‘Tis the season to lend a hand

Katie Fitzpatrick, Features Editor

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Preschoolers show off their paper plate snowmen on Dec. 7. They made these crafts as part of the ongoing celebration of different elements of the holiday season, just one of the ways many groups at Glenbrook North use their talents to spread holiday cheer. Photo by Chloe Carroll.

Some of the most spirited students found in the halls do not attend Glenbrook North. The littlest people in the building, members of the GBN, celebrate each holiday that comes their way with enthusiasm under the guidance of preschool teacher Jennifer Kozuch.

According to Kozuch, the preschoolers will be participating in this upcoming holiday season by singing at the Holiday Tea, a yearly celebration for teachers, before attending a holiday party recognizing winter holidays including Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.

“We are trying to get the little preschoolers to open up [to the idea] that everyone is different, and it’s okay to be different,” Kozuch said. Groups like Interact Club, Key Club and Tri-M are also celebrating the holidays in their own ways. 

Senior Brandon Joffe said Interact Club recently coordinated a school-wide coat drive through Rotary that will donate coats to the less fortunate.

“Chicago has a really harsh winter, and most people in this area are pretty fortunate, so if they could just give, like, an extra coat they don’t use anymore, it could benefit someone else,” Joffe said.

Kozuch, who is also the sponsor for Interact Club, said the club will be going on a shopping trip of its own to purchase coats, hats, scarves and gloves using proceeds gained from previous fundraising experiences.

Key Club, like Interact Club, is sponsoring collections through both a gift drive and a book drive.

Key Club co-sponsor Bridget Bucklin said the club provides an opportunity for various families, sports teams and clubs in the community to donate gifts through an organization called Youth Services to people who need them. Last year, Key Club helped coordinate the distribution of presents to 12 different families.

“The holidays can be a really tough time for a lot of people [who] are not financially secure, people who do not have their basic needs met like food and shelter, people [who] are struggling with their health or maybe lacking that family support,” said Bucklin. “It’s really nice to have a community that can really support some of those things and make people feel loved and cared about at a time when it can be overwhelmingly lonely for a lot of people.”

Key Club co-sponsor Tamara West said the club will also be collecting books through December with the intent of having members go to elementary schools and read with students to establish a connection with the children while gifting them with books. All GBN students are invited to donate books in Students Services at the desks of either West or Bucklin.

In Tri-M, members are celebrating the holidays this year by using their musical talents.

According to Band Director Andrew Zweibel, sponsor of Tri-M, the school gets phone calls from places throughout the community every year requesting performances.

“Tri-M is pretty heavily involved with [those events], and the students will go out and perform at retirement homes or churches or wherever there may be need for music around the holiday time,” Zweibel said.

According to Zweibel, one of the places they perform at is the retirement community behind Techny Towers.

“[There] are these old retired monks who lived and worshipped in Tibet and all these crazy places, and once they became too old to fulfill their duties, they [retire] here,” Zweibel said.

Senior Mollie Solomon, president of Tri-M, said she recalls playing at a church last year with her brass quintet and thinking it was a worthwhile experience.

“I think it’s important to get music involved just within the community, and I think it brings people together, especially during the holidays,” Solomon said.

According to Zweibel, music plays a significant role in the holiday season.

“You think about the Christmas carols that you hear or the music you hear in the background when the family’s all together, and it just has a really special place, especially during the holiday time,” Zweibel said.

Kozuch said she thinks everyone should be celebrating something every day, even something as seemingly ordinary and dull as going to school.

“[Celebrating] never gets old,” said Kozuch. “No matter how old you get, it never gets old.”

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‘Tis the season to lend a hand