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Bringing the Classics to Life: A local high schooler’s haunted fundraiser brings Christmas joy to a 5th grade class!

By A Noise Within
December 12, 2016

Timur Bootzin did something incredible for a local 5th grade class… he fundraised to send them on an awesome field trip: A Christmas Carol at A Noise Within!

Read on to learn about how this amazing 17-year old gave younger students the chance to see art come alive in the theatre by hosting an unmissable haunted house!

Timur presenting his donation to principal, Veronica Sasso.

What grade are you in? What school do you go to?

I was 16 years old when I built the haunted house, and I just turned 17 in November. I am a junior in high school. I attend Los Angeles Zoo Magnet/North Hollywood High School.

For Halloween this year, you set up a haunted house to raise money for a 5th grade class to come to a show at A Noise Within! That’s incredible. Can you tell me about what goes into this fundraiser?

I put on a haunted house every year, in my parents yard! This was our 5th year! This haunted house is free to go through.

Let me first start by saying, I used to be terrified of haunted houses. In fact, at Franklin Elementary School (my former elementary school) they had a haunted house, and every year I would be too scared to go in. My last year in elementary school I finally got the guts to volunteer and work in the haunted house! The experience was great, and I went home missing the haunted house so much that I decided that next Halloween I would build my own haunted house. Halloween came, and I built my first haunted house! Through the years, the haunted house got more and more complex.

Timur Bootzin poses outside his haunted house.

I built the haunted house with my good friends from my middle school. To get people to come to the haunted house we printed flyers out and would hand them out at elementary schools, around the neighborhood, and get the word out to family and friends. As the years went on we started making business cards! And these business cards would be passed out to my actors, and they would hand the cards out to everyone at their high schools. We also put up posters, and this year we had a website. We were very lucky this year this year to get some press in newspapers and on TV.

This year, we decided that a portion of the donations would be donated to Franklin Elementary School. The reason I chose my old elementary school was because the school really helped me become the person I am today. I honestly think if I didn’t attend this school I would not be in the same position as I am today. I am very grateful for all my great teachers I had and all the great people I met while attending Franklin. Donating to Franklin is the least I could do. I too used to be a 5th grader, and I was always eager to go on field trips! I know how it feels to go on a field trip, and I am very happy that the 5th graders learned a lot, and had a great experience from this field trip.

Was the class you donated to grateful for your donation?

Yes, all of the 5th grade classes from Franklin Elementary School were very excited and very grateful! There were many 5th graders that thanked me for my contribution to make this field trip possible. I felt very honored and humbled. For many of the 5th graders, this was one of the first live performances they have seen. And all the kids loved the show, and were filled with questions at the end of the show! The Q & A with the cast was awesome and they were able to answer many of the 5th graders questions!

Timur and Franklin Elementary School’s 5th grade class attended our student matinee performance of A Christmas Carol on December 2nd.

The 5th grade classes of Franklin Avenue Elementary. Timur (now in high school) standing next to his 5th grade teacher, Ms. Gaby Bacruban.

Did you enjoy the show?

I really did enjoy A Christmas Carol! I loved the art direction of the play. I also really loved how the performance uses a lot of the auditorium. Instead of just staying on the stage, there are actors running up and down aisles and it was a really great experience to go and watch this with the 5th grade classes. The 5th grade classes loved the show! They couldn’t stop talking about how cool the show was! I think it was a great experience for all of the 5th graders because they got learn a lot a lot about running a production, and in a way this play relates to my haunted house too, because setting up the haunted house is a lot of work, finding actors to work in the haunted house, lighting, props, etc. And I think it was a really educational field trip as well. I couldn’t have hoped for a better experience!

What was your favorite part?

My favorite part about the play was when the ghost in chains runs out from the corner of the theatre and all the way out to center stage with chains attached to him while he was running! I thought that was really clever and great use of the stage! My favorite character had to be the ghost with the chains. I really loved the way he was introduced into the play!

Thank you, Timur, for making for making a difference in the lives of students!

Get Involved!

Click here for tickets to A Christmas Carol, playing now – December 23. Interested in bringing a group? Click here learn about our discounted school groups or email our Education Department.

This year, ANW will welcome over 16,000 students to the theatre. Click here to give a gift and help us bring the classics to life!

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