An Independent School • Grades 5-12
March at the Middle School: A packed month!
March at the Middle School: A packed month!

by Ted Chen, Middle School assistant director

I always hope that students find personal connections to what they study. When this connection exists, students are more likely to engage fully in their learning. As a result, they dig deeper, ask more questions, acquire new skills – like interpreting and vetting information to solve a problem – and can transfer what they have learned into new settings.

These are some of the goals of the SPARC project that 8th graders do in their personal development class. SPARC stands for Student Passions Applied to Real Causes. During this project, students brainstorm different issues that exist in the world and choose one that aligns with their passions. They research their issue, choose a "personal actional step" to spread awareness, and develop tangible steps that people can take to help address it.

For example, Devon C. '23 chose to research homelessness in Seattle and present it to a 7th-grade advisory in a 15-minute interactive lesson. During her presentation, she discussed why it was an issue in our city and then outlined specific steps to address the issue, such as how to volunteer, donate, and restore humanity to those who are homeless. Through this project, younger students get to learn from (and look up to) older students in the school, and 8th graders have an opportunity to engage in authentic, meaningful work, furthering their understanding and investment in not only their learning, but also their commitment to the community. It's just one example of how Lakeside students are tackling real-world issues as part of the educational program here.

March dates to know

It's a busy month! Please see the full calendar for information about arts and PGA events, as well as the athletics calendar.

  • The Middle School musical "Guys and Dolls" has been rescheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 27 and Thursday, Feb. 28! The shows are free and take place at 7 p.m. in Evans Theater.
  • Director of College Counseling Ari Worthman recently emailed about an event for all Lakeside families. While the college process is off in the distance, we all realize that planning for the cost of college is on many of your minds. The Funding a College Education program will take place on Wednesday, March 6 from 7-8:30 p.m. in Evans Theater, and will be presented by colleagues at the Smart TrackTM College Funding Program. As Ari wrote in an email sent on Feb. 14, "by planning sooner, even as early as middle school, there are steps you can take now to increase your college savings, lower college costs, and maximize your financial aid potential."
  • The third dance, for 7th and 8th graders, is on Friday, March 8 from 7-10 p.m. in the gym. At the same time, we hope that parents and guardians of 7th and 8th graders will join Middle School Director Elaine Christensen in the Middle School dining room for the next in our ongoing series, Let's Talk About...Stress. That conversation begins at 7:30 p.m.
  • Join me and Elaine for a Q&A with administrators on Tuesday, March 12 from 2:30-3:30 p.m. in the dining room.
  • Fifth graders leave for their outdoor trip! They'll leave for the Olympic Peninsula on Wednesday, March 13 and return on Friday, March 15. Parents and guardians will receive information via email.
  • The PGA Rummage Sale is the weekend of March 16 and 17 – it's a fun Lakeside tradition and a great fundraiser for the school. Bring your friends and consider volunteering at the sale itself. 
  • Lakeside's Middle and Upper school choirs will join together for the third annual Sing Fest on Monday, March 18. The performance starts at 7 p.m. in St. Nicholas Hall at the Upper School.
  • Current 8th grade families: Don't miss the 9th-grade curriculum night for current 8th-grade families on Tuesday, March 19. Upper School administrators will introduce the Upper School curriculum and an overview of the decisions rising 9th graders are making when choosing courses for next year. It takes place on the Upper School campus, in Kent Evans Auditorium, which is in Allen Gates Hall (the science and math building). The program begins at 7 p.m.
  • On Wednesday, March 20, the Lakeside Lecture Series brings environmentalist and former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to campus to deliver the Dan Ayrault Memorial Lecture.  Learn more and RSVP for the evening event.
  • Parents and guardians of current 7th graders are invited to Welcome to 8th grade/GSL Night on Monday, March 25. We'll talk about the academic, developmental, and co-curricular aspects of 8th grade at Lakeside, as well as introduce the weeklong GSL program that occurs in the fall. The optional reception (with food!) starts at 6 p.m. and the program and activities go from 7-8 p.m.
  • Middle School photo day is on Tuesday, March 26. Students will receive packets at school.
  • Finally, please note that the Middle School Community Night: A Celebration of Lakeside Families has been postponed, due to the recent snow days. The new date is Friday, March 29. Watch for more information from the PGA.

As always, please let me know if you have questions or want to check in for any reason!

Ted Chen is Lakeside's Middle School assistant director. You can reach him at 206-440-2721 and