Letters from the Class of ’23: Hugh McKee


Looking back on my 14 banner years at Latin, I’m filled with many emotions. Joy, thankfulness, nostalgia, disgust, regret, regret, and embarrassment. I could spend my time in this letter being self-indulgent and imparting my half-baked, teenage wisdom on you all, but I think I’ll spend this time going over my top 10 things underclassmen should and shouldn’t avoid, to possibly ease any future regret others might have.

1. Use the maker space
Something I wish I had taken advantage of sooner but didn’t was the maker space. Shane is such a cool dude and will help you with anything. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even go in there until this year, and since then, I’ve made silk screens for printing shirts with the vinyl cutter, 3D-printed stuff for math, Glowforged my English project, made silicone molds to create resin casts, embroidered trucker hats, and made stencils. I can hardly pull myself out of there in time for class now, and I wish I had gotten in there sooner.

2. Don’t sit at the senior tables
Regardless of how progressive Latin tries to be in our sense of community and togetherness, there’s a level of seniority that needs to be upheld. All the seniors ask after going through the circuit for four years is to sit at the tables that are slightly higher than the others at lunch. I made the mistake of sitting there my freshman year and got physically ejected from my seat. Don’t make that same mistake.

3. Badging
Nothing pushes my buttons, grinds my gears, or butters my biscuits quite like the sight of watching underclassmen badge into the THREE different scanners as they walk into school. Hey, FYI, the first two are to literally enter the school (and those doors are typically unlocked). The last one is the only scanner that matters. Why do all three? Question for you: Do you badge out of all three scanners? Didn’t think so. If you said yes, then I’m truly at a loss.

4. Gaming SBG
It’s the worst kept secret at Latin. Mode learning is something I really should’ve put some time into understanding, because I really didn’t. I just knew when my chemistry SBG started to look like a sunset I was moving in the wrong direction. I wish I could say how you can use this to your advantage, but again, I never learned. Maybe ask your friendly local senior.

5. Sports games
In the same vein as my second bullet point, sit oldest to youngest. The seating at athletic games, namely the Latin v Parker game at DePaul, is ordered by grade level because the seniors should be able to cheer on their friends at the final events, and the order descends from there. Look, at some point someone is gonna stand up and wave their arms to motion everyone to scooch back, so it’ll save you some time to get ahead of the shift. Freshmen, you’re in the nosebleeds.

6. Writing Center
Here’s another resource everyone should use. Mr. Joyce rocks, and when I went to him for my college personal essay, it helped a ton. I always felt like I was doing good in English until grade reports rolled around and I found out I wasn’t, and I feel like if I had shopped my work a little more I would be happier with my … English grades? Saying it out loud, it’s not something I’m losing sleep over, but regardless, it’s a great resource.

7. Lunchline
I shouldn’t have to say this, I really shouldn’t, but if you’re the person who does the greet-your-friend-and-ask-a-question combo to play off the fact that you cut 20 other students in line, you suck. You’re not slick and no one likes you. Because of general common decency, the only thing you should be cutting is that move out.

8. Secret Snowflake/Santa/Whatever
Something I think every class should do is a secret snowflake. It’s seasonal and a way to get closer to your class. Carly suggested doing one in my Anatomy class (definitely take it!), and it was dope. Everyone got a thoughtful gift, and it’s a good memory I have.

9. The classic plate drop
Happened to a buddy of mine; don’t let it happen to you. When in the LC, if you can help it, hold that fragile ceramic plate with both hands, or put it securely on a tray, because if you let that slip, you’re gonna get a round of applause that will haunt you till your dying day.

10. Hang with your upperclassmen
This is something I didn’t get around to a lot because of COVID, but something I enjoyed when I did. You can learn a lot from the people above you; they’ve gone through it all and can provide you with knowledge like this (and more), all while building a valuable friendship. The first time I felt really connected to my water polo team was talking with Eric W my sophomore and junior year. It made such a huge difference.

Well, that’s all I’ve got. I hope you take some of this into consideration, maybe even apply it to your everyday life here at Latin. Just remember, if you do end up dropping your plate in the LC, don’t say I didn’t tell you so.