An Independent School • Grades 5-12
Why I remain optimistic
Why I remain optimistic

by Bernie Noe, head of school

I hope you are all feeling ready for the 2017-2018 school year! As is the case every year, once the new school year begins everyone will quickly be back in their school routines and launched into the new year. By mid-September, teams will have been practicing and playing for weeks, clubs will be well underway, and classes will be substantially into their course content.

Personally, I love this time of year. It is a time of new beginnings, an optimistic time.

Set against this background of optimism I do, however, want to write to you about a topic of serious concern. Given the violent and abhorrent demonstration by neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, several weeks ago, and the subsequent lack of moral leadership by President Donald Trump in response to those events, I want to share with you some of the work that we have been doing at Lakeside.

I can only imagine the impact of these anti-Semitic and racist demonstrations – and other occurrences this spring and summer - on our students of color, Jewish students, Muslim students, and others who have been targeted or marginalized. All of us at school will work especially hard at the outset of this new school year to make certain all of our students feel safe. We are committed to creating an environment where racist, hateful views are not part of anyone's experience.

Lakeside is a mission-driven institution. And a core part of that mission is sustaining a school in which individuals representing diverse cultures and experiences instruct one another in the meaning and value of community. Given the current national climate, we are more committed than ever to creating an inclusive school where every student and every adult feels known, respected, and valued. We are a statistically diverse community but we are not yet a multicultural community where all students and adults feel they can bring their full, authentic selves to school every day.

This year we begin a new phase of our work toward becoming a multicultural community. All of us, individuals of all races and backgrounds, will need to be focused and intentional in this endeavor. We will share more about this work in the months to come.

Events in Charlottesville were traumatic for the country. We saw prejudice and hatred on display in a way that many thought was no longer possible. Yet we at school remain optimistic about the future because we are educators: We know the power of education to change hearts and minds.

As we have done in the past, we will continue to do our utmost to educate students of moral depth and character who will stand against hatred and exclusion in all its forms. The measure of Lakeside School is the students it graduates into the world, students who we hope will make the world a more just and equitable place for everyone.

Enjoy the fall, everyone. I will see you at games, back-to-school nights, performances, or other events.

Sincerely,

Bernie

Bernie Noe is Lakeside's head of school. Reach him at bernie.noe@lakesideschool.org or 206-440-2714.

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Trevor K. at
Thanks for this, Bernie. I'm proud to see the school isn't sheltering students from difficult issues, but rather seeing those issues as opportunities to build real awareness and mutual respect. If today's students are to help our society overcome hatred and exclusion, they'll need that experience. I'm excited to hear more details about becoming a multicultural community!
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