Opinion: The Problem with the Commitee Dance



The ideas represented within this article are opinions in nature and are solely that of the author. They may not wholly reflect the stance of The Forest Scout newspaper as a publication.

I am a Lake Forest transplant.  I moved to the Lake Forest community because I wanted to raise my daughter in one of the most beautiful places I’d ever seen.   Admittedly, the other top deciding factors were: its affluence, its seemingly safe streets and neighborhoods, and the education-first mindset of the residents.  Sure, I loved the altruism and the traditions of the long-time residents as well. 

I quickly found out that, while Lake Forest offered all of the above along with the opportunities that these things would afford my daughter, there were some things that we would never be a part of.

Lake Forest is a tight-knit community.  There are secret societies and you have to be either accepted or in-the-know.  And that’s okay. It’s interesting to watch and it makes for fun people watching at events.  But the parts that haven’t been so fun are the extra-curricular events that my daughter hasn’t been invited to.  What hasn’t been fun is the way some aspects of this lifestyle are flaunted and how so many of the students act entitled, simply because of who they are or who they know.  How outsiders–or people who move here–quickly realize that it’s just too high of a wall to climb to fit in.

I’m talking about certain events like, the annual Committee Dance and Fort Nightly.  What is the Committee Dance you might ask?  I didn’t know, because I am not “in-the-know.”  But what I do know is this: my child has never been invited.  And thankfully, she doesn’t care.  But for those families, those girls, those boys that do care, it can be quite daunting and can make them feel quite inferior.  From what I’ve learned, the Committee Dance is a long-standing tradition that is held at the finest hotel in downtown Chicago.  It is a very formal dinner-dance event that only the selected youth are invited to. Not selected youth because of academic aptitude, nor selected youth because of athletic or fine arts prowess. Rather, the Committee Dance simply, as broad as it sounds, selects youth based on the opinions of a committee. We have no idea the merit behind the deciding factors because no one knows what the deciding factors are. 

Suffice it to say, in this day and age of social media, the images are quite astounding!  The boys in their tuxedos or fine suits, the girls look like they are dressed for the most exclusive clubs in New York.  What does all of this mean to the uninvited? The excluded?  Just another way of saying, “You are not one of us.”  Events such as the Committee Dance and the Fort Nightly event perpetuate the elitist culture that is so damaging to the school community as a whole.

It is well-known that the Committee Dance is just another excuse for the kids who attend to have photo ops for social media, make an appearance at the event and then leave to find the best post party where social hosting occurs.  This is what my sources tell me anyhow.  Clearly, this is not something that belongs to or in Lake Forest High School.  And for those students and families that feel left out: I don’t think you’re missing out on anything.  Lake Forest High School has come a long way with its new clubs and support systems such as Q Club, Embrace, Alliance and the Human Rights Club.  Once these club members leave the seemingly safe confines of the Lake Forest Bubble, they will be much better prepared for the Real World.