ETHS staff initiative results in good deeds for Evanston families
A group of staff members at Evanston Township High School turned a handful of small gestures into significant donations for eight families in the community by participating in a dinnerware promotion through Jewel-Osco stores. This fall, Jewel-Osco began offering its customers an opportunity to collect stamps with their purchases; the stamps could then be cashed in for free Rachael Ray™ Dinnerware. Jennifer Fisher, ETHS Department Chair of History/Social Science, sent the call to action to several colleagues with the hope of helping one or possibly two families in need. Instead, eight ETHS families are receiving full sets of dishes in time for the holidays thanks to the generosity of the school community.
Staff members from a wide range of ETHS departments and offices not only turned in stamps, but recruited others to help. “There were outside people who have a connection to me who contributed,” remarked Fisher. “My cousin gave a generous monetary donation so we could buy drinking glasses and bake ware. My Bunco group gave stamps.” An Evanston community member with a connection to an ETHS staff member reached out to the Evanston Women’s Club to collect stamps as well.
ETHS staff members and friends collected enough stamps and other contributions to provide each of the families with four place settings of new dishes plus drinking glasses, bake ware, napkins, and more (see photo above). The families were selected by the ETHS Deans’ Office, led by the efforts of Taya Kinzie, Dean for the Class of 2015.
Fisher extends her appreciation to all those who participated, donated and were part of the collaborative effort. She added, “It was incredibly cool and heartwarming!”
STEM education efforts at ETHS reaching international audience
As part of Evanston Township High School’s partnership with Northwestern University, the excitement of innovative research has made its way from ETHS physics classrooms to science education efforts around the world. The connection between Northwestern and secondary schools such as ETHS, particularly in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, has received attention from media outlets in Korea. Kemi Jona, director of the Office of STEM Education Partnerships (OSEP) at Northwestern University, highlighted such efforts in recent weeks in Korea Joongang Daily magazine and a top Korean foreign language radio station (links below):
The magazine article in particular (in Korean) features a classroom project led by Dr. Mark Vondracek, an ETHS science teacher, in which students are challenged to solve a real-world problem by applying knowledge from a variety of disciplines. Since there are no right or wrong answers to the problem, students must be creative and use their understanding of scientific concepts to justify their solutions.
Vondracek works with Jona and other STEM education experts at Northwestern University to develop innovative STEM instructional programs. And as indicated by the media coverage, Korea’s science education community is taking note. In Northwestern’s article about the radio interview, Jona is quoted: "My office at Northwestern works to bring the excitement of cutting-edge research to primary and secondary schools. We create new curriculum and new online technologies that teachers can integrate into their current classrooms."
One example of such online technology is the iLab Network. According to Northwestern’s OSEP website, “We are creating experimental facilities via remote online laboratories that enable students and educators to use real instruments, rather than simulations, to carry out experiments from anywhere at any time. Unlike conventional facilities, iLabs can be shared and accessed widely by audiences across the world that might not otherwise have the resources to purchase and operate costly or delicate lab equipment.”
Vondracek’s work to help expand the options for iLabs may have a far-reaching impact on high school educators around the country and the world. “I see iLabs ultimately as something that can help even out the playing field of education,” he stated in a Northwestern web article. “As the number and types of experiments that are accessible online increases, all students at all types of schools will have access to the same opportunities and curricula.” Additional details about Vondracek’s background and efforts at ETHS are included on the Northwestern OSEP website:
For more information about iLabs, visit http://www.ilabcentral.org.
Evanston High School Speech Team continues successful season
Evanston Township High School students participated in December speech tournaments held in Elk Grove Village (Elk Grove Invitational) and in Palatine (Pirates’ Booty Invitational). Results include the following:
December 7 (Elk Grove Village)
- Noah Eisfelder - finalist in Oratorical Declamation
For complete tournament results, visit https://www.speechwire.com/r-tournament.php?tournid=2098
December 14 (Palatine)
- Noah Eisfelder – 3rd Place in Declamation and 4th Place in Humorous Interpretation
- Ben Moberly – 6th Place in Extemporaneous Speaking
- Harold Myers – finalist in Radio Speaking and Impromptu Speaking
For complete tournament results, visit
ETHS students earn impressive finishes at debate tournament
Evanston Township High School students participated in the largest debate tournament in the state of Iowa on December 13-15, 2013. The Dowling Catholic Paradigm tournament featured competition in all speech and debate events and attracted competitors from outside the state and region.
ETHS Debate team members earned impressive finishes in multiple events and according to Jeff Hannan, ETHS Debate coach, the team had possibly its best tournament ever in West Des Moines. Results include the following:
- Honor Allen (freshman) competing at just her third tournament, placed higher than several varsity students in each of her rounds of extemporaneous and spontaneous speaking.
- Logan Pearlman (sophomore) made the final round of spontaneous speaking, finishing in 5th place. They delivered speeches on topics such as green technology in the armed forces, the protests in Ukraine, and the state of bipartisan cooperation in the US Senate.
- Danny Frank-Siegel (freshman) reached the semi-final round of Novice Lincoln-Douglas debate.
- Eric Weine and Joey Schnide (juniors) reached the round of 32 and the round of 16, respectively, in Varsity Lincoln-Douglas debate. They were debating the topic “In the US criminal justice system, truth-seeking ought to be valued above attorney-client privilege.”
- Two ETHS two teams were entered in Public Forum debate - Kevin Klyman and Graham Straus (juniors) and James Long and Russell Fillmore-Brady (seniors). Klyman and Straus reached the semi-final round; Long and Fillmore-Brady reached the final round, finishing as tournament runner-ups. Along the way, Klyman and Straus were named the 2nd and 7th overall speakers at the tournament (184 students total in Public Forum), and both teams earned bids to the Tournament of Champions (TOC). Klyman and Straus are now fully qualified to the TOC. They were debating the topic “Immigration reform should include a path to citizenship.”
“Every student on the trip met important competitive and educational goals,” remarked Hannan. “I was most proud, though, of the way every student supported each other and celebrated each other’s successes.”
ETHS Chess Team wins top spots in local competitions
Chess teams from Evanston Township High School teams were entered in the Trail Blazing All-Grade Championship, a tournament held on December 14. Both of the freshman/sophomore teams earned a 3-1 score and the junior/senior team tied for first place in their event.
Individual results included:
- Nathan Holzmueller (sophomore) – 3rd place, Board 1
- Nate Tracey-Amoroso (freshman) – 3rd place, Board 3
- Eli Goering (junior) – 2nd place, Board 1
- Bennedict Brady (junior) – 2nd place, Board 2
- Henry McDonald (junior) – 1st place, Board 3
- Justin Liao (junior) – 1st place, Board 4
For full tournament results, visit http://theicca.wikispaces.com/ICCA+All-Grade.
At the West Chicago Tournament held in November, the ETHS Chess Team earned 2nd place honors and Henry McDonald (junior) won 1st place, Board 3. Full tournament results are online: http://theicca.wikispaces.com/West+Chicago+Team+Tournament