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Lifelong Ram fan now cheering for Trojans

As West and Southeast Polk meet on Trojan Field on Friday Aug. 26 for the first football game of the year, there could be a conflict of interest for new Dean of Students Justin Colbert.

Some would say since new West High Dean of Students Justin Colbert was a lifelong Southeast Polk Ram, he may have a conflict of interest at Friday night’s football game when West meets SEP down at Trojan Field.

Colbert graduated from SEP high school in 2004, and stayed in the Des Moines area as he went to Drake University for his undergraduate degree. Colbert then returned to The SEP district teaching US History and AP US History for eight years at the high school there. He was also the head sophomore coach and defensive coordinator/defensive back varsity coach for the Rams last fall.

Moving to this position I thought it was neat because it is like paying tribute to where I have been and what I had done and then pushing me towards something new.”

— Justin Colbert, Dean of Students

Having his old world and new world collide in his first week at West is something Colbert is excited about.

“It makes it interesting if anything,” Colbert said, “Moving to this position I thought it was neat because it is like paying tribute to where I have been and what I had done and then pushing me towards something new.”

In the 2015 football season, West went 5-7 and SEP went 6-5. Both schools had a record of 4-1 in their respective conference; West in the Mississippi Valley Conference (MVC) and SEP in the Central Iowa Metropolitan League (CIML).

But that was last year.

It’s now the 2016 season and Colbert is keen to find out how the two schools will stack up against each other.

“It’s always interesting that first game of the year because obviously every year you have kids that are graduating, and then you also have a new crop of kids moving up from sophomore to varsity,” Colbert said, “So there is a lot of unknown and I’m interested to see how Iowa City West will be and interested in how SEP is going to be.”

When Colbert took the Dean position at West, he realized it would be his first time moving away from the Des Moines Metro area.

“I’m really enjoying [Iowa City] so far” Colbert said, “I’ve only been up here about two weeks […] but from the time I’ve spent here, I love it.”

Even though people will be going different directions next year, this year we really want to come together and make this year as special as possible.”

— Justin Colbert, Dean of Students

Coming from the Des Moines area, Colbert is familiar with a new high school coming to a district. The SEP Community School District is nearby the Ankeny Community School District and Colbert watched carefully as Ankeny added Ankeny Centennial High School in 2013.

“They really focused in and made that last year really special before they did split,” Colbert said,  “And they had, athletically and academically, a great year. And I hope it’s the same thing at west.”

The West High Administration also wishes to bring the school together this year as one.

“This year will be really unique. We’re really trying to push from an administrative standpoint and staff standpoint that this is one school,” Colbert said, “Even though people will be going different directions next year, this year we really want to come together and make this year as special as possible. And next year, I don’t know, it will be interesting to see what happens. It’s exciting for the district, it’s exciting for this school, and for Liberty High.”

With around 2,300 high school students last year, SEP had even discussed adding a second high school to the district sometime in the future, while Colbert was there. But no plans have been made at this time.

Schools overflowing with students seems to be a trend in Iowa, and Colbert sees it as a good thing.

“People are finding out that Iowa is a good place to live,” Colbert said, “A lot of times from an outside perspective, it gets a bad rap, like ‘Oh what is there in Iowa? Cornfields and whatever else.’ But there is a lot of good things going on in a lot of different places around the state.”

 

For updates on the Southeast Polk vs. West game, follow the West Side Story on twitter @wssathletics. The game starts at 7:15 pm at West’s home football field, Trojan Field.

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The student news site of West High School
Lifelong Ram fan now cheering for Trojans