by Zinda Foster, Upper School service learning coordinator/ student center and activities director, and Maile Wong, Upper School service learning program assistant/attendance taker
Where we choose to sit, hang out, and just chill is an indication of where we feel comfortable. Inspired and guided by Lakeside’s initiative, Our Work Together: Inclusion, Multiculturalism, Respect, we work to make the Upper School student center a place where students not only of different ethnicities, but also from different grades share an environment that is comfortable and inviting.
Music creates atmosphere and community. On dreary, grey, Seattle mornings, students warm up and wake up to the station “Mellow Morning” on Spotify featuring artist like Mozi. During energetic afternoons, students sing and dance along to Pandora 60’s, 70’s and 80’s music stations. Spontaneous sing-alongs to Aretha Franklin’s RESPECT, or the Supremes “Back in My Arms Again” are almost daily occurrences.
Food brings people together – especially teenagers who seem to always be hungry! Attached to the Wright Community Center, students often bring lunch into the center instead of the WCC. Snacks are always readily available, helping make the student center a place to gather, relax, eat, and catch up with friends (or homework)! When we think about what helps our students thrive, downtime, playtime, and community are just as vital as feeding the mind.
As we continue to monitor and improve the student center in its second year, we are always looking for other ways to bring in even more students. The student center seeks to be a place where each student feels, “this school belongs to me, and I am an important member of this community.”