October news briefs

As students ease into the new school year, here is the latest news from the world and West.


Sofia Wells-Lu

Catch up on the latest news you might have missed.

Student debt forgiveness:

President Biden announced a three-part plan to ease student debt Aug. 24. The plan aims to help American families lessen the financial burden caused by student debt and COVID-19. The Department of Education proposed a repayment system that caps monthly payments at five percent of a person’s discretionary income and gives up to $20,000 of debt cancellation for Pell Grant recipients or up to $10,000 otherwise. The application for one-time relief will open in early October.


New year, new changes:

As with every school year, West High has made some changes. AFT is now after 5th period and shortened by 10 minutes to match with the other high schools in the district. Additionally, instead of using reusable laminated hall passes, the administration implemented the use of single-use paper passes that require a teacher’s signature. They have also installed vape detectors in the bathrooms. To curb an uptick in fighting, the district enacted a rule stating that anyone who records or participates in a fight will be suspended. Buses now leave at 4:05 instead of 4:10. School lunches are no longer free as the federal funds for COVID-19 no longer cover them. Finally, backpacks are not allowed in the servery and must be placed outside the servery or at students’ seats before entering. 


Homecoming week:

The homecoming Spirit Week themes included pajama day, t-shirt signing, anything but backpacks, throwback clothing styles and school spirit. The Trojan Games were Sept. 22 and featured a basketball game through the Community Inclusion Club, flag football and volleyball. The pep rally Sept. 23 included a game of musical chairs, a pie-eating contest and other activities. That night, students attended the Battle of the Boot football game against City High, which West lost 0-49. The homecoming dance was Sept. 24 from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and the theme was “Starry Night.” Joseph Alarape, Paige Albright, Krisha Kapoor, Audrey Parrish, Jayden Shin and Hebah War were named the 2022 Heroes of Troy.


Trump Search: 

Donald Trump’s Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, was searched by the FBI Aug. 8 for documents he removed from the White House. The FBI obtained the warrant on the basis of three possible crimes: obstruction, unauthorized retention of national security secrets and destroying or concealing government documents. They recovered 15 boxes of documents. The federal judge overseeing Trump’s case appointed a special master to review the documents that were seized. Until the review is done, the Department of Justice cannot use the documents in the criminal case against Trump but can still review them and use them to debrief members of Congress. 


Pride Festival: 

Coralville hosted its second annual Pride Festival Sept. 4 in the parking lot of Green State Credit Union. The festival contained booths for selling products, company publicity and community engagement. In addition, the festival included a book signing of Dr. Loren Olson’s “No More Neckties,” a memoir about coming out. The festival featured a stage for live performances and the recognition of the Pride Honor Roll Hall of Fame 2022, a group of local businesses that demonstrated inclusion and community, such as FilmScene and the UI Health Care LGBTQ+ Clinic. 


Fall Sports: 

The West football team’s season record is 3-2 as of print time. Mason Woods ’25 tied the school record for the longest interception return with a 98-yard touchdown Sept. 9. The girls’ swim team has gone 5-0 at their dual meets as of print time with Jade Roghair ’23 earning an automatic state-qualifying time in the 100 freestyle. Boys’ golf won 1st place at their meets Aug. 16 and Sept. 1 and Jack Jensen-Fitzpatrick ’26 hit a hole-in-one Aug. 23. The varsity volleyball team’s record is 8-14 as of print time and earned third in the silver bracket at their Sept. 24 tournament. Girls’ cross country placed third Sept. 22 and boys’ cross country finished second at their meet Aug. 27. 


Extreme weather:

Extreme weather events swept across the United States this summer and into September. The Pearl River near Jackson, Mississippi exceeded its flood stage Aug. 24, causing a Jackson water plant’s system to fail and forcing 150,000 people to go without drinking water for several weeks. Earlier in the summer, roughly 25,000 Kentucky residents went without water due to flooding that broke water lines. The Midwest endured several heat warnings during the summer. Additionally, California is facing its own record-breaking heat waves and intense wildfires. President Biden cited these climate crises as further justification for the infrastructure bill he signed into law last fall.