Preserving Lake Forest’s Historic Tradition


Bobby Winebrenner

“I mean I know what it is, but like what’s the deal with the Senior Star. Why are you talking about it?” Folks, this right here is the problem. The starting quarterback of the football team who also happens to be a senior, Tommy Hanson, doesn’t know the importance of this sacred ground at Lake Forest High School. The thing is, Hanson’s not alone. Many students, including seniors, have forgotten or are unaware of the holiness that emerges as soon as one enters the distinguished front doors. I know for me and hopefully some others, I spent my early years here at Lake Forest avoiding the senior star at all costs. Whether it was leaping over it in the crowded hallway or tiptoeing around the edges, I made sure no millimeter of my shoe touched that piece of history.

It isn’t just seniors who would like to preserve it either; deans and teachers alike hold strong beliefs towards the safeguarding of the star. Dean of Students Frank Lesniak had this to say about the ongoing, 21st century, problem. “For me it’s where the echoes occur. I think the tradition of the Senior Star should be preserved because it’s just something that’s been in the school for so long.” The history of the star is something worth noting as well.

According to English teacher and distinguished alumnae, Mrs. Konz, the star has been here since the beginning of the school. “When I was a freshman, there were rumors of its importance that we took seriously. You couldn’t walk across it.” I asked if she ever strutted over it in betrayal to which she quickly denied: “I never walked across it. Always, always around it.” Curious about these “rumors,” I questioned Mrs. Konz what the gossip was when she was a student. “Well, apparently if you walked across it and a senior caught you, you had to clean it with a toothbrush.”

The present issue is that some seniors aren’t aware of the significance behind the hallowed ground. Senior Crawford Bolton offered in confusion, “It’s there. What are we gonna ‘bring back?’” It shouldn’t be about bringing anything back. It should be about preserving and dedicating our time to assure that the dedication put forth by current seniors and alums is protected. Senior Elijah Fietsam is in agreeance, “I think the star is very important; if you step on the star, you have no respect for the seniors and how far they’ve come. I’ve spent three years deliberately avoiding it so when I see someone step on it, it fills me with rage and I find it to be a disgrace.”

Things like being quiet in the Publick Room, applauding Mr. Miles as he finishes his pep talk on Fridays, numerous senior ditch days, still referring to the field north of senior parking as “Lindenmeyer,” and kneeling before every alum who has returned to teach are all commonplace within the halls of 1285 McKinley Road, and it’s a blasphemy that protecting and restoring the prominent senior star isn’t included in that bunch of great traditions.

English teacher Dr. Dewar did not attend Lake Forest, instead he went to the Academy. However, his brothers graduated from Lake Forest High School and shared some pretty notorious stories on the matter. “Senior meatheads would gather in a circle around the star during free periods and make sure no one stepped no it. They’d guard it and the school wouldn’t care.” Dewar added, “A friend of my brothers was dared to jump and stomp on it one time. He pretended that he was about to walk around it, only to leap on the star in front of the meatheads. He then took off and the seniors chased after him throughout the school. The rumor is that they eventually caught up to him and he received a swirlie. It was no joke.”

Senior Daniel Grady was in favor of using protective measures similar to the aforementioned ones. “The senior star is nothing more, nothing less than a tradition for the seniors. So are we saying to heck with tradition? We must cherish our last moments here as Scouts, We MUST keep it safe from the steps of underclassmen.”

I for one would not be opposed to circling the star in passing and free periods. In order to rightfully protect the star and commit to something we’re passionate about, we must sacrifice our time and commit ourselves to a common goal.