Letters From the Class of ’22: Elliot Kovitz


High school is a long journey. More on that in a moment, but before you get caught up in it, one reminder: High school does end. Seriously, take some time to process that, because even with just over a month left in my time here, I’m still not convinced it’s true. God knows before senior year I never thought I’d leave this place, first because in freshman year it seemed so far away, and then because of … a certain prolific strand of RNA.
But enough of that, because thinking about it makes me sad; not because I don’t want it to end, but because I’ve been through more, and grown more, than I ever had in the rest of my life combined. It’s been absurd sometimes: from the exchange students’ (in)famous performance of The Arsonists, (better known as the “MISTER BIDERMANN!!” play), to a senior (whom I’ll leave unnamed) whirling around with his arms outstretched demonstrating his planned helicopter/parachute design during his senior project presentation. He went on to tell us that his plan to test his design was to jump off the roof of the school while wearing it, but that the senior project committee wouldn’t let him. He’s at Harvard now.
For all that, I looked up to all the classes above me. When I was an underclassman, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say I idolized them, and even as a junior, I respected the seniors deeply. And I can say they earned it. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have loved theater and stuck around the way I did. Now my connections in that department are among the most meaningful in my life, and the sawdusty smell of the shop is the smell of home. More recently, last year’s seniors introduced me to Scholastic Bowl, and even though I was closer to them in age, their knowledge and experience and openness to me as a latecomer made it so that they meant just as much to me as any other class. (Except when they beat me in a buzzer race. Then sometimes I forgot…)
So I’ve tried to be like them. Underclassmen, on occasion we do find you annoying. I should tell you that before I get into this. Fourteen, as you’ll discover, is a lot younger than 18. However, behind all of the rolled eyes is a real desire to see you succeed. Before I leave, I want you to know that. We’re proud of you. We didn’t have to deal with a COVID freshman year, and y’all are absolutely doing the best you can. The point is, don’t be a stranger. Maybe even let us take you around our school when the time comes for you to visit. I promise we’ll be happy to see you.
Alright, I can no longer suppress my desire to give some advice. Feel free to skip this part if you’re tired of listening to seniors tell you things you probably won’t remember, but here it is. The first thing it took me a while to realize is that my teachers are really, truly, 100% human. This isn’t a realization they really encourage you to have in Middle School, but I think the sooner you can internalize this in high school, the better. So, y’know, don’t be a jerk. We’re lucky to have very professional teachers here at Latin, but you should still not make them hate you. It’s not all bad news, though: It means that if you take the time to get to know your teachers, you will be rewarded. So many teachers here have fascinating life stories, and it has been one of the greatest pleasures of my high school career to get to know them and learn from them. Who’d have thought that Mr. Coberly was fully a lawyer before he taught physics? Or that he’s the resident Iceland expert, and his thoughts on the country and the language are actually fascinating? So reach out, because you never quite know what you’ll find.
And the second thing: Try everything. Sign up for a bunch of clubs, and go to one meeting. If you hate it, fine, you never have to go again. But you’ll never know what you love if you don’t give it a chance. I hardly do any of the same things I did as a Middle Schooler. I’d never even heard of Scholastic Bowl in eighth grade, and I was the captain this year! The point is, trying new things in high school is awesome.
A lot of these letters end with some consideration of Latin as a whole. I can’t really give you that. Latin has its problems and its hidden gems. It’s a school and it’s a business, and of course, it’s imperfect. I’ll stay where I’m more familiar: The people I’ve met here have meant more than I can possibly express. I know that will be true, whatever else Latin is to me. It’s the place where I’ve developed some of the most meaningful relationships of my life. And it’s where I’ve been through some difficult times, but whether they’ve known it or not, every time that’s happened, someone in the community has been there for me. And for that I will forever be grateful.
And so ends a chapter of my life. For the first time, I must truly say: goodbye.