The Forest Scout The Student News Site of Lake Forest High School Sat, 29 Feb 2020 18:16:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Still Time to Register for March 17 Primary Fri, 28 Feb 2020 16:24:39 +0000 Primary Election Day in Illinois is just a couple weeks away.  Here is some information on how to register if you have not done so already, as well as how and where to vote.

In Illinois you can vote in the primary election if you are 17 but turning 18 before the general election. This is a privilege that not all states share.

Online voter registration is still open until Sunday. You can register at the Illinois State Board Of Elections website ( In order to register, you will need a valid Illinois Driver’s License or an Illinois State ID number, the last four digits of your social security number, the date your license or state ID was issued, as well as your birth date.

If you don’t make the online deadline, don’t worry! There is still grace period registration available. You can register at the Lake County Clerk’s Office during weekday business hours. You can register through Election Day. You can also register at early voting at your assigned voting site. Here is where you can find your assigned voting site:

Early voting begins March 2 and continues through March 16. Election Day is March 17, and polls are open that day from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. If your voter registration record reflects your current name and address, you will not need to have any other identification on hand.

Here is a nonpartisan Illinois voting guide sponsored by the League of Women Voters that you can use to inform yourself on the candidates:


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Outfit of the Week featuring Eleni Ballis Fri, 28 Feb 2020 15:43:23 +0000 For this week’s outfit of the week is senior Eleni Ballis.

Eleni is rocking cheetah flare pants from Urban Outfitters, which have been an ongoing trend this season. Eleni flawlessly paired these fun pants with a creme colored sweater from Free People.

This combo was the perfect balance between the two pieces to keep it right on-trend. 

To pull this whole look together, she wore black platform Doc Martens. Doc Marten’s have made a statement in the halls of LFHS this year as they have been becoming more and more popular. 

Not only did these match the outfit flawlessly, but they added another layer of style.

How would you describe your style?

“I don’t really have a style, so I like to be bold and chic and just base my style off of my personality.”

What are your top 3 stores to shop at?

“I really like Free People, Urban Outfitters, and probably Zara.”

What influencers do you look to for style inspiration?

“I like Rihanna, Madison Beer, and Kylie Jenner.”

Stay tuned for next weeks OOTW!

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The Talent Show: A Resounding Success Fri, 28 Feb 2020 13:00:57 +0000 Senior Michael Daniels was rather put off.

The Talent Show host had come onstage to introduce the first guest alone, taking care to mention that the event was an APT fundraiser. Suddenly fellow senior Teddy Hill was barging in and repeating Daniels’ lines word for word. This was something Daniels could not accept.

The resulting argument ended in Daniels shoving Hill offstage and established a theme of tension between the Talent Show’s two emcees. Though the storyline was rather static, it nonetheless provided several opportunities for comedy that the duo were quick to capitalize on.

At one point Hill forced Daniels to don a dress, adopt the name Michelle, and assist him in a card trick involving a member of the audience; Daniels was resentful and it showed.

Corruption was a common theme in the show. Daniels and Hill engaged in a musical faceoff at the beginning of the second act featuring a large amount of subterfuge. Bribery at the top levels of the production reared its ugly head, and The Forest Scout was offered a considerable sum to not publish signficant show details. Due to the shoestring budget on which the Scout operates it was agreed to accept this offer; hence students seeking to experience the Talent Show through this article shall only be disappointed.

Immense sums of time and energy were invested in the performance, and it showed; lighting was almost flawless, the acts flowed together perfectly, and every routine was just about impeccable.

There was one time in the second act where the lights cut out, and sometimes instrumentation drowned out vocals. It is good that the School Board is considering these and other problems with the high school’s infrastructure.

New Media was arguably the greatest hit of the show. Its sketches were interspersed with the acts and appearances of the sadly bellicose emcees, and each and every one was brilliant.

There was a deeply disturbing picture portraying a poorly-parented child who eats food the wrong way (one gripe here: it seems more of a tragicomedy than a tragedy). There was a depiction of the rise and fall of a dealer in retreat-inspired beverages (Kairos may indeed be a cult… of addiction). We witnessed the rage of a force-sensitive screenager in search of his phone. A full-color parody of “Survivor” broke the Nielsen ratings system.

Other sketches involved coffee, conspiracies, and frowning deans in elevators. An especially notable piece was the exposé of the wanton use of TikTok by LFHS faculty; apparently, Generation Z has successfully corrupted our predecessors.

The Forest Scout will nonetheless be investigating New Media, a semi-secret second floor society that gives video journalism a bad name with its ridiculous productions that ought to be treated as entertainment rather than journalism.

This is not a social commentary. This is a serious review of a magnificent showcase of the talent within the LFHS community.

No U-Turn Ahead performed “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” with an infectious energy; lead singer Brennan Marzella ran through the audience at one point. Seniors Martha Clifford, Cara Page, and Maliha Yusuf gave a similarly energetic, well choreographed and splendid-sounding rendition of the Ariana Grande song “No Tears Left to Cry.”

Take Six gave a swingy and soulful performance, balancing the various components of their sound just about perfectly. Freshman Tess Meulbroek danced out an artful and serene exercise in flexible storytelling to “Ave Maria.”

Lowkey Treble then covered “Love Runs Out” with their signature blend of overwhelmingly expressive choreography, vibrant sound scene, and the like. At this point, the love and adoration of the people is solidly behind LKT and further praise is a waste of pixels.

Lyon and Li continued their tradition of gentle, flowing melodies that always strike a chord within the audience. Freshman band Demiromantic covered “Last Nite” with an original and exciting sound, but the instrumentation seemed to drown out the vocals.

Fan-favorite Grapefruit’s performance of “Greedy” was electrifying with vocals to match.

Juniors Cole Joseph, Pierce “I’m Doc” Docherty, and Adrian Ye recapped the last decade in film history in perhaps the most questionable way possible; there are no other adjectives. Looking for Jane concluded the first act with a masterful use of all instruments and vocals to cover Tori Kelly’s “Language.”

The freshman-heavy LFHS Big Band was fantastic, featuring a tour de force by both percussion and brass and a trumpet solo by Mark Smirnov, the iconic lead organizer of Lake Bluff’s Veterans Day Ceremony last year.

The Forest Scout is unable to disclose whether this author was monetarily incentivized to give favorable reviews; such would disrupt the learning environment and cause consternation in the school administration.

Freshman band Verdant made strong use of electric guitars and percussion; last night was their debut performance and they took full advantage of it to showcase their talent and establish themselves as a force within the musical community.

Often have folk wondered what would occur if a horde of seniors were let loose on stage equipped for a rock-fest of the ages. Seniors Michael Daniels, Billy Gardner, Luke Gerskovich, and Jack Lavanway answered with a cover of “Sleep Now In The Fire,” a rage-filled rant against the machines.

The performance was notably recorded by several audience members via iPhone; a list of those persons’ names was bodily removed from this reporter by members of the Talent Show Committee and it is expected that the Committee will punish offenders for their blatant breach of decorum. There are other times and places to view Talent Show performances, namely tonight and tomorrow at 7pm.

Seniors Martha Clifford, Laine Gamrath, and Catherine Terkildsen gave a comforting yet powerful rendition of “Sweet Creature.” Dance Team then proceeded to remind everyone why they are second in the nation.

The next band, FLAME, was indeed on fire. I had not yet seen hair used as a musical instrument.

The Yo-Yo Crew, despite the departure of Allen Chiu, remains a sight to be seen; with half of its members now underclassmen, it will hopefully be a continuing presence on campus. Sylvia Kollasch, original songwriter, mastered the balance between soothing guitar work and passionate vocals about the nature of love.

The Last Imaginary Guitar Solo was a strong performance by a large group dominated by seniors. The populist president of the LFHS chapter of the National Honor Society, William Jennings Gardner, somehow managed to dominate the performance.

The emcees’ plot arc then reached a touching conclusion as Hill and Daniels thanked the cast, crew, APT, and audience — with Hill repeating every word of Daniels’ as before. Thus the stage was cleared for a magnificent performance of “Running Away.”

The closing act was of exceptionally solid constitution; it was also easily one of the best. It featured a strong cowbell performance, and it was then that the true problem with the Talent Show was laid bare for all to see:

It needed More Cowbell.

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Should Talent Show Award a Winner? Fri, 28 Feb 2020 13:00:41 +0000 0 Friday Five Fri, 28 Feb 2020 13:00:15 +0000 0 Nobody Wins Fri, 28 Feb 2020 05:49:26 +0000

Casey Murray, Opinion Editor

Declaring Talent Show winners would only ensure that nobody won. There must be no such thing.

Firstly we must empathize with the performers. Performing in front of a large audience is immensely stressful as is. Perhaps I shouldn’t talk as I will be reviewing the Talent Show for The Forest Scout, but there it is: reviews aren’t exactly helpful as they are liable to be rather critical, but giving out prizes is like blowing up an oil tanker on the Great Barrier Reef.

If we divided the performers into some number of arbitrary groups and told them “by the way, you will be judged on how ‘good’ you are in the eyes of a handful of subjective judges,” we would only succeed in adding more stress to the situation. Competition can sometimes be a good motivator (at least I hope so — otherwise our entire economic system is based on a lie) but in the case of a talent show where we are being treated to an array of already stellar performances, I don’t see the need to demand more production value. Hundreds of human-hours have been sunk into this thing; how, exactly, would prizes enhance our appreciation for this tremendous sacrifice of time and energy?

The idea of any prize — general or categorical, it matters not — is also fundamentally illogical because of the subjectivity inherent in awards. I happen to despise rap music; does that make rap music bad? The fact that rap songs have won numerous awards provides a categorical response: no.

It does not matter what I like. It does not matter what you like. It does not matter what the Academy likes. We are all of us doomed to die, fated to be forgotten. Even if our civilization lasts ten thousand years it will still be erased from the memory of time (sorry, Vergil) by the millions that follow, and in eight billion years — maybe more, maybe less — this pale blue dot will be consumed by the hellfire of the expanding Sun.

Our fellow students are rising up to perform, to bring joy into our hearts, to become better at what they love. That is what we should honor, not their skill or their success.”

There is no point to subjective awards of any kind. What we like best varies from person to person, and that is something to be celebrated. Declaring that one point of view is simply “more correct” is illogical and insensitive towards those with differing opinions. Since none of this will be significant, since all of this will be forgotten — there is no reason we should sacrifice consensus to declare a single winner or group of winners.

Prizes and awards have a purpose — in sailing regattas or track meets, for instance, or in subjective areas where recognition is desperately needed (eg, world peace). Nobody can argue that Mahatma Gandhi did not deserve the Nobel Peace Prize; unfortunately, he never received the Nobel Peace Prize, a blight on the Nobel Prizes that serves as Exhibit A for the dangers of placing value on subjective awards.

But so many prizes and awards are also fundamentally immature and unworthy of a species that has split the atom and landed on the moon and wrought great works of art. At the end of the day they are things we pin to ourselves in the hope of attracting a mate, or a college, or a good job, or a Wikipedia entry. Too often they are but lowly recognitions of base achievements that have no bearing on our fundamental value as living beings. They focus on what we did and not why we did it, creating an endless cycle of competition that satiates only our greed for recognition.

Rosa Parks, Elanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King Jr, the Dalai Lama — these people are heroes who deserve to be recognized not for what they did but for why they did it. They killed monsters because it was the right thing to do; all else followed.

The Talent Show is, in its noblest form, essentially the same. Our fellow students are rising up to perform, to bring joy into our hearts, to become better at what they love. That is what we should honor, not their skill or their success.

And the only way to honor that is by packing the stands and drowning the stage in cheers.


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A Little Healthy Competition Fri, 28 Feb 2020 05:46:34 +0000

Catherine Greub, Opinion Editor

Every year, hundreds of students and community members attend the much-talked-about LFHS Talent Show. Many different acts from all different grades partake in Talent Show to show off what they’ve got. While Talent Show does bring the community and high school together, the students participating do not receive any prize or even compete to have a winner.

I believe the LFHS Talent Show should have categorical winners. 

With this proposal, contestants could be split into categories, for example, duets, solos, bands, and maybe an “other” category. They would then have a winner of each of those categories.

The students who participate in Talent Show participate for their own desire: showing off their talent, speaking their voice, or using the stage to practice for the real world. I believe, if there would be a winner or prize of the Talent Show, students who are less motivated (due to any reason) to participate would have more willingness to be in the talent show.

There are many students that enjoy some healthy competition. Some students even perform better under competition. I am not asking for some huge prize, but name recognition within our school, newspaper articles, gift cards to local restaurants or shops, could all add a little extra “umph” to the talent show environment.

Having categorical winners could also open up Talent Show more to the community. 

[Awarding winners] could all add a little extra “umph” to the talent show environment”


The majority of the supporters of Talent Show are students and staff of LFHS and family members of the students in the acts. The categorical winners could be picked by the public. Determined by a panel of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff community members who act as “judges” instead of the audience who are majority students at LFHS, this would deter the idea of having the “most popular” act winning the talent show and increase the act’s chances based on pure talent – how it is supposed to be. 

While some would argue that comparing acts at the LFHS Talent Show is similar to comparing apples to oranges, the categories would make sure that alike acts would only be competing against their own kind. There is the Battle of the Bands coming up on April 9, where bands do compete for a winner but, it is hosted by CROYA, not the high school. The Battle of the Bands, just like the talent show, practices good sportsmanship and has bands that come back every year to participate in the battle, even when they haven’t won in the past.

Talent Show with a little healthy competition would be just like that. Fun, exciting, and entertaining to watch for the Lake Forest and Lake Bluff communities.

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Whitney Dhamer Thu, 27 Feb 2020 22:31:32 +0000 Anyone who knows senior Whitney Dhamer knows she never fails to cheer people up.

“She is so sweet. She always brought a smile to my face in our morning math class,” said senior Kiki Wood.

Dhamer isn’t only loved by her friends and peers, but also by the teachers who’ve been fortunate enough to have her in class.

“Every time Whitney walks in the classroom, she lights it up. She brings energy and passion to everything she does. I’m really going to miss her next year, but I am excited to see what her future brings,” English teacher Mr. Ray Del Fava said.

Whitney is committed to the things she does. Outside of the high school, you can find Dhamer dedicating her time rowing competitively for the Chicago Rowing Foundation. She drives to the city daily after school for practices and wakes up early on the weekends to race on the water, despite the cold Chicago weather.

Other hobbies and activities that she enjoys include yoga, working out, spending time with family and friends, and most importantly, making Mac N Cheese.

“Whitney is a QUEEN. She is the most hilarious, diligent, and charismatic person I know,” Lillie Michael said. ” She always knows how to have a good time no matter what the situation and her work ethic is like no other. I am so lucky to have her as a best friend.”

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Katherine Graham Thu, 27 Feb 2020 22:25:21 +0000 The world needs more Katherine Graham’s.

A star volleyball player, excellent student and an even better person, Graham is most cherished for being a sweet person who is always willing to listen.

“Katherine is an amazing friend,” junior Lilly Trkla said. “Anytime I need any help no matter what it is or what time it is, she is always there for me. She is one of the nicest, smartest, funniest people I know.”

As a twin, it can be difficult to differentiate yourself and pave your own path. However, the Graham sisters have carved out individual paths for themselves.

“There is literally no one else like Katherine!” junior Heidi Schoeller said. “She is the most loyal, dependable and sweetest person I know.”

On the varsity volleyball team, Graham plays right side and is a strong player and leader on the team.

“Katherine is the perfect teammate really. She is extremely dedicated, always looks out for what is best for the team and has high and positive energy that puts a smile on everyone’s face,” senior teammate Mary Margaret Reay said.


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Ms. Leah Pranke Thu, 27 Feb 2020 22:08:26 +0000 Always on the lookout to help others and never failing to be there for her students and staff, Ms. Leah Prankeis a gem here at LFHS.

Pranke teaches biology and coaches volleyball. She is dedicated to her job, always making time to help others and allowing students to talk to her about any stresses they may have.

The environment in Pranke’s classroom is one that aids students in positivity and calmness. Helping her students is her first priority, making sure they understand everything to their best ability.

“Pranke is an amazing person and teacher. She cares for others and is always there if you need anything,” freshmen Bella Ranaollo said. “She makes class so fun and never fails to make me laugh. I feel very fortunate I have her as my teacher this year.”

Her energy is contagious, and students say there is simply never a dull moment when she is around.

“Pranke is actually my favorite person and teacher ever. She is always there when you really need her, whether it be for biology, or just advice in general,” junior Lilly Trkla said. “Her upbeat energy, bubbly personality, and enthusiastic attitude help me and other students have a more positive outlook on life everyday.”

While on the volleyball court, Pranke is probably the biggest supporter of her team. Assistant volleyball coach Mrs. Reanna Lindsey-Perera said she specifically loves seeing the energy she brings to the game while on the sidelines. And, of course, she brings that same energy right back into her classroom.

“Not only is Pranke passionate about helping her players learn the game of volleyball, but she is also passionate about their learning. Most of our athletes have her as their biology teacher this year, and I can tell that her room is a welcoming place for anyone,” Lindsey-Perera said.

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