Six years ago, Lake Forest High School drastically changed (even if nobody knew it at the time). When the English department sifted through the hundreds of applicants and chose Austin Scott, they thought that they chose a young, ambitious candidate, but they had no idea the type of teacher he was going to become. During his time at Lake Forest High School Mr. Scott did more than teach English. Besides impacting the lives of students in a positive way, he has revitalized the journalism program in an online format and has brought a new identity to the school newspaper. Outside of the classroom, he coached golf, basketball, and baseball. Through teaching and coaching, Mr. Scott has helped shape the lives of many young people. Next fall, he will embark on a new endeavor as a teacher and head basketball coach at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights. Mr. Scott has left a legacy that will last long after he leaves this building. “Mr. Scott has had the biggest impact on my life academically and socially,” recalled longtime student Chris Cavalaris, “I met him sophomore year in my English class and have had him as a teacher ever since. He has taught me how to work hard for things and never complain when stuff doesn’t go your way. One thing that he has told me that has really stuck with me throughout high school is ‘teammates always.’ Although I mock it sometimes, it truly is a demonstration of how much Mr. Scott has had an impact on people’s lives at the school. You can always count on him to go to bat for you.” His impact didn’t go unnoticed by the teachers either. Mrs. Carlson, the English Department Chair, had this to say about her colleague: “Mr. Scott is magic in the classroom. Kids come to his class to learn, to explore ideas, and to laugh. He manages to not only help students become better readers and writers and thinkers, but he teaches them about character and integrity. Mr. Scott is not a teacher who can be replaced – you can only rehire for his position.” In his time, Mr. Scott has fostered learning environments to allow both personal and academic growth in all of his students.
While he has done a lot in his time at Lake Forest, perhaps Mr. Scott’s greatest accomplishment has been his work with The Forest Scout, the high school’s student newspaper. Mr. Scott chose to teach the journalism class in order to keep the community informed and teach high schoolers the importance of journalism. Since last year’s inception of an online format, The Forest Scout has provided the community with information on all different types of news. One of the newspaper’s biggest contributors this year was senior Kyle Wix, who also hosted the daily announcement podcast, the Daily Dose. “During my junior year, I was mesmerized by The Forest Scout. After the success in its first year with the online format, I knew I wanted to join the paper and write for Mr. Scott,” mentioned Wix. “Ever since, he’s become more than a teacher, but a reliable friend. He depends on me each day for the Daily Dose and has always respected my work efforts. For the last two years, he has been dedicated to making this school newspaper and his students better.” Thanks to Mr. Scott, The Forest Scout has allowed for students, faculty, and community members to rally around the high school and stay informed on all things Lake Forest.
Aside from the English department, Mr. Scott has additionally left a lasting impact on the basketball team as an assistant coach under Phil LaScala. In high school and college, Coach Scott was a standout player, and he brought his knowledge of the game to the gyms of Lake Forest. He has been one of the cornerstones in LaScala’s coaching staff and helped coach the best basketball team Lake Forest has ever seen, the 2014-2015 team that went 28-3. Recalling Mr. Scott’s impact on the program, LaScala mentioned, “I am going to miss the friendship that we have built over the last 7 years. I’m really happy that he received the position at Hersey High School. He’s ready for the next step and the next challenge. He does a great job with building a relationship with his players and peers and that will serve him well for his next endeavor.” The Lake Forest varsity basketball team knows that they are losing more than a coach. “Coach Scott is one of the most hard working coaches I’ve ever had,” said senior captain Sean Trkla. “He cares about the kids in his program and values them as much more than just basketball players. He helped shape me into the person I am today and am proud to say that he was my coach.” While the program is excited for the next journey in Coach Scott’s career, they know that he will be sorely missed on the sidelines.
A teacher and a coach like Mr. Scott does not come around often. When he leaves for Hersey High School in June, Lake Forest High School will lose a fundamental piece of its identity. “Mr. Scott has been a great coworker and friend since he started here at LFHS. He has made an impact on this school that will be felt long after his time here,” mentioned co-worker and close friend Mr. Adam Mocogni. “The locker room, hallways, and gym won’t be the same without an exchange of a classic, ‘What’s up baud?’ He will be missed by his co-workers, students, and the community, as he has made such a huge impact during his time at LFHS.”
Mr. Scott has always taught everyone to follow their dreams, so even though we are sad to see him go, we are excited that he is following his own childhood dreams. Lake Forest High School and its community would like to thank you, Mr. Scott, for all that you have done. We cannot wait to see all of your accomplishments in the next chapter of his journey.