Students and parents entering and leaving freshman orientation at ETHS Monday. Credit: Jeff Hirsh

“Excuse me, sir,” said the nervous youngster outside Evanston Township High School this morning.

“Can you tell me where I need to go for freshman orientation?”

Unfortunately, the question was asked to a journalist, not an ETHS staff member.

That journalist (yours truly) could only reply, politely “Sorry, I don’t work here. Just go in that door and they can help you.”

On Monday and Tuesday about 850 freshmen will be helped, as members of the Class of 2027, sign the necessary forms, receive their Chromebooks, and learn to navigate the huge ETHS physical plant, all part of first-year-student orientation.

That physical plant will be more energy-efficient this year.

According to the district, the HVAC system in the auditorium has been upgraded, to “improve temperature, air flow, and air quality,” while reducing energy consumption and saving the district money.

A new energy-efficient classroom was also added to the gym wing, and portable bike racks are now located outside.

14-year-old Francesca DeCastro was among those attending orientation, accompanied by her mom, Krista DeCastro.

Krista DeCastro and daughter Francesca after freshman orientation at ETHS.

“We love ETHS,” Krista said.

“I’m excited, Francesca added. “I think it’s going to be fun.”

Francesca’s older sister Eva will be an ETHS senior this school year.

Because the COVID-19 epidemic forced ETHS onto remote learning for most of the 2020-21 academic calendar, “my older daughter didn’t get to have freshman orientation or most of her freshman year in person,” Krista said.

Francesca’s freshman class at ETHS will be bigger than the entire student body at Nichols Middle School, from which she graduated last spring.

But unlike some freshmen, Francesca is not worried about being intimidated by the big ETHS building and the large size of the incoming class.

“I like big schools,” she said.

“I think I’ll thrive.”

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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1 Comment

  1. I sure hope they fix the cafeteria situation this year… South Cafeteria was absolutely awful last year, and with more students it will just get more crowded I’m sure.

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