If Lake Tahoe School is known for anything, it is about opportunities, and the class of 2023 have taken advantage of seemingly every one of them: certainly in Academics, but more. In Drama, they sang and danced; in Athletics, they succeeded and failed, won championships and came in second; in outdoor education, they experienced our first Winterim traveling to Costa Rica and participated in Adventure weeks traveling to Yosemite and Big Sur; they practiced Declamation each year culminating in their 8th grade Exhibition project; and they experienced a large number of Enrichments – Art, Music, PE, Spanish, Science, Makerspace, field trips, community service, and new Houses. Let’s not forget Smoke/Snow Days, and a pandemic to boot.

Throughout today and beyond, you will hear many stories, anecdotes, and mentions of the various members of the class of 2023 and the many opportunities they shared. It is a class with a wonderful history – and the students on this stage have endured, welcomed new members, and nurtured each other.

Each year, we 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 2023 Commencement awards:

Eric and Jane Swain Award – Avery O’Donnell
Presented each year to the graduating eighth-grader who best exemplifies strong character, high ideals, and positive contributions to the Lake Tahoe School community.

Scholar-Athlete Award – Lily Cooper
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.

Head of School Award – Sady Kelly
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.

Unsung Hero Award – Mark and Evelyn Brockway
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.

As the saying goes, life is short. Therefore, appreciate the world around you, vow to make it better whenever and in whatever ways you can, love your friends, your family, and those in your tribe – however big that group may be. More importantly, tell them and show them you love them – as often as possible.

I share a final quote with simple words of advice from the beloved teacher Mr. Feeny in the last scene of the final episode of Boy Meets World:

“Believe in yourselves. Dream. Try. Do good.”

Finally, never forget this – you are loved and supported by all of us here today. As I share every year, you are our future, but almost as importantly, you are a Bobcat, and you are Lake Tahoe School.

Thank you and congratulations to the Class of 2023!