Last letter from your 2019-2020 student representatives


Photo courtesy of Echo Allen, Isaac Slevin.

Student Representative Echo Allen and Vice Student Representative Isaac Slevin.

Isaac Slevin and Echo Allen

Hi ETHS, for the final time this year this is Echo Allen, your Student Representative to the School Board, and Isaac Slevin, your Vice Student Representative. 

We’ve felt so lucky to have been your Student Rep and Vice Student Rep this year! We want to acknowledge the projects we’ve worked on and the amazing people we’ve worked with to make ETHS a safer and stronger community. 

Who we are and what we do

As a non-voting member of the School Board, the Student Rep has the ability to comment on Board proposals and decisions, voice student concerns directly to administrators, and orchestrate student-led policy change. 

The second key role of the Student Rep and Vice Student Rep is leading Student Union, which is still working to change school policies even while we’re not in school. 

COVID-19 response

The collaboration among students and families during the COVID-19 pandemic is a testament to the strength of the ETHS and Evanston communities. We’ve been working as administrators for a mutual aid organization—Evanston Aid—with Evanston community members, ETHS alumni, and current students. Evanston Aid is a volunteer-driven organization created to connect people with resources during COVID-19. The Evanston Aid system is built on the foundational idea that we all have needs and we all have the ability to give. The relationships born from this truth are the bedrock of true community.

We got a new logo thanks to an amazing graphic designer, Catie Bryant, and converted our Instagram page—@eths.studentunion—to be a hub for information about community resources like food, healthcare, volunteering, and e-learning. We also helped mobilize student volunteers by providing opportunities for you to mentor younger students and sew masks for families in need.

The work we’ve done during the pandemic has only been possible through your continued support, whether it was reposting our information, sharing resources with family members and friends, or directly contributing yourself.

Tardy policy

Thanks to the concerns you shared with us at the Witherbell Forum in December, we’ve made strides in changing the tardy policy. The committee includes students, teachers, administrators, safety, and IT staff. This group has completed the construction of a new system that will be rolled out next fall! The system relies on teachers to record tardies, instead of requiring students to leave class and get a tardy pass from a safety officer. Next year, students will also have additional ways to serve tardies, including during AM Support.

Climate Crisis

Another project we’ve been proud to work on is the Sustainability Committee, which combines the voices of students, teachers, administrators, community members, and environmental professionals in working towards better environmental policy at ETHS. Thanks to amazing student leaders and collaboration with E-town Sunrise, the committee spearheaded initiatives such as a composting pilot in the South study cafe. Next year, the Committee will continue this work with Kevin Campbell, an environmental consultant ETHS hired to help make the school more sustainable.

Student activists in E-town Sunrise have been educating and motivating students and adults alike, leading us to explore intentional and inclusive climate activism and policy. Working with E-town Sunrise has broadened our understanding of what climate justice should look like, and how dedicated we need to be to adequately respond to the climate crisis.

Other Events and Projects

In November, we organized an event centered around combating hate speech in the United States. We hosted speakers from the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Illinois Holocaust Museum, our very own community leaders on the front lines of fighting hate in Evanston, as well as our US Representative—Jan Schakowsky. 

Ahead of the Illinois primary election in March, we worked with the Community Service club to educate student voters about the candidates. We are confident that similar and larger scale work will be crucial next fall with the Presidential election.

Another project to look forward to next year is gender equity training for teachers! The training was developed in collaboration between Student Union and a collective of students activists and staff. Recently the project was also taken on by members of Emerge. The goal of the training is to provide a space for ETHS staff to develop their educational practices and create more equitable and safe environments for all students, inclusive of intersectional identities

Finally, the Witherbell Forum had its fourth anniversary! Ever since we began working on it our freshman year, Student Union has continued to explore ways to better include the student voice of our evolving student body. It is an important time for students to have conversations about our school with each other and administrators. At the beginning of each year, Witherbell has informed the work we’ve done all year long. 

Thank you!

This year has been such an exciting and informative year for us because of the opportunity to work with so many students and community members doing so much important and inspiring work. 

We also want to thank The Evanstonian for giving us the opportunity to connect with students with a column every month. Our goal was to make students more aware and connected to the work we do, and it was a joy for us to work with each other and with the Evanstonian’s editors.

Thank you Mr. Pond, Dr. Campbell, Dr. Witherspoon, and everyone on the school board for encouraging us to use our platform to contribute to this special community. It has been a pleasure and an honor to be your Student Rep and Vice Student Rep. We are also so excited for Carmyia Bady, the newly elected Student Rep for next school year! We know she will do amazing things next year with this inspiring ETHS community!

Until next time… 

We all can and need to imagine. We need to imagine what our communities, large and small, in Evanston and outside, should look like. Some people are calling these circumstances unique, and that is true in many ways. However, it has always been imperative that we act to create change in our imperfect society. Any person in any space can share something insightful and wise. We can’t wait to hear what wise and insightful things you all come up with and the ways you create change in our school and our world.

Stay safe and stay engaged! <3