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A Week of Growth and Connection For a Stronger Senior Year

A Week of Growth and Connection For a Stronger Senior Year
Tanya Olander

When you think of Week Without Walls, you may think of students journeying to far-off destinations, exploring new terrains, and overcoming adversity. But sometimes, you don’t have to travel far to experience growth.

In a Week Without Walls, or “Week Without Bells,” as it is referred to for grade 12, our seniors recently spent five days exploring, connecting with each other, and growing. 

teacher with calculator verifies science project

HS Computer Science/Math Teacher Suzanne Ede verifies the calculations of one of the science projects on display.

The week, rich in learning experiences, began with a condensed two-day science project that included researching and presenting a project for peers and faculty. Practicing their presentation skills, students explored topics such as how basketball relates to physics, chemistry, and biology and what impact a vegetarian diet may have on elite athletes. 

College Admissions Demystified

Midweek, several activities related to university applications lent extra support to students. In half-day seminars, seniors learned how to write compelling college essays, after which they attended a mini-university fair held exclusively for our students by nearly 20 university representatives. Additionally, the representatives had small-group sessions with students, demystifying many aspects of U.S. college admissions, in particular.

students speaks with university rep

A student speaks to one of the universities visiting SSIS. Later the same day, the representatives held small-group sessions demystifying much of the US college application process.

At the end of their “Week Without Bells,” seniors headed across town to meet the 120 representatives attending the annual university fair, held alternately at SSIS and ISHCMC. Well-prepared from the previous day’s small-group sessions, students were ready to meet and speak with university representatives to get the information they need to make important decisions about where to apply for university next year.

Guidance and Preparations

After connecting over karaoke and dinner in District 2 on the second to last evening of the week, students were ready to meet Friday head-on, putting the finishing touches on their college admissions essays with the guidance of their counselors and teachers. But before heading into the weekend, students were surprised with a MasterChef challenge in the Plaza (cover image), requiring them to make a meal out of the meager ingredients on hand that could be easily prepared in a college dorm room. Perfect hands-on practice for life at university! 

students in classroom listening to counselor

Steve Petraglia, SSIS Director of High School Counseling and University Guidance offers insights into writing compelling college admissions essays.

Growth in More Ways Than One

We know that being able to dedicate a week to their university application process, explore various scientific topics, and spend time connecting with classmates that they’ve had so little time with over the past few years, enabled our seniors to grow in more ways than one. And their final year at SSIS will be so much stronger and more memorable because of it!

Thank you to SSIS Director of High School Counseling and University Guidance, Steve Petraglia, who contributed to this story!


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