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Step 1: Speak Up!

GCE Lab School students in partnership with the Newberry Library organized and hosted this year’s Youth Soapbox Debates as a part of Newberry’s Annual Bughouse Square Debates. This is our second year participating as organizers of the Youth Soapbox Debates to provide a platform for young people to speak honestly and provocatively about the political, social, and cultural issues that plague their world. We are proud to help provide this platform for young people in a historically significant place amongst activists of all ages and backgrounds.

Rising GCE Junior, Gimena and GCE Class of 2018 alumna, Shay worked hard all summer recruiting speakers and planning the event. The youth speakers proved that there is power in their voice. Their stories also reminded us that speaking up and speaking out is only the first step to creating a better tomorrow. We are hopeful that under the leadership of these young people, we are on our way to a brighter and safer future.

We’re looking forward to next year!

Measured Daylight: GCE Students Map an Illuminated Future

In the spirit of real-world learning, two students were on-site to audit available daylight on the third floor of the Randolph Street location we are pursuing for the new home of fGCE Lab School. Using a photometer to measure the intensity of light, a tape measure to identify points of fall off, and a camera to record visual contexts, they created a map to identify locations optimal for classrooms in the 16,000 sq. ft. floor plan. Architects and general contractors were also on-site, giving students first-person insight to how their work and perspective impacts our campus design project.

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We are Master Learners

We embrace the last day of every Spring Term not only as a celebration of the graduating class but also as a celebration of all of our accomplishments as a community. This Spring, students were given the opportunity to present on any experiences whether academic, artistic, political, athletic, or personal that inspires them to be curious explorers of the world. The varied presentations demonstrated that learning can take place anywhere at any time as long as the learner seizes the opportunities. We were proud to see GCE students showcase their growth as master learners.

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Congratulations to the Class of 2019!

Congratulations to the Class of 2019!!! Our 2019 graduates are a group of opinionated, curious, strong-willed young people who are ready to take on the world’s greatest challenges. 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 joined us in celebrating and filling the auditorium with so much love and support.

Get Your Yearbook!

The 2018-2019 GCE Yearbook has just been sent off to the presses and we can’t wait to share it with our community. We made a lot of memories this year and the yearbook is a great way to celebrate each student’s contributions. We are working hard to ensure that every student receives a yearbook at little to no cost this year. We believe that each student has earned a yearbook to share with their families.

Each yearbook costs $20. Please consider making a donation to our Yearbook Fund. Your contribution helps to put a yearbook in every student’s hands.

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The Sun Rises in the Yeast

Students in the Food class have been exploring leavening agents and the role they play in our favorite baked goods. They experimented with biological agents and quickly learned to respect the sensitive nature of yeasts and sourdough starters; they are living and require care, lots and lots of care. Most recently, they experimented with swapping out different leavening agents in a biscuit recipe; using buttermilk instead of eggs or using baking powder instead of baking soda. The results were varied but delicious!

Field Experience

Creating Drama at The Goodman Theater

In the Sophomore Humanities course, Drama, the students have been investigating the guiding question, How does drama stage and heal our roles in society?. Specifically, they have been studying how William Shakespeare, Henrik Ibsen, and Lorraine Hansberry used drama as a way to respond to the expectations and treatment of women in their society. In the second unit of this course, students read Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and investigated the role of the “doll” in 19th century Norway. The students were challenged to respond to the play’s main characters, Nora and Torvald in the form of a screenplay. As a part of the creation of their screenplays, the students visited the educators at the Goodman Theater to get feedback on their work and to learn more about how to write effective dialogue and stage directions.

Why?

The purpose of this Field Experience is to get feedback on the screenplays they’ve been working on and to gain an understanding of how to effectively communicate using dialogue and stage directions.

How?

Students will participate in a series of exercises that will teach them how to give and receive feedback productively in order to refine their screenplays.

It’s Formally Spring

We stepped into an Enchanted Forest and danced the night away! Members of our Student Council alongside our Director of Admissions, Laura transformed the Ravenswood Loft into an Enchanted Forest filled with pizza, candy, and music that went all night (well, until 9:00). The students looked stunning in their finest formal wear and danced the night away. We had an absolute blast at our first-ever Spring Formal and we simply could not have done it without the support of our community; huge shout-out to Student Council, Laura, and GCE parents, Betty and Karen!

Rock On! 4th Annual GCE Fundraiser was a Hit!

A most epic night, last Friday’s 4th Annual GCE Fundraiser had it all; a mouthwatering spread, totally killer auction and raffle prizes, poetry performances from GCE’s LTAB team, live music from Chris Corsale, an unforgettable performance from Nordic Thunder, and a brilliant community raising money to support students at GCE, where a real-world high school education prepares them for their futures through collaboration and compassion across diverse communities.

We raised over $11,000 to support our mission to deliver dynamic, relevant, and real-world learning experiences to a diverse student body!

A very special thank you to all of our event sponsors:

Field Experience

Going Beyond Our Limits with Sensei Lavin

The Seniors in the Endurance class have been pursuing the guiding question, how much are you willing to endure to change the world?. In the first unit of this Humanities course, students are investigating endurance as demonstrated by well-known visionaries. Through this investigation, students will find inspiration to set goals and identify a mission for their own path. Furthermore, the students are asked to assess qualities that they possess that may help them achieve their mission. As a part of this self-assessment, the students must endure both physical and mental challenges. For this Field Experience, the Seniors were visited by Sensei Lavin who put their mental and physical endurance to the test.

Why?

The purpose of this Field Experience is for students to undergo “boot camp” that tested their endurance.

How?

Under the guidance of Sensei Lavin, the students participated in a series of exercises that pushed them to overcome mental blocks in order to defeat physical ones.

Truss Fall!

During the first Unit of the Urban Planning course, Juniors investigate the elements necessary to build a strong bridge. The engineers studied examples of bridges in order to understand the concepts of weight and force, tension and compression, and trusses. Equipped with their newfound knowledge, lots of glue, and 60 popsicle sticks, they set out to build a strong, functioning bridge. After days of hard work, the bridges were put to the test with a set of weights. This year’s Juniors set the record with the strongest bridge holding over 105 pounds!

Field Experience

Farm to Table at Big Delicious Planet

The Freshman in the Food class has been pursuing an answer to the guiding question, What is the ecology of planting?. In the first unit of this STEAM course, students are exploring what soil is made of and how seasons affect our food through the web of life. Students have assumed the role of farmers and are collecting data to design a plentiful garden. As a part of this investigation, the students visited Big Delicious Planet, a Green Restaurant Certified catering company to learn about sustainability and urban agriculture. Upon entering their canteen, the students were overwhelmed by the delicious smells but they would be much more impressed by the farm and kitchen.

Why?

The purpose of this Field Experience is to learn about the concepts of farm to table, urban agriculture, and responsible production and consumerism.

How?

The students received a tour of the space, from the canteen to the farm and got a glimpse into the work that goes into sustaining a Green Restaurant certification.

Field Experience

Studying Ecosystems at Patchwork Farms

The Freshmen taking Food have been pursuing the guiding question, What does a balanced ecosystem look like?. In the first unit of this STEAM course, students are investigating the types of organisms and the interactions between those organisms that are necessary in order to sustain a healthy ecosystem. As a part of this investigation, students are studying the importance of companion plants, especially when sustaining a farm in a limited amount of space. To gain more insight into how farmers make the most of their space, the students visited Chicago Patchwork Farms, an urban farm in Humboldt Park. At the farm, the students learned more about the make-up of soil, worked with their hands, and even met a couple of chickens.

Why?

The purpose of this Field Experience is for the students to see an urban farm and to learn about what it takes to sustain one.

How?

The students will tour the space, ask questions, and do some actual work to learn firsthand about farming.

Field Experience

A Test of Endurance

Seniors in Endurance are investigating the journeys of endurance of historical fictional and non-fictional heroes. They are tasked with answering the guiding question, How do you endure mental and physical challenges? by actually facing enduring tests. As a part of this investigation, the students embarked on a transformative journey within themselves with the help of Preston Klik, who demonstrated instruments used for sound meditation and led the meditation for the group.

Field Experience

Eat Your Neighborhood with Odd Produce

The Freshman in the Food For Thought class have been investigating the guiding question, How are food systems shaped and how do they shape the world?. As a part of this investigation, the students have been studying the Agricultural Revolution which led the class to the question, What would it be like to return to humanity’s roots as foragers?. The students went on an Eat The Neighborhood tour to seek out edible plants in Lincoln Park with Dave Odd from Odd Produce. The experience showed the students that there is food all around us, we just have to know what to look for.

Field Experience

From Farm to Cup at Metropolis Coffee Company

Freshman in the Food For Thought class went to Metropolis Coffee Company’s roastery to learn about the life of the Coffee plant. Students were welcomed into the state-of-the-art roastery where they got a behind-the-scenes look at each step of the process. Metropolis is dedicated to serving a stellar cup of coffee, but what’s even more important to them is respect. Respect is at the core of the company’s philosophy; from farmers to consumers. It was an eye-opening lesson on the effort it takes to be a responsible part of the production chain.

TEDxGCE

This term, we modeled final presentations after Ted Talks to give students a different way to demonstrate their learning. Each presenter was given five minutes in the spotlight to deliver a lecture or facilitate a discussion. We were fortunate enough to practice effective communication and presentation skills from the educators at the Goodman Theater before the day of presentations. Armed with these new skills and the knowledge from their classes, the presenters wowed us with their creativity and eloquence.

Bring It On!

Our Winter Term Community Day put all of the students’ different skills and talents to work. The morning started off with some brainteasing riddles and a relay race that tested their brains and brawn. After lunch, it was a team-on-team showdown of Gaga Ball, Bowling Pin Dodgeball, and Foosball. After a good sweat, the teams slowed it down and wrote poems about what they are grateful for at GCE. We ended the day with a talent show organized by members of the Music Makers club. This joyful and laughter-filled day was a great way to close out Winter Term.

Running an Errand

Sophomore, Tymony examined the art of the short film as her independent study. She completed the course, Ollywood during Elective term in which she learned to look at films with a more discerning and critical eye. Inspired by that course and her own passions for story-telling, acting, and directing, Tymony set out to write and produce an original short film. Her film, Errand takes a surrealist look at two teenagers’ unlikely meeting in the aisles of a grocery store.

The Point is Not The Point…

The point is the poetry!!! This is our 7th year participating in the Louder Than a Bomb (LTAB) youth poetry slam festival and our poets were honored to have performed on the stage at the Metro Chicago at Semifinals. LTAB is the largest and longest-running youth poetry slam in the world and it all started in Chicago through Young Chicago Authors. The festival brings together thousands of youth from the Chicagoland area and invites them to share their unique stories through verse. We are so grateful for the platform that LTAB provides students to not only share their stories but to connect with other young poets. We are so proud of the work our LTAB team put in this year to advance all the way to Semifinals. We can’t wait to do it all again next year.