Have We Abandoned Valograms?

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Alice Bolandhemat It’s February 14th and you’re in 2nd grade. Your entire class brings paper valentines, conversation hearts, and fun-dip to hand out to one another. Everyone is wearing red or pink, and the day is blissful and lighthearted. Fast forward to seven years later: you’re in high school and the day no longer carries any meaning. It’s simply another school day — that is, of course, if you do not attend Latin. At Latin, Valentine’s Day is traditionally spent picking out homemade cards and/or singing valentines sung by students to deliver to your friends. Later that week, the singing valentines, now referred to as “Valograms,” are performed during a class. The tradition began in 2012 with Ms. McGlinn, who was then a senior dean for the class of 2012. “It started because of a prom fiasco,” said McGlinn. “Our prom was scheduled to be held the same day as the 2012 Chicago summit. Because of this, all of the usual places were booked. After months of searching, we decided to hold it at the Nature Museum. It was a lovely place for a prom, but very expensive. To pay the museum, we would’ve had to have charged students a ridiculous amount for a ticket. Student government brainstormed, and I told them about a wonderful fundraiser we did at the high school I taught at in Miami. The choir performed singing valentines and made homemade cards. Student government loved the idea, and the singing valentines were a smashing success at Latin. Tons of students signed up to sing. One group of 3 or 4 boys dressed up and went around doing serenades.” This year, you may not have witnessed as many hilarious performances on the Friday after Valentine’s Day. “It felt like a quieter V-day this year. I didn’t hear a single Valogram in any of my classes. One of my teachers told us that they didn’t want Valograms to happen in their class. They said that it would take too much time away from our lesson that day” said an anonymous student. Now, singing valentines have become attached to Best Buddies. “[Valograms] are a tradition at Latin and certainly an essential part of Best Buddies’ fundraising. I think that over the years we’ve become accustomed to it,” said co-head Jessie Sulger. “Our record amount raised from this fundraiser is around $1500, but going into this year I understood that it wasn’t likely that we were going to break it. This year we ended up raising $550, which is still an awesome amount, but considerably less than previous years,” she continued. Sulger thinks potential causes for the decrease could be “our lack of singers this year. We had four people sign up as well as the Latones who sang during a block. We also had a lot less underclassman involved than we normally do.” Outside of the cafeteria, Best Buddies also sold paper valentines. “We sold a significant amount of paper valentines. I think part of the reason for that is because that it’s so much easier to pull out a $1 from your wallet (which is the cost of one paper valentine) than it is to dig out $7 (the cost of a Valogram)” said Sulger. “Some teachers bought them for their advisory, and a lot of students bought them to give to their friends.” For those who give $1 or $7 to Best Buddies on Valentine’s Day, “Each year, to keep our Best Buddies chapter at Latin, we must raise a certain amount of money. Part of our Valogram earnings goes to that, and the rest goes to the organization itself,” said Jessie. Schools outside of Latin also have Best Buddies at their school and similarly to Latin, they creatively fundraise. “Other chapters at different schools partner with restaurants likes Chipotle and Potbelly. Kids come and buy food and some of the proceeds go to Best Buddies. I think it’s a great idea. At the end of the year, we have a prom with the buddies at Payton which is going to be super fun, as well as a friendship walk.” Next year, Best Buddies hopes to improve the Valogram stats. Whether you’re a teacher purchasing one for your class or a student purchasing one for a friend, Valograms make for an entertaining Valentine’s Day week. “In the same way that my favorite gathering are those with student performances, singing valentines lighten the spirits, especially in February when it’s often cold and dark” concluded McGlinn. ]]>