A coeducational day school serving students JK-12

Latin’s 2019 upper school fall play, “She Kills Monsters” by Qui Nguyen, is an energetic comedic drama set in a fictional high school in the 1990s and a special-effects-laden fantasy world within the role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons.

The play is filled with ogres, killer fairies, evil cheerleaders and even a flesh-eating Jell-O mold! This ambitious piece presented numerous design and technical challenges. Over the summer, Director Nick Baer and performing arts faculty designers, along with guest costume designer Gaby Kuhn, collaborated to create the look and feel of the show, beginning by sharing a variety of ’90s era research images: D&D figurines and packaging, stills from MTV shows, album cover art and layouts from Ray Gun magazine, to name a few. With support from Latin’s Performing Arts Endowment, additional guest artists were brought in to assist with the effort. Mask and puppet maker David Knezz taught sculpting and papier-mâché techniques, helping the cast create their own masks for several fantasy characters. Fight choreographers Dave Gonzalez and Nicky Jasper were integral in developing the dramatic final sequence of the play, in which a five-headed dragon, operated by student puppeteers in the balcony, swoops in over the heads of the audience to do battle with the play’s hero.

The fall semester stagecraft class was tasked with developing many of the effects and specialty costume pieces from the play. Students worked in groups to research techniques, gather resources and collaborate with faculty and guest artists. One group created the Beholder, a grotesque giant eyeball that appears for a short but memorably hilarious moment. Another group created the five dragon puppets, working with Knezz through multiple iterations of sculpting techniques for the heads, as well as engineering puppeteering poles up to 22 feet long that were lightweight, yet nimble and durable enough to be operated safely above the audience. Another group created a giant cube of green Jell-O, using PVC pipes, pool noodles, and translucent plastic strips that could “swallow” a character whole. The last group created blood and gore effects, concocting gallons of “blood” from corn syrup, chocolate sauce and laundry detergent. This group also worked closely with Kuhn building fake arms that could be dramatically ripped off a character during each performance. Many of the particular requirements for these projects evolved as fights, blocking and concepts were refined in rehearsal. Through this process, stagecraft students learned the value of frequent, detailed communication with members of the production team and cast.

At the end of the semester, a group of stagecraft students created a gallery display of artifacts and documentation from the play. They gathered production photos, original design drawings, props and costume pieces, displaying them paired with labels and descriptions to tell the story of the “behind the scenes” production process. This display gave the Latin community the chance to see the extensive creative and technical work from students, faculty and guest artists that goes into putting on a visually compelling theatrical production on the Latin stage.

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Behind the Scenes: Students Killed it on Costumes for Upper School Play “She Kills Monsters”

Latin’s 2019 upper school fall play, “She Kills Monsters” by Qui Nguyen, is an energetic comedic drama set in a fictional high school in the 1990s and a special-effects-laden fantasy world within the role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons.

The play is filled with ogres, killer fairies, evil cheerleaders and even a flesh-eating Jell-O mold! This ambitious piece presented numerous design and technical challenges. Over the summer, Director Nick Baer and performing arts faculty designers, along with guest costume designer Gaby Kuhn, collaborated to create the look and feel of the show, beginning by sharing a variety of ’90s era research images: D&D figurines and packaging, stills from MTV shows, album cover art and layouts from Ray Gun magazine, to name a few. With support from Latin’s Performing Arts Endowment, additional guest artists were brought in to assist with the effort. Mask and puppet maker David Knezz taught sculpting and papier-mâché techniques, helping the cast create their own masks for several fantasy characters. Fight choreographers Dave Gonzalez and Nicky Jasper were integral in developing the dramatic final sequence of the play, in which a five-headed dragon, operated by student puppeteers in the balcony, swoops in over the heads of the audience to do battle with the play’s hero.

The fall semester stagecraft class was tasked with developing many of the effects and specialty costume pieces from the play. Students worked in groups to research techniques, gather resources and collaborate with faculty and guest artists. One group created the Beholder, a grotesque giant eyeball that appears for a short but memorably hilarious moment. Another group created the five dragon puppets, working with Knezz through multiple iterations of sculpting techniques for the heads, as well as engineering puppeteering poles up to 22 feet long that were lightweight, yet nimble and durable enough to be operated safely above the audience. Another group created a giant cube of green Jell-O, using PVC pipes, pool noodles, and translucent plastic strips that could “swallow” a character whole. The last group created blood and gore effects, concocting gallons of “blood” from corn syrup, chocolate sauce and laundry detergent. This group also worked closely with Kuhn building fake arms that could be dramatically ripped off a character during each performance. Many of the particular requirements for these projects evolved as fights, blocking and concepts were refined in rehearsal. Through this process, stagecraft students learned the value of frequent, detailed communication with members of the production team and cast.

At the end of the semester, a group of stagecraft students created a gallery display of artifacts and documentation from the play. They gathered production photos, original design drawings, props and costume pieces, displaying them paired with labels and descriptions to tell the story of the “behind the scenes” production process. This display gave the Latin community the chance to see the extensive creative and technical work from students, faculty and guest artists that goes into putting on a visually compelling theatrical production on the Latin stage.

Arts

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Alice Baumgartner '06, a historian at the University of Southern California and author of "South to Freedom: Runaway Slaves to Mexico and the Road to the Civil War," was recently interviewed on NPR's "All Things Considered" for a story titled "A Chapter In U.S. History Often Ignored: The Flight Of Runaway Slaves To Mexico." Listen to the 13-minute interview or read the article. 

Alumni

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Lower school students looking at a computer

In a world where students are spending a significant part of their school day online, it is now more important than ever to develop thoughtful and empathetic digital citizens from a young age. 

Fourth grade students are studying what it means to be a considerate digital citizen and maintain a positive digital footprint with Fiona Deeney, Latin’s lower school computer science and technology integration specialist. A digital citizen is someone who develops skills to responsibly use technology, including digital devices and online media platforms. When individuals share information online, they leave a digital footprint. A digital citizen is someone who develops skills to responsibly use technology, including digital devices and online media platforms.

After the students learned the basics of online safety and digital footprints, they were tasked with creating a graphic that encompassed these lessons. In order to complete the assignment, they researched a credible digital media platform to build their piece–Pic Collage was a popular option among the students.

Hear more about what it means to be a responsible digital citizen and how to manage a digital footprint from fourth grade students Colleen C. ’29 and Annabelle W. ’29.

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Jessie Heider

Get to know Jessie Heider who has been Latin's partner from Athletico and athletic trainer since 2010. In January, Jessie officially became the first full-time in-house athletic trainer at Latin. 

Education 

B.S. in Athletic Training - Purdue University
M.S. in Health Education & Promotion - University of Cincinnati

Position and years at Latin

Athletic Trainer - 10 years

Favorite Quote: 

"Today me will live in the moment, unless it's unpleasant, in which case me will eat a cookie." –Cookie Monster

What are your favorite things about Latin? 

There is such a close sense of community at Latin. One of my favorite things about working here is being able to connect with and get to know so many different people.

What are the best parts of your job? 

It’s rewarding to help kids through the rehabilitation process and then get to see them successfully return to their sport after experiencing an injury. I also love that every workday is different… it keeps me on my toes!

Why did you decide that you wanted to work at a school? 

I always found the idea of working at a school appealing because I knew it would give me the opportunity to be involved in so much more than just athletics. At Latin, I’m lucky enough to work with both athletics and our Latin 360 program. It’s also fun to be able to support our students in other ways, such as helping with senior projects or attending dance shows and plays.

What was the last good book you read? 

"American Dirt" by Jeanine Cummins

What are your hobbies and interests? 

I love spending time with my dog, Piper, playing fantasy football and following Purdue sports (Boiler Up!). I’m also excited to get back to traveling again once the pandemic is over.

What was your first job?

I worked as an Athletic Trainer for Women’s Lacrosse at the University of Cincinnati while in grad school, but working at Latin was my first “official” job after finishing school.

What’s your favorite place you’ve ever visited? 

Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada

What's the best advice you've ever heard?

Be present. Try not to focus on what happened in the past or what will happen in the future. Enjoy the “now.”

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US Chess Team  in the Learning Commons during the State Final

On February 12-13, the upper school chess team competed virtually in the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) state finals and finished in first place in Division 1A.
The students who represented Latin were Waleed B. '21, Matthew S. '21, Mark M. '21, William F. '21, Eli E. '23, Anton S. '23, Collin D. '22, and Maxwell L. '23. The tournament took place online, but participating teams had to play from the same location—the Romans competed from the upper school's Learning Commons. This is the first time in Latin history that the Romans have won the division title.

ABOUT THE UPPER SCHOOL CHESS TEAM: This academic team meets four times a week for practice and competes in the Chicago Chess Conference composed of catholic schools, including St. Ignatius, St. Patrick, De La Salle, Marist, Br. Rice, etc. After the conference play, they compete in sectionals. Then if they qualify, they play in the state championships.  

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