All graduations are memorable experiences. Whether the next step is from PreK to Kindergarten, fifth grade to sixth, or from eighth grade to high school – each is unique and significant in its own way. With this year’s class graduating amid a global pandemic, 2020 is even more memorable.

If you missed the ceremony live and online, here is the link to view the recorded event:

All of Lake Tahoe School’s graduates are special to us. To be an eyewitness to their physical growth and maturity over the years, and in that process to help them learn to be more knowledgeable and productive as citizens of both our country and the world, is an experience all of us as teachers and staff are lucky to have fostered.

Each year, we also take time at Commencement to honor those students whose accomplishments merit our special reward and recognition. The following are the winners of Lake Tahoe School’s 2020 Commencement awards:

Eric and Jane Swain Award

Presented each year to the graduating eighth-grader who best exemplifies strong character, high ideals, and positive contributions to the Lake Tahoe School community.

Our 2020 recipient is a solid citizen all around. He is charismatic and kind, and he possesses an “old soul” that makes him relatable to classmates and faculty alike. He seems to come to school each day to make everyone he encounters happier. He doesn’t let others’ moods dampen his spirits and has been the politest middle school student since the day he arrived. He thrives on hard work; we’ve seen this in the classroom, during outdoor education trips, on the Nordic team, and anywhere else we’ve needed someone to step up and get things done. He is a model of respect and compassion, and his legacy of kindness will live on at Lake Tahoe School. We are all fortunate he came to LTS; he has helped make his classmates better students and teachers better teachers.

This year’s Eric and Jane Swain Award Winner – Orrin Drescher

Scholar-Athlete Award

Recognizes exceptional contributions over the course of the school year by a male or female student-athlete in the Middle School. This student-athlete is someone who maintained the highest standard of academic excellence and demonstrated athletic achievement, all while earning the highest of respect and regard from his/her fellow students, coaches, and community for leadership and sportsmanship.

Academics do not necessarily come easily to our 2020 recipient, but he works hard – as hard as any other middle school student. When disappointed in his performance, he quickly rallies to overcome his despair so he can get his work done. As a result, he has shown remarkable growth in all of his classes. Most importantly, his legacy of hard work, humility, and humor will also continue to serve as a model for next year’s middle school students as they move forward. In athletics and, more specifically, cross country, our recipient was one of the top ten runners in the Tah-Neva League and earned Lake Tahoe School’s Most Improved Runner award in 2019. On last year’s track team, our honored athlete helped set the school 4 x 400m relay record. In basketball this year, he earned all-league honors and was the second-highest scorer on the team.

This year’s Scholar-Athlete – Habte Kershaw

Head of School Award

Awards are designed to recognize past accomplishments and reward recipients for their hard work and perseverance. Awards can also be aspirational – meant to encourage growth, inspire a strong work ethic, and recognize potential that is perhaps not so obvious at first glance or that may, in fact, otherwise be obscured by other circumstances.

Such is the case with the creation this year of the first annual Head of School Award. The award intends to recognize these same possibilities – steady growth, work ethic, and future potential – with the hope that the recipient acknowledges the need to better cultivate these traits in themselves.

This year’s Head of School Award – Evee Probst

2020 Graduation Speaker

Traditionally each year, the eighth-grade class votes to select their student speakers for graduation. This year, due to our shortened format, Mr. Kris and I selected an outstanding member of the class who has been here since first grade and been involved for several years in various leadership positions culminating in her election this past fall as our Student Body President – Kayla Green

In addition to the student awards, this year’s ceremony recognizes to adult members of our school community as well.

Ten Years of School Service

Every year at Commencement, Lake Tahoe School recognizes those members of the faculty and staff that have served our school for ten or more years. This year, LTS recognizes Russ Bradford for his ten years of outstanding service to the school as our Director of Technology and Makerspace teacher. Thank you, Mr. Bradford!

Unsung Hero Award

The Unsung Hero Award recognizes individuals who have generously volunteered their time and talents beyond expectations for the betterment of our children and the Lake Tahoe School community.

This year’s recipient of the Unsung Hero Award has been a parent at Lake Tahoe School for the past seven years. During that time, he has served in several different areas of school life and steps up to volunteer for nearly every event. He has been a volunteer member of the Board of Trustees at LTS for the past six years – but his most lasting legacy at LTS will always be his shepherding and oversight of our new Athletic and Performing Arts Center. Through his ceaseless efforts – often seven days a week, attending dozens if not hundreds of construction-related meetings, and making sure that the project continued both on time and on budget – our honoree remained positive and focused. The Athletic and Performing Arts Center we so look forward to occupying again in the fall, would not be possible without his ongoing efforts and leadership.

Our 2020 Unsung Hero – Jason Green

Congratulations to all of our students and parents of the Class of 2020! We wish you the best and will miss you!

To the rest of the Lake Tahoe School community, congratulations on a great year as well, and have a wonderful summer!