Teen hopes to continue his record
Nine years of perfect attendance during elementary school was a special achievement among many achievements for Ted Lenart Regional Gifted Center student Amir Lake, 14.
“That would be the one I’m most proud of,” Lake said.
He said the “good parenting” of his parents, Maretta and Allan Lake Sr., set the tone in the family’s Beverly household.
Maretta Lake, a Cook County Sheriff’s officer, and Allan Lake Sr., a machinist for Cook County, expect their sons to fulfill obligations. Lake’s older brother, Allan Jr., 16, also achieved perfect attendance during his 11 years of school, in addition to a number of academic achievements.
“They had weekend colds,” Allan Lake Sr. said. “Mondays, it’s time for school.”
With that ethic in place, Lake already has set his goal of “just being successful” in life.
Lake’s years at Lenart as an honor roll student, and a member of the National Junior Honor Society, student council, golf and chess teams have prepared him to enter the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences as a freshman.
Lake, who has a passion for animals which he shares with his father, is looking forward to studies at the school, where his goal to become a veterinarian can really begin to take shape.
Lake said his decision to become a veterinarian was set in kindergarten after he tested into the Chicago Public Schools’ gifted program and began attending Lenart. Although he experienced the same anxiety most children do on their first day of school (“I didn’t know what was going on”), Lake said he was quickly put at ease by his kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Wilson, who “made it fun” because she “always made jokes.”
It was in Wilson’s science classes that Lake said he “realized my skills.”
Lake has interests outside of the academic world, too, including a love of sports, especially contact sports, he said. He has been on football, golf, baseball and soccer teams and hopes to continue to play football in high school.
Lake is a Boy Scout, planning to become an Eagle Scout in the near future. His project ideas so far, he said, involve animals. Recently, he completed the Order of the Arrow with his troop at summer camp.
During the Lake family’s free time, they give back to the community by volunteering to help the homeless at a local church. The Lakes said it is important their sons experience what life could be like for others.
“I wanted them to realize they are blessed,” Maretta Lake said. “As a part of that, I wanted them to see that there are people who are hungry.”
Not only do the Lake boys help to serve at meals, but they each took “one thing (they) really like” to give to the children at the shelter during the holidays.
Lake, who was voted “Most Likely to be a Billionaire” by his classmates, is working to develop his business side, too, in anticipation of being the owner of a veterinarian practice.
He is currently a member of the Leaders for Tomorrow program sponsored by the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, attending Saturday classes in math and personal finances and taking advantage of the opportunity to visit colleges.
Lake said he has made some sacrifices to achieve his academic success and participate in his chosen activities, but he’s planning to continue on the same path in order to meet his final goals.
“You give up a lot of ‘me’ time,” Lake said.
As a student -athlete, Lake said late nights are the norm since afternoons are spent at practice.
“You just have to deal with it,” he said.
Lake has the all-important family support.
“We’re totally happy as long as Amir is self-sufficient, respectful and a good person,” Maretta Lake said. “Any choice he makes, we’ll stand behind him.”