The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High


The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High


The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High


English teacher Angela Frye stands behind her desk in her classroom. Frye went through a lot of personal struggles to get to where she is today, and with each step in her life, she carries her gratitude for those obstacles. “Everything happens for a reason. I believe in [the concept of] good energy, good karma, [from] being a good person. Those are things I dont take lightly. [Struggles] build character. You really appreciate everything you have when you have to work for everything you have,” Frye said.

Flashback Friday: English teacher Angela Frye

Sakenah Lajkem, Staff Writer November 24, 2023

What school did you go to? For junior high — we didn't have middle school at the time — I was in Barnwell Junior High. I graduated from Parkway South High School. How was your childhood homelife? It...

Business and personal finance teacher Andy Croley stands in front of his 5th hour, Intro to Business. In high school, business was the class Croley enjoyed most. “Business class was my favorite course in high school. I didnt know that was something I wanted to teach coming out of high school, but I wanted a business degree and to own my own business. When I entered university, I thought about a [teaching] avenue. I met with my advisor and looked at different departments. I fell in love with the people in the education department, the professors and the coursework, because it tied right into what I loved about the class when I was in high school. I fell in love with it even more when I was student teaching,” Croley said.

Flashback Friday: Business and personal finance teacher Andy Croley

Sakenah Lajkem, Staff Writer November 10, 2023

What school did you go to? I went to a school outside of Richmond, Va. [called] Scott Dinwiddie High School. It was named after a general in the Civil War. How was your childhood home life? We...

Science teacher Chloe Gallaher smiles at the camera while standing in her classroom.

Flashback Friday: Science teacher Chloe Gallaher

Sakenah Lajkem, Staff Writer November 3, 2023

What school did you go to? I started school in Southeast Missouri. I started kindergarten in Sikeston, Mo., and then I moved to Hayti, Mo. and was there until fourth grade. Then I moved to Arcadia Valley,...

Art teacher Kat Briggs poses for a picture in her art room. Briggs grew up loving art, and now is fulfilling her passion. “My own experiences that I had outside the classroom with my own art teacher made me realize that there are skills that I can use outside of the classroom,” Briggs said. “Encouraging the students and also showing interest in the things that they do, whether its extracurriculars or their own hobbies and interests that they enjoy doing in their free time, is something I like to [do to] feel engaged with them. The classroom is a snapshot, its 90 minutes of just seeing somebody in one context, [but] everybody is so much more than that,” Briggs said.

Flashback Friday: Art teacher Kat Briggs

Sakenah Lajkem, Staff Writer October 27, 2023

What school did you go to? I went to a small public school called Sleepy Eye Elementary School. How was your childhood homelife? I had three other siblings, [and] I was the oldest of four....

Design Arts and Digital Design teacher Kristi Ponder stands in a room surrounded by many paintings that she has done. The room is large with lots of windows.

Earth conscious canvases

Aliza Schroeder, CJ1 Writer August 23, 2023

Rather than using expensive and brand new canvases from craft stores like Michaels or Hobby Lobby, Design Arts and Digital Design teacher Kristi Ponder uses a more sustainable option: thrifted canvases....

Social studies teacher Amy Thornhill writes her daily class agenda in front of the whiteboard. Thornhill teaches AP Human Geography, World History and Psychology and has witnessed difficulty for students to form an opinion recently in all of these classes. “Everyones opinion is valid. Everyones opinion is justified. But [when] you have so many opinions. Its hard for kids to figure out their [own]. Those are the things I try to articulate and get kids to understand,” Thornhill said.

Nurturing informed minds

Aliza Schroeder, CJ1 Writer June 2, 2023

Social studies teacher Amy Thornhill knows that current events play a major role in the topics she teaches in her classes. Thornhill constantly updates lesson plans to fit the news around the globe because...

Science teacher Amy Van Matre-Woodward stands in her classroom and smiles at the camera.

From molecules to maritozzi

Allison Rueschhoff, CJ1 Writer May 26, 2023

With the fresh aroma of sesame seed bagels wafting through the kitchen air, science teacher Amy Van Matre-Woodward wakes up early Saturday morning to bake for her family. Outside of her teaching career,...

With the sun setting in the background, English ASC Kristen Witt and her husband, Aaron Witt, wear matching team shirts for the Siesta Key Crystal Classic International Sand Sculpting Festival. In 2021, they ran out of time for matching team shirts and instead wore ‘West is Best’ shirts, while in 2022, they made custom couple shirts. “This year, [Aaron] decided to have them made. On the front, it said ‘Team Witt,’ and on the back, it had ‘24,’ for how many years we have been married, and it [reads], ‘24 years of playing in the sand together,’” Kristen said.

Sand-sational castles

Cindy Phung, Staff Writer March 2, 2023

Strolling along the beautiful, white sand shores of the top beach in America, Siesta Key, Fla., revisiting their honeymoon destination from 24 years ago, an elaborate sandcastle caught English ASC Kristen...

Math and computer science teacher Jason Townsend explains how to graph algebraic equations in front of the class. Townsend teaches algebra, calculus, and computer science. I love teaching calculus [because] calculus [is] more challenging [and] more interesting to me. Granted, if youre a good teacher, you find ways to make [all math] interesting for your students and you challenge yourself to do it differently all the time,” Townsend said.

Traveling, teaching, theater — oh, my!

Grace Loethen, Staff Writer March 1, 2023

  Hidden in a nook on the first floor, math and computer science teacher Jason Townsend enthusiastically teaches his last year of classes before retirement. His booming voice resounds off the blue...

Eyes and ruler fixed towards the screen, social studies teacher Aaron Bashirian points to his Smartboard and explains the history behind his barn. Having learned the ropes of carpentry, Bashirian made structural changes to the barn by himself over the past three years. “It’s not your normal barn, but it’s cool, though. It’s got quite a bit of history to it,” Bashirian said. “It used to be a carriage house; you can see where they used to keep the horse. There’s still a grain [and] hay shoot [too]. They parked Model T-style cars [that created] all these oil slicks on the floor where they leaked. You can see that there’s a lot of history in there. I love it, [it’s a] perfect building for a history guy. ”

From shack to studio

Kristen Skordos, Staff Writer January 17, 2023

Too much time spent without music often kills the desire to play, but social studies teacher Aaron Bashirian did not lose interest. Instead, the rockstar-gone-teacher stayed in touch with his desire to...

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The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High