An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Mikaela B. ’22

Good afternoon Lakeside, and a huge welcome to the 2021-2022 school year! For those of you I have yet to meet, my name is Mikaela B., and I’m currently serving as your Upper School student body president. It is my honor to be up here and see all of your faces in person. I must say, it is completely mind-boggling to see all of us, sitting together as a full community. I am sure that it is not the first time you’ve heard something along those lines, and it surely won’t be the last, but I truly believe it’s important to recognize the things we used to take for granted every chance we get. Things that didn’t necessarily seem to matter, until we found ourselves sitting at home in quarantine, making whipped coffee, spending hours on Zoom, and dragging ourselves away from our desks to take yet another family walk — believe me, what a time. 

With that said, I am grateful to see the 5th graders, about to start the most extraordinary journey of their teenage years, sitting next to the seniors, looking back on this extraordinary journey, and wondering where did the time go and why are fifth graders so short? Or in my case, why are you guys so tall? I think all of us can agree that the days are long, but the years are short. So as we begin this remarkably normal school year, I want us to make a promise to ourselves. A promise to stop, as often as we remember to, and absorb the moment. Take the time to really remember the memories we’re creating and feel truly grateful for our adolescence. Our generation is nothing short of exceptional. We survived a global pandemic; we continue to ruthlessly fight for social justice; we care about others before ourselves; we work tirelessly on our passions; we are constantly redefining social norms and changing society; and we do all of this for the betterment of our futures. Our constant grind is something to be proud of, but now more than ever, we must not take our time together in the present for granted. 

When I was a middle schooler, I didn’t think anything of the small moments I had with my peers. But looking back, I’m nostalgic for the collective groan in the girl’s locker room when we found out we were doing fitness testing or a “figure eight.” I’m nostalgic for putting temporary tattoos on each other during the sunset of my 6th grade outdoor trip or stargazing every night on GSL. I slowly learned to really appreciate these moments together in high school, especially after the isolation that came with remote learning. Through all of the grey, rainy mornings and sleep deprived days, it’s the time I spent with my classmates, my teachers, and my friends that will stay close to my heart. I will never stop cherishing the pure serotonin of sitting with friends on the field during the few weeks of spring sunshine, the late night facetimes knowing how exhausted we’ll be the next day, those days in class where we’ve somehow arrived to a full discussion on flying Ubers, or the time I was hiding behind Pigott with my history class as we played a full campus game of sardines. It’s the people we surround ourselves with that make these tiny moments the biggest source of happiness. Our Lakeside community is so incredibly special, and it’s a waste to forget that we have each other to make memories with as we become young adults. So go hang out with your friends, have another picnic on the quad, send that text saying hi — crave for the connections we lost this past year and make up for it.

We don't have forever on the Lakeside campus with the people we love and grew up with, but this promise to stop and recognize how lucky we are and how good life can be makes our years here at Lakeside last that much longer. Because soon, what will last forever, is a collection of memories that you can trace back to this school. When we are out there continuing to change the world, we can look back and know we spent this short, short amount of time at Lakeside perfectly. So live, take this year by storm, spread as much love and happiness as you can give, and take as many memories as you can get. Have an absolutely amazing year Lakeside! I am so happy to make the most out of it with you all.