West Side Story

  • Football plays City High on Oct. 19

  • All-State Music Auditions will be on Oct. 20 and 21

  • BPA Unified Fall Conference will be in Des Moines, Iowa from Oct. 21 to Oct. 22

Power outage interrupts class

Marta Leira, Reporter
September 18, 2018

At 11:19 a.m. this morning, a power outage occurred at West High due to a thunderstorm. The power returned but went out again at 11:51 a.m. It was then restored at around 11:56 a.m. Both the WiFi and power came back on during fourth period and classes still followed the regular schedule. “We have had it happen before and communicate information to the teachers via email,” said Vice Principal, Luke Devries. “Students should stay in their classes and wait for instructions from their teacher.” Many teachers found that the power outage was a major disruption to their class. World history teacher Holly Robinson’s class was taking a test at the moment of the outage. “The excitement of what was going to happen was most distracting. Lots of kids thought they were going to get out early,” Robinson said. A common misconception was that after 15 minutes without power, school would let out. However, Assistant Principal Molly Abraham commented saying that, that was false. If this ever happens again, Molly Abraham, says “We would want students to stay in their classrooms until we can get around and let everyone know our plan.” Updated: Wednesday, September 19

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West leads state with 21 National Merit Semifinalists

Crystal Kim, Co-Design Editor
September 12, 2018

21 West High seniors and 4 City High seniors qualified as Semifinalists for the 2019 National Merit Scholarship on Wednesday, Sept. 12. West High leads the state with the most Semifinalists out of the 143 in the state and 16,000 in the nation. The Semifinalists were the highest-scoring PSAT/NMSQT test-takers in each state, comprising the nationwide’s top one percent. West Semifinalists: Jillian Baker Carson Baldes Zachary Chackalackal Ethan Chen Sophia Chen William Conrad Rachel Ding Robbie Frerichs Emma Gehlbach Lydia Guo Deniz Ince Crystal Kim George Liu Lily Meng Yangtian Shangguan Daniel Stewart Hang Sun Grace Wang Steven Yuan Jenna Zeng Charles Zheng City Semifinalists: Jack Bacon Quinn Kopelman Lillian Prybil Elizabeth Sarsfield The Semifinalists will go on to compete for the 7,500 National Merit Scholarship awards worth over 32 million dollars. The preliminary requirements for becoming a Finalist include an endorsement and recommendation from their principal, a record of high academic performance and an SAT score that confirms their PSAT/NMSAT score. An essay that details the Semifinalists leadership and involvement in the community is also required. The Finalists will be announced starting in April and concluding in June.

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Speech and Debate holds informational meeting

Harry Westergaard, Arts Editor and Copy Editor
September 9, 2018

An enthusiastic group of students gathered for an informational meeting for West High’s 2018-19 Speech and Debate team on Tuesday, Sept. 4. The meeting was held in English Teacher John Cooper’s room, 133. Cooper will be taking over the role of coach this year after the previous coaches, Social Studies teachers Travis Henderson and Megan Johnson stepped down.  The room was packed with students from all walks of life, including experienced debaters and underclassmen who haven’t participated in a debate activity before. Throughout the meeting, Cooper introduced guidelines for the group, including what he described as the team’s motto for the year ahead. It was a quote from Ernest Hemingway, stating, “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” Kyle Kopf, a freshman at the University of Iowa, is also lending a hand to the team. Along with him, a junior named Anna Correa, and West High Alums Mason Wang '18 and Brandon Burkhardt '18 will provide assistance in different coaching areas. Cooper described Burkhardt’s role as crucial in that he knows what to expect from judges. “As a performer, he’s aware of what it takes it to project your character forward, not just in the physical sense, but also in an emotional sense, as well as just basic performance cues,” Cooper said. Cooper’s own experience started from his work as a performer in high school. Using this as his starting point, he did Speech for one year and ended up being the regional champion in original comedy.  “It’s a small pin, but it’s one that I like to wear a lot. Proverbially, there’s no real pin,” Cooper said. After that, he coached at his alma mater for college for four years. For a time after that, he worked in St. Louis before he came to Iowa City. “When I got to Iowa City and started subbing here ... I kinda set it as a back burner dream that I may be able to land a job here and get to work on the speech and debate team,” Cooper said. With the long run of success after years under the previous coaches, taking up the reins is not an easy task.  “There’s absolutely a legacy,” said Cooper, “I’m taking over the program from two of the most inspiring teachers that I’ve ever worked with. Megan and Travis showed me quite a bit of what this program has been for the last six or seven years ... [they established] that you show up to win, this is a competitive event, we don't just show up and goof off. On top of that though, they had a group that had a lot of fun and did well." Though the task is a daunting one, Cooper is optimistic about continuing the legacy. “I’m looking forward to recreating or even extending that line of success. But it is scary.” Speech and Debate practice will take place Mondays and Wednesdays after school in Mr. Cooper’s room, 133.

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