Evanston Township High School

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Evanston Township High School
ETHS SchoolSeal.jpg
1600 Dodge Avenue
Evanston, Illinois, Cook 60204
United States
Coordinates 42°02′47″N 87°42′03″W / 42.0463°N 87.70075°W / 42.0463; -87.70075
School type Public
Opened 1883 (132 years)
School district District 202
Superintendent Eric Witherspoon, Ph.D.[1]
Principal Marcus Campbell, Ed.D[1]
Grades 9–12 (freshman-senior)
Enrollment 3,322[2]
Campus Suburban
Campus size 65 acres (260,000 m2)
School color(s) Orange (PMS 1665) and Blue (PMS 289) [3]
Slogan "It's a great day to be a Wildkit!"
Fight song ETHS Fight Song[4]
Athletics conference Central Suburban League
Mascot Willie the Wildkit
Nickname Wildkits
Rival New Trier Township High School
Average ACT scores 23.0[5]
Newspaper Evanstonian
Yearbook Key

Evanston Township High School (ETHS) District 202, is a four-year (9–12), comprehensive high school occupying a 65-acre (260,000 m2) campus in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago along the Lake Michigan shore. ETHS was established in 1883 and serves the city of Evanston and a small portion of the neighboring village of Skokie for a total district population of approximately 78,000.[7]

The attendance area of the school is home to Northwestern University and Oakton Community College. Evanston Township High School has 270 certified staff members. ETHS is fully accredited by the State of Illinois.


The first high school in Evanston, the Preparatory School of Northwestern University, established in 1857, was private. In 1873, public school superintendent Otis E. Haven began teaching Evanston's first public high school class in an upper room of the Benson Avenue School. In 1875, Evanston's first Board of Education voted to establish a "high school" in the room, and the first class, consisting of two students, graduated in 1876. Enrollments grew rapidly and, despite multiple relocations to various buildings, by 1882 the school took four prizes in a statewide competition and was ranked third best in Illinois. Shortly thereafter, voters in April, 1882, passed a referendum and bond issue establishing a township school. Construction began promptly in October, 1882, and the first building opened in 1883, at Dempster and Elmwood.[8]

Enrollment grew rapidly and by 1913, despite multiple additions to the original building, 740 students occupied space meant for only 600. Crowding increased as several attempts to pass bond issues for further addition were defeated at the polls. In 1915, the Board determined to build a new school at a new location, but progress was stalled for years by a bitter fight over the campus location, which included lawsuits that went all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court. Finally, in 1921, the Board and voters approved a 55-acre (220,000 m2) site at the school's current campus, 1600 Dodge Avenue in central Evanston. Construction began in 1923, and the school opened in 1924 although still incomplete.[9]

With a campus currently listed as 65 acres (263,000 m²), ETHS provides its students with many technically proficient facilities. With more than 1.2 million square feet indoors, it is the largest high school facility under one roof in the United States. The school's science facilities include a planetarium, greenhouse, and a two-acre (8,000 m²), on-site nature center/classroom. The South Technology Center (STC) houses over 200 computers in seven networked labs. Computer software is available for many courses in the curriculum. Near the school is the Edible Acre urban farming project, initiated by The Talking Farm, which is run with the help of ETHS volunteers during the growing season.

Students investigate careers in computer-based SMART Labs. An on-site day-care center serves as a lab for child-study classes. Career and Technical Education offers courses that prepare students for future career possibilities. Classes include Child Development, Business Management, Culinary Arts, where students work hands on with food, and learn how to prepare it in a safe and sanitary way, and Auto-Tech, where students run an auto-repair lab and learn engineering applications in computer-aided design, lasers and robotics using state-of-the-art equipment. Music students have their own computer lab with MIDI-enabled equipment.

The school's library, which is networked to all Illinois libraries, has a 90,000-volume collection and extensive audiovisual resources. Performance facilities include a 1,500-seat auditorium, two additional theaters, and a cable TV broadcasting studio.

There are 15 gyms, a dance studio and fitness/wellness center, two swimming pools, and a field-house with an indoor track and tennis courts. Outdoor facilities include a new track, as well as a FieldTurf stadium, baseball and soccer fields and 18 tennis courts.


Ninety three percent of the students from the Class of 2015 (723 students) took the ACT. ETHS students continue to score higher than the state and national average.[10] 26 courses are currently available for AP credit.

ETHS is listed as a gold medal school under U.S. News & World Report's 2016 list of America's 500 Best High Schools, at #452 nationally and #13 in the state.[11]

Since 1985–86, 45 students have become semifinalists in the Intel Science Talent Search (until 1998, the Westinghouse Science Talent Search). Six students were in the top 40 and one was in the top 10.[citation needed]

Administration structure[edit]

Evanston Township High School is one of the largest public high schools in the country and has multiple levels of administration. The school itself is its own district and thus has a single superintendent, Dr. Eric Witherspoon. There are two Assistant Superintendents, Marcus Campbell, the Principal, and Pete Bavis, Curriculum and Instruction. There are four Associate Principal positions: Instruction and Literacy, Student Services, Academic Affairs, and Educational Services. Each grade level has its own disciplinarian known as a grade level dean.


Evanston Township High School is the only high school in the U.S. to claim a Wildkit as its mascot. Known as “Willie the Wildkit”, the mascot represents the unique heritage of the only public high school in Evanston, Illinois. "Wildkit" is a playful reference to Northwestern University’s Willie the Wildcat, a mascot that was adopted by the prestigious university in the 1920s.[12] Evanston Township High School’s Willie the Wildkit mascot appears to have originated during the 1946-47 academic year. Northwestern and ETHS are known to share a "town-gown pride" that is evident through partnerships in the classroom and in other areas.[3]

ETHS is a member of the Central Suburban League, and participates in state championship tournaments sponsored by the Illinois High School Association (IHSA). ETHS has 35 IHSA State Championships.

Each year, more than 1,000 students participate on 100 sports team in 31 different sports in basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, gymnastics, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, volleyball, and water polo. Men may compete in baseball, football, and wrestling. Women may compete in badminton, cheerleading, lacrosse and softball.[13]

ETHS offers 19 no-cut sports at the freshman level to provide 9th grade students with an opportunity to try sports for the first time.

While not sponsored by the IHSA, ETHS also sponsors a team for men in lacrosse. Both men and women may also compete as a member of the pom pom team (Pomkits).[13] As well as on a Varsity Sailing Team, which competes at regattas throughout the country.

The following teams have placed in the top four of their respective IHSA sponsored state championship tournament:[14]

As of 2009, the Evanston boys swimming team has 53 top ten finishes in the state finals; the second highest number of top ten finishes in state history.[15] The boys track & field team, similarly, has 47 top ten finishes, the second highest number of any team in the state.[16] The 25 top ten finishes by the girls track & field team is, however, a state record.[17]

The following competitive teams have finished in the top four of their respective IHSA Sponsored state championships:[14]

  • Table Tennis: 1st place 2011[18]
  • Chess: 4th place (1989–90, 90–91, 2002–03, 06–07); 3rd place (1995–96, 98–99); 2nd place (1981–82, 83–84, 2005–06); State Champions (1969–70, 70–71, 78–79, 82–83, 97–98, 99–2000, 2000–01, 04–05)
  • Drama: 2nd place (1960–61); State Champions (1957–58, 62–63)
  • Individual Events: 4th place (1949–50, 60–61); 3rd place (1966–67, 69–70); State Champions (1950–51)
  • Speech: 4th place (1971–72); 3rd place (1960–61, 67–68); 2nd place (1950–51, 57–58, 70–71)

The 8 state titles and 23 top 10 finishes in chess is the Illinois state record.[19]


At ETHS, students compete in contests in math, science, forensics, world languages, speech, writing, and many other subjects. Examples include the Geometry Bridge Building Contest, the Regional Science Bowl Competition of the Society of Hispanic Engineers, and National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) annual essay contest. Students can participate in more than 80 clubs and activities at ETHS, including Ambassadors, Best Buddies, Chess Club, E-Squad Step Team, E-Town Tuners Car Club, ETHS Dance Company, Gender Sexuality Alliance, Hip Hop Club/Slam Team, Latino QUEST, NAACP, Rock Climbing Club, Student Council and Senate, Table Tennis Team, and Ultimate Frisbee.[2]

ETHS hosts 3 dances during the school year: Homecoming Dance, Frosh/Soph Formal (grades 9-10), and Senior Prom (grade 12). Student-led publications include the national award-winning Evanstonian newspaper, the EvanstONION satirical newspaper, the Paper Clip, and the school yearbook, The Key. ETHS has 3 honor societies: ETHS Chapter of the National Honor Society (juniors and seniors), and ETHS-based honor societies (sophomores and freshmen). Student vocal and instrumental music groups and theater companies perform at least one public performance a month.[20]

In February, the school hosts a regional jazz music festival attended by nearly 50 schools, featuring performances, clinics, and an evening concert with a guest artist.[21]

Speech and Debate[edit]

Students from Evanston captured the IHSA State Championship in Speech in 1951, Policy Debate in 1968, 1971, 1979, 1993, and 1995, Lincoln-Douglas Debate in 2004, 2014, and 2015, and Public Forum Debate in 2015.[22][23] ETHS is the first school to ever hold the Public Forum and Lincoln-Douglas titles in the same year.

The ETHS Speech and Debate program has risen to national prominence in the last half decade. The Debate team earned its first National Speech and Debate Association (formerly the National Forensic League) National Championship in 2012 in Congressional Debate.[24] In 2015, the team captured two more national titles when it won the NCFL Grand National Tournament in Lincoln-Douglas debate[25] and the NSDA National Championship in Extemporaneous Debate.[26] In 2014, ETHS was named a National Debate School of Excellence by the NSDA, indicating that Evanston had placed among the top twenty schools at the NSDA National Championship Tournament.[27]

The team sponsors an annual debate tournament, the Dead Presidents Invitational.

Notable alumni[edit]

Some especially well-known alumni include

Notable staff[edit]

  • Also, the Señor Wooly videos take place at the high school. Justin, a student here, starred in the viral Puedo ir al baño video in 2013.


  1. ^ a b [1]
  2. ^ a b http://www.eths.k12.il.us/Page/155
  3. ^ a b http://www.eths.k12.il.us/Page/1153
  4. ^ ETHS Fight Song video; accessed January 2012
  5. ^ 2011–12 School Profile; accessed January 2012
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ About ETHS
  8. ^ Hach, Clarence W., , ed. (1963). History of Evanston Township High School: First Seventy-Five Years. Evanston, IL: Dist. 202 Bd. of Ed. pp. 7–13. 
  9. ^ Hach, Clarence W. (1963). History of Evanston Township High School: First Seventy-Five Years. Evanston, IL: Dist. 202 Bd. of Ed. pp. 57–65. 
  10. ^ [3] ETHS School Profile 2015-16
  11. ^ [4]
  12. ^ http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2014/10/history-of-willie-the-wildcat.html
  13. ^ a b ETHS Athletics website; accessed January 2012
  14. ^ a b IHSA season summaries for ETHS; accessed 27 April 2009
  15. ^ Table of IHSA Boys Swimming and Diving Titles; accessed 27 April 2009
  16. ^ Table of IHSA Boys Track & Field Titles; accessed 27 April 2009
  17. ^ Table of IHSA Girls Track & Field Titles; accessed 27 April 2009
  18. ^ http://www.eths.k12.il.us/eths_wins_table_tennis_championship/
  19. ^ IHSA Chess, Table of Titles; accessed 1 May 2009
  20. ^ http://www.eths.k12.il.us/Page/155
  21. ^ "ETHS Jazz Festival". ETHS Bands. Retrieved 5 September 2016. 
  22. ^ IHSA Debate Records and History
  23. ^ IHSA Speech Individual Events Season Summary
  24. ^ The results from the 2012 tournament is found here.
  25. ^ Page 50 lists the LD outround results and champion.
  26. ^ Page 15 lists the Extemporaneous Debate outround results and champion.
  27. ^ Debate Schools of Excellence are found on page four of this document.
  28. ^ "Army Gets a 'Chute Helmet from Gridiron: Football gives Army a modern 'chute helmet". Chicago Daily Tribune. 6 July 1941. pp. N1. Retrieved 12 August 2009. When John T. Riddell came to Evanston Township High school as football coach in 1913 he had no idea he would design a helmet to be worn by United States army parachute troopers. 
  29. ^ "Riddell – About Us". Riddell Company. Retrieved 12 August 2009. It all started with the removable cleat, the brainchild of Riddell who at the time was the Head Football Coach and Athletic Director of Evanston Township High School ... He invented and perfected the first plastic suspension helmet. 

External links[edit]