High School Students Tour Campus on Kits and Cats Day

High School Students Tour Campus on Kits and Cats Day

More than 100 Evanston Township High School (ETHS) sophomores and juniors recently explored Northwestern University as part of Kits & Cats Day, a biannual initiative designed to expose high school students to a college campus and help them imagine their own academic and social lives.

The popular event, led by Northwestern student tour guides from a variety of majors, targets ETHS students who would be the first in their family to attend college and those who have not yet decided if they will go.

The students were welcomed by ETHS Superintendent Eric Witherspoon; Jabbar Bennett, associate provost and chief diversity officer at Northwestern; and Beth Arey, ETHS college and career coordinator, who explained different types of college opportunities.

“You need to be open to opportunities,” Arey said. “Know there may be a Plan B and Plan C. The path may meander because you lack awareness, but that’s what today is about. With awareness, you have access and, ultimately, success.”

In the morning, the high schoolers peeked into dorms, classrooms, workout facilities, and cafeterias during small group campus tours led by Northwestern students with similar interests.

After lunch in Allison Hall, students scattered across campus to the Block Museum of Art, the Segal Design Institute and several other locations for 45-minute classes on art, theater, design, communication sciences and disorders, engineering and more.

ETHS junior Erica Alfaro Gomar joined an introductory Cherubs Theater Improv class. She had no previous theater experience, but liked the class so much she plans to talk to her counselor about adding some classes to her schedule.

“I wanted to expose myself to new things” said Gomar, 16, who also attended Kits & Cats Day last year as a sophomore. “I was surprised how much I loved the improv class. I'm definitely looking into this.”

ETHS teacher and School of Education and Social Policy alumna Sabrina Ehmke (BS05), who was paired with School of Education and Social Policy junior Xiaowen Yang, particularly enjoyed the campus tour.

“Having Xiaowen lead the tour gave us better insight into his life as a student there, and he really dove into specific details about buildings, classes, and, most importantly, how to "do" college,” Ehmke said.

“It was the first college visit for many of our students,” Ehmke added. “Xiaowen's expertise was extremely helpful in giving them an idea of college life in general, not just at Northwestern.”

Kits & Cats is part of Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro's Good Neighbor, Great University initiative. The effort is led by the NU/ETHS Partnership Office and ETHS College & Career Services. The event is supported by the Office of STEM Education Partnerships (OSEP) at the School of Education and Social Policy and Northwestern’s Neighborhood & Community Relations. 

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 5/30/17