Alumni Opportunities

Galapagos believes that all of the children who enter Galapagos leave as scholars.  We believe that, as scholars, we pursue education and experiential opportunities throughout our lives.  GRCS would certainly like to continue to be a part of our scholars’ growth even after they graduate.   If you are an alum, please feel free to contact us and let us know what you are up to; we love to brag about our scholars!   Please feel free to apply for and/or share the variety of alumni opportunities that we have available.  We will continue to pursue and grow experiences for our scholars; so, please look back frequently.  We currently have the following programs available for alum:

The Project Passport Application Period For 2024 is now closed.  Applications for the summer of 2025 will be available in September or 2024.

For a fourth year, we are excited to offer a great opportunity for Galapagos alum entering their Junior or Senior years in 2024. Project Passport Africa at Galapagos will bring up to six GRCS alum to Africa. This trip combines learning about African culture with a leadership retreat. Alum will get the chance to visit Uganda and Rwanda.  There, they will meet and work with Africans their own age and visit locations that will expand their horizons. Interested scholars should use the application link above (for the summer of 2024.)  The trip will take place in June 2024 and will require some pre-work and fundraising.  Scholars will work together at the summit in Uganda while also having time to explore the region.  Scholars will visit a Ugandan market-place, meet with village elders and spend time on a safari and participate in a three-day youth summit.  Finally, scholars will visit neighboring Rwanda to learn about the genocide that enveloped that nation in the 1990’s while discovering how the nation undertook one of the more successful reconciliations displayed by humanity in the 2000’s.

Take a look at the agenda from the last two trip for all the exciting activities involved in this program.   See our scholars in action.

2022 Africa Youth Summit Itinerary

Yeah, we are the only ones in Rockford who offer this.

The Outward Bound alumni trip (open to 9th and 10th graders) allows you to immerse yourself in the outdoors as you paddle down the St. Croix Riverway past sandstone cliffs then explore dense boreal forests, stunning waterfalls and awe-inspiring ridgetop vistas on the Superior Hiking Trail on this multi-week expedition during the summer of 2024.

River-shaped sandstone cliffs, shimmering silver maples and clean, rushing water will captivate you and your crew as you travel down the Namekagon and St. Croix Rivers. This stunning and diverse ecosystem challenges your paddling skills through moving water and varied rapid classes. The river demands your attention as you and your crew navigate its forks, twists and turns. After the river you’ll launch into the backpacking portion of your expedition as it takes you into the heart of the Sawtooth Mountain Range, adjacent to the world’s largest body of freshwater, Lake Superior. Greet the sunrise, spend the day challenging yourself while hiking the stunning Superior Hiking Trail. Learn outdoor skills that allow you to travel with confidence through these awe-inspiring wilderness environments. In addition to gaining useful technical skills, you’ll also develop essential life skills including perseverance or “grit,” teamwork, problem solving, decision making and leadership in this fun and unique outdoor classroom. This expedition will push you to find new personal limits and develop self-reliance, teamwork and outdoor skills in a rugged and beautiful natural classroom. Ahh, yeah, we are the only ones in Rockford who offer this.

The application period is now open for the summer of 2024.   The trip takes place from August 11 to August 16, 2024.

Apply Now

Galapagos is excited to announce the third year of the GRCS Alumni college scholarship.  This scholarship has already disbursed $16,500 to GRCS alum.   This scholarship is open to any scholar who graduated from Galapagos Rockford Charter School.  The 2024 scholarship application is now available.  The deadline for applications is April 29, 2024.

Apply Here for 2024

Scholarship recipients in 2023 were:

  • Dylan Lopez- Wentworth Technical College- $1,000
  • Nichelle Hunt- Aurora University- $2,500
  • Emily Delgado- Northern Illinois University- $5,000

Scholarship recipients in 2022 were:   

  • Dylan Lopez- Wentworth Technical College- $500
  • Nichelle Hunt- Aurora University- $2,500
  • Ashanti Harris- John C. Smith University- $5,000

The Galapagos Summer Teaching Fellowship is a paid opportunity for GRCS alum who are recent high school graduates and/or current college students to spend a summer internship teaching scholars in grades K-8.  Our Summer Teaching Fellows gain experience teaching in both small group and whole class environments, primarily to build reading, writing, and math skills.  

Why might I be interested in the Summer Teaching Fellowship?

  • You don’t yet know what you will do professionally, but you want to try teaching.  The Summer Teaching Fellowship gives you an opportunity to develop your understanding of teaching and learning to see if it might be the profession for you.
  • You want to do something with your summer that makes others’ lives better. Our scholars need targeted instruction and attention.   Without it, they could slip further behind in their achievement levels this summer.  Do you want to spend your time this summer doing something that will literally improve the lives of children?
  • It’s not okay with you that summer opportunities are not equitable.  Not all children have access to summer enrichment and academic programming.  Especially those who really need it.  If you are passionate about helping to close the achievement gap, this is the program for you.
  • You are already working toward a career in education and are eager to receive feedback and coaching to become the teacher your scholars deserve. In the Summer Teaching Fellows program you will receive ongoing training, daily observations, and frequent feedback to improve your craft and become the teacher your future scholars deserve.    Apply Here

Galapagos is excited to announce the second year of Project Passport trip to Spain.  Scholars will travel to Spain and spend a week, during spring break, in one of Spain’s most enchanting cities, Sevilla.   This Project Passport trip is open to all current GRCS 7th and 8th graders as well as all alumni currently in 9th or 10th grade.   On this journey, scholars will:

  • Participate in approximately 3 hours of Spanish language classes a day.  But, don’t worry, these classes are tailored to the scholars’ ability.   Scholars who do not speak Spanish will participate in GRCS only beginning Spanish classes.  Scholars who already speak Spanish will take classes that match their current language ability.
  • Explore the wonders of this city that was formed by Muslim, Jewish and Catholic culture and influence.   Highlights include the world-famous Cathedral, Alcazar as well as the largest bull plaza in the world.
  • Learn to cook Spanish dishes in a hand-on class.
  • Watch world class Flamenco dancers, guitar players and singers.
  • Eat wonderful Spanish cuisine.   And… so much more.     See more here.

The application period for 2024 is over.  Applications for 2025 will be available in September 2024.

Galapagos is excited to announce the second year of  Dinosaur Fossil Hunters.   GRCS, in partnership with the Burpee Museum, is offering this special adventure to 6th through 10th grade scholars and alum.  Scholars and alum (grades 6th-10th) will travel to Utah to work side by side with paleontologists to discover evidence of the magnificent animals that roamed the Earth before humans.  That’s right- we will be looking for dinosaur fossils.  This is a physically challenging trip.  Scholars will be working, hiking and exploring in the desert.   They will get dusty, dirty and tired but they may just discover the next dinosaur.   Scholars will camp out for at least one night with the other nights in a local hotel.   In addition to learning about dinosaurs and excavation techniques, scholars will also learn about the constellations in the desert night sky as well as discover the vibrant wildlife of the Utah desert.

This program will run in June  There will be a few workshop classes at the Burpee Museum before the excursion.   The price for this program is $200.  There are fundraising opportunities available.  The application period is now open for the summer of 2024.  

Apply Now

A complete COVID vaccination is required in order to attend this trip.