Bill Gates may not be leaving much of his $89 billion fortune to his three kids, but he is setting them up to follow in his footsteps.
Gates was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, and enrolled at Lakeside School, a private day school located on the shores of Lake Washington, when he was 13. While there, Gates discovered a love of computers and met Paul Allen, with whom he later co-founded Microsoft.
Gates’ two eldest children, 21-year-old Jennifer and 18-year-old Rory, have both graduated from Lakeside and 16-year-old Phoebe is currently enrolled there. Jennifer is now a student at Stanford University.
“Lakeside was one of the best things that ever happened to me,” Gates said in a speech he gave at the school in 2005. He was announcing a $40 million donation to Lakeside to help build its financial aid fund.
“The experience and insight Paul Allen and I gained here gave us the confidence to start a company based on this wild idea that nobody else agreed with — that computer chips were going to become so powerful that computers and software would become a tool that would be on every desk and in every home,” he said. “If there had been no Lakeside, there would have been no Microsoft.”
Gates wasn’t always so fond of Lakeside, however. “In those days, Lakeside was an all-boys school where you wore a jacket and tie, called your teachers ‘master,’ and went to chapel every morning. For a while, I even thought about failing the entrance exam,” he said in his speech.
“But I decided to do as well as I could on the test, and luckily, I got in,” Gates said. “Now I’m finally prepared to say what no son ever wants to say, especially in public: ‘Dad, you and Mom were right.'”
The school is now co-ed and accommodates grades 5 through 12 — a total of about 860 students. The 2017-2018 annual cost to attend is $33,280, not including additional fees for textbooks, hot lunches, a laptop, and to-and-from school transportation, which can cost up to $4,700 for a first-year Upper School student.
While more than 80% of students participate in the visual and performing arts program each year at Lakeside, the school is renowned for its excellence in STEM. Niche, a company that researches and compiles information on schools, ranks Lakeside No. 1 for best STEM high schools in Washington state, and No. 10 for best STEM high schools in America.
Whether the Gates children were admitted to the school with the help of their famous father’s alum status is unclear, but the general application process for students is rigorous. According to Private School Review, Lakeside’s acceptance rate is just 17%.
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