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Ready for Middle School

The mission of the Lake and Park School states:

The Lake and Park School provides an environment in which the elementary child’s authentic sense of self is realized through the collaborative partnership of teacher and child.

Upon graduating children are:

  • Confident and able to solve problems

  • Sensitive and responsive to one another and their environment

  • Critical and original thinkers

  • Compassionate and engaged in the community

  • Emotionally aware

  • Independent risk-takers with a sense of social justice

  • Practiced in the democratic process

  • Comfortable in their autonomy

The day before graduation the graduates take a break on the stage.

At our first outdoor graduation in June 2021 the graduating students once again shared their thoughts on their school experience at Lake and Park and each in their own unique way highlighted and demonstrated the mission of the school. I invite you to read through these reflections and take note as you see examples of young people who are moving on to middle school with these qualities and understandings.


Courage by Anastasia

I am originally from Colorado. I moved here when I was 8 years old. I didn't know what the future held so I was nervous to move here. But it actually was just the right path for me to become the person that I am here today.

When I came here I wanted to sing for people and express my feelings. Lake and Park gave me an opportunity to express through dance with the Migration performance. The first time I sang an original song to a large audience was with the Norse Mythology play.

Afterwards I was terrified but I felt so happy that I actually did it. After I actually sang the song I felt the most courageous I ever felt because the surprising thing is people liked my song. It is hard to explain but the feeling is like a thousand butterflies kissing your cheek. And after I feel so powerful because I made something that at the time I loved so much.

A lot of other people did too. I want to thank Morgan for letting us sing and Quynh for making time for our practice. So thank you so much for helping and being supportive.

Now I have the courage to stand behind the podium to share my speech to you all today. Thank you Eileen for helping me with my speech. Thank you Camille for being the best director and an amazing teacher for the kindergarten and 1st grade.

Thank you Kim for making this tough year great with your amazing sense of style and sense of humor alongside with your great teaching skills. Thank you Andy for being the fun athletic teacher and movement supervisor. Thank you so much for giving me the best 3 years of my life. Thank you so much Lake and Park. Thank you for helping me get more excited for the future.

Thank you for giving me the courage to be me.


The lessons I have learned at Lake and Park by Caroline

Hello everybody, I'd like to start off this speech by acknowledging one thing, everyone on this street right now is the same species. That species, for a fact, is Homo sapien sapien. I wouldn't have had that knowledge if I hadn't gone to Lake and Park.

That takes us right into the first thing I like about Lake and Park and that is all the diverse units of study. Ranging all the way from botany to constellations to Norse mythology to the number zero.

But my favorite study I have done during my time at Lake and park would be U.S geography. That will come as no surprise to any of my classmates or anyone who I beat in Around the World.

Some of my earliest memories from Lake and Park are my first interactions with some of my friends. Friends are important because they are people you can trust and that support you even when you feel down. I have made many friends over the years at Lake and Park, many of them I will stay in contact with even after we all move on to middle school.

I'd like to end this speech by saying thank you. I'd like to thank all of my teachers and my classmates for being so caring and supportive. And as I go on to a new school with new teachers and new kids (and a new group of people to impress with my knowledge of U.S geography) I will always remember the lessons that I have learned at Lake and Park. Thank you!


Onward and Upward by Devin

Seven years ago, I came to Lake and Park and met my teacher for the next two years, Camille. When I came I was surprised at how open everything was. The Beginning Room was awesome! I never had so much freedom with what I could do. I had the opportunity to try new things like blocks. We went to new places like Horton Hill and Mt. Baker Park. One of the most fun things was Quiet Time. I liked that it was quiet, it helped me concentrate on what I was doing. I could draw, play with animal figures, or solve a puzzle. I learned that I like working quietly with music playing in the background.

Then I moved to the Big Room. I met Morgan, my teacher for the next three years. When I was with Morgan In the Big Room, we didn't just do math and read books we got to do so much more. I was so excited we continued to use blocks in the classroom. We also read cool stories from around the world. We acted out books and created plays to perform for the Lake and Park families.

I was so excited to move into the north room with Quynh. I loved 4th grade. It was my favorite year. We learned about early humans, read scary stories and had awesome adventures. When we wanted to learn more about a topic we were free to look for information by ourselves.

Fifth grade has been an amazing year. I learned to sew quilts by hand and with a sewing machine. I designed and sewed a quilt for my mom and I found it relaxing. I realized that spending more time on a project will create something that I'm proud of.

I'm really happy I got to come to Lake and Park. I've been taught so many skills I needed to learn like how to finish a project without constant help. Lake and Park has also taught me how to improve things when I think I am done. I'd like to thank everyone that has helped me over my 7 years at Lake and Park. I'm really sad I have to leave. I've had such an amazing time here.


Friendship Over the Years by Lola

I remember the first time when I walked into Camille's class. I saw all these kids drawing, building with blocks, and playing dress up. It was my first day, and I didn’t know anyone. I felt shy. I went to the blocks first, but I didn't talk to anyone. I just built in silence. I decided that I wanted to make a friend so I went to the dress up area and I saw a girl with pigtails. I walked up to her and introduced myself. It was my first time introducing myself to someone I didn’t know and it was scary. She told me her name and we became best friends.

I’ve made many friendships over the years. Some friends are here right now and some have graduated or moved on.

In my time at Lake and Park, I learned to connect with other people. I’m not afraid to express myself. All my friends are kind and sweet. We are all so chatty, and they helped me communicate without feeling like I’m gonna mess up. We make each other laugh and I learned to not be scared to get to know new people. Thank you to all my friends for being there for me.

I would like to thank Camille for teaching me how to read with those little red books and letting us play with dress up. That was my favorite thing about the Beginning Room.

Thank you to Morgan for being one of my favorite teachers and helping me through all the tough work and telling us how to stick up for ourselves. Thank you Kim for working with the North room for my last year of Lake and Park and making math really understanding and you really make my day when I see your colorful hair. And I want to give a huge thank you to Quynh for being the best teacher anyone could ask for. I love how supportive you are and how you always love helping people. I will miss being in your class but I am sure to visit when I have time. And now a thank you to all the teachers. I know this is the only school I have been to but it is the best school ever.

Thank you Lake and Park for the best 7 years of my life!

Thank you mom and dad for making these 7 years possible.

Goodbye Lake and Park!


Helping Me Grow by Noe

Hi, I'm Noe. My goal is to become an artist. I might want to do digital art, posters, stickers, maybe social media. Lake and Park has helped me grow in my academics so that I have a better chance of that. People are nice and everyone is supportive.

I want to thank my teachers and friends for encouraging


I want to thank my parents for bringing me into existence. For giving me time and space to draw. For my mom for sharing her love of cats and for my dad accepting more cats into his life.

Thank you.


Arrival Without Exit

by Owen

I came to this school in the fall of 2018. Most people already knew each other, and I felt like an outsider.

In my first year, I started to learn one of the key things that Lake and Park taught me, how to make friends who were my own age. I will take that with me. I always liked learning, however the quantity and diversity of the topics that we do here at Lake and Park surprised me. One of the most interesting topics that year was the Invention of Zero, which I had never thought about. We really kept learning about it even when it felt like we knew everything and I learned a ton. I’m still impressed with the topics the teachers can come up with.

In year two my favorite study was the study of owls. If you don’t know, my favorite animal is the owl. I thought I knew everything about them, but as we dove deeper, I discovered otherwise.

Anyways, our next study was Norse Mythology. At first I was not happy about it because I didn’t know what the heck it was, and I thought it was Native American Mythology, which, at the time, I wasn't very interested in. However, once we got into it, I loved it. In the final play, I got to be a narrator, which was really fun and amazing.

After it was the pandemic. It was so out of the blue, and I had never heard of a pandemic for the most part. Even though we weren’t really in school, I still learned something: no matter what stands in the way, I can always try to find a way to get around it.

Now, the past year at Lake and Park. I got even better at making friends. I think I started to reach out more this year, and I will keep doing so.

Sometime in the middle of the year, we started to play dodgeball during recess, and I stayed as the only person in the game for 2 minutes straight until my team got a jailbreak. Before, I had thought of myself as an unathletic person, but my as teammates praised me for keeping them afloat, I felt better about it. This year has been a different one, but still enjoyable.

And now, we are back to the present, where a 11 year old kid who doesn’t want to graduate is giving a speech with only 135 words left, about an awesome school to an audience of parents, students, and an epic 5th grade teacher who is crying as she watches her students leave.

Thank you all so much. Teachers, students, parents, and friends alike.


Beginning With Strangers, Leaving With Friends by River

I will introduce myself, but I am fairly sure most of you know who I am. I’m River. How about I tell you about the year where one of my most supportive, truly kind friends joined the school? It’s my second grade year, I’m 7, I’m excited for the year to start, and we are all on the carpet in the big room. You know who you are, mysterious friend. This person is up here with me right now, actually. We pretty much all knew each other, but one person is new. We figured out that her name is Caroline, and we also figured out pretty quickly that she likes cats. Anyone who knows me will know that I’m kind of bossy. But I usually have good intentions. Anyway, one of the first times I met Caroline, I said “get me some paper.” No “hello.” No “nice to meet you.” I just really needed paper, I guess. We drew together a bit. I didn’t see her drawing, but, knowing Caroline, I’m pretty sure it was a cat. After that, we became pretty close, and now she’s one of my best friends. Lake and park school is a place that gives you lifelong friends.

So, you’ve heard about my second grade year. I think one big thing about this story is that I’m the same assertive kid I was in second grade. I continue to be demanding, but I am just doing what I think is right. I was not always like that though. When I came into Lake and Park, I would look at someone and think that I would like to be their friend, but I didn’t know how. So I wouldn’t even try. I wouldn’t talk to them that much unless I knew them. If I knew them, I would completely open up and be who I am today. Lake and Park gave me the space to be who I am.

Going into a different school is going to be hard. It was always going to be a little hard. But now I know how to be myself around other people, which allows me to make true friends. When I came to Lake and Park, I walked into a room and saw strangers. Now I leave seeing friends.

Lake and Park crafted my life in a huge way, and I could not have asked for better teachers or friends. So thank you, Lake and Park, for being my safe space. Thank you to Quynh for teaching me to be more flexible. Thank you to Kim for teaching me to put myself out there and be comfortable with doing that around anyone. Thank you to Morgan for teaching me to work with what I have and make the best of a bad situation. Thank you to Camille for teaching me how to make lifelong friends. Thank you to Andy for teaching me to be more enthusiastic and confident about what I do. Thank you to Eileen for teaching me how to express myself in writing. Thank you to all the people who supported me. Thank you to my friends. Thank you for making me, me.


Finding My Voice by Sophie

Lake and Park is a really special place for me because I have some of the best memories and friendships here.

I can remember my first day. I was super shy. But soon I made friends with everyone. Being in the Big Room with Morgan helped me be open to new ideas. Every study we did was new to me. I learned that I wanted to know more. I have met so many amazing people during my years of Lake and Park and I will never forget them!

Then I was in Fourth grade with Quynh. It was a great learning year for me. Because we got to try even more new things I have never tried. I really love how Lake and Park can make you feel comfortable when you do anything. I loved all the games we made up and I loved the freedom the teachers gave you when doing a project. That year I really started to say what was on my mind.

My final year rolled around. But this year was weird. I did mostly everything at home because I couldn’t be around the kids at school because it was too big of a risk for my family and me. I have been back for the last couple of weeks and have enjoyed it a lot. It felt welcoming and refreshing to come back.

Lake and Park is where I found my voice. I can say now that I have more courage to speak up and share my opinions. I liked sharing my ideas because then we could work together and make our ideas come to life. I am so happy that I had a chance to build the skills I have now.

I will definitely take away the things I have learned. If you asked me last year if I was ready to graduate I would have said yes. But I really wasn’t. This year I can say confidently that I really am ready.

I can’t give all the credit to Lake and Park though. My parents played a big factor in my learning. They sent me here and of course they taught me many of the most important things I will ever need to know.

I want to end this speech with a thank you to Lake and Park and to all the teachers, students, friends and my amazing parents for making me the person that stands in front of you today. Goodbye Lake and Park!


It Gets Easier by Tillie

When I first came to Lake and Park 7 years ago I felt nervous, leaving behind my little close-to-my-heart preschool where all my friends were. Now, I have many school memories from Lake and Park. My recollections range from effervescent, to melancholy, and everything in-between.

I’ve grown so much in my time here. I’ve learned that working with a partner is helpful. As I’ve heard Quynh say “two minds are greater than one.” You can brainstorm together, build off each others ideas, and hear their perspective that might be different from yours. You can collaborate on projects and create strong relationships with your classmates. Lake and Park taught me that it’s important to work as a group. I'm proud that I learned team-working skills. I know it will help me for a very long time.

And sometimes it’s necessary to work by yourself. From time to time it is uncomfortable to work alone. It can be hard because you might be stuck or not sure how to start. My advice to you is to keep going. Persist! If you keep at it, it gets easier. Remember a teacher is always there to help you.

Lake and Park helped to build up my strengths. I feel strong when I care for myself. I am optimistic. I can calm myself. I can help others calm down. I can help others that need me. I can run my fastest, I can have endurance. And that I can do anything that I put my mind to.

Thank you Andy, Bruce, Camille, Charlie, Chris, Eileen, Elizabeth, Grant, Kim, Kristina, Leslie, Marian, Maudie, Morgan, Quynh, other Quinn, Samar, Sofia, Thomas, Tibor, and Tom.

Thank You so much Lake and Park. I will always miss you. Thank you.

The Lake and Park Class of 2021 ready for Middle School.

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