Sleepless in East Fairchild: How friends spend time

From left, Jordan Murray, Isabella Werneck, Jeffery Harberg and Katie Hanson participate in the talent show. Photo by Allie Worchell

Every day cherubs filed into the common room for their check-in: 10 p.m. on weeknights, 11 p.m. on weekends. After the community associates called all 83 names, cherubs were free to roam the halls of East Fairchild. And while being confined to the four-story dorm sounds restrictive, it forced cherubs to get creative and make their own fun.

On the first Saturday, the boys announced they were hosting a party on the second floor.

“We were coming to the end of the first week, and we realized that a lot of us still hadn’t gotten to know all 83 of the cherubs,” said Joel Soto of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. “We wanted to do some type of mixer where we could all have fun together.”

The 6 a.m. crew leave the East Fairchild for a walk to the Lakefill in the rain. Photo by Joseph Ramos
That night the second floor was flooded with cherubs ready to party. The boys supplied soda, snacks and a killer playlist which included hits by Lizzo and Drake. With cherubs dancing until midnight, the party was seen as a major success.

“The party really brought us together,” said Clara Koritz Hawkes of Bethesda, Maryland. “It bonded us because we were all having fun and we danced the nerves away.”

The night before the dreaded 1,200-word trend stories were due, cherubs stayed up late working on their articles. They gathered in common rooms, snacked on Oreos and commiserated over difficult and sometimes unreachable sources. Although many were far past their breaking point, it was easy to find enjoyment and comfort through the time spent with one another.

“We kind of knew from the beginning it was gonna be an all-nighter,” said J.J. Post of Mountainside, New Jersey. “Eventually at 6 a.m., which is the final point since we could leave the dorm, we went out and saw the sunrise in the pouring rain. That was an interesting experience but a good one nonetheless.”

Most nights, the third floor became a concert hall. Roughly a half dozen cherubs brought guitars and ukuleles to the program, and there were constantly “High School Musical” sing-alongs and even a talent show at the end of the fourth week. Who knew cherubs could sing?!

“Everyone was so encouraging of each other,” said Annie Rubinson of Irvington, New York, who organized the talent show. “Whether they took it really seriously or they were just kind of up there for the laughs, it was just really amazing to see everybody come together. It’s very telling of the type of environment there is at cherubs.”

At the end of the five weeks, each cherub faced a sad goodbye. But before leaving Evanston for the summer, many cherubs pulled the famed all-nighter and watched the sunrise at the Lakefill.

“It’s been an amazing five weeks, and I’m really sad to be leaving,” said Avani Kalra of Chicago. “I’m so excited to go home with so many new friends and memories from my time here.”