West Side Story

D.C.’s Freedom Forum Institute names Marta Leira Iowa’s Free Spirit Scholarship winner

D.C.’s Freedom Forum Institute names Marta Leira Iowa’s Free Spirit Scholarship winner

April 29, 2020

The Freedom Forum Institute in Washington, D.C. awarded West Side Story staffer, Marta Leira ’21, as Iowa’s winner in the annual Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference for 2020. The program targets rising high school seniors who are interested in pursuing a career in journalism and who demonstrate qualit...

IHSPA names WSS staff 2020 News Team of the Year finalist, winners announced this fall

The 2019-2020 West Side Story and Trojan Epic journalism staffs.

April 15, 2020

The Iowa High School Press Association determines News Team of the Year finalists by choosing the schools with the highest number of individual award winners from its annual writing, photography, design and online contests. IHSPA awarded the WSS with 60 individual wins, for a total of 224 points —...

Transfers on the rise for West athletics

The ICCSD has seen an increase in the number of intradistrict transfers since the opening of Liberty High in 2017.

Joe Goodman, Sports Editor

March 5, 2020

It’s almost an unspeakable phrase in Iowa high school sports: transfer. Whenever a student-athlete transfers to a new school, particularly without changing their residence, rumors and speculations inevitably begin to circulate. The word “transfer” itself conjures up accusations of recruiting a...

Calling the shots

West Side Story investigates vaccine enforcement within the Iowa City Community School District.

Annabel Hendrickson and Marta Leira

March 4, 2020

One thousand four hundred eighty-five students. All with different backgrounds, and most importantly, different germs. With 1485 opportunities for disease, the school can provide a breeding ground for bacteria. is is the reality that West is hoping to avoid with increased enforcement of Iowa’s vaccination...

More than a head covering

Hayate Mustefa '23 wears a niqab, a garment that incorporates a face covering in addition to a headscarf.

Carmela Cohen Suarez, Jillian Prescott, Cymry Hieronymus, and Paras Bassuk

February 26, 2020

For some women, leaving the house without having their favorite ring, watch or scrunchie is an abnormality. For many, there is a specific article of clothing that they would not feel comfortable going in public without. For some Muslim girls and women, that item of clothing is their hijab. Although s...

Regrowing confidence

In this profile, Ellie Garcia '20 opens up about her experience with alopecia. She says she is

Fareeha Ahmad, Reporter

February 25, 2020

Like any typical teenager, Ellie Garcia ’21 loves sweet treats and spending time with friends. On one hot summer day in Maryland, before her freshman year, she decided to go out and get ice cream with a group of them. As she devoured her ice cream, a friend decided to braid Garcia’s hair, but while they went along the strands, they soon came up...

Friend crush: Katy Nahra, Ann Rocarek and Christian Aanestad

Katy Nahra, Ann Rocarek and Christian Aanestad pose in front of a sheet stained with fake blood after the 2019 spring musical,

Misha Canin and Natalie Dunlap

February 23, 2020

In the morning, the three meet for coffee ahead of their busy days. At lunch, they are gathered around the dining table in room 102, definitely not gossiping about their students. In the evenings, they can be found in the auditorium blocking scenes, building set pieces and planning for the upcoming pro...


WSS examines the underlying racial disparities at West and within the ICCSD.

Alice Meng and Jenna Wang

February 21, 2020

Introduction It’s a new day at school and you walk in the building with a pair of new shoes and a fresh haircut, a bounce of confidence with every step you take.  Suddenly, someone makes fun of you, and you feel hurt—maybe for a few minutes, or even a whole day. The next school day, y...

Beneath the jersey: the 20-year history of sports uniforms at West

West Side Story takes a deeper look into the 20-year history of sports uniforms at West High.

Joe Goodman and Natalie Katz

February 20, 2020

Forest green and Vegas gold.  The colors that so classically represent West High athletics, or at least are supposed to. For athletes competing under the West High name, having a high-quality uniform is meaningless without these colors on display. As integrated as they are into West High...

Behind the burrito buddies

Julian Wemmie '20 and Riley Bridges '20 pose with a burrito in Pancheros.

Marta Leira, News Editor

February 13, 2020

As Valentine’s Day quickly approaches, two students reflect on the creation of their burrito-themed matchmaking program.

For the kids: why they dance

The final reveal for the amount of money raised for the kids is celebrated.

Bess Frerichs, Feature Editor

February 11, 2020

Lucy Roth was diagnosed with cancer, a softball-sized tumor in her brain, when she was only two. She was admitted to the University of Iowa Children's Hospital immediately and went through multiple surgeries to reduce the tumor. Nine years later, Lucy is the kid captain of West High School Dance Maratho...

Iowa caucus recap: student perspectives and result analysis

Voters in district IC08 wait in line to register for the caucus.

Natalie Dunlap, Ken Wilbur, and Alexis Dick

February 7, 2020

Many West High students, faculty and families took to their polling places on Feb. 3 to support their candidate of choice in the 2020 presidential election at the Iowa caucuses. For a majority of students, this night represented a first foray into the world of politics, and a chance to be vocal about...

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