Latin School of Chicago

Annual Report 2016-2017 Stories

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32 LATIN SCHOOL OF CHICAGO C olette Thompson Christian '79 credits Latin with saving her life, literally. Colette, a chef instructor on and at the Art Institute of Hollywood, came to Latin in ninth grade after a difficult year in which she was hospitalized for anorexia. She decided to join the swim team. "I was never a standout, but it changed everything for me," she said. Coach Greg Baker noticed her too-thin frame and decided to institute weigh-ins, but far different than those imposed by wrestling coaches. If Colette did not weigh enough, he refused to let her swim. "Coach Baker got me eating again," said Colette. "I adopted healthy habits because I wanted to be part of the team." Colette felt like she met her tribe on the swim team. "I still remember the lineup in the pool," she said. Colette always tells people she thinks high school was fantastic, a far cry from many who may remember the indignities of adolescence. "People think I am crazy, but we were in a special, positive place." Colette is a member of the 1888 Society and has elected to allocate a full financial aid scholarship for one year to a Latin student in honor of Greg Baker through her estate. Her parents had divorced, and as an only child, she took the divorce particularly hard. "My mother and I were never the same financially," she said. "I feel so fortunate that I could attend Latin, and that's why I feel it's important to give to the 1888 Society. I want my giving to make a difference." Colette also credits Latin with her eventual career choice. She took a bread-baking class during Project Week during her sophomore year. She loved it so much that she got a job a few weeks later working in a café. "The caliber of teachers was so good at Latin, and it set the stage for good instructors throughout my education and also inspired me to teach." Colette began teaching in the culinary program at Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, California, in 2004 after a long career as chef. Indeed, that humble bread-baking class during Project Week must have laid a strong foundation, as Colette is a certified executive pastry chef, as well as a certified executive chef, and just recently attained the distinction of certified master baker. "Latin was the perfect place for me. I needed to be there, and the universe put me there," she said. A Special, Positive Place

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