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What is known in the mind was first known in the hand.

Every June at Lake and Park the graduating students share highlights of their time at the school with the community at their graduation. This year, the school's twentieth year, Camille Hayward, founder and teacher, gave the commencement address prior to inviting each graduate to speak. Following Camille's remarks, read on to hear from each graduate.

The Lake and park School Class of 2024

It is a tradition  that I do not hear the graduates' speeches until this day when each moves from being a “Lake and Parker”  to becoming an alum of Lake and Park.

This is my first time to address a graduating class.  

Like you,  I prepared by writing and practicing a speech for this moment.

And I know that you will not have heard what I have to say ahead of this occasion, either.

I wonder if we will comment about the same things. 

I wonder if what resonates with me as I think over your individual and collective experiences at Lake and Park resonates with you, as well.

Thank you for taking the time to do just that–to look back over your experiences and to consider what they meant to you then and what they may mean to you today.  

I look forward to hearing from all of you  this morning.


I will go back in my memory to the first days you entered Lake and Park.  For Lilah Wahl it was in our newly established Very Beginning Room with teacher Quinn Slotnick. 

I remember that  Rye Booker, Daisy Kroll and Jacob Bergeron all arrived as Beginners, as did India Osebold and Rex Delaney.  

(It might be that there is a corollary–just as you children probably have distinct memories of your first encounters with this place, what the room looked like, a classmate you remember,  so do I and so do the other teachers – we have our own snapshot memories of when each of you first made an impression on us–when we  saw you find your name on your cubby,  when we met you with your family at the September  Meet and Greet.)

The  Very Beginning and Beginning Room are good starting places for many children, 

but the age  a child enters varies.   It has varied for some of you sitting in the audience and listening to me.    A different starting point–age wise, or school experience wise may determine where you began.  But, no matter what age you are or were in any given year, you are settled within a class grouping we call a “cohort of your peers”.  Those are people you can work with and learn with and play with. 

 Each year, the groups are rearranged and children who were younger children may become older children, and older children may become younger children.  Within different activities, there are times to be leaders and times to be learners.  That is the plan.


Each year there are opportunities to lead.  Children are leading from the Very Beginning Room all the way to the North Room.  And opportunities to follow, too.  And opportunities to work alongside as an equal, to voice ideas of one’s own and to figure out how they can be explained. 

This year the graduates:

*Learned to play a recorder with Kim Martinson–probably everyone a beginner at that task,

*Supported All School Clean,  likely, each  of you graduates grew your “leadership muscles”:

“I can encourage a younger child.  I can set an example.  I can work through hard things without giving up right away or even asking for immediate help.”

*Collaborated with other North Roomers–putting on a shadow puppet show–everyone a peer working together to create a finished project that could not be done by an individual.

Those of you who attended After Care with McKenna Nading  made the hours after the regular school day special ones.

You brought your enthusiasm and sense of humor each time you came.  

You were allowed to play a game such as Four Square  as hard as you could against other equally competitive friends, 

And  you  demonstrated how to let someone younger than you have a chance to try something new.

You may have wished on some days that your parents had not arrived just yet, that you could stay and play a little longer.  

I have seen those moments that I call “play” happen throughout your time here 

and not just at After Care or on Play Street or at the Park.

It is something that  happened every time  you “got lost” in what you were doing.

It is considered by those who think and write about these things to be the highest form of human activity–when whatever one is doing occupies the self so completely that one forgets how long something may take.  One is not tired in the doing of the activity. 

Often, whatever is being done is done with both the hands and the mind. Sometimes it may be with the imagination and the mind.   That is play.

I saw it in the Very  Beginning and Beginning Rooms when you were involved in make believe.  You may have dressed up in a costume and engaged in a lengthy conversation about what roles each person would have in the drama you were creating.   After over an hour  you would be surprised to find from a teacher that it was  time to move onto something else.  

“But, we haven’t even started to play yet!” would be a common response.

I saw it at the lake when you were working very hard to keep water flowing from the lake by means of a bucket to your newly carved out river in order to see it return to the lake again.

It  was evident during  Quiet Times when beautiful music was playing and no one was talking and no one was working together because each one of you was in “your own groove”--left alone to stack a tower or arrange a pattern and take it down or apart and do it again, maybe the same way, maybe not the same way.

I saw it as you moved to the Big Room.  

But, before that, we had an interrupted year. 

On the last day of Winterim when you were in the Beginning Room, Governor Inslee announced that all getting together was on hold–maybe a two week period?   (I remember thinking that.)  

You were Academics, then. 

I made a daily You Tube video for our group and teachers sent out lesson-at-home plans to their classes and delivered materials and you were each on Stand By–you and your parents–each morning, waiting for a certain time when a teacher–

maybe Andy Gregory

or Leslie Adams

or Marian Sheehan

or Maudie James

or me to call you.

We mostly focused on reading, with you reading aloud to a teacher because right at that time of year Academics need to read out loud every day to a teacher  to be sure that reading is moving along.

When you moved to the Big Room, you worked in a smaller cohort than Big Roomers usually do because that was the fall  that Lake and Park went back in school in person, while many places were either on line,  or perhaps offered a hybrid experience.

But not you and not us.  

You put on those rain pants and got your backpack all geared up and your parents added hot drinks and hot food to your lunchboxes and you had good sit-upons and you all went out each day for hours at a time with Eileen Hynes or Morgan Padgett.

We studied kites and the wind that September and had a kite festival at Genesee Park.

The Big Room is a two or three year experience at Lake and Park.

Andy Andsager joined  you during your second year in the Big Room when school became more of an indoor experience as everyone was getting vaccinated, children and teachers, too, Everyone was still wearing masks and we all kept the windows open all the time and made sure the air purifiers were operating as well and we all reminded one another to “hand-sanitize” all the time, too.

Rebecca Flaherty ran the Big Room.  The Big Room got very involved in block building in a particular way.  The movement of blocks was of interest.  Arranging dominoes to fall precisely became something of an art and a science,  if not an outright obsession.

Lots of children “got lost” in that.

The Big Room years were ones when many of you

“got lost” in reading. 

 In fact, that “getting lost” in reading for the first time–

can you remember the first book you read–it might have been a series–

that you fell in love with? 

I remember mine.

Ask a grown up what theirs was.

Remember yours.

Keep checking out new books until you find the next one that you will fall in love with.

And the next.

Then you moved to the North Room and I saw you “get lost” as a group more than before–”lost” in the just-glad-we-are-here-togetherness of being a North Roomer with Quynh and Marian and Eileen  and Jami and Kieran all a part of your daily experiences.  

You “got lost” in read -alouds and in games of grounders.  

Unit blocks in a dedicated block corner were not so much the thing anymore, but I know that when you thought about triangles and rectangles you had remembrances of how two small unit block triangles fit together to make a square.  

Aristotle is said to have said:

What is known in the mind

Was first known in the hand.

Maria Montessori said it this way:

What the hand does, the mind remembers.

Do you remember being in the Downstairs classroom drawing and drawing  for seemingly hours on end,  all while visiting with your friends, or painting on the easels,  some days if inspired, paper after paper?   You have now developed  a more complex  understanding of color  and a knowledge  of how to work with oil pastels and watercolors in newer ways than you did before.

Do you remember at first making marks that did not need to be named

and then drawing from your own ideas

and one day being asked to stop and look at something 

that you had never stopped to look at in that way before?

Maybe, it was an amaryllis bulb

or a sequoia

and you were putting down in words

or creating  in picture form

what you saw

when you really looked?

When you were looking so intently you were with your peers who sit next to you now but you were “lost” in the experience.  

Maybe, it was indoors, and  beautiful  music was playing

as it had been in the Beginning Room at Quiet Time

and in the Big Rpom

many  mornings during writing sessions,

And you were “at play” in a new way, doing your work

while aware of others,

but you were “lost” in your own thoughts,

your hands busy writing or drawing,

your mind caught up in your work

your inside self happy to be doing what you were doing.

That is not just the way it should be in elementary school.

That is the way it can be in Middle School and beyond.

It may take a little figuring out.

You may have to be a little open to new work

that may not at first seem like play,

but you already know that from your work here–

that  play comes in and 

surprises you–

as  you find out when solving a math problem 

that you got wrong at your first or even second go

but  you got right this time.

and now you want more problems that are hard to solve,

because of how fun it is to have to think and rethink

and tinker about with numbers on a paper.

It may not, in fact, it will not

happen all the time,

This play in work surprising you, 


you can make it easier

to find  you if you 

develop certain ways of doing things,

ways  you may  have probably heard about before now,

such as:

make the hard parts of the work 

the ones you don’t put off.

Do them first, then move on to the parts that are more fun,

more like play.  But wait–

in doing so, maybe go back 

and tweak that sentence one more time,

just as you did  when your block tower was off balance

and you were ok with building it  back up again.

That second time, it might have been a little better constructed.

When you try something new

keep on practicing

like roller skating

playing the recorder

or writing in cursive.

(And, while  this is a little off the topic, because it involves others,

 it will directly affect how you are inside,

which will effect how often you find the work 

that for you is your play:

Look for  other people who inspire you

by the way they include you, 

those  who bring everyone in and along– a hard thing to do sometimes,

a lot easier in elementary school when the ethos of the institution is

“You can’t say you can’t play…”,

but possible for each of you to do

because each of you 

has some experience in stepping in and stepping up.)


“Lose yourself”  along the way,

by making things,

and doing things,

by being alone enough to remember who you are,

by keeping in touch enough to not become isolated when alone,

by putting the phone down

and  getting involved with real things,–

getting more of those “Held in the hand,

known in the mind” experiences.

That is what all of us here,

those who  joined the faculty since you arrived

and  those who were here and moved on,

Edith Wolff and others on the school board,

your parents, your grandparents and extended families–

wish for you.

~~~~Camille Hayward, June 6, 2024

Hello, my name is Andy. During my time at Lake and Park, I have gone from a third grader to a graduate and I have experienced so many different things along the way. 

Lake and Park made ordinary things feel special and interesting to learn about. This school allowed me the chance to study things I’m interested in and befriend those around me.

  On my first day in 2021, I was very nervous. Then I met Sid, Jerome, Rex, and Jacob. Jacob and I met when our class was told we were going to walk to lunch with one of our classmates. We did not get to choose who we walked with and I was told I was going to be walking with Jacob. I met Sid, Jerome, and Rex naturally, and we all became friends. 

When I was In fourth grade, I was excited because I was in the north room. Even though it had only been a year since I came to Lake and Park, I felt like I had been waiting forever to be in the north room. When I heard our first study of the year would be spiders I was terrified, but at the end, I started to appreciate them. The same happened with all the other studies. For a very short time at the beginning I didn't want to study our subject, but as soon as we actually started to study it, I started to like it. By fifth grade, I started liking things from the beginning to the end.

At Lake and Park, I have made so many friends and felt comfortable with everyone and everything. I have mixed feelings about going to middle school. I’m excited to go, but I’m sad to leave Lake and Park, which has made me feel like I was a part of everything.

Hi, I'm Jacob, and I'm a part of the graduating class of 2024.

 I used to be one of the kids holding a flag the graduates walked through, and kept thinking “wow, I want to do that”. Well, I am finally here. I want to quickly thank my mom, dad, and sister Sophie for helping me get to this podium. Lake and Park has allowed me the space to try new things and improve on them over time; things that I once found challenging, I now enjoy and excel at. 

Since I've been at Lake And Park, my life has changed a lot. It all started when I was freshly six and got into a new school that I thought was cool. Though I was sad to leave my buds at pre k, but I was also experiencing new feelings, nervous and super excited. I was so excited to meet new people and go to a new school because I was excited to have new fun friends.

When I got here, I met a bunch of kids that I would turn out to be good friends with, Japhy, Rye, Rex, India, Daisy and Lilah and eventually Andy. 

I remember my first day, we built with the blocks and made houses. After that day, I just knew it was the right school for me.

In the beginning room, with great teachers named Camille and Andy, all I had to do was play and have fun. When I moved to first grade I started academics. There, I started to learn more, and eventually, I had to learn how to read. Learning how to read was my biggest academic challenge to date. It took me a whole year to learn the basics, and even now I'm still learning new things about reading! 

I also love math- I have learned to do advanced long division and the order of operations, which to me was 10 times easier than learning how to read. Becoming a good reader means I am still becoming a good speller. It has been fun to spell things like “challenge” and “radioactive” and it felt good to be able to learn something new really quickly.

 In the beginning room, I started to really learn who I am as a person and student, and got better at understanding others around me.

In the second year of the big room, I had a teacher that was amazing. Her name was Rebecca. I never saw her in a bad mood, she was always so nice. And she had a different way of teaching. That year, I struggled with writing for long periods of time. But Rebecca gave me a new perspective. She made it feel more enjoyable and less like a task. She turned it from a task to a hobby. She really prepared me for the north room, and that was the one of the best teachers I ever had at Lake And Park.

It was exciting to move into the North Room to a new teacher named Quynh! And believe it or not, Quynh was even smarter and so much fun. 

In the north room I learned double digit multiplication and long division and double digit long division. I'm now very familiar with all of these subjects, and very proud of it. I also learned how to solve problems without making people mad. In the north room, I met a bunch of nice people, who eventually turned to friends. I also had an art teacher named Eileen who was super nice. We went to the garden a lot, and at first, I didn't like it. But eventually, it was super fun. I started to love watering and weeding and water coloring. 

My North Room challenges were cursive, and around the world. Around the world is a math game where two students race to say the multiplication answer first. If you win you go on. But I wasn't good at all. like hilariously bad. But over last year, and this year, I have become one of the best. 

Every day in the north room, we always did something different. And it feels good to go to school every morning knowing that we'll do something new, and go to the park and have fun.

At Lake And Park, I learned who I am and how persistent I can be. I found out what I like by keeping with new things I try. This school taught me how to always be nice, help others and how to use my voice. This school taught me how to make friends and be funny. This school also taught me how to be an academic, athlete, artist, actor, and singer. And I could go on and on. And for all of that, thank you, and goodbye, Lake And Park.

Hi, I’m Rex, and I’m ten years old. And I’m part of the 2024 graduating class at The Lake and Park School. Today, right now, I’m going to dive into and talk about some of my favorite memories at Lake and Park and how they influenced my life and the person I am today. The memories I am about to share demonstrate an important quality I have gained over time: the ability to adapt to the world around me.  

 I still remember my first memory at Lake and Park, which was me walking into the Beginning Room and being too shy and running back to my friends from my previous school called Mother’s Place. My two other friends were Sid and Daisy. We were all in preschool together and then we all went to Lake and Park, what a coincidence. One of my most important memories is of Camille inviting me to sit and talk with Rye, and thank goodness she did, because if she didn’t, I wouldn’t have the great friend I have today. Rye was my first friend that I made at Lake and Park. We got along really well. But everything changed when we met Japhy. When we met Japhy we became the bestest of friends. It was just the three of us. But we kind of went our separate ways when Rye and Japhy met Jacob and I met Ryan. These first memories I have with these friends taught me that changes in friendships are OK and change can make room for others to become important people in your life.

 One of my favorite days that Lake and Park that repeats yearly is the Salmon Release. The Salmon Release is especially fun because of the lunch. I love the lunch that they serve. In my previous Salmon Releases, when there were graduates who counted how many salmon got released, I always looked forward to hopefully doing that when I was a graduate, and this year, when Quyhn was deciding who was going to count the amount of salmon that got released, I raised my hand, but sadly, I didn’t get picked. Not getting picked taught me that sometimes it’s okay if you don’t get what you want, especially when it means that close friends of mine get to do it instead. 

When I went to the Big Room for the first time as a second grader, the class I was in wasn’t even in the Big Room, it was in the Very Beginning Room, which is very small in size and typically used for pre-k, since the second grade class was so small. Being in such a small classroom felt fitting, but was a little unexpected. I adapted to the small size and had a great year! And when I went to third grade I was actually in the Big Room and not the Very Beginning Room anymore. 

When I went to the North Room, my teacher was Quynh. Over the years Quynh has taught me other important qualities of friendship. I would like to give a thank you to Quynh.

And believe it or not, but Lake and park has yet another great thing about it, aftercare. Aftercare has also helped me make friends with younger kids over the years .

This school has changed my life in a major way. I would not be who I am today without this school. So I would like to thank all of the 2024 faculty and staff and fellow graduates and students of Lake and Park. Thank you to you all.

Hi, my name is Rye, and I am part of the 2024 graduating class. 

Lake and Park has changed me in many ways. The way that I look at nature is probably what has changed the most over these 6 years. I remember coming to Lake and Park and being grossed out by nature, everything from caterpillars to slugs. I didn't want anything to do with it. But after doing multiple studies on spiders, salmon, rivers and oceans, I have learned to embrace nature to its fullest. 

As I look back at my time at Lake and Park, I remember going to the garden to connect with nature a lot. During the fall and late spring we would go to the garden about once a week if there was work that needed to be done. I have so many memories from the garden, whether it was pulling weeds, shoveling mulch or planting seeds. I would always be open to work if it was in the garden.

 aDuring my time at lake and Park, every year, I looked forward to 5 days in particular. Those days were salmon release day, the three days of winterim and Halloween. My personal favorite out of those days is salmon release day. On that day we get hotdogs for lunch, we also get watermelon and chips. Before lunch we get to release the salmon as well as play some games and watercolor. After our lunch we have recess, and then play what Lake and Park likes to call, the salmon game. After that we hop on the buses and head home, and the best day of the year ends. 

Something that makes Lake and Park different from most schools is that we have studies. Some of my favorite studies are the Egyptian study and the Bread study. Each of these two studies have really spoken to me, and that is the beauty of Lake and Park, they will always try their hardest to make everything that you do interesting, even if you don't like the study or an assignment, stick with it, because believe me it will be fun, you just have to give it chance. 

Lake and Park is the best experience possible for elementary school. Going into middle school, I hope that I will get the same experience from Northwest. Lake and Park is such a unique school and it gives you so many opportunities to do good things for the world. 

As my time at Lake and Park slowly ends I look back at my time and I am grateful for all that Lake and Park has taught me. I would like to thank all of the teachers that have taught me something important over my time here. Thank you Quynh for teaching me how to solve more complex math problems and expanding my vocabulary. Eileen, for teaching me and my classmates through the year of masks. Andy for teaching me about salmon and the joys of nature. And Camile, for teaching me about basic math, spelling and reading. All things that I still enjoy learning about today. 

Thank you. 

Hello! My name is Daisy and I’m ten years old. When I first started at Lake and Park I was very shy. I felt like a stranger to others and I thought I couldn’t fit in. I only knew two other kids from my previous school. Then after a couple months, I met my two best friends: India and Addy. I gained confidence by realizing that most everyone in my class was new that year and all trying to make friends.

In second grade, Covid started. I was supposed to start school in the Big Room, but to decrease the spread of the disease, they moved my grade to a smaller room called the Very Beginning Room. There were only seven people in my class. Although this seems like bad luck, it was actually a perfect place to build up my confidence in expressing who I am to others. One of the most important studies we did that year was a kite study. This was a great opportunity to learn, share my ideas, and improve my project. I made all sorts of working kites! This was when I realized that the more ideas everyone shares the better the outcome will be.

The music study we did in fourth grade was also an important study. At the end of it, we had a music performance and I had a solo in it. But sadly my stage fright got the best of me, and I played the complete wrong notes for my solo. But I simply stopped, started again, and moved on. Then I realized that I didn’t need to be perfect to be confident.

In the fifth grade, we focused on poetry. Eventually the school decided to showcase our work in a poetry slam. They needed someone to M.C. it, and I volunteered. I was worried at first, but after a little practice I started worrying about something else. I had written my own poem, but I didn’t think it was good enough to share. I kept thinking “I should. I shouldn’t. I should. I shouldn’t.” until just minutes before the poetry slam began. I found the courage to walk up to the microphone, introduce the show, and share my poem. Everyone liked it so much that they had me share it again at the end! I believed in myself and it paid off.

 All of this would have been so much harder if I didn’t have my friends to support me.

Lake and Park has given me the confidence to make friends that accept me for me, something that will stay with me my entire life. When I came to Lake and Park I had no friends. Now I have tons of friends, and they have all helped to turn me into the person I am today. Going into Middle School, I know I can make new friends, thanks to the people and memories from Lake and Park.

Hi my name is India. I'm 11 years old and I'm a 2024 graduate of Lake and Park. When I was younger I would watch all of the other graduates come up to this podium right here and recite their speeches and I thought “That's going to be me someday”. And now this day has finally come. I've pictured this moment a million times in my head and now the time has come. It feels so different standing in front of all of you today because I really don't want to leave. Everyone here is like family to me and I am proud to be part of that family, a Dragonfly. My time at Lake and Park has brought out a more creative side of me. Like when we do a pastel drawing or a watercolor painting, I like expressing my feelings on paper and sometimes when I was younger on the walls even though I wasn't supposed to. At Lake and Park, they encourage you to explore your limits, stretch the horizon, and expand the possibilities. 

Lake and Park has taught me a lot, anywhere from writing cursive to learning how to read and solving problems. When I was younger, I often asked others for the right answer instead of trying to find it myself. Now, I know how to figure it out by myself in lots of different ways. Lake and Park has taught me that there are more ways to answer a question than I used to think. What I’ve learned is that an answer always leads to the next question. So my next question is, am I ready to leave? And my answer is Yes! Lake and Park has taught me so much and prepared me for this very moment. It's time to move on and take all I’ve learned with me.    

Thank you.   

Hi my name is Lilah. I'm a part of the Lake and Park graduating class of 2024. I'm going to take you through what I learned and value from my experience at Lake and Park, dating back to 2017 when I was only 4 years old.  

I remember all of the breakdowns I had when I first came to Lake and Park. I never wanted my mom and dad to leave and would cry every time they’d drop me off. Overtime, I adjusted to the welcoming faces around school. Teachers and students helped me learn how to cope with being away from home. I learned that there are people besides my parents that can make me feel safe and warm. 

My most memorable year was 2nd grade, in 2020-21, during covid. We spent most of our time outside, in the rain, the cold, rain. Everybody knew we were lucky to have in-person school, but it was challenging. In the mornings, me, my current grade, one of the current 4th graders, and my teacher, Eileen would spend our time in the morning in the small room, (the very beginning room) We had the smallest class in the school, since we were the smallest grade of 7 people! 


Then we went outside for basically half of the day joining with the third graders,  we would join together at lunch and at the very very end of the day we would then travel back for time in the Big Room with Morgan. I still remember every little bit to this day. I loved everything about that room and the fact that I was able to sit right next to my friends.  During that year, I learned how to become myself, and I found my passion, which was art. I also always hated to get into the rain, I hated getting wet, I never liked the thought of wet mushy mud, or getting my hair wet from rain, but now I find that I want to go outside whenever I have the chance, nowadays I love getting rained on, Lake and Park had taught me how to like things that I never wanted to.

What I learned at Lake and Park was how to become my own person, learned how to develop my own interests and hobbies, and not borrow from a friend, but something that I found, myself. At Lake and Park, you have a chance to try new things and learn to be independent. I've learned to dive deeper into things I’m interested in. If it doesn't work out, I'll try again. I like being my own person, a person who isn't written by someone else. At Lake and Park I had a chance to find who I am, to take risks and try new things. I learned that if something doesn’t go right, you move on. Mistakes are valuable, they make you stronger because you learn from them. Lake and Park has contributed to me, so now I can contribute to my community's needs.

I want to thank Lake and Park for helping me become who I am today. I’ve learned to become my own person because after all, I am me, and you are you. 

Thank you. 

Congratultions and best wishes to the Class of 2024. Onward and upward Dragonflies.



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