Friday Five

Each week we highlight five people who are doing their part to make LFHS a better place
Five more Scouts worth celebrating.
Five more Scouts worth celebrating.
Taylor Ross

Maddie Rode

Sophomore Maddie Rode is a well-rounded student as well as an admired friend. Rode makes sure to keep herself busy as a basketball player, lacrosse player, sailor, and sailing coach. Amongst her peers, Rode is one of the few sophomores to be a tri-sport athlete while at the same time, remaining selfless. 

Rode is often described as bubbly, considerate, and sincere. As a loyal friend, her humble attributes do not go unnoticed.

“Maddie is a friend to everyone because she always has positive energy,” says Sophia Shader. “She always has a smile on her face.”

Many peers consider Rode as someone who they can trust and rely on, and its clear to see why. 

With a passion for the water since a young kid, Rode is on the varsity Lake Forest Sailing team and practices up to seven days a week.

“Maddie is a great teammate and is always making the team laugh,” said teammate Owen Kohut. “She is constantly working extremely hard on and off the water.”

Rode’s positive attitude always shines through despite the competitive nature she is surrounded by.

“She is very well valued on the team,” said sailing partner Charlie Gish. “Without her, we would not be as successful. She is 100% a core member of our team.”

Rode shows her devotion to Lake Forest Sailing as a crew in the 420 sailboat, a bow man on the J70, and an instructor to the kids who are striving to be on the high school sailing team. 

In her free time, Rode likes to travel, wake board, and hang out with her friends and family. As a reliable friend with a contagious laugh, Rode is a well appreciated friend as well as someone to count on when you need to be cheered up. 

Nicholas Pizzo

The energy in the Soviet Union’s planning room was understanably tense.

According to junior Jordan Miles, if visitors who wanted to enter the room to deliver a crisis note, had be let in by the doorman.  Inside, they would see “everybody sitting, surrounding”  junior Nicholas Pizzo, only talking when they’re supposed to.

When most Model UN meetings have at least two side conversations going on, it is a testament of Pizzo’s leadership skills that he is able to command people so well.

Even in Pizzo’s Freshman year, he was ready to lead. When he saw the percussion equipment truck get loaded up for the first football game, he knew he wanted to ride it to West Campus, but it was deemed “unsafe” to do so. Pizzo stood up for what he believed in and formed the union PWW, where he was then referred to as “supreme leader” by the rest of the percussion section. 

Founder of the Mock Trial Club, Secretariat of Model United Nations (MUN), and member of several music bands, including his very own Anomalist, Pizzo is no stranger to trying out what he likes and finding his place in it. Having performed at the latest CROYA Battle of the Bands, Pizzo hopes to showcase his love for music in this years upcoming Talent Show.

Social Studies teacher and MUN Sponsor, Mr. Gregory Simmons is frequently inspired by Pizzo’s actions and words. Although Pizzo’s ability to lead so well can be intimidating or even concerning, Simmons said “[Pizzo] is a brilliant kid. He will do great things, either for good or for evil.” 

Manon Vermer

It’s nearly impossible to have a dul conversation with Manon Vermer

Vermer lived in Belgium but moved to Lake Forest her freshman year. While this transition should be terrifying, Vermer was extremely optimistic, and thrilled to attend an American school. 

She has a welcoming, outgoing spirit, and  a kind soul, despite being 4,000 miles from home. Her stories about Belgium and her culture just make her an even more interesting person to talk to. 

During freshman orientation, Vermer met one of her now good friends, Natalie Elliott, who had recently moved from Evanston. 

“I thought it was a big deal that I was moving from 40 minutes away, and when I met her she made me feel so welcome … Not only was she so nice and inviting, but she was really excited to be going to Lake Forest, and it kind of made me more excited when I was nervous at first,” said Elliott. “I think I probably would’ve struggled freshman year if it wasn’t for me meeting her.”  

Vermer is very involved at LFHS: She is in the French and Finance clubs,  for examle, and over the past three years, has tried cheer, field hockey, track, and swimming. Vermer’s first language is French, but she also speaks English, some Dutch, and now some Spanish.

“She jumped right into everything, and she wanted to be friends with everyone. I mean, I don’t see her walk down the hallways without waving to at least four people,” said Elliot.

Vermer became friends with Cassidy Gorham, who had transferred from a French-speaking school. When Vermer and Gorham first met, they occasionally spoke French together. Vermer is an all-around easy and comforting person to talk to.  

“When I left my French school, I never would have expected to find someone like Manon. I was leaving people like Manon, and didn’t realize how much I missed that,” said Gorhmon.

Next year, Vermer will be finishing her final year of high school in Belgium, and LFHS will be losing a strong member of the community. She will no doubt be missed by her friends, teachers, and coaches. 

“All her friends and I are trying to convince her parents to let her stay, being like, ‘Oh you can stay with us,” said Gorham.  

Mrs. Leeane Nelson

Mrs. Leeane Nelson is a woman of many words. A beloved study hall teacher, a friend to all, an overall joy to be around.

Some underclassmen might not understand Mrs. Nelson, who is particular about phones, or being a perpetrator, but they’ll see she eventually softens up once when they become an upperclassman. 

Mrs. Nelson is always up for a talk, especially the gossip; she loves the inside scoop. She is one of those teachers who you can tell everything about and open up to on a personal level. Personally, I am always able to stop in and chat for a few minutes, no matter the topic being about friends, family, or anything else, she always has the right answer. Especially when the topic is school related, she reassures me that I can do whatever the challenge is and encourages me.

 “I adore her enthusiastic personality, and how she is always there for me as well as all the other students, always making sure that you are on top of school and is just always there for you,” Junior Leila Ayyad said.

Mrs. Nelson is always enthusiastic and always decorating her rooms for holidays, which also reflects who she is as a person too. She brings the energy into school everyday and brightens up the room with her favorite decorations which brings smiles to teacher and students.

“Mrs.Nelson is always there for you when it feels like nobody is. Not only does she push me to be the best student but also the best version of myself,” sophomore Maeve Camoletto said.

Mrs. Nelson understands that each of her students comes from unique and different backgrounds, and she adjusts to meet the individual needs of her students. She creates an environment of acceptance and has the biggest heart that encourages creativity throughout her study halls. 

Owning and getting to say that you have the traits of kindness and humbleness is a virtue and to Mrs.Nelson who practices it each and every day is the easiest person to love and admire. 

Emma LeGrand

The Varsity Girls Cross Country team made it to State this year, and part of their success is thanks to a freshman.

According to teammates, Emma LeGrand  is a very positive person, who brings her best self to cross country practice. 

“Even though she’s a freshman, I look up to her,” said senior and captain Lucy Schlachtenhaufen. “She’s so motivated and so determined yet she’s also such a team player.”

Coach Marni Levinson said, “She’s extremely enjoyable to be around and seems to be friends with everyone.” 

Coach Steve Clegg complimented her attitude, too. 

“Emma gives everything she has and never complains,” said Coach Steve Clegg. “She’s just a happy, smiley person that comes and works hard everyday.” 

Teammate Kate Mcann said, “Emma did so well this season and everyone could see what a hard worker she was. She always gave 100% during workouts and it was amazing to see that hard work pay off at state.”

Her captains say she is very humble in how good she is as a runner. “She’s a silent hard-worker” as captain Paige Gibbons phrases it. 

Even as a freshman LeGrand always strives to be the best she can be. 

Sophomore and runner Catie Sedushak said, “I can’t imagine going back to having a team without Emma.”

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