Evanston Township High School students who participate in at least one school-sponsored activity earn higher GPAs than students who do not, according to a recent report to the District 202 School Board. Nearly half of all students participate in at least one club.
Nichole Boyd, Director of Student Activities and the Student Success Center, discussed the 90-plus activities offered at ETHS in the Student Activities Report presented at the March 13 School Board meeting. She said 45% of students participate in at least one club.
Students who participated in at least one activity during the 2014-15 year had an average end-of-year cumulative weighted GPA of 3.58. Students who did not participate in an activity had a GPA of 2.90.
Ms. Boyd also noted that participants in 23 school clubs had a cumulative GPA of 4.0-plus last year. The Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering club’s GPA was 4.5.
Participation in school clubs has trended up since the 2013-14 school year across racial and gender categories. Most notably, participation by Hispanic/Latino students increased from 194 to 216 students last year, and Asian participation increased from 75 to 82 students.
These numbers do not include student athletes, Ms. Boyd said. The Athletic Department keeps track of participation and grades differently and presents a separate report to the Board.
The goal of the Student Activities Department is to “get students involved,” Ms. Boyd said. Clubs are a mix of student-led and sponsor-led, and all offer leadership opportunities and a chance for students to “take the reins and be self-directed.” Some clubs are competitive, such as the mock trial team; the step team, E-squad; ultimate Frisbee; chess; Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA); and The Evanstonian, the school’s newspaper.
New clubs are added each year at the request of students. Clubs added this year include Cartoon Club, All About Games Club, Dreamers, Chinese Culture Club, South Asian Middle Easter Alliance Club, Girl Up and Hip Hop Dance Club.
Student ambassadors help promote school clubs to incoming students at freshman activities fairs and events for middle schools and transfer students by showing them “what their next four years can look like outside of the classroom,” Ms. Boyd said.
Board members asked about students who are not involved in extra-curricular activities. Ms. Boyd said in the fall her department reached out to 693 students who were not previously involved. Information was provided on how to get involved not only in clubs but in sports, the arts, and community service. She also said her numbers did not include those who attend WildKit Academy or who support sporting and other events. While there are some who are disconnected, she said, some students have other obligations after school, such as a job, caring for younger siblings or religious activities, “and I’m comfortable with those reasons.”
“Eighty percent of our kids participate in something,” said Superintendent Eric Witherspoon. “We can’t assume the others are not engaged.”
After-School ETHS Activities
Evanston Township High School has competitive and non-competitive clubs and activities. Here are some competitive results from the 2015-16 year:
Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Jr. (SHPE Jr): Third place, 2016 Chicago Regional Science Bowl Sponsor: Michelle Vazquez, SHPE Regional Junior Chapter Representative
Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA): Illinois DECA State Career Development Conference: 15 of 30 ETHS students finished in the top ten for their respective events: first place, Allison Neggers, Public Relations; first place, Jack Caldwell and Ben Silverman, Creative Marketing; first place, Tali Quiroz and Holly Cunningham, Community Service Project. Sponsors: Dave Feeley, Chris Manila, and Jenny Weber.
Mock Trial: Competed in six regional tournaments; team received multiple “Best Attorney” and “Best Witness” awards; team made it to final round of state competition for the fifth consecutive year; eighth place, Illinois Mock Trial Association. Sponsor: Kevin Kappock
Chess Team: Fourth place, NCSL League; seventh place, IHSA State Chess. Ian Seegers and Jay Magiera undefeated at State; Nathan Holzmueller, 24th in Nationals. Sponsors: Ken Lewandowski and Tom Doan
Scholastic Bowl: Varsity: 22-12: Senior Seth Paternostro; All-Sectional Team JV: 14-0; CSL Conference Champs. Sponsor: Ryan McLaughlin
Ultimate Frisbee: Record: 30-9. First place, CHSUL-North League Championship for the fourth consecutive year; second place, CUJO League Championship; ninth place, Illinois State Championship Sponsor: Matt Moran
E-Squad Step Team: Third place, Delta Sigma Theta’s E-Town Stomp Down; fifth place, U-14 Varsity, Illinois Stepping League Competition, Thornton Invite. Sponsors: Djuwanna Frazier and Michelle Lyle
The Evanstonian: IHSA Journalism Sectionals: Paige Haden, sixth place, Copy Editing; Adele Gruner, third place, Feature Writing; Gabe Aichholzer, first place, Headline Writing; Gabby Smith, sixth place, Info Graphics; Camille Allen, third place, News Writing; Ivy Hettinger-Roberts, second place, Newspaper Design; Viveka Herzum, third place, Review Writing; Matt Barbato, fifth place, Sports Writing. Sponsor: Rodney Lowe