An Independent School • Grades 5-12
Traditions that battle winter doldrums
Traditions that battle winter doldrums

by Betty Benson, Upper School assistant director 

Certain traditions that feel like staples to the Lakeside community are relatively new, as students and adults constantly come up with new ways to keep learning lively. A few of these newer traditions have taken place this winter or are in line to take place shortly, helping all of us battle the winter doldrums.

Coming back from winter break, our first community gathering at the Upper School was the fourth annual faculty/staff vs. seniors basketball game. It was hard-fought, with the lead changing throughout the game. It was so exciting that five extra minutes were added to the clock! Just enough time for the faculty/staff team to take back the lead and hold it. The final score was faculty/staff: 22, seniors: 19, allowing the faculty and staff to maintain their winning streak four years running (in case you are counting, the adults have won every year). It was great to see so many students and colleagues of all skill levels putting themselves out there and engaging with each other. What a way to come back from winter break!

Other winter-doldrum busters include the new tradition of the senior scream, which marks the end of first semester. On the last day of fall term, all 12th graders gathered on Red Square to let out a collective release of all the stress and activity of the fall in the form of one, simultaneous scream. Cathartic at the least, the senior scream is a moment of bonding for the class and marks an important turning point in the school year: Everyone has made it to spring semester, dark days are on their way out, and sunshine and new growth are coming. With the start of the new semester comes the senior run through, a tradition since 2000, during which seniors run through campus dressed according to a festive theme chosen by the class, showering everyone with candy. Another awesome and fun way to celebrate the beginning of the home stretch. This year the theme was paparazzi, and the students – both those running around in black lugging cameras, as well as those watching the seniors celebrate – had a blast.  

Students are always thinking about innovative ways to build community and have fun. This year Student Government adopted the idea of an all-school lip dub. Recording of this all-school lip dub is slated for May Day morning (another beloved tradition!). So, in addition to all of the festivities of the day, students can look forward to immortalizing the fun and energy that characterizes the spring term.

It is my firm belief that with the help of these activities we will all come out of these winter months with the vigor needed to have a great spring!

Important February dates and events

February is a short month, but full of important (and fun) things. Make sure to keep an eye out for emails about GSL trips, and check out the online calendar for events hosted by college counseling and the PGA (including an important one about suicide prevention and training for parents and guardians).

Wednesday, Jan. 30 – Saturday, Feb. 2: Upper School musical, "Newsies" is on stage.  Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday shows start at 7 p.m. in St. Nicholas Hall. Entrance is free.

Visual art students exhibit during the Midwinter Arts Show, with evening hours in the Pigott Family Arts Center on Wednesday, Jan. 30, Thursday, Jan. 31, and Friday, Feb. 1, from 6-7 p.m..

Friday, Feb. 1: Students' course signups are due by 3 p.m. for the 2019-2020 school year. You can find the slides from curriculum nights on the parents and guardians webpage, under Important Documents.

Wednesday, Feb. 6: Novelist Jesmyn Ward will deliver the Mark J. Bebie '70 Memorial Lecture. She'll speak to students during the day – we encourage parents and guardians to attend the free evening lecture at 7 p.m. in St. Nicholas Hall. Learn more and RSVP on the lecture series webpage.

Monday, Feb. 18 – Friday, Feb. 22: Midwinter break! No classes. Students return the following Monday, Feb. 25.

Betty Benson is Lakeside's Upper School assistant director. You can reach her at or 206-440-2968.