That fund-raising effort, which raised more than $2,000 — including $1,000 in a silent auction — was such a success that some faculty members wanted to do it again this year.
That’s how the junior high school’s Angel Fund was born.
The faculty’s second silent auction in January raised nearly $2,500 — this time for Old Orchard students who can use financial assistance.
“I think it’s terrific the way the staff has come together and the way everyone has responded to this,” said Principal Margaret Clauson. “So many people have given to this. It just says so much about the people here.”
Clauson is a member of the Angel Fund committee. The committee is represented by administrators, teachers, teachers aides, secretaries and others. Clauson modestly says she’s “just along for the ride” and credits others for spearheading the effort.
By all accounts, the idea sprung from Old Orchard Junior High School computer lab supervisor Carol Robb and special education teacher Katie Hills.
“We didn’t know what the response would be,” Robb said.
The funds raised from January’s auction will provide small “grants” for Old Orchard students who receive free and reduced lunches. Those students now will be able to pay for field trips, yearbooks and team uniforms.
The funds will also pay for breakfast bars to be made available at the school every day for students who do not eat breakfast.
“We now have a fund to support kids who may not be able to afford certain things,” said Clauson. “It’s amazing to see faculty and staff working together to organize something that goes above and beyond.”
Robb said the fund-raising effort is so special because of the response it has generated. Teachers for the silent auction donated services such as computer training and tennis lessons. One teacher made scarves for the auction. Almost everyone contributed in their own way, she said.
That includes the business community. Southwest Airlines donated round-trip airline tickets to any of its destinations.
Other business contributors included Eli’s Cheesecake, Panera Bread, Maggiano’s, Duxler Tire Center, Tommy Nevins Pub, Centre East, “Tony and Tina’s Wedding,” the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, A Gift of Memories, “Blue Man Group,” the Chicago Cubs, the Chicago White Sox, the Kane County Cougars and Starbucks.
“There was such a heartfelt response from everyone involved,” Robb said. “People really came through.”
It could be the first of many years for Old Orchard Junior High School’s Angel Fund, but Robb is not ready to make that prediction.
“If things don’t grow, they tend to die,” she said. “We’re really in our infancy stages. It’s a great, great start. I don’t know where we’ll go from here.”