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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Fourth grader's poem on social issues

One of the fourth grade classrooms passionately discussed social issues and the impact they have on our world. These lessons stemmed from their yearlong unpacking of identities and coming together as a classroom community. 

In the spring, fourth graders participated in the opinion writing unit, which focuses on understanding how to take a stand, set a clear thesis statement, give supporting reasons, and back up their thinking with evidence.

The first project in this unit was for students to create social issues acrostic poems, where certain letters in each line spell out a word or phrase. This assignment helped students to think about issues going on in their world. They generated their own list and discussed what each issue means and means to them.

Fourth grade's list of important social issues

A list of important social issues generated by a fourth grade classroom with the help of fourth grade teacher Amanda Schirmacher, assistant teacher Ada Tan and support staff teacher Endia Moore.

These conversations were also supplemented with books as well. The issues they chose for their poems were ones that they felt strongly about in this moment–many about animals, as the 9- and 10-year-old brains adore their animals!

Students were pleased to show off their work to a very special visitor, Head of School Randall Dunn, during their classroom gallery walk.

Randall Dunn at fourth grade gallery walk

Head of School Randall Dunn visits the fourth grade's gallery walk.

Then the students dove deeper into the social issues and identified one that they care deeply about, researched the issues, and then wrote a five-paragraph essay on the issue. 

To view more of the students' acrostic poems, browse the photo gallery below.


Academics

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National Association of Independent Schools logo

Congratulations to Head of School Randall Dunn for being named Chair of the Board of Trustees of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)--a nonprofit membership association that provides services to more than 1,900 schools and associations of schools in the United States and abroad, including more than 1,600 independent private K-12 schools in the U.S.

This appointment follows Randall’s three years of service in the role of Vice Chair and will be a continuation of his nine years of service on the board so far. As Chair, Randall will assume We all take away more than we give. NAIS and the experience on the board allows us to lead and enhance our own schools with a greater perspective and to serve as ambassadors for the value and relevance of independent schools as whole.
Randall Dunn, Head of School at Latin School of Chicago and Board Chair of NAIS
oversight of the board as they collaborate closely with Donna Orem, president of NAIS to forward the vision and mission of the organization, which is to “...co-create the future of education by uniting and empowering our community through thought leadership, research, creation and curation of resources, and direct collaboration with education leaders.”

Randall views this volunteer role as an important learning opportunity for him--and the other trustees. “We all take away more than we give. NAIS and the experience on the board allows us to lead and enhance our own schools with a greater perspective and to serve as ambassadors for the value and relevance of independent schools as whole.” 

In addition, Randall’s leadership role keeps Latin at the forefront of the most important information and trends impacting our students.  

Read more about Randall's appointment in an article published by The Forum, Latin's student-run news publication.

Congratulations, Randall! 

See the full NAIS Board here.  

Our Voices

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Middle school student and a teacher at Origami Club

Middle school students participated in in-person clubs for the first time this year–and they had a blast! With the gorgeous spring weather, the students even got outside for knitting club. Check out the knitting club and origami club!

 
 
Student Life
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Upper school student athletes on Signing Day

We are so proud of our student-athletes who have committed to playing a sport in college next year!

Eli A. will be playing baseball at Denison University; Peter B. will be running cross country and track at Kenyon College; Molly C. will be on the equestrian team Baylor University; Colin C. will be playing soccer at Wesleyan University; and Blake D. playing golf and ice hockey at The University of Tampa.

Cole F. will be playing soccer and track at Oberlin College; Sujan G. will be playing tennis at Bowdoin University; Anees G. will be playing tennis at New York University; Natalie M. will be playing basketball at Johns Hopkins University; Marianne M. will be running track at Harvard University; Charlie M. will be rowing at Loyola Marymount University; and Bea P. will be running cross country and track at Middlebury College.

Noah R. will be running track at Lewis and Clark College; Ashley R. will be swimming at Carleton College; Matthew S. will be playing baseball at Bates College; Olivia S. will be running cross country and track at The George Washington University; and Ava T. will be playing volleyball at The University of Arizona. Congratulations to our student-athletes!

Go Romans!

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