“The best part about writing is really to educate yourself. I don’t want to be anybody’s expert. I came in to learn.” Ta-Nehisi Coates
As the 2016-17 school year draws to a close, it is absolutely essential for us, the staff of The Forest Scout, to properly thank all of those who have made our newspaper successful this year.
Of course, any enterprise that has the ambition to serve as an important facet of a community values its readership as much as anything else. From the inception of our new website (www.theforestscout.com) at the beginning of the school year, we have consistently been blown away by the unwavering and proactive support we have been fortunate enough to receive from our student body at LFHS and the communities of Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Knollwood. All of the reads, likes, comments, shares, and compliments–from Tegan Morcott’s “Open Letter to Freshmen,” to Elizabeth Porter’s “In Defense of Dr. Holland,” to Brett Chody’s “Open Letter to the Anti-Prom Royalty Establishment” and everywhere in between–our readers have been behind us, encouraging us to remain bold, creative, and confident in our writing and the expression of our ideas.
From there, we must thank Mrs. Adrienne Fawcett, Editor of the Daily North Shore newspaper for providing us with the opportunity to expand our platform in DNS’ “High School Insider” column. Allowing us to be part of a professional journalism production blessed us with unique insight into what it means to be a professional and have the opportunity to move people with our writing, share our opinions, and inform the electorate of the North Shore on exactly what is transpiring in the minds of Lake Forest High School students.
We would also like to thank our guest speakers this year, Mr. Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times and Mr. Mike Leonard of NBC, for all of the enduring wisdom that you imparted on us. Not only did you motivate us to dig deeper, write clearer, and to celebrate people who deserve it, you set ablaze a flame inside each of us to creatively express ourselves. There is no more rewarding lesson in life than learning to express yourself with courage and confidence; from your personal stories of originality in the face of censorship and success against overwhelming odds, we learned what it takes in a field that has come under fire in recent years.
We would also like to thank the Lake Forest High School Foundation and the LFHS Booster Club, who so nobly trusted our vision and financed the printing costs of our inaugural newspaper magazine. Even in the ever-advancing digital age, it is important for us as writers to create something tangible, something that lasts beyond the deep crevices of an internet search. This grant not only helped us artistically, but promotionally as well. It was prideful for us to see copies of our magazine distributed across town and be placed next to the esteemed work of professionals from Time, The Atlantic, Sports Illustrated, or The New Yorker.
Lastly, it is deserved and of the utmost significance to express gratitude to the incredible students that made up the staff of The Forest Scout in 2016-17. In both semesters we were gifted with extraordinarily thoughtful individuals who sought out to showcase the beauty of Lake Forest High School and the incredible people inside of it. An informed article is hard work. Displaying your creativity openly can be daunting, and leaving yourself vulnerable to criticism is perhaps what high school students fear most. Nevertheless, we persevered, informed, and generated a product that people respect. To all the people who took the time to compliment our work–in conversation with us, amidst discussion with friends, or on some sort of online forum–we sincerely appreciate your kindness.
We humbly thank those who let us tell their story. To the countless students, faculty, community members, and LFHS alumni who shared details and took time to answer our questions: we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We hope you enjoyed the outcome as much as we did.
Over the course of the school year, we have posted 1,212 articles, developed 5 newspaper magazines, acquired 1,121 likes on Facebook, and recently surpassed 300,000 page views according to Google Analytics. We only expect the work of future staffs to push the needle forward from the precedent that this year’s collaborative staff has set. Journalism is not an easy course. Yet, its rewards are as meaningful and its work as productive as any elective that LFHS has to offer. We hope you’ll consider contributing to our efforts in 2017-18.
“Every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together.”
Until next year,
The 2016-17 Staff Writers of The Forest Scout