January news briefs

WSS recaps winter news from No Tardy December to the state debate tournament.

Theatre West presents “Clue”
Theatre West took to the Arganbright Auditorium stage Dec. 1 through 3 to perform their rendition of “Clue.” Based on the board game, the production features the murder of Mr. Boddy, a mysterious millionaire. The play centers around six characters invited to Boddy Manor, each with a dark secret from their past. The cast included Lyova Merkle ’23 as Wadsworth the butler, La’Nya Franklin ’23 as Miss Scarlet, Maddie Struthers ’24 as Mrs. Peacock, Tess DeGrazia ’23 as Mrs. White, Ahmed Elsheikh ’24 as Colonel Mustard, Andreas Warren ’24 as Professor Plum, Xion Owens-Holst ’24 as Mr. Green, Niles Granfield ’24 as Mr. Boddy and Briar Martin ’24 as Yvette. Theatre West will take a fairy-tale turn for their performance of “Beauty and the Beast” from April 13 through 15.

No Tardy December
With over 65% of the student population having at least one unexcused tardy in the first trimester, West High administration implemented “No Tardy December” to improve attendance and timeliness. The office recorded 563 unexcused tardies in the two days before the policy was enacted and 274 in the two days after. Under the new policy, late students must retrieve passes from the Commons or Main Office. Additionally, students will receive a call home, either from a teacher or administrator, depending on how many times they are late to class. Students with more than five unexcused tardies between Jan. 9 and 27 are not allowed to attend the winter dance Jan. 28. In the weeks before winter break, students with no tardies were eligible to win different rewards, including Airpods and a MacBook.

State debate tournament 
The West High speech and debate team traveled to Des Moines Area Community College to compete in the Iowa High School Speech Association state debate tournament Jan. 6 through 7. The team won the state title for the third year in a row. Andrew Dong ’24 and Ben Kleiman ’24 won Public Forum debate and Lincoln Beihl ’25 championed C-House Congress. In Lincoln-Douglas debate, Nate Weimar ’23, Jayden Shin ’23, and Spencer Thomas ’24 won in a three-way tie. In Policy debate, Maya Chu ’23 and Ashley Seo ’23 were runners-up and Edward Li ’26 and Adam Salem ’26 were semifinalists. Weimar, a nationally-ranked debater, also won the Dowling Catholic Paradigm tournament Dec. 11 and has four Tournament of Champion bids this year.

New courses for 2023-24 school year
The ICCSD has made several new courses available to junior high and high school students for the next school year. Classes such as Student Built House, Geometry in Construction and Introduction to Early Childhood Education will be added to West High’s curriculum. Additionally, Pre-Calculus Honors will be offered as AP Pre-Calculus, Art Forms as Exploratory Art and PALS as Peer to Peer. The ICCSD also removed courses including Residential Construction and Fundamentals of Computer-Aided Design. Course registration starts at the end of January. To view a summary of the changes made, visit this document released by the district.

Grace Fincham ’26 looks for a pass against City High’s Tessa Driscoll ’26 Jan. 8 at the Xtreme Arena. (Zoe Smith)

Basketball season updates
To kick off their basketball seasons, both the boys and girls basketball teams defeated Clear Creek Amana in their season openers Nov. 30. In a cross-town doubleheader against Liberty Dec. 9, the girls team had a narrow 42-40 win with Dartmouth commit Meena Tate ’23 scoring 15 points. The boys team won 68-51 with Jack McCaffery ’25 and Kareem Earl ’24 scoring 27 and 17 points respectively. The basketball teams faced off against City High at Coralville’s Xtreme Arena Jan. 8, the first high school basketball game hosted at the arena. Carnegie Mellon commit Anna Prouty ’23 contributed 16 points and 13 rebounds to the girls team’s 58-43 win. The boys team had a narrow 63-64 loss.

Max Gerke ’24 gets into position to swim the 50 yard freestyle against City High Jan. 10. (Marie Stier)

Winter sports recap
Both the boys and girls wrestling teams competed in the Dan Gable Donnybrook wrestling tournament at Xtreme Arena Dec. 3. In girls wrestling’s first full season sanctioned by IGHSAU, Jannell Avila ’23 finished second in the 170-pound weight category. West hosted the Tom Lepic Invitational Jan. 7 with Alexander Pierce ’26 and Justin Avila ’25 championing their weight classes. Max Gerke ’24 won the 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle events as the boys swim team defeated Cedar Rapids Jefferson in their season opener Nov. 29. The team finished third overall at the Little Hawk Invite Dec. 17 with Holden Carter ’24, Winston Fan ’26, Ian Cabellero ’23 and Christian Janis ’23 winning the medley relay. The Trojan Bolts also defeated City High Jan. 10, bringing home the Golden Speedo trophy. On Jan. 6, the girls bowling team defeated Marion 2221-1928 at Colonial Lanes. On the same day, the boys bowling team lost to Linn-Mar 2642-2919.