The Veteran’s Playhouse

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Uncategorized

Published on November 07, 2012 with No Comments

Water Way Pools in Portage is now home to a unique offering for charity

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Different high schools have different homecoming traditions. Generally speaking, there’s a parade and fanfare– something for everyone to come out, watch and celebrate.

At Chesterton High School’s 51st homecoming this year, something new made an appearance at the parade.  In a word:  playhouses.

“It was a Carmel High School tradition,” Chesterton High School (CHS) Assistant Principal Kevin Zeck said.  A high school employee heard about the idea at a conference and brought the idea back with her. This year they decided to finally give it a try, Zeck said.

Some 27 students in the CHS Building Trades program were given 14 school days to build five 4 x 8 x 6 foot playhouses. Once the houses were constructed, volunteers were given eight hours to come in and decorate them.

“The house decorations reflected spirit week,” Zeck said.  He said the response, from within the school as well as outside from the community, was more than they’d ever expected. In fact, it took school spirit and community support and turned the volume way up.

The houses were placed on floats during the homecoming parade and afterward were auctioned off for charity. All together, they raised $2,875 in seven days, which is an impressive sum for a first year addition to a local tradition.

One of these houses, the Veteran House, made its way to Water Way Pool and Spa, located at 6315 U.S. Highway 6 in Portage.

“We’re going to use it in the store,” said Water Way owner Steve Menefee, who purchased the Veteran House at the charity auction.

According to Menefee, the Veteran House will make a great addition to Water Way Pools. The store often has families shopping with children and the playhouse will entertain kids while parents talk and shop. Menefee intends to keep the play house stocked with toys and entertainments, just to make sure younger visitors to the store don’t run out of ways to pass the time.

Menefee learned about the school’s playhouse building effort through his grandson who is a CHS student.  The Veteran House caught his interest.  So, when it came time for the playhouses to find new homes, Menefee made certain that he got in on the action.

“The response was tremendous,” Menefee said.

Donations for materials came from a variety of local businesses, including the director of Duneland Education Foundation, Hopkins’ Ace Hardware and Larson Contracting Services.  Additionally, thanks in large part to social networking, the program came to the attention of over 8,000 people.

The excitement of the community, the commitment of the students, the sheer number of volunteers and the overwhelming response of people who want to acquire one of these playhouses has made quite an impression.

The proceeds will benefit those who most need them. The beneficiaries include the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, the Reef Environmental Education Foundation, Coaches vs. Cancer, the World Wildlife Fund, Westchester Food Pantry and Christmas for Teens.

“The kids have already voted to do this again next year,” Zeck said. With all of the community support and the businesses willing to help support the project, it looks as if Chesterton High School has a new high school tradition to celebrate for many years to come.

For more information on the homecoming charity playhouses, call Chesterton High School at 219-983-3730.  For more information on the Veteran House, call Water Way Pool and Spa at 219-763-1309.
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The Veteran House, one of several themed houses, found a new home in Portage at Water Way Pools.

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