Some 20 years ago, a dozen Evanston men got together on a monthly basis to read and discuss short stories. One of the group was Bruce Mitchell, a retired English teacher from Evanston Township High School.

Last year his fellow short story enthusiasts suggested to him that they all chip in to provide a monetary award to an ETHS student who shows promise as a writer of short stories.

The upshot was the Bruce E. Mitchell Award for Short Story Writing, with a stipend for the winner of $600. The first recipient of this award was named yesterday afternoon at the English Department’s annual Pen & Press Tea. The winner was Lauren Cooper, a junior.

More than 70 entries were received in the competition. In a blind judging, where the name of the author is withheld, a group of ETHS English teachers had winnowed the entries down to six, which the Evanston Men’s Short Story Club read and discussed at their regular meeting earlier this month. After discussion, they agreed upon the winner and they designated Mitchell to present the check to Cooper.

More than 100 students received recognition at the Pen & Press Tea yesterday, most of them seniors.

Derek Guimond is congratulated by his parents.

Capping the afternoon was an award to the senior designated by the faculty as the “Best All Around English Student,” an award that went to Derek Guidmond, who also won a national award from the National Council of Teachers of English.

Top: Lauren Cooper with retired ETHS English teacher Bruce Mitchell.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

Join the Conversation


  1. Best Teacher!

    I graduated from ETHS over 20 years ago and out of all the teachers I've ever had, including college and grad school, Mr. Mitchell remains my favorite.  He had an amazing amount of passion for his craft and unrivaled dedication to his students.  He saw potential in everyone and knew how to push them to be their best.  I'm so glad to see that he is still out there encouraging and inspiring!

  2. Mr. Mitchell

    I too graduated from ETHS 20 plus years ago and still have very fond memories of Mr. Mitchell!  He was a phenomenal teacher who constantly challenged me to go further than my self-imposed limitations.  My love for English and writing was born from my time as Mr. Mitchell's student.  It's awesome to see that he is still making such an impact, and that he still has that infectious, winning smile!      

  3. Dr. Bruce Mitchell

    i went to high school with Dr. Mitchell.  At that time, he would never be confused as a scholar or serious student.  But…….he was passionate, personable, and positive.  Having learned years ago that he became an educator, I knew that he would be the very best.  I was right!   Life is good.

    1. I remember…

      I remember Mr. Mitchell talking about his circuitous path to teaching.  That was one of the things that made him such a powerful teacher.  Here was a guy who hadn't always made the best choices and wasn't the most dedicated student, but he got his stuff together and found his passion. 

  4. Trying to reach Bruce Mitchell

    My wife and I are currently in the process of buying a house that was designed for Marguerite Mitchell who I believe is Bruce Mitchell's mother.  If anyone know a way to contact him, let me know.


    Bob Guehne

  5. How to reach Dr. Mitchell

    Bruce Mitchell is a co owner of Prairie Moon restaurant in Evanston.  He can be reached there.  

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published.