Inscribed legacy

14 seniors presented with the Glory of Missouri Award
Senior Yena Ahn (back row, ninth from the left) smiles with her fellow recipients and class principal Mario Pupillo after receiving their awards and before visiting the Whispering Gallery. The process of receiving the certificate began with Plocher reading the definition of each virtue, then the student taking the stage and snapping a picture with him. “It was a wholesome moment because were all seniors, so we all know each other, weve grown up with each other for the past eight years. When each of us got called up, we knew that they deserved that award because the description matched that person,” Ahn said.
Senior Yena Ahn (back row, ninth from the left) smiles with her fellow recipients and class principal Mario Pupillo after receiving their awards and before visiting the Whispering Gallery. The process of receiving the certificate began with Plocher reading the definition of each virtue, then the student taking the stage and snapping a picture with him. “It was a wholesome moment because we’re all seniors, so we all know each other, we’ve grown up with each other for the past eight years. When each of us got called up, we knew that they deserved that award because the description matched that person,” Ahn said.
(Courtesy of Mario Pupillo)

In 1911, lightning struck the Missouri Capitol building, leaving nothing but ashes. This unfortunate circumstance combined with a substantial budget brought large-scale, American Renaissance-inspired renovations. Intricate hand-painted murals depict Missouri’s social history, monuments stand tribute to heroes and engraved into the limestone marble of the House Chamber are the 14 virtues: Knowledge, Liberty, Equality, Law, Justice, Fraternity, Education, Progress, Honor, Truth, Virtue, Temperance, Enterprise and Charity. Along with these virtues is the inscription: “All the foregoing human qualities bind into one theme, the Glory of Missouri because no people attain these virtues unless they are great.” 

To uphold these virtues and greatness within the state, the Missouri House of Representatives created the Glory of Missouri Award, a Courtesy Resolution recognizing students who embody these values. At West, staff and faculty members have the option — based on these 14 virtues — to nominate any student and provide a reason behind their nomination. A committee of counselors and assistant principals then select the 14 students based on those nominations. 

On March 12, these West recipients traveled to Jefferson City for a day at the capitol. After nearly two hours traveling on the bus, the group toured the whole of the Capitol building, including Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives Dean Plocher’s office. Then Plocher presented each student with their plaque. Following the small ceremony, the students visited the Missouri Secretary of State’s office, learned about history and design of the Missouri Seal and got the opportunity to stamp it. Then, they were able to sit in and spectate a House legislation session where Plocher introduced the seniors as special guests to every representative. The finalé of the field trip ended with lunch at Arri’s Pizza as well as ice cream at Central Dairy, before making trip back to St. Louis.  

Staff members were interviewed about each student’s designated award; however, they were not necessarily the ones who nominated the student but rather those who know them well. 

Senior Serena Liu, Knowledge
Senior Serena Liu, Knowledge

“I’ve been at Parkway West for 18 school years. I would be hard-pressed to find another student who has achieved the high level of academic excellence that [Serena] has. She has taken about as rigorous of a schedule that any student could and has successfully completed that schedule at a very high level. She’s able to handle the intellectual side of classroom expectations and academics very well. It’s just a natural thing for her. In my interactions with her, I would say she’s ambitious but not necessarily competitive. Her high academic marks are not because she’s trying to one-up her peers but [because] she strives to be the best that she can be. The cliché term of ‘learning for the sake of learning’ would apply to her,” College Counselor Chris Lorenz said.

(Wagner)
Senior Caitlin Brandmill, Liberty
Senior Caitlin Brandmill, Liberty

“Thinking about some of the work that she’s done in art and ceramics, Caitlin has always been very creative. She will take an idea and run with it and make it very personal. Her work is a reflection of her personality: vibrant, vivacious and outgoing. I could probably line her work up with everybody else’s and without having ever seen her work and process, I could probably pick out which one is Caitlin’s because I know her personality, and I can see that come through in her work. She’s innovative and she pursues things that are unique. I don’t know that I’ve ever really met another student or person like Caitlin. She has a big heart, and she looks out for her peers, so I appreciate that about her,” art teacher Ashley Drissell said.

(Wagner)
Senior Yena Ahn, Equality
Senior Yena Ahn, Equality

“Yena is going to save the world someday,” science teacher Charles Cutelli said.

(Wagner)
Senior Alli VanValkenburgh, Law
Senior Alli VanValkenburgh, Law

“When you think of the senior class, [Alli is] one of the first people that comes to mind because she’s always involved in everything, and she’s always looking for ways to better the West community. She’s got her stamp on it [in] some way, shape or form, whether it’s for a board or [a] club. In my opinion, she always tries to do the right thing, follow the right path and be a good example and role model for a lot of the [the] lower class. [Alli] understands the rules and makes sure that she [follows] those rules and [exemplifies] that,” librarian Lauren Reusch said.

(Wagner)
Senior Elizabeth Franklin, Justice
Senior Elizabeth Franklin, Justice

“As one of the Editors-in-Chief of Pathfinder, this virtue is essential in our work every day. She is certainly a leader when it comes to considering both sides of an issue, making sure that she values all voices when a decision is being made. In our class or in our journalism program, she leads with the intent of making fair and responsible choices for the students in our program [and] also for our school community. I love that Elizabeth is being celebrated with this recognition because [she] leads by example when it comes to amplifying all voices, even marginalized voices in our journalism program, and that certainly deserves recognition,” Convergence Journalism teacher Lindsey Katz said. 

 

(Wagner)
Senior Andrew Son, Fraternity
Senior Andrew Son, Fraternity

“Andrew has been the president for his class for the last three years. He is all about West High and getting his class involved in as [many] events as he possibly can. He exemplifies fraternity every single day. This year, being student body president, he has put himself in situations that maybe he wouldn’t normally do to support West and his class: Mr. Longhorn [and the] student [versus] faculty basketball game. I feel like anything he can do to get his class or school involved in West High in a positive light he’s all about,” math teacher and Longhorn Council sponsor Emily Lovercheck said. 

(Wagner)
Senior Eli Naig, Education
Senior Eli Naig, Education

“Eli is always pushing himself to learn new things. He works hard, is enthusiastic about his math classes and he always wants to talk about math with other people, whether that’s teachers or other students. All of my experiences with Eli have been him being kind and giving. He has started to do Scholar Bowl more this year than he had in the past, and he has always been helpful with all of the freshmen. I think Eli deserves [this award] because he wants to learn for learning’s sake. He’s not thinking about getting rich or getting famous; he just loves to soak up new information like a sponge,” math teacher and Scholar Bowl sponsor Patrick Troy said.

(Wagner)
Senior Lacy Roberts, Progress
Senior Lacy Roberts, Progress

 “As far as going [for] someone that embodies progress, Lacy is someone that is very methodical in the way that she approaches any kind of challenge that comes her way. I know that she is all about taking action to get things done. For example, she just took the Seal of Biliteracy in Latin, and she was super diligent with one of our classmates about studying vocab in order to get the reward that she wanted. It’s something that comes from the fact that she wants to be able to serve her classmates, [and] wants to be able to serve herself and she goes about it in a very logistical way in order to see progress in her environment and in her own life,” Latin teacher Tom Herpel said.

(Wagner)
Senior Kylie Secrest, Honor
Senior Kylie Secrest, Honor

“I’ve had the pleasure of teaching Kylie in two different classes; I’m [also] the sponsor of Fellowship of Christian Athletes here at West, and Kylie is one of our leaders. So, I’ve worked with her closely as a teacher and outside of the classroom as well. The adjective generosity as described in the definition certainly applies to her; Kylie has the capacity to be selfless and to sacrifice her own time and needs for what others need. More than anything, it is my wish that she is aware of the impact that she has on others and that those times of adversity that she’s persevered through, they’ve not gone unnoticed and they’ve not gone without bearing much fruit in her own life. So, I’m very proud of Kylie, and I’m proud just to know [her],” history teacher and Fellowship of Christian Athletes sponsor Kevin Doherty said.

(Wagner)
Senior Maddie Jennings, Truth

“[Maddie is] a very determined person [who] wants to continually excel, and so she pushes herself in multiple aspects, whether it’s sports [or] academics. She never settles for just a status quo answer or an attempted explanation; she wants to understand further, wants to make sure that everything is transparent and easy for others to understand,” history teacher Rachel Money said.

Senior Andre Neal, Virtue
Senior Andre Neal, Virtue

“Andre from the start was one of those students who was always bright, cheerful and welcoming in class. [He has an] ability to be inclusive and care about the people around him —  not just interact with the people around him, but legitimately make sure that their day is going well. You see that not only in the classroom, you see that through his work through Link Crew, and you even see that in the way that he talks to teachers. I also had Andre in the Poetics of Hip-Hop and with that being such a new class, only in its second year, it was very helpful to have students like Andre who would come in with such goodwill. Instead of [the class] being something static or flat, his personality will make it dynamic,” English teacher Dan Barnes said.

(Wagner)
Senior Norah Rutkowski, Temperance
Senior Norah Rutkowski, Temperance

“I think Norah always displays [temperance.] She is always an excellent role model for the rest of the class. She is always organized and mature. Norah is a real Renaissance woman: she is a top athlete, a top student and a top musician. She is able to do anything that she sets her mind to, and even though she is a state-champion athlete and a top performer in all these different areas, she always carries herself in a calm and composed way. I don’t want to say that she never experiences anxiety because I don’t know that, but she definitely is very self-disciplined. I’ve always been honored that Norah chose to keep taking French because she is so good at it [and] such an asset to the program. That’s a good example of her personality and her drive,” French teacher Blair Hopkins said. 

(Wagner)
Senior Sawyer Ladd, Enterprise
Senior Sawyer Ladd, Enterprise

“He is a musician, that is just a creative factor in and of itself. He plays percussion, [where] you play a lot of different instruments, like a dozen or more, so he has a lot of skills. From a leadership lens, he is a quiet leader. For example, this year he had a class conflict, so he’s in our concert band. We have two seniors in the class, [and] he’s taken more of a role, taking some of the students under his wing a little bit. And I would [also] say, he’s very kind, polite, an organized student [and] someone who’s going to always give their best,” Band Director Brad Wallace said. 

(Wagner)
Senior Raj Jaladi, Charity
Senior Raj Jaladi, Charity

“When I was writing Raj’s letter of recommendation, he was filling me in on some of the things that he does. I was completely blown away with how much he does within the school, but really, his contributions are more outside of school and the community. That’s why I think Charity fits [him] well. He did this ‘pay-to-learn’ program where he [helped]  students, homeless youth and youth in foster care complete courses so that they can go out and get jobs [that are] technology-related. He looks for opportunities, which is amazing to me, to give his time and efforts to help people. He doesn’t wait for opportunities to come to him; he actively is looking for [them]. He doesn’t do these things necessarily for recognition. He does it because, intrinsically, he just wants to,” counselor Jen Wibbenmeyer said. 

(Wagner)
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About the Contributor
Cindy Phung, A&E Editor
Pronouns: they/she Grade: 11 Years on staff: 3 What is your favorite piece of literature? "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky. Who is your hero? My dad. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Sushi.
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