Rowan Shimer and Alex Thomas.

The start of classes at Evanston Township High School on Monday will have an overlay of sadness due to the passing of an incoming freshman, as well as an ETHS employee who was also an alumnus.

A website message says that ETHS is “deeply saddened by the loss of two members of our school community.”

Rowan Shimer, a member of the Class of 2026, passed away on Aug. 11.

Alex Thomas, part of the Safety Department staff for nine years, died on Aug. 12. Thomas had also been a football and girls’ track coach.

Thomas’ wife, Djuwanna (Keisha) Frazier, was a former ETHS employee and is a Pom Kits coach.

The causes of death were not released, however, the school says the deaths were not related. In both cases, ETHS says additional information about services will be made available depending on the wishes of each family.

“Many of our students and staff,” the school adds, “may have a difficult time dealing with the loss of fellow Wildkits, and may experience an array of emotions, including anxiety, sadness, and anger.”

Families are encouraged to talk about the sad news, ETHS adds, noting also that counseling services will be available at the high school on the first day of classes, and also at the Day School, where Thomas was most recently assigned.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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