Why Some Project Weeks Didn't Make the Cut

Summer Crown & Cameron Cozzi At the beginning of November each year the online Project Week catalog is released. Students explore the list, searching for the perfect trip to embark on in the Spring. Many trips are coveted year after year, including Chefs of Chicago and Backpacking in California, amongst many others. Although there were many trips that appealed to the student body, this year there were a surprising amount that were not as popular. Classics in Chicago, Computers for Uptown Service Organizations, Road to the Interior, Symphony and Opera, and American Indians of the Midwest were the Project Week options that seemed to be less appealing to this year’s high schoolers. When the Project Week assignments were released over Thanksgiving break, there were no students signed up to participate in these projects. The reason for this is not because the itinerary was uninteresting. Before coming to that conclusion, there are many important factors we must consider. Four out of the five projects that are not taking place were designed to be Chicago-based ones. Even the fifth, American Indians of the Midwest, would have taken place relatively close to Chicago. From our experience, the majority of students are immediately drawn to the Out-of-Town Projects: extravagant trips to places they have never thought of venturing to before. Further, there was a Project Week option to explore Cuba this year, which for obvious reasons was not an option in the past. This project is an example of one that immediately caught the attention of students. While some students want to embark on trips to the Amazon, Taiwan, or Africa, other students prefer to sign up for projects based on their personal interests. Freshman Natalie Wexler, a member of the “Theatre in Chicago” Project Week said, “None of the projects offered looked bad. They all looked really cool depending on what your interests are.” Natalie explained that “Theatre in Chicago” immediately grabbed her eye, as she knew that through this project she would be able to “meet people who also have an interest in theater who [she] wouldn’t have been able to meet had it not been for this project.” Finally, a major reason why the size of some Project Weeks drastically decreased compared to past years and why some Project Weeks aren’t taking place at all is due to the fact that almost 30% of the Upper School will be attending either the Chorus/Band trip to Paris or the Berlin Exchange. Upon signing up for Chorus/Band, it was made clear to the members that they would be attending a Project Week trip as part of the curriculum for the class and that this trip was a binding commitment (save a few special cases). The different factors that contribute to a student’s Project Week decision prove that just because certain projects didn’t gain enough attraction to take place certainly does not mean that these projects were not interesting. We have concluded that the reason why these Projects—Classics in Chicago, Computers for Uptown Service Organizations, Road to the Interior, Symphony and Opera, and American Indians of the Midwest—were not signed up for is solely because they were overlooked. Each of these projects are just as compelling as a trip to Cuba or exploring cooking techniques around the city of Chicago, depending on more personal factors including your interests and tolerance for the outdoors. Despite the fact that these trips will not be happening this year, there are still many incredible trips that will expose students to new experiences that they will be sure to remember for the remainder of their high school career. We hope that you enjoy your Project Week!]]>