Evanston Township High School students last year had a choice of more than 80 non-sport clubs and activities to spend their free time. School officials encourage engagement in extracurricular activities, said Nicole Clark, Director of Activities and of the Student Success Center.

Positive participation in extracurricular activities helps to increase students’ engagement in the school community and offers the opportunity to develop leadership, self-discipline, responsibility, teamwork, self-confidence, commitment and wellness, she said at the District 202 Board of Education meeting on Oct.21.

“Students are encouraged to explore their talents, passions, hobbies, and interests by their participation in extra-curricular activities. Getting involved and being involved provide ETHS students with unique leadership and social opportunities, enhances students’ time-management skills, offers personal satisfaction, and affords students opportunities for peer interactions that may not have otherwise occurred. Students experience a sense of belonging and connectedness to the school community through their extra-curricular involvement,” Ms. Clark said in a memo to the Board and administration.


In the 2018-19 school year, 1,299 students participated in a club or activity, down only slightly from 1,306 students in the prior year. Just under half that number, 532 students, participated in two or more activities.

Some students are otherwise engaged and active, Ms. Clark said – participating in athletics, volunteering in churches or community organizations or working at paid jobs.

Broken down by federal race code, Ms. Clark said, the numbers of white, black and Latinx students participating in activities sponsored by her department did not vary significantly between the 2017-18 and the 2018-19 school years.

In 2017-18, 257 black/African American students, 187 Hispanic/Latinx students and 722 white students participated in at least one activity sponsored by the Student Activities Department. In 2018-19, the numbers were 233 black/African American students, 189 Hispanic/Latinx students and 742 white students.  


Ms. Clark gave some highlights of competitive clubs during the 2018-19 school year. or special interest, clubs and activities:

• Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Jr. (SHPE Jr).

• 2019 Chicago Regional Science Bowl Competition

• 2018 SHPE National Conference, Cleveland, OH- November 2018

• Sponsor: Michelle Vazquez, SHPE Regional Junior Chapter Representative

• Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA)

• Illinois DECA State Career Development Conference

• Top 10, Role Play, Megan Bezaitis, Automotive Services

• Top 10, Role Play, Max Morton & Nico Wertheimer, Hospitality & Tourism Team Decision Making

• All 25 students placed in the Top 10

• 24/25 earned Top 3, advancing to International Competition

International Career Development Conference

• Top 10, Darius Johnson, Entrepreneurship Innovation Plan Development

• First Place, Nick Perruffel and Sophie Perruffel, Buying & Merchandising Business Operations

• First Place, Tamara Guy and Mika Parisien, Community Service Project

• Second Place, Lila Garfield, Creative Marketing Plan

• First Place, Owen Goldsmith & Will O’Brien, Creative Marketing Plan First Place, Katie Holland & Nancy Maguire, Finance Operations Research

• First Place, Nate Landolt and  Michael Schroeder, Franchise Business Plan

• First Place, Emily Ho and Anna Taufen, Hospitality & Tourism Operation Research Event

• First Place, Connor Falls and Max Morton, Independent Business Plan

• Third Place, Genevieve Fleming and Ellie Gavelek, Independent Business Plan

• First Place, Megan Bezaitis, International Business Plan

• First Place, Heera Imran, Public relations Project

• First Place, Zoe Cvetas and Makenna Hirsch, Sports & Entertainment Operations Research

• Third Place, David Hodges and Ethan Wernikoff, Development of Locally-Sourced Grocery Store

• Second Place, Maya Moskal, Franchise Business Plan

Sponsors: Jenny Weber, Dave Feeley, Chris Manila

Mock Trial

• First Place, Lake County Bar Association Mock Trial Invitational

• Third Place, Illinois State Bar Association Mock Trial Tournament

Sponsor: Kevin Kappock

Chess Team

• Hosted a Chess Team Alumni Reunion

• Second Place (Tie), Sandburg Eagle Team Tournament, Varsity

• Third Place, Sandburg Eagle Team Tournament, JV

• Second Place (Tie), Argo Team Tournament, Varsity

• Second Place, ICCA Frosh/Soph Team Championship

• First Place, Conference Championship, JV

• Third Place, IHSA Sectionals

• Second Place, All-Girls National Championship

Sponsors: Keith Holzmueller & Tom Doan

Scholastic Bowl

Undefeated in CSL conference

Regional Champions

• Third place, IHSA Sectionals

• Competed at NAQT Nationals in Atlanta

• All-sectional honors for senior Beni Keown Top finishes at New Trier and Stevenson invitational tournaments

Sponsor: Terry Gatchell

The Evanstonian

• IHSA Journalism Sectionals, Second Place (with “The Key”)

• First Place, Newspaper Ranking, American Scholastic Press Association, 2019

• First Place, Sports Photography, American Scholastic Press Association, 2019

• First Place, Front Page, American Scholastic Press Association, 2019

Sponsor: Patricia Delacruz

The Key (Yearbook)

• IHSA Journalism Sectionals, Second Place (with the Evanstonian)

(Frosh/Soph Staff)

• Second Place, Naiyah Bryant & Ella Greenberg, Theme Development

• Second Place, Ella Greenberg, Yearbook Layout

• Fifth Place, Naiyah Bryant, Yearbook Copy Writing

• Second Place, Sajeda Yagoub, Yearbook Caption Writing

Sponsor: Sara Young


Beginning with the first day of school, the Student Activities Department  began recruiting students, at times with students already in activities and, early in the years, in conjunction with the Athletic Department, the Community Service Department, and the Fine Arts Department.

Two staff members visited the District 65 middle school to promote the idea of student involvement when they attended ETHS.

Clubs inaugurated last year were the Clean Water Club, The Breakfast Club, Dungeons & Dragons Club and the Woman’s Empowerment Club.

Ms. Clark noted more than three dozen activities her department hosted last year. Among them were Incoming Freshmen Information Night, Winter Spirit Week and Winter Pep Rally, Open House Night.

Class Panoramic Photo/Cap & Gown Ordering

Spring Spirit Week & Spring Pep Rally, Yearbook Sales & Distribution, Senior Assembly/Dreams Delivered Fashion Show, Junior/Senior BBQ, IHSA State Basketball Send-Off, IHSA State Runner-Up Rally/Celebration, Spirit Wear Design Pop-Up Shops and Staff Appreciation Week, the Black Student Summit, the Latinx Summit, “Ugly Sweater” Day, Cookie Decorating (in The Hub) and Kiss-a-Senior Goodbye.

Board Comments

“What we need to know as a Board is what percentage of students are not participating,” said Board member Gretchen Livingston. “We need to know what “About two or three years ago, some 700 students were not ‘captured’ [counted]. Some participated in the summits, and we don’t capture that.”

“I think that’s what we need to know. That’s heart of our goal,” said Ms. Livingston.

Student Board member Echo Allen said, “How to do more leadership and how to expand and engage these students is a larger part of getting students involved.”

“It’s hard to tell the complete story,” said Board Vice President Monique Parsons.

“We need to tell the complete story of who we’re engaging,” said Ms. Livingston.

“I don’t know how to capture that,” said Ms. Clark.

“In community service, the majority is white females,” said Echo.

“We have to be cautious about not making up stories about those other students,” said Board President Pat Savage-Williams. “That they’re not involved at ETHS doesn’t mean they’re not involved somewhere.”

Assistant Superintendent/Principal Marcus Campbell said, “The proportion of African American students engaged is significantly lower than are white and Latinx students. Are you seeing any factors that contribute to low participation?”

Ms. Clark said, “I can’t say with confidence. A number of students are involved in athletic or involved in other ways. Some students are busy outside of school with family or work. I can’t say I’m comfortable with the numbers.”

Ms. Savage-Williams said, “Just let us know that we’ll hear even more how this helps students.”

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...