Photo Gallery

What the Heckadeck

Students in the Game Changers Elective have been pursuing the guiding question, How can you harness the power of play?. In this course, students have taken on the role of a game player and game designer. They are getting a behind-the-scenes look at tabletop games, investigating how they are played and how they are created. As a part of their investigation, students have been studying strategy, probability, and game mechanics.

On this day, students played spades using a souped-up deck of cards called Heckadeck, a deck of 160 hand-illustrated playing cards designed to add a twist to your favorite card games or for you to design your own game. Creator of Heckadeck and founder of More Lies Publishing, Travis Nichols aims to inspire and enable creativity through games, activity books, stories, and cool stuff to get kids and post-kids busy living to draw, write, build, dance, go outside, and explore.

Field Experience

Location Scouting @ Lower Wacker Drive

Students in the Ollywood Elective have been pursuing the guiding question, What makes a movie a movie?. In this course, students have taken on the role of a film critic and are learning to evaluate films based on 3 stages of production: pre-production, production, and post-production. As a part of their investigation of pre-production, students have been learning about the role and creativity involved in scouting locations for film settings. For this Field Experience, students were given the opportunity to propose a location worthy of the time of a location scout.

There were lots of great pitches for locations, including:

  • Cairo, IL: as the location for a post-apocalyptic film depicting society in ruins;
  • the Merchandise Mart: as the location of an action film with a chase scene on a bridge;
  • the Bahá’í House of Worship: as the location of a medieval romance;
  • Pratt’s Castle (Elgin, IL): as the location of a medieval romance;
  • Oz Park: as the setting of a Disney family film

And there were more! The ultimate winner, though, despite the frequency of its use as a setting — in films such as The Dark Night, Batman Begins, Wanted, and The Blues Brothers — is Lower Wacker Drive. So the students explored the different landscapes of Lower Wacker Drive and captured photos to visualize the story they want to tell.


The purpose of this Field Experience is to investigate the guiding question, what is the role of a location scout?. Students will familiarize themselves with the role of the location scout as one part of the pre-production process in the making of a film. Students will also create a short storyboard demonstrating their understanding of the responsibilities of the scout.


Students will walk around Lower Wacker Drive to collect photographs to create their short storyboard.

Field Experience

Exploration Before Innovation

The students in the Innovative School Design workshop have been assigned to think about the design of our new facility. They ventured out to explore a space that could potentially be our new school. As they stepped out of the Roosevelt El station, the students reveled at their proximity to the Metra station, the park, and a handful of their favorite food spots. Upon entering the building, they were greeted by an open loft full of possibilities.

After exploring the interior of the building, the students ventured outside to Grant Park where they got a better sense of their surroundings and a great view of the exterior of the building. They discovered public artworks, a skatepark, and even started to map out their route from home to this new space.

Practicing Democracy

Even though most of our students aren’t able to participate in the midterm elections yet, they did participate in student council elections. After hearing compelling speeches from three presidential candidates, the students embraced the power of their vote, and we’re proud to announce Citlalli as student council president. As president, Citlalli promises to speak up for and act on behalf of her constituents.

PSA: Your Vote Matters

GCE students urge us to vote by reminding us why our vote matters to them. Most of our students are not old enough to vote, but more than ever before, young people are demanding to be heard. Our students encourage those of us who can vote to practice our civic duty and use our vote to speak up for their future.

In 1,000 Words

The theme for this term’s Final Presentation was A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words. GCE students were challenged to demonstrate their learning with an image. Given just a couple of guidelines, the students were free to create dynamic and personal presentations that showcased how they connect their learning across disciplines and to themselves. The presentations varied in format and allowed the guests to experience learning like a GCE student.

It was a Smash!

We danced the night away at our first-ever GCE Halloween Dance. HUGE shout-out to Lina Nicklin, parent of Simas and member of the parent association for organizing a spooky night of fun. The members of student council and the dance committee were masters at transforming the school into a ghoulish crime scene. The students wowed with their creative costumes. We had an angel and a devil, Steven Universe and Connie, Agnes from Despicable Me, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a zombie school girl, a deer and a cheetah, and many others. It was such a treat to spend a Saturday night dancing and eating lots of candy with our GCE family.

Field Experience

Feeling Climate Change @ The Lincoln Park Conservatory

In the final unit of the Water class, the Freshman have been investigating the guiding question, How can you utilize water to predict the weather?. In pursuit of an answer, students have been studying precipitation, cloud formation, greenhouse gasses, and climate change. As a part of this investigation, students visited the Lincoln Park Conservatory which houses thousands of plants that thrive in different climates. Students walked through the Palm House, the Fern Room, the Orchid Room, and the Showroom, all of which were set at different temperatures to best mimic the plants’ natural habitats. The Freshman took this opportunity to measure temperatures and humidity levels, and experienced in an immediate way, how climate change feels.


The Freshman walked through the halls of the Lincoln Park Conservatory, experienced climate change, and measured and collected data on temperature.


Students were guided through the halls by a docent who offered insight on why different plants thrive in certain temperatures and how climate change is effecting plants and animals in their natural habitats.

Field Experience

Examining Photojournalism @ The Gage Gallery

In the final unit of the Journalism course, the Seniors have been investigating the guiding question, How does photojournalism help you see the world?. As a part of this investigation, students have been examining the works of famous photojournalists to better understand the elements of an effective photograph. The Seniors visited the Gage Gallery at Roosevelt University to view the exhibit, Steve Schapiro: Civil Rights Era Contact Sheets which showcases a collection of enlarged proof sheets from Steve Schapiro’s work during the civil rights era of the 1960s. Steve Schapiro is an American photographer known for his work documenting key moments of the civil rights movement. The exhibit of mostly unpublished photographs provided the students with a unique behind-the-scenes look at photojournalism.


The purpose of this Field Experience is to investigate the guiding question, What’s the meaning of life… in 1000 words and 1 photo?. The students examined the photographs in the exhibit, Steve Schapiro: Civil Rights Era Contact Sheet and talked to Mike Ensdorf, the gallery director and photography professor at Roosevelt University to better understand the role of photojournalists in educating the public.


The students will examine the photographs and gather inspiration for their own photograph.

Photo Gallery

Rapid Prototyping with James Dyson Foundation

In preparation for their next Action Project, the Juniors in the Design & Engineering class worked with Emily Shuki from the James Dyson Foundation to learn some basic prototyping skills using cardboard, X-Acto knives, markers, and rulers. The students were challenged to create a prototype of an original design that addresses faults in any existing invention. Amongst the designs was a truck that automatically refills potholes, a more efficient CTA train car, and a lap desk suited for bumpy car rides.

Photo Gallery

Let’s Scavenge!

Our perseverance, creativity, physical agility, and collaboration skills were put to the test at this year’s first Community Day. We were presented with a totally epic scavenger hunt that challenged us to act, sing, solve riddles, find and pet a dog, make a trick shot, form a human pyramid, and talk to people in our neighborhood. The results are hilarious and heart-warming.

LGBT History Month

October is National LGBT History Month. The month is dedicated to observing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender history and gay rights history. Maeve, class of 2019 started the Pride Club at GCE two years ago with the goal of creating a safe space for LGBTQA students. They have been doing a lot to educate the community about gender identities and queer history. Pride Club stepped up to the soapbox on National Coming Out Day to talk about how to support friends and family members who are coming out. 

Photo Gallery

Chili Conditions

The Freshmen closed out our first rotation of community lunch with a recipe they’ve come to master– chili. This cohort successfully cooked and served chili to the guests at the Lincoln Park Community Shelter as a part of their SDGs & You course and felt confident to recreate the delicious feast. Every member of the community was thoroughly full and impressed by the Freshman’s effort. 

Can’t Go Wrong with Queso

The Juniors embraced the simplicity and versatility of tortillas and cheese to make over 100 quesadillas for community lunch! It was definitely a feat. In addition to the abundance of ooey-gooey quesadillas, the lunch was served with homemade guacamole and salsa AND a brownie bar. We’re loving community lunch as a way for each cohort to show off their creativity and cooking skills. It’s also been a great exercise in accountability, collaboration, and empathy.

Independently Motivated

Citlalli and Veronica, class of 2019 stepped up to the soapbox to facilitate a discussion on what it means to be independently motivated. Genesis, class of 2020 responded thoughtfully by saying, “[Independently motivated means] wanting to do your best not because of the grade, but because you want to push yourself”. Independently motivated is a competency outlined in our Portrait of a GCE Graduate. Independently motivated graduates understand how to set goals, take risks, and motivate themselves to achieve mastery.

Can You Sell a Drum Set?

Rhetoric student, Ayana was challenged to demonstrate her understanding of rhetorical devices in a creative way. She rose to the challenge with a humorous and layered video ad for Ludwig Drums. 

Your purpose in this creative test is to use your knowledge of rhetoric (elements of the situation; appeals; devices) to “re-create” ad copy for your chosen vintage instrument. You are free to use any medium you like: print, audio, video, text, music, animation, etc. Once you have finished your ad, submit it with a paragraph explaining why you made the choices you did regarding the rhetorical situation, appeals, and devices.

Brent Mix, Rhetoric Teacher 

The Power We Hold

Daniel, Class of 2020 stepped up to the soapbox to talk about his morning commute to school on the CTA. He reflected on the energy he puts out into the world, whether he’s aware of it or not, and he reminded us to be mindful of the power each of us holds in impacting the people around us. It was a thoughtful speech that asked us all to reconsider our relationships with the people we share this world with.

Photo Gallery

It’s Lunchtime and The Livin’s Cheesy

As a part of this month’s community lunch theme, Spice It Up, the Sophomores whipped up a macaroni and cheese bar that featured paprika. The preparation of this lunch was a true exercise in empathy for the chefs. In addition to preparing lunch for the community, they also made gluten-free and vegan versions of their meal. This challenge did not deter these ambitious chefs. In fact, they embraced the spice challenge and presented made-from-scratch pumpkin spice cupcakes for dessert.