Superintendent Message - June 2024

Dr. Jon Holmen

As we close the chapter on the 2023-24 academic year, I want to take a moment to honor and applaud our graduating students. The message I’ve penned for our graduates this year shines a light on the distinctive hurdles faced by this senior class. Confronted with formidable challenges, these remarkable young individuals have shown grit, resolve and compassion. Their list of achievements is equally impressive. It is with great pride that I present my letter to the graduating class of 2024. Well done and congratulations to all our graduates! 

To the Graduates of the Class of 2024: 

Congratulations Lake Washington School District, Class of 2024! You've officially made it to the end of your high school journey. Like you, I stepped into something that was a bit of an unknown four years ago as well, that was my first year as superintendent. It's been an honor to watch you navigate the past four years. None of us could have anticipated the journey you would have and each one of you have added to our collective story. 

Think back to freshman year. You had anticipated walking through the doors of your high school, wide-eyed and curious, perhaps a bit nervous about finding your way. Then, it was announced, yes by me (I’m sorry), that you would start the school year from the comfort of your home in remote learning. Now, if I pause here, I actually have some questions for you: 

  1. Why didn’t you turn your camera on? 
  2. What percentage of class did you actively engage in? 
  3. Did you really have to be lying in bed during class? 
  4. Which was your favorite pandemic term/phrase: pivot, resilient, “we are all in this together,” “two weeks to slow the curve,” remote learning, social distancing, vaxed, other? 

All questions that you know exactly what I’m talking about, even if you won’t admit it. 

Now, think back to 2011, the year you started your school journey as kindergarten students. Many of you in Lake Washington, and a number of you from across the country and from across the globe. 2011 almost feels like preparation for the 2020’s. Think about the following elements of 2011: 

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 was released and if you don’t remember this series, it was about vampires. For adults, the Walking Dead was rapidly becoming very popular, yes, a TV series about zombies. And, to top it off, somehow, Katy Perry tied Michael Jackson’s record with five number-one singles from one album, an impossibility and glitch in the matrix. But the thing that probably had the biggest impact on your upcoming formative years, Apple, for the first time, required that the Siri app be integrated into all iPhones, starting with the iPhone 4s. Yes, the 4th generation iPhone – and yes, you were witness to it! I think the world was trying to subtly tell us something: Vampires, Zombies, Katy Perry and Siri. I will let you create your own conspiracy theory, welcome to adulthood! 

But truly, while I poke fun at some of the lighter things in life, I hope you know that I am tremendously proud of what an amazing and remarkable group of young people you are. All the things you have navigated: world-wide pandemic, racial tensions across the country, and geo-political conflicts. You have had the opportunity to watch these things play out and how many chose to respond. You may have engaged in the response. I hope you learned from watching and participating. I also hope you learned that, at the end of the day, we are all part of a global community. People, individuals, groups; all wanting similar outcomes for themselves and their loved ones; to live, thrive and be happy. I hope more than anything that you leave the comfort of K-12 schools committed to humanity, life and, what the Declaration of Independence references, the pursuit of happiness. 

So much of our world drives us to selfish motivation. What I know is that acts of kindness, service and community participation create a sense of belonging, personal wellness, and satisfaction. True success will never be an individual effort, it will always be made up of parts and those parts are people and relationships. I leave you with this quote as you take on the journey of your dreams. 

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."  

Mahatma Gandhi Pursue your dreams with passion and purpose. Know that you have the skills, the heart, and the spirit to make a difference. And always, always believe in yourself. Because we will always believe in you. 

Congratulations, Class of 2024! The future is yours for the taking, and I have no doubt you’ll make it extraordinary. 

Go out and change the world! 


Jon Holmen signature



Dr. Jon Holmen, Superintendent
Lake Washington School District