An Independent School • Grades 5-12

The 2020-2021 academic year kicked off last week with orientations designed to welcome new students, thoughtful and fun bonding activities between classmates, and a welcoming virtual convocation.

On Tuesday, new Upper School students were welcomed at a virtual orientation, before those new to the Lakeside community gathered for an on-campus orientation to the school and their classes, led by senior leaders, faculty, and staff. New Middle School students were welcomed by their teachers at grade-level orientations on Tuesday and Wednesday. The focus on student orientations is to help students feel comfortable as classes begin, find resources they need, and, most importantly, get to know their teachers, advisors, and fellow classmates.

Upper School officially started on Wednesday in a remote model, with seniors adapting the candy-tossing tradition by mailing welcome packages to 9th graders. Students, faculty, and staff began the day with a welcome from Upper School administrators – see Assistant Director Betty Benson’s speech on the importance of relationships – and then reconnected during an extended advisory.

Thursday marked the first day of Middle School remote classes, with students gathering in advisory groups before a day of community time and introductions to each new class. The entire community, grades 5-12, then came together at Lakeside’s first virtual convocation. Akal S. ’25 welcomed the community to the new school year, and spoke of reasons to celebrate, even in an unusual and challenging time. Akal was followed by William M. ’21, Upper School student government president. William reflected on applying the values and service mindset of Lakeside’s Global Service Learning program at home this year. Head of School Bernie Noe concluded the program again welcoming the entire school community, and particularly the 154 new students spread across all the grades and 19 new faculty and staff.

On Friday, both the Upper and Middle schools hosted “Back-Thru School” supply pick-ups. Families picked up everything from lab kits and yoga mats to art supplies and musical instruments. One student perfectly summed up the event, telling their parent, “That is what love feels like, that was the best ever.”

Enjoy photos from the week in the following slideshow.