Valograms Enjoy Another Successful Campaign


Marin Creamer, Staff Writer

This past Valentine’s Day, the tradition of Valograms continued to entertain and help our community. On February 13th, Latin students sat at the edge of their seats in class as they heard the faint sound of a serenation in a neighboring class. Minutes later, the classroom door swung open. Singers filed into the classroom, and the celebration began. 
Upper School English teacher Ms. McGlinn brought Valograms to Latin in 2012. At the time, she held the position of senior dean. When student government decided to hold prom at the Peggy Notebaert nature museum, Ms. McGlinn and her colleagues brainstormed ideas to make tickets more affordable. Ms. McGlinn explains her thought process: “At my former school, Ransom Everglades, the biggest annual fundraiser was Valograms.” Inspired by the school she worked at before, Ms. McGlinn’s idea attracted support and “was a huge hit.” Ms. McGlinn’s contribution, in addition to a student who organized “babysitting service for parents who were attending that spring’s scholarship dinner,” lowered the cost of tickets to “less than the prior years.” As a result of her hard work, the tradition of Valograms lives on.
Now, Valograms raise money for Best Buddies instead of prom. Bella Flerlage, a senior head of Best Buddies, explained the purpose of the organization, saying “the Best Buddies organization as a whole helps individuals with … developmental disabilities advocate for themselves, learn to develop leadership skills, and also provide friendships that last a lifetime.” While Best Buddies’ partners visit Latin once a month, Valograms provide additional support to the organization.
Each year, Best Buddies joins forces with Latin’s singing groups to perform the Valograms. Latones, the Romanettes, 59 West, chorus, and a handful of volunteers performed. Jordan Rice, one of the heads of Latones, commented, “I love that Latones is a part of Valograms. It is an often rewarding experience seeing how happy Valograms make people feel.” Valograms provide singers with the validation of contributing to the happiness of others while raising money for “a worthwhile cause.” 
Not only do Valograms leave students feeling uplifted, but preparation for performances creates an energetic environment during rehearsals. Romanettes arranged their song, which they performed five times on the day of the Valograms, three weeks prior. The head of the group, Lulu Ruggiero, noted, “We’ve never had more fun rehearsals.” 
Mr McArthur, Best Buddies’ faculty advisor, also reflected, saying “this year, my favorite singers were Sebastian, Robert, and Elliot, who came into my calculus class and were an incredible trio.”
Bella thanked the singing groups, saying “We are so grateful for all of the amazing singers!” She thinks the performances contribute to the spirit at school throughout the day. Adding on, she mentioned, “It is definitely a day I look forward to.” While most school days consist of back-to-back work, “the serenades break up the day a bit.” Bella believes that the excitement of the Valograms, which involves a minor interruption of class, results in a better day.
Mr. McArthur continued, saying “my favorite part of the event is the surprise of your classroom door opening and wondering what student is going to get serenaded.” Mr. McArthur believes this curiosity contributes to the energy at school. Although he expressed the excitement that occurs when students receive a Valogram, he mentioned that “A faculty member last year felt uncomfortable being serenaded by students.” To avoid further issues, Best Buddies only had students sing to other students this year. 
Another conflict that Best Buddies avoided this year was ensuring that singers delivered Valograms only 
where they were welcome. In past years, teachers turned away singers or wouldn’t allow them in their classrooms to avoid any distractions from class. To prevent unwanted Valograms, Mr. McArthur explained how the heads of Best Buddies, Madelyn Hill, Bella Flerlage, Caroline Cummins, and Avery Selz, created a “complicated Excel spreadsheet that ensured singing groups did not enter rooms of faculty who didn’t want to be interrupted.” As a result of their hard work, Best Buddies “received no faculty complaints,” a success Mr. McArthur refers to as “both a minor miracle and a testament to the organization skills of the senior heads of the club.” He believes the heads’ hard work paid off, leading to a better performance. 
Lulu also noticed that “Teachers were more willing to have [singers] come into their classes and really embrace that fun energy” this year. She also acknowledged how Best Buddies “did a really nice job letting us know when and where not to go so we didn’t run into any problems.” By doing so, the environment around Valograms could be positive for everyone. 
Bella concluded, saying “The Valograms were super successful this year!” According to senior Madelyn Hill, “over 14 groups performed to 74 recipients,” raising over 700 dollars in donations for Best Buddies. 
Not only did the day go off without a hitch, but Best buddies received substantial donations for the organization. Bella looked back at the success of the event this year and hopes “that in years to come, Valograms remain a day to look forward to at Latin!”