Seniors Cosette Bevis and Mia Johnson scoured the school for the best pajama-themed outfits on Monday, December 11. Each day, the Forest Scout will award “Best Dressed” to those who go all out for school spirit.
For most of us, the second we finish sophomore year, our parents and college counselor begin stressing the importance of preparing for the ACT.
One test. One score. All of it will have the potential to determine where you get into college, so they say.
The night before taking my first ACT, I remember exploring the internet, reading list after list of things I supposedly should do the night before taking the ACT. This led to me drinking caffeine-free tea, doing a weird meditation activity–along with a bunch of other little things that most likely had little to no effect on the outcome of my score–all in preparation to get the score I desired. The morning of, I woke up before my 7 am alarm and was in the car over ten minutes early with a stress ball in one hand.
Flash forward a couple weeks later, I received my first score. I quickly navigated through the foreign lands of the ACT website and was taken to a page where my score was plastered on the screen in an obnoxious black and bold font. My jaw literally dropped (I am not just saying that for dramatic effect). Not only did I not get my target score, but I scored dramatically lower than I had expected. Almost instantly, I immediately had my mom sign me up for the next ACT in order to make what it seemed like a living nightmare subside with a second chance.
Well, three ACTs later, I got the same score on all of them. Before ever taking this laborious test, I was pretty confident in my intelligence level. For the majority of high school, I had always taken somewhat challenging courses and had received above average grades. But with ACT after ACT, I grew extremely insecure in how smart I thought I was. Truthfully, the image I had of myself as a student wavered.
Leading up to my fourth ACT, I finally realized how foolishly hard I was being on myself.
Believe it or not, simply changing this negative mindset that came with clouds of pessimistic thought moved my score up five points. I focused on preparing the way that was best for me, not the way that was deemed the best for everyone. Ultimately, you know yourself as a student more so than any other internet or school advisory column.
While my mom’s credit card–and, of course, myself–were extremely grateful for this score improvement, changing my mindset was not an easy path to overcome and it did not happen overnight.
Between the time period of receiving my first ACT score and my third is when I started to become almost obsessed with numbers. Every bad grade I got in school became personal. I began to use every single one of those grades that were just a result of me being human as a justification for why I got my initial three ACT scores. “Oh I’m just not that smart,” I would often think, rationalizing my own academic self-worth based on a solitary number.
It is crucial for everyone to hear this message that I so badly needed to hear before embarking on the long journey of taking the ACT: your score does not define you.
Whatever you get will get you where you want to be. I know it is hard to believe that, and I especially know how hard it is being a student at a high school as rigorous as Lake Forest. Often times, you can hear students complaining about getting a 35 or a 31 or a 29 (no hate if you have those scores–that’s extremely impressive). But, do your best to ignore all the talk.
The best advice I can give is to focus on yourself. Focus on being confident in your own abilities and going into each ACT with a better attitude than the last. Focus on doing your best. The rest will fall into place.
As cliché as it sounds, you are so much more than a number and that is something I do not say or take lightly.
So, for everyone taking the ACT this Saturday or in the near future, whether it is your first or last time, all you need to do is stay positive (and remain positive) if you do not get the score you wanted. It’s just a number.
A girl who has proudly taken the ACT five times.
For anyone who is into music, most likely you are familiar with the name Austin McGreevy. If not, you should be.
Austin McGreevy, now well-known by his new artist name “Cayman” on SoundCloud, graduated Lake Forest High School last year and is now attending University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida where he is minoring in Music Business. McGreevy started working with music at a young age. From taking up classical piano as a little kid to starting to play the guitar in second grade, it didn’t take long until he started writing his own songs and singing to the sound of his own guitar.
McGreevy has been playing professionally for the past couple of years while simultaneously participating in the high school talent show for the previous four years. In addition, he has taught guitar lessons and interned at Darwin Records with a successful local musician by the name of Suede Stout.
Last year, McGreevy began making his music more public and accessible by posting songs that he worked on closely with Jordan Wesel (Lake Forest High School, ’16) to his Cayman handle on SoundCloud.
McGreevy never posts anything without getting feedback from Wesel. Wesel, who attends New York University in Manhattan, has an amazing ear and natural knack for music. The two, who are both well-versed musically and equally passionate about what they do, were only bound to collaborate on some bumping hip-hop songs together.
“Why Not” is a hip-hop song sung by McGreevy and produced by Wesel. This song begins with a smooth beat, soon followed and intertwined with the main catchy, original beat of the song. The introduction being so smooth is followed by a more rhythmic beat sets a good tone for the rest of the song, drawing you in.
The overall beat of the entire song sounds very professional and polished. When listening to this song, most likely you will either want to tap your foot or move your head to the beat because how well-crafted the background music is.
McGreevy’s vocals are very distinctive compared to other artists, which ultimately plays in his favor. His voice does not sound like, or blend with, the generic or mainstream hip-hop artist sound, but is authentically McGreevy’s own sound.
The lyrics in and of themselves are not overly complex, focusing in on a summer night filled with possibilities. While the song has a summer-y vibe to it, you can listen to it anytime and enjoy it just as much as you would in the summer. The chorus itself is very catchy and has a subtle Caribbean feel to it, accompanied of course by McGreevy’s sleek vocals.
The song ends with a bang. McGreevy’s pitch range varies more as the song comes to a close by being more staccato and passionate. The ending vocals are just as impressive as McGreevy’s sound throughout the whole song, ultimately making you search for the repeat button.
Overall, the song has great recording quality that highlight McGreevy’s powerful vocals and is only enhanced by the unique background music. McGreevy and Wesel are a force to be reckoned with. This is proven by the not surprising 21,000 plays and counting the song has received on SoundCloud.
New and Upcoming:
McGreevy is constantly working on and posting new tracks whenever he can. Just last month he posted “Another One,” which has a more laid back sound to it, opposed to “Why Not,” but is equally as likable.
If you want to hear more music by the talented artist, you will not regret also giving his new song, “Africa,” a listen. The song itself is short and has a Blonde-era Frank Ocean vibe to it that is hard to replicate.
Make sure to keep an eye out for an upcoming song by both McGreevy and Wesel. If it is anything like “Why Not,” which it most certainly will be, it is destined to be a hit. The title of the upcoming song will be released by either artist soon and you will not want to be the one to miss out.
The column, “Business Leaders of the North Shore,” will feature an inspiring and successful local business leader every other week. Each leader’s feature will include a glimpse into their educational and personal background as well as an in-depth interview based around intriguing topics like why they pursued their career, their journey to their leadership position, and advice for high schoolers.
This week’s business leader of the North Shore is Founder, CEO, and President of R.F. Technologies, Inc. (RFT), Bob Noorian. RFT was founded by Mr. Noorian in 1989 and is headquartered in Buffalo Grove, IL with offices in Southern Illinois (Bethalto) and San Dimas, California. R.F. Technologies specializes in the repair service and replacement parts for all brands of drive-through systems nationwide and internationally as well as digital surveillance systems for Quick Serve Restaurants (QSR) industries.
Mr. Noorian was born in Tehran, Iran and moved to England when he was 16-years-old, where he attended high school and college. He attended University of Portsmouth from 1979 to 1982 and graduated with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. Currently, Mr. Noorian lives in Highland Park and has been living in different towns on the North Shore since 1999.
How did you decide to pursue the career that you are working in today?
“By being motivated and energetic. I took advantage of an opportunity which was present almost 30 years ago.”
Where did you get the idea for your business?
“I was a quality assurance engineer for a company that developed headset systems in the mid-1980s. Before the mid-1980s, the drive through systems of fast food chains were hard-wired, which meant when an employee wanted to take an order of a customer in the drive through, they had to stand and press a button in order to hear the order. This prevented employees from being able to do anything else but take a customer’s order. Wireless technology enabled them to take orders while performing other tasks, ultimately making them more efficient. I was on the ground level of this new technology which ultimately gave me the idea for the business.”
What are some characteristics that you think every business leader should possess or strive to possess?
“I think every business leader should be focused, energetic, and creative because that is what helps you develop new ideas. Without new ideas as a leader, you are not properly setting your business up for success nor giving it a fair chance of flourishing.”
What would you say is the single most influential factor in your business’ success?
“The single most influential factor that has made R.F. Technologies as successful as it is is the fact that it is innovative. If your business fails to be innovative, you will immediately fall behind your competitors instead of being one step ahead.”
What advice specifically would you give high schoolers who are interested in going into a business related field in college?
“For any high schoolers interested in going into business, I would highly recommend to be willing to take chances. A big part of being successful in the business world is risk taking. Along with that, you need to be able to develop the ability to not only take opportunities but take advantage of them confidently. It is crucial to have the confidence in yourself to know that you will accomplish what you want to accomplish.”
At the beginning of freshman year, many start to scramble trying to find their trusty sidekick that they can learn the ropes of high school with. Freshman Coco Stevenson and Bridget Seymour were fortunate enough to find each other down the street in kindergarten.
While their friendship began nearly a decade ago, it did not end there. The twosome who once Girl Scouted together continued their friendship throughout middle school and now both are exhilarated to spend another four great years attached at the hip. This witty and endearing friendship dynamic is one that many aspire to have and is especially one that deserves acknowledgement.
Tune in next week where we will be celebrating another forever friendship here at LFHS.
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Direct message us if you and your best friend would like to be featured.
This column was co-produced by Holly Malnati and Cosette Bevis.
Some people say your friends in high school won’t be your friends in college. While this happens to some sets of fringe friends, rest assured this will not happen to the inseparable duo of seniors Sarah Ignas and Anna McCall.
When they met freshman year, they instantly connected due to their similar spunky and fun personality. Four years later, they have still been there for each other through thick and thin. You can often find them downtown Chicago or at the next upcoming rap concert. Whether it be listening to the same music or laughing over the same Vines, they are a dynamic duo that is a force to be reckoned with. If you see one of them in the hall, the other is surely not far behind.
Tune in next week where we will be celebrating another forever friendship here at LFHS.