The Evolution of Project Week

I’deyah Ricketts What does a typical school field trip look like? Twenty students packed on a yellow school bus while their teacher checks off names for attendance? Observing reptiles and birds at the zoo for five hours? At Latin, however, students have the privilege to travel as far as 6,296 miles to Tokyo, 5,525 miles to Uruguay, or experience the culture of Chicago. Project Week, a tradition that began in 1972, allows Latin students to push education beyond the classroom walls and collaborate with each other. When talking to Ms. Dorer, she explained that Project Week was implemented to offer students “physical challenges and extensions of cultural values.” In attempt to kick Project Week into full gear, however, faculty faced an overwhelming challenge: financial aid. Initially, many students struggled to fund their dream trips. For example, Ms. Dorer explained the story of two students interested in a trip to Russia. The first student had to get a job right away to earn money, while the other student found a trustee to fund their trip. However, since the creation of Project Week, Latin has worked to increase financial aid and affordability and provide the community with an enriching educational opportunity like no other. Early on, a “vast majority of faculty opposed Project Week,” as the idea seemed unfamiliar to them. As years progressed and the Latin community began understanding the value in Project Week experiences, it gained wider acceptance. Today, “[faculty members] invest a lot [of time and effort] in making Project Week opportunities as rich as they know how to make them.” Just two weeks ago, students returned to school from exciting Project Weeks with bonds formed and stories to tell. No matter the destination of the project week, though, every student got something out of it — a new friend, a new outlook on Chicago, or a new-found love for travelling abroad. Just as it has evolved over the past 46 years, I am curious to know how Project Week will continue to evolve from where it is now. ]]>