Paying it Forward

We first met Zach as a Sophomore in 2008; he was one of the six GCE students at the time. As a Sophomore, Zach was opinionated, determined, and challenging. During his time at GCE, he challenged us as an organization and held us accountable as his teachers and mentors. As one of our first students, we consider Zach a pioneer; without his feedback and the support of his family, we would not have grown as we have. Since graduating from Suffolk University last Spring, Zach Silver has been an integral part of the GCE community. He has donated his time to mentor GCE students in the classroom and on the basketball court.

We are grateful for his commitment and enthusiasm this year and we couldn’t be more proud of the thoughtful, ambitious, and humble person he has become.

Pye GCEs the World

Henry Pye, a GCE graduate from the class of 2013 talked to us about life after high school. In 2009, we met Henry in a basement of an old mansion on the Northside of Chicago. He was quiet, skeptical, and resistant. But over time, Henry would become the captain of the basketball team, the older brother of the underclassmen, the mentor of new students, and the beloved class clown. By the time he graduated in 2013, he was known as the poster child of GCE. This Spring, Henry graduated from UIC’s Urban Studies Program and is now in the early stages of starting a non-profit. We couldn’t be more proud to recognize such an outstanding citizen as a GCE graduate.

We Value Real World Relevance

We asked our alums how GCE has prepared them for college and unanimously, our graduates expressed the importance of rooting classroom learning in real world problems. The core of our mission is to inspire students to fall in love with learning, prepare them to think for themselves and connect them with the world through their academic subjects. We do this in a myriad of ways formally and informally, but this work is most evident in our City2Classroom model. 2015 graduate, Meshach Maldonado-Lewis responded, “GCE has completed changed my life, just because of what we learned and how we learned it. Especially through Field Experiences, going on field trips every week, being able to see the world, meeting new business people. That completely changed the way I see life.” 

We Value Community

We asked our alums how GCE factors into their lives after graduation and unanimously, our graduates expressed gratitude for a community that they can always come back to. We take pride in the fact that developing meaningful relationships and building community are intrisically a part of our model and curriculum. 2015 graduate, Lily Fiske responded, “It still feels like my roots and I still love all the teachers and all of the students who still go here. They feel like family even though I don’t go here anymore.”