An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Bernie Noe, head of school

Head of School Bernie Noe shared the following with Upper School students, faculty, and staff at the final Upper School assembly on June 5.

I want to wish all of you a great summer. I hope you all have some time to rest, relax, and just be at peace … I know that none of us wanted the year to end this way, but you all did a great job adjusting under often difficult circumstances.

I want to congratulate the senior class. You have been one of the best senior classes to go through this school and I have great respect for the leadership you have provided for the Upper School. A time of crisis can reveal one’s strengths and one’s weaknesses; in your case seniors, it revealed your strengths: support for everyone in the Upper School community, kindness toward all, service to others outside our school community, and leadership in building a more just and equitable school and country.

As we end school, I know that all of you are hurting over the murders of George Floyd in Minnesota, Breonna Taylor in her apartment in Lexington, Kentucky and Ahmaud Arbery as he jogged through a white neighborhood in Georgia. You must be asking: How can we end systemic racism in America – systemic racism that is lethal for African Americans. What will it take for our laws to give justice for all, regardless of race? How many more innocent people of color will be killed before we end this racism?

I want to say to our students and faculty of color: It is intolerable that you should feel unsafe because of the color of your skin. To all of us on this Zoom call who are white: We have a responsibility to understand our own privilege and how that privilege plays out in the world. Being white in America is like always playing home games where the fans are for you, the referees are friendly, and where you feel like you have a pretty good chance of winning. We who are white need to examine our own behaviors, and especially the privileges we take for granted, and make sure we are working toward creating a more just and equitable world for everyone, and not just preserving our own inherited privilege.

To everyone: It is our responsibility to change an unjust system using whatever ability and influence we have with whomever we have it: parents and guardians, trustees, relatives, and friends. At school, I will spend time this summer with my administrative colleagues looking at how we do things and making sure Lakeside School’s policies and practices are equitable and just.

Thanks for listening everyone, and again have a restful summer. I will see you all in September.