Scout Experience Recap: Thinking like an 8th grader

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Sophia Bienkowski

On Wednesday, January 24, Lake Forest High School hosted its first Scout Experience event for the incoming freshmen for next year, the class of 2022. From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., all incoming freshmen and their parents were invited to experience the best that Lake Forest has to offer. I was lucky enough to represent Women’s Club at the event, putting me right at the center of the excitement. There I got the chance to meet tons of kids, shaking with both anxiety and excitement. I asked a few of these freshmen the question everyone has asked themselves before high school: What are you most nervous about in the coming year?

Before asking this question, I decided to proposition myself the same query, albeit about my 8th grade self. As soon as I knew I was attending Lake Forest, what made me the most anxious? What thing was I most dreading about high school? In order for me to answer that question, I had to put myself in an 8th graders shoes. The 8th grade is a year of expectation and responsibility, desperately trying to prepare you for all that is to come at the infamous “high school level.” You feel on top of the world, however, there is also the sense of uncertainty, tainted with anxiety about the future. After I figured out my answer, I decided to ask some others what they were most nervous about; and for the sake of anonymity, the incoming freshmen that I interviewed will remain unnamed.

“I’m worried I won’t be able to balance all the homework I get,” one scared 8th grade student admitted. I heard this response from many kids. They were more worried about their academic successes than the social aspect of acclimation at the high school. Other students seemed “…hyped,” stated Junior Julia Kuetemeyer. Kuetemeyer appeared at the Scout Experience event for lacrosse, field hockey, and Student Council. Some kids, she said, were super friendly, saying they were more excited than nervous for Freshman year.

I asked Mrs. Reimer, a valued student support liaison, what she thought of the Scout Experience. She said this year was more about “information gathering” and “planting seeds” than previous years. She was there promoting the Enjoy The Journey Club at LFHS. I also spoke to the very friendly Mrs. Logas. Mrs. Logas teaches math at the high school, and thought the Scout Experience was great because it was more “face-to-face.”

High school seniors Trisha Bhagat and Camille Valentincic thought 8th graders were more comfortable than in previous years because they had their parents with them. Having family there to support you makes kids less hesitant. The Student to Student Club members were also very friendly and helped the kids get to where the needed to go. STS member Hannah Atchley said the school was “really busy.” It was full of aspiring faces; kids hoping to find some clarity in the oftentimes murky water that is high school.

I asked sophomore Bridget Mitchell, there to represent Women’s Club and Student Council, what she was nervous about when she was an 8th grader. She told me she was most worried about gaining the approval of the upperclassmen. She was also scared, like me, about the social scene at LFHS, and whether she would be able to find anyone to sit with at lunch. She then told me how she did find a place to sit and that she ended up having great friends. I found it interesting that almost everyone I met had something different to worry about. Something foolish to consider a problem. Something that I know now was not worth the anxiety.

In conclusion, the Scout Experience at Lake Forest High School was a success. 8th graders got the chance to taste a little bit of every part of our school. From the arts to classes to sports to extracurriculars–they could see it all. Incoming freshmen got to see a little of what their lives would be like for the next four years. This was the first year Lake Forest had a Scout Experience, but I believe it won’t be the last.