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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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Annie Dickens
Yearbook Staff

(she/her) Annie is a junior at West High and this is her first year on yearbook staff. In her free time she enjoys running cross country and hanging out with friends.

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West BPA shines at the 2024 National Leadership Conference

Over six thousand students from 27 states, China and Puerto Rico attended the 2024 BPA National Leadership Conference.
Photo courtesy of Iowa City West BPA
The ICW BPA chapter poses in front of the Hilton Chicago after a successful opening ceremony. (Photo Courtesy of ICW BPA)

Iowa City West’s Business Professionals of America (BPA) chapter had yet another historic year at the 2024 National Leadership Conference (NLC) held in Chicago, Illinois May 10-14. Advisors Diane Fickel and Emily Hudachek took 41 students to the city, and West was highlighted as one of the largest Iowa schools there. Members competed in business-related events — from Podcast Production to Advanced Interview Skills — across The Loop. The festivities didn’t just end there, however. Chapter activities included a boat tour, exploring Chicago and caucusing at the general election held at the Hilton Chicago hotel.

Layan Ahmed ’25 was elected president of the National Executive Office, marking a landmark accomplishment for the first time in over twenty years at West. She details the environment in the main room as the newly elected officials were called up.

Layan Ahmed smiles in her official campaign poster for the National Executive Office. (Photo Courtesy of ICW BPA)

“Oh my gosh, it was not real. They were calling the officers up in ascending order, so it would go parliamentarian, and then historian, and so on. As the names kept getting called up, I was kind of losing a bit of hope, because I was like, ‘Okay, if these names are getting called up, I guess it must not be me’,” Ahmed said. “I was really specifically shooting to be the vice president. So when I hear the new VP’s name being called up, I’m like, ‘Yeah, okay, I didn’t get it because there’s no way that they could put me as president, right?’ So when they call up my name for president, I’m just in shock and it all kinda hits me. It was just such a full-circle moment. This club that I’ve been working so hard in for years and that I was so passionate about, and the fact that just in a split second, changed completely. It was beautiful.”

It was just such a full-circle moment. This club that I’ve been working so hard in and that I was so passionate about and the fact that just in that split second, it changed completely. It was beautiful.

— Layan Ahmed '25

Despite the initial excitement, Ahmed looks to the future, noting that she hopes to highlight every student within the organization.

“I would definitely say that now, as president, my role next year especially is going to be the empowerment aspect of helping people at Iowa City West realize that the limit isn’t just necessarily competitive events, and that if you work hard and you’re ambitious, you can achieve whatever,” Ahmed said. “So as an executive board member, I think I’m definitely going to be in the thick of it as a senior, but also with that executive officer position, I [want to] bring some more empowerment and a voice to Iowa City West.”

Here’s a detailed list of the results:

Wesal Haroun ’24 – Health Research Presentation (2nd place)

Junze Sun ’25 – Digital Marketing Concepts (3rd place)

Karen Liu ’24 – Advanced Interview (3rd place)

Emily Hagiwara ’25 and Avanley Jones ’25 – Podcast Production Team (4th place)

Dillon Croco ’24 – Advanced Interview (Finalist)

Layan Ahmed ’25 – Advanced Interview (Finalist)

Allison Asay ’26 – Prepared Speech (Finalist)

West BPA compiles a list of results after the National Leadership Conference.
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About the Contributor
Jane Lam
Jane Lam, Print Assistant Copy Editor
(she/her) Jane Lam is a senior at West High. This is her third year on staff reporting for the print publication. As an assistant copy editor, she loves the little details. Outside of the newsroom, you can find her on the Speech and Debate team, on the tennis court and baking with her friends among other things.
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