A coeducational day school serving students JK-12

Hopeful. Excited. Inspired. These are just some of the words that described the way students, faculty and staff felt after participating in the conversations and presentations during Latin’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Commemoration on Wednesday, January 20.

Upper school students began the morning at assembly with an inspirational rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by J. Rosamond Johnson and James Weldon Johnson sung by Latin’s upper school chorus. 

The assembly was anchored by the amplification of student voices answering thought-provoking questions. Upper school affinity groups, including Black Student Union (BSU), Latin American Student Organization (LASO), Chronic Illness and Disability Alliance (CIDA), LGBTQ+ Affinity, Asian Student Alliance (ASA) and White Identities and Anti-Racism Affinity (WIAA), discussed their answers to the question, “What would an equitable and inclusive community look like at Latin?”

Learn more about Latin’s institutional goals and action steps for DEI from Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Eleannor Maajid in this episode of the Latin Learner Podcast. Co-Head of LASO and junior at Latin Caroline C. ’22 echoed the sentiment that many affinity groups offered in their reflection of the question: “An inclusive and equitable community to me acknowledges that from the start this institution might look very different to new incoming students but makes an effort to make everyone aware that their culture shouldn’t define whether they speak up in class or not or be given looks down the halls. No one should be told to tone down their culture.”

The student groups also answered these questions: “Why is it vital for students to be able to organize? How do equity-focused student groups improve community and hold them accountable?” The upper school’s Student Diversity and Equity Committee (SDEC) and Demanding Accountability groups provided insight into this area. SDEC is dedicated to fostering a safe, inclusive environment at Latin and promotes dialogue across all perspectives. Demanding Accountability is a group focused on holding the Latin community accountable for creating the space that the community says they want Latin to be.

These student groups noted that student organizing is important because they have a relevant perspective with insight into injustices that sometimes only students can see. Co-head of Demanding Accountability Kazi S. ’22 was quoted during the presentation, “When students aim for equity, we can be the prosperity of not only ourselves but everyone around us.” When students aim for equity, we can be the prosperity of not only ourselves but everyone around us.
Kazi S. '22, Co-head of Demanding Accountability

In continuing with the assembly’s theme of amplifying student voices some of the other student groups that presented included Student Government, Identity Coalition for Latin (ICFL), “Discourses” and “The Forum.” An inspirational morning concluded with remarks from English Teacher and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator Brandon Woods: “We stand ready to listen to you, to partner with you and most importantly, to be challenged by you. You have the ability to make change that you might not even know yourselves, so we stand ready to help you do that and for you to guide us and lead us.”

During the middle school assembly, Educational Consultant Dr. Derrick Gay leveraged Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s iconic "What Is Your Life's Blueprint?" speech to frame Latin’s 2020 I can practice peace.
I can try again, rather than give up.
I can care for my community. 
Mindful affirmations from the book "I Can Do Hard Things" by Gabi Garcia
Middle School Climate Assessment findings. "The idea was to invite you to reflect on your life's blueprint, meaning who you are, your actions, your behaviors, your legacy, your purpose and how we can link your purpose to creating a more inclusive school... a more inclusive world," Dr. Gay explained to the students. He also noted that this speech was written by Dr. King for middle school students. Hear more about the history behind the speech and listen to an excerpt.


In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., lower school students engaged in various peace-related activities during the month of January. They also participated in an all-lower school read of “I Can Do Hard Things” by Gabi Garcia. As part of the MLK Day commemoration, students selected a personal photograph or designed an affirmation poster that connected to one of the following lines from the book:

  • “I can practice peace.” What is something peaceful you do for yourself or for others?
  • “I can try again, rather than give up.” What is something challenging (a “hard thing”) that you are learning to do or have learned to do? 
  • “I can care for my community.” What is something that reflects a way that you contribute to or care for your community?

At the lower school assembly, students listened to Dr. Gay read “I Can Do Hard Things” and then watched a video featuring the photos and student work.

Lower school students

Although the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Commemoration at Latin looked much different this year than in years past, students, faculty and staff found a sense of hope, excitement and inspiration from the day’s events.

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A Dose of Inspiration: Latin Honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in a Day of Commemoration

Hopeful. Excited. Inspired. These are just some of the words that described the way students, faculty and staff felt after participating in the conversations and presentations during Latin’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Commemoration on Wednesday, January 20.

Upper school students began the morning at assembly with an inspirational rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by J. Rosamond Johnson and James Weldon Johnson sung by Latin’s upper school chorus. 

The assembly was anchored by the amplification of student voices answering thought-provoking questions. Upper school affinity groups, including Black Student Union (BSU), Latin American Student Organization (LASO), Chronic Illness and Disability Alliance (CIDA), LGBTQ+ Affinity, Asian Student Alliance (ASA) and White Identities and Anti-Racism Affinity (WIAA), discussed their answers to the question, “What would an equitable and inclusive community look like at Latin?”

Learn more about Latin’s institutional goals and action steps for DEI from Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Eleannor Maajid in this episode of the Latin Learner Podcast. Co-Head of LASO and junior at Latin Caroline C. ’22 echoed the sentiment that many affinity groups offered in their reflection of the question: “An inclusive and equitable community to me acknowledges that from the start this institution might look very different to new incoming students but makes an effort to make everyone aware that their culture shouldn’t define whether they speak up in class or not or be given looks down the halls. No one should be told to tone down their culture.”

The student groups also answered these questions: “Why is it vital for students to be able to organize? How do equity-focused student groups improve community and hold them accountable?” The upper school’s Student Diversity and Equity Committee (SDEC) and Demanding Accountability groups provided insight into this area. SDEC is dedicated to fostering a safe, inclusive environment at Latin and promotes dialogue across all perspectives. Demanding Accountability is a group focused on holding the Latin community accountable for creating the space that the community says they want Latin to be.

These student groups noted that student organizing is important because they have a relevant perspective with insight into injustices that sometimes only students can see. Co-head of Demanding Accountability Kazi S. ’22 was quoted during the presentation, “When students aim for equity, we can be the prosperity of not only ourselves but everyone around us.” When students aim for equity, we can be the prosperity of not only ourselves but everyone around us.
Kazi S. '22, Co-head of Demanding Accountability

In continuing with the assembly’s theme of amplifying student voices some of the other student groups that presented included Student Government, Identity Coalition for Latin (ICFL), “Discourses” and “The Forum.” An inspirational morning concluded with remarks from English Teacher and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator Brandon Woods: “We stand ready to listen to you, to partner with you and most importantly, to be challenged by you. You have the ability to make change that you might not even know yourselves, so we stand ready to help you do that and for you to guide us and lead us.”

During the middle school assembly, Educational Consultant Dr. Derrick Gay leveraged Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s iconic "What Is Your Life's Blueprint?" speech to frame Latin’s 2020 I can practice peace.
I can try again, rather than give up.
I can care for my community. 
Mindful affirmations from the book "I Can Do Hard Things" by Gabi Garcia
Middle School Climate Assessment findings. "The idea was to invite you to reflect on your life's blueprint, meaning who you are, your actions, your behaviors, your legacy, your purpose and how we can link your purpose to creating a more inclusive school... a more inclusive world," Dr. Gay explained to the students. He also noted that this speech was written by Dr. King for middle school students. Hear more about the history behind the speech and listen to an excerpt.


In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., lower school students engaged in various peace-related activities during the month of January. They also participated in an all-lower school read of “I Can Do Hard Things” by Gabi Garcia. As part of the MLK Day commemoration, students selected a personal photograph or designed an affirmation poster that connected to one of the following lines from the book:

  • “I can practice peace.” What is something peaceful you do for yourself or for others?
  • “I can try again, rather than give up.” What is something challenging (a “hard thing”) that you are learning to do or have learned to do? 
  • “I can care for my community.” What is something that reflects a way that you contribute to or care for your community?

At the lower school assembly, students listened to Dr. Gay read “I Can Do Hard Things” and then watched a video featuring the photos and student work.

Lower school students

Although the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Commemoration at Latin looked much different this year than in years past, students, faculty and staff found a sense of hope, excitement and inspiration from the day’s events.

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photo of Brandel Tanis

Freyja Brandel-Tanis '14 has been named a 2022-2023 Fulbright Scholar. Brandel-Tanis will graduate from Georgia Tech with a master's in city and regional planning and MS in civil engineering this spring.

She has been awarded a Fulbright research award at NTNU in Trondheim, Norway and will be conducting stakeholder focus groups on the role of digital twins in sustainable transportation modeling. Her work will be an early stage in long-term research at NTNU to ensure the complexity of transportation systems is considered in future digital twins.

(Digital twins have established use in manufacturing and rocketry to virtually replicate physical environments and test potential scenarios, and some modelers and officials see their potential to improve on current transportation modeling technologies.)

Outside of her research, Brandel-Tanis is planning to engage with local queer organizations and ride her bike as well as exploring the Trondheim's public transit system. After her Fulbright, she plans to return to the US and work as a city planner/civil engineer before eventually pursuing a PhD.

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Fourth grade student at middle school

It's middle school Project Week, which means it's 4@45 where fourth grade students get the full middle school experience at 45 N. Dearborn!
Students got a locker for the week. They got to meet fifth grade teachers. Fifth graders gave them a tour of the middle school. And they get to have their classes in the middle school building this week. 

Students were greeted by fifth grade buddies, who gave them tips on opening lockers followed by special tours of the Middle and Upper Schools. The fourth graders followed their usual schedule but they also were introduced to the fifth grade teachers and had a special RoundTable class with the middle school counselor. They loved walking independently through the buildings. The highlight was always the lunchtime choices!

Check out some photos!

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Wooden Roman head

Lower School Computer Science and Tech Integration Specialist Fiona Deeney, Middle School Technology Coordinator Mike Demopoulos and Upper School Innovation Studio Manager Shane Enderle offered an inside look at Latin's maker spaces for parents/guardians.

Maker Space Teachers

At the start of the event, the team shared information about each division's maker space and projects created in them. Then they gave a tour of the upper school maker space to show some of the equipment and supplies students can access in all three divisions.

Upper School

EQUIPMENT
3D Printers
Vinyl Cutters
Laser Cutter
CNC Router
Soldering Irons and accessories
iPad Pro’s with Apple Pencils
VR Headset

SOFTWARE
Adobe Suite
Illustrator
Photoshop
In Design
Fusion 360
Sketchbook Pro
Procreate
Silhouette Studio
Mint Studio

Middle School

EQUIPMENT
3D Printer (x3)
Vinyl Cutter (x2)
Laser Cutter
CNC Router
MacBook Air (x2)

SOFTWARE
PrusaSlicer
Silhouette Studio
Mint Studio
iMovie

Lower School

EQUIPMENT
3D Printers
Vinyl Cutter
Laser Cutter
Digital Embroidery Machine
Sewing Machines 
LittleBits Pro Library and STEAM Kits

SOFTWARE
Doodle 3D
TurtleStitch
Silhouette Studio
Mint Studio
Drawing Pad

Afterward, parents/guardians got the opportunity to laser engrave on a pre-cut wood roman head. They also visited stations to make leather key chains, play with Little Bits electronics from the lower school, see embroidery and sewing machines in action, and a few physical projects that students have created.

The maker spaces at Latin aid students with designing and problem-solving, as well as develop skills, talents, thinking and mental rigor.

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upper school students on project week

After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, upper school project week is back! Students chose to spend the week on one of the 25 in-town projects or 11 out-of-town projects.

The in-town offerings included:

  • Ad-RAP-tation: the Latin School and Q Brothers' Collective
  • Art and Anatomy
  • Chicago: Walking, Food, and Art
  • Code Your Own 2D Games and Build a Mini Arcade Cabinet
  • Curling in Chicago
  • Cycle Chicago: Riding & Wrenching
  • Dancing with culture
  • Design a Chicago Bike Tour
  • El mundo Latino in Chicago: An Exploration of Chicago's Latinx Community  
  • Exploring Chicago’s Queer History
  • Find Your Inner Chef
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Just for Kicks
  • Make Your Escape (Room)
  • Making Music
  • PADI Scuba Diving Certification and Training
  • Sports Marketing: A Strategic Perspective
  • Survivor
  • Theatre in Chicago
  • The Greatest City in the World Chicago Gospel
  • Treemendous Forest Preserves 
  • Urban Agriculture
  • Wellness: Mind & Body
  • What Makes a Neighborhood?: Art, Advocacy, and Food
  • Yarn Bombing

The out-of-town offerings included:

  • Canyoneering & Rock Climbing Adventure
  • Civil Rights Trail 2022
  • Coral Reef Experience in Florida Keys
  • Cycling Through the Sonoran Desert
  • Detroit: Invention and Reinvention in a Great American City
  • Exploring the Pacific: Oceanography of Southern California
  • Latin Iditarod: Dogsledding
  • Mountain Biking in Moab
  • The Ancestral Heritage of The Land of Enchantment
  • The Raw & The Cooked: A Literary Feast in Michigan
  • There is No Business Like Show Business!: LA TV & Film

Check out more photos and videos from our PWeek take over on Latin's Instagram @latinschoolofchicago at #latinpweek.

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