An alumna’s homecoming

Rose (right) graduated from the University of Missouri. She participated in student teaching for two schools in the Columbia, Missouri, but she got to eventually visited all four schools in the district. “I was getting a lot of time and a lot of teaching practice in every school in the district,” Rose said.
Taylor Rose returns to West as a teacher
November 2, 2017

As Taylor Rose heads down the hall to get the keys to her new classroom, she walks past her old locker. When she arrives at her classroom, the alumna is pleasantly surprised–it was the same classroom...

Stefanie Elsperman uses spiritual blog and group to inspire others

Standing with her father in front of Mount Missouri in Colorado, Stefanie Elsperman smiles after hiking 12 miles to the top of the mountain. Elsperman sees the outdoors as inspiration for meditation. “My family loves to go hiking, chilling out and meditating. We’re always out at parks with our dogs,” Elsperman said.
October 27, 2017

Stefanie Elsperman, a junior at Washington University in St. Louis, did not have the typical high school experience. Instead of a standard four year high school program, she graduated a semester early...

Blake Young-Fountain commits his life to acting

Actors Jussie Smollett, from Empire, and Blake Young-Fountain look out at a crowd during the NYC Pride Parade during the film The Skinny.
October 24, 2017

Acting is a lifelong process, and for class of 2000 Parkway West Alumnus Blake Young-Fountain, it has been his entire career, tracing back to his childhood. “When I was young, I remember helping my...

Fighting for equity in criminal justice: alumna Lopacious Simms pursues law and order

Alumna Lopacious Simms smiles after graduating in 2015. Simms is currently studying criminal justice at Southeast Missouri State University.
October 20, 2017

Growing up, 2015 alumna Lopacious Simms could not get enough of criminal investigation shows. But after watching the Ferguson riots of 2014 unravel, Simms, a native Saint Louisan, knew that she wanted...

Will Harlan roots his life in conservation

Harlan is filmed for a documentary made about his life, running and adventures with the indigenous Tarahumara. The documentary is titled El Chivo (The Goat).
October 16, 2017

For 19 years, 1993 alumnus Will Harlan followed one woman living in a cabin in the woods to learn all she had to offer about the land around her. His drive to do such a thing started with the teachers...

Kathryn Harter acts on her dreams

Reading a book to the audience, Kathryn Harter leads a scene in “The Three Musketeers” as Sabine in June 2017.
2016 alumna pursues her dream of acting
October 13, 2017

When 2016 West alumna Kathryn Harter auditioned for “Tartuffe” her freshman year of high school, she had no idea she would be in the acting program years later at Missouri State University. “I'm...

Alumnus Derek Jaskowiak rises through the ranks

Jaskowiak poses for a picture in the Suez Canal while on a tour of duty in 2006. He was stationed on the U.S.N.S. Bighorn and traveled around Africa on this deployment.
October 10, 2017

Navy Lieutenant Commander Derek Jaskowiak plans to spend his whole adult life with the military. He has passed through the U.S. Naval Academy and traveled everywhere from Europe to Africa to Asia while...

Restaurant owner Brant Baldanza rises to success

Brant Baldanza and his staff in front of The Corner Pub opening day on Oct. 20, 2007.
October 6, 2017

The Shack, The Tavern and The Corner Pub and Grill are all successful local restaurants owned by 1991 alumnus Brant Baldanza, who first got into the restaurant business by working at Mike Duffy’s when...

From a marching band member to a band parent

Foy (center) stands with her children Emily (left) and Charlie (right) at the Bands of America competition in 2016. “It’s so fun watching my kids participate in the band program like I did so many years ago,” Foy said.
1989 alumna Carla Foy reflects on her band experiences
October 2, 2017

Trumpets blared and flutes sang their high notes. Clarinets whistled and drums rattled a beat. These are the sounds that echoed out from the little gulley where the band still practices 30 years later. “The...

Alumna Katie Sternhagen helps teens through youth group

Holding up a peace sign, Sternhagen stands with Reverend Susan Hayes in Montreat, N.C. on a mission trip in June 2017.
September 28, 2017

Although Katie Sternhagen’s job as the director of youth ministries at St. Mark Presbyterian Church surrounds teaching teenagers about faith, you can also find her hitting the whip or saying things like...

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