Four years of fire: timeline of events

This timeline captures the national to local events that have resonated with the class of 2020. 

Fall 2016 – Summer 2017 

Standing Rock and DAPL protests heat up–Summer 2016

Native Americans and climate activists nationwide came together to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota feared the DAPL—which would transport crude oil—would threaten sacred native lands and contaminate their water supply from the Missouri River.

Cubs win world series–Nov. 3, 2016

For the first time in 108 years, the Chicago Cubs won the world series after they successfully beat the Cleveland Indians in the seventh game of the series in the tenth inning following a dramatic rain break. Chicago rejoiced with a parade attended by an audience of more than five million

Trump Election–Nov. 9, 2016

Donald J. Trump won the electoral college with 306 electoral votes to Hillary Clinton’s 232 electoral votes. Trump became the president-elect despite Clinton winning the popular vote with 2.87 million more votes.

Hagerty elected- Runoff against Mark Tendam on April 4, 2017

*First WitherBell Forum — May 2017

To foster communication between students and administration, ETHS’ Emerge and Student Senate organized the school-day forum to invite over 400 students to discuss topics such as race at ETHS and the grading policy with superintendent Eric Witherspoon and principal Marcus Campbell. 

Charlottesville Riots–Aug. 12, 2017

White supremacist protesters gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia objecting to the removal of a public park statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The protesters carried tiki torches and shouted racist and anti-semetic chants. Their clash with civil rights activists turned violent. The riots sparked a debate over the extent to which free speech should be protected in the United States.

Solar Eclipse–Aug. 21, 2017

During a solar eclipse, the moon passes between the sun and the earth, covering the sun. Prior to 2017, the last time the contiguous United States saw a total solar eclipse was in 1979. Over 200,000 people travelled to southern Illinois to see totality at its longest duration of 2 minutes 40.2 seconds.

*First LGBTQ+ Summit — April 18, 2017 

In alignment with the Social Consciousness series, the Gender & Sexuality Alliance and staff volunteers coordinated a day of workshops and performances for students to engage in conversations around gender expression, gender identity and sexual orientation.  

Fall 2017 – Summer 2018 

Charlottesville Riots — Aug. 12, 2017

White supremacist protesters gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia objecting to the removal of a public park statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The protesters carried tiki torches and shouted racist and anti-semetic chants. Their clash with civil rights activists turned violent. The riots sparked a debate over the extent to which free speech should be protected in the United States.

*Year of the Black Male — Aug. 24, 2017

Superintendent Eric Witherspoon states in his article “Not Just Celebrating Diversity: Working Collectively to Achieve Equity” that ETHS will focus on the academic achievement of its black male students.

#MeToo movement reignites–Oct. 15, 2017

Tarana Burke’s 2006 Me Too movement to raise awareness about sexual assault is revived as numerous sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein and published in The New York Times. The movement gains mass traction in the coming months with hundreds taking action.

Parkland Shooting–Feb. 14, 2018

At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a former student opened fire, killing 17 people and injuring another 17. This prompted a national, student-led movement for gun control laws including the March For Our Lives national school walkouts in which ETHS participated.

*March for our Lives — Mar. 24, 2018- Thousands of ETHS students participate in the national March For Our Lives walkout to speak out for gun reform following the Parkland shooting, nationally broadcasted. 

Facebook congressional hearings –April 2018

CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg appeared in Senate hearings to address the Cambridge Analytica data scandal which resulted in collecting and utilizing information from millions of users without their consent.

The Royal Wedding — May. 19, 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have their wedding ceremony at the Windsor Castle in the U.K., making Markle one of few Americans to marry into the royal family and the first person of mixed race to do so.

California wildfires — Summer 2018

The ongoing deadly wildfires in California continue to devastate land and homes across the state.

Fall 2018 – Summer 2019 

*First ETHS Parent Summit – Oct. 13 2018 

ETHS’ social consciousness series continues with its first Saturday summit experience for parents and guardians to discuss race and equity in education. 

Kavanaugh hearings–September 2018

Following his nomination by President Trump, Justice Brett Kavanaugh is heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Testimony made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford regarding assault by Kavanaugh goes viral. Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Senate on Oct. 6 by a vote of 50-48.

Midterms bring blue wave –Nov. 3, 2018

With the highest voter turnout for a midterm election since 1914, the Democrats gained 41 seats in the House of Representatives giving them control of the chamber. Alongside this victory, were seven Democratic governors—including Governor J.B. Pritzker—and six state legislatures. 

*ETHS does its first e–learning day — Feb. 22, 2019 

Following approval from the Illinois State Board of Education, ETHS students experienced their first e-learning day to make-up for a school day lost to extreme cold temperatures that shutdown campus the previous month. 

Operation Varsity Blues–March 12, 2019

After seven years of conspiracy, William Singer’s college admissions scandal was busted. Over 53 people have been indicted with involvement in the ring which funneled money through the Key Worldwide Foundation to boost test scores and bribe college officials.

Women win the world cup–July 7, 2019

After 52 intense matches, the US Women’s National Soccer Team won its fourth Women’s World Cup title defeating Belgium in the final match 2-0. Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe tied for most goals made with six each and the latter was named Best Player.

ICE raids late summer–Aug. 7, 2019

Over 680 undocumented immigrants were apprehended from farms and factories across Mississippi, sparking fear in immigrant communities the nation over that something similar would occur.  

Fall 2019 – Spring 2020 

Greta takes the world by storm–Fall 2019

Over the course of several months, climate activist Greta Thunberg gained mass traction in her movement for school climate strikes being named Time Person of the Year and receiving a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Trump impeached– Dec. 18, 2019

The House of Representatives officially votes to impeach president Trump for an alleged abuse of presidential power for political gain in relations with Ukraine, and obstructing Congress in their investigations, making him the third US president to ever be impeached.

*Evanston establishes reparations fund – Winter 2019 – 2020

In preparation for the legalization of marijuana, city officials began plans to use the tax from cannabis sales for a reparation fund for its black residents. 

World War III–Jan. 8, 2020

Following the death of Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike, tensions with Iran flared as two US air bases in Iraq were hit by ballistic missiles. These events led many across the internet to declare the imminence of a third world war.

Kobe Bryant dies–Jan. 26, 2020

Record-breaking basketball player Kobe Bryant, 41, and his daughter Gianna, 13, both died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California leaving the whole country mourning his inspirational legacy.

COVID-19 Pandemic–Spring 2020

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way that our society operates and has shut down schools and businesses across the globe. While the advent of technology has aided in the fight against the disease, misinformation campaigns and long periods of isolation have made the fight increasingly difficult.