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Fiftieth anniversary celebration brings smiles to students and alumni

The+school+mascot+poses+in+bubbles+from+a+carnival+bubble+truck.
The school mascot poses in bubbles from a carnival bubble truck.

The school mascot poses in bubbles from a carnival bubble truck.

B Antonenko

B Antonenko

The school mascot poses in bubbles from a carnival bubble truck.

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Although the daytime high on Sept. 23 was 92 degrees, hundreds turned out for Parkway West’s 50th anniversary carnival, football game and evening gala.

B Antonenko
One young carnival attendee watches the bubbles.

“[Bill O’Neil] was a gentleman who graduated in the class of 1969, so he was in the first graduating class here. He was just amazing to talk to and he loved being here,” Celebration Coordinator Stephanie Hornsby said. “He loved being at the game and he loved touring the building, he loved talking to current students, so just spending time with him and getting to meet him in person was definitely a highlight of the day for me.”

Link Crew led tours around the building and other students volunteered to work booths at the carnival, in addition to the crowd of students watching the football game.

“I think it’s hard for me to just realize that this school’s been going for 50 years, it seems like there’s not a lot of history if you’re just looking at it on the surface, but it’s there. If you really looked at the video that they showed or you meet people that graduated in past years, you get to hear stories about how the school used to run or about different teachers that used to be here, there have been different times than what we know,” senior Daniel Loaney said.

Due to the heat, kickoff time for the football game was changed from noon to 10:30 a.m., two days before the game. 

“I really liked when the band came in, and the color guard, and the cheerleaders and the poms, and when they get in that horseshoe,” building principal Jeremy Mitchell said. “When you see people who are on the outside looking at it, they take attention, and they look at it, and the band starts playing and the crowd starts smiling, and that’s kind of the universal ‘wow.’ It’s a neat thing that they do and it shows that unity and that struck me as such a cool aspect of game day.”

All of the celebrations were intended to commemorate the spirit of West High and remember the legacy that the first 50 graduating classes have left behind.

Lydia Harter
Carnival-goers senior Kennedy Brown and sophomore Katie Solodar pose with cotton candy.

“I think that there’s such a sense of tradition here, there’s such a sense of always wanting to be best. We always say ‘West is best’ and sometimes people think that comes off as being a little pushy, but we do try, every day, to do our best, regardless of whether it’s in academics, in athletics, if it’s in our clubs and sports, or if it’s just trying to be good people to each other. I hear a lot of that message, which was here on day one in 1968 and continues today,” Hornsby said.

The phrase ‘West is best’ is one heard throughout classes, sports huddles and assemblies during the school year.

“I feel like the community here just builds people up and we strive for everybody to be included. I think we want our peers to succeed, and I think we see that just as we’re looking back on our 50th anniversary,” Loaney said. “We get to see how we’re the legacy of each of these classes that have come before us; they have all strived to see greatness in us and now we’re going to be passing that onto the next classes, so I think I’m most proud to be a Longhorn in the way that we encourage each other to be the best we can be.”

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Fiftieth anniversary celebration brings smiles to students and alumni