Wildkit Ensemble fosters creativity, inclusivity

Sophia McCandlish, Assistant Sports Editor

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Wildkit Ensemble, a new fine arts course this year, is in full swing. Karla Clark, choir teacher, and Elizabeth Brent, special education teacher, co-teach the class that combines general education and special education students to create art. Wildkit Ensemble will showcase their hard work and growth throughout this semester in a performance in the auditorium on Nov. 25 at 11 am during fourth and fifth period for free.

Choir teacher Karla Clark

What is Wildkit Ensemble?

A brand new course at Evanston Township High School and it’s a course where you have general education students as well as special education students, and we get together and we make the arts our focus. That may look like a performance, that may look like painting, that may look like theater [and] that may look like a musical concert, which we do have coming up.

Why did you choose to produce a performance? 

The goal is just to spread love… as the audience watches us. Everyone has a different ability. Let’s bring those abilities together to create something beautiful, and the way that it shows up is the way that it shows up. There are going to be nine different program numbers. There’s dancing and singing. 

What is the history behind Wildkit Ensemble?

Our department chair, Nick Gehl, saw a few performances from High Five Choir, which is the same concept. It takes students who are special education students and students who are general education, and they come together to perform and create; they create this wonderful community of leadership and support. He saw that, and said ‘hey that would be really cool to implement here at ETHS’. That was two years ago. Here we are today with our particular choir up and running.

What goes into making Wildkit Ensemble happen?

We meet everyday first period. It is the students working together, it’s us learning music and it’s them building relationships with one another. That’s really one of the foundations of the group. Our main goal is to build a legacy of love.

Check out Clark’s extended audio interview HERE

Senior Sylvi Imrem

What has your experience in Wildkit Ensemble been like?

It is hands down my favorite class I’ve taken all of high school! Having W.E. first period makes me excited to go to school. I always show up to second period whistling, singing or both. I am so glad I’ve had the opportunity to take this class and I wish everyone could take it.

What have you learned since being in this class?

I think I have learned a lot about meeting people where they are and honoring people as they are. Everyone in the class has vastly different life experiences and forms of expression and some of the stuff we do gets pretty complicated and difficult, so I have learned that it is important to make people feel recognized for expressing themselves the best they can.

What is the class community like?

The community in class is very much like a family. Everyone is asked to be a leader and make everyone in the class feel comfortable with the task at hand. On Fridays we often have game days where we are encouraged to freely connect with our classmates. We are given every opportunity to get to know everyone in the class, make new friends and do our best work together.

What is your favorite part about the class?

I love how different this class is than any other class I have taken. We do something different every day, and it’s always a blast. I get to learn new skills and make new friends every day. I wouldn’t trade my semester in W.E. for anything. Wildkit Ensemble members practice for their performance.