The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian


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Calvin Terrell addresses ETHS freshman class, encourages social, emotional growth

Calvin Terrell spoke to the ETHS freshman class on Oct. 24 as part of Wildkit Futures Day. His annual presentation focuses on social and emotional growth, with the goal of inspiring students to be better than history.

“We’re going to do some really fun things in this room, but we’re also going to be really honest,” said Terrell as he began his speech. “Today is a real conversation.”

His subsequent presentation covered many topics, including respect, race, perspective and the future of the planet.

Instead of presenting from the stage as a traditional speaker would, Terrell walked through the aisles throughout the speech and sometimes spoke into the crowd without a microphone. He also used bubble machines and paused the speech to give students time to talk to others sitting near them about the topic at hand.

“It definitely made me think about myself in ways I haven’t thought about before,” said a sophomore who attended the same presentation last year. 

Many students took away new ideas from the presentation, but some found it more engaging than others.

“He was a really good presenter, but at some point I started zoning out because it was so long,” said a freshman who attended this year’s speech.

One of Terrell’s main talking points was his personal experience with violence in his past, and how that shaped him as a person. Towards the end of the speech, he became very emotional as he talked about his family members who died. He showed the auditorium a video from his nephew’s funeral, where attendees attached messages to colorful balloons and sent them into the sky.

Attendance was mandatory for the freshman class, and many teachers attended Terrell’s speech with their FASH classes.

“I definitely think students connected with it, it was very relatable for them,” said Lindsay Bermudez, a World Language teacher at ETHS. “We can learn to overcome and celebrate [our] differences and move forward as a society.”

At the end of the speech, Terrell wrapped up with a call to action, encouraging students to make the difference they want to see in the world.

“Please don’t waste your life,” Terrell said. “This is our world, we need a future that is safe. I’m begging you to be better than history, better than the past.”

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Keira Beaudoin, Staff Writer
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    LAURIE LAWLOROct 29, 2023 at 10:58 am

    Thanks for the article! Some very good advice from the speaker: “Don’t waste your life.” For people young and old —a great reminder.