Mrs. Janene Kessler

Mrs. Janene Kessler

As we stumble through the first week of second semester it’s perhaps well to ask why we are here at all. There is an infinity of splendors to see, an agenda full of things to do, a planet of people to meet. Many of us would rather be someplace other than 1285 McKinley.

Yet the illustrious Marching Band can still be heard loosing their music upon the world well before the start of school in autumn, and Band members sacrifice their time and energy to bring harmony to West Campus — be it warming sun or driving rain or freezing cold. Their dedication borders insanity.

But most Band members are perfectly sane; rather, they strive on against adversity due to their love for music and Director of Bands Janene Kessler, “a mother to all of us” as Junior Drum Major Margaret Jemian put it.

“She really cares about all of us and wants to make sure we’re all thriving — not just in Band, but in general,” junior Margot Pierce said.

Mrs Kessler’s care for her students is universally helpful and universally appreciated. She is “someone you can ask for advice, whether it’s music-related or not,” said Senior Drum Major Evan Jasica.

“She’s always there and willing to help,” Jasica said. “I know students who stop in [to ask for advice] in the middle of the day. I’ve done that.”

Senior Mark Smirnov, the lead student organizer behind Lake Bluff’s 2019 Veterans Day Ceremony, said Mrs Kessler played a key role in ensuring that the venerable Lake Bluff tradition did not meet its ignominious end then and there.

“Mrs Kessler is one of the kindest, most caring individuals in the LFHS staff,” Smirnov said. “She was an excellent faculty advisor for our Lake Bluff Veterans Day Ceremony initiative and was one of the major reasons we had a successful event.”

Her two decades of teaching at Lake Forest High School have made her a brilliant educator as well; “she has high expectations,” Jasica said, “but I think that’s a good thing because that pushes us to work harder, to excel.”

“As drum major,” he said, “she was a great mentor, from the basics of conducting, to how to be a leader, to how to run a musical ensemble.”

That, perhaps, is the true value of education: it teaches us to be the compassionate, informed leaders that tomorrow’s world needs so desperately.

It also means that we get to learn from amazing teachers like Mrs Kessler.

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