Downtown High School, Tucked Among High-Rises, With Little More Than 50 Students, Is Making Its Mark On The World

On Tuesday, February 22, Jim Williams and the CBS news team came to our new campus at 9 W. Washington to see the school and the unveiling of our new mural Bask.

During GCE’s Civic Term, the three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, GCE students engage in an immersion internship program, working with industry professionals in their area of interest. This year, students Nakiya’h Longstreet, Kaylie Hamernick, and Kate Elstrom, worked closely with Chicago artist, Armani Howard (3Arts, Vax Chi), poet and copywriter Natasha Estevez (Ferrara Candy), and architect Monica Chadha (Civic Projects) to create Bask, a reflection; a meditation on one’s outlook on inclusivity, community, and one’s journey. This piece took an organic approach without guardrails, conceptualizing thoughts on cycles, rebirth, and the guiding light that leads us (all) through the journey, with hopes of piloting the present and the future into a new day.

In addition to the mural, the GCE students crafted a poem to accompany the art, describing their intentions for all who will journey to explore its meaning of building pathways to a better world for all.

Read the poem here →

Bask is a perfect example of the opportunities made possible by GCE’s innovative Field Experiences and professional internship programs. Relevant experiences like that provided by Armani, Natasha, and Monica animate GCE’s curriculum, ignite student curiosity, and expose young people to a range of career paths. These connections are the foundation of our community-centered approach that inspires students from across Chicago to take ownership of their learning, develop empathy for others, and thrive.


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