Districts 65 and 202 have a long history of joining together, offering programs to introduce younger students to explore the opportunities in store once they reach high school. District 65 students have the chance to come to ETHS during the Visual Arts Open House, Band Day, Orchestra Day and Choir Day. High school students utilize these days as a way to mentor younger students and showcase what the high school programs have to offer.
The Visual Arts Open House and Exhibition showcase District 65 student artwork at ETHS. Students in Evanston public schools grades K-12 read a chosen poem chosen each year by ETHS and District 65 staff. This year’s poem is Respiration by Jamaal May. ETHS art teacher Daria McMeans talks about keeping close connections with District 65.
“There’s a direct relationship [between the districts]. Students go through the elementary program and then come here. Fine arts teachers also can have a moment to get together, and the goal is to bring the Evanston fine arts community together,” says McMeans.
Students create a piece of artwork conveying their interpretation of the poem. This year, the exhibition is on Nov. 13 in the main auditorium and is open to the public. The event allows elementary and middle schoolers to display their work alongside high school students, and observe high school art rooms and meet the fine arts teachers.
Monica Vick, the Lincolnwood Elementary School art teacher, talks about the importance of the program.
“What students do in elementary school and middle school set them up for high school,” Vick says. “There are so many choices when you decide what classes to take, and the exhibition shows younger students what’s out there and available. The [district] collaborations are super important.”
In addition to the partnership with drawing and painting classes at ETHS, the music program holds Band Day; students from all of the feeder middle schools enrolled in the band program learn a song and get the chance to come together at ETHS and play it collectively.
“We [district 65 and 202 teachers] want to be collegial because we share the same passion for teaching and for the music, and we want to make sure we’re doing this together.” ETHS band teacher Matthew Bufis says., “We wouldn’t be able to do the things that we’re doing at the high school if the students didn’t come from a great start.”
This day gives aspiring musicians the opportunity to see the ETHS marching band and get introduced to what the band program has to offer. A few other district music connections include a Chute Middle School mentorship program and jazz music night.
Sophomore Enrique Renteria talks about what band day was like as a middle school student and the importance of keeping connections between District 202 and District 65 performing programs.
“I felt inspired because I came from a small school and seeing a lot of different people play and all the different instruments really drew me. I think the music programs are very valuable, but we can’t continue [the programs] without first reaching out,” Renteria says.
Similarly to Band Day, Evanston public schools offer other music programs, including Orchestra and Choir Day, respectively taking place on Nov. 7 and Jan. 7. Choir day splits middle school choirs by vocal section and allows high school choir students to work with the younger students. ETHS choir singers directly teach different song parts to the middle school students and help as well as encourage them throughout the day.
Senior JeanneVyves Idzikowski talks about embracing the mentor role of ETHS students to younger students during Choir Day.
“The goal of Choir Day is not only to share a musical experience but to inspire younger kids to take choir and help those who are genuinely passionate. There are so many arts, and we want to introduce kids to all the opportunities and have them try out different things.” Idzikowski says.
Bridging Districts 65 and 202 develops and encourages young artists and musicians to continue their work. Students and teachers alike look forward to hosting more events and expanding the relations between districts.