Smoke for a Cause: Soprych, Busse, and Spagnoli Team Up for Students



Many people love to cook. Whether it be bringing in a batch of brownies for a treat day in English class or sharing a loaf of banana bread you’ve baked with your departmental colleagues, instances of selflessly sharing your culinary skills are seen on the daily at LFHS. Sharing your hard work and labor in the kitchen or on the grill with other people is the reward in the process for some. Some share with their families, others their colleagues, and for a special few faculty members of Lake Forest High School, an entire high school of students and teachers.

Smoke for a Cause: Soprych, Busse, and Spagnoli Team Up for StudentsIn the case of Wellness teachers Mr. Joe Busse, Mr. Tom Soprych, and Mr. Chuck Spagnoli, smoking meat is a pastime they all readily enjoy. However, smoking meat for the nearly 1,700 students at LFHS–plus the additional faculty members, paraprofessionals, and clerical workers–would be a task all its own never before completed. Yet, the three Scouts football coaches took the challenge as their personal mission. Prior to this year, the three meat connoisseurs had hosted their meat smoking tutorial at the school’s annual E-Day Emotional Wellness celebration; but, with the absence of E-Day in the school’s calendar in 2017, Busse, Soprych, and Spagnoli decided on Wednesday, March 15th to be the day the savory shoulders and the bonafide briskets of pork and cow would be shared with the students free of charge. 

Behind the scenes wrangling in the funs for the widely heralded event was Dean Mr. John Maher, who had heard the fanfare surrounding the previously celebrated event and didn’t want the popular performance to skip a beat. Sure, the event would take some creativity to plan–and a great deal of selfless service on behalf of the meat-smokers–but it was executed to flawless perfection. After the funds for the meat were provided by the APT, Busse, Soprych, and Spagnoli hatched a plan to cook all of the purchased meat and adequately prepare it before the school day began so students could enjoy the opportunity during their lunch periods.

What the plan would ultimately require is the three men to sleep over night at the school, manning the meat outdoors in the wee hours of the cold March night to ensure that all of the meat would be smoked exceptionally. Sacrificing their time, energy, effort, and sleep, the three Wellness Dept. teachers successfully smoked a smorgasbord of briskets, pork shoulders, and assorted vegetables that are available today during all lunch periods. 

A group of people standing in a roomWhether or not you’re a fan of smoked meat and will be enjoying the fruits of Mr. Busse, Mr. Soprych, and Mr. Spagnoli’s labor is irrelevant. The fact remains that these three men understood that the students of LFHS wanted something and did everything in their power to make that happen, including catching a quick cat nap in Tom Reau’s shed this morning in the fleeting hours before school was slated to start. Busse, who makes his home in Grayslake, Spagnoli, who hails from Kenosha, WI, and Soprych, who resides in nearby Lake Bluff, sacrificed the comfort of their own homes and the warmth of their own beds for the spring air of the month’s most frigid cold front. 

The selflessness and can-do attitude of these three teachers is certainly to be commended by all. So when you stop down today to try a quick bite of their culinary creation, be sure to thank each of them for a job well done. As expected, their smoked masterpieces are prepared to perfection. “Everything was excellent,” shared Dean Mr. Lesniak, who sampled each of the options made available by the chefs. Junior Landen Messner also shared that, “the hot brisket was so good. These guys are professionals.” Busse, Soprych, and Spagnoli will be on hand all day to manage the table and see firsthand the enjoyment of their service.

When it comes to showing that you care, perhaps there is no way to reach a person quicker than providing them with something to snack on. A special thank you from The Forest Scout, the APT, and the faculty and staff of LFHS goes out to Mr. Busse, Mr. Soprych, and Mr. Spagnoli for all of their hard work in providing us with a great benefit today and a true embodiment of how far teachers are willing to go for their students at LFHS.