Christian & Jill Helbling
"This is a community we’re investing in. We’re not just sending them to a school.”
Christian and Jill Helbling, both attorneys, are experts at research and planning. So when it came time to choose a kindergarten for their son Colin, they investigated an array of options, even though they intended to enroll him and his younger sister, Celia, in their excellent local public school district.
“We went to WT’s North Hills Campus Open House thinking, ‘OK, we’ll go so that we can be thorough and then check this off our list,’” remembers Jill. “We left thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, how can we not send our kids here?’”
Today, the Helblings couldn’t be happier with their change of plans.
“Seeing Colin on the first day shaking hands with [then North Campus Lower School Director] Nancy Rogers epitomizes to me a lot of what WT is about,” reflects Jill. “We love that they shake hands every day. He always comes home saying, ‘I love nature!’ And he has tremendous pride in his work. You just can’t put a price on a child showing such enthusiasm for reading, math, the arts, or science.”
“WT is an eclectic, nurturing place – with a highly intelligent vibe – for children focused on intellectual pursuits,” says Christian, recounting the day Colin “had his nose in a book” the whole way to school – and beyond. “Nancy Rogers emailed us to say, ‘Your son is walking around campus with his nose in the book,’ which he did every day till he finished. I was thrilled he was in a school where that’s not just appreciated, but encouraged and nurtured. And for me, that was worth the whole year’s tuition.”
Inspired to become involved despite demanding schedules, the couple volunteered to serve as WT Fund Class Agents. “I explained that people shouldn’t be ashamed or shy of making a small donation; we just needed 100% participation to qualify for the $500 match,” says Christian. “I said, ‘You don’t have to tell me how much you donate, just donate. (We) would rather have $20…than zero.’
“This is a community we’re investing in,” continues Christian. “We’re not just sending them to a school. This is a community with lifelong membership, and it’s only as strong as its foundation. I’d like the foundation to grow and thrive in its ability to improve the community for years to come, so our children – as alumnae/i and through networking – can reap long-term benefits…It’s a gift we’re giving our children for the rest of their lives.”