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The Forest Scout

The Student News Site of Lake Forest High School

The Forest Scout

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The Forest Scout

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The Forest Scout’s 2024 Thespian of the Year: Taylor Ross

Graphic courtesy of Taylor Ross.
Graphic courtesy of Taylor Ross.

It all started at PASTA Camp. 

Taylor Ross’ acting career started at a young age at a performing arts camp at the Gorton Center in Lake Forest run by Tom and Susie Beck. 

Ross spent PASTA Camp alongside longtime friend Ryder Gamrath, who she later was an emcee with for the Talent Show their senior year. 

Although this camp recently ended because the Becks retired, Ross remembers it as the place that kicked off her acting career.

Ross’ high school acting career started off differently from what she expected.

Due to COVID, the Fall Play was all online. Ross put all her effort into editing the entire recorded show in the New Media classroom. 

Ross at PASTA Camp 7th Grade. (Photo courtesy of Taylor Ross)

“Since I first met Taylor during her first year—virtually, due to COVID—she has been a standout leader and a vibrant presence in our theater department. Even being in a Zoom/Google Meet session, you could tell Taylor was amazing!” said Theater Director Mr. Corey Holmer.  

Ross spent the majority of her freshman year working on Tech Crew but she ended up auditioning for the freshman/sophomore play – where she was a member of tech crew and also played the part of “The Caretaker” in Twisted Tales

“I’ve known Taylor was a star since she first auditioned for the freshman/sophomore play during remote learning,” said Theater Director Mr. John Wanninger. “From the minute she started her audition, I could see — even over Google Meets — that she had an inherent and profound understanding of character that came through in her acting.”

Twisted Tales of Poe was Ross and Gamrath’s first high school show together. 

“Taylor got the lead and during the read through I remember her giving a literal Oscar winning performance, as a freshman, during the first read through of all her lines, over a Google Meet, I was shocked, she was incredible,” said Gamrath. 

The beginning of Ross’ high school acting career was slightly different given the fact that it was on Google Meet, but even then, she had a profound impact on the Lake Forest Theater Department. 

After her freshman year, she spent her summer at the Interlochen Summer Camp for the Arts where she learned more improv and pushed herself out of her comfort zone. 

Ross progressively got more and more involved with acting as the years went on and worked tirelessly for the roles she deserved. 

The summer after her junior year, Ross spent time at the University of Michigan Summer Camp which she found was very impactful on her acting. She was given the opportunity to work with extremely talented teachers and students. 

“The imposter syndrome there kind of just went crazy because I felt like I really didn’t belong because everyone there was so talented and I was just there, but I kind of learned to just be confident in myself and understand that I’m there for a reason,” said Ross. 

Ross’ senior year after her summer at the University of Michigan came with a lot of success. 

She went into senior year with more confidence in her acting skills and got the opportunity to perform in the Illinois Theater Fest All-State Production of She Kills Monsters. 

All-State is the highest level in which an actor/actress can perform in as a high school student. 

Ross as Farrah in the All-State production. (Photo Courtesy of Jen Heim)

For her first audition, Ross was called to Bolingbrook, Illinois. She received a  callback while she was at the University of Michigan for her summer camp. Her mom drove her from Michigan all the way to Bolingbrook so that she could do her callback. 

Lucky for Ross, the four hour drive was worth it in the end.  She earned the role of Farrah, which she was super excited about, since she thought she resembled Farrah very well. 

After her time at All-State – every weekend for 7 weeks – she started her senior year at LFHS as a Senior Director for the One-Acts for the show Talent Show Gone Wrong. 

The Fall play was next for Ross and this was a very memorable time for her as a student director. 

“I remember Mrs. Dreiling letting me be in charge of a scene in A Wrinkle in Time and I felt really proud when my hard work was able to be put up on stage,” said Ross. 

After A Wrinkle in Time, she continued her senior year by fulfilling a pact that her and fellow actor Gamrath had since their freshman year. 

They had an agreement that their senior year they would both audition to be emcees for the Talent Show. 

Their acting career together started at PASTA Camp and Ross has been Gamrath’s “partner in crime ever since,” said Gamrath. 

Ross and Gamrath at Camp Talent Show as emcees. (Photo courtesy of Taylor Ross)

Not only does Ross focus on her own acting career and success, but she also is a very encouraging and inspiring person to work with while also bringing the fun to the stage. 

“Taylor is one of the most dedicated people I know, her commitment she brings to everything she does is truly unmatched and the combination of professionalism and fun that she brings to every rehearsal makes every show better,” said fellow actress Kallista Schneiderman. 

Although Ross’ acting career has come to an end at LFHS, she has committed to study acting at Ithaca College in the fall. 

“I’m loving every second of it even if it’s crazy and insane. It’s still something I love to do and I’m grateful to have had this experience and be able to even pursue this,” said Ross. 

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Coralis Colon
Coralis Colon, Editor
Senior Coralis Colon is super excited to be returning to The Forest Scout, this year as an Editor! She is a member of The Student Council, NHI, Scout Nation, and Spanish Club. In her free time, you can find her cooking, shopping, reading, spending time with friends, and family, and her two dogs, Bandit and Ozzie. When she has the time, she enjoys traveling and babysitting.
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