History of the Memorial Garden
The New Trier Memorial Garden was first created and dedicated on August 23, 1993, in memory of five staff members: Ben Almaguer, Rick Sussen, Eugene Kroschel, James Borden, Katy Walsh. The staff, students, family, and friends of these individuals worked with the school to design and install the garden on the front courtyard of the Winnetka Campus as a Shakespeare Memorial Garden, including plants and flowers mentioned in plays and poems. Special thanks to Betsy Lovell, Julie Johnson, John Neiweem, Jane Mueller, and Mark Marcus, as well as former Superintendent Hank Bangser and former Principal Dianna Lindsay, for initiating the original project.
More recently, the New Trier Board of Education expressed its desire to use the Memorial Garden to commemorate the memory of any student or staff member who died during his or her time at New Trier High School. The Board's policy established a process for collecting contributions to the garden in the name of those who had died as well as the creation of a memorial book and donor list.
The Memorial Garden was rededicated on May 18, 2013, with a special ceremony honoring every student and staff member who passed away in the last 20 years. In conjunction with this ceremony, New Trier completed the tasks set out by the Board of Education to create a fund for donations, recognize donors, create the memorial book online, and establish the process for holding a "Day of Remembrance" each year if necessary. There are many people to thank for organizing the rededication, including former Principal Tim Dohrer, Kim Hafron, Brett Rubin, Boris Spektor, and students Jason Schwartz and Nicole De Matteo.
Donations to the Memorial Garden
Donations may be made towards the maintenance, improvement, and beautification of the Memorial Garden. Donors are encouraged to use the link on the Memorial Garden website to access the New Trier electronic payment system. Checks can also be made out to the "New Trier High School Memorial Garden" and sent to the Winnetka Campus Principal's Office. Donor names will be listed on the Memorial Garden website. These donations are tax deductible.
Day of Remembrance Ceremony
If a current New Trier High School student or staff member passes away, he or she will be remembered at a "Day of Remembrance" ceremony the following May. Family, friends, and colleagues of the individual will be invited to this interfaith ceremony organized by the campus Principals.
The Memorial Book
Students and Staff will be remembered in a Memorial Book that includes their name, year of birth, year of death, brief biography, and photograph, when available. The Memorial Book has been created as a website so it can be easily updated and is available to family and friends around the world.