• Joey Nassar

‘The Resilient Heart of a Scout’

Student Body President Joey Nassar delivered the address at the Lake Forest High School graduation ceremony on the school’s front lawn on June 4. Below are his edited remarks.

When I graduated from 8th grade, my parents pulled out all these John Hughes movies over the summer to show me what high school would be like.

I think my mom was cringing at times, and some of the movies got a little uncomfortable to be watching with your parents at age 14. I remember seeing the generic high school clichés: the school gymnasium dances … the popular jocks and bullies … the nerds … the exaggerated high school drama … and what it meant to be in the band back then –– clearly, they had never met The Band Boys!

"Remote in basements and bedrooms, we found a way to connect," said Lake Forest High School Student Body President Joey Nassar. Photo courtesy of VIP Photography.

Now, looking back on my four years at Lake Forest High School, I have realized that while some of these clichés hold true –– many of our high school dances have in fact been in

the competition gym–– but most of these stereotypes do not describe the Lake Forest High School Class of 2022.

Maybe we can credit this to the pandemic … but more importantly. I think it’s due to the resilient heart of a Scout.

Our parents and other adults might say that because we didn’t have their coming-of-age experience that perhaps in some ways ours was stolen or worse. However, what I experienced with each of you was something that still felt extraordinary.

Remote in basements and bedrooms, we found a way to connect. We innovated to make our experience memorable, even it if wasn’t “normal.”

Take for instance the concerts that happened via Zoom by our music department … the reinvention of our classic traditions on the front lawn … and the clever use of camera

backgrounds and themed outfits to bring school spirit during a difficult time.

When I look back at the pandemic, I first see a camera roll full of test submissions on Schoology and the unfortunate reality of masked learning, but I also remember fondly the times that we worked together to make our experience the best it could possibly be.

When things did open, it was a making up for lost time and another way we led with our hearts. Scout Nation at football games felt louder … The ELS game – electric… the hallways more vibrant … our performance in athletics more powerful. We seemed to cherish and appreciate the time together in a way that we didn’t before.

Pre-pandemic there was kindness, but post-pandemic, there was empathy for one another. An appreciation for our shared experience, and the individual ways we all experienced it. An understanding that friends may have had mental health challenges or struggled with remote learning. That athletes lost important scholarship opportunities and now needed to play harder to get noticed, and we needed to cheer louder to encourage them.

There was more grace given to our differences and more hope given to our future. More cheering for acceptances in the most difficult college application year on record. A camaraderie to help each other keep up and stay positive.

This is why I think what defines our class is the lack of competition between us and, instead, a focus on togetherness.

Together, we survived a global pandemic, but more importantly, we … Read Joey Nassar’s entire speech.