The Pursuit of Excellence

In 1935, Margaret Lee Chadwick founded an open-air school in her San Pedro home with only four students, two of them her own children. Through the generous donations of land and buildings from local families, the Palos Verdes campus of Chadwick Seaside School opened a few years later with 75 day and boarding students.

In 1935, Margaret Lee Chadwick founded an open-air school in her San Pedro home with only four students, two of them her own children. Through the generous donations of land and buildings from local families, the Palos Verdes campus of Chadwick Seaside School opened a few years later with 75 day and boarding students.

Seventy-five years strong, the Chadwick School remains an educational beacon of the community, educating more than 800 kindergarten through 12th grade students yearly and resonating Mrs. Chadwick’s belief that every child has innate talents and interests and that the role of school is to discover and develop this individual potential.

“We believe that our core values of respect, responsibility, honesty, fairness, and compassion are best fulfilled by accepting an active and informed role in the world at large,” said Chadwick Headmaster Ted Hill. “One of the ways we encourage students to explore that role is through our community service program. Through a wide range of weekly and monthly volunteer opportunities, students are able to evaluate the quality of their own lives and determine a sense of their capability – and responsibility – for improving the lives of others.”
Hill noted that while the service program is not mandatory and no credits of any kind are offered, nearly 100% of the Upper School students participate before graduation. The program is currently directed by Becky Noble, a mother of three Chadwick alumni and a Hermosa Beach resident.

According to Hill, Mrs. Chadwick frequently used the word “habituate” to describe the direct experience – in the classroom, athletics, the arts, community service, outdoor education – in which each student was openly encouraged to participate. “She expected Chadwick graduates to be thoroughly prepared not only for college but for life thereafter, a life in which they would make positive contributions to their community, both locally and globally.”

Rick Learned, class of 1962, knows first-hand the benefits of a Chadwick education. He tells people he’s had three or four, starting with his own four years, becoming a board member and being mentored by others, watching his daughter’s experience at the school, and for the last five or six years forming a close working relationship with Hill and seeing him employ Mrs. Chadwick’s vision.
“It’s not just about where you go to college, it’s how the person you become shapes your college experience,” Learned shared. “I see it in my daughter every day, in the choices she’s making for her continuing education and future career.”

Much has changed at the campus, even since Learned ceremoniously threw his cap into the air. In 1963, Mrs. Chadwick retired after 28 years of service, and the first Board of Trustees was created.

Five years later the boarding program was discontinued to adjust to the needs of attending students. In the 1970s the school received its charter as member of the Cum Laude Society and introduced an outdoor education program. The last two decades have seen the completion of two important facilities, the Pascoe Pavilion gymnasium and The Geoffrey Alan Laverty Center for the Performing Arts.

As the school celebrates an important milestone, Hill noted many exciting developments at Chadwick. “As part of our 75th anniversary celebration, we will enjoy numerous opportunities to engage our alumni and both the Chadwick and the greater community in the life and history of the school,” he said.

This year also marks a major addition with the founding of Chadwick International School, an independent co-educational, non-denominational, K-12 school located in the newly created Incheon Free Economic Zone, also known as the International Business District (IBD) in Songdo, South Korea. Hill looks forward to taking advantage of the remarkable opportunities for students and faculty with this founding, and in Mrs. Chadwick’s own words, to “meet present problems with courage and intelligence.”


HONOR ROLL

Chadwick has educated many well-known alumni over the years. Here’s a short list of some notable attendees:

Lindsay Davenport, tennis pro

Brandon Lee, martial artist and actor

Liza Minelli, singer and actress

Aida Mollenkamp, chef

Andre Dean Nystrom, author and journalist

Maureen Reagan, first daughter and Alzheimer’s spokesperson

Jann Wenner, magazine publisher

Peter Zuckerman, author and journalist

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