Signature Programs

Guest lecturer programs

Leading academics and experts speak at Overlake each year, enriching learning for students, their families and the broader community. Our two main programs are:

Distinguished Lecturer

Distinguished Lecturers are encouraged to talk about an aspect of their work that they want to share with the lay public in an evening lecture open to all. Our most recent Distinguished Lecturers have been Stanford particle physicist Helen Quinn who talked about "Falling Apples, Bending Light Rays, Whirling Galaxies—How Resolving The Puzzles Of Gravity Has Taught Us About Our Universe And Its Laws,” and education expert Alfie Kohn, who spoke on “Unconditional Parenting: Beyond Bribes and Threats”.

Writers' Symposium

The Writers' Symposium brings a well-known writer to Overlake in the spring to spend a day talking with and working with students on writing and the writing process. The writers also present an evening lecture open to the public. Recent guest writers have included author and Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times writer Timothy Egan, and novelists Tim O'Brien and John Edgar Wideman. In 2010 we welcomed nationally-acclaimed local author Stephanie Kallos, who recently published her second well-received novel.

We also periodically host additional authors and lecturers. Last year we were honored to host Pulitzer prize-winning New York Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof in a public lecture.

Student Programs

Project Week

Project Week is a very special week at Overlake. Teachers propose an activity, from sewing or cooking to canoeing a backcountry river or building a wooden boat, to traveling to Italy or France or performing global service in Cambodia or Uruguay. Students choose from among them, and all spend a week (sometimes two) in spring participating in these activities that are so different from the regular classroom. Project Week is an important, required part of the curriculum.

Senior Projects

Seniors finish their regular school year in mid-May when they leave the campus for several weeks to participate in a Senior Project they have developed. It may be in-depth study of a subject they choose, or an internship. They present their projects publicly during the last week of school, and must pass in order to graduate. Recent projects have included painting the mascot on the gym wall, studying paleontology at a fossil site and interning at an arts center and a systems biology institute.  View the Senior Projects FAQ.