Stories of Impact

Student Takes On Life-Changing Project for His Young Client

New Trier senior Luka Schulmeyer ’22 is building a prosthetic upper limb device for a 5-yr old boy as part of a project with Applied Arts Faculty Chip Finck. The boy’s dad reached out to Mr. Finck through e-NABLE, an online global community of “Digital Humanitarian” volunteers who use 3D printing to make free and low-cost devices for children and adults in need.

Luka, who began this project in his junior year, met with the client and his dad to test two prototypes and gather feedback for the next design iteration.

The Foundation is proud to have provided funding for the acquisition of 3D printing and scanning equipment that enables students in applied arts and engineering to lead projects that, according to Mr. Finck, provide meaningful learning experiences for our students and transform the lives they serve.






3D Prototyping Gives New Trier Students Limitless Possibilities for Learning

This past school year has truly been an unprecedented time for New Trier with the global pandemic forcing everyone in the community into uncharted circumstances. Students, teachers, parents, staff, and support partners — we all found ourselves problem solving together on many levels and in unexpected ways.

This is precisely the kind of opportunity that creates unique learning experiences for New Trier students, according to Applied Arts Department Chair Jason Boumstein and Technology Education Faculty Alex Howe. The Foundation has been providing funding support for the department to acquire equipment and materials to be used by students in architecture, woodshed and engineering classes, plus in extracurriculars such as Science Olympiad and Robotics.

“The Foundation has really contributed to a lot of what we do on a daily basis to create curiosity in our students,” says Boumstein. “Having a 3D printer, one that could print in mass volume, and a 3D scanner to enable our students to do research, design and translate that into an actual project has been so beneficial.” Access to this technology gives students the opportunity to create a tangible product from their imagination, test it, rethink its design, get feedback, and cycle through the same process as needed.

“This level of prototyping is what students will see currently being used in the industry,” points out Boumstein. “It gives them a leg up and a chance to learn how to prepare themselves for what’s expected out in the field.”

When the lockdown happened due to the coronavirus, the department saw this as an opportunity to use the same equipment for the greater good. With funding support from the Foundation to purchase the necessary materials, the Applied Arts staff produced more than 600 face shields for the North Shore HealthSystem, all fully assembled.

Applied Arts Students Customize Electric Toy Cars for Kids with Spina Bifida

Representatives from the Illinois Spina Bifida Association and Devices 4 the Disabled met with New Trier High School Applied Arts faculty and students who did the finishing touches to customize Power Wheel toy electric cars for six children with spina bifida.

The day was all about serving children with mobility deficits and their families while training our students to be creative thinkers and builders. They’re learning to innovate at a faster rate to meet the demand for devices that can help the children to achieve time sensitive developmental milestones through movement and exploration.

With funding from the Foundation’s 203 Grants program, Applied Arts students are doing this project in the Intro to Engineering Design classes in partnership with the University of Delaware’s Go Baby Go program empowering children through independent mobility.














WNTH Spring Banquet

Thanks to all who attended the inaugural WNTH Spring Banquet at the Winnetka campus!

Our students delivered a stellar presentation and led a conversation with alumni who had a great time sharing memories and pointing out how their experience at the radio station set them on a path to become successful in their careers. They were thrilled to see how WNTH rivals some of the best college stations in the country. The highlight of the evening was when Student General Manager Juliette Rechtin received the first ever Kelly McCullough '78 WNTH Scholarship from Mr. McCullough himself.

The Foundation has been supporting WNTH through the 203 Grants program and now through this new scholarship opportunity.



New Trier Students Create Over 20 Podcasts, and Counting

Funding from NTEF for recording kits has been a catalyst for students to create more podcasts to reflect the diversity in student voices.

When New Trier shifted to remote and hybrid learning during the 2020-2021 school year, the New Trier Educational Foundation (NTEF) saw the need for an emergency 203 Grants cycle to ensure that students can continue having the best possible learning experience while staying safe and dealing with uncertainty.

The Foundation provided funding for New Trier's WNTH Radio 88.1 FM and the Radio Club to equip students with mobile recording kits for producing podcasts, talk shows, and music radio shows remotely from home. The mic kits provided not only continuity for the students to create content, but also opportunity to produce new podcasts.

"The technology just makes the process easier and the overall quality better," says Jim Syrek, Radio Club Sponsor. "We used to rely on one recording set up in a room next to the radio station. Even if we were fully back in person, this one room would not be enough. This investment addresses that limitation and is a game changer."

"One of the most beneficial elements of being able to provide the mic kits to students is that they were able to have a voice at a time when students were feeling isolated," adds Syrek. "This technology also serves us well by allowing the club membership to grow and the community to have even more radio content to engage with."

Media Faculty John O'Connor has been amazed by how passionate many of his students have become about podcasting and live sports broadcasting after a few months in class. Two of his freshman students, Caden Greco and Ben Glick, co-host The Ben and Caden show ( featuring sports industry interviews, themed discussions, and random talks.

Days after interviewing Jon "Boog" Sciambi, the Cubs play-by-play announcer, they were at a Cubs vs. Brewers game and the tv camera focused on the two boys — Caden, a Cubs fan, and Ben, a Brewers fan — sitting next to each other wearing rivaling jerseys. Sciambi: "Shout out to the young podcasters…two buddies hanging out together at the ballpark."

The curriculum puts a strong emphasis on developing better storytelling skills, according to O'Connor. This was manifested when Daniel Stein, a sophomore in Syrek's class, became the first student to win first place in the Broadcast News category for New Trier since it was introduced by the Illinois High School Association Journalism Competition in 2012. He took first in both the state sectionals and the state finals this year beating out 19 other finalists.

On the music end, the Radio Club is evolving the WNTH brand to emulate a college station by playing and promoting a lot of emerging bands and artists. WNTH is now a part of the college station community in reporting weekly songs to their charts and has other enhancements in the works.

When WNTH went on the air for the first time on December 10, 1960, it was one of the first high school radio stations in the country. Today, the "Voice of New Trier" showcases various programming ranging from "college-esque" emerging music to live sports and podcasts via their website and Spotify page. The station is completely run by students under the supervision of a few faculty members. Each year, a new group of students is selected to take charge of the station.

"Back in the day, students and the community were more involved in participating and supporting the station," says Syrek. "My aim is to restore those bonds."

You can listen to WNTH summer programming 24/7 at; Instagram @wnth88.1, @wnthsports, @nthsbroadcastjournalism; or Twitter @NTHSMEDIA_WNTH.

New Trier Wind Ensemble Welcomes Composer Omar Thomas

"Through the study of Omar Thomas’s piece, "Of Our New Day Begun," students will be able to consider the role of diversity in their lives and explore how they can become a positive change agent in society."

— Matt Temple, Music and Theatre Faculty

The New Trier High School Symphonic Wind Ensemble and music faculty Matt Temple welcomed Omar Thomas to the Northfield Campus in March for an interactive learning session, funded by the Educational Foundation. In addition to the music clinic, students engaged in a five-part lesson, focusing on how they can be positive agents of change.

Thomas is a world-renowned composer, arranger and educator who wrote "Of Our New Day Begun" (performed here) to honor the nine victims who lost their lives to gun violence while worshipping in the Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina in the evening of June 17, 2015.

"It was a horrible act of terrorism," Thomas points out. " And it’s important to do what we can within whatever roles we play in our lives to make sure this doesn’t happen again."

When asked what he hopes to impart to the students, Thomas replies, "I want them to know that every note and idea in this piece is intentional. It comes from the Black American experience, and by playing the music they are carrying on the tradition that has been well-known and ingrained and precious to so many people for so many centuries."

A few of our students in the ensemble also shared their experience learning from Thomas:

Yael Shaw ’20 – Piccolo
I was truly so impressed by Mr. Thomas's grit and perseverance.  It seemed as though every time he performed or heard the piece, he evoked the same strong, passionate response.  It was truly incredible to see that live.  It made me feel as though I was effecting change, simply by playing notes written on a page.  I have no clue how he wrote such powerful music in such a short period of time. That definitely stood out to me in our conversation!  But what stuck with me most from our discussion was that each part of the music shared a deep meaning.  Specifically, I felt a responsibility at 66 to convey the message he wanted.  The chaos, the sirens.  It gave my part accountability, and solidified my solidarity with the community.  I'd say this has been one of my favorite band pieces in all four years of high school, and definitely one of the most important. So, thank you!

Jenna Oshana ’21 – Bass Clarinet
I learned a lot of new things about all of the intent behind writing that piece. For me, it is the second best piece I have ever played in band and even though I loved the piece before hearing him talk, I had a newer appreciation for it afterwards. I wasn’t oblivious to the meaning behind the song but hearing an artist talk passionately about their work is something I find to be very inspiring. To hear all of the thought he put into it, incorporating jazz, R&B, church hymns, why specific instruments got specific melodies, etc., allowed me to focus on different parts I had never noticed before. Despite playing the piece many times prior to that evening, I was able to hear specific lines and visualize the story he was trying to tell in that section of the piece. Something that surprised me was how he composed such a dense piece of music in such little time. I really enjoyed being able to hear him talk and I’m sad we had to cancel the concert but I am happy we were able to play it with him one more time. That was an awesome experience.

Ava Naghshineh ’21 – French Horn
As I was sitting and listening to Mr. Thomas’s responses to questions and his overall development and motivation about the piece, I stood more and more in awe of such a process and the effort and insight it took to create this song. Everything he did was so deliberate, and I could only hope that by playing the song I would be able to portray that deliberateness in his music. From repeated motifs to the ascending levels of chaos present in the score, the music moved me, and that’s not something I say often about band music. I could feel the hurt and the raw emotion as well as the hopeful note of change. I really felt that this song resonated so powerfully within all of us, and by having Mr. Thomas conduct, we could channel all our hard work into a performance so great and so impactful. Mr. Thomas’s work with us was very valuable. It taught me that we should share our experiences through whatever medium we can, whether music or storytelling, both of which he was able to meld together to create this song.

New Trier Swing Choir Opens for the 2019 NYC Jazz Festival

“Having this experience early in the spring gave them the opportunity to use what they learned to grow as individual artists and as an ensemble in the time they had until the end of the school year.”

– Nathan Landes, New Trier Swing Choir Director

New Trier’s vocal jazz ensemble travels to jazz festivals occasionally to perform with other groups, learn from educators in the field, and experience the local jazz culture. Having accepted an invitation to perform at the 2019 New York City Jazz Festival, music faculty Nathan Landes traveled with juniors and seniors in Swing Choir to NYC in the spring.

The trip’s highlight was a clinic session with Jennifer Barnes, Associate Professor of Vocal Jazz at the University of North Texas (UNT) and a highly sought-after vocalist, educator, and arranger throughout the U.S. and Canada. “She opened our eyes to look at the music in new ways and to get more nuance from different areas of our music,” Landes points out. “Students learned a lot in terms of the choices they can make to take the music and performance to a whole new level.”

“What was most rewarding for me was to see the students become inspired about this to the point of raising their performance level and having fun with it while doing an outstanding job,” recalls Landes. “I’m grateful to the Foundation for helping to make this trip happen for the students.”

Identity Project Adapts to Students' Changing Needs

As a community, New Trier students had the opportunity to use new methods for reflecting on their individual identities and how they impact their surrounding campus environment.

To better align with the SEL and Equity components of the New Trier 2030 Strategic Plan, facilitators revised the quarterly themes and essential questions to explore how we can use language to respectfully talk about topics related to identity and empathy while treating ourselves and others with compassion.

Through the Foundation’s Marran Grants program, the District was able to staff IP at the level necessary to continue enhancing the program for our freshmen students year-round.

Training Students in QPR is About Kids Taking Care of Kids

Having supported training for teachers in QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) suicide awareness and prevention, the Foundation’s 203 Grants funding also expanded the curriculum to provide students with a set of skills that would help them intervene with their peers.

According to Kate Goodman, NT Kinetic Wellness Faculty, it’s important for a student to be able to recognize the signs of suicide and know when a friend is asking for help. By asking the questions and opening up the dialog to get the help that a friend needs, students begin to feel empowered.

New Trier Business Education teachers, in partnership with the Foundation, have brought INCubatoredu to the classroom to provide students with real world entrepreneurship experience. INCubatoredu — a nationally recognized program that provides a specialized curriculum to hundreds of member schools in over a dozen states — provides online instructional materials, consultation on how the classroom is designed, a coaching and mentoring framework, and professional development resources for teachers and volunteers.

In this year-long course, students have the opportunity to fully develop their product or service. Business experts from the community serve as volunteer coaches and mentors guiding student teams through the processes. At the end of the school year, each team presents at Pitch Night to a group of local entrepreneurs and business leaders mimicking ABC’s popular business pitch show, “Shark Tank.”

Recreational Equipment Boosts Participation in Community Activities for All Students


The New Trier Transition Services program moved into a new space in Glencoe with the goal to support student growth in independence, life, and vocational skills.

One area of focus for the program is participation in recreation, fitness, and leisure activities held inside and outside the center such as driving ranges, tennis courts, and local parks within the community.

The program received a Marran Grant from the Foundation for custom yoga mats and other recreational equipment to enhance fitness activities that support the students’ health and well-being.


From Classroom to Storefront: Transition Program’s T-shirt Printing Builds Up to One Stop Trev Shop

Established in April 2021, the One Stop Trev Shop is a collaboration between NT staff members and students to provide real world learning opportunities while offering school spirit merchandise to the wider NT community.

The One Stop Trev Shop helps students develop employability and entrepreneurial skills through product design, social media marketing opportunities, day to day retail operations and classroom collaborations, and also provides retail space for student-owned small businesses.

The Foundation is proud to be a longtime supporter of the New Trier Transition Program’s t-shirt printing business and to have been part of its humble beginnings operating out of the classrooms where students were pressing and folding t-shirts.

Now with two locations on the Winnetka campus, a purpose-built retail outlet at the Transition Center in Glencoe and pop-up shops run by students of the Learning Center at the Northfield campus, the One Stop Trev Shop offers high quality school spirit clothing and accessories to the entire community of New Trier students, staff, alumni, parents and friends!


GRACIE, New Trier’s Certified Therapy Dog

New Trier, like other high schools in our area, is experiencing high rates of mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, depression, substance use disorders and more. The presence of a therapy dog has been shown to decrease anxiety and enable students to express and manage issues of grief/loss, learning issues, school refusal, substance/eating disorders and psycho/social issues.

The Foundation provided funding for the New Trier Therapy Dog Program that supported Gracie and her owner/handler, Kristine Hummel, attending The Institute for Human-Animal Connection at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work to further develop their skills and abilities to impact New Trier students.

Reframing New Trier’s History of Student Art

The Nancy Joyce Murray award has been a tradition in the New Trier Art Department since 1974. Every year at the Senior Scholarship Show, a senior is awarded a prize and they are asked to leave one artwork to be displayed.

During the Winnetka campus renovation, half of the Nancy Joyce Murray artworks were removed from the walls and a mural was put up. In this process, many of the frames were damaged. The Department received a Foundation 203 Grant to reframe half of the art that was taken down and hang in the hallway leading up to the Ann Brierly Gallery. Brierly was a Nancy Joyce Murray scholarship winner.

"Viewing the reframed art can educate students on the history of past student works, and inspire them to explore their own potential for self-expression." — Alicia Landes, Art Department Chair

Latin Club Project Builds Robust Learning

The Latin Club has long been a vibrant part of New Trier. Funding from the Foundation’s 203 Grants program enabled the Club to purchase a Lego set for building a scale model of the Roman Colosseum and have it for future Latin classes.

Students are able to engage with each other on many levels working with intricate Lego pieces and challenging each other on related subjects in architecture, history, film, and Latin through hands-on learning and creative collaboration.

Thanks to Latin teacher Kerry Smith for letting the Foundation visit with the students on many occasions.

Service Learning Project Designed To Be Relevant and Student-Centered

New Trier Integrated Global Studies School (IGSS) teachers developed a Service Learning project in which students worked in small groups outside the school while they were learning about aspects of poverty specific to their interests.

This project was part of the curriculum designed by our IGSS teachers using the "Project-Based" approach focusing on learning experiences that are relevant, engaging, and student-centered.

Earlier in the school year, New Trier (IGSS) teachers attended a project based learning conference hosted at High Tech High in California, thanks to the Foundation’s first ever Fowkes Family Grant. Professional development opportunities like this provide knowledge and tools for New Trier faculty to create impactful programs for our students.


IGSS Teachers Use Project-Based Learning to Create Impactful Programs for Students

New Trier Integrated Global Studies School (IGSS) teachers attended a project based learning conference hosted at High Tech High in California, thanks to the Foundation’s first ever Fowkes Family Grant.

Our teachers worked with conference facilitators and participants from around the world to design curriculum that supports deep learning for IGSS students. The "Project-Based" approach focuses on learning experiences that are relevant, engaging, and student-centered. 

Our teachers developed a project on poverty that asked the question, "Why is there so much poverty in a country as wealthy as the United States?" Feedback from conference peers and participants was invaluable, and they are excited to roll out the project with our students next fall.

Professional development opportunities like this provide knowledge and tools for New Trier faculty to create impactful programs for our students.

Lighting Equipment Enhances the Theatrical Experience for All


In January 2024, the Dance Division installed new lighting equipment that they purchased for the Gaffney Auditorium with funds, some of which were provided by a Marran Grant from the Foundation.

The additional lighting instrumentation helps to meet the annual demands of Dance Day, Dance Theatre New Trier, Lagniappe Potpourri, and the Choir Opera musical, which would serve students, faculty, and staff, as well as countless community audience members.


BinaryHeart Club: Creating Impact With Global Reach

BinaryHeart is a student organization that accepts donations of broken or no longer needed laptops, computers, and tablets, and then repairs or refurbishes the devices and and distributes them to students in Chicago and other areas. The organization has grown to over 40 members and has processed over $181,500 worth of devices. Laptops, iPads and other electronic devices are essential learning tools and New Trier students want to ensure that their peers in less socio-economically advantaged areas have the same access. Further, BinaryHeart has created BinaryHeart Academy to train new club members on basic technology skills to further their mission.

In order to continue their mission of repairing and refurbishing devices for donation to communities with need for access to technology, BinaryHeart will be procuring more tools and materials for their growing membership to use. Recently, they donated and set up devices for a local technology center that was created for Afghan refugees and their families. Additionally, devices refurbished by club members were sent overseas to a school in Africa.

Grants Make It Possible for Students to Do Cool Things Like This.

Students in Applied Arts have been using the fabrication, assembly, and welding skills they learned in Automotive 1 to build drivable Go-Kart Drift Cars in Automotive 2.

Students work in teams requiring a large amount of collaboration and coordination within each team to be able to create different parts at the same time. The parts were built by cutting sheets of steel with a plasma cutter, then bending and welding the pieces into shapes needed for the frame. It’s great how the design includes the Trevian and NTEF logos!

The metal and mechanical parts for the vehicle were purchased through a Foundation grant. We rely on private donations to be able to fund exceptional projects like this.

Flexible Seating for ELS Students and Peer Mentors

Within the classroom there are varying learning styles, physical abilities, sensory needs, and social/emotional abilities that must be accommodated for in the classroom. To allow students better access to the academic and social skill instruction in the classroom, the New Trier Educational and Life Skills (ELS) program received a Marran Grant from the Foundation to acquire flexible seating that allows students autonomy to select seating to meet their comfort levels and sensory needs.

In addition to the ELS student needs, each period students who are members of the ELS (Enriching Lives through Service) Club come to the classroom as peer mentors and friends  to model positive behavior, social interactions, and support student learning. As students come and go, classroom groupings, seating arrangements, and physical spaces need to be modified to meet the needs at that moment. Flexible seating allows students autonomy in ways they may not otherwise experience.

Thanks to Special Education Faculty Maggie Schmieder for sharing these photos with us!

Culinary Arts Adds Diversity to Career Path Options

New Trier Applied Arts received a Marran Grant from the Foundation to equip students in the Creative Cuisine classes with mixers and kitchen tools to support the students working in smaller groups and learning about the diverse backgrounds of their partners as they cook and bake together.

Creative Cuisine shows students a career path that may not require a traditional four-year college or university but still will allow for a meaningful and fulfilling life.

Together, with your philanthropic support, we can create more exceptional learning opportunities for all New Trier students and share more stories of impact.