Project Week Is Back, and Students Are Excited


Project Week, a beloved Latin tradition that began in 1972, re-emerged in early November after a disappointing two-year hiatus due to COVID. The week-long, springtime custom offers unique and creative experiential learning opportunities. Latin students join their peers across grade levels to study new things, experience new places, and immerse themselves in new communities. 

Project Week (PWeek) offerings are developed by teachers across various departments. They thoughtfully construct a wide variety of choices for students to select, centered around a broad spectrum of enriching topics. Each year the offerings change, although some favorites repeat, including the much-touted Baja kayaking experience, Disney’s Giving Kids the World, and really anything involving cooking and food.

However, this year’s choices are a bit different than years prior. Due to COVID, there are no international trips this year.

While options are narrower, students are still excited to participate in the highly regarded experience. Freshman Juliette Katz said, “While I am sad that there are limited out-of-town options—and of those options, all of them are in the U.S.—I am still happy about the offerings because I think they are unique and different, and I think they will all be fun.” 

Although typical favorites, such as trips to the Amazon Rainforest, have been suspended, Upper School science teacher Steven Coberly said, “There is a wide range of projects, and so students should have no trouble finding several of them that are appealing to them. There are fewer out-of-town trips this year, but the in-town projects are overall very well thought out. It has been a long time without PWeek, so I think everyone is excited that it is back!” 

Juliette added, “With two older sisters, I’ve always looked forward to Project Week. Frankly, whether I get an in-town or out-of-town trip, I will be so excited because I think it is such a cool way to connect with other people.”

Due to COVID restrictions, teachers reported that developing engaging PWeek trips was difficult. Upper School English teacher Brandon Woods said, “Part of the difficulty is just not knowing where we will be as a nation and as a world in March.” 

The restrictions are not up to just Latin. Many other organizations that Latin works with have their own COVID restrictions. Mr. Woods added, “A lot of our projects depend on third-party vendors, and so we have to take what they want into account.”

Students ranked preferences for eight trips that must include at least four in-town offerings, but there is no requirement to rank out-of-town options. Additionally, a petition was started on by senior Kelvin Kissi in hopes of persuading the administration to give seniors priority on account of their limited Pweek experience, considering they missed two of their four high school PWeek opportunities. Kelvin said, “I felt that with it being our last year as seniors, we deserve to enjoy this last year to the fullest, and part of that is having our desired choices in Project Week.” 

Interestingly, the junior class, which is not a part of the petition, has lost as many years of PWeeks as has the senior class. While Kelvin thought about including juniors in the petition, he ultimately chose against it. He said, “The idea was to give the next two classes of seniors, us and [the current juniors], priority. So while we get priority this year, they will get priority next year.” 

Additionally, a survey was sent by a student to the ninth and tenth graders allowing them to vote on whether to give priority to seniors. The survey read in part, “Seniors and Juniors will only get two Project Weeks during their time at Latin, and one of those two years is this year, which has limitations due to COVID-19. We hope to give all students the most equitable experience as possible.” As a result, 145 out of 250 underclassmen responded. Of the 145 students,  74.5% believe seniors and juniors should get priority. 

The petition might be just one indication of just how badly PWeek was missed, how much it’s valued, and how excited Latin students are to welcome it back. Mr. Woods added, “If you are an upperclassman and you have had two years of the program taken away, there could be a lot riding on this one opportunity.”