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The Forum

The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

The Forum

The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

The Forum

Letters From the Class of 2024: Eliza Lampert


In the summer of 2020, when we received the dreaded email from Mr. Dunn that announced all classes were to be remote for the foreseeable future, I lost it. For a multitude of reasons.

  1. I was new to this school. How in the world was I supposed to get involved with anybody or anything on my laptop?
  2. How was I going to avoid the inevitable burnout that comes from looking at a computer screen all day?
  3. Most importantly, how was I going to spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week with my family? (Love you guys, but let’s be real here.)

Unfortunately, concerns 1 and 2 were not very solvable. However, my dad tried to craft a solution for number 3. Because of the pandemic, nobody had been going into his office, so it was pretty much dark and empty all of the time. In order to make “school” seem a little more exciting and get me out of the house, he suggested that I use Jeff’s Office. Yes, that is how it was presented to me. I was as confused as you are. For starters, I did not know who Jeff was. And I also did not understand how this was going to solve anything.

After my initial (fairly salty) reaction, I learned that Jeff had an office next to my dad’s that he had not been using recently and offered it up to me. This plan seemed odd. But also, the last five months of my life had been odd. So what was one more thing?

In the spirit of embracing the weirdness, I started my first day of high school in Jeff’s Office, where my dad posted a sign on the door that read “Eliza Lampert’s Temporary Classroom (Ninth Grade).”

Over time, Jeff’s Office became more than a temporary classroom to me. Throughout my high school career, I always had Jeff’s Office as a sanctuary for my learning.

It wasn’t always Jeff’s Office, though. Sure, for the first few weeks of freshman year, it was Jeff’s Office. But after that, my sanctuary continued to move and evolve. And I can connect each space to a particular assignment or subject, because they were so much more than just spaces.

My backyard was the first place I opened my Morillo textbook. The Starbucks on Roscoe and Seeley is where I wrote my Econ paper on the closure of iconic music venue CBGB. My bedroom is where I spent late nights editing articles for The Forum (Pro-tip: read The Forum throughout your time in high school!). The corner chair in the quiet LC is where I sat for three hours to write my U.S. History paper that I had been putting off for weeks (sorry Ms. Linder). The first silent reading room is where I applied to be Editor-in-Chief of The Forum. The nook right near the bridge cafe is where I sat and read “The Remains of the Day” and sobbed (very publicly). The Upper School English office is where I nerded out (many times) about Janelle Monae with Ms. LC. Ms. Hennessy’s office is where I discovered my love for memoirs. The floor of the fourth floor locker bay is where I took my GOA, Prisons and the Criminal Law. The floor of the senior locker bay is where I took naps during C block. And the practice rooms are where I went to play piano and breathe midday when I just needed a second.

And to think all of it stemmed from Jeff’s Office. Jeff, who had a calendar in his office from 2014. Jeff, who had nothing on his walls. Jeff, whose office had a funky, but also somewhat comforting smell (if I remember correctly, it smelled like old bird seed?).

But to me, it never mattered where I was, as long as I was learning. I have always considered myself to be somewhat of a “passionate nerd,” and these spaces are what built me into the person I am today. A person full of random, possibly unnecessary, but ultimately interesting knowledge; a person who wants to learn.

As I prepare to depart from Latin, I see that everything I plan to study and learn can be attributed not only to this place, but the people in it. My intended major is entirely based on what I learned last year in Science Fiction and Social Justice with Ms. LC. My passion for journalism (which I plan to continue with in college) is all thanks to Ms. Kloehn and Mr. Gofen. My newfound interest in philosophy (another one I plan to pursue) is because Ms. Linder pushed me to take Comparative and Global Politics.

Everything I learned in these walls and spaces will stick with me for the remainder of my days (Ms. Cole, that was for you), and I have this building and these people to thank for it: Ms. Kloehn, Ms. LC, Ms. Linder, Mr. Brownlee, Mr. Gofen, Ms. Durant, Ms. Hennessy, Ms. Fields, Ms. Cole, Mr. Baer, Mx. Hansberry, and Mr. Goldman. And of course, the ones who got me to Latin and held my hand along the way: my incredibly supportive, kind, and generous parents and my sister and lifelong partner-in-crime, Carrie.

My advice to you all is to find your very own Jeff’s Office. A space that makes you want to grow, explore, and create. As cliché as it sounds, take advantage of this school and its opportunities and learn, learn, learn!

All of my love,
Eliza Lampert

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About the Contributor
Eliza Lampert
Eliza Lampert, Editor-in-Chief

Eliza Lampert (’24) is a senior at Latin and is overjoyed to serve as one of this year’s Editors-in-Chief. During her time writing for The Forum, she has covered Latin’s faculty union, the impact of the pandemic on the community, and broader national and international topics that extend beyond Latin. The Forum has been a wonderful place for her to connect with other students and faculty while bettering her skills as a writer and as an ethical journalist. Along with journalism, she sings in a heavy metal band called Metacognate, takes classical vocal lessons, plays piano, bass, is a co-head of the Jewish Student Connection Affinity, and is always happy to sit down with a good book.

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    Eden RavivMay 7, 2024 at 12:06 am

    Yeah, these places are pretty special, but probably for what they all share in common: the one-of-a-kind, contagiously energetic and caring Eliza Lampert. What a joy it has been to know you. Beautiful letter, and I hope you never stop writing.

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    Deborah LinderMay 6, 2024 at 8:44 pm

    I am the better for having been your teacher, Eliza. Oh, and I forgive you for the procrastination on that essay 😉