Swap Day: A day in the life of an LHS student


Walking into the high school, you feel like you're in a high school movie. The traditional feel of LHS is palpable.

When watching a movie that takes place in high school, there’s always a scene where the main character walks into the school. The cinematic high school always has students pouring into its picturesque entrance, with popular girls socializing and skateboarders riding past the trees that line the walkway. Walking into Vernon Hills High School, I’ve never been reminded of this movie stereotype, but it was the first thing I thought of when I walked into Libertyville High School.

I got the opportunity to spend a day at LHS through a transfer program of the Board of Education reps from the two schools. I am not a rep, but luckily the transfer day opened up to include a student from newspaper. Before the day, I had no idea what to expect. I, like most Vernon Hills students, knew a few students from LHS either from middle school or from sports, but I’d only heard about the party culture of LHS students, never anything about the school itself.

Vernon Hills is a pretty new school, which has its advantages: students don’t need to worry about where in the walls asbestos is hiding or lead paint falling from the gym ceiling, which were problems that Libertyville students brought up to me within two periods of me being there. However, the more modern layout of VH means that the school doesn’t have that traditional, 80s-coming-of-age movie appearance, so spending a day at Libertyville was very new to me in that respect.

My day started in newspaper, and the day I was there was right after they sent their issue to publication, so they didn’t have much to do. I spent a lot of that class talking about how LHS responds to their newspaper, Drops of Ink, compared to how students respond to ours. Next year’s editors in chief told me that students there, for better or for worse, react strongly to their issues. Last year, DOI wrote a story about hookup culture, which resulted in a lot of backlash from the student body, but backlash means that people are reading the paper, which is always good.

The next two periods of the day were AP Statistics and AP Environmental Science, two subjects which I have absolutely no knowledge of. While the teachers talked about the upcoming AP exams, I listened to surrounding students talk about parking spots, as the announcements in second period said that the deadline to sign up for a spot was coming up.

Parking at LHS is very different than at our school. Where we have three separate lots for the different classes (four if you count the free lot), LHS only has one parking lot. Due to the limited space, students are encouraged to carpool, and those who aren’t lucky enough to get a spot have to park at the old building and walk to school. Students are very possessive of their spots: a girl I was sitting next to in stats, said that she used to carpool with their boyfriend, but after they broke up, she got the parking spot “in the divorce”.

For lunch, I went to Bagels by the Book with the girl I was shadowing and her friends. Much of their conversation consisted of prom. The day I was there was the day before Libertyville’s prom, and the anticipation for the dance was just as tangible as our school’s atmosphere before dances. Everyone was discussing where pictures are taking place, what time they were leaving for their cabins, and which girls had the worst spray tans.

This year, their prom is at the Shedd Aquarium, a notably nicer venue than our prom at a hotel in Schaumburg. Part of the reason they go to nicer places – it was at Navy Pier last year – is because both juniors and seniors go to prom. The added ticket sales allow for nicer places downtown.

Coming back from lunch, I got to cook quesadillas in consumer management, and then went to glass art. One difference between the art scene at Vernon Hills and Libertyville is that students with artistic focuses spend their study halls in “the dungeon.” Similar to our school, classes such as glass art, painting, and woodworking are all in the same part of the building, but this area is secluded from the rest of the classrooms.

While the art hallway is physically secluded from the school, it also feels very inclusive. Everyone from girls with dyed hair and wearing snake earrings to boys wearing college sweatshirts, khakis, and spotless white shoes were sitting and making glass bugs.

The last period of the day was a study hall, which means I got a tour around the school. This was possible because LHS is much more trusting of its students than VHHS. We have to scan in with our IDs to mark our attendance in the CRC, ARC, Library, and UC, as well as upon both leaving for and returning from senior lunch release. Libertyville students, on the other hand, do not need their IDs as much. Seniors are free to walk out the nearest door for their lunch breaks to go to their cars, and don’t have to scan back in upon their return.

Academically, both schools are staffed with top notch teachers providing amazing educations. Both schools support their students in what is important to them, be it arts, academics or athletics, and both schools are full of high achieving students. It was enjoyable spending a day in a more traditional looking high school, but I still wouldn’t trade-in my years as a cougar. Besides, our color scheme is much better than orange and black.