NORMAL — On Saturday, where do you expect to find a bunch of hard-working high-schoolers?
At school, of course.
But the students Saturday were hard at work on fundraising, not academics.
At Normal Community West High School, it was for band trips; at Bloomington High School, the goal was funding the after-prom.
Megan O’Dea, a Normal West senior sporting a Santa’s elf costume, handed out candy canes when children visited Santa at one of the new booths at the Normal West bands’ Fall Craft Show. P.J. Wolfe, a Hudson freshman who plays the trombone, was the Santa photographer. Chosen, he said, because “I was the first elf here.”
Jacob Germak of Bloomington, a junior who played Christmas songs for shoppers on his tuba, said he and other members of the Normal West Wind Ensemble wouldn’t get much rest before leaving Saturday night for the Large Unit District Association of school boards’ convention in Chicago today.
The 14th annual bands’ Craft Show was the biggest yet, with 130 entries from three states, said Jody Norton, who organized the craft show, the largest annual fundraiser for bands at the school.
This fall’s weather-delayed harvest caused several crafters to cancel at the last minute, but Norton was able to replace them, and the school was packed with wood carvings, fabrics, jewelry, candles and seasonal items.
Across town at the Bloomington High School Holiday Shopping Showcase, purses, jewelry, candles, cosmetics, baked goods and Purple Raider spirit wear were on sale. The annual craft show was held earlier this month.
This event is one of many meant to raise between $13,000 and $14,000 for the school’s after-prom event in May.
“I’m just here to help out,” said Arin Calamari, vice president of the Bloomington High School junior class.
Calamari is looking forward to the after-prom event, themed “Hollywood,” and has already started thinking about what she will wear. “I started looking online a little bit,” she said.
“This is the first year we tried this,” said Tami O’Daniel, chairwoman for the showcase, a parent and a member of the after-prom committee. It was added to several other traditional fund-raising activities.
“The after-prom event is meant to provide a safe environment for students without drugs and alcohol and other things sometimes associated with proms,” she said.
It will include food, a mechanical bull, bounce houses, and rock band video games — enough fun things to make students want to come, she said.
It also will be “well-chaperoned” by parents, she added.