Start your “Benches”

Sarah Volante, Copy Editor

The Chicagoland Speedway, now under
new management, has asked Joliet Township to partner up to take on the
BenchMark Project.  Modeled after the
“Cows on Parade,” the program is intended to beautify the Speedway and
fundraise for local charities.

September 16, 2011 marked the
project’s kick-off at an event hosted at the racetrack. West students Chris
Schuda and Chloe Wallace, the Production Coordinator and Business/Marketing
Lead, were involved in a press conference that day. Student teams are being
used to efficiently carry out the plans and reach goals. Two people, selected
by the team, will serve as Project Leaders. The rest of the positions, Sales
Coordinators, Marketing Coordinators, Artist Coordinators, Landscape
Coordinators, Charity Coordinator, and Finance Coordinator, will be held by
JTHS students.

The West and Central campuses will
each be producing 15 benches. Those will be the 30 featured throughout the Chicagoland
Speedway in the 2012-2013 season, following a formal unveiling in May 2012. Those
benches will be designed and customized by students after receiving
sponsorships from local businesses. The Speedway will supply the necessary
materials and all sponsorship proceeds will go to local charities. One
organization will be selected by each campus.

Creativity is highly encouraged in
participants, as the only requirement is that benches include references to
Joliet, the Chicagoland Speedway, and motorsports. Students are being given a
lot of freedom in their work, but are still expected to have design
consultations with the sponsor of each bench.

Through the BenchMark Project,
students are being given the opportunity to gain a wide variety of skills.
Responsibilities of participants include everything from business planning and
marketing to drafting and construction. It will provide a beneficial learning
and networking experience for all involved.