New Trier Winter Carnival raises cash for Habitat for Humanity
(Left to right) New Trier seniors Kevin Bode, Eli Gitelman and Raj Patel try to block a soccer ball launched at them during the school's winter carnival March 1, 2013. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 8, 2013 6:07AM
WINNETKA — While warm nights are months away there was plenty of summer fun to be had inside the “big top” of New Trier High School for the senior class’ 19th annual Winter Carnival.
The class of 2013 opened their doors and welcomed the New Trier community to campus March 1 to help raise funds for Habitat for Humanity and to build a home for an area family.
As part of the seniors’ goal to raise $100,000 this year, the students came up with carnival games, activities and decorated the school to provide a night of entertainment for many young, and possibly future, New Trier students.
Senior Eliza Weaver and several of her classmates ran a face painting booth out of one of the classrooms and practiced their skills on each other in preparation for the event.
“We have stencils that we’re going to be using and we’ll paint our faces to wear all day around school to show support,” Weaver said. “I’ve been (to the carnival) a bunch of times when I was really little. It’s definitely cool to be behind the scenes in the planning process.”
Students enjoyed a taste test of pizza before deciding on a provider and assisted their advisers in inflating hundreds of balloons before the carnival. Families in attendance were able to enjoy cotton candy, nail painting, raffles, games and inflatable activities inside New Trier’s gym and hallways.
The event was put into perspective when students were able to meet the family they will be assisting through Habitat for Humanity at a December assembly. A single mother of two children will be receiving a home in Waukegan thanks to the fundraising provided by New Trier’s seniors.
“It was very inspiring to meet the family,” senior John Friesen said. “Everyone started cheering. It was very inspiring to hear their story and it was important to know who we’re building the home for.”
If all goes well the family is expected to move into a completed home within a few months. New Trier students even take trips to the work site to lend a hand with the construction.
“It was really significant that we establish a personal relationship with them,” Weaver said. “The family is coming to the carnival and it really makes the project a lot more personal.”
Throughout the year seniors have worked on a variety of fundraising activities, including bringing a hypnotist to campus, selling coupon books and an upcoming silent auction, but the Winter Carnival is their largest event and could bring in as much as $30,000.
“The kids are all involved in trying to reach their goal,” said advisor Chris Pearson. “(The carnival) is really rooted and grounded in the community, but the stars of the night are our seniors.”