On the weekend of May 23 and 24, seniors from the Class of 2020 received their diplomas in the Elder Performing Arts Center. This commencement exercise began the official closing of the 2019-20 academic year.
As they move on from our campus, I’d like to reflect on how we move forward and address the challenges and opportunities in our world today.
Since its inception in 1926, Lausanne has challenged the status quo, taken a strong stance on social injustice and led the way for educational reform. Over the decades, as outlined in its vision statement, Lausanne has dedicated itself to “promoting independent schools as public resources and embracing diversity of race, culture, religion, class and learning styles amongst the constituents of its educational community”.
In line with our institutional vision and acknowledging our student, family and alumni demographics, we are fortunate to be part of a pluralistic environment. Students are nurtured and empowered regardless of ethnicity, socio-economic background, political leanings and religious viewpoints. With students of color making up 49% of our student body, Lausanne is one of the most demographically-diverse independent schools in the nation.
Today, our commitment to pluralism is underscored by the International Baccalaureate Programme in PreK through 12th grade. One of the core outcomes of participation in this program is a developed sense of global mindedness. This clearly aligns with Lausanne’s mission to prepare students for life in a global environment.
As I further reflect on our institutional identity and the guidance that it provides for all of us, I am reminded of a faculty in-service exercise that took place a couple of years ago. In small groups, faculty were asked to answer the question, “why does Lausanne exist?” As I think back to this exercise, two responses have remained with me...
“Lausanne exists because who can imagine a city like Memphis without a school like Lausanne.”
“Lausanne exists because we produce graduates who can change the world.”
Every year, I am filled with the hope and expectation that our graduates will change the world. Let’s encourage our students to apply their global mindedness, resiliency, empathy and respect for others to change their communities and our nation.
Let us all join in their efforts to do so by ensuring that Lausanne continues to be an example of how the world should be for everyone.
Stuart McCathie, Headmaster