Grants Spotlight ’17 – ’18

Chicago Venue Game Changer for New Trier Dancers

“Support from the Foundation made it possible for our dance students to raise the bar for their own educational experience in a new professional environment.”
– Johannah Wininsky, Dance Faculty


Sixteen New Trier senior advanced dancers had the unique experience this past June to perform in the Dance Lab 2 Showcase at the iconic Ruth Page Center for the Arts, an urban dance space in Chicago. Performing in this professional space afforded these students an opportunity to deepen their understanding of dance as an art form, explore their ideas more fully, as well as expose their more sophisticated dance works to a larger audience. In total, including community members, there were 130 in attendance.

During three months of rehearsal, Dance Lab 2 students created and developed original duets and trios presented in the Dance Divisions’ Studio Theater. While this quaint space is special and cherished by the students, it offers minimal lighting and limited audience space. The Educational Foundation provided $2,275 funding support to pay for the rental of the larger theater, a professional lighting designer, costumes, photography and poster design.

“Due in part to the success of this project, my Dance Lab class has doubled in size this year,” says Dance Faculty Johannah Wininsky. “I have been teaching Dance Lab 2 for nine years and my current class of 28 students is the largest to date.”

When proposing this project to her students at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, Wininsky was concerned that they would be hesitant to commit themselves due to the fact that the performance was scheduled a week after graduation. She required them to attend weekly rehearsals at New Trier after their last day of high school as well as attend the first technical rehearsal at Ruth Page the day after their graduation. They needed to discuss the requirements with their parents and, in some cases, alter their work schedules to meet these requirements before signing a contractual agreement. “Their responses were extremely positive and all 16 students met and exceeded my expectations,” according to Wininsky. Parents were very supportive of this project. Some even changed vacation plans so their daughters could participate in this performing experience.

“The feedback I received from students, parents, and colleagues after the performance was overwhelmingly positive and encouraging,” says Wininsky. “This proved that the initial need I saw for this performance was respected, supported, and important to the growth of my students as young artists and creative thinkers.” It also acted as a wonderful farewell event, sending the students on their way with a feeling of accomplishment and pride as well as a strong sense of community.

Recently, Wininsky applied for a second grant from the Foundation in December for a like opportunity in spring 2018. She was awarded the grant to showcase Dance Lab 2 students in another unique performance space at the Vittum Theatre, 1012 N. Noble St., Chicago. Watch for an email from the Foundation for ticket information to this upcoming performance on June 8, 2018, 7:30 p.m.

Postcard design by Evan Ricaurte ’15. Photography by Emily Jung ’17.



State-of-the-Art Strength Training

“Having access to this modern equipment will give students an edge physically and mentally in school, in their own personal fitness and as athletes on the playing field.”
– Dave Earnest, Kinetic Wellness Faculty


Daily use of the Northfield Campus Wellness Room continues to be in high demand. At any point in time, Kinetic Wellness (KW) classes, athletic teams, or outside groups like personal fitness groups and summer school programs utilize the facility. As such, the strength training equipment needed updating.

The KW and Athletic Departments sought funding support from both the New Trier Booster Club and the New Trier Educational Foundation. The Booster Club provided funding for new power racks. And, the Foundation contributed $4,927 to secure two additional 45 lb. Olympic lifting bars, 10 additional 45 lb. weighted bumper plates and 10 additional 25 lb. weighted bumper plates to complete the setup for nine brand new power racks.

“It’s a total transformation,” says Dave Earnest, Kinetic Wellness Faculty. “We can schedule more fall or spring athletes from two or three sports programs to be working out at the same time.” He estimates that about 1,000 freshman students will have access to the equipment and over 2,000 total student athletes will be able use the facility during the summer and throughout the sports season. Finally, over 50 community members including adults and seniors will be able to utilize the equipment through the New Trier Extension Programs.

According to Earnest, this project relates to the school’s plan to improve KW students’ health experiences, improve overall student athlete performance and the health of community members who utilize the new space.

Hillary Cox ’21 (left) and Ryan Kaestle ’21 demonstrate proper strength training positions



Learning from NYC Jazz Legends

“The focus of this trip was for our students to learn from some amazing artists and educators in a setting that’s rarely available to high school students.” – Nic Meyer, Director of Jazz Ensembles


New Trier students in Jazz Ensemble 1 traveled to New York City in Spring 2017 for a week of musical immersion in its unparalleled jazz scene. Our students had the rare opportunity to interact with members of the Grammy-winning Vanguard Jazz Orchestra (VJO). Widely regarded as one of the most important jazz ensembles in the history of American music, they have been in residence every Monday night for the past 50 years at the Village Vanguard located in Greenwich Village.

The two-hour clinic and performance session was the highlight of the trip where our students worked closely with VJO members to learn the jazz orchestra’s music in depth and get one-on-one feedback. The Educational Foundation provided $2,000 funding support to compensate the VJO for its time and to rent the venue.

The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, based in New York City, is a 16-piece jazz orchestra founded in 1966 by Thad Jones, who composed and arranged for the Count Basie Orchestra, and drummer Mel Lewis, who toured with veteran big band leader Benny Goodman. Click here to read more about the VJO’s history.

Several of music history’s most important jazz composers have been composers‐in‐residence for the VJO. In the span of a school year, New Trier’s jazz program routinely performs three or more of their compositions. Students in Jazz Ensemble 1 study the recordings of VJO, work to understand the musical decisions of the individuals in the ensemble, and endeavor to capture the essence of their unique ensemble sound.

Our students also had the opportunity to meet and collaborate with New Trier alumni, performing to a capacity crowd for the New Trier Jazz Showcase at the Greenwich House. Alumni musicians included pianist Shane Simpson ’11, drummer Ethan Kogan ’09, saxophonist Daniel Berkey ’13 and saxophonist Andrew Hadrow ’01 now living and working in New York.

New Trier Jazz Ensemble students working closely with members of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra to learn the VJO’s music in depth


Read more impact stories:

Grants Spotlight 2016-2017

Grants Spotlight 2015-2016