On Friday, March 9, a fundraiser was held to support Profe Cook and her husband with the expenses of their process of adopting a newborn. This fun event was planned and well-run by 11 Westside students and included food from the Tamale House, piñatas, games, bachata dancing, and more. Those students responsible for both planning and executing the event were Laura Staropoli, Moriah Reid, Hollyn Dugan, Catalina Gillis, Hannah Gouge, Jillian Griffin, Eva Lammers, Gabrielle Lau, Brittney Martin, Ali Mills, Kelsey Moore, and Gabriela Sears.
About $1000 was raised in entrance fees and tickets, and an additional $9000 was donated by Westside families and staff. In reflecting on the experience Stefanie Cook said “I am deeply touched by the outpouring of love and support from the Westside community. This event is a testament to what wonderful students and families we have here. I cannot thank you all enough for supporting my husband and I in this process.”
Westside’s mission is to equip servant leaders in God’s kingdom for the next generation by educating and developing the whole person for the glory of God. We are so proud to observe, through the support our students are providing Profe Cook and her husband, the ways in which our students are already tremendous servant leaders!
Sophomore English students are reading The Tragedy of Julius Caesar: Shakespeare’s historical rendition of the assassination Caesar. Students analyze famous monologues and soliloquies in the play, paying particular attention to rhetorical devices to prepare for in-class debates.
Biology students were recently tasked with creatively describing the functions of at least 10 different organelles in a cell. Take a look at the project put together by Sammi Lopresti, Logan Washburn, Maggie Suter, and Davis Raz below!
Last week a group of Westside students participated in Junior Achievement’s Stock Market Challenge, with one of the three Westside teams, comprised of Chris Tento, Will Geib, Abbie Nieuwstraten, Wyatt Lewis, and Reece Hupfer, capturing 1st place. This is the 2nd time in 4 years that a Westside team has won the event.
Junior Achievement explains their Stock Market Challenge as “an opportunity for students to learn valuable lessons in personal finance and investments. At the JA Stock Market Challenge, teams of four to five students start with $1,000,000 in fictitious funds to buy stock in mock companies. Once the opening bell rings on our Stock Market trading floor, the market opens and every 90 seconds represents a complete trading day. Over the next two hours (representing 60 trading days), students must work together and think on their feet, applying the concepts they learned in the classroom, as they compete to build the highest net worth portfolio. Teams must determine the effect market occurrences and current trading will have on stock prices, compete for the attention of floor traders, and track the performance of their stocks on three jumbo screens. The team with the highest Net Worth Portfolio at the end of 60 “trading days” will be crowned the Stock Market Champion.”
There were 64 total teams who participated, and all three Westside groups beat all other high schools by 25 %. The members of the two other teams were: Brittney Martin, Ali Mills, Danielle Simmons, Rachel Kline, Taylor Ranslow, Simon Griffin, Abe Ahn, Joe Zhao and Yuke Li.
Great work Eagle traders!
To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Summary: It is the 1930’s in Maycomb, Alabama. Racism runs rampant, and so does Jean Louise “Scout” Finch. The protagonist, six year old “Scout” Finch has many adventures alongside her eight year old brother Jem, her lawyer father Atticus Finch, and many other interesting characters of the town. Little does she know that the town will encounter many difficult issues over the next two years of her life. A humble and honest man of color is accused of assaulting a white woman, and the case is headed to a supposedly “fair” trial. The town’s ugly underbelly is exposed, and Scout learns hard lessons about character and human nature. Will justice prevail? Will hate and prejudice see reason and forgiveness? Will the integrity of Atticus Finch be enough to save Scout and Jem?
Why we’re reading: Our world is rife with injustice, and in desperate need of people of unshakeable integrity. There are invaluable lessons to be learned from this book that can change hearts, minds, and – most importantly actions – if we will seek out the wisdom to be found. We read this book to better understand ourselves and the world around us.
Romeo & Juliet – William Shakespeare
Summary: Two upper class families of Verona are engaged in a feud that has killed many years, and many men. Yet, out of bitter battle comes love at first sight. Romeo sees Juliet across a crowded room and is transfixed. Juliet sees Romeo and is enraptured. But, will Romeo & Juliet’s young love be enough to overcome the stubborn pride and desperate hate that swirls around them? What does true love look like? Where do dreams end and practicality begin?
Why we’re reading: Hate is easily found in our city, our state, and our nation. There is only one way to deal with hate: love. But, love is vastly misunderstood and abused in our culture today. The heart is neglected while emotions and temporary feelings are infused with Monster energy drinks. We read this play to better understand what true love looks like, how to listen to our God-given hearts, and to gain a sense of compassion for the world around us.
Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
Summary: Guy Montag is a fireman. But, in the future firemen do not put out fires, they start them. Guy has been told all his life that books and ideas are bad and that they should be burned, so for many years he does as he is told. Until one day a “peculiar” young woman, and then an “insane” old woman, challenge his thinking. Are books and ideas as bad as he has been told? Maybe life will be better with more distractions and less time for thinking? Will he find the answers he seeks, or will his curiosity lead to his death?
Why we’re reading: In an increasingly polarizing cultural fabric, it is more important than ever before to learn to listen to ideas and opposing viewpoints. For many, listening is a last resort when it should be a default first option. We read this book to better understand our response to opposing ideas, and to learn to appreciate ideas – even if we do not agree with them. We also read this book to understand that faster does not necessarily mean better, and easier is not always a good thing.
Biology students were recently tasked with creatively describing the functions of at least 10 different organelles in a cell. Take a look at the project put together by Emma Phillips, Esther Nor-Ashkarian, and Kyra Hartigan below!
The AP Language and Composition class is delving into F. Scott Fitzgerald’s well-known masterpiece, The Great Gatsby. Set in what Fitzgerald called the Jazz Age, we follow the lives of five upper class individuals in their pursuit for meaning, purpose, and love in a city where people valued wealth, vapid hedonism, and intrigue.
Fitzgerald is a true wordsmith as he tells the story of the elusive Jay Gatsby and his secret past. The novel touches on themes like the pursuit of the American Dream, society and class, love, memory and the past, and dissatisfaction all through Fitzgerald’s vibrant and brilliant use of language.
Goal to Goal is a video series with our Athletic Director Rob Casteel, where he intends to show the human side of the athletic program. Video interviews will highlight different contributors (coaches, student athletes and parents) to the athletic program.
In Goal to Goal we hope to convey the passion and enthusiasm these people have for Westside and its athletics.
Rob is with Varsity Boys Basketball Coach David Henry below.
Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick
Teacher Commentary: The history of Pilgrims and Puritans settling in New England in 1600’s and their struggle for survival, with Indians. Students need to know of past difficulties to appreciate present blessings. Also as they struggled, we can show fortitude when we have problems to overcome. In addition, the whites and Indians failed often to understand and appreciate other cultures to their own detriment.
1776 by David McCullough
Teacher Commentary: The first real year of the Revolutionary War gives an appreciation for the overwhelming difficulties the Americans faced and how fortunate we are that a few men performed at such a high level to acquire our freedom.
Presidential Courage by Michael Beschloss
Teacher Commentary: The study of 8 presidents who took on difficult challenges and made a choice (on principle) that moved America forward.
Cold War edited by Robert Crowley
Teacher Commentary: Little known parts of this now nearly forgotten time with the top experts’ pieces which might not be in a typical history text. With the fall of the Soviet Union and communism, many students are growing up without an understanding of how and why the West won.
Both the AP Language and Composition and English 11 class have worked hard this semester delivering Lincoln-Douglas debates in their argumentation unit. Lincoln-Douglas is a values debate where students debate the driving principles behind their positions – values such as “Justice” or “Equality” or “Quality of Life”. Students are graded on the quality of their arguments as well as their delivery. Their peers vote for the better debater and then give them feedback on how / what they might improve.