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

Blakely Rice

As a freshman Blakely Rice moved up to the Lake Forest Varsity Dance Team at the beginning of competition season. Now a junior, her impact on the program and the Varsity Dance Team has become everlasting. From her continuous hard work and determination to her positivity in and out of practice, Rice never fails to impress her teammates, coaches and family. 

With being a third-year varsity member, she has created a vital role as an upperclassman. Her monster strength and unreal movement quality leave anyone who watches her in complete awe. 

“I remember the first time I saw her dance and my jaw dropped. Blakely is the type of dancer that when you watch her you actually feel something and see the story that is being told” said Lake Forest High School Alumni Lily Pedian. 

Rice started dancing at four years old and has continued to push her passion for dance by attending multiple College Dance Team combines and clinics, allowing her to showcase her amazing skills.

Outside of school, Rice spends her time working with young aspiring dancers as an instructor at the Lake Bluff Rec Center. She motivates these young kids to push themselves past their limits.

When she has extra free time you can expect to find Rice attending weekly yoga classes at Forever Om Yoga in uptown Lake Forest. Even though Rice has such a packed schedule, she still makes time for herself to get a good workout, which benefits her both mentally and physically. 

Balancing school along with participating in dance cannot be easy, but she makes sure to manage her time well by getting her schoolwork done and submitted on time. 

Her determination and accountability never go unnoticed, especially by her coaches. 

“Blakely has been a consistent and strong dancer since she was a freshman on the Varsity team. What makes her stand out is her inability to give up or half do anything — she is always all in, committed, and full out. Blakely doesn’t have to be the loudest voice in the room because whenever she speaks, her teammates know she has something insightful and important to say,”said Head Varsity Dance Team Coach Angela McNicholas. 

Rice shows a good sense of humor, too. She never takes anything too seriously, allowing her to get along with practically everyone she comes in contact with. 

She is constantly looked up to by her teammates for all of the amazing qualities she expresses, including how humble she is when executing anything. She always is working to better herself and is never satisfied with her progress. Rice continually pushes to accomplish her next goal. 

“To say Blakely is the most humble person I know is truly an understatement. In the classes I have with her, she is always ready to assist anyone who needs extra help” said junior Lyla Carney. “I can confidently say that Blakely is one of the hardest workers I know with an impressive drive to improve.” 

Rice’s commitment to dancing and constantly striving to better herself for her team is beyond impressive, being such a valued and appreciated member she will leave an everlasting impact on the program for years to come even after she graduates next year.  


Aiden Puthenveetil

Senior Aiden Puthenveetil, known by most as ‘Puti,” is not afraid to make himself known in class. His outgoing personality and fun sense of humor provide a brief respite from what can be an otherwise mundane school day. 

Senior classmate Victor Larimer says Puti always “lightens the mood” of whatever class he is in. 

“He does things like starting the wave in Grammar and Comp Honors or asking Mr. Wilen outlandish questions in physics. He is really a funny guy and always makes class more interesting,” said Larimer. 

While Puti’s classmates  appreciate his demeanor in class, sometimes it can be a challenge to stay focused.

“Puti’s loving and energetic personality is the reason I am not doing so well in the classes we share together,” said close friend Adil Conjeevaram.

Regardless, Puti does take academics seriously.

“Puti has the ability to be the funniest person in the class while also being the most helpful,” said senior classmate Graham Garrigan.

However, Puti’s classmates aren’t the only ones who appreciate his energy in the classroom.

“Puti makes every class that he is in better,” said English teacher Carolyn Konz. “He is inquisitive, bright, and kind to everyone. He is extremely convivial in class.”

“He brings a … unique humor and energy into class every day,” said physics teacher Matthew Wilen.

His energetic demeanor isn’t just limited to the classroom. He also brings his fun nature to his athletics, as a member of the varsity basketball team and a captain of the varsity tennis team.

Varsity Basketball Coach Phil LaScala describes Puti as “a great teammate.”

“Puti brings great enthusiasm and is a great person to be around because of his positive nature,” LaScala said.

Not only is he a great presence on the court, but he also has a strong work ethic and willingness to improve each day. 

“I’ve been playing basketball with Aiden for 5 years now, and he is always working on his craft,” said senior teammate Matteo Wilkinson.

Regardless of the situation, Puti’s fun personality and cheerful outlook always uplift those around him.

“Puti’s presence brightens up the most mellow days,” said Conjeevaram.


Mr. Frye

In and outside the classroom, learning strategies teacher Mr. Frye has a genuine desire to help his students.

His over-the-top enthusiasm, warm smile, and overall teaching ways have been more than appreciated by his students. He provides an open and welcoming environment for students to get their work done, encourage them, and advocate for them.   

 He is fun, animated and bubbly, too.

“I think he’s very excited, and clearly loves what he does. He works really hard to get the best out of students. He conforms to what they want and what they need rather than what he needs from them. He’s a really good guy with good heart,” said Ms. Erin Gilbert.

  Many students said Mr. Frye is “supportive.” 

“ He’s very supportive, especially when you’re drained. He’s always there for you,” said freshman Skyler Helm. 

Mr. Frye’s environment and personality have greatly influenced many students, making their days brighter and happier.

 “He’s hilarious, fun to be aroundm and understanding. He really makes a lot of people’s days,” said junior Mia.


Emmie Brown

 Despite being a three-sport athlete and maintaining an outstanding academic record, sophomore Emmie Brown rarely shows a sign of weakness in her abilities. 

This year, Brown took a step away from cheerleading, a sport she’s been doing for years, and  joined the diving team. Starting a new sport sophomore year isn’t a simple task, but Brown’s enthusiasm and dedication led her to secure a spot on the varsity team her very first year.

“She is one of the most supportive people I know and always radiates positive energy. I admire her ability to take risks and never let fear get the best of her,” said teammate Georgia Mannarino.

Not only is she an exceptional athlete, but she is highly involved with the high school. Her hard work is shown through her active participation in the economics club, where she manages the group’s social media. 

“She works super hard every day in class and always has an amazing attitude that carries throughout the room,” said senior Tommie Aberle, who works as a teaching assistant in one of her class.    

Beyond her extensive involvement with the high school, Brown is a beloved friend to many. 

“Emmie is an amazing friend and always there when you need her. I look up to her and her smarts, so whenever I need help with my schoolwork, she is always there to give a helping hand,” said sophomore Addington Leahy. 


Mr. Finley

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of having Mr. Finley as your teacher, you know you are in for a treat every class period. His classes are propelled by his impeccable knowledge of philosophy and general wisdom regarding life.

Mr. Finley, or simply “Finley” as he refers to himself,  enlightens his class with various intriguing facts and stories about things he has experienced throughout his life. His humanities class is full of interesting topics that are further boosted by his easy-going demeanor, which makes having a conversation with him feel as though you are having a casual chat with one of your buddies. 

“I like Mr. Finley because he’s super laid back, but also challenges students to deeply question the smallest things,” senior Travis Calaway said.

This reigns true for almost every topic Finley delves into during a class period. Thought provoking questions are commonplace within a Finley-taught class, which leads to high student engagement and satisfaction.

“He’s super down to earth and one of the most patient teachers I’ve met, and his class is never boring,” senior Daisy Smith said. 

If you find yourself in one of Finley’s classes, abstract and uncensored discussion is bound to be a part of the curriculum.

“Mr. Finley is one of the few teachers in the building that invokes us to want to participate and speak our minds, not just learn the material. If more teachers were like Mr. Finley, I’d genuinely enjoy coming to school,” senior Carl Carlson said. 

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