Evanston Township High School is a vibrant school offering students exceptional learning experiences. Each year we have countless examples of students thriving and excelling: students who soar in the classroom; students who win awards in science, math, English, world languages, technology, the applied sciences, athletics, speech, theater, debate, chess, music and more. We strive to keep our students focused on academics and learning, advising them to take the most challenging courses. And we vigorously encourage all students to participate in extracurricular activities to maximize their learning and growing experiences at this remarkable high school.

But all students, even those who are thriving, need ongoing support from adults. We cannot forget these are adolescents who are still growing intellectually, socially, physically and emotionally. Their brains are still developing. They need guidance to understand the importance of an education, the parameters established by society, the dangers of risky behavior, and the consequences of their decisions. As adults, we must constantly assist and nurture teenagers in our families, in our school, and in our community.

Parents, relatives, neighbors, coaches, business professionals, elected officials, service clubs members, community organization representatives – everybody is needed to help our teenagers focus on their academic learning, get fully engaged in school, make good decisions and live healthy lives. As we begin a new school year, I encourage every adult in our community to identify a way you can support our youth. You may decide to take extra time to strengthen a relationship with a teen in your family, volunteer for the Boosters Club or an activity at the high school, tutor a young person, volunteer in a youth or family program at the YMCA or YWCA or your place of worship, or coach a FAAM team or dance team or little league team. Possibilities abound.

I am fortunate to interact daily with the teenagers in our community. They are clever, witty, funny and perceptive: good human beings just trying to figure things out. And even though they can be smart, savvy, and sometimes sarcastic and sassy, they are still young people facing all the problems we faced at their age and sometimes even more difficult challenges. But never forget there is still a child inside that teenage person, a fragile human being who is growing as an individual with so much yet to experience and learn in life.

Teenagers in our community need all of us. ETHS has an enthusiastic and caring faculty and staff that daily advocate for our students. Wouldn’t it be great if every ETHS parent and local adult made a commitment to support at least one teenager in our community this year? Supporting a teenager is a vital way to touch the future. Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” Please consider doing your part. Let’s make this the best year ever for teenagers in Evanston-Skokie, the best year ever at ETHS.