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West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

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(she/her) Gretchen is a junior at West and this is her first year on the Trojan Epic staff. She is staff on the Trojan Epic and helps with design. She is on the golf team and enjoys hanging out with friends...

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Community Inclusion Club hosts its annual talent show

Every year, the Community Inclusion Club hosts a talent show to give special education students a chance to perform and to raise funds for a trip to Camp Courageous. This year, the show was held on April 18.
The+Community+Inclusion+Club+poses+for+a+group+picture+after+a+few+days+at+Camp+Courageous.+Photo+courtesy+of+Lydia+Petoskey.
The Community Inclusion Club poses for a group picture after a few days at Camp Courageous. Photo courtesy of Lydia Petoskey.

West’s Community Inclusion Club held its annual talent show on April 18 in the north band room. During the show, the students who participated showed a variety of talents, ranging from singing to fashion to magic tricks.

The show began as a puppet show that Steve Merkle, a paraeducator at West, would do with his class, but it began to grow as they collaborated with Diane Miller to expand the show to include more musical talents and have peer tutors help with it.

“We made puppets and we did a puppet show. March across the stage and everybody would cheer when their kid had a puppet and maybe we did a little bit of music and it lasts maybe 15 to 20 minutes. Then Diane Miller got on board with our music class and she’s taken it to a whole new level. We got a lot of volunteer kids are kids that can sign up for the class as peer tutors, and they get involved in just seeing that connection with a lot of the kids this year has been one of my favorite things,” Merkle said.

Merkle started the show to help students become comfortable with performing in front of people.

“Well, I just thought working with this population of students, they don’t often see the limelight or have a performance, hence the name. I wanted the parents to see their kid’s upfront performance, even though it was pretty simple and small. We got him up there, and they did it,” he said.

The crowd was made up of both West High students and parents and gathered in the north band room at 6:30 p.m. to watch the show. Many of the night’s performers are a part of Miller’s community music class and have been practicing for weeks.

The night started with “Jambo Bwana” sung by Jile Musa ’26 and Amadou Katile ’26 on bells, followed by Akshara Karthikeyan ’26 playing “I See the Light” on piano. Some of the following acts included Molly Greer ’26 doing sign language to a song written and played by her mother, Maureen Greer, on piano and fashion by Alexis Escher ’26.

For a full list of acts and performers, the program can be found here.

 

Amadou Katile ’26 waves a flag at CIC’s talent show on April 18. Photo courtesy of Steve Merkle.

 

With the funds raised by the talent show the CIC traveled to Camp Courageous last week to engage in several outdoor activities. The trip, held April 24 through 26, allowed members of the special education community to experience a petting zoo, train rides, climbing, archery and more.

Camp Courageous is a summer camp located in Jones County along the Maquoketa River. It is specifically for people with disabilities who may not otherwise be able to attend a summer camp. The camp also offers other programs, such as weekend getaways and day camps.

 

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About the Contributors
Yaya Orszula
Yaya Orszula, Sports Editor
(she/her) Yaya is a senior and this is her second year on staff. She is the sports editor and enjoys running cross country and track, making bracelets and rock climbing.
Ethan Tisdale
Ethan Tisdale, FOJ Intern
(He/him) Ethan is a sophomore and it's his first year on staff. He is an intern. Ethan was born on Leap Day.
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Evelyn Kraber, Assistant Copy Editor
Evelyn is a sophomore, and this is their first year on staff. They are the assistant copy editor for the website. In their free time, you could find them reading, baking, playing cello, painting or spending time with family.
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