An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Peyton M. '19

Senior Peyton M. spoke at the Seattle Area Alumni Reception on March 13. Following is an excerpt from her speech.

I have been at Lakeside since 5th grade, meaning that I am nearing the end of my eighth year as a Lakeside student. During my time here I have played volleyball and basketball, participated in plays and musicals, and helped lead things like the Bellas and House Assembly. I have had so many wonderful experiences at Lakeside – too many to condense into a few minutes. So, I thought I would give you all a snapshot of what my senior spring looks like, by sharing with you the ups and downs of last Friday.

My Friday starts with scrambling up the stairs to the second floor of Moore, where I am greeted by Mr. Doelger who has just turned off Mozart at 8. Chip Mehring stops by and tells us that on our trip to Canyonlands National Park, we should prepare for delicious meals of minute rice and powdered milk. Doelger interjects and imbues us with a piece of wisdom that somehow relates both to making dinners on Quest, and also how to live a good and fulfilling life. How he does it is a mystery.

At 8:55, it is time for Geopolitics and Game Theory in Bliss Hall with Mr. Dunkin and Ms. Kyle. Twenty-two students gather around the oval table and prepare for a game of Kahoot, a low-stakes online quiz tool, to review the previous night’s homework, which all of the seniors in the class have definitely completed. We sit around the table, on the edge of our seats, and engage in a playful game that still manages to bring out the intensely competitive side of us all.

For third period it is off to a House Assembly planning meeting, where the house leaders of Trudgian, Holcenburg, Nordhoff, and Auslander are gearing up for the final house assembly of the year. One of the events we plan is a “teacher starter pack” game, in which students will be presented with a collection of images and quotes, and will have to guess what teacher they are inspired by. For example, the “Tom Doelger Starter Pack” will include stuffed animals, vintage cars, a cup of coffee, and a blue suit jacket.

Next it is off to the St. Nicks theater for drama class, where we are preparing for our senior showcase. Before class I meet up with my friend John and we take advantage of the empty theater by rolling out the piano and singing a little song. The set of our winter musical, Newsies, has just been cleared away, so the stage is all ours. At the start of drama class, Alban Dennis gives us a “one word check in” and asks us to each share, “something you would fight for.”

During lunch, the Bellas, Lakeside’s female acapella group, meets on the steps of the chapel in red square up for a quick run-through of our set. We snap, step, and clap along as we move through our songs. As I walk from that meeting to Allen Gates, someone calls out my name and I turn around to see a senior who I don’t really know. “I came to your Real Talk,” they say, referring to the speech I had made to the school a month before. “And I wanted to tell you,” they continue, “that I respect you.” They smile, turn around, and start walking to the library before I can reply. What a lovely thing to say, I think to myself. Respect. Not like or enjoy or admire, but respect. My heart feels light. That person has quite simply made my day.

Sixth and seventh period draw me into the warmth of Allen-Gates, and to the classes of Organic Chemistry and AB Calculus. Mr. DeGrys starts class with a pun about benzene rings that I laugh a little too hard at. Upstairs, Mr. Platt starts math class with a puzzle that was once a problem on a Japanese test for entry to the first grade. I don’t solve it.

Next is Latin. As I walk to Bliss I mentally prepare myself for a difficult class, however, I find that I am smiling before I even enter into Bliss 211. Someone has made a remark about how long the homework was, and Mr. Reiser has responded with one of his signature witty remarks, this time about the importance of learning how to be resilient. Latin feels, like it always does, as I imagine Ancient Rome to have been. Full of fear and anticipation, but also exciting in all its intensity.

Now, you may not remember every single detail from one day of your senior year, but you surely have those few moments from your time at Lakeside that really stand out. I have moments from this year that I know will never leave me. They are, for whatever reason, a part of who I am.

For me it was the moment when I set a ball to my younger sister Catherine in a volleyball game, and watched her get a kill, then heard the announcer say, “And there are the M____ sisters with a set and a spike!”

It was the moment right before I took my final bow during the run of the musical and my friend Will looked me in the eyes and said under his breath, with a smile on his face, “Are you ready?”

It was the moment following my Real Talk when I finished the speech, and looked into the audience to see my best friend, who swears he has never cried, with tears in his eyes.

I don’t need any photographs to help me remember these moments, because they don’t exist just in my mind. They exist in the mind of my sister, and Will, and my best friend…I cannot wait to be where you all are, able to reflect and re-connect more deeply than when you’re living your senior year. But I know that when I graduate this June, Lakeside will continue to exist in me just as it does in all of you.