Grants Spotlight ’17 – ’18

New Trier Musicians Shine as Goodwill Ambassadors on Carnegie Hall Performance Tour

“Music is a language that is shared universally. These experiences outside of school help our students
to realize there are different ways of doing things. It takes them out of their comfort zone and
helps them to grow.” – Peter Rosheger, Music Faculty and Director of Orchestras


During the 2018 spring break, New Trier student musicians embarked on a tour that culminated with a matinee concert performance at New York City’s Carnegie Hall, one of the most celebrated performance halls in the world. The Concert Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and Symphony Orchestra were chaperoned by 14 faculty and staff. The two wind ensembles performed as one combined band under the name, Wind Symphony.

A total of 150 students went on tour which represents a very large cross section of both the band and orchestra programs, with nearly half of the students in both areas having participated. Since there is overlap between the band and orchestra members, this equated to a band of 80 students and an orchestra of 105 students for the Carnegie Hall performance. The tour included other cultural and educational experiences including visits to the Ground Zero Memorial, Museum of Modern Art and Rockefeller Center; a live performance of the Italian opera, Lucia di Lammermoor at the Met; and the Broadway musical Anastasia. The Foundation provided $10,000 funding support toward some of the travel expenses.


New Trier Students Help Volta Science Olympiad Teams
Prepare for Regional and State Tournaments

“Our main objective is to engage New Trier students in meaningful interactions with the Volta students while helping them develop valuable skills in engineering, science and lab. This is a great embodiment of all three facets of our school motto––to commit minds to inquiry, hearts to compassion, and lives to the service of humanity.”
– Don Wurth, Science Faculty

Seven New Trier High School volunteers––comprising seniors and faculty––traveled with the Volta Elementary School Science Olympiad varsity team to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign for this year’s state tournament on April 21. After several weeks helping the Volta students prepare for the competition’s 23 science and engineering events, the New Trier students celebrated the Volta team taking home three medals in Thermodynamics, Rotor Egg Drop and Hovercraft. The varsity team also finished in the top 10 in other events. This was their fourth straight year competing at the state level.

On March 10, the regional tournament took place at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Volta’s varsity team brought home 12 medals and finished third in the city. The junior varsity team took home 16 medals and finished in a tie for first place. The entire team also won the 2018 Spirit Award.

Funding from the Foundation in the amount of $2,000 helped to cover some of the costs for science equipment, building materials, supplies and bus transportation for Volta students to visit New Trier. “Thanks to Marianne Breen and the New Trier Educational Foundation for the generous grant that allowed us to provide the kids with the equipment and materials they needed for their events,” acknowledges Don Wurth, Science Olympiad Sponsor. “Be assured that your support translated into many smiles, hugs, fist pumps, and parent tears at the awards ceremony.”




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 2018-2019

Grants Spotlight 2017-2018

Grants Spotlight 2016-2017

Grants Spotlight 2015-2016