Letters From the Class of 2020: Maya Passman


Latin has always been ingrained in the Passman family. My parents moved to Chicago around 20 years ago for a new job opportunity at Northwestern Hospital. With them was my brother who was around 3. They interviewed at schools all over the city, the classics like City Day, Lab, Parker, and of course, Latin. The moment my brother was accepted to Latin was the moment Latin became a part of the Passman Family. 

I feel like we have really made our mark on Latin. My brother was captain of the varsity basketball team, my sister was a grade rep, head of LAW, and is still an alumni rep. We have had bad moments at Latin like when my brother got a concussion at the big DePaul basketball game, funny moments like when my sister was around 3 and peed all over the lower school gym floor (that really made a mark), and we have had countless other great moments. But this letter isn’t about my siblings, it’s about my favorite subject: me!

Latin and I have a love-hate relationship. We give a lot to each other, but we also take a lot. 

I remember my first test of high school. After getting good grades in all of middle school with ease, I thought highschool would be the same. It was not. I got that paper back from my math teacher and saw my grade: C+. I broke down and didn’t know what to do with myself; I thought my academic career was over. 

I think about the time where I was cast as a sophomore in the Vagina Monologues, something I was so scared to do. The thought of actually saying the word vagina on stage was scary to me for some reason. The feedback made me realize what a supportive community Latin could be. 

Or the time I was accused of cheating on a math quiz! I am still not over it and can now tell the world that I DID NOT CHEAT. But they thought I did, and after many meetings of me crying in Mr. Edwards’ office, trying to convince him I didn’t cheat, I got a 0 on that quiz. Yup. Not. Over. It.

I think back to the time I ran for junior prefect, super confident that I could do some good for the school. When I learned that I lost, I was devastated. It had always been a dream of mine to be prefect and get my name painted on one of those plaques, but serving as a grade rep for three years is something I wouldn’t change for the world. 

All of this led up to the big finale: my senior year. After being at Latin for 13 years, the last year is what you look forward to the most. I had been through it with my brother and my sister, and it was now my turn. It turned out to be a lot harder than I thought it would be, but Latin is more about the challenges it has given me than the successes. 

I have some highlights though. Getting up onstage and making my first announcement, my first LAW meeting as head, my first senior treats, being a senior in theater, directing a show with my best friend, making too much noise in the library, eating the kiosk granola bars (I miss them too much), hanging out with my favorite teachers, and so much more. And of course, So. Much. Crying. I think I have successfully cried in every room in the Upper School/Science Center, and at this point, I will flex that. 

After 42 combined years at Latin, it is time for the Passman family to move on to new things. I will be moving to New York next year and my brother, my sister, and I will all be within a 30-mile radius of one another for the first time in seven years. I am looking forward to it. 

To the people at Latin now, lifer or not, here is my advice: you take out of Latin what you want from it. You can make it an amazing experience, or one that you can’t wait to be over. I feel satisfied in saying that I feel like I took advantage of the opportunities that Latin gave me, and it has made me a stronger person. That one C+ didn’t ruin me, neither did the other bad grades or tough moments. People continue to say “everything works out,” and I have always been skeptical, but it really does. Although Latin will always have a special place in my life, I think I am ready for something new. 

Maya Passman ‘20