Pomp and Circumstance and Cheers and Tears!

| Shelley Stern Grach


Congratulations to the Lake View High School Class of 2016! The first class of Early College STEM School students to graduate!

We know the feel of summer in the City. 90 degrees following mid 50’s. That feeling of “at last! Good weather is here!” And the sound of Pomp and Circumstance as the graduates file into the auditorium, phones and cameras snapping, friends and family cheering, and there goes Mom and Dad, wiping tears. With all the challenges facing Chicago Public Schools, let’s be sure and celebrate the successes as they are richly deserved.


On June 15, 2016, a capacity crowd filled the Auditorium Theatre to celebrate the Lake View High School Class of 2016. There is a lot to celebrate—over $12 Million in Scholarships; a huge portion of the Senior class going directly into 2 year or 4 year college or the military; 13 National Honor Society award winners and over 60 STEM Graduates. While graduation is a time of completion, it is also a time for looking forward. The valedictorian address by Jack Luzadder and the Celebratory Song “Rather Be” sung by the Lake View Senior Choir carried this theme.

Lani Phillips LVHS

Microsoft was honored to have our General Manager Sherlaender “Lani” Phillips as a Guest Speaker. Lani’s comments beautifully captured the emotions in the room: Live your life with no regrets, find your voice and drive change in this world.

As I watched, clapped and yes—cried a little, I reflected on the initial call nearly four years ago from the Mayor’s office, asking Microsoft to support Lake View High School and the Early College STEM Program.

Since that time, we are truly become partners with the administration, the faculty and best of all, the students. Our support has covered a wide range, and we have learned a lot on both sides about how best to encourage students to learn about STEM careers:


LVHS Partnership Highlights

The path to gaining 21st Century skills takes many forms. After four years of working with CPS and Lake View High School, I believe that the best path is the one with several elements: supportive private sector role models, engaged and energetic teachers (thank you, Lake View!), multiple experiences that showcase what the real world of work looks like (summer internships, tours) and a strong curriculum that encourages individuality and exploration.

Congratulations again to the Lake View High School Class of 2016! Go Wildcats! Embrace the world—it’s yours and you are ready for it! Many thanks to Principal Scott Grens, Assistant Principal Angela Newton and the entire staff and faculty at Lake View for your partnership.

LVHS 2016 Grad

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Shelley Stern Grach

They say that great work stems from a combination of passion and commitment, something that Shelley certainly possesses when it comes to her life and career. She currently serves on the boards of the Women’s Business Development Center, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Thrive Chicago, Year Up and LISC Chicago. At Microsoft Chicago, she’s the Director of Civic Engagement, working at the intersection of computing and community, promoting STEM programs and using Microsoft technology to spur growth in the community. So no matter if it's work, play, or giving back, Shelley always makes sure her drive and professionalism help her complete her life's goals.