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LEFT, between classes, students stroll across the Mesa, soaking up the autumn sunshine and socializing with classmates.


BELOW, following the annual Sunset Ceremony, on left, senior Dana Edwards greets freshman Taylor Chatman, while freshman Stephanie Flores waits her turn. During the ceremony, faculty and students are greeted by each member of the senior class.


OPPOSITE PAGE, from its perch in the foothills, the Cate Mesa overlooks the Carpinteria Valley and out to the glittering Pacifi c.


and changed little by little in the hands of succeed- ing headmasters. Girls joined the student body, new buildings were added to accommodate increased enrollment, Advanced Placement classes blossomed and now an environmental movement is sweeping the Mesa.


Cate’s current headmaster, Ben Williams, may go down in the school’s history for his efforts to increase ethnic diversity. Pictures on the Mesa from the early 1900s depict classes of eager young students̶all white, all male. Photos from the school today include a much wider variety of skin tones; school brochures boast 43 percent students of color. Each year $2 million is distributed in scholarships to allow students with financial needs to attend the expensive and exclusive school.


“I’ve never seen the school as diverse and well- rounded as it is now,” said Woodworth. When they leave the Mesa, diplomas in hand, Cate graduates have an impressive record of accomplishments. Alumni include E. Thayer Bigelow, former president of Time Warner and HBO; Barnaby Conrad, Santa Barbara novelist; David Crosby,


musician; Nadine Haobsh, novelist and blogger; and George Ledyard Stebbins, leading evolutionary biologist.


In 2010 Cate will open its doors for a centennial celebration of its accomplished alumni, its forward- thinking founder, its hilltop community and its hope for another successful 100 years. A massive fundraising effort surrounding the centennial is well underway now. The school aims to raise $65 million in a capital campaign to fund new faculty housing (all of which will be Leadership in Energy and Environ- mental Design certified), a waste treatment operation that will allow the school to use reclaimed water on campus, an operational fund, faculty compensation and an endowment fund that would make the school “need blind” according to Turnbull.


As Cate School moves ever forward, its trail of rich history grows. The school is hidden, sometimes for- gotten by Carpinterians, strategically pinned on a fold in the cape of mountains flowing behind the city. And it is no wonder that when Betty Woodworth describes the hilltop community, “magic” is a word she cannot resist. 


52 CARPINTERIAMAGAZINE


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