Houghton honor students serve up chili for charity

HOUGHTON – Skiers and children in the area will both benefit from the Houghton High School National Honor Society’s latest fundraiser.

The first Chilly Chase for Charity fundraiser at the Michigan Technological University ski trails was held Saturday morning.

It’s a change for the Honor Society, which previously raised money by putting on a haunted house.

“It’s something that is a fun activity to do in the winter, especially for our area,” said Vladi Kotov, president of the Honor Society. “There’s not much that happens in the winter, so we wanted to do something fun.”

Half of the proceeds will go to Simple Kindness for Youth, a local non-profit that provides funds for things such as tutoring and extracurricular activities for local students who couldn’t afford it. The other half will go to the Tech Trails for maintenance.

About 50 to 60 people made it out to the trails, “a good turnout for our first year,” said Noelle Polakowski, vice president of the Honor Society.

After the skiing, participants headed over to the Houghton High School cafeteria for awards and a lunch of piping-hot chili.

Up to a foot of new snow on the trail made for rough going, skiers said. But the event also fit snugly into the small window between deep freezes.

SKY board member Mary Eckhart is also a skier, so the decision to participate was obvious.

“And I think I had a pretty good chance (for an award), considering I was the only female over 60,” she said.

The combination of the activity and the cause was also an attraction for Joan Rundman of Hancock.

“I love cross country in the area, and I love the people,” she said. “And I’m thankful to still be skiing.”

Honor Society members hope to do the event again next year.

“For the first year, it was definitely something we’ll be able to build upon, and make better every year,” Kotov said. “It’s a good way to get the community involved in fundraising.”