Hebron Middle School, Haunted House
Hebron Middle School, Hebron, IN
Project: Haunted House
Adviser: Dan Pastrick
About 10 years ago, members of Hebron Middle School's National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) decided to put on a Haunted House as a “just for fun” project. It was such a big hit with the members that the next year the Haunted House became open to the public. Ever since, the goal of the Haunted House has been to raise money to buy Christmas gifts for less fortunate families in the Hebron area. Due to the recent tough economic times, NJHS members realized the need for these gifts was greater than ever before; therefore, the goal in 2009 was to exceed funds raised in all past years and to provide more families with Christmas gifts.
Preparation began months before the event. All members had to vote on a theme and the route the haunted house would take around the school. Groups were created, with each group being in charge of a separate section or room of the Haunted House. Many meetings were held by individual groups, including planning time with parents. Then, at monthly meetings, groups would share their ideas and discuss rules to follow. The night before and the morning of the event, at least five hours were spent setting up the rooms. The Haunted House was a two-night event. The first night was four hours and the second night was two-and-a-half. Approximately fifty-two members participated in the event. In addition, many past NJHS members, school staff, parents, and middle school students helped supervise rooms during the haunted house to make sure everything ran smoothly, guiding visitors through the designated route so nobody got lost. One group was designated to be in charge of the "Kiddie Area." The Kiddie Area was a special room where children too young to go through the Haunted House could stay and do fun activities. This year, nine hundred tickets were purchased and an astonishing $2,700 was earned, exceeding all previous years!
With that money, twenty NJHS members were selected to go shopping at Wal-Mart. They were chosen by their peers based on their excellent work at the haunted house. Shoppers were given wish lists with items, sizes, and budgets. Members selected items like Hannah Montana dolls and Ben-Ten watches for some of the younger children and items like digital cameras and MP3 players for the older children. Then, additional members joined them back at the school to wrap the overwhelming amount of gifts. All in all, Hebron NJHS raised enough money to provide Christmas gifts for 20 families.
The Haunted House was full of life lessons. Members discovered the importance of planning and preparation. Cooperation was necessary between members, parents, and the advisor. Members learned to budget their time and money while shopping. But the greatest lesson learned was how important it is to help less-fortunate families. Some parents nearly had to tell their children that Santa Claus would not be able to come this year, but Hebron NJHS, with the help of parents, teachers, and community, was able to make all of their holiday wishes come true.