This Editor’s Note will be featured on the inside jacket of the 2017-18 school year’s final newspaper magazine.
There are plenty of lasts that go along with senior year–last first day of school, last home football game, last school dance, etc. As we near the final days of May, seniors are inundated with the notion of “lasts,” so much so that it begins to feel like forced nostalgia. At the risk of sounding cynical, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I’m not going to get too worked up about my last chance to get lunch from the cafeteria.
An upcoming ending that has been weighing on me, however, is this class. Many of TFS’s most prolific writers–Brett, Elizabeth, Erika, Holly, myself, and more–are seniors, and as most of you know, Mr. Scott is also leaving Lake Forest High School, and will call Hersey High School home starting next year. Essentially, you could say that the inaugural class of The Forest Scout is graduating; the end of an era, it seems.
It really doesn’t seem that long ago that I received an email from Mr. Scott midway through sophomore year about something called The Forest Scout. For underclassmen, you might not remember a time when your inbox wasn’t flooded with emails from us, be it the Daily Dose or Forest Scout Fridays. With Mr. Scott taking it over and giving TFS a new website, that was all about to change.
From then on, journalism was a constant in my life. It was something I looked forward to the rest of my sophomore year, and an exciting, ever-evolving facet of my junior and senior year. It manifested itself as a sticker on the back of my Chromebook, a sweatshirt worn with pride, and a platform that allowed me to speak whatever was on my mind.
As a newspaper, it had ups and downs and controversial articles with heated Facebook comment discussions, but it was being (and still is!) read, and talked about, and instigating conversations, and at the end of the day that’s all you can ask for. Looking back on these past two years, The Forest Scout has been an instrument for positive change at this high school, and I am overwhelmingly proud to have taken part in that. We’ve covered everything from athletic success to the culture at LFHS to the special people who make it up, and I can only hope that the momentum we’ve generated over the past two years keeps TFS going long into the future.
What makes this class special, and what I want to emphasize to any underclassmen reading this, is that journalism is not a blow-off class. It’s a place where students can flex their literary muscles outside of the constraints of a writing workshop, to showcase their scholastic prowess to an audience larger than their mom and teacher. You are given the independence of unprompted writing because when people write about what matters to them, the passion comes through the words and creates something meaningful. Every time I’m in that class I am awed by the insight and talent of those around me, the beautiful words they choose and the impact they have on this school. Whether you appreciate it or not, there is a lot of heart that goes into this newspaper, plenty of late nights spent laboring over an article or hunting down people for quotes, and that’s what I’m going to miss most.
This is most likely the last thing I’ll ever write for The Forest Scout, and that’s a last that’s a little harder to swallow. While I might have griped about the ill-fated In Honor Ofs last year, or complained endlessly about the star-crossed Two Scheids, I couldn’t be more grateful for all TFS, and Mr. Scott, has done for me. They say what makes LFHS special is that there’s a niche for everyone, and The Forest Scout was mine. I gave two years to this newspaper-magazine, and when you’re only 18, two years is a long time. While I’m sure I’ll keep on writing for the rest of my life, The Forest Scout will always hold a special place in my heart as the place where it all began.
If I could ask one thing of any underclassmen hoping to take journalism, and to the current juniors especially, it’s to take care of The Forest Scout. While I know to a lot of people it’s just an English credit, I also know there will be a select few who care about it beyond the grade. Make TFS yours. It’s a platform to inspire and also to be inspired. If you choose to shed the instinct to conform in high school, and take that leap of faith by putting yourself out there, I can tell you, you won’t regret it. Having your name attached to something is terrifying, and though you may be tempted to “ghost” everything you write, it’s ridiculously rewarding in the end when someone comes up to you and says they loved your article. Being uncomfortable forces you to take a stand, to find your voice and own it, and at the end of the day that’s what makes us grow.
One of my favorite things about this high school, and one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned here, is that you never stop growing. There is always a place you can improve, a perspective you haven’t considered, a friend you just haven’t been introduced to yet. LFHS is unique in that it doesn’t get stuck in the old way of doing things, disguising an unwillingness to change under the veil of tradition and custom. If something needs to change, be it the schedule or Prom Royalty or something as simple as the cafeteria food, this high school works with everyone involved because they care.
If nothing else, the last thing I will leave you with is to find something you care about. So much of high school is stereotyped by apathy and a desire to sleep and skip class–break this mold. It might be more comfortable to go all four years unattached, but when May of your senior year rolls around and you find yourself surprised by how much you will miss certain aspects of high school, and how much this high school will miss you, you will see that the discomfort was worth it.
In all honesty, maybe that nostalgia isn’t so forced after all.