ETHS Foundation’s ‘Wild for ETHS’ honors Superintendent Witherspoon’s legacy

On Saturday, Apr. 2, the ETHS Foundation hosted its annual 21+ fundraising event, WILD for ETHS, with the goal of raising $175,000 to further improve ETHS’ facilities and better the lives of its students. After holding the yearly benefit party virtually last year, the foundation returned to an in-person setting at the Robert Crown Community Center, where parents and alumni celebrated ETHS and its students while raising crucial funds for the school. This year, the event was dedicated to honoring the 16-year tenure and legacy of retiring superintendent, Eric Witherspoon. 

At this year’s fundraiser, close to 200 attendees listened to student stories, danced to music from alum Ken Arlen ‘71’s Evolution Band and had a wide selection of local food and beverages at their disposal. With the added bonus of the many raffles occurring throughout the night, the ETHS Foundation raised over $170,000 for ETHS at, as the foundation suggested, “Evanston’s most inspiring party of the year.” Although not yet meeting the $175,000 target as of Apr. 11, the foundation continues to receive additional donations and may hit its goal in the near future. 

With this year’s donations, the ETHS Foundation aims to improve equitable resources, such as closing the digital divide. It also plans on expanding student assistance programs, like the music scholarship fund, and constructing a new Physical Education Flex Classroom. Furthermore, the South Community Room is planned to be renamed Alumni Hall, and will be remodeled to become “a dynamic, flexible, future-driven multi-purpose learning space,” as said on the foundation’s website. The Geometry in Construction and the Senior Capstone STEAM Innovation and Design courses are also areas the foundation wants to further fund and improve. 

Honoring Superintendent Eric Witherspoon at the fundraiser, the ETHS Foundation presented him with the inaugural “Crystal Spoon Award.” The inscription read as follows:

In honor of your dedication to Evanston Township High School and for furthering excellence and equity in education for all ETHS students. With gratitude for championing a stronger and more impactful ETHS Foundation, inspiring alumni and the wider community to transform the ETHS campus.”

Rick Kolsky, the president of the ETHS Foundation, then remarked that Witherspoon’s “…vision was instrumental in the foundation’s initial formation more than a decade ago, and he has been a tireless champion and resource to the board, both as a fundraiser and as an advocate for transformative capital projects,” as the Evanston RoundTable reported. 

Superintendent Witherspoon later graciously accepted the award with his signature phrase, “It’s a great day to be a Wildkit!” 

This year’s WILD for ETHS was a “…wonderful night of support for all students from the Wildkit Community,” said Sarah P. Schmidt, the associate executive director of the ETHS Foundation.