LAKE FOREST — Dr. Scott Zeller, a 1978 Lake Forest High School graduate, has devoted his professional life to ensuring mental patients in hospital emergency rooms receive the same personal care as all others there getting treatment.
Zeller was one of three Lake Forest grads honored for their achievements in medicine, literature and sports when they were placed on the school’s alumni Wall of Fame April 7 during a reception and ceremony at the school.
Also selected were 1983 graduate and author Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tommy Myers, a three-sport athlete in the class of 1966 who returned to the high school for the 1978-79 term as a teacher and coach, staying there until his retirement in 2010.
Chosen United States mental health doctor of the year in 2015, Zeller said he was more touched by the recognition he received from his high school alma mater.
“This is much more meaningful for me,” said Zeller in a DailyNorthShore.com interview. “This is my hometown and always will be my hometown. I am so glad to come back here for this.”
A psychiatrist and an emergency room physician, Zeller said he has devoted much of his career to ensuring mental health patients in emergency rooms are treated for their illnesses. He said previously used frequent treatment of sedating them for 24 hours and sending them home helps neither the person nor society.
“Somebody will come into the emergency hearing voices telling him to get a gun and do bad things,” said Zeller. “They throw him on the floor, pull down his pants and give him shots in the rear end to knock him out. They get medicine they don’t want. Do you think they’ll come back next time?”
Zeller has made it his mission to create separate sections of emergency rooms or completely independent facilities for mental health patients needing emergency care. When there, they sit in a chair rather than being strapped to a bed, he said.
“We say, how are you doing,” said Zeller? “How can we help you?”
Rosenthal, who died from ovarian cancer March 13, learned of her induction early this year, according to Katie Begley, a co-chair of the Alumni Wall of Fame Committee.
“She was glad when she learned about it and knew she was going to be remembered here,” said Katie Froelich Saltzman, Rosenthal’s sister.
Rosenthal wrote more than 30 children’s books as well as essays and memoirs. She was a filmmaker too. While dying of cancer, Rosenthal wrote an essay published in The New York Times in February titled, “You May Want to Marry My Husband.” It was read by more than 4 million people within a week, according to information handed out at the Lake Forest event.
Amy Rosenthal was a talented artist while in high school, and her mother, Ann Krouse, who still lives in Lake Forest, said she knew early in her daughter’s academic career she would become a writer.
“Everyone said she was going to be an artist when she was 14 or 15 because she could draw a good Ziggy,” said Krouse referring to the cartoon character. “I knew she would be a writer because she always stood up for what was true. She also loved words and word play.”
Myers spent nearly his entire life in Lake Forest. He said his mother graduated from the high school in the 1930s and he was a product of the city’s schools.
Much of Myers’ life was devoted to the high school and the city’s department of parks and recreation as an athlete and coach. At Albion College he set an interception record in football and was an all conference second baseman in baseball. Education and coaching was not his first career choice.
“I wanted to be a baseball player for the Chicago White Sox,” said Myers. “I was good but I wasn’t that good. They I wanted to be a sportswriter so I majored in history and English.”
Home for a summer, Myers said a former Scout coach said education was a better professional choice. He got the same counseling from coaches at Albion and ultimately majored in education. After several years of coaching Lake Forest’s park’s programs, there was an opening at LFHS and the rest of his career was set.
One of his favorite memories during his career was coaching the Scouts to third place in the 2003 state baseball tournament with his son Travis Myers, currently a guidance counselor and coach at Glenbrook South High School, on the team.
Members of the current senior class heard from Zeller, Myers and Jason Rosenthal, Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s husband, during an assembly. Principal Chala Holland said she hoped the recipients’ success offered lessons to the current crop of Scouts.
“Everyone has their own journey,” said Holland. “All the students at Lake Forest High School will be able to see what these graduates accomplished. This helps them see what the experience here can lead to.”