Superintendent Message - June 2023
As the 2022-23 school year ends, we wrap the year up recognizing and celebrating our graduates. My letter to graduates this year highlights this group of seniors’ unique challenges. Despite significant obstacles, this group of young people demonstrated perseverance, determination and empathy. They also had many significant accomplishments. I wanted to share my letter to the graduating class of 2023. Congratulations, graduates!
To the Graduating Class of 2023:
Joyful, excited, nervous, relieved; these may be some of what you feel as you graduate from high school. Only a few short years ago you entered the last phase of this journey. Never would any of us have thought that your high school journey would be written as a part of history. Although difficult, facing the challenges of, dare I say, remote learning; hybrid learning; social distancing; and masking helped to shape you as a person. Think about who you were when you entered high school. Honestly, the summer of 2019 seems like a lifetime ago, we viewed things differently then, you were on the verge of growing up very quickly. On the eve of the pandemic, we were all anticipating life to continue as normal, yet you would be asked to forgo a typical high school experience due to an illness we did not know or understand. No one could have predicted this, and no one knows the true impacts on the class of 2023.
Perseverance: the word that truly describes the heart of this graduating class. Honestly, I am consistently in awe of what you have accomplished. In a world where it is so easy to find negativity, you have demonstrated a spirit of perseverance, resiliency, and determination each and every day. Luckily, you had each other to help on those days when it was most difficult. I believe you are stronger, more resilient, more empathetic because of what you have been through, the things you have seen and the needs of those around you. Perseverance will serve you well as you navigate the journey of your life.
How do you want to be remembered? Officially, you will be remembered as the graduating class most impacted by the pandemic. Legally, you will be remembered as the 79th graduating class in the Lake Washington School District. My guess is you would like to be remembered for more than official titles and numbers. Exactly what only you can know but I would imagine it would be grand words such as emboldened, empowered, courageous, fearless, connected, committed. No matter how you would describe yourselves, to those that know you, you are simply amazing.
Your school journey started in 2010. The year the Minions were introduced and "everyone" was playing Angry Birds on their parents' phone. Barack Obama had just been elected as the 44th president and a gallon of gas was $2. 76. Finally, and possibly most important, Justin Bieber released his hit song, Baby. All this to say, you launched into kindergarten with some significant events and times. Think of all the historical events you have seen and fortunately, the Mariners made the playoffs before you finished your high school career!
Seriously though, I can't tell you how proud I am of the people you are and the things you will accomplish. Whether you choose to go to college, university, trade school, military, or workforce, remember where you have come from and the person you have worked so hard to become. The mountains and canyons in life are just part of the journey but they will never define who you are. Your actions, your attitude, and your impact on others will ultimately define who you are.
As you launch into the world, remember the perseverance you learned. The famous, late, great soccer player Pele once said, "Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do."
Go out into life knowing you can and will change the world.
Congratulations Class of 2023!
Dr. Jon Holmen, Superintendent
Lake Washington School District