LFA begins new era at the Investiture


By Mia Walvoord and Tyler Watts

Editor-in-Chief and Staff Writer

In a sky of sparse clouds, the sun shone upon the Reid Courtyard as the community ushered in a new era of Lake Forest Academy history. The Investiture Ceremony of Mr. José De Jesús, formally inducted him as LFA’s 30th Head of School and set the tone for promise and progress in the years to come.


Although De Jesús has been serving as LFA’s head since July 1, the Investiture on October 19, 2019 was his official welcoming into the school community. An investiture ceremony is traditionally defined as the official assumption of power or swearing in of such a figure, and such was commemorated with the presentation of with a newly traditional historical artifact– the Head of School medallion– a symbol of school history awarded to the new head.


Putting together the medallion was a team effort, with collaboration between Advancement Events Coordinator Ms. Rachel Josephsen, Vice President of Advancement and co-Chair of the Investiture Committee Dr. Rob Buckla, and Director of the Library and school Archivist Rita McAyeal, who put lots of work into perfecting the historical integrity of the medallion.


“She had to do a lot of research to be sure that from the perspective of the seals that we have both the old seals (of Ferry Hall and LFA)  and the current seal,” said Buckla. The medallion serves to mirror past traditions and inspire the prospects of the future.


Per the request of Mr. De Jesús, LFA’s student-faculty band, Coax, was the first to take the stage, performing “Come Together” by the Beatles and “Smooth” by Carlos Santana. The band played with class of ‘89 and Coax alumnus, Michael LaVista: one of many alumni to grace the investiture. Nick Lin ‘17 sang a moving ballad with his brother, current senior, Graham Lin. The crowd was full of familiar faces from varying corners of the school community—Ferry Hall alumni, teachers, faculty members, Sodexo staff, current students and families gathered to share in the moment. Family and former colleagues of Mr. De Jesús took centerstage in the celebration of him joining the LFA community.


Following Coax’s performance and the singing of the Ferry Hall and LFA alma maters, a processional of students entered, carrying flags representative of their nationalities, and Head of the Board of Trustees John S. Marlatt ‘65 and current All School President Anna Schilling ‘20 followed them up to the stage side by side with de Jesús behind them. From the songs performed to the processional, many of the thoughtful aspects of the ceremony were details thought of from the inductee himself.


“The 30 rings of the bell, the flags coming in, are all aspects of LFA that I particularly love and have grown to appreciate,” said De Jesús. I wanted it (the ceremony) to feel like LFA; I didn’t want it to be just me.”


After the introduction, speeches were warm and full of spirit. Marlatt recalled the list of attributes that made de Jesus such an attractive candidate in the search for a new head. Schilling spoke of the diversity of thought she has encountered through LFA experiences, and kindly welcomed the new head. Christian Dozois spoke on behalf of the LFA community to welcome Mr. De Jesús while representatives of each community department graced the stage behind him.  An immense amount of heart radiated from the stage as De Jesús’ former colleagues and close friends spoke fondly of him. Although he was the man of the afternoon, De Jesús’ ultimate intention was to make the ceremony a celebration of the school and of the LFA Community.


“If you heard my talk, it was centered around how community to me is not just like a nice feature of the school, it is in many ways the key to the future of our school,” said Mr. De Jesús.


Mr. De Jesús is excited to work towards the betterment of the community, as he made evident in his speech. He pledged to students, parents, faculty, alumni, and trustees to serve them the best that he can in his time here. Addressing the very moved crowd, De Jesús said, “Those pledges are given to you on this day in the spirit of preserving and growing this community we hold dear. For with all of the opportunities, gorgeous buildings and exciting programs, in the end, the greatest gift we have as a community is each other.”