“Warner for Life!”
Like athletes in a huddle breaking on “Go Team!”, every dorm meeting in Warner House at Lake Forest Academy ends with “Warner for Life!”
LFA’s oldest dorm has a unique charm that is “ramshackle in a way that I like,” says Dorm Head and English Instructor Nat Small. No two rooms are the same, much like the “wonderfully diverse population” of students who live there and participate in the long-standing traditions that are the fabric of life in Warner House.
While the TV show reference is probably lost on today’s students, the year-long “Upstairs/Downstairs” competition includes push-up contests, spelling bees, and wall-sits, with a permanent running tally, and concludes at the end of the year with “team” photos (think blazers, ties, and shorts, or a “pig-pile” in the hall) and a trophy (a recycled track trophy, to be exact).
Or there’s Festivus—the students watch the Seinfeld video, followed by the “feast,” “signing the pole,” “feats of strength,” and the “airing of grievances.” At the end of the school year, they host the Warner Olympics, featuring events such as competitive laundry folding (winners are fast and neat), and tug-o-war (contestants take this seriously, they wear cleats!).
The annual Talent Show is a new tradition for the “Warner Brothers.” Described by Mr. Small as “the single most important bonding experience for the guys,” he continues, “[Dorm Parent and History Instructor Dr. Bator] and the 30+ participants work for hours and hours, often at weird times after study hours to squeeze it in among” myriad year-end obligations.
“She was bowled over by their focus and dedication. When practicing choreography in small groups, everyone would go, and get huge applause and appreciation and positive energy. And everyone, regardless any sort of hierarchy, got the same treatment. Cool stuff.”