An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Aliyah L. ’22

Student Awareness Council (SAC) is an incredible community at Lakeside, and the SAC annual retreat is an experience that I’ve had the opportunity to attend three times: once as an attendee, once as a leader-in-training, and finally as a leader. SAC is a student-led group that is unique to Lakeside Upper School and organizes one to two retreats each year focusing on the topics of gender, class, and race, one in the fall and usually one in the spring.

The five student leaders and two adult leaders met almost every week this fall, organizing the curriculum for the retreat, choosing the participants, and developing our skills to be effective leaders. This time together as leaders allowed us to create a better relationship with one another, which in turn allowed us to be our best selves on the retreat.

Though I’ve been involved with SAC for three retreats, I have learned just as much each time as I did during my first retreat. Something I’ve found to be reoccurring each year is how much people appreciate a space to talk about these subjects. Lakeside has To Be Honest talks in advisories, which are beneficial for many things, but there is definitely something unique about these retreats.

Designating two whole days to such important topics that effect our everyday lives but don’t get talked about as much as they should is so meaningful. It has taught me so much about vulnerability and the ability to open up in a safe space. For me, these retreats are special because they are student-led, allowing free and comfortable sharing which really encourages the conversation to get deeper than it otherwise would. SAC has helped me build some of my greatest friendships and has given me memories and experiences that I carry with me every day.