Letters From the Class of 2020: Jolie Walker

Letters From the Class of 2020: Jolie Walker

Pushing open the glass doors of the middle school for the first time in September 2013 was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. Latin wasn’t just any old school. It was the school I stared at through the window as we drove down Clark, the school where I took the ISEE with many other nervous fourth and fifth graders, the school where I attended summer camp years before, hoping that I could be a student there one day. Latin was so many things to me, but little did I know it was the place where I would I spend more hours than I spent at home, where I would meet my best friends, and where I would graduate high school.

My three years in middle school passed in a blur of buttered toast, assemblies hosted by Mr. Canright, and many hours playing basketball (which was not the sport for me to say the least). Entering the upper school was like a breath of fresh air: leaving the campus for lunch, joining a wide array of clubs, and finally being able to wear leggings to school without having to pair them with a shirt so long it is practically a dress. Freshman year welcomed so many great people into our grade, introduced me to the struggle that was physics, and taught me that it was possible to squeeze six people around one of the tall tables on the upper level of the old cafeteria (RIP). Sophomore year gave me my first out of town project week to Oregon, made me question my fitness level every day as I hiked up the stairs to my locker, and blessed my African Lit class with our class pets: two yams that Mr. Joyce kept in jars in our classroom (it was disgusting, I know). Junior year was a little rocky, as it presented the pain of the ACT, blessed us with the two days in February where it was too cold to go outside, and ended with a huge bump on my forehead as a result of running into a diving board at our water polo sectional game. And I can’t forget that junior year gave me AmCiv: the only class that can teach you to write a five-paragraph document-based essay in under thirty-five minutes.

Senior year, although shortened, produced some memorable moments. I can’t forget my politics class, where everyone would try to get to class as quickly as possible to avoid being the one person sitting alone in the group of desks in the middle of the classroom. Or when Mr. Edwards gave my advisory a cookie cake to compensate for the unfair seating arrangements in the theater that my advisory has received for the past four years. And, most importantly, watching my lane 5 buddy, Alexa Sreckovic, swim at the state meet in November.

If any of my memories over the years share anything in common, it’s their own innate commonality. Undoubtedly, I loved my project weeks, cheering from the stands during Latin/Parker games, and the once-in-a-lifetime experience that was Latinpalooza. However, it’s the everyday things that I will miss the most. I will miss waving to Sami as I enter the building every morning and him shaking his head in disappointment because I don’t have my ID for the third day in a row. I will miss walking by the cafeteria window to inspect the length of the lunch line, or waiting for my coffee at the bridge cafe with only thirty seconds to go on the five-minute timer Ms. Amusin set during our long block breaks. I will even miss running down the stairwell after school as fast as possible to make it to the pool to start swim practice at 3:30.

Latin is such a special place, and I owe a lot of what made my experience so special to two people. Lindley McCutcheon, who brought me down to the middle school office after I was accidentally left alone in the gym on my shadow day, and Abby Dutta, who was my assigned student “buddy” in sixth grade and made sure my locker was decorated for my birthday in the first week of school. These moments seem trivial, but they were my first impressions of the students at Latin, and as a nervous eleven-year-old switching schools for the first time, those actions meant the world to me. To Lindley and Abby: I love you both so much and I can truthfully say that I wouldn’t be here without you.

Classes of ‘21, ‘22, and ‘23: if you take any advice from me, I hope you remember to never take any of the little moments for granted. All the everyday moments that seem inconsequential are the ones that build your Latin experience. They make up every second of every day you spend in the upper school building, and you don’t realize how much they mean to you until they are gone.

With all of my love,

Jolie Walker