This year marks the 22nd anniversary of The Desmond Project, a unique partnership program that connects Great Valley High School students with The Desmond Hotel. Acknowledged as the only program in the nation to offer high school students an advanced working relationship with a local business, The Desmond Project exposes students to real-life learning experiences in a hands-on business application. Approximately 1,300 Great Valley students have participated in the Desmond Project since its inception. Students have collectively raised approximately $300,000 for scholarships and various charities, and have successfully hosted both the annual Senior Citizens’ Luncheon and the annual Student Achievers’ Banquet. A winner of various awards, The Desmond Project was most recently recognized by The Youth Mentoring Partnership (YMP) for its multilevel mentorship approach, and by the Main Line Chamber of Commerce for philanthropic work in the community.
For the past 22 years, The Desmond Project’s mission has been to provide students with educational experiences that help them make real world connections and develop the soft skills needed for success after graduation. This elective, accredited course teams the teachers and students at Great Valley High School with professionals from The Desmond Hotel in a hands-on learning experience. Students learn to work as a team to accomplish goals, identify prospects and challenges, synthesize risks and opportunities, and formulate solutions and business plans
The Desmond Project includes two keystone projects every year: the Senior Citizens’ luncheon and the Student Achievers’ Banquet. Both events are entirely planned and hosted by students in The Desmond Project. Students are interviewed and subsequently assigned to various job titles (i.e.: fundraising, catering, publicity, general manager, etc.) and work with professionals from The Desmond Hotel to raise funds and deliver each event.
In addition to the annual keystone projects, students in The Desmond Project plan and participate in a number of school and community events throughout the year. These events raise awareness and funds for The Project and often benefit other community organizations.
Great Valley School District is located in Chester County, approximately 25 miles west of Philadelphia. Great Valley High School has approximately 1,200 students in grades 9 through 12. There are approximately 80 students enrolled in The Desmond Project for the 2015-2016 school year.