Facts About the School
location: Seattle, Washington
students: 776 boys and girls grades 5-12
diversity: 51% students of color
financial aid: 29% of the students receive need-based financial aid; the average tuition for a financial aid recipient is $7,000
The History of the School
Lakeside School, the alma mater of Microsoft founder Bill Gates (class of 1973), was founded in 1919 on Lake Washington. Frank G. Moran started the school as the Moran-Lakeside School for boys. From 1930 until the school went co-ed in 1971, the school educated boys in grades 7-12. In 1971, the school combined with the all-girls’ St. Nicholas school, which educated girls in grades 5-12. When the merger took place, the school opened a middle school for grades 5-8.
Bill Gates attended the school at the same time as his future colleague and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who graduated in the class of 1971. The two were such devotees of computers that they spent a great of time in the school’s computer room and even hacked the school’s computer. The school responded by allowing them unlimited access to the computer as long as they worked to improve the computer’s functioning.
Today, Lakeside’s nearly 800 students learn in an atmosphere that values not only strong academics but also cultural diversity and global awareness. The school attempts to develop not only the academic abilities of its students but also the students’ engagement in service and the students’ wellbeing.
The diversity program at the school involves outreach programs to recruit diverse students from public schools in the community. Forty-eight percent of the students represent diversity, and 28% of those students receive financial aid that covers 72% of the tuition. On average, financial aid recipients pay $7,000 a year in tuition. In addition, families receive support to help them navigate through the school, and students work with advisors. The school is launching a diversity initiative to continue and further its efforts to build a diverse community. The school is committed not only to accepting a diverse student body but also to supporting the students to blossom at the school.
Through the school’s global service learning program, students in both the middle and upper schools study for and participate in service learning projects in rural areas in the developing world. Upper school students spend four weeks in China, the Dominican Republic, India, Morocco, Peru and Senegal, mostly in rural areas. Middle school students participate in service learning projects in Broetje Orchards in eastern Washington; on the Makah Indian reservation; or on a Costa Rican ranch studying sustainable farming. Part of students’ experiences in foreign countries involve academic studies of those areas.
Reflecting its interest in global education, the school’s mission reads as follows, “The mission of Lakeside School is to develop in intellectually capable young people the creative minds, healthy bodies, and ethical spirits needed to contribute wisdom, compassion, and leadership to a global society. We provide a rigorous and dynamic academic program through which effective educators lead students to take responsibility for learning.”
The school does not offer Advanced Placement or AP classes, but its classes prepare students to do well on these exams. In recent years, about 78% of test-takers received 4s or 5s, which are the top scores on the AP exams. The school also has a technology program by which each student receives a laptop.
Ninety-nine percent of the school’s graduates attend four-year colleges. Recent graduates have attended schools such as Occidental, Stanford, Scripps, University of Washington, Carleton, Whitman, Harvard, and Columbia.