What Turns on that Lightbulb in your head?

Collaborative Laboratories: Questions in Action

In a 2-week immersive experience, students have focused time to explore a personal question or area of exploration. This can take any number of forms: travel, art, music, science, culture, sociology, policy, or something completely uncharted. With faculty support, the personal exploration of their chosen subject coupled with the collaboration with peers becomes a pursuit of knowledge that students hold onto throughout their adult lives.


A Showcase of Excellence

Upon completing their ColLAB, students present to each other and faculty. Crowning moments in the school year, the ColLAB Symposiums are like science fairs with actionable knowledge. Students, faculty, and visitors alike all walk away with the knowledge to do something for themselves and/or their communities.

Interdisciplinary, Immersive, and Innovative

ColLABS can take the shape of a field immersive (typically involving foreign travel), an independent project, or an internship. The guiding theme is for a student to find something that piques their interest and to really dive into it. At the end of the ColLAB, students have typically created something from scratch that has real-world application.

  • Sports Psychology
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Science and Culture of Food
  • Startup! Transforming a Pastime Hobby into a Future Business
  • Introduction to Digital Filmmaking
  • Nicaragua Field Immersive: Global Sustainability and Service​­
  • Philippines Field Immersive: Post-­Post-­Disaster Relief
  • France Field Immersive: Language and Cultural Immersion​­
  • Haiti Field Immersive: Medical Service and Haitian Culture​­

Project Profile: Philippines Post-Post-Disaster Relief

In 2013, Typhoon Yolanda devastated the Philippine Islands. Over 6,000 people lost their lives in the country, and many cities were destroyed. In the aftermath of the typhoon, numerous NGOs and nonprofits worked to improve conditions in the country. The focus of this ColLAB is after the aftermath-- what happens when these organizations vacate the Philippines, depriving the nation of the necessary resources and manpower to truly make a lasting difference?

Exploration Borne From Passion

  1. Self-motivated learning: We believe that when students direct their learning toward areas of interest, their education has meaning and purpose. As a result, our students become invested, motivated, and engaged young leaders.
  2. Can-do attitudes: The confidence and skills gained from ColLABS carry over into many other facets of their lives, from the classroom to the playing field, stage, dormitory, and beyond. Students not only have a clearer sense of what leadership entails, they fully embrace leadership roles.
  3. Beyond the school halls: Students begin to explore explore future college majors and possible careers, start developing professional networks, and connect with mentors who live and work beyond the halls of The Winchendon School.
  4. Fully immersive: The ColLAB terms occur twice during the academic year, with a preparation period each week prior to the ColLAB terms. Each project is for that time period a student’s sole academic focus, allowing a student or team of students to get off campus and into the field and to have the full day to set up appointments, meetings, and working sessions.
  5. A large real-world knowledge share: Each ColLAB period culminates in our Symposium where students share and celebrate their work publicly with the greater community. The experiences of each student are displayed, and each student has the opportunity to share their valuable real-world lessons.
  6. Mix and match:  A student can choose a ColLABorative Project for the winter term, and an Internship in the spring. Or, a student can develop and apply to pursue a single interconnected project throughout the year. In other words, the student can mix and match any number of variations to fit his or her interests and goals.