November news briefs

Here’s a quick rundown of West High events this fall.


Sofia Wells-Lu

It has been a busy fall season for Trojans, so here’s a quick recap of a few events.

Club West hosts Halloween Party

Ernie Found’s farm was full of spooky spirit at Club West’s Halloween Party Oct. 22, which raised around $12,000 for West athletics. Over 400 attendees participated in activities including a jack-o’-lantern design contest, costume contest, cornhole tournament, haunted hayrack ride and silent auction. Wildwood Smokehouse & Saloon in Iowa City catered the event and local businesses such as Radiance Medical Spa, Joseph’s Steakhouse, Tavern Blue and Marcus Theatres donated items for the silent auction.

Spirit Week

Students and faculty participated in Fall Spirit Week Oct. 24-28, planned by West Student Government. Monday’s theme was country club vs. country, Tuesday’s was BBQ dad vs. soccer mom, Wednesday’s was biker vs. surfer, Thursday’s was Zoom class day — formal on top and casual on bottom — and Friday’s was pink out for breast cancer awareness month. Student Government sold pink bandanas, glasses and cowboy hats, donating $1,000 in proceeds to Team Breast Friends, a local organization dedicated to breast cancer awareness and support.

School Board approves renovation plan for West

The ICCSD School Board approved a $10.6 million renovation plan for West High Oct. 11. The renovation will begin this summer and is expected to be complete by 2025. It includes a new main entrance, main office, auditorium, band and orchestra rooms, library and outdoor seating area. Local architecture and engineering firm Shive-Hattery is collaborating on this project with ICCSD Director of Facilities Jeff Barnes.

Fall sports recap

As fall sports come to a close, here are a few end-of-season highlights. Varsity volleyball won the annual Battle of the Spike Oct. 4, beating City High in five sets with a final set score of 17-15. Varsity football players ended their home season in a 28-49 loss to Prairie on senior night Oct. 14. Boys golf finished their season at the Class 4A District Tournament Oct. 3, where they placed fifth. The girls swim and dive team took home the MVC championship Oct. 22 and won regionals Nov. 5 with a total of 456 points. Boys cross country runners Seth Cheney ’23 and Moustafa Tiea ’25 qualified for state and placed 51st and 69th, respectively. Girls cross country placed fourth at the state qualifier, marking an end to their season. West’s competitive cheerleading team wrapped up their season with a 6th-place finish at the state championship Oct. 29.

All-State auditions

Over 70 West High band, orchestra and choir members auditioned Oct. 22 for the annual Iowa All-State Music Festival at Washington High School in Washington, IA. The 37 accepted musicians from West will perform at Iowa State University Nov. 19 with students from across the state. This year, West is sending 19 students from orchestra, 17 from band and one from choir. Seniors Jonathan Fan, Haoran Wu and Sophia Wang are now four-year All-Staters, one of the greatest accomplishments for Iowa high school musicians. Check out the West Side Story’s All-State brief for more information.

Shanza Sami ’26 places third in nationwide science competition

Shanza Sami ’26 won third place in 3M’s Young Scientist Challenge, a nationwide innovation competition for students in 5th to 8th grade. Sami developed Pura Aerem, a five-stage extension to catalytic converters aimed to purify emissions from gas-powered vehicles. As one of nine finalists, she was paired with 3M Division Scientist Patrick Zimmerman to further develop her project this summer. In the final event Oct. 17-18 at the 3M global headquarters in St. Paul, MN, finalists were evaluated through a series of challenges and a final presentation. Sami received a $1,000 prize and a trip to the New York Stock Exchange, where the top three scientists were recognized in an award ceremony and got to ring the opening bell.