Throughout this current school year, the administration has done a phenomenal job of bringing in speakers who are not only willing to share their insight, but take questions from students as well. It would be reasonable to assume that, given ETHS students’ tendencies to be politically outspoken, students would be chomping at the bit to attend these events and ask tough questions. However, our experience in attending these events shows that this has not been the case.
We at the Evanstonian commend the school for branching out and bringing in speakers they deem to be meaningful to students. We believe that the administration has done their part, but now it’s time for students to rise to the occasion and display the same eagerness and strength that they do in classroom discourse.
Over the past four weeks, ETHS has played host and given students an opportunity to engage with the likes of Ta-Nehisi Coates, Dr. Marcus Campbell, Dr. Eric Witherspoon and Evanston Mayor Steve Hagerty. Most high school students do not have access to opportunities like these, yet we at Evanston Township have failed to take advantage of our privilege.
Each and every one of these speakers opened the floor for questions from students. ETHS students have a reputation for being politically active and outspoken, whether that is conducting a “walk-out” in response to Trump’s presidency, protesting the dress code, participating in a sit-in during the school day or even engaging in passionate political discussions in the classroom.
The opportunity to ask these powerful people tough questions is a great way to voice your concerns and receive meaningful feedback. However, from our personal experiences at these events, there were not very strong questions asked of these speakers, and the hard-hitting issues that students have expressed concerns about received very little airtime.
Now, there of course were exceptions. Some students posed phenomenal questions — we believe that other students can learn from them. The key is to come prepared. Devise some questions beforehand. Brainstorm questions about topics that mean the most to you. Don’t be afraid of adults. They came here to talk to YOU, the students. They want to hear your questions.
We at the Evanstonian applaud the administration for providing students with plenty of opportunities to have their voices heard by powerful individuals. We believe that, now, it’s time for students to rise to the occasion and demonstrate the political eagerness that’s evident elsewhere in the school to those who can make a difference. One good question goes a long way, we can all make an impact.