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MAKING A MARK: Newport News family shares three generations of excellence

A top student, a long-time teacher and a famous mathematician -- roots of greatness run deep in the Webb family.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Former Heritage High School student Michael Webb is well on his way to becoming an electrical engineer.

"I love building Lego's and just building. So, I just love creating things -- but not in a[n] artsy way, but more in a technical way," said Michael. "So, electrical engineering, it just came to me. It was my calling."

Michael graduated high school in June. He was third in his class with a 3.9 GPA.

"I wouldn't be here today, as successful as I am now, without my support system. They guide me through everything."

A major part of his support system is one special teacher, Michelle Webb -- Heritage High’s 2021 Teacher of the Year, and Michael’s mom.

"You know how Pinocchio had Jiminy Cricket? She's my Jiminy Cricket," said Michael. "She's my constant. She's always showing me right from wrong."

"This is something that our family was built on -- education," said Michelle, "and that it means more than just being smart. It means who we are."

And if you're not yet convinced greatness runs in this family, NASA 'Hidden Figure' and Congressional Gold Medal recipient Dorothy Vaughan is Michelle's grandmother.

"She was there to support us and give us confidence in learning," said Michelle. "She always stepped back out of her own level and made you feel important, made you learn the concepts on your own with her guidance. So, you understand that, again, knowledge is yours."

So, when it comes to excellence, the apples didn’t fall far from the tree.

"To have all of our ancestors' lessons taught to us, to see their lessons and their ambitions and their love and hope and dreams come through [Michael]... was phenomenal," said Michelle.

Michael is now a freshman at Old Dominion University, pursuing a degree in electrical engineering. Michelle is in her 21st year of teaching at Heritage High School.

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