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Building characterNCHS Students Build Playhouses for Charity

October 9, 2008

By Phyllis Coulter

NORMAL – During homecoming season, schools traditionally celebrate achievements of current students, give a nod to former ones, and reach out to the community.

Normal Community High School is doing all that and more.

Last year, the school revived its tradition of holding a homecoming parade. This year, students built children’s playhouses instead of floats and they’ll be auctioned after the parade. Proceeds will go to community causes.

The five playhouses honor a classmate who died recently, encourage a student battling cancer, and help boys and girls and the hungry.

“Our sophomore class chose the St. Louis Children’s Hospital for our charity in memory of our classmate, Kirbie Brittain, who passed away last month,” said sophomore Sarah Ready. “She (Kirbie) was thrilled to receive her new heart from the hospital 1{ years ago. Kirbie lived her life to the fullest without ever asking, Why me?’

“She was a great friend and an inspiration to everyone,” Ready added.

The student council playhouse was inspired by senior Rachel Vincent, who has cancer.

“I’ve gone to school with her since kindergarten,” said council president Brittany McLean. Both girls attended Northpoint and Grove elementary schools and Chiddix Junior High School.

Friends have followed Vincent’s progress and left encouraging notes through www.caringbridge.org. The playhouse proceeds will go to the Web site, where Vincent has received more than 22,000 visits from family and friends in one year. The site includes her story, photos, a journal, and a spot for friends and family to offer thoughts and encouragement.

McLean also likes that resources won’t be wasted. “We built a float with hours of work, then took it down and threw things away,” she said of her junior year. She likes the concept of being more environmentally friendly and helping others at the same time.

“The money is going to a great cause, obviously, and we’re proud to be part of something new added to our homecoming festivities,” said Karrin Hawkins, guidance counselor and junior class sponsor whose group is raising money for The Baby Fold,

“It was one of the first things we got to do together,” said freshman class sponsor Malea Masley, a physical education teacher. She said the project for The Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington Normal helped everyone get to know each other better, including parents.

“They could hardly keep the adults from doing stuff,” joked Bob Thompson, whose family supplied the garage for the student council to build its little red school house.

His son, senior Dave Thompson, 17, was construction foreman.

He said the project took about four hours to build and another two hours to paint and decorate.

“Last year, we just held a sign,” he said, pleased with the effort this time.

Last year’s student council sponsor, math teacher Nika Ball, suggested the playhouse idea, said current council sponsor Jennifer Coopersmith. Ball is away from school awaiting the birth of twins.

The cedar playhouses are about four feet wide and six feet tall; they were purchased for $250 to $300 each with money earned through fundraising. Online bids will be taken at www.unit5.org/nchs through mid-evening on Friday.

———————————————————FYI

The class, theme and charity of the five playhouses:

Freshmen: Autumn; Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal.

Sophomores: Mickey and Friends; St. Louis Children’s Hospital in memory of Kirbie Brittain.

Juniors: The Wizard of Oz; The Baby Fold.

Seniors: Harry Potter; Midwest Food Bank.

Student council: Little Red School House; Caring Bridge Web site in honor of Rachel Vincent

Where: The playhouses double as parade floats and will be displayed near the football field. The parade starts at NCHS, 3900 E. Raab Road, Normal, at 2:30 p.m. Friday. Photos are at www.pantagraph.com and www.unit5.org/nchs.

What else: Online auction at www.unit5.org/nchs ends at halftime of the football game Friday against Decatur MacArthur. The game starts at 7 p.m.

How much: Bids start at $100 and increase in $25 increments. Winners will be announced after the third quarter of the game.

and www.unit5.org/nchs.

What else: Online auction at www.unit5.org/nchs ends at halftime of the football game Friday against Decatur MacArthur. The game starts at 7 p.m.

How much: Bids start at $100 and increase in $25 increments. Winners will be announced after the third quarter of the game.

(c) 2008 Pantagraph. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.




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