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Luncheon highlights enrichment programs in the Lake Washington School District

"Because of You" was the title of a video presentation and a recurring theme on Wednesday, at the < ahref="http://www.lwsf.org">Lake Washington Schools Foundation's (LWSF) fifth annual "Legacy for Learning" luncheon.

The event at the Juanita High School Field House in Kirkland spotlighted enrichment programs and essential educational materials made possible throughout the Lake Washington School District (LWSD) "because of you" — community members and business partners who've generously contributed to the LWSF.

The luncheon generated $156,000, the most raised in the five-year history of LWSF.

Grant monies from the LWSF have covered everything from hands-on science kits and arts-related field trips, to supplies for new teachers, lab and test fees for low-income students and much more.

In an increasingly competitive global job market, these programs and materials are no longer luxuries but absolute necessities to make "every student future ready," LWSD Superintendent Dr. Chip Kimball said in his keynote address.

Before Kimball spoke, the "Because of You" video, narrated by Redmond High School senior and National Merit Scholarship winner Thomas Moore, introduced a sampling of LWSF-funded programs that have greatly impacted teachers and students.

Curtis Anderson, principal at Alexander Graham Bell Elementary in Kirkland, told the nearly 500 luncheon attendees about the power of LWSF-funded summer literacy camps at his school these past three years.

Bell's large number of English language learners would not only start their school year at a disadvantage, but continue to lose ground, if not for these summer programs, he said.

"A vision without provision is lame," Anderson stated, thanking LWSF supporters for empowering educators to offer such assistance to struggling students.

But gifted students have been served by LWSF grants, too, Anderson noted. Not only kids from the summer literacy camps or special needs kids but also high achievers have come to his school's Family Math Nights and a pirate-themed "Adventures in ARRR...ithmetic" math camp, he said.

Kimball praised the LWSF for its current-day relevance, while repeatedly stressing the importance of preparing students for the future.

"If only I had known about Microsoft or Google ... or Washington Mutual ... or the real estate boom — or bust," is what he's often hearing from adults in these uncertain times. So many wish they'd been more perceptive when choosing where to work or where to invest their money, Kimball explained.

"The best we can do is to prepare for the future with what we know today," Kimball continued, citing the plethora of technological breakthroughs — from personal computers and cell phones to Google, Facebook, Twitter and more — that were new and unexpected for today's adults but are established fixtures for this new generation of students.

"Students of today will likely have jobs that don't yet exist," Kimball predicted.

A high school education is no longer sufficient to succeed in the job market, Kimball declared: "These students need to know more, do more and compete more than any other generation."

Thus, the school district's "Vision 2020" is a road map to make every student ready for college, the global workplace and personal success. That can't be done alone, said Kimball.

"We need partners, we need friends, colleagues and resources. ... Today is the seed ... tomorrow is the harvest," Kimball concluded, urging ongoing support for the LWSF.

Featured speaker Sarah Langton, a Sammamish resident with an extensive background in the Eastside business community, concurred that a strong school district is the key to a strong community and vice versa. She asked luncheon attendees to be very generous in their gifts to the LWSF.

Community members who could not attend the Legacy for Learning luncheon can still make a difference in the lives of students.

To learn more about the Lake Washington Schools Foundation, visit www.lwsf.org, e-mail info@lwsf.org or call (425) 702-3414.

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