913 members of the Evanston Township High School Class of 2022 had something which the Classes of 2020 and 2021 did not have. A real, live, get-your-names-called, walk to the stage, hear your family cheer, honest-to-goodness graduation ceremony.
“You do realize,” said Superintendent Eric Witherspoon, “that you are an historic class.”
The Class of 2020 had a virtual graduation, and the Class of 2021’s ceremony was at the football stadium, with the class divided into several sections, alternating one after the other.
But this ceremony, on Sunday morning, was at Northwestern’s Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Graduating senior Joanna Tafolla, in her welcoming address, said that “after two long years of COVID we were finally able to get to today,” a “demonstration of all ouf our hard work.”
Samara Wilson gave the senior class remarks, pointing out that the final years of the students’ childhood were “challenging to say the least.
“But,” Wilson said, “we need to do more.’
“ETHS students don’t just tolerate change,” she stated. “We initiate it.”
Wilson also said what was Superintendent Witherspoon’s well-known remark, “it’s a great day to be a Wildkit.”
For Witherspoon, this was his final graduation ceremony after 16 years on the job. His retirement takes effect June 30, to be replaced by current principal Marcus Campbell.
Witherspoon told the graduates that everyone at ETHS looked up to them, in the first completely in-person school year since 2018-19.
“You carried our best traditions forward,” Witherspoon said, “and helped definte the new normal.”
“I love you,” the outgoing superintendent stated. “I will never forget you.”
And, of course, Witherspoon closed with “It’s a great day to be a Wildkit.”