214@100: Forest View's 1985-86 was the 'Best Year Ever'

"Best Year Ever."

That was the Forest View High School motto during its last year of operation, 1985-86. That last day, Friday, June 13, 1986, the mood of the nearly 3,000 students, teachers, parents and alumni who gathered to say goodbye was positive, despite the sadness of the moment.

They danced to a rock band and feasted on hot dogs, cake and ice cream. They watched the three principals in the school's 24-year history join in lowering, for the last time, the gold flag with black letters that spell out "Forest View High School."

Lawrence S. Jenness, the school's first principal, told the crowd that when the school opened in 1962 it was in a desolate field and planks had to be put down so students and staff wouldn't slide in the mud.

"Obviously, there have been a great many changes," he added. "But one thing that has stayed the same is a fantastic student body - from those who worked hard to build up the school traditions to this group who made it the best year ever and one of the finest school closings in the country."

Principal Leo F. Hundt read a proclamation from Gov. Jim Thompson naming Friday Forest View Day in Illinois, and a letter from President Ronald Reagan that said, "This school shall not soon be forgotten."

The only tears shed came during the closing notes of "Auld Lang Syne," sung by the choir.

"I just lost it," said Susan Wallerstern, a 16-year Spanish teacher at Forest View, as she wiped her eyes and hugged a student. "But it's OK to cry just a little. We all have a lot of history in this building."

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