The Overlake School

The Overlake School
Overlake School
Redmond, Washington, United States
Type Private
Established 1967
Locale Suburban
Head of School Francisco J. Grijalva
Faculty 56
Grades 5-12
Number of students 500
School Color(s) Green, Gold
Mascot Owl, Growl
Endowment $15 million
Religious Affiliation None

The Overlake School is a private, non-sectarian, co-ed, college preparatory school located in Redmond, Washington. It serves 500 students in grades 5 through 12[1]. The school was founded in 1967 by Charlie Clarke. It was recently featured in the Seattle Times[2] for its work in Cambodia.



Academics at Overlake are rigorous. The school offers difficult honors tracks in science, math, English, and history. Nearly all students take Advanced Placement courses their junior and senior years. Students can choose to study Japanese, Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese, and Latin from sixth grade onward; at least three years of one language are required to graduate. Students are given the opportunity to travel to the respective country of the language they are taking. Overlake also offers several college-level humanities electives including Race and Ethnicity, Comparative Religion, The Age of Genocide, Constitutional Issues, and many more.

The student-teacher ratio at Overlake is nine to one and the average class size is thirteen[3]. These factors contribute to a general feeling of camaraderie between students, their peers, and their teachers that characterizes the Overlake community.


Overlake's athletics philosophy[4] aims to teach values on and off the field by offering a spot on the team to every student who tries out, encouraging sportsmanship, and hiring well-rounded coaches to build well-rounded athletes.

Overlake has very strong soccer, tennis, basketball, baseball and golf teams. During the 1999-2003 period the team accrued three league MVPs and fifteen cumulative first team all-league recognitions. Led by a dominating 1-2 punch of Matt Nieman and Mark Gudaitis, the men's golf team won the league championships in 2005 and in 2006 (with Matt Nieman winning the individual tournament on the second playoff hole), as well as the state championship in 2006. The men's tennis team won state in both singles and doubles. Overlake has a policy of inclusion in its athletics; everyone who tries out for a sport is given a place on the team. In 2009, the Overlake boys soccer team went undefeated and placed second in the state tournament. In 1999, the girls lacrosse team won the State Championship.

Performing arts

The theater department at The Overlake School has grown substantially since the addition of The Fulton Performing Arts Center in 2004. Since then, the school has put on two to three performances per year. In 2005 the school became host for the August portion of the Seattle Chamber Music Society's summer festival of chamber music.[5]

In 2007, The Overlake School submitted their production of the play The Robber Bridegroom to the 5th Avenue Theatre High School Musical Awards contest. They received several nominations, as well as two awards for Outstanding Direction and Outstanding Scene Design. In addition, student Race Nagley '08 received a Student Achievement award[6].

In 2009, The Overlake School was again nominated at the 5th Avenue Theatre High School Musical Awards for their production of Once On This Island, including Best Supporting Actress, awarded to Lauren Ambielli '10. Alice Madden '09 also received an award for Student Achievement. Director Bill Johns was recognized as Best Director. Footage from the 5th Avenue Theatre High School Musical Awards can be found at the TVW website.

Project Week

Every year in April, Overlake offers a week of required co-curricular educational projects to the students. This is known is Project Week[7]; it is Overlake's distinctive way to help students learn outside of the classroom. In the past, the projects offered have been diverse as a cooking class in Seattle, a forensic science project based on CSI, a choir trip to Italy, and home rebuilding in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Many students feel that Project Week is an essential part of the Overlake experience.


The original campus was located at the Redwood Manor by Marymoor Park. It was soon relocated to the basement of the Eastside YMCA. In 1972, Dean Palmer moved the school to its current location.

The campus was originally a farm and Overlake retrofitted a barn to facilitate its needs with the help of students. Overlake currently occupies 750 acres (3.0 km2). In addition to the main school buildings, the school's land also includes the headmaster's home, a parent center (formerly a neighbor's property), several athletic fields, and a ropes course. Limited parking is available near the school itself; therefore, sophomores and juniors are required to park in auxiliary lots. A new humanities building was recently constructed and was opened for classes in the spring of 2009. Work on a new Technology/Language Center is expected to begin in the summer of 2009.

Global service programs

In 2002, members of the Overlake community raised the funds to construct an elementary school in rural Pailin, Cambodia[8]. This school serves students from pre-kindergarten through sixth grade. Beginning in 2003 and continuing every other year, The Overlake School has sent small groups of fifteen to twenty students to Pailin to teach classes and connect with students. The participants in these trips have also installed computers and internet on the campus and constructed a playground.

The Overlake School has also sent students on trips to Ghana, Dominican Republic and Uruguay.

Notable alumni

Notes & references

External links

Coordinates: 47°41′38″N 122°04′13″W / 47.6938°N 122.0702°W / 47.6938; -122.0702

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