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Columns by Ernie W. Webb III

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In the magazine
December 2012 magazine cover

Blake Bryant grew up in a small town (Independence) in southeast Kansas, chose Washburn after a happenstance visit and was Homecoming king by the time he left. Now working in Admissions at Washburn, his story was profiled in the Winter 2012 alumni magazine

Read the magazine

Webb: Going old school with future Ichabods at Burlingame High

By Ernie W. Webb III

“How do you make your head so shiny?”

What a great question. It was my favorite during a November trip to Burlingame, Kan., to talk to the middle school and high school students in the town’s school district.

Ernie W. Webb III as a sophomore at Burlingame High in 1991“What’s it like to have Mrs. Curtis as a mother-in-law?” was a close second. (I’m marrying Mrs. Curtis’ daughter in June.)

Just a couple of the highlights during a presentation about my journey from small-town teen (that's me on your left as a 15-year-old sophomore at Burlingame High School in 1991) to Washburn, then newspapers in several regions and finally back to Washburn as a media relations specialist.

I was impressed how tuned in the kids were (probably had more to do with promising free T-shirts if they were quiet while I spoke) as I talked about Washburn and how it paved the way to a career in journalism.

That the students knew so much about Washburn was even more impressive.

“My dad went to Washburn, he loved it,” said one eighth-grader, who asked for an Ichabod license plate to give to her father.

Another question, this from a high school student still trying to decide where to go to college: “Why did you choose Washburn? What was the deciding factor?”

“Quality and comfort,” I replied. “Not only was it a wonderful education, but it felt like home. Not long after I started, I could walk into any of my classes, and every teacher knew my name and how I was doing in that class. If I needed their help, they were there. … It was a lot like going to school here in Burlingame.”

It’s why so many students from small towns like Burlingame end up at Washburn: quality and the environment. It’s why an alumnus like Blake Bryant, profiled in the December 2012 magazine, opted for Washburn the first time he visited campus.

“I felt like I could do what I did in my hometown – everything,” he said. “It looked like it was going to be a great experience, and it exceeded my expectations.”

When the presentation was finished, Ichabod T-shirts, beads and necklaces were proudly displayed by several students, many of whom you’ll see on campus in the next few years.

As for the answer to the first two questions in this column: 1. “I’m bald, so it’s natural.” 2. “Having Mrs. Curtis as a mother-in-law is awesome (she was watching the presentation, after all).”