Acknowledging that Libertyville isn’t Perfect


Natalie Isberg

Libertyville High School has done an exemplary job promoting and practicing inclusion on-campus; however, off-campus the message is not as strong. Photo courtesy of Billy Dempsey

Note: This piece is a staff editorial, which is an opinion article meant to reflect the opinions of the Drops of Ink staff. Because of this, the author’s name does not appear alongside the story, as the opinions shared in here are based on class discussions about the topic among the 20 DOI staff members. The staff is composed of students of all grades from a variety of backgrounds and experiences; therefore, the editorial speaks to the publication’s view on a subject and is not representative of each staff member’s exact view on the issue at hand. 

Libertyville is a community of opportunity. Many activities line the calendars and there are many things that people can do throughout the area.
Some describe Libertyville as a charming small town out of a Hallmark movie. Libertyville seems much different than surrounding communities and has more of a “small-town” vibe. Local businesses and welcoming stores line the streets in Main Street Libertyville. Picturesque gatherings and activities seem to bring the entire community together like a family. Activities like the annual tree lighting and small business Saturdays come to mind as popular community events in Libertyville.
The schools in Libertyville are some of the best in the Chicago suburbs and even the state, consistently receiving various awards. Families come to Libertyville solely because of the schools and all of the unique activities that they offer. They really are the best of the best.
The natural beauty of the Libertyville forest preserves offers many opportunities for the community to enjoy, such as hiking, biking and boating. The forest preserves are some of the busiest and largest in Lake County. Many especially love taking a morning jog on the community’s outstanding trail system.
Libertyville seems to live up to the definition of a premier suburb, but at what point do flaws muddle this picture of perfection?
One of the unique quirks of Libertyville is the strong feeling of self-pride, which some describe as overwhelming. Some Libertyville residents believe that the community is the best and has everything one could possibly want. It’s important to have pride in your community, and know where you came from; but, thinking so highly of where you live can be offputting to new residents or residents interested in the area.
The town can feel confining, as Libertyville cannot offer the advantageous and unique opportunities that other parts of the United States can. In recent years, LHS seniors have reflected that they want to “get out” of Libertyville. To some, it seems that the community can have a magnetic pull, drawing back its previous alumni to raise their own families. Even alumni who disliked their experience in Libertyville find themselves coming back to raise families of their own. Cliques from high school remain in adult years. Conversely, students who move to Libertyville with their parents, who did not attend LHS, can feel like outsiders. These new parents can have trouble finding a strong sense of belonging in Libertyville, where others have been for many years. Diverse families especially can have a harder time assimilating.
At LHS itself, the message of inclusivity and equality is promoted everywhere you look. LHS is not just preaching equality, but it is encouraging a variety of students to actually practice it. The school has done an admirable job spreading its message of inclusivity to all students. Even though the Libertyville community supports LHS and its students, the message of acceptance is not as strong outside of the school as it is inside.
Some parents or guardians send their children to a high school that values equality but don’t always practice it on their own time. How are we supposed to follow the example the faculty sets for us, only to go home and the adults in our life do not? But maybe, this has to do with the fact that there isn’t much diversity in the Libertyville community to begin with.
Fixing these imperfections isn’t like flipping a switch, but the community needs to open up to everybody. Including new and diverse residents in conversations about how to improve the community is important to stimulate progress. Being empathetic to new residents joining the community is vital. Think about how you would feel if you were new in a community where some people have been friends since their childhood.
We are ever grateful for the opportunities that we have as Libertyville residents, but it is important to remember that believing Libertyville is the best can halt progress. Progress is important, and we should continue to strive for improvement, no matter our history or background with Libertyville. Let’s come together as a community to make Libertyville the best it can be for everyone.