Each year, the Lake Forest High School Booster Club releases the impressive collection of students who will have massive representations of themselves on the outer west wall of the West Campus gymnasium. Spots on the wall are also reserved for the senior class president and the student body president. As one could probably foresee, much more goes into these Images of Excellence than just taking pictures of a couple student-athletes.
Students must submit applications to the LFHS Booster club, which are then thoroughly reviewed before making final selections. A lot more goes into who gets put on the wall than just respective athletic achievements. According to Booster Club President, Billy Douglass as quoted in The Daily North Shore, “They have to be more than good athletes. Some of the other virtues are academics and leadership.”
The 19 class of 2017 students that make up the wall:
Matthew LeMay (Band)
Kevin Donahue (Swimming)
Brian Stickler (Basketball)
Libby Thompson (Field Hockey)
Justin McMahon (Basketball)
Haley Click (Track)
Grace Donahue (Water Polo)
Lena Benjakul (Golf)
Andrew Athenson (Football)
Ana Kohout (Swimming)
Daniel Hanson (Soccer)
Jack Armstrong (Tennis)
Maddie Smith (Swimming)
Reed Thomas (Football)
Charlie Reinkemeyer (Football)
Ashley Williams (Volleyball)
Annabelle Capstick (Cheerleading)
Colin Lynch (Senior Class President)
Lauren Abbattista (Student Body President)
Libby Thompson, now a freshman at Duke University in Durham, NC playing field hockey, responded that the application was very thorough and detailed. “I had to fill out this application about which sports I’ve taken part in at school, the awards and honors I’ve received from those sports, and then also academic recognition along with the clubs I was apart of.” The application even asked for someone that the booster club could go to to ask about Libby, in which she used lacrosse and current field hockey coach, Ms. Catherine Catanzaro.
The notification process in which the students get accepted is an exciting one. Thompson said she got a text from Douglass asking to come in to take her photo for the wall. The text came with a formal letter in which Libby was very excited to receive. The wall means a lot for those who apply and get accepted, creating a need for the important process behind the spectacular mural, which has become one of the crown jewels of Lake Forest Athletics. The students who get accepted are also able to choose which sport they pose for if they’re multi-sport athletes.
It’s hard to argue with the well-constructed process after 6 years of donning the mural. Although it would be nice to see a few more sports represented as every team is not represented, the process leaves no reason to change. Why fix what isn’t broken? Currently, there’s 8 students on the wall this year from the basketball, football, or swimming teams. I too, would like to see a larger variety but it’d be very difficult to get each sport on the wall in such limited space. You’d be hard-pressed to find a flaw in the current system, especially after picking students based off of personal qualities and character traits, then allowing them to choose which sport they’ll represent on their own.
These qualities related to their personalities are also represented on the wall alongside the athletes. On the LFHS Boosters website, a great, yet very straightforward statement is made on the matter, as Mr. Bill Douglass alludes to in his interview with the Daily North Shore. “While its focus is athletics, the mural is not intended to celebrate athletic achievement alone. The vision for the mural is to use athletics as a backdrop to highlight the virtues, values and internal qualities we seek to instill and develop in our youth…”
Clearly, Douglass, along with many other parents and adults in the community value the importance of these virtues and how they are placed before athletics, even next to a field of athletic competition. Thus, if individual sports were to be prioritized on the wall in an effort to just get every team represented, the true meaning and significance of the mural would overlooked.