by Bernie Noe, head of school
Happy summer, everyone! I hope you are all finding some time to relax, set work aside, be with family and friends, and just enjoy being in the moment!
Killian and I have had fun finding some new places to run in Seattle this summer, and we have been babysitting and pushing our 4- and 7-month-old grandbabies in their strollers while their parents take a break. This is a joyful new part of our lives! We have also been packing up the house that we have lived in for 23 years, which has been fun and a walk down memory lane! It is amazing how much junk you can accumulate in 23 years — who knew you didn’t need to save every art project your child made?
As most of you know, this coming year is my 23rd and final year at Lakeside. Having observed over the years what Lakeside School potentially can be for our students and how you, as parents and guardians, might help or hinder your student’s process, I want to share my reflections.
- Lakeside can be a school where students begin to discover who they are meant to be in this world, a process we all want for our children, both as young students and throughout their lives. There is no single mold that everyone here must conform to. To take full advantage of this opportunity, students must take courses they think will be interesting to them and also explore athletics, the arts, clubs, service, or whatever appeals to them. And it’s very important that they do not think only about how something will look on their résumé or college application. They, and you as parents and guardians, must have the courage to let this exploration unfold. Guide them, but let it unfold. You will know intuitively when you are no longer guiding but directing. The more directing you do, the less your student will discover. This will take some courage on your part, so hang in there!
- Lakeside can be a school where our students make some of their best friends in life, so we all need to give them the time to do this. We are not always great about making time for social connections at school, and we are working on that. Parents and guardians, you can help at home: You will know the balance when you see it between too much and too little friend time. This is as important as study time.
- Lakeside can be a community, rather than just a school, for our students if they put their time and energy into being good community members. This means taking responsibility for life on campus for everyone, not just themselves: opening doors, cleaning up messes (their own and even those of others), reaching out to people beyond their immediate friend group, being respectful of all, caring about the common good. I think the best at-home training for this is expecting them to be good family members who do the same things: finishing chores, helping with younger siblings, etc.
- Lakeside can be a school where students experience being of service to others and what that experience might mean to them. We have dedicated staff at Lakeside who will help students find opportunities that will make the most use of their gifts and also facilitate self-discovery. Again, students should engage in service because it is the right thing to do – not because of how it will look on their résumé or college application. It would be great if you at home could ask your students what they are doing to help others, talk about your own service, and consider doing service as a family. All of this will impress on them that their service matters to you, which will matter to them!
- Finally, Lakeside School can be a place where students learn the very important lesson that life is not all about them but rather about whether they will make the world a better place for others. We need to work more on this at school by telling them less often about how smart and special they are and asking them more about what they are doing for others. I think doing the same at home would be great.
We will, of course, be working this year to provide every student with a creative and dynamic academic education, holding them to a high standard of ethical behavior, asking them to adopt a global perspective, and nurturing in them a respect for all people. And we will be working as hard as we can, along with all of you, to make sure the school is all that it can be for every student.
I look forward to a fun, in-person, productive year of working with all of you in the education of your students!! And I will see many of you on campus at games and performances! Please come over and say hello if you are nearby.
And enjoy the rest of the summer, everyone.
Head of School