Seniors In Sophomore Classes

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Mary Ellen Mack No matter what grade you are entering, the first day of school can be a whirlwind of emotions. Whether you are excited to see your friends again after a long vacation or are nervous about a new class or teacher, everyone can agree that the first day is quite hectic. Personally, I was scared to death to begin Nazi Mind, one of the major highlights in the Latin curriculum and a typical sophomore history elective. Coming in, I had no idea what to expect and whether I should believe the rumors about the class that had been passed down. Little did I know about the seemingly endless readings, sleepless nights and frantic brief writing. The first time Mr. Fript walked into the classroom, dead silence came over the room. It turned out that I wasn’t the only one terrified and already anticipating my stress level during the first semester. The only sense of calm that my fellow classmates and I had was that we would be in it together. We were coming in as friends that would soon face one of the hardest challenges of our academic career at Latin. The next class period, as we began to settle into the course, a new person was added to our roster and joined our ranks. However, what startled my class was that it was a senior joining Nazi Mind, rather than another sophomore. Unknown to most, seniors are allowed to take sophomore electives if they’ve gotten approval from the history department. Lourdes Taylor joined Nazi Mind to improve her own understanding of moral imperfections and evil. She came in with the advantage of having already taken American Civilizations, which proved to be helpful in understanding capitalism from a German perspective. She faced the typical hardships as every Nazi Mind student does, but with an extra layer of stress and responsibility. Lourdes explained that “as we approached the simulation date I was also writing essays, applying to college, and anxiously waiting to hear back from my early admissions school.” As the majority of us know, first semester of senior year is extremely important when applying, so to Lourdes the grade she received was more than a grade: it was a piece in the puzzle towards college. She faced additional challenges to those that the rest of the class had, such as having to learn 20 new names and having to make friends. Like everything, there were pros and cons to Lourdes being in this infamous sophomore elective. She described herself as “feeling like a kid again.” However, her status as a senior changed our class dynamic quite a bit. Other students, such as myself, listened more carefully and with respect whenever Lourdes spoke. Lourdes commented that she, “enjoyed being listened to and given a platform where she could share what she had gathered from an extra 2 years in high school.” Lourdes’ story only strengthens the notion of a social hierarchy at Latin. Over the years, students have internalized the idea of respecting upperclassmen far above themselves. Looking back, Lourdes found all of these struggles and different dynamics “worth it.” She is overjoyed to have come out of the class with a rich, full understanding of Nazism, politics, the development of racism/hate crimes, and the proceedings of real trials, even if she did sacrifice a classroom dynamic that was more in her comfort zone. ]]>