by Betty Benson, Upper School assistant director
This month marks the 100th anniversary of Lakeside School. In our centennial year, we look back on the trials and tribulations that tested the institution and fostered learning, growth, and strength of character, and solidified the importance of valuing community, along with the victories and triumphs that marked noteworthy progress encouraging our predecessors to press on. The hundred-year story of Lakeside is authored by you, me, and every other person who had the privilege of being part of this community.
Each day we spend together on this campus adds to the canvas that will portray the image of Lakeside School in the 100 years to come. What do you want that image to be? Your actions can either add to the beauty of the image or take away from it. In each moment and in each interaction you get to choose what your contribution will be. Were you a steady shoulder to lean on during difficult times? Did you endeavor to give to the community more than you received from it? Were you an anchor of integrity, empathy, compassion, and respect amidst waves of selfishness, apathy, entitlement, and disregard in a tumultuous climate?
What will the stroke of your brush on the canvas of Lakeside’s next 100 years add to the image? What story will you leave behind? Today is our opportunity to choose and each day after for as long as we have the privilege of being part of this community. I say our opportunity because our community expectations are for the entire community and each one of us has a part. I want to read a couple things to you:
“Just as even small acts of academic dishonesty and personal discourtesy erode the conditions that promote learning, so every action that affirms consideration, integrity, and inclusion builds the ethical spirits that contribute to the kind of community we seek.”
“This we believe: The actions of each Lakesider can reinforce our commitment toward what we value: academic excellence, diversity and inclusion, and global engagement.”
Raise your hand if that sounds familiar, if you’ve heard those before. All of your hands should be up as the first is from our statement of community expectations document and the second is the message that always accompanies our mission statement. The “this we believe…” statement is my favorite because it marries our mission with the expectations set forth in our community. For life is really the sum of our choices and the story that sum tells about each one of us.
We know that we cannot change the past, but we can shape our pasts by having the courage to be thoughtful and intentional in the choices we make today. The start of another school year always leads me to reflect on why I teach and why I am an educator. At the core of my passion for working with you all is this truth, my truth: I firmly believe that one pebble of true and genuine compassion and care for another thrown into the lake of humanity can turn into a ripple effect of good deeds, great and small.
The time and opportunity is now and the choice is yours. Let’s commit today and each day following to make choices that we will be proud to look back on, whether it is in one year, 10 years, or 50 years. As Lakeside looks back on 100 years of choices, let each and every one of us endeavor to add, today, depth of integrity, strength of character, empathy, respect, and unity to the canvas so it depicts yet another bold, beautiful, and awe-inspiring image; one that is worthy of celebration in the next centennial. With that I’d like to welcome to the 2019-2020 school year – a year to be proud of.