Trojans of all trades

The variety of activities students can choose from at West is immense and some students are involved in multiple high achieving extracurriculars. Here’s a look at some talented Trojans and how they balance both athletics and the arts.


Zoe Smith

Kyle Chi ’23, Cindy Wang ’24 and Matthew Jetton ’22 participate in their respective sports.

“Where Excellence is a Tradition”

West High’s motto is written in big bold letters at the front of the school. West High’s community has known that saying to be true by witnessing Trojans doing amazing things. From taking rigorous academic courses to winning state titles there is no question that the motto rings true. 

In the halls of West, you can find students doing a multitude of activities before the school day starts and late into the night after that bell rings seventh period. With over 1,500 students participating in various clubs, classes, performing arts and sports there is something for everyone at West High.

Many Trojans excel at the different activities West has to offer, a lot of them making it to very high levels from All-state choir to state championships to national competitions. Trojans can do a plethora of activities. But what about students who are athletes and musicians? Many West High students participate in West High’s award-winning music programs as well as competing for the Trojans in sports. Although an anomaly, a small group of Trojans excel at both their sport and instrument. Whether it’s lacing up those running shoes or tuning up a violin, performing simultaneously at a high level athletically and musically, while still keeping up with school comes with numerous amount of challenges. 

 For junior Kyle Chi, senior Matthew Jetton and sophomore Cindy Wang, this balancing act is their everyday life.

Kyle Chi ’23 Performs at the All-State Festival in Ames Iowa on Nov. 20, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Kyle Chi ’23)

Balancing all of their activities is no easy feat, Kyle Chi has been swimming and playing the trumpet for five years, performing in Wind Ensemble and Jazz ensemble West High’s most advanced bands his entire career is quite the accomplishment. But between making it to all-state every year of high school so far and leading the trumpet section as their first chair, you can find him in the swimming pool competing for West High’s powerhouse swim team.

You have to have a certain balance between all activities, school, sports, and clubs, there are sacrifices you have to make. I go to jazz band after lifting. Sometimes I have to skip swim practice to make it to jazz band because it happens less frequently.”

— Kyle Chi

Matthew Jetton who has been a kicker on the football team since his sophomore year, playing soccer since he was four years old, and plays the trombone in Wind Ensemble echoed that statement “Some nights practice gets done late. Sometimes you are not able to go to sports practices because you have concerts and stuff, they overlap sometimes,” Jetton said.

All of these multi-talented Trojans acknowledge the importance of school coming first.

“I get home from cross country and it’s super late because sports have super late practices. I am exhausted and have to do a ton of homework. And also squeeze in time for violin because these activities don’t stop because you’re tired,” Wang said. “It has been hard for me to get over the fact that not everything is going to be scheduled for my sake.”

Wang has made quite the impact as an underclassman running on the girls’ cross country team and participating in orchestra at west. Since Wang won her first varsity cross country meet, she has made first-team all-conference as well as placing in 35th at the state cross country meet. For her, the people that are a part of her teams are the main motivation. 

“I really like to get involved and meet different people. Cross country has a totally different vibe than orchestra, so I get to have two different groups of people at the same time,” Wang said. 

The girls’ cross country team celebrates after a meet at Seminole Valley cross country course on Sept. 9, 2021. (Ijin Shim)

Chi echoed that statement, “West has a fantastic environment. The environment around both swimming and music is great. So the people and the community is why I do both.”

Having a positive mentality is also one of the main reasons that these athletes choose to stick with their instruments. Instead of looking at practicing for that extra hour or getting up early for those morning lifts in the weight room as obligations, they see them as opportunities. 

“You shouldn’t look at them as an obligation. You should look at them as something fun, playing your instrument and making music, especially with other people is such a fun experience. Don’t look at it as if you have to play the violin, you have to go to conditioning.  You are very privileged to have the opportunity to do that stuff,” said Wang.

Although all of these students have different motivations for being involved in different activities, they agree that West High does a good job of creating and fostering an environment where students can excel musically and athletically. With 328 individual state championships and 62 team titles to date as well as many all-state musicians selected each year, there is no question Trojans can do amazing things.