purpose thi e iev ach to uch of the fuel h. M pat ure fut and t ren cur our resources from giving of time, wisdom, and l cia rifi sac the m fro es com ion. Much of ups mentioned in the quest each of the constituent gro rity of direction cla ld bo and perhaps more new a e vid pro to lity abi my governance ent, resource support, and em rag ou enc the m fro es com leadership es and the strength of our ste Tru of ard Bo the of th streng laboration, function with trust and col to ss gne lin wil ir the and team execute the best g each other to know and rtin po sup and g gin llen cha by input from ays forward are informed hw pat and ns pla ese Th plans. boots-on-theleadership teams, and the ent par and t den stu y, ult fac our to glean wisdom r staff. Creating structures ground perspectives of ou helpful. ly nse me ctrum has been im across the constituent spe
Webb had a record enrollm ent in the fall semester. Ca n you talk about the kinds of conversat ions you have had with pro spective families, and some of the rea sons why you think people are turning to private schools like Webb? I firmly believe that our com mitment to safe in-person teaching and learning with a flexibl e distance-learning option has been an accelerant to enrollm ent growth, continuing to break enrollment records. The po sitive uplift achieved by bei ng together and recapturing some sen se of the normal routines we all love and find both comforting and stretching has also sha ped the narrative that our students, parents, faculty, and enrollm ent team have all gladly recou nted. Interest in The Webb Sch ool from those prospective families, both day and boarding, wh o cannot predict a consistent and rel iable schedule from their cur rent schools has grown. The po sitive outlook by those on ou r campus informs the stories they tel l, with a new level of pride, ene rgy, and enthusiasm. When you add these factors to the foundati on ally compelling attributes of ou r academically excellent sch ool wh size -- overall, in grade lev ose els, and in any particular cla ssroom -- enables and promotes rel ationships between studen ts and faculty to help our students thrive, you have a beautiful recipe for growth. There is someth ing quite special and uniqu e, particularly in our market, about the climate of The We bb School that creates a warm, congen ial student culture where stu dents are both nurtured and cha llenged to know the inters ect ion of their gifts and passions and develop those, not just for the ir own flourishing but also for the betterment of our school and soc iety beyond. There is a refreshin g and healthy independenc e that our students develop that is dri ven by our school ethos and effectively equips our students for the independence they will fac e in college and life beyond.
s Mission braced and promoted Webb’ From the start, you have em ong str r ngs. Can you explain you and Enduring Understandi school? orms your leadership of the connection and how that inf ed with imagine a world that is fill I often close my eyes and ile holding e strong self-discipline wh men and women who hav us learning uo ount, who enjoy contin integrity and honor param d who an d others in the process, and respect themselves an ess and dn ular gifts to promote goo know and use their partic d leading an h ers. Working closely wit serve the well-being of oth d an ng staff to shape our teachi our esteemed faculty and se the s sse each Webb student posse our students’ learning so pact im l wil we ire. By doing this well, attributes is my heart’s des d positive way. the world in a powerful an You have stressed the pos itive relationships between Academics, Arts and Athletics. Can you give examples you have see n how each positively affects the other? Can you also note opportuni ties for growth with respect to eac h of these areas, and how you begin to prioritize these opportuni ties? Helping students achieve their very best academica lly as a means to flourish and lead their generation is now and wil l continue to be foundational at The We bb School. That said, each one of our students comes to us as mo re than just an academicia n; he/she comes to us with interests , gifts, and talents in other areas. We have pianists, cellists, sin gers, thespians, potters, run ners, soccer, football, basketball player s, golfers, and a host of oth er particular areas where our students shine. There is now and has been in the best college-preparatory sch ools throughout the U.S. a strong correlation between academ ic success and commitment and success in at least one oth er area for students. These other areas, which mostly fit in arts an d athletics, touch the sou l and often the physical body of a stu dent in a different and com plementary way than academics. Both in my experience as studen t and teacher and in my understa nding of what parents and students want from an excellent sch ool experience, it is clear to me that strong, supported academ ics, arts, and athletics cre ate the best environment for success for all students. (continued on page 14)
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involved a 0th anniversary which 15 its ing let mp co is Webb ts, and new campaign, special even successful fundraising aned from gle u yo ons. What have marketing/communicati members of the th wi ary 150th annivers the t ou ab s on ati ers conv mean to you as at does this milestone wh d an , ity un mm co Webb head of school? s of Webb l, and relational strength ica ph so ilo ph al, on ssi The mi upon which all ars creates a bedrock ye 0 15 t las r ou g rin du forged strengths will nfidently stand; these of us can firmly and co successful re mo ing us to an even -- already are -- propell signs and see I d an und campus aro lk wa I y da ry ve future. E aged and of history, I am encour ars ye 0 15 r ou m fro s saying dents and , bold dreams for our stu big m ea dr to d ne lde embo the school, re our alumni have for school. The love and ca es, in and out of nc rie mational expe for ns tra eir th m fro derived l I have been r than almost any schoo ge on str is , ms oo ssr the cla le, and their love r heritage and our peop ou ith . W ow kn to d blesse n for the future freed to dream and pla am I , bb We for t or pp and su for this gift to energized and grateful am . I its lim few ry ve with l. ol’s new head of schoo me as The Webb Scho
Abby Faith, Cathy and Ken Cheeseman
Callis finds highest value in “serving those who teach” Jim Callis, Webb’s new associate head of school for finance and operations, had every intention and passion to become a teacher. And, while he has had opportunities throughout his career to teach different courses and enjoy time in the classroom, it has been his role as an administrator, serving those who teach, where he has found his highest value. “... I wanted to follow the example of my Honors English teacher at Overton High School in Nashville, Mrs. Freck. She, and several other excellent teachers, inspired me to pursue a passion for reading and writing to become a teacher. A series of family events in the spring of my senior year altered that course and instead of passion, I chose (what I believed to be) practicality and majored in management,” Callis said. “Though I took a couple of detours, I finally made my way into the schoolhouse in the summer of 1991 at Brentwood Academy.”
During college and early in his career, he spent a great deal of time observing and talking with faculty and soon learned that ineffective leadership was at the root of many of their challenges. “That realization both saddened and energized me as I began to see administrative leadership as a way to serve in the setting I loved while helping the people I loved – students and faculty.” In early 2000, Callis was recruited to join the startup team at Whitefield Academy in Atlanta, where he spent two years helping to migrate the campus from its original location in Buckhead to its present location in South Cobb County. In 2002, he returned to Nashville and served nine years as associate head of school at St. Paul Christian Academy. Then in 2011, he accepted an invitation to become head of school at Mt. Bethel Christian Academy in Marietta, Ga. During his tenure, Mt. Bethel expanded from a K-8 school of approximately 485 students to a PreK-12 of 630 students on two campuses. In 2018, Mt. Bethel was named a U.S. Department of Education Blue-Ribbon School of Excellence.
Callis, who holds an undergraduate degree from Trevecca Nazarene University and a graduate degree in educational leadership from Vanderbilt University, considers himself “intellectually restless.” He has pursued opportunities to learn and grow by experiencing independent education in different settings and roles. “The boarding environment was one of the few I had yet to experience 6 and so, Webb was certainly appealing from that perspective. I am
also a native of middle Tennessee and my only sibling lives in west Nashville so Webb is a homecoming of sorts,” he explained. “But the most significant reason is likely Ken Cheeseman. Ken and I have known each other since 1995 and worked together twice before. The opportunity to serve the Webb community alongside Ken came at a particularly compelling point in my career, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store.” In his new position, Callis is accountable for virtually every function outside of academic or residential programming. “It’s an incredibly long and diverse list of responsibilities which keeps the work interesting. The most fulfilling aspects of my work are often shaped by challenge; I expect that is true for most folks. That said, the most consistently rewarding moments are those that directly impact students or faculty. They are the heartbeat of school and the reason I am inexorably drawn to this work. When they have every resource necessary for success, I am at my happiest.” Considering his role in relation to Webb’s leadership team, he said, “It would be difficult to imagine a facet of school that doesn’t have a budgetary or operational component and as a result, I am at the table with leadership team colleagues for a wide variety of discussions and decisions. Similar to the head of school, I interact with every other member of the team on a near-daily basis. They are an expert group, and I’m honored to serve alongside them.” He added, “I am mindful that each one is relying upon me for leadership and a level of operational excellence that allows them to be most successful in their respective roles. We each have our own areas of responsibility, but there’s a lot of overlap which requires trust, an assumption of good intent, and a lot of communication.” Becoming a new administrator at Webb in the midst of COVID-19 presented some unprecedented challenges that required immediate action. “Arriving at Webb during a pandemic certainly amplified an already significant leadership challenge, but I joined a capable team which helped immensely. Working with them to craft our ‘Safe Start 2020’ reopening plan was a priority, but there were dozens of facility projects, large and small, that also required immediate attention.” He added, “The pace of work for a school administrator in summer is typically steady but relaxed; summer 2020 was neither steady nor relaxing. That said, each day I see evidence that our collective hard work has paid dividends as we are one of few schools that has been (continued on page 14)
Sullens broadens responsibilities in new role, remains student advocate In July 2020, Webb ’94 graduate Tabetha Newport Sullens became the first Assistant Head of School for Student Affairs after returning five years ago as Middle School Head. Like colleague Jim Callis, new associate head of school for finance and operations, she can pinpoint when a career as an educator became her focus. “Ron Smith was my senior English teacher at Webb. I remember sitting in his classroom, just finished with Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, sunlight coming through the window, and I was moved by a discussion of conflicting perceptions of the book. I knew in that very moment I wanted to become an English teacher and return to Webb someday.” She attended Middle Tennessee State University and earned a BA degree. Returning to her focus on education and teaching after a decade hiatus (working in the trucking industry to be with her children while they were small), she knew she wanted current professional development and completed a Kaplan University leadership master’s program. “I was back in my niche and wanted to bring the best and most current research to the students and community.”
principal, her leadership research, and five years as middle school head prepared her well for the transition to the new role. Students at every grade level and their parents can seek support from Sullens. “I am a student advocate; their success and experience at Webb are what matter most to me. I work with advisors, Jon Bloom, dean of students and residential life, counselors, nurses, Jodi Campbell, activities director, and Melissa James, student system specialist, to establish student support covering all the needs of the child: academic, social, emotional, and physical. We have the same support pieces in place for all seven years of a student’s time at Webb.” She added, “My hope is that families feel stability and consistency in the relationships we form.” The role of assistant head also encompasses working with the Webb School Parents’ Association and overseeing the middle school Emerging Voices program. Sullens continues to find it rewarding to teach the sixth-grade Focus class, setting a framework for students to be successful in Webb’s academics. Sullens also sees her role as collaborator with other leadership team members -- continuously examining efforts to ensure they are the best for the students. She said that being charged as a leadership team member with writing the “Safe Start 2020” Health and Safety Plan for the return to school during COVID-19 was both enlightening and rewarding. “Mr. Bloom, the nurses, and I researched all summer to ensure our school community would be safe. Our plan may continue to shift as needs change in this pandemic. I am beyond grateful for their collaboration and support from parents and students. We were blessed to be able to share the entire fall semester in person.”
Sullens explained that the new position leading student affairs is a natural for her. “The students are my heartbeat. I am rewarded every time I see a student metacognitively consider his or her own learning or behavior. Watching the students embrace the Honor Code and trusting they will go out into the world and make it a better place for their own organizations one day is what makes me want to come to work every day.” Sullens added that she considers it an honor to partner with parents to help shape the students’ lens of integrity. She explained that her experience as a former PreK-12
The assistant head noted that COVID-19 forced schools across the nation to re-evaluate how and why they function as they do. “We gleaned much good from the pandemic and will consider which of the changes prove most beneficial to student success as we work together to plan for next fall. Each year faces its own challenges, and students have different needs each year, COVID or non-COVID. The most effective school communities continually reconstruct their efforts to serve students they have today, not yesterday, to prepare them for tomorrow.” (continued on page 14)
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Sullens completed the Culture and Cognition Curriculum and Instruction Ed.S program at Middle Tennessee State University, and Dr. Barbara Young, developer of the online Ed.S program, encouraged her to pursue a doctoral degree. “I was drawn to the diversity of the Vanderbilt Leadership in Organizations program. The cohort is a myriad of leaders in diverse fields from medical providers to engineers, and collaboration with them during the past three years continues to mold me as a leader and learner.” In May, she’ll be conferred as a Doctor of Education in Leadership in Organizations.
A milestone to remember in Alumni and Development By Matt Wilson, Director of Alumni and Development
Back in 2019, before COVID-19, “Webb 150” was designed as a multi-year celebration to commemorate the 150th year since Webb’s founding in 1870. It would encompass events, speakers, marketing, fundraising, and educational programs and books. It would highlight Webb’s 150th graduating class, the class of 2020. In grand fashion, the summer of 2019 saw more than 45 descendants of the original Webb family stay on campus for a weekend family reunion. August 2019 saw the entire school take a picture standing on the football field shaped in the number 150. A score of volunteers were mobilized: the Development Committee; the Alumni Board; a Campaign Cabinet; and the Webb 150 Faculty/Staff planning committee. What was unknown in 2019 was that by the end of March 2020, the campus would be closed. In-person events had to be postponed, and the “Webb 150” reunion weekend in April 2020 would be rescheduled. Committees and volunteers immediately began retooling.
In response, the Webb community has been exceptionally resilient. The Webb Fund reached its annual goal in 2019-2020, for the third consecutive year. The Webb 150 fundraising campaign exceeded its 36-month goal (ending December 2020) of $4.0M by more than $1.0M. Buoyed by the fall semester which saw record enrollment of 330 students, we are optimistic. We are excited to tell the Webb story, yet mindful of those who are being affected by COVID-19. We want to reach out to engage the Webb community, while still showing compassion and understanding to others.
With these objectives in mind, Webb is planning to host a reunion and campus celebration to mark the completed Webb 150 anniversary. October 2021 has been selected as the next potential date for the community to gather. All members of the Webb community will be invited, with special 8 emphasis on alumni classes ending in ‘0’, ‘1’, ‘5’, or ‘6’ (For
those who like trivia: calendar year 2021 is the 150th reunion of the first graduating class of 1871.) In the meantime, the Webb Alumni and Development Office is delighted to facilitate numerous alumni gatherings informally on Zoom. Classes can contact the Alumni and Development Office to help organize themselves. A number of classes have already participated in these Zoom meetings this fall. Ken Cheeseman, our new head of school, has especially enjoyed these opportunities to make connections with the Webb community. In addition, the school is developing its latest strategic plan. The last two plans, 2012-2017 and 2017-2020, have positioned Webb very well. To build on these efforts, the school is sending a series of surveys that run through the winter months. Your input in helping shape the vision, priorities, and goals of the school is as important as ever. There are many to thank for the success of Webb 150, including those “tireless workers” who have made the sesquicentennial special. Among these are Sam Lasseter ’69 and Gwen Jones Owen ’75, co-chairs of the Webb 150 Fundraising Campaign; Board of Trustees Chair Vance Berry ’72; Immediate Past Board of Trustees Chair John Sawyer ’88; Alumni Board President Webb Follin ’73; Webb Fund Chairs Davis Turner ’79 and Melora Wilkins Turner ’80; Jonathon Hawkins, Chair of the Webb 150 Faculty/ Staff planning committee and member of the Alumni and Development Office; and former Head of School, Ray Broadhead. We appreciate the leadership that this group has provided. Please look for updates and highlights of Webb 150 in the summer 2021 magazine, along with the latest information on the October 2021 event on the Webb 150 website. https://www.thewebbschool.com/150
Foutch Family Scholarship at Belmont encourages Webb students to apply Students have many choices when it comes to higher education, and often the decision to attend is based on the opportunity to receive a scholarship. For the Foutch Family, they hope that Belmont University is one choice that students at The Webb School will seriously consider. The Foutch Family Scholarship was established in 2020 by Dan and Lisa Foutch, both graduates of Belmont University. Dan currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees at Belmont. Their family scholarship will be housed at Belmont, with a special set of criteria that give preference to students from DeKalb County (TN) and The Webb School. Should a member of either community be accepted and have demonstrated financial need, they will be given priority in the selection process used to award the scholarship.
“As a college counselor at Webb, I can tell that this scholarship will help in providing visibility for Belmont, and help make it a priority for our students,” said Chadd Bridwell, Director of College Counseling. “We know that there is a holistic process for awarding scholarships--so the Foutch Family Scholarship will certainly benefit a deserving student while enticing even more students to apply.”
Dan and Lisa Foutch
“Scholarships like this are special, and it is exciting to see how creatively the Foutch family has given back to Belmont and to Webb at the same time,” said Matt Wilson, Director of Alumni and Development at The Webb School. “After receiving the news from the family in 2020, I am delighted to be able to publicize this opportunity with the Webb community.”
“We have been tremendously happy with our longstanding relationship with Belmont, and our experience with Webb has been wonderful. We could not be happier to be able to promote Belmont, Webb, and DeKalb County together,” said Dan Foutch. The Foutch family connections with The Webb School include Dan and Lisa’s daughter, Katherine Foutch Layman ’03, currently a member of the Webb Alumni Board. She is married to Dr. Matthew Layman ’03, currently a member of the Board of Trustees at Webb. Katherine’s cousins who have graduated from Webb include Elijah ’19, Alex ’16, Hunter ’10 and Jordan ’08.
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“It brings us great joy to be able to do this at Belmont in conjunction with two other communities that have meant so much to us over the years (Webb and DeKalb). We think that there are many excellent students out there, and hope it will encourage them to look at Belmont,” said Lisa Foutch.
“There are no better friends to Belmont University than Dan and Lisa Foutch. They have provided tremendous support to our students for many years, and this new scholarship furthers their legacy of helping deserving students achieve their goals. We are honored and humbled by their generosity,” said Perry Moulds, VP of Development and External Relations.
…Like A Cyclone – Part 2 (Editor’s Note: This is the second of a two part article about Webb’s response under Son Will’s leadership to the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic. The first installment was published in the Spring-Summer 2020 Webb Magazine. To read Part 1, go to www.the webbschool.com/the-school/school-news.)
By L.R. Smith
“Much of our success in caring for the sick is due to the untiring efforts and wise management of Mrs. Webb…We do not know how she and Dr. Freeman have been able to stand the strain of hard work with so little time for rest and sleep.”(6)
inbound, gives insight into the level of anxiety on all sides, telegrams being the fastest and by far the most expensive form of communication in 1918. Confusion reigned at first, but by Wednesday the lines had cleared. There were some errors, both forced and unforced. Telegrams for the School came to the Western Union office in Shelbyville and were The hospital relieved the pressure on the boarding houses, then telephoned to “Belle Buckle”, as the operators called it. allowing the landladies to care for the less High volume and poor telephone lines led to seriously ill boys. In the first hours of the misplaced, misdirected, and misinterpreted crisis, and with Dr. Freeman and Blanche messages, increasing the general stress level. Wardlaw Webb as his Angels of Mercy, In three cases, Son Will informed parents Son Will had overcome the first two of his of what turned out to be “false positives”, problems. thereby causing one family, the Dulentys, to bring their son, John, home to New Orleans, Even with the best of care, treatment of where he did indeed contract influenza. “the trouble” was still rudimentary. The Several mothers rushed to Bell Buckle to patient was put to bed and kept there until provide much needed assistance in caring at least five days after the fever went away; not only for their own sons, but also other any activity before that time might lead to afflicted boys in the boarding houses and the pneumonia, which was the real killer. After hospital. This volunteerism proved a doublethat came five more days of bedrest and edged sword: the seventy-one cases treated Dr. John Freeman and grandson, light activity before being pronounced free at Webb included several mothers and other Claude Jarman Jr. of the disease, though residual ill health family members who contracted the flu while Photo: Claude Jarman Jr. was a hallmark of the Lady’s visit. There nursing their boys. Son Will noted ruefully were no effective influenza drugs available in 1918 and, as that, “…it was much more difficult to care for them than to in 2020, drugstore and grocery shelves were instantly swept care for the boys…”(7) clean of whatever untested potions, Vicks VapoRub included, which purported to be remedies. Son Will did have one more With about one-third of the students and half of the faculty advantage, though he might not have known it at the time: down and out, what was to be done with the rest of the boys? the very nature of the disease itself. Unlike other influenza This was a quandary for Son Will. Common sense may have strains, which usually killed only the very young and the suggested sending everyone home, but he did not want to very old, the Spanish flu also targeted the 25-35-year-old age close the school completely, as some boys’ families were group, resulting in its extremely high mortality rate. It did simply too poor to afford the price of an extra train ticket not, however target teenagers; Webb students might become home. They might (as some did) decide that it would be too very ill, but their chance of dying was relatively low. Once expensive to return once things had settled down. Splitting again, Fortune favored Webb School. the difference, Son Will allowed all of the healthy boys who could afford it to go home and ran an abbreviated class Son Will’s next major crisis was communication with schedule for the remainder, utilizing such faculty as were distraught parents. On Monday and Tuesday, hundreds available. About thirty boys recited in the Big Room every of telegrams went out from Bell Buckle across the South, day but, as Son Will admitted, “…work has amounted to very notifying parents of their sons’ conditions. The School was in little…”(8) Those students remaining on campus were also turn flooded with telegrams requesting information, giving put to valuable work as stretcher bearers, porters, errand instructions to send boys home, and offering to come to assist boys, and nurses for their stricken classmates. Some boys who were ill or who had recently recovered went home at 10 with their boys’ care. The number of telegrams, both out- and
their parents’ insistence, though Son Will recommended strenuously against it; in fact, the only two Webb students who died of the Spanish flu did so after they had returned home. “The trouble”, though a massive disruption, never succeeded in shutting down Webb School. By Monday, October 28, the corner had been turned. Son Will could report that, “…the situation has cleared very much…”(9) No new cases had been reported save some recovering boys who had tried to do too much too soon and suffered relapses. All but two boys were recovering well; only Rupert Gregory, a preacher’s son from Lampassas, Texas, still caused Dr. Freeman some concern. He would be on the way to recovery by mid-November. Son Will was now quite anxious to resume classes. By his estimate, three weeks of schoolwork had been lost to influenza, and it would take more time to get the scattered student body back to Bell Buckle. The startup date was set for Monday, November 8, with classwork picking up where it had left off on October 18, “…for the sake of the absent ones…”(10) Most of the boys were back on time, though stragglers would filter in throughout November and a few never returned to school. Another question had to do with Christmas vacation. Some parents, feeling the economic pinch, wanted their boys to stay in school over Christmas; others wanted their boys to be home for the holidays. Son Will Webb Son Will would have preferred to cancel Christmas break in order to make up classwork, but once again he split the difference: the normally two-week vacation was shortened to one week and the campus remained open, with makeup classes held “…for the benefit of those boys who are left here…a great many that cannot go home…”(11)
So, it was done. Son Will had guided the School through the greatest pandemic in modern history without losing a single boy under the School’s care. It truly “took a village” to accomplish the feat, as, in a circular sent out on October 30, he praised all those who had worked so hard on behalf of the boys: to Dr. Freeman, Blanche Wardlaw Webb, the landladies and mothers who volunteered to nurse; to the townspeople of Bell Buckle who donated material and accommodations, especially to Mary Hart, an African-American lady who volunteered for service at the hospital; and to the Webb boys who worked hard in the service of their classmates: “Everybody in Bell Buckle did his best and we thank them.”(12) In the end, though, Son Will was the primary coordinator of the effort, both leading up to and during the outbreak; he emerged with his reputation enhanced. M.L. Fugate, of Adairville, KY, whose son, Marion, had been the first victim of the Spanish Lady, summed up Son Will’s accomplishment in a letter written on October 23, at the height of the trouble: “After returning from my visit to your town yesterday, having seen how well you were handling the situation arising from ‘the flu’ epidemic, I felt that I wanted to reassure you of my satisfaction of conditions, and to express my sympathy for you under such perplexing problems-after seeing for myself the true situation, I can appreciate more fully the responsibility involved, and the heroic way in which you are meeting it.”(13) (continued on page 34)
The Webb School Magazine
January, 1919, saw a resurgence of influenza in Bell Buckle as the third wave, or, perhaps, the end of the second wave, made its way across the South, though it was not as catastrophic as the October onslaught. Though it did not assume epidemic form - Son Will reported only four cases among the Webb boys - it proved to be deadly in Bell Buckle, where several townspeople, including the public school teacher, died of its effects. Son Will surmised that the very mildness of this strain caused sufferers to believe that they were cured after a day or two and get up too soon, bringing on a fatal relapse. As Son Will noted in a letter to Frank Jarrell, a former faculty member, “Influenza is certainly a terrible thing.”(14) By Spring, 1919, all that remained of “the trouble” was the task of dividing the fairly considerable financial costs of medical
treatment among the families of the stricken boys, as well as prorating the cost of boarding for the boys who had left their boarding houses due to the epidemic. The only lasting effect of “the trouble” was purely beneficial, as Blanche Wardlaw Webb’s “emergency hospital” was retained as a permanent part of the School plant and a trained nurse employed to oversee it, thus beginning a tradition lasting to the present day. “If it had not been for that [the hospital] I am quite sure that we would have lost a number of boys.” (15) Perhaps the pandemic’s sole Webb School victim was the boarding house system itself, which proved unable to bear up under the strain of so many stricken boys. By the mid-1920s, it was being supplanted by on-campus dormitories and had for the most part disappeared shortly after WWII. If the Spanish Lady did not sound the boarding house system’s death knell, she certainly drove several nails into its coffin.
Webb sets enrollment record amid COVID-19 pandemic
More families seeking private school options as the virus continues into 2021 By Julie Harris ’95, Director of Enrollment Management
It is safe to say it has been one of the toughest years in history for the educational system. However, despite the challenges of a worldwide pandemic, The Webb School began the 2020-2021 school year with the largest enrollment in school history. The student body represents 330 total students from 15 different countries and 12 states.
accepted families were having a hard time committing with so much uncertainty remaining. As the virus continued to impact the world, schools were left with the task to plan and adjust for the fall. And just like that, our phones and emails were flooded by families seeking alternative school options. The Admissions Office was available to families 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The staff executed countless virtual campus tours, sharing the value of a Webb education from a distance. Additionally, the school’s leadership team remained in communication with its current families, keeping them informed of plans for the fall. “Planning for a new school year is always important,” said Head of School Ken Cheeseman. “This year, however, as we prepared to open campus with in-person and online classes, we formulated those plans amid continued COVID-19 precautions, guidelines and restrictions,” said Cheeseman. “We developed ‘Safe Start 2020: Webb’s Reopening Plan’ to communicate the most up-to-date information to our families, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends. Being informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local governmental bodies and educational organizations, our leadership team continued to fine-tune health and safety plans and educational strategies.”
Webb’s enrollment success did not come easy. The admissions team spent most of spring and summer working remotely Webb’s enrollment success can and fielding calls from current certainly be attributed to the parents concerned about the “Safe Start” reopening plan, pandemic. Many families as well as the many campus experienced financial hardships enhancements made during due to COVID-19 and were the longer-than-normal spring/ unsure if they could continue summer break. Webb has been – Stacey Webb, parent of Hudson Webb ’27 providing a Webb education for able to provide small class sizes their child. The financial aid and large outdoor spaces that committee awarded nearly $100,000 of additional aid to current make social distancing easier. There are daily health checks, families to keep them enrolled. Despite those efforts, we still lost increased nursing staff and teaching faculty, mandated masks, many families who felt the financial impact and uncertainty was and many more safety procedures. These enhancements have too much to bear. Acceptance notifications for the 2020-2021 enabled Webb to maintain the trust of its current families, and school year were mailed out one week before Webb made the they provided the right option for many new families searching decision to move to distance learning and three weeks before for safe, in-person school options. the first stay-at-home orders were issued in Tennessee. Newly 12
2 “ 02 0 has been a unique year, but we are hap py that it led to Hudson being at T he Web b School. ”
As of mid-October, 6 in 10 independent schools were operating in-person, according to a survey by the National Association of Independent Schools. This has helped increase interest from a more diverse group of parents nationwide. The survey also revealed that 51% of private schools either maintained or grew enrollment for the current school year, and 58% reported a “larger than average” number of admission inquiries from families in other types of schools, such as traditional public schools, charter schools, and parochial schools. “We had never considered a private school option prior to 2020,” said parent Stacey Webb. “As we prepared for middle school and what that experience would look like in a pandemic, we knew our plan needed to be updated,” said Webb. “Hudson ’27 has been academically challenged but has learned study habits and processes that will benefit him for a lifetime. 2020 has been a unique year, but we are happy that it led to Hudson being at The Webb School,” added Webb.
As the pandemic continues into 2021, many families are still seeking fully in-person schools rather than online learning. Inquiries, visits, and applications for the 2021-2022 school year are outpacing what they normally are for this time of year. Adjustments have been made to the admissions process, including creating multiple virtual events for prospective families. However, experiencing The Webb School first hand is a must, so we are providing personal visits and Visit Days for small groups. Admissions staff members lead all tours, and visiting students are not allowed to visit classes. It has been an “all-hands-on-deck” endeavor. The admissions team has had to solicit assistance from many faculty and staff to accommodate the increased visits and execute the additional Visit Day events. The remaining Visit Days in 2021 are Feb. 5 and 15. Personal campus visits are available Monday through Friday at 9:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. Families interested in attending a Visit Day or scheduling a personal visit may RSVP online or call the Admissions Office at 931-389-6003. The Webb School is seeking students who display an excitement for learning and are committed to personal integrity. The deadline to submit early decision applications and financial aid or scholarships for the 2021-2022 school year is Feb. 20, 2021. The Webb School Magazine
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Can you discuss the strategic plan process, constituent surveys and goals in preparation for future advancements and improvements to be executed by the board of trustees, you, your leadership team, and others? One of the marks of a successful school is perpetual introspection and growth. As we begin the strategic planning process, we want to make sure we ask ourselves what our students need to thrive in the future and what we need to do now to ensure their flourishing by reflecting the mission and Enduring Understandings. To do this well, we must seek and understand the perspectives of our alumni, faculty, parents, students, and Board and use those important perspectives to inform our planning for the future success of our students and school. To accomplish this, we have hired a consultant, Beruria Cohn Novich, to lead us in surveying our people and understanding the results of their input. Even as we are awaiting survey results, we know we want to grow the school to approximately and consistently 75 students in a graduating class from its most recent sizes of about 55. To achieve and sustain this growth, we must enhance and improve our physical plant and other infrastructures. These improvements will allow us to add more summer programming, as well as enhance schoolyear programming. As we grow, we want to not only protect the close-knit relationships between students and faculty, we want to strengthen and enhance them. Additionally and relatedly, we want to strengthen the quality of our boarding life by augmenting our on-campus, faculty team; this, too, will require new infrastructure. The future success of Webb will be strongest by inviting all of our constituents into a collaborative process of needs assessment, visioning, and execution of an ongoing planning process. I am grateful for the many voices we have already heard and the voices and perspectives we will soon hear.
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“Being an alumna, parent, and faculty member, I have a unique lens in that I have a nostalgic undercurrent as I watch(ed) my own children, Lexi ’18 and London ’24 bolster their confidence and academic abilities at Webb. I see what works well and what could be improved, then I come to work and try to expand on these ideas with the leadership team. I have a broad view of the Webb experience and see how it changed from the 90s to what we need to teach students for decades to come. The Honor Code never changes; it is the integrity of the school and student lives at Webb. If we get that right, everything else falls into place.” Sullens is always thinking about the future. “I would like for The Webb School to consider adding 5th grade. I look forward to exploring the pros, cons, and possibilities of this with Mr. Cheeseman and our team. I am asked every year if younger siblings can attend, “please”! I enjoy seeing the growth in enrollment; I believe the earlier we can instill the school values in students, the better, for the school and communities where our students reside. I also would love to see Webb partner with Middle Tennessee State University to offer more courses online for courses we do not offer. There is also a need for self-defense training before students go to college; I would love to see this become an elective for seniors. Finally, from an alumna perspective, senior survival should be required. Students should not sell themselves short .... Everything we do builds up to that week, and senior survival is the culmination of the full Webb experience!”
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able to provide a robust distance-learning experience and a safe oncampus learning opportunity.”
The facility projects would have been enough to oversee in a typical summer and were just as timely for the reopening of campus. “We completed a substantial phase one interior renovation of the Big Room (classroom building) with phase two scheduled to occur summer 2021. We also completed a much-needed exterior refurbishment of Chambliss Dormitory. With the help of Webb parents, Ruth and Gary Coonan, we were able to complete striking interior transformations of John Webb Library and the Bradley Building.” He added, “The most visible of all projects, however, was likely the City of Bell Buckle’s replacement of the water tower that stood west of Rand Dormitory for more than 80 years. The new tower is just north of the old location and features the Webb logo. So far as water towers go, I must say it is a handsome addition to campus!”
Callis said his goals are aligned with the head of school, which are to affirm the historic importance of Webb’s boarding program, bolster and broaden the school’s extracurricular programming, 14 grow boarding and day enrollment, and strengthen Webb’s
investment in a competitive, state-of-the-art physical plant. “But goals don’t accomplish themselves, which brings me to the most important goal of all – recruit, retain, and reward faculty and staff whose expertise is exceeded only by their excitement for Webb and its 150-year tradition of excellence. We have a great Board of Trustees to provide strategic guidance. We have an incredibly generous group of supporters who help fund our many needs. But it is our people – our faculty and staff – who implement the school’s vision, mission, and plans. When all three of these groups are working together, there is no goal beyond our reach.” Jim and his wife, Joann, have three daughters, Chelsea (14), a Webb ninth grader, Chloe (22), Caitlin (29), and one grandchild, Noah. “Though we are at the same school, Chelsea’s experience as a student is different than mine which affords me a broader view of how well we are executing our mission. Chelsea has been at school with me as her headmaster since kindergarten, and I think she’d tell you that being a staff child has both ups and downs but mostly, it has been a positive experience for us both. She is an exceptional young lady – just the kind of student Webb has attracted and celebrated for more than 150 years.”
Webb’s 151st senior class honored during Blazer Day tradition
Webb continued a long-standing tradition of honoring seniors during the annual Senior Blazer Day. On Nov. 10, the South’s oldest, continuously operating boarding school hosted the ceremony, and 57 members of the Class of 2021 were presented their Webb blazers. Students were given special Class of 2021 masks for the occasion and all attending wore face coverings and practiced social distancing. Ken Cheeseman, in his first year as head of school, welcomed seniors, parents, guests, and those who joined the ceremony via livestream. “It is indeed my honor and privilege to walk with this senior class, The Webb School’s class of 2021 and my first senior class here at Webb. I have already been blessed to work with and get to know many of our seniors. I am particularly indebted, as is our entire community, to these seniors for partnering with our esteemed faculty to lead our student body through the vicissitudes brought on by COVID-19. I am particularly grateful for the class’s reflection of these two Enduring Understandings:
we honor our senior class and the tradition of the senior blazer presentation. Harris related a personal story about a difficult time in her life when she was in college and noted that the outcome fulfilled something her mother told her at the time – “.... things happen for a reason.” “To all our amazing students ... if you ever find yourself feeling down or defeated by life’s challenges, I hope you will remember my story, and I pray that you will have faith ... faith that ... ‘things do happen for a reason’ and faith in yourself but also in something greater than yourself.” Harris added, “Your senior blazer represents the many tools you have received during your time at Webb -- wit, wisdom, discipline, and most importantly honesty and integrity. You have a solid foundation and the support of your family, friends, and the Webb community.” Harris closed with Ephesians chapter 6, verse 13 -- “Put on the full armor of God, to resist the enemy whenever he attacks, and when it is all over, you will still be standing.”
Each person shares the responsibility and honor of serving others. Respect for self and others is essential to a harmonious society.”
Also participating in the ceremony were Julie Harris ’95, Webb director of enrollment management, guest speaker, and Kristen Linton ’00, director of leadership annual giving, and Rhea Hyatt ’07, assistant director of admissions, who assisted with the blazer presentation. “It is an honor to be standing here before you,” Harris said. “Today
The 2021 seniors include Lane Allen, Sugri Amaleboba (Distance Learning), Christopher Bain (DL), Winter Bell (DL), Slate Bowers, Jameson Brown, Mary Bryant, Bailey Cavner, Junior Chambers, Raegan Chambers, Calvin Chen (DL), Mollie Kate Creech, Nicky Dai, Kevin Do, Shelby Dornisch, Lashae Dwyer, Leann Faour, Abbie Gallagher, Joshua Goco, Caroline Gu (DL), Sam Hastings, Dawson Hasty, Claire Hawkins, Jayden Jackson, Jordan Jenkins, Richard Li (DL), Feynman Liu, Aubrey McCamey, Shawn Mckenzie, Chaney McKnight, Charlie Mitchell, Bart Morton, Marc-Anthony Nicholson, Claire Parsons, Lan Phan, Evan Price, Abigail Pyrdum, Emma Roy, Mia Sampson, Nancy Shi (DL), Carrie Simmons, Shanice SimpsonWhiteley, Ruth Smith, Trey Snell, Vivian Sun (DL), Will Taylor, Sanai Thomas, Hudson Tucker, Olivia Tucker, Geneva Vann, Chandler Vargas, Caleb Voorhes-Fontenot, Cedric Vu, Zia Wang (DL), Austin Xu (DL), Elson Zhang (DL), and Aimee Zhang. To read more and see photo gallery, go to: https://www.thewebbschool.com/the-school/school-news
The Webb School Magazine
The head of school added, “It is my understanding that your being given the blazer today signifies our faculty’s pronouncement that you have reached an important and time-honored milestone in the development of your character and your prowess in the three A’s: academics, arts, and athletics. It is my hope and prayer that in receiving the blazer, you will commit to the pursuit of wisdom necessary to lead your generation, here and far beyond our borders, toward justice, mercy, and truth -- an intentional commitment to making the world and your sphere of influence a better place than you inherit.”
“The Learned Ladies” is fall play
million that will be offered in spring.
The Webb Company Players presented “The Learned Ladies” on the Follin Chapel Stage in November. Reservations were required as seating was limited. Masks and social distancing were required.
“Chandler has reflected our mission well by being a tireless worker who knows how to work effectively and is an accurate scholar,” said Webb Head of School Ken Cheeseman. “We are proud of Chandler and his academic prowess and his being named as a National Merit Semifinalist. I am confident he will go on to an outstanding collegiate academic career.”
“The Learned Ladies”, a short comedy adapted by Timothy Mooney from the play by Moliere was presented by special arrangement with Playscripts, Inc. (www.playscripts.com). The cast included: Cast/Character -- Maddox Sutton/Clitandre, Bailey Brock/Philaminte, Head of School Ken Cheeseman/THE NOTARY, Winston Dugdale/Trissotin, Ilana Gunther/Attendant, Nola Martin/ L’epine/Julius, Aspen Northcutt/Belise, Wes Scott-Wetherbee/ Ariste, Trey Snell/Chrysale, Mili Walton/Henriette, Ellie Williams/ Vadius/Martine, and Lucy Wilson/Armande.
Director was Ruth Cordell. The tech crew included Faculty Tech Coordinator, Michaela Gilgenbach; Faculty Assistant, Maryanna Walton; Costumes, Performing Arts Supply Company; Props, Ruth Cordell, Winston Dugdale; Stage Manager, Zoe Nicholson; Light Operator, Sophie Joslin, Kacey Calhoun; Sound Operator, Johnathon Savage; Technical Stage Crew-House Managers, Johnathon Savage, Sarah (Jayden) Anderson, Charlotte Ao, Kacey Calhoun, Caitlin Jeralds, Aimee Zhang; Makeup, Wigs, Zoe Nicholson, cast and crew.
Vargas named National Merit Scholar Semifinalist Senior Chandler Vargas was named a National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalist in the fall. Vargas of Birmingham, Ala., is among the top 1 percent of 2020-2021 U.S. high school seniors to achieve the semifinalist distinction. A total of 16,000 semifinalists were named for the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program in its 66th year. They are eligible to continue in the competition and to vie for 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth approximately $30
“Without the wonderful facilities and teachers available at Webb, I would not have been able to achieve such a prestigious honor as National Merit Semifinalist,” Vargas said. “The work ethic that I developed as a result of the relationships with my teachers, friends, and family was imperative to this award. I am forever thankful to those who supported me throughout my maturation as a Webb gentleman.”
McCamey is Commended Student in National Merit Scholarship Program Senior Aubrey McCamey of Murfreesboro was named a Commended Student in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program. McCamey received a Letter of Commendation from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which conducts the program. About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation were recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2021 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 scorers of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2021 competition by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/ National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.
Class of 2020 celebrates Webb’s 150th graduation with in-person ceremony Webb’s 50 seniors in the Class of 2020 graduated during the 150th commencement ceremony on July 11, capping an unprecedented end to the 2019-2020 school year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Family and friends joined faculty and staff in following social distancing and other safety protocols to honor the class. The ceremony was livestreamed. Among those leading and participating in the combined baccalaureate and commencement ceremony were Phil Coop ’66, trustee emeritus and former chair of the Board of Trustees; Ray Broadhead, former head of school; L.R. Smith, faculty member and chapel director; the Rev. Nolan Brunson, Bell Buckle United Methodist Church pastor, baccalaureate speaker; Anna Allison ’20, Honor Council president; Janet Linton, pianist and school choir director; Susan Mullen, violinist and school string ensemble conductor; and Nicole Taucare, dean of academics and arts. Also attending the ceremony were George Huddleston Jr. ’76, trustee; and Webb Follin III ’73, Kojo Kufuor Alumni Board president; and Ken Cheeseman, Webb’s new head of school. Student Body President Kojo Kufuor ’20 of Accra, Ghana, gave the student address during the ceremony.
Broadhead expressed appreciation to the many faculty and staff members and others who helped make the day possible and the WSPA members “who have beautifully decorated the Barton Athletic Center for this special occasion.” He added. “Last, enormous special thanks to Chadd Bridwell and Jamie Newberg (director and former assistant director of college counseling), who have been instrumental in organizing this day with the variety of safety measures to keep us all as safe as possible.”
Broadhead noted that the class of 2020 had the most unique finish to a school year in the history of the school. “Your losses have been great, and I am so pleased that we are able to gather here today to celebrate you. When you gather as a class at future reunion years, you will all remember how you spent your last two months at Webb – distantly. “We are very proud of you for all of your accomplishments. You have worked very hard to reach your academic goals, and you have been leaders on the playing fields, the courts, the courtroom (as regional champions in Mock Trial) and on the stage. Your academic accomplishments include two National Merit Scholars, Tiger Wang and Addie Stanley, many winners of national academic awards, and many very strong performances on the national Advanced Placement Exams.” Broadhead continued, “Your class is filled with talented musicians, actors, artists, and singers. The play and concerts this shortened year have been wonderful and enjoyable. In athletics, many athletes have been named to All-District and All-Region teams while working with teammates to produce competitive sports teams, including the varsity boys’ basketball team that made it to the state quarterfinals. Sadly, our spring sports were just beginning … when their seasons were interrupted. “The faculty and I congratulate the members of the class of 2020 for all of their accomplishments and for having achieved this important milestone in their lives.” Speaking about faculty members, Broadhead said that they have an extraordinary dedication to students. He added, “To the class of 2020 – if you have not thanked them already, I do hope that you will not let today go by without personally thanking those teachers and administrators who have made a difference in your life during your time at Webb.” The Class of 2020 included: Anna Allison, Arianna Boyle, Bailey Chance, Amy Chen, Kyle Clonce, Sydney Cohen, Charlee Davis,
The Webb School Magazine
Broadhead welcomed guests and congratulated the graduates saying, “With great pleasure and honor, we welcome each person gathered today at the 150th Commencement Exercise of The Webb School for the Class of 2020. The faculty and trustees join me in expressing appreciation for the presence of parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles, and friends of this talented senior class.” He added, “It is wonderful to see many members of the Class of 2020 here today, and I hope the rest of the class is joining us through livestream.”
Parents of Webb 2020 graduates were recognized. “We are very grateful for your support throughout the years, and your trust in us. And I am sure that your son or daughter is thankful for the opportunity that you have given to them,” he said.
Jael Davis, Shemar Fray, Hanna Gao, Alex Garrett, Dacey Goodwin, Louisa Greenberg, Olivia Greer, Dalton Gregory, Ella Harris, Amos Howard, Isabella Insell, Keon Johnson, Noah Jolley, Michael Jones, Zachary Jones, Firuz Khamidov, Kojo Kufuor, Max Kwarteng, Wesley Ledbetter, Young Seo Lee, Abigail Lowry, Adam McAbee, Mackenzie McKillip, Mary Okon, Vraj Patel, Hongrui Peng, Javonte Platt, Azaria Porter, Catherine Pugh, Sara Smith, Adelia Stanley, Carol Su, Nathan Thompson, Andrew Turner, Chloe Tyner, Donovan Vincent, Georgianna Wagnon, Lily Walker, Tiger Wang, Steven Wu, Rogen Xu, Alan Yang and Justin Zhu. For photos and to read more about recognitions and awards presented, go to https://www.thewebbschool.com/the-school/school-news
Arellano, Jaycie Bateman, Sara Boyd, Noah Brown, Kamiah David, Denise, Sammy ’26, Luke ’22 and Canady, Charlotte Drew ’23 Ledbetter Carkuff, Lydia Carroll, Laurel Cox, Gabriel Crisp, Ethan Crunk, Brianna Cumberbatch, Juliana Dahan, Elle Rhea Goco, Gray Hamilton, Olivia Hastings, Gracie Hensley, Kenley Johnson, Hannah Joslin, Benjamin Kendall, Katy Kilgore, Gage LeMaster, Li Tengxuan, Josef Major, Mary Margaret Mayfield, Camille McCamey, Cooper Medling, Alex Morton, Noah Murphy, Cy Nash, Aspen Northcutt, Kylie Parsons, Mai Phan, Caleb Powers, Paige Priestley, Willa Kate Shofner, Mia Smith, Sawyer Smith, London Sullens, Harry Thomas, Henry Thomas, Trey Thomas, Brooks Watson, Megan Watts, Jeff Yan, Eddie Yan and Maggie Zhou. For awards list, go to: https://www.thewebbschool.com/the-school/school-news
Upper School students recognized with book awards, special honors
The ceremony was livestreamed
Middle School book awards presented, 8th grade graduates Middle School students came together for a special ceremony on July 10 that included the presentation of traditional and special middle school awards, a pinning ceremony and the graduation of the eighth-grade class. In addition to their eighth-grade diplomas, all graduates were given Webb pins that they can wear on their senior blazers in four years. The ceremony originally scheduled for May was postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
18 The Middle School 2020 graduates included: John Andrews, Ramon
Upper school students were recognized in August at the 2020 Book Awards ceremony. The ceremony, scheduled in May of each school year, was postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Seniors received their awards at graduation on July 11. “I am glad that we are able to celebrate these achievements,” said Nicole Taucare, dean of academics and arts at the ceremony. “The Webb School is part of the tradition of some of the best schools in the nation -- the independent college preparatory school. And today we join with them in the ritual of honoring students who can take pride in their intellectual and ethical, artistic and athletic strength.”
For awards list, go to: https://www.thewebbschool.com/the-school/school-news
Chicken receives 2020 WSPA Faculty Recognition Award Jonathan Chicken, with seven years as a history teacher and currently History Department chair at The Webb School, was recognized by The Webb School Parents’ Association with the 2020 WSPA Faculty Enrichment Award. Denise Ledbetter, WSPA president, presented the award in August. The Faculty Enrichment Award is presented annually to an outstanding member of the teaching faculty who has taught at Webb for at least three years. Students and families cast votes to select the recipient. Chicken, who resides on campus with his wife, Webb Latin teacher Kelly Northrup and two children Miles and Nick, said, “I’m humbled and honored to receive this award. This is especially meaningful to me as it comes from the students, who are the most aware of all the work we do together in the classroom to learn and grow. I’m also grateful to the WSPA and Webb’s parents in general for the support and trust they place in me and in the other teachers here.” Chicken teaches World History I (9th grade), AP World History (10th grade), and AP European History (12th grade).
Webb senior Claire Hawkins of Murfreesboro, Tenn., was selected to participate in the 2021 class of Youth Leadership Rutherford (YLR). Founded in 1995, YLR is a personal development program designed to educate and enhance the quality of leadership skills of high school seniors while promoting community awareness. Twenty-seven Rutherford County rising seniors were selected
Pedigo advances to Miss Tennessee Teen Pageant Brookelyn Pedigo ’24 competed in and won a preliminary pageant in Murfreesboro, Tenn., in September earning the title Miss Murfreesboro Teen. She now advances to state in April to compete for Miss Tennessee Teen.
Jackson wins Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration (TNWHNC) Equitation Championship Jayden Jackson ‘21 and The Family Jewels took home the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration (TNWHNC) Equitation Championship at the 2020 Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration. Jackson and The Family Jewels started with a unanimous preliminary win in the 15-17-year-old Youth Division of the Celebration. They went on to win the World Grand Championship. It is the second consecutive year Jackson has won the World Grand Championship Equitation. The art of riding horseback, is judged by the pair of horse and rider, demonstrating all three gates, a pattern, tack and equipment, proficiency with the rule book, and the ability to answer questions about the horse’s anatomy throughout the competition. Jackson
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Hawkins participating in 2021 class of Youth Leadership Rutherford
based on merits through an application and interview process conducted by the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce. In addition to enhancing leadership skills and increasing awareness of the community, the objectives of the program are to provide students with a practical understanding of major challenges and opportunities facing Rutherford County, and to enhance the educational experience of its future leaders. YLR consists of seven program days from October through April, and graduation in April.
won the Equitation World Grand Championship by unanimous decision of the five panel judges along with two Other World Championship titles and three Reserve World titles at the 2020 Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration. She has had a dream career showing Tennessee Walking Horses and is a top competitor and rider with two-Time World Grand Champion, 12-Time World Champion, one-time Reserve World Grand Champion, and fourTime World Champion riding titles. Jackson was also presented a Tenda Equine & Pet Care Products $1,000 scholarship for post high school education during the Celebration.
Candy featured as News 2 Educator of the Week
Dr. Christopher Candy, a History Department faculty member, was selected in the fall as a Nashville News 2 “Educator of the Week”. He was nominated by two of his students. A spotlight was filmed in his classroom and aired twice during newscasts. Candy teaches World History II and U.S. History. A California native, he lived extensively in the United Kingdom, where he got his Ph.D. in history from the University of Durham. After several years of teaching at universities such as the University of Tennessee, he switched to teaching at independent schools seven years ago to help create the students he always looked for in his college classes. He has published articles on the English military administration of the 14th century and was featured as a historian in an episode of the documentary series “Ancient Assassins.” He is an avid reader and has two children.
Hispanic and Native American Heritage Months observed in Follin Speaker Series Mariachi Tennessee, a band led by Jose Cruz of Nashville, performed as the first event of the 2020-2021 Follin Speaker Series, an endowed program at Webb. The performance was part of Webb’s observance of Hispanic Heritage Month -- Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 – for students, faculty and staff to enjoy while also learning more about Hispanic culture. The speaker series also featured Rose McKeithen with a presentation and dance in honor of Native American
Heritage Month. McKeithen is part of the Native American Indian Association of Tennessee, Inc., and has presented at numerous universities and cultural celebrations.
Mid-Autumn Festival celebrated The Mid-Autumn Festival was celebrated on Oct. 1 at Webb. The Mid-Autumn Festival is the second grandest festival in China after the Chinese New Year. The day is also known as the Moon Festival, as at that time of the year the moon is at its roundest and brightest. On the festival day, family members gather to offer sacrifice to the moon, appreciate the bright full moon, eat moon cakes, and spend time with their families. In South Korea the autumn festival is called Chuseok. It honors ancestors and deceased relatives, but the holiday also serves the purpose of keeping the family together. This year in honor of the Mid-Autumn Festival and in celebration of the Chinese, Vietnamese, and South Korean students, who are such a vital part of the Webb community, two videos were presented during Feet Life. Students who celebrate the holiday were also treated with mooncakes.
Three students inducted into Cum Laude Society Three students were inducted into the Cum Laude Society in October during chapel. Those included were Chandler Vargas, Zhixing (Feynman) Liu, and Haoxuan (Elson) Zhang. The announcement of the students’ recognition was livestreamed during chapel. Garrett King, a 2010 graduate of Webb, was the guest speaker. King received a BA from Vanderbilt University in 2014, a master’s degree in health economics from Vanderbilt in 2015, and a law degree from Vanderbilt in 2018. He is currently a healthcare investment banker in Nashville, where he specializes in healthcare mergers and acquisitions. Latin Teacher Kelly Northrup is the society’s Webb sponsor.
Webb Chinese families gather for evening in Beijing and Zoom meeting with Head of School Webb Chinese families were guests at a fall special event that included a Zoom meeting with Head of School Ken Cheeseman, Dean of Academics and Arts Nicole Taucare and Director of College Counseling Chadd Bridwell. The dinner and other activities were hosted at the Grand Hyatt Beijing. Those who could not attend in person joined the event by Zoom, and all were invited to submit
questions to be fielded during the Webb presentations. Other Webb staff members participating included: Director of International Programs Daiva Berzinskas and Dean of Students and Residential Life Jon Bloom. “What a gift to me to be able to see and talk with our Chinese families,” said the new head of school. “I am grateful to Olly Wang ’09 and new parent Michael Qi, who helped organize the event, and all of our Chinese families who joined us. I am looking forward to the day when I can be with them in person, both here on The Webb School’s campus and in China.” “I was really glad to help organize the 2020 Webb China Event,” said Wang, former Webb Alumni Board member, who spearheaded the evening in Beijing with Qi, parent of Leo Qi ’24. “I feel the event was especially meaningful to the new families. A lot of them said to me that they were completely new to Webb, to the U.S. education system, to distance learning, and to other members of Webb families.” Qi added, “As a freshman parent, I really appreciate the event held by the school. It was a great opportunity for us to know more about the actions and attitudes from the faculty, which encouraged everyone to go through this special year of 2020. It is very important for us to know all the school faculty members are standing with us and supporting everything they can.”
Qi wins Chopin open Leo Qi ’24, a distance learner in Beijing, China, won first prize in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei province competing in The 5th Chopin International Youth Open in Beijing. He played the following pieces: Chopin Op. 10 and No. 12 Revolutionary.
The Webb School inducted members into the Sawney Chapter of the National Honor Society in October. The announcement of the students’ recognition was livestreamed during chapel. Pamela Seals is NHS faculty advisor. The society was founded in 1921 “to create an enthusiasm for scholarship, to stimulate a desire to render service, to promote worthy leadership, and to encourage the development of character.” The Webb chapter was founded in 1974. The new members are 12th graders: Slate Bowers, Bailey Cavner, Mollie Kate Creech, Nicky Dai, Abbie Gallagher, Bart Morton, Emma Roy, Carrie Simmons, Ruth Smith, Chandler Vargas, Caleb VoorhesFontenot; and 11th graders: Helen Allison, Jacqueline Bain, Zoe Nicholson, Pratham Patel and Brooklyn Shepard-Wheelon.
Service of Lessons and Carols livestreamed The Webb Community was invited to a Virtual Service of Lessons and Carols in December. Because of COVID-19, the traditional Service of Lessons and Carols could not take place in person. A recording of the service featuring faculty, staff, and students was available for streaming on Dec. 10 and was also available on The Webb School YouTube channel.
String Orchestra presents Virtual Orchestra Project Webb’s String Orchestra program, under the direction of Susan Mullen, completed its first Virtual Orchestra Project, which is a way for all students both on-campus and distance learning to participate in the performance. Students worked on the music together but submitted individual videos, which were then synced and edited by a sound engineer to create the final product—a rendering of Johann Pachelbel’s Canon in D. For video, go to https://www.thewebbschool.com/the-school/school-news
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Those attending in person or by Zoom included the following Chinese students’ families – XiangChen “Leo” Qi 9th, Yuhan “Mia” Jin 9th, Ruoyan “Daisy” Wang 10th, Chenyu “Steven” Zhang 9th, Shanshui “Gerry” Zhao 9th, Hanyuan “Jack” Zhong 10th; Boxuan “Michael” Dong 10th, Kenneth Hou 10th, Yufei “Fay” Tong 10th, Ziqi “Zia” Wang 12th, Yaotian Zhang 11th, and Bingyi “Maggie” Zhou 9th. Also attending was alumnus Olly Wang’s wife Lisa Gao and Eddie Zhuo, father of Tommy Zhuo ’19.
Students inducted into National Honor Society
Bell Buckle Webb Water Tank dedicated The Town of Bell Buckle celebrated the completion of the new Webb Water tank on The Webb School campus on Oct. 12. State Rep. Pat Marsh and State Sen. Shane Reeves attended and congratulated Mayor Ronnie Lokey and other officials. Webb Head of School Ken Cheeseman participated in the ceremony. The new tank is part of a rural initiative program by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee to improve the Town of Bell Buckle’s water infrastructure. This project promotes the use of new technologies and solutions to a limited number of small and disadvantaged communities willing to document and demonstrate project benefits. The Town of Bell Buckle was one of three areas chosen for the pilot program with a loan of $886,000 with one hundred percent principal forgiveness. The project consisted of the replacement of the 84-year-old Webb Water Storage Tank. To read more, go to: https://www.thewebbschool.com/the-school/school-news
Trio spearheads club holiday project for elementary students
“The day of the project exceeded all my expectations and absolutely filled my heart with joy. The weeks and months leading up to the project were some of the most stressful yet rewarding times of my life. There are hardly words to explain the overwhelming feeling watching everything finally come to life.” Mollie Kate Creech ’21, president Webb World Wide Interact Club
Creech along with Brooklyn Shepard-Wheelon ’22, vice president, and Abigail Pyrdum ’21, secretary-treasurer, created and, with Interact Club members and others in the Webb Community, carried out “The Webb School Polar Express Project” for kindergarten and first-grade students at East Side Elementary School in Shelbyville, Tenn.
The project was approved in spring 2020 and, after months of planning, came to fruition on Dec. 4 when the organizers, a train conductor, Santa Claus, reindeer and elves treated the youngsters to a time of holiday fun. The Polar Express “train trip” was staged in different sections of the East Side school gym, and classes moved through the train. Each student began with a ticket and a special bag for goodies. In the first train car, Santa Claus read “The Polar Express,” and children received a candy cane. The second car featured stations, where children could select several small gifts. The event was capped with snacks and “The Polar Express” movie in the third car. Thirty Webb students helped in a variety of roles based on the magic of Christmas theme. They accompanied the groups of children throughout the event or worked at stations offering gifts and snacks. The Webb School Parents’ Association publicized the project, asking parents to help purchase supplies, small gifts and snacks from a special online list, and competition for donations between Webb advisory groups allowed others to participate. “The students who went with us to help blew me away at how well they handled the children,” said Shepard-Wheelon. “They molded well when we had to make quick adjustments, and they were a huge part on why the day went so smoothly. I truly enjoyed watching them interact with the children. They were very playful and so sweet to them!” “My greatest challenge was designing the flow so that it was simple, all while maintaining the appropriate social distancing in an unfamiliar space with small children,” Creech explained. “I was very pleased at the way our design turned out, but it was certainly something that concerned me during the planning process.” There were other issues preparing for the event, added Creech, right up to the day before, when they learned that Santa Claus had a conflict with another event, and Luke Ledbetter ’22 stepped into the role with his brother Sammy Ledbetter ’26 as head elf. The organizers thought that several aspects of the project worked well, including an Amazon Wish List that was convenient for parents (continued on page 34)
SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS SPORTS Varsity Cheerleaders (Fall)
Varsity Girls Soccer
Varsity Football Varsity Golf
Varsity/Middle School Cross Country The Webb School Magazine
Middle School Volleyball
Middle School Girls Basketball
Varsity Cheerleaders (Winter)
Varsity/JV Boys Basketball
Middle School Cheerleaders (Winter)
Varsity Girls Basketball
Middle School Boys Basketball
Student-Athletes of the Month
VARSITY FOOTBALL TEAM
August - Caleb Voorhes-Fontenot September - Leann Faour October - Bailey Cavner November – Zethan Atwood
Student-Athletes Sign Letters of Intent Lashae Dwyer University of Miami - Women’s Basketball
Trevecca Nazarene College - Women’s Basketball
High Point University - Women’s Lacrosse
Young Harris College - Women’s Lacrosse
CLAY TARGET Team honors
Varsity Football Team makes first appearance in the TSSAA Div. II-A Region Round 1 Game
REGION 5-DIVISION II-A EAST ALL-REGION FOOTBALL TEAM Jordan Jenkins | Bart Morton Josh Goco
Football Homecoming KING and QUEEN
Johnathon Savage The Webb School Magazine
State champion in Junior Olympic skeet
State runnerup in Junior Olympic skeet
National gold medalist in senior ladies SCTP international skeet, state runnerup in Junior Olympic skeet
2nd in state IA SCTP sporting clays, 3rd in state IA SCTP skeet
Bart Morton and Leann Faour
Cheeseman is Girls
STATE CHAMPION Abby Faith Cheeseman, an eighth grader, is the 2020 TSSAA Cross Country Div. II-A Girls State Champion following the Nov. 6 state meet in Hendersonville.
Varsity team claims TSSAA Div. II-A District Golf Championship
Abby Faith Cheeseman
BROWN WINS TSSAA Div. II-A Region Golf Tournament Conner Brown
Photo Credit: Chris Siers/Times-Gazette
Webb varsity GOLF TEAM 6 th in state after TSSAA tournament
The varsity golf team closed out the TSSAA State Golf Tournament on Oct. 13, improving on the first day’s score by two strokes for a 336. The team was the only one to improve its score from the first day’s scoring and placed sixth in the state in the two-day event hosted at Willowbrook Golf Club 26 in Manchester.
SPORTS-SAFE STARS AWARD Webb receives gold award in state’s Safe Stars Initiative for Youth Sports Leagues The Athletics Department was awarded the highest level of recognition as part of the Safe Stars Initiative for Youth Sports Leagues. Safe Stars is described as “a collaboration between the Tennessee Department of Health and the Program for Injury Prevention in Youth Sports at The Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. The Safe Stars initiative recognizes youth sports leagues throughout Tennessee for providing the highest level of safety for their young athletes. Safe Stars involves implementation of policies around topics such as concussion education, weather safety and injury prevention. “As an athletic trainer, I spend most of my time working to make sure our student athletes receive the highest level of care in a safe environment that fosters healthy competition and success,” said Laken Puckett, who prepared the application for the recognition. “I am honored that Webb has been selected for the highest level of recognition by the state of Tennessee for our efforts to promote health and safety throughout our athletic programs.”
Alumni Board has a legacy after 100 years
Balancing tradition with transformation, honoring past while forging a future By Caroline Smith Pryor ’11 and Kaleb Tilton ’12, Alumni Board members
When the Association of Alumni and Former Students of the Webb School was chartered in 1920, its goal was straightforward: “to assist in preserving the traditions of the school by directing promising and acceptable boys to it, to maintain a closer touch between the management and former students as a body and to provide means by which those who are so disposed may make gifts of money or property to that end that the good work of the school may be indefinitely and permanently assured.” Since the school was still privately owned at the time, this group became the first to call itself Webb’s Board of Trustees.
In this capacity, the Alumni Board has a hand in the major ways in which alumni interact with the School – from
The vibrant involvement of today’s board is the result of a revitalization in the 2000s, when according to Bailey and Wilson Sims ’72, the group had an infusion of enthusiasm after years of turnover in the Alumni and Development office and lack of engagement with the A-Board itself. At the time, the Alumni Board and class agent program were “kind of like an afterthought” according to then-newly hired Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving (and current Board of Trustees member) Sandi Jobe Puett ’95. Alumni outreach on social media was nonexistent, and up-to-date contact info for many alums was hard to come by, especially recent graduates. From that point, the A&D staff worked with then-Alumni Board President Trey Tygrett ’88 to get the A-Board excited again, gaining momentum through more oncampus involvement, dinners at the headmaster’s house, and overnight stays in the dorms at summer meetings. A-Board members started coming together for fellowship in
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During the next 100 years, the name, composition, and mission of what is now the Alumni Board would evolve and adapt to the ever-present changes facing the school, not the least of which would be the addition of girls to those “boys” referenced in its 1920 Constitution. Today, the Alumni Board serves as the School’s working board, complementing the governing Board of Trustees. “The Board of Trustees does most of the heavy lifting where the school is concerned,” says former Alumni Board Vice President Jack Bailey ’72, “but they can’t do everything. Alumni relations is one area that can be ‘outsourced’ to the Alumni Board.”
reunion, to the Class Agent network, to coordinating special projects such as Senior Blazer Day and engaging with new Webb families. And while that work goes a long way in “preserving the traditions of the school” as the first constitution put it, a century’s worth of perspective and experience have transformed the A-Board’s purpose and given it another directive: looking toward the future.
a way that had been rare in the past: summer meetings featured WILD adventures with Brian Alumni Board - June 2019 Wofford and pool tournaments that went late into the night – and still do today. Of course, the Alumni Board underwent a transformation on paper too – rewriting the bylaws to reflect the A-Board’s role as a working board, building committees to do that work, recruiting new members who reflected Webb’s identity in the 21st Century – but the Board’s relationship-building was vital to those efforts bearing any fruit. Crucially, the A-Board worked with Class Agents to reconnect with alumni who had fallen off the school’s radar and started actively engaging with young grads from the past 10 or 15 years who had little to no contact with Webb since graduating, but who were ready to revisit the school that shaped them. Today we continue to cultivate relationships with the young alums who represent the future of the school, who are able to bring new stories to Webb’s rich tapestry.
100 years following its inception, the Alumni Board is Mike Read ’77 more visible than ever, serving as ambassadors of the school and getting involved on campus year-round. From presenting Senior Blazers in the fall to planning Reunion in the spring, A-Board members are actively involved in the school, drawing in old classmates and prospective students alike. Even in the midst of 2020s unpredictability, we’ve continued to meet virtually and carry out our mission, which would likely shock 1920s Association of Alumni and Former Students, who incidentally had just lived through the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918. Today’s Alumni Board has evolved and expanded from our 28 origins in many ways – starting with the Board’s nine women.
Mary Huddleston Earthman ’80, Jessica Delbridge Woosley ’82 Melora Wilkins Turner ’80
Still, our fundamental goal remains – we do what we do so that “the good work of the school may be indefinitely and permanently assured.” As we look toward the next 100 years, the Alumni Board has a legacy to consider – balancing tradition with transformation, honoring our past while forging a future. Surely Webb’s landscape will have changed at least as much by then as it has since 1920. But if our history is anything to go on, there will be a group of enthusiastic alumni volunteering to serve the school, Dr. John Flexner ’44 providing a voice for all alumni, ready to take a hand in the game.
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Life and career updates to keep you connected with your classmates
1960s Jack Tannehill ‘63 of Union, Miss., is retired (2012) after 44 years in the newspaper business.
Walter Manley, II ’64, recently reported two
Walter Manley, Jim Thorpe Award voter, far right, at the Home Depot College Football Awards with former Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, center, and former head of the Jim Thorpe Award, Eddie Griffin, left.
Jack Hornsby ’69 writes: “We sold our house in Sapphire Valley, N.C., and have moved to Boone, N.C., to be closer to our daughter and her family. I will continue as a Business and Personal Consultant - a servant leader who closes gaps; one who takes organizations and people from where they are to where they want to be. My services are available online/virtually, over the phone, or when needed in person. Check out my website at www.aslanenterprizes.com to learn more about what I do and the services/products I offer.”
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milestones. As founder and past chairman of the charitable foundation which created the Biletnikoff Award, which annually recognizes the outstanding receiver in college football, Walter noted that his foundation has provided college scholarships totaling over five million dollars to more than 300 North Florida high school seniors. He also is a voter for 23 college football and basketball national awards. In addition, Walter has established an endowed professorship in American studies memorializing his parents at Duke University.
1970s Members of the class of ’74 “gather” at Webb Alumni of the class of ’74 recently had a special dedication on campus to celebrate friendships that have lasted more than 45 years. Dr. David Ellis, who helped organize the virtual event, is among a group that includes Allen Wright, his sister Alice Wright Stouder, Charles Flexner, Doug Fouts, Andy Howorth, Robin Mason, Mike Powell, David Rozzell, and Quintin Stimpson. The group has been getting together annually for more than 20 years. After the first meeting, Allen composed a poem that captures the spirit of this group. They now will have a permanent bench and plaque in their honor at the Bradley Building, adjacent to the Big Room.
The Gathering Seven men gathered And as the hemlock kept watch, its boughs Brushed time aside And seven boys played
Assistance in organizing the event was provided by the Webb alumni and development office. Ken Cheeseman attended the event and remarked how proud it makes him as new head of school to “see the indelible bonds that Webb graduates have for each other. This is a special group, and this tribute will be enjoyed by our community for years to come.”
Deb Roberts Horst ’75, Centennial, Colo., recently welcomed her first grandchild. Grandson James Richard “Jack” Bland V was born Nov. 26, 2020, to Deb’s daughter Maddy and her husband. Deb’s a happy grandma.
Gilbert Gordon ’76, Cedar Hall School headmaster and middle school teacher, brought the Cedar Hall eighth grade class for a visit to campus. The group participated in an informational session and toured campus.
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Do you have an updated address or special news to share with your classmates? Please share your information for inclusion in the next Webb Magazine to: email@example.com
Irv Ashford ’87, Webb Trustee, was interviewed for the September 2020 issue of Texas Banking, a publication of the Texas Bankers Association. He was featured in the Community Banker Spotlight section of the magazine, and talked about his passion for investing in people and the community. He currently serves as the Chief Community Officer of Comerica Bank, and is responsible for the nationwide community reinvestment program. He also leads Comerica’s diversity of business resource groups.
John Valle ’89 and Stacey Earnest Valle ’90
Jennifer Fayissa ’99, third from left, recently visited campus with her nephew Elijah Fayissa and sons Ebba Fayissa and Jude Fayissa. With them are Rhea Hyatt ’07, left, assistant director of admissions, and Kristen Linton ’00, right, director of Leadership Annual Giving. Erica Wright ’99 and Adam Province ’99 of Washington, D.C., welcomed Arthur Hudson
Province, born Nov. 29, 2020.
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Evan Cope ’94 of Murfreesboro, Tenn., visited The Webb School in the fall and took a campus tour with Director of Alumni and Development Matt Wilson and Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving Jonathon Hawkins. Cope is one of the newest members of the School’s Board of Trustees.
visited campus during the summer months.
Will Arrington ’04 and Lacey Barnes Arrington of Boulder, Colo., welcomed new daughter, Riley Jo, into their family on Sept. 15, 2020.
Joe Griggs ’05 and wife, Ana, of Bell Buckle, Tenn., welcomed their third child, James William, into the Griggs family on July 31, 2020.
“If You Seek Britney”, a script by Ama Quao ’07 recently won Best Screenplay at the 24th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival. The Festival, founded in 1997, is one of the largest internationally competitive festivals of its kind.
Elizabeth Moss ’09 and Sterling Wall of Medford, Mass., welcomed newborn son, Robin Sterling, into their family on July 13, 2020.
Sarah DeLisle ’05 and Eric
Fecht were married on Sept. 2, 2020, in an intimate ceremony with family and close friends at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens in Nashville. Minister David Young from North Boulevard Church of Christ officiated. Following the ceremony, a special dinner was held for guests on Cheekwood’s Wisteria Arbor. Sarah has an undergraduate and master’s degree from Vanderbilt University and a doctorate from Lipscomb University. She is currently the Director of Programs and Operations for Vanderbilt Programs for Talented Youth. She has served on The Webb School Alumni Board since 2014. Eric is a graduate of Western Washington University. He has a master’s from Johns Hopkins and a doctorate from the University of Southern California. He currently serves as the Director of Teaching and Learning at Harding Academy in Nashville and is an adjunct assistant professor for the University of Southern California’s doctoral program.
Carolyn Goodman Henn ’06 and Dave Henn of Milton, Tenn., recently welcomed newborn daughter, Violet Ann, into their 32 family on July 21, 2020.
Chris Hoover ’10 recently received his PhD from The University of California, Berkeley.
Mary Kathryn Menck ’11 married Jesse Lee on Aug. 17, 2020. The couple resides in Philadelphia, Pa.
Pearson Lien ‘12 and Will Murphy ‘09 of Spartanburg, S.C., married on Aug. 8, 2020, in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Jami Averwater ’13, Co-Founder and Attorney at Summit Title Co., was recently named one of 24 VIP Murfreesboro’s 2020 Rutherford Rising Stars.
Dillon Dodson ’13, a resident of Nashville, wrote the cover
story for the Parade Dec. 4, 2020, edition -- “Gone But Not Forgotten: Remembering the Celebrities We Lost in 2020.”
Zach Ring ’13 married Allison
Zach Norris ’14 married
Helton on Saturday, June 20, 2020, at The Clark House in Livingston, Tenn.
Anna Adcock on Dec. 26, 2020, at Legacy Farms in Lebanon, Tenn. The couple resides in Memphis, Tenn.
Ashley E. Wren ‘14 married Adam Mansell ’14, of Nashville
Tenn., was selected as a finalist for the 2020 Nashville Emerging Leaders Award (NELA) in the Government and Public Affairs category. The finalists were announced by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and YP Nashville. NELA recognizes Middle Tennessee’s professionals younger than 40 for significant accomplishments in their career field, as well as their commitment and contribution to the community. NELA winners will be announced during the 14th annual NELA Ceremony at a date to be determined.
Paige Schoonover ’15 is attending the University of Colorado to pursue her PhD in Economics.
Courtney Sells ’16 of Livingston, Tenn., graduated from Centre College, Danville, Ky., with a bachelor of arts degree in English during the College’s virtual Senior Celebration held on May 24.
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Adam joined the State of Tennessee in 2018 as a Governor’s Management Fellow in the Office of Customer Focused Government. Adam managed the Transparent Tennessee website, the state’s cornerstone for transparency and accountability, and oversaw the development of interactive data visualizations and dashboards. He is committed to making public data easily accessible and actionable by combining integrated enterprise data with creative visual storytelling. In April, Adam was selected by Commissioner Mark Ezell to lead research efforts for the Governor’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Group (ERG) where he codeveloped the Tennessee Pulse citizen survey in partnership with the ERG and the University of Tennessee Baker Center. Currently, Adam works as a Statistical Research Specialist in the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development supporting the recovery of the leisure and hospitality industry.
Brandon Morrow on Dec. 19, 2020, at Whitestone Country Inn in Kingston, Tenn. They live in Kapolei, Hawaii. Ashley will finish a master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in May. Brandon is a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army stationed at Schofield Barracks.
Will Ledbetter ’18 and Ian Reyes ’18 were on campus and visited with Max Greenberg ’18, who worked as a development
Trio spearheads club...
associate in the Alumni and Development Office during the summer months.
and kept track of donations for award, incentive and thankyou notes. Dividing the gym into three sections helped with social distancing and organization. Segmenting the Interact Club into pods with a dedicated pod leader worked well, as the pod leaders were liaisons during the Webb advisory group competition for donations.
Lexi Sullens ’18, an Educational Studies Major, Spanish
Major at Rhodes College in Memphis, recently received the Buckman Fellowship and will participate in an American Institute for Foreign Study program at La Universidad de Seville. She will fulfill her academic goals and student teach in a local Spanish school which will provide relevant, immersive classroom experience.
Justin Zhu ’20 is among artists whose work was chosen for the 2020 Young Tennessee Artists exhibition sponsored by the Frist Art Museum in Nashville. The exhibition opened Oct. 9 and will close Feb. 7. Zhu’s 16”x20” piece is a collage completed in December 2019 and titled “Monster de ModernAncient.” The Frist website notes that the 2020 Young Tennessee Artists online exhibition is the eighth biennial presentation of two-dimensional artwork created by high school students in AP and IB studio art programs throughout Tennessee during the 2019-2020 academic year. A panel of university educators, artists, and curators select works for the exhibition each year.
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Creech is grateful that the Webb Community embraced the service project and helped in so many ways to create a special day for the kindergarten and first-grade classes. ShepardWheelon added, “I was very proud of how the day went. It was incredible to see the drawing and ideas we had come off the paper and be real.” “One little girl walked into the first section … and was just completely overwhelmed by Santa. It was the sweetest thing to experience her excitement,” said Creech. “Some of the other kids were so delighted by their own box of crayons, they completely ignored the movie and snacks and began coloring in their new books.”
“...Like A Cyclone” - Part 2 (continued from page 11)
With the exception of Paragraph #2, this two-part article is based on Son Will’s correspondence from April, 1918, through January, 1919, located in The Webb School Archives, Bell Buckle, TN.
1) Son Will letter to Phillips Copeland, Oct. 29, 1918. Webb School Archives 2) Son Will letter to Hugh Daniels, Oct. 15, 1918 3) Son Will letter to Mrs. F.M. Wise, Oct. 29, 1918 4) Son Will letter to Dr. T.C. Wynne, Oct. 23, 1918 5) Son Will letter to Mrs. F.M. Gilliland, Oct. 29, 1918 6) Son Will circular to parents, Oct. 30, 1918 7) Son Will letter to Mrs. F.M. Gilliland, Oct. 29, 1918 8) Son Will letter to O.H. Wilson, Nov. 4, 1918 9) Son Will letter to Mrs. F.M. Wise, Oct. 29, 1918 10) Son Will circular to parents, Oct. 30, 1918 11) Son Will letter to D.W. Reeder, Dec. 2, 1918 12) Son Will circular to parents, Oct. 30, 1918
13) M.L. Fugate letter to Son Will, Oct. 23, 1918 14) Son Will letter to Frank Jarrell, Jan. 25, 1919 15) Son Will letter to Mrs. J.F. Mason, April 22, 1919 Suggested reading for the Pandemic of 1918: Catharine Arnold, Pandemic 1918 Laura Spinney, Pale Rider (L.R. Smith is a longtime faculty member, teaching history and ethics and serving as chapel director. He also had a long tenure as Honors Council advisor.)
To read more, go to: https://www.thewebbschool.com/the-school/school-news
In Memoriam The Webb School offers sincere sympathy to the families.
Henry Harrison Herron Jr. ’56, Hickory Withe, Tenn., passed into the arms of Jesus on Feb. 19, 2020. In honor of aiding others, he donated his body to the Genesis Foundation for Medical Research. A memorial service was held at Hickory Withe Presbyterian Church on Feb. 22, 2020.
Frank Edward “Ed” Barker ’57, a resident of Corpus Christi, Texas, Webb trustee emeritus, passed away due to health complications on Nov. 19, 2020. Services were livestreamed on Memory Gardens Funeral Home Facebook page on Dec. 2, 2020.
Former Faculty and Staff Cornelius E. “Cory” Hartbarger Jr., a resident of Asheville, N.C., former teacher, coach and athletic director from 1963-1971, died Dec. 6, 2020, in Asheville. Groce Funeral Home, Asheville, assisted the family.
Carolyn McCall Price, former Webb art teacher from 19771981 who founded the Webb Arts and Crafts Festival, died Aug. 7, 2020. A Celebration of Life was held on the Facebook page: “Memories of Carolyn Price. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, there was no visitation nor burial service. Feldhaus Memorial Chapel assisted the family.
Anne White-Scruggs, a resident of Knoxville, Tenn.,
a potter, former pottery teacher and owner of Bell Buckle Crafts, died unexpectedly Oct. 30, 2020, at her home in Knoxville.
1940s William Preston “Bill” Murrey Jr. ’43, Pulaski, Tenn., passed away Sept. 4, 2020, at his home. A private family service was held with a celebration of his life scheduled at a later date. (Published in Tennessean from Sept. 8 to Sept. 9, 2020.)
(Published in The Commercial Appeal from Feb. 20 to Feb. 21, 2020.)
1960s Edward Joseph Childers Jr. ’65, age 73, passed away peacefully at home on July 10, 2020, in Morganton, Ga. (Published in Tennessean from July 12 to July 19, 2020.)
1970s Alan M. Horne ’71 passed away Dec. 24, 2020, in Greenville, S.C. Arrangements were under the direction of Mackey Funerals and Cremations in Greenville. No memorial events were scheduled at that time.
(Published in The Greenville News from Dec. 27 to Dec. 28, 2020)
Gordon “Buck” C. Moore ’72, age 66, of Westfield, Ind., passed away Aug. 9, 2020, following a devastating battle with sarcoma. Private services were held in Lynchburg, Tenn., at a later date with burial in the Lynchburg City Cemetery. Thomas Allen Wright ’74 of Marietta, Ga., passed away Dec. 28, 2020. Private services were held. H. M. Patterson & Son Canton Hill Chapel, Marietta, was in charge of arrangements. (See Page 30.)
Jim Lorentzen ’44, age 93, a resident of Des Moines, Iowa, died Oct. 29, 2020. Out of respect for the health and well-being of family and friends amid the pandemic, no immediate funeral was held.
William R. “Bill” Knox Jr. ’84, 55, of Denver, Colo., formerly of Florence, Ala., died Dec. 22, 2020. No funeral services were planned at that time.
Robert Edward “Bob” Anderson Sr. ’54, a resident of Owensboro, Ky., passed away peacefully at home Nov. 17, 2020, surrounded by his loving family. A celebration of life will be held in Owensboro at a date to be determined.
Munyaradzi “MC” Chihombori ’96 of Orlando, Fla., passed away Dec. 21. Services were Dec. 28 at Newcomer Cremations, Funerals & Receptions in Orlando.
(Published in the Florence, Ala., Times Daily Dec. 24, 2020)
(Published in the Des Moines Register from Oct. 31 to Nov. 1, 2020.)
To view the announcements in their entirety, visit www.thewebbschool.com/alumni.
The Webb School Magazine
Post Office Box 488 Bell Buckle, TN 37020 Address Service Requested
Webb Book Club
Join us via Zoom Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. CST as we discuss
Better Luck Next Time with author Julia Claiborne Johnson ’77
Register at www.thewebbschool.com/alumni/book-club
Save the Date
for the eagerly anticipated
Celebration & Reunion Weekend
October 2021 Dates to be announced soon
WEBB SUMMER PROGRAM Your
Summer Adventur uree Upcoming conversations include June Hall McCash, Allen Steele ’77, Erica Wright ’99 as well as a discussion about The Schoolmaker with L.R. Smith and Ron Smith.