The Evanstonian

ETHS fails students by omitting POC from awards

Senior Sofia Garcia presents at awards.

Jonah Charlton

Senior Sofia Garcia presents at awards.

Trinity Collins, Opinion Editor

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ETHS is 55.9 percent people of color; however, there was not one person of color who was a recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Awards in attendance this year, perpetuating stereotypes.

At the most recent Distinguished Alumni Awards, Dec. 4, there were eight recipients: five in attendance, two posthumous and one recipient of the Superintendent Award. Only one recipient was a person of color. She died in 1948.

This year, the recipients were overwhelmingly white, which is detrimental to student identity..

If the Distinguished Alumni Awards’ purpose, according the school website, is “to inspire today’s students to follow their own pursuit of excellence,” they must be inclusive of the intersectionalities that exist within the school.

This not just limited to the lack of racial representation. There is also a lack of representation for all identities. In order to inspire students,  representatives must be present, whether that be gender identity, sexual preference, race or socioeconomic background. Students will only look up to the individuals to which they relate to.

Not only do the awards tell the student body that students of color cannot succeed but it also speaks volumes to the school’s idea of success. Those awarded succeed in white America, in areas such as academic, corporate America, or ‘traditional’ music. The school failed to recognize out of the box thinkers like Lena Waithe: the first black woman to win an Emmy for outstanding comedy writing.

Although, the Distinguished Alumni Award Selection Committee is limited to the number, and type, of submission. The recipients are reflective of the nomination pool. Thus,  if alumni and current students only nominate whites then the recipients are primarily white.

In order to make strides to inclusive representation, it falls both on the students and the committee to ensure that the school is recognizing all excellence.

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ETHS fails students by omitting POC from awards