Lake Forest High School is situated in a suburban community on the North Shore of Chicago about a mile away from Lake Michigan, feeding from the towns of Lake Forest, Lake Bluff and Knollwood. Lake Forest is defined on Urban Dictionary, a site that defines contemporary slang, as:
“An affluent suburb, north of Chicago, directly on Lake Michigan. Home of not only the stereotypical ‘rich kid’, but also many extremely intelligent and driven people, as well as an average number of below-average people. Typically singled out because the average citizen is fairly wealthy, and the homes are very high-priced. ‘Old Money’ is a term used most often to describe the residents, who generally occupy the largest mansions, which are on the lake, costing an average of $10 million a pop. Crime is low, expectations are high, and public education is among the best in country- Lake Forest High School delivers dozens of graduating students to the Ivy Leagues each year.”
What does the stereotypical rich kid’s lifestyle entail? Can you really categorize all kids from our community under one measly definition? After being here for more than a year, I have began to understand that there is a stereotype that surrounds this town. I have heard a multitude of individuals refer to our quaint little town as a “bubble,” separated of course from the supposed and mythical “real world” and the rest of everyday society.
According to the Neighborhood Scout, the median home value in Lake Forest $1,082,236, which is quite high, yes, but not in then 10 million range. The median home price in America is $188,900 and the median in Illinois is $196,714. This means that the average Lake Forest home is 550% more than the average home in Illinois and 572% more than the average price of the American home. This number is statistically significant and able to support the claim that the average citizen is fairly wealthy in Lake Forest, as the median is a better indicator of the average because it doesn’t take into account the outliers on both ends of the spectrum.
Although our town is affluent, there are a substantial amount of homes that are reasonably priced. Just recently, in fact, there have been affordable houses built. These houses are single family homes and are in a desirable location, close to town, schools and churches. Not all homes are highly priced. Moreover, there is a growing population of people who do not necessarily fit this stereotype.
As to the point of there being a very low crime rate in Lake Forest, statistically speaking that is true. However, drugs seem to be an issue. Although there is no worry for the citizens, there are seemingly more crimes that have occurred in the past 6 months in Lake Forest as well. A woman was attacked by a teenager, and she proceeded to hit him over his head with her cellphone outside of Orange Theory near uptown Lake Forest. In addition to that, there have been two recent shootings–one near Halloween and the other in early 2018. Still, the most pressing issue that parents worry about now is the epidemic of vaping; presentations have been led by the school to curb this growing trend and community outreach programs are hoping that awareness causes a dramatic decline in usage rates among middle school and high school students.
As for the Ivy Leagues anecdote in the Urban Dictionary definition, that is just a full-fledged misconception. There are very few people from Lake Forest that are accepted into Ivy League schools, which is also the case for the rest of the country. Though some years may have more than others based on test scores, athletic accommodations, or other factors, the fact remains that Ivy League-bound students are very rare. There have never been more than 12 people in a graduating year that have been admitted to Ivy League institutions. Last year, only three students were admitted and enrolled, one of whom was an athlete.
All in all, this representation is not completely accurate, insofar as there are common misconceptions and exaggerations made to make the school–and the town at large–seem more affluent than is actually is.