West Side Story

  • Baseball plays Linn-Mar at Oak Ridge Middle School on June 29.

2017-2018 Staff

Samalya Thenuwara

Broadcast Editor-in-Chief

Samalya Thenuwara is a senior at West High. This is her second year on staff and she is the Broadcast Editor-in-Chief as well as the Broadcast Managing Editor. In addition to running about Iowa City with a tripod and camera, she is happily buried in an AP text...

Nina Elkadi

Print Editor-in-Chief

Nina Elkadi is a senior at West and a third-year staffer. She is the Print Editor-in-Chief this year and would like to thank Kanye West for helping her get there. She enjoys being outside and on the water, but can also enjoy a...

Angie Zirbes

Arts Editor

This is Angie's second year on staff as an artist and arts editor. In her free time she enjoys making art and other artsy art kiddo things.  ...

Deniz Ince

Assistant Sports Editor

Deniz Ince is a junior in her second year on the West Side Story staff as Assistant Sports Editor. In her free time, Deniz likes spending time with her dog and rewatching Friends on Netflix.  ...

Mason Wang

Broadcast Copy Editor

Mason Wang is a Broadcast Copy Editor. This is his third year on staff. If you’re reading through staff bios right now, you must be really bored. Since nobody will read this, I like attaching a toilet paper roll and pretending...

Catherine Ju

Design Editor

Catherine (pronounced Katherine or Kathryn) is a senior here at West High School. This is her second year as design editor, and third year on staff.  ...

Frances Dai

Designer

Frances Dai is a junior at West High. She is a Designer on staff due to an addiction for aesthetically pleasing things. While she's not designing things that make her eyes happy, she instead brightens her soul with bubble tea.

Thomas Duong

Designer

Thomas Duong is a junior at West High. It is his first year on staff and he works for the print publication as a designer. When he isn't preoccupied with school or extracurricular activities, he enjoys playing percussion, sports,...

Selina Hua

Designer

Selina Hua is a sophomore and this is her first year as a designer on the West Side Story staff. She enjoys the rain, music, grapes, sightseeing, and lots of art supplies. When not spending time on the internet, she can be found...

Lydia Guo

Designer

Lydia Guo is currently a junior at West High and a designer on staff. When she isn't struggling with inDesign, Lydia loves oil painting, listening to top hits, and spending weekends chilling with her friends.

Megan Boland

Designer

Megan Boland is a senior at West High. This is her second year on staff as a designer. Outside of newspaper she enjoys participating in show choir and theater. She is excited for you to see all the work West Side Story does this year.  ...

Jenna Zeng

Designer

Jenna Zeng is a junior at West High. It's her second year on staff and she is a designer. In her free time, Jenna likes to swim, play piano, go on walks outside, or watch Netflix.  ...

Tyler Thomasson

Designer

Tyler Thomasson is a senior at West High. It is his second year on staff as a designer for the print publication. When he isn't designing, Tyler enjoys singing in West Singers and doing backstage work for Theatre West.  ...

Crystal Kim

Designer & Ad Representative

Crystal Kim is a junior at West High. It is her second year on staff as a designer, and is excited to start exploring videography and broadcast this year. Crystal enjoys reading Harry Potter, eating pizza at the Bread Garden Market, and working with kids. ...

Sophie Stephens

Online Feature Editor

Sophie Stephens is a junior at West High. This is her first year on staff, and she is the Feature Editor for the website. When she isn't working on the publication, Sophie enjoys reading and writing, volunteering, and spending...

Kara Wagenknecht

Photographer

Kara Wagenknecht is a junior at West and is super pumped for her second year on staff. When she isn't taking photos, she can be found playing with her dogs, hanging out with her friends, watching Netflix or dancing FTK.

Sean Brown

Photographer

Sean Brown is a photographer on staff and a junior at West High. When school isn't taking over all of his free time, he enjoys playing his electric guitar, listening to rock on his record player, and spontaneous adventures with...

Teya Kerns

Photographer

Teya Kerns is a sophomore at West High. It is her first year on the staff of the West Side Story newspaper as a photographer. In her free time Teya enjoys volunteering at the food pantry and doing show choir.

Maddi Shinall

Photographer

Maddi is a junior at West and this is her first year on staff as a photographer. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and spending time with friends. She can often be found making bad puns and sarcastic comments.

Olivia Dachtler

Photographer

Olivia Dachtler is a junior at West High, this will be her second year on staff as a photographer. If she is not out shooting, she can likely be found downtown or down at her farm in Kalona. ...

Prateek Raikwar

Print Profiles Editor

Prateek Raikwar is a senior at West High. It's his third year on staff and second year as the print profiles editor. Beyond the walls of the newsroom and West High, he enjoys watching and playing soccer, exploring nature, and running.  ...

Natalie Katz

Reporter

Natalie Katz is a sophomore at West High. It is her first year on staff as a reporter. She loves to read in her free time, as well as water her grape vine, which has many large leaves and no grapes.

Jenna Wang

Reporter

Jenna Wang is a sophomore at West High. It is her first year on staff and she is a reporter for the print publication. When she isn't busy with articles and homework, Jenna enjoys writing stories, singing on her YouTube channel,...

Fatima Kammona

Reporter

Fatima Kammona is a junior at West High. This is her first year on staff and works for the online publication as a reporter. When she isn't at school or extracurricular activities, she enjoys eating and sleeping.

Natalie Dunlap

Reporter

Natalie Dunlap is a sophomore at West High. She is a reporter and this is her first year on staff. In her free time she enjoys reading, listening to music and walking around downtown Iowa City.

Ken Wilbur

Reporter

Ken Wilbur is a sophomore at West and a first-year staffer on West Side Story. While not interviewing sources or writing articles, Ken can be found running along trails and through parks or spending time with his family and two...

Carmela Cohen Suarez

Reporter

Carmela Cohen Suarez is a sophomore at West High and this is her first year on staff. She is on the online publication as a reporter. She enjoys reading and writing, swimming, spending time with friends and family, and listening...

Ting Gao

Reporter

Ting Gao is a junior at West High and first-year staffer. She works for the online publication as a reporter. When not occupied with school or extracurricular activities, she enjoys photographing nature, reading, wasting time...

Anna Brown

Reporter

Anna Brown is a junior at West High. This is her first year on staff and she is a reporter for print, as well as a drum major for the West High School marching band. When she isn't working on WSS or occupied with school, Anna...

Lucy Polyak

Reporter

Lucy Polyak is a junior at West High. This is her first year on staff and she is a reporter for the print publication. Lucy spends most of her time onstage in choir, show choir, and theatre but also loves to sit in her room watching...

Jessica Moonjely

Reporter

Jessica Moonjely is a sophomore at West High. It is her first year on staff, and she is a reporter for WSS. Jessica is also a member of the tennis team, show choir, and student government. She loves eating chocolate, cheese, and...

Abbie Callahan

Reporter

Abbie Callahan is a sophomore at West High and a first-year staffer. She works for the print publication as a reporter. In her free time, she loves to sing and play guitar.

Caecilia Shoppa

Reporter

Caecilia Shoppa is a senior at West High. This is her first year on staff and she is a reporter for print this year. Outside of newspaper, Caecilia enjoys participating in show choir, baking and binge watching Americas Next Top...

Sadie Rhomberg

Reporter

Sadie is a senior at West High. This is her second year as a reporter on staff. She enjoys participating in show choir, theater and tennis at school. Outside of school, Sadie likes to spend time with her dog or watch shows on Netflix. ...

Mary Vander Weg

Reporter

Mary is a junior at West High, and she is excited for her second year as a reporter for the West Side Story! In her free time, she can almost always be found writing - whether it be for the website or just for fun - or sleeping for disconcerting amounts of tim...

Anjali Huynh

Reporter

Anjali Huynh is a junior in her second year as a reporter on West Side Story. When she's not writing, you can find her in the band, taking photos, or finding ways to steal food from friends.  ...

Jessica Doyle

Reporter

Jessica Doyle is a junior at West High. This is her second year on staff as a reporter. Aside from newspaper, she enjoys naps, Netflix, Nabisco cookies and other things that begin with the letter "n." ...

George Liu

Reporter

George Liu is a West High junior who is on his second year on staff. As a reporter, he specializes in converting print stories to the web, and also writing articles for both mediums. When he's not doing school work, he enjoys playing video games, reading and p...

Will Conrad

Reporter

Will Conrad is a junior. This is his second year on staff and he is a reporter this year. In his free time he enjoys running and showchoir.  ...

Ellie Gretter

Sports Editor

Ellie Gretter is a senior at West High. It is her third year on staff and she is Online and Print Sports Editor. When Ellie isn't covering a sporting event, she enjoys online shopping, going on runs, and spending time with her...

Hae-joo Yoon

Videographer

Hae-joo Yoon is a senior at West High. This is her first year on staff, and she is a videographer. When she finds spare time, she likes to draw, hang out with friends, and in the summer, travel.

Eman Elsheikh

Videographer

Eman Elsheikh is a senior at West High. It is her first year on staff and she is a Broadcast videographer. When she's not working on videos, Eman watches K-Dramas and cries about college applications.

Shawn Thacker

Print Managing Editor, Feature Editor

Shawn Thacker is a senior and the Print Managing Editor and Feature Editor. This is his third year on staff. When he isn't busy with the West Side Story, Shawn enjoys drinking coffee and judging people who use Oxford commas.

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Meet the Staff