An Independent School • Grades 5-12

The 2021-2022 academic year kicked off this week with orientations designed to welcome new students, thoughtful and fun bonding activities between classmates, and a spirited and welcoming convocation.

On Tuesday, students new to Lakeside Upper School were greeted by faculty, staff, and senior leaders for an orientation to the school and their classes, while new Middle School students were welcomed by their teachers at orientation on Wednesday. The focus on student orientations is to help students navigate the campus, find resources they need, and, most importantly, get to know their teachers, advisors, and fellow classmates.

Upper School classes officially started on Wednesday, with seniors, saying “howdy” in Western wear, welcoming new students by tossing candy as they were dropped off in Red Square. After an extended advisory, the full Upper School student body, faculty, and staff gathered in The Paul G. Allen Athletics Center for a welcome from Upper School administrators, followed by grade-level bonding activities.

Middle schoolers arrived on Thursday morning, greeted by old and new friends, teachers, and advisors. After a day of community time and introductions to each new class, the entire community came together at a sunny convocation on the Middle School athletics field. Eighth grader Sarah C. welcomed the entire school and reflected on her time in the community. She noted “Lakeside has made me what I am today, and for that I am grateful. … It will change you and challenge you, and every single person in the audience is happy with that.”

Sarah was followed by Upper School student government president Mikaela B. ’22, who encouraged students to make the most of the 2021-22 school year. “Take the time to really remember the memories we’re creating and feel truly grateful for our adolescence,” she urged her peers.

Head of School Bernie Noe spoke next, welcoming the entire school community, grades 5-12, and particularly the 172 new students spread across all the grades and the 26 new faculty and staff. Of the new students, he shared, “you have been characterized by those who recommended you for admission to Lakeside as positive, kind, determined, humble, empathic, confident, collaborative, thoughtful and strong leaders.”

Noe’s speech shared what he believes matter in life, particularly during middle and high school. He drew on his own reflections from turning 70 this summer, becoming a grandparent, and his 22 years as Lakeside’s head of school. He encouraged students to focus on four areas: developing strong friendships, becoming a good person who does the right thing, remembering that all people are as special as you, and being a good community member who prioritizes the common good. Noe closed by saying, “It is a privilege to be in community with all of you. Let’s all help each other this year work on what matters: being the best people we can be as individuals and in community with one another.”

Noe was followed by the captains of the Upper School fall sports teams, who led the student body in the Lion Cheer. Convocation closed with the Class of 2022 creating a human tunnel to usher out the much-smaller members of the Class of 2029, a tangible reminder of the growth that occurs over the course of a student’s time at Lakeside.