by Bernie Noe, head of school
Happy spring, everyone! I hope you all are enjoying the longer days and warmer weather!
Over the years we have wondered about the lasting value of a Lakeside education on our students and whether the mission of the school – which emphasizes academic excellence, diversity and inclusion, and global citizenship – lived on in the lives of our students after they graduate. So this year, for the first time in my 19 years at the school, we sent out a survey to alumni in 10 of the most recent graduating classes (2007-2016) and asked them 15 questions about their lives. We sent the survey to 1,060 alumni, and nearly 400 responded with answers to the questions, including writing more than 100 pages of comments in response to the open-ended questions. Below is some of what we learned.
Of these young alumni, 83 percent strongly agree or agree that their time at Lakeside influenced their choice of college major or further studies, and 39 percent are involved in some sort of service activity once a week or once a month. Almost 100 percent pursue learning for fun—reading, listening to podcasts, attending lectures, and so on—and 80 percent agree or strongly agree that they stay informed about global events. Ninety percent said they try to help family, friends, and neighbors in their communities when they need help. They rated commitment to others as the quality they most admired in others, followed by insightfulness, sense of humor, and creativity. They ranked living a meaningful life as most important in their own lives, followed by having strong relationships, being an ethical person and being joyful (tied), and, dead last, achieving financial success. And 75 percent agree or strongly agree they do their best to live balanced lives.
In their current lives, 94 percent of young alumni interact with people from a variety of backgrounds, and 50 percent of alumni report their friend groups are diverse. And finally, 87 percent are likely or very likely to recommend or describe Lakeside School as a school that positively impacts the life of its alumni beyond their high school years.
We looked at whether people's races or ethnicities might have impacted their responses, and survey results were consistent across all groups.
I do not want to place too much weight on any one survey, but I will say I am encouraged by the results of this first one. We now have empirical evidence that our mission to "develop in intellectually capable young people the creative minds, healthy bodies, and ethical spirits needed to contribute wisdom, compassion, and leadership to a global society" is living on in the lives of our students, as is our mission to sustain a school "in which individuals representing diverse cultures and experiences instruct one another in the meaning and value of community and in the joy and importance of lifelong learning." All in all, this is pretty cool, folks! I view Lakeside's contribution to the world as the students we graduate who will go out and make the world a better place for others, and we are seeing that happening in the lives of our young alumni.
And current parents and guardians, I hope you find it encouraging that our young alumni left Lakeside with a commitment to service, a love of learning for its own sake, an appreciation for living in a diverse society, a commitment to a global society, a desire to help their communities, and an appreciation for the need for balance in their lives!
I look forward to seeing many of you at school events in May and June. But if I do not see you in the next few weeks, have a great summer, everyone!
Bernie Noe is Lakeside's head of school. You can reach him at Head'sOffice@lakesideschool.org and 206-440-2714.