An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Sebastian A.’19, Upper School student government president

Hello – my name is Sebastian, as you all now know – and welcome to Lakeside. For those of you in 5th grade and for those of you in 9th grade, you are at the beginning of a journey that is something of a cross between a roller coaster and a countryside trek – scenic, but there’s a nonzero chance that you will feel raindrops and headwinds along the way. Taken altogether, it is a time of many new experiences that will challenge and change you.

When I first came to Lakeside, freshman year, I had what in hindsight was the foolish idea that I would exist in my own little bubble. That I would make acquaintances and participate as required while keeping my private core intact. It was my nature, I think, to be on the shy side and it took a while for me to accept the openness our school encourages. Be a part the bigger picture that Lakeside embodies and embrace its inclusiveness as early as possible.

School is many things. What it is not is some event to focus on study at the expense of everything else. I am the last person to undermine the importance of schoolwork, and I won’t deny I’ve worked well into the morning on more than a few occasions. For all you in middle school and preparing to start high school, worry not: it will all be great in its own way. Stress is a fact of life when the grind never stops. But do have fun with it.

You will meet many new people at Lakeside. Friends to whom you will want to get closer and teachers that will inspire you. My advisor, Ms. Asaka, one of the greatest people I have ever had the pleasure to meet, has taught me many a life lesson across my Lakeside years. . . Many will tell you that your time here will go by in the blink of an eye. And while in hindsight that may be true, it certainly doesn’t feel that way churning out an essay at 1 a.m. People will tell you, if they have not already, that these are the happiest years of your life – where the full weight of responsibilities as an adult have not quite settled in and your parents are still steering the ship while you take small excursions to have your own fun. Happiness – particularly in school – is to no small degree a function of how well you connect with others. Strive for that connection. Please. It will make your time at Lakeside all the more extraordinary.

Take the chance to live a little. Do sweat the small stuff along the way and have fun doing it. Stress is super a-okay and so is downtime with your dog on a Sunday afternoon before finals week. Just don’t let either of those define you.

To everyone, but especially to you 5th graders, to you 9th graders: Look to your right. Look to your left. Say how-do-you-do. We are all growing up together. Welcome to the good old days. And have a great year!