Field Experience

Attending to Human Needs @ Lincoln Park Community Shelter

Unit I of SDGs & You is entitled Access, and it asks students to investigate the first, second, and fourth Sustainable Development Goals: No Poverty, No Hunger, and Quality Education (respectively). The students’ trip to Lincoln Park Community Shelter to prepare, serve, and eat a meal with the residents there gave them some first-hand experience with people in their community who know the challenges related to these goals quite intimately. This experience contributed primary research data to their first Action Project, which asks students to argue that a human need should be regarded as a human right.


Students will manage a budget for food, planning for a group of 25-30 residents (plus our class). We will create a plan for preparing the food in time for an 11:45 serving, after which we will eat with residents, sharing in both food and conversation. Finally, we will clean up the kitchen and common room of LPCS and reflect on our service.


In preparation we are mapping some areas around the world most impacted by the challenges referred to in SDGs 1, 2, and 4. We have likewise used data from the City of Chicago’s data portal to turn the mirror back on the United States, asking ourselves where in our own communities we share similar struggles. Our meal service at LPCS will show us how, even in an area of Chicago well-known for its relative wealth and privilege, challenges regarding poverty and hunger still exist.

Let There Be Pasta!

The Seniors prepared and served the first student-led communal lunch of the school year. As a part of our new community lunch program, each cohort including the faculty will prepare and serve lunch for the whole community. The cooks are presented with a theme or a challenge each month. This month’s theme is Spice It Up. The cooks are challenged to feature one spice prominently throughoutt their meal. The faculty set the bar high with a cumin-centric Indian-inspired meal, and the Seniors met the bar by garnering the power of the mighty garlic in an Italian-inspired spaghetti and meatball lunch. With this lunch program, we hope students will think more critically about the cost of ingredients and the love and work that go into preparing a meal. And of course, cooking and eating together is the ultimate way to build community.

Fall Term Final Presentations

Join us for our Fall Term Final Presentations, the best way to experience learning with our students as they share their discoveries from the past term. The event will include opportunities to learn more about GCE’s curriculum, engage in activities planned and facilitated by GCE students, and to see for yourself why Action Projects demonstrate student mastery.
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Empathy in the Garden

The Juniors in the Design and Engineering class are addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 9 by examining the guiding question, How does design process impact product and experience?. SDG 9 addresses the need for resilient infrastructure, and inclusive and sustainable industrialization and innovation. The designers and engineers are investigating the importance of empathy in design, specifically that of gardening tools in the first unit of the course. As a part of this investigation, the students are learning about the physics behind simple machines and spending time in the garden working with and without tools in order to redesign a gardening tool.
Field Experience

Carrying Water @ The Chicago River

Freshmen in the Water class visited the Chicago River to collect water. In the first unit of this STEAM course, students have been pursuing the guiding question, why is water so common yet so rare? . In their pursuit of an answer, students have been learning about the abundance of water found in living organisms while also investigating the scarcity of potable water that leaves millions of people without clean water on a daily basis.


The purpose of this Field Experience is to investigate the guiding question, How can you get access to water in case of a shortage or crisis?. The students carried water to connect their water usage to worldwide water shortage.


The students walked to a local public water source, the Chicago River to collect and transport water. At the end of the Field Experience, students measured the amount of water they collected and reflected on their daily water usage.

FAFSA Completion Workshop

Get ready for college! Join us for a FAFSA Completion Workshop, where you can work side by side with a professional to complete the FAFSA. This workshop is for Seniors ONLY! All Seniors are encouraged to attend this session with their families. It is recommended that all students fill out FAFSA regardless if aid is needed or not, as many schools are now requiring FAFSA completion as part of their admission requirements. We are encouraging all GCE Seniors and their families to have the FAFSA completed by December for MAP Grant eligibility purposes.
Please direct any questions to Kiley Bryant at [email protected] or 312.643.0991.

Financial Aid Information Session

Join us for this financial aid information session. This session will cover types of aid, eligibility, how to apply, in addition to covering need to know information on how the FAFSA works. All seniors are encouraged to attend this session with their families. In mid-October, we will be hosting two separate FAFSA completion workshops here at GCE allowing families to fill out and complete the FAFSA with professional help available.
Please direct any questions to Kiley Bryant at [email protected] or 312.643.0991.

The Choices Program Workshop

We are so thrilled to host The Choices Program one-day workshop at GCE. The Choices Program is a non-profit organization based at Brown University. The Choices Program develops curricula on current and historical international and public policy issues and offers professional development for educators.

We’re From GCE

This year, student orientation was framed around the guiding question, Where are you from?. New GCE students were immersed in the GCE model by pursuing the guiding question through Internal and External Investigations, and they went on a Field Experience. They closed out orientation by presenting their Action Projects to the returning students. The new students approached this project with courage and honesty, and the returning students wholeheartedly welcomed their new peers. The week of welcoming and community building was marked with many successes and the air was filled with a sense of hope and possibility. We are so grateful to all our students and families for participating with so much heart and for helping us kick off the school year.

Immersive Open House

Join us for a high school open house like no other.

At GCE, students learn in a totally unique, project-based environment that allows them to truly experience the learning. What does that look like, you ask? We’re hosting you this fall to find out by immersing yourself in the global citizenship experience.

GCE Lab School is an independent private high school in Lincoln Park, Chicago that cultivates global citizens in a collaborative learning environment. Our model delivers hands-on educational experiences designed to connect academic coursework with real world context. 50% of our students receive scholarships, ensuring a diverse school that unites students and communities across Chicago.

Explore our thematic, interdisciplinary high school courses


See how GCE prepares students for the 21st century as global citizens

Learn about our

Connect with our admissions team to learn more about GCE

Connect with

community day

Partner Appreciation Breakfast

Join us for breakfast as we welcome our field experience (FE) partners to express our appreciation for the awesome opportunities they give our students. FEs, field trips on steroids that emphasize our city as a classroom model, are part of what makes GCE special, and we want to thank you for participating! We’ll be serving breakfast, hearing from students about their favorite FEs, and discovering the network of inspiring partners across the city. Breakfast starts at 7:30am, and a short presentation will begin at 8am.
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Democracy Is A Verb

GCE Lab School students in partnership with the Newberry Library and a number of amazing organizations successfully hosted the first youth-led Bughouse Debate as a part of Newberry’s Annual Bughouse Square Debates. All of the speakers, volunteers, and partner organizations proved that democracy is a verb. Youth speakers stepped up to the soapbox to speak honestly and provocatively about the causes they stand behind. The day was full of empowerment, inspiration, and momentum to create a better tomorrow. Rising GCE Sophomore, Gimena served as Bughouse Square Mayor. She hosted the youth soapbox with CBS Chicago’s Vince Gerasole. GCE students, Jayden, Cora, and Maeve also stepped up to the soapbox. They shared the stage with youth speakers representing Gather Activism, Students Demand Action, Justice Debate League, and many more. All of the youth speakers received the ACLU’s Future Leaders Award and were named the founders of the New Dill Pickle Club. We are so grateful for all of the hands and minds that made this event a success. We’re looking forward to next year!

September Open House

Join us on Thursday, Sept. 27 from 5:30-7 p.m. at an open house for prospective students at the GCE Lab School in Lincoln Park, Chicago. All are welcome! 

GCE Lab School is an independent private high school in Lincoln Park, Chicago that cultivates global citizens in a collaborative and caring learning environment. Our model delivers hands-on educational experiences designed to connect academic coursework with real world context. 50% of our students receive scholarships, ensuring a diverse school that unites students and communities across Chicago.

Explore our thematic, interdisciplinary high school courses


See how GCE prepares students for the 21st century as global citizens

Learn about our

Connect with our admissions team to learn more about GCE

Connect with


2018 Bughouse Square Debates

Call for orators, slam poets, activists, dreamers, doers!

Exercise your First Amendment rights at historical Washington Square.

At a time when political polarization is intensified by the extremes of digital discourse, the Bughouse Square Debates are a public forum where people can encounter new ideas and share their own in person! Ground Rules
  • Speeches under 3 minutes.
  • Participants under 25 years old.
  • Solo, pair, team, whatever. Bring it.
  • Your words or someone else’s with attribution.
  • Competitive, if that moves you.
  • Hate has no home here. Racist, sexist, homophobic, gender-biased, ableist, or otherwise derogatory speech that is degrading to any specific group of people will not be tolerated.

Event Details

Join the Newberry for Chicago’s favorite free speech event! Bring your loudest heckling voice, mount the open soapbox, and exercise your First Amendment rights. Take it to the park this summer! And don’t miss the Newberry Book Fair before and/or after the Debates!

Full Event Schedule

12pm Live music from Environmental Encroachment
1pm Welcome Rick Kogan, Master of Ceremonies
1:10pm Presentation of the 2018 John Peter Altgeld Freedom of Speech Award to the University of Chicago on behalf of President Robert Zimmer
1:25pm Performance by Genesis Academy Summer Institute Students
1:35pm Main Debate
2:30pm Soapbox Speeches, including the Youth Soapbox organized by students from GCE Lab School with special guest emcee, CBS Chicago’s Vince Gerasole
3:30pm Performance Interlude while the Soapbox Judges make their decision
3:45pm Dill Pickle Awards to the Soapbox Champion and The Windy City Pickle Speaker of Truth Youth Bughouse Award

Youth Soapbox Awards

Windy City Pickle Speaker of Truth Youth Bughouse Award

As a rule, grownups cannot be trusted. They have left us a ginormous mess. However, we honor some exceptional old-people doing a rock-solid job righting wrongs, slaying dragons, and empowering youth voice (since we’re the ones who are going to need to clean it all up). This year’s Speaker of Truth Awards will be presented to:

Lisa Madigan, Illinois Attorney General and Edie Canter, Executive Director of the Chicago Debate Commission

Our esteemed panel of Bughouse judges will determine award winners in the following categories:

Windy City Dill Award The highest honor. This award goes to the most memorable speech of the day.

Firestick Award

Given to the most passionate speaker.

Cauliflower Award

Given to the speaker who draws attention to an under-recognized issue.

Green Bean Award

Given to the youngest speaker.

Beer Briny Award

All talk is exhausting. Coveted spectator award for the person or group adding the most color and charm to our Bughouse. Humor, costume, theatrical appeal, sparkle and general good vibes are always a plus.

Future Leaders Awards

Given its tireless work to protect the most vulnerable among us, student organizers have chosen the ACLU of Illinois’ Next Generation Society to receive the Protector of Everything We Hold Dear Award. On behalf of ACLU’s Next Generation Society, Peter Hanna will be honoring all Youth Bughouse participants with the Future Leaders Award.

Food Trucks

Information Tables

  • About two dozen local organizations and causes will set up information tables in the park, with volunteers to answer your questions. Would your organization like to be represented? Write to [email protected] or call 312-255-3610.

Learn more about the history of Bughouse Square.

Supported by a grant from the Chicago Free for All Fund at the Chicago Community Trust. Your generosity is vital in keeping the library’s programs, exhibitions, and reading rooms free and accessible to everyone. Make a donation today.
Special Thanks To:
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Last But Certainly Not Least

We ended the 2017- 2018 school year with Final Presentations and Graduation at the National Museum of Mexican Art. Even though it was the last presentation before summer break, our students still brought the same energy and passion that they usually do. Freshmen, Brooklyn, Paolo, and Aura conducted a taste test to see if guests could tell the difference between non-GMO and GMO grapes for the Food class. Sophomore, Claire demonstrated the process of suturing for the Cure class. Juniors, Meg and Marcellus walked guests through re-designed city blocks for the Urban Planning class. Seniors, Manny, Jess, Shay, and Genesis talked about the business plans they created for the Social Entrepreneurship class. The evening was a perfect way to wrap up an exciting and challenging school year.

Schools Say Enough Sidewalk Challenge at St. Sabina Church

Join us at the Faith Community of Saint Sabina’s Annual End of the School Year Peace March & Rally

We’ve been invited to do a massive Schools Say Enough Sidewalk Challenge around Saint Sabina. The entire Church. HUGE. Chance the Rapper, Jennifer Hudson, Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Emma Gonzales, along with Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School of Parkland, Florida.

We’ll start writing names of schools, victims, and survivors of gun violence at 1pm, with the most community activity around 6:45-7:30 pm. Stay for a little. Stay for a lot. Many hands make light work.

Saint Sabina Church at 78th Place and Throop Street.

Check out the Chicago Sun-Times coverage of the National Die-In protest across from Trump Tower:

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Congratulations to the Class of 2018!

Congratulations to our Class of 2018!!! Our 2018 graduates endured an academically and emotionally challenging year and they came out on the other side stronger and smarter. We are so proud of our graduates’ accomplishments and we can’t wait to see how they impact the world. Thank you to everyone who helped us send off the Class of 2018 with love and support.