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


Lia Emry

Lia Emry, Staff Writer

Pronouns: she/her

Grade: 12

Years on staff: 3

What is your favorite piece of literature? I'm not sure, but I love cats.

Who is your hero? My mom.

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Sushi.

All content by Lia Emry
Walking onto the field, freshman Erastus Adewusi wears a pink jersey in remembrance of cancer awareness month. With the number seven on his jersey, Adewusi reflects on his life in Nigeria before moving to America. “I [used to wake up] at 5:30 a.m. and school would end at 5 p.m. [versus] now,” Adewusi said.

Kickin’ it

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
May 14, 2024
With spring blossoming and hundreds of beauty products on the market, picking products for your needs can be a daunting process. But spring is the perfect opportunity to experiment with hair care and makeup products, marking a transformation into the new season.

In full bloom

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
May 7, 2024
With the click of a button, senior Abbi VanValkenburgh snaps a shot of her twin sister, senior Alli VanValkenburgh. Abbi found her passion for photography during her freshman year, allowing her to expand her class knowledge into her current photography business. “Photography has taught me how to be patient with myself. I learned that sometimes Ill fail, and thats okay. I know that not every image will be perfect, but the ones that [are] keep me going,” Abbi said.

Capturing moments

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
April 26, 2024
Performing a dance, athletes wave their pompoms in the air as special education teacher Wendy Zieleskiewicz stands behind them. Zielesckiewicz, who has been teaching for 25 years, didn’t know what she wanted to pursue until she remembered her love for children. She now sees her students benefiting from Special Olympics. “Its really fun to see [athletes] grow. [Special Olympics is] incredible — Its high energy, its a lot of fun. Its cool to see the kids all working together and having a good time. They make connections with other students, [and] its amazing to see how much fun they have. I hope that they can make and maintain relationships with people that are not in this classroom. I always encourage [my students] to participate [in Special Olympics] because it is a lot of fun and even if they dont make a best friend, you still have an opportunity to grow,” Zieleskiewicz said.

Unleashing smiles

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
February 26, 2024
Pushing past a defender and shooting the puck into the goal, senior Kirill Manoni scores a point against St. Louis University High School. Manoni believes hockey players should wear more protection. “Being on the ice, I am now more aware of my surroundings after the Adam Johnson story,” Manoni said.

Skating towards change

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
January 15, 2024
Cabin leaders smile on their last day at Camp Lakewood, wearing tie-dye shirts, bandannas and name tags to identify their cabin. After participating in the camp herself during her sixth-grade year, senior Eileen Meara applied for the position of camp counselor to continue spreading the joy of nature. “I didn’t have the opportunity to go to sixth grade camp when I was in sixth grade because I went to a private school. I wanted to have the opportunity to experience it,” Meara said.

West in the wilderness

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
January 10, 2024
On Friday, a night full of celebration kicked off in a flood of green in honor of former 2023 graduate Jaydon Woodall. Athletics director Jeff Taggart took the night as a moment to reflect on Woodall and the impact he made. “The fact that we have that option to bring more awareness to [organ donation] and how we can save somebody elses life down the road, to the idea of being an organ donor like [Woodall] is worth everything. Coming together as a community says a lot about how much he means to us,” Taggart said.

The gift of a lifetime

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
October 26, 2023
Freshman Mireya David stands in a tennis court, swinging her racket in front of her while stepping forward.

Eyes on the prize

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
October 10, 2023
Posing in front of The Magic Kingdom with her family, junior Karry Nickel enjoys her 20th time at Disney World. As Disney passholders, the Nickels have embraced the tradition of going to Disney every Fourth of July. “There are no words [to describe] going to bed and knowing that the next morning, youre getting on a 5 a.m. flight to Orlando to go to Disney. It’s one of the most exciting feelings ever, and Ill never forget the memories,” Nickel said.

Devoted to Disney

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
October 4, 2023
Seniors Grace Fotheringham, Kelsea Wilson, Luisa DAquino Lazarini and Ibrahim Hacking pose together after attending Parkway’s Educators’ Signing Night. Students were encouraged to invite family, friends and teachers to watch. “Signing days are cute, and I never committed to a sport, so I never really thought I would have the opportunity. I’m excited that I [got] to be a part of a signing day for education. On signing night, it was wholesome to see everyone’s future plans and invite my family and teachers. It made me realize how important teaching is and how we need more teachers,” Wilson said.

Fueling the future of education

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
May 19, 2023
“All four of my grandparents were really impactful on me growing up, Im lucky enough that they all live really close by. Growing up, it was really nice to be able to see them a lot and to visit and just be able to have a close connection with them because not everyone is close with their grandparents, and most people only get to see them every so often. It was different when growing up, especially when I was in pre-K kindergarten, I would see my grandparents on both sides, multiple times a week. It’s really nice to have that connection with them. I kind of have like three homes like both of my grandparents houses are on my own. It really had a positive impact on me growing up. Im looking forward to senior year and college. Im honestly not nervous [for college]. Right now, Im trying to take in my time at home but also I think Im going to really enjoy the independence of college.  Im excited to mainly just be around new people like people from all over because I hopefully will go to an out-of-state college so I just am really excited to be in a new area around new people who like different things,” Deluca said.

Alexandra DeLuca

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
April 14, 2023
Although I had developed book smarts going to college, I quickly discovered that my street-smarts were behind my peers as I struggled with day-to-day organizational and time management skills as well as a lack of big picture and worldly views of topics and events. Thinking back to my high school years, I let my parents do too much for me who were quick to step in, reminding me about deadlines or just assuming responsibilities that were mine to own. Although it made my life easier at the time, my development was behind where it needed to be, and blame and struggle were placed solely on my shoulders. My parents had a significant impact on my development as a person in both the ways I approached and thought of others as well as my choices to stay challenged in life. Amongst other values, they instilled in me the virtue of acceptance which largely led me to the field of Counseling. - Chris Lorenz, counseling.

Chris Lorenz, Counseling

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
April 6, 2023
“A struggle for me in the past and currently is being too hard on myself and perfectionism. It has impacted my life in different ways but ultimately taught me how to take better care of myself and just let things happen. I feel like people misunderstand my personality. Some people might say I look “mean” or if they talk to me I’m “quiet” but if you get to know me, I feel like I’m very different than those assumptions. My mom impacted my outlook on life. She taught me how to truly live and be grateful for things especially if something doesn’t go the way I imagine. I look forward to making connections with new people and taking on opportunities to meet new people.” - Audrey Amato, 11

Audrey Amato

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
April 4, 2023
“My aunt is an educator. She was education assistant superintendent in a district in Illinois. So growing up not only her but my family in general, my parents and my dad always encouraged me to do different things and seek out the best path for myself but her and education-wise, I kind of mimicked her path when it came to grad school and pursuing my doctorate. She greatly influenced me with all of that. I regret not getting involved in more like clubs when I was in high school. I played sports for the most part. In my high school, youd have to choose between one of the two. Originally, I always wanted to be in education administration. I wanted to be athletic director. When I first went to school, it was my first go. After being in school and going to grad school and seeing the job of some of the athletic directors and the amount of time they have to put in after school, for supervising activities and other things, changed my focus to the principal route. I found the principal route gives you an opportunity to have a more, more of a positive impact on a large number of students. Everybody doesnt play athletics or do activities. Everybody does go to school. So you have to figure out ways to best, you know, make students as successful as they can in this role,” Heavens said.

Jamaal Heavens, Principal

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
March 27, 2023
“Everyone here at Parkway West High School keeps telling me I am famous [from a TikTok that went viral]. They [students and staff]  stop me in the hallways asking for my autograph. That takes a lot to get accustomed to, but I enjoy the noticed honor. My major at the University of Texas – Austin was a clear path. I married while in College and relocated to Little Rock, Arkansas with my husband; and later, to St. Louis, Missouri. I finished my undergraduate degree at Harris Stowe University here in St. Louis and began my first Mathematics Teacher assignment at Hanley Junior High School in the University City Public Schools. My mother, Mrs. Bernice Barbara Nash Jackson, Deceased was the greatest inspiration to become a teacher. My aunt, Dr. Myrtle Elliott Hightower, and Dr. Todd Elliott, Deceased shared in that distinction. My uncle, Dr. Elliott was a Mathematics Teacher. His love of Mathematics inspired me to show an interest in the subject.  I do regret not pursuing being a High School Band Director. I love playing different instruments. I began in the Band at South Oak Cliff High School, Dallas, Texas. I have pleasant thoughts of being Majorette Captain of my High School Marching Band,” - Mrs.McNeal, math

Deborah McNeal, Math

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
March 17, 2023
“I worked very hard in high school academically, athletically, and in extracurriculars. Having all of that come together and getting into my reach college was a pretty proud moment. All of that said, I am probably most proud of something much more simple: being nice to people. I learned compassion and empathy from my mom at a young age and the importance and power of just being nice always resonated. I had many teachers along the way [that got me into teaching]. I am thankful that I became an educator. I get to learn and grow through my job on a daily basis. I get to work with students, teachers, and parents to find ways to best support the students that are the future of our community. In those ways, my job is very fulfilling and rewarding,” - Mario Pupillo, Assistant Principal

Mario Pupillo, Principal

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
March 15, 2023
“I’ve always struggled in school. I’ve never been a straight-A student and always got the ‘you’re not stupid, you just need to work harder than others’ speech. I have an IEP and it impacts my life because being someone who has to leave the class for tests or always gets a little more time on assignments definitely is a challenge in my life. It’s hard because you always feel judged no matter what you are doing. It makes people think of you as less than you are, but in the past years, I’ve gotten used to the way my school life works. I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter and everyone has their own struggles in life. I have a great support system and even though sometimes school is a huge struggle for me it feels great to accomplish the challenges that I’ve faced,” - Audrey Leahy, 11

Audrey Leahy

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
March 7, 2023
“Im very proud of my field hockey career and how far Ive come in only three and a half years. I think that a lot of people have been doing a sport for years and years and they dont go anywhere with it. I feel like by talking to colleges and [field hockey] practices and managing, school, seven clubs, and field hockey four times a week, I think my time management has really grown in the past three years, - Mj Surtain, 11

MJ Surtin

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
March 6, 2023
My 4th grade English teacher Mr. Paxson taught me that we need a little humor every day, and how to grow from making mistakes. My middle school math teacher Ms. Guengerich, taught me that education is both doing problems but also having fun and figuring things out. I teach because I love learning and people. I got into teaching because its the only thing Ive ever wanted to do since I was six years old. Thanks to Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, Square One Television, and Where in the World Is Carmen SanDiego, I learned that learning could be fun, diverse, and interesting, and I wanted to bring that to kids from my perspective. I know Im a better human for having taught, but its also made me more flexible and interesting, - Patrick Mooney

Patrick Mooney, Math

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
February 24, 2023
Parkway is hiring substitute teachers through Kelly Education to combat the sub shortage.

Where’s my substitute teacher?

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
February 24, 2023
“My fifth-grade teacher Mrs. Hartman impacted me growing up. She was the only person that actually believed in me, and she gave me the courage to do what I do now. I believed in myself [because of her], I felt like I never believed in myself or I wasnt capable of doing anything, but she made me feel like I could do anything in the world. With what Ive been through and how I think about things, a lot of people didn’t understand me as a person. But I feel like she understood where I was coming from and the things that I was going through. My mom has gone through the struggle, and I look up to all the things that she went through growing up. People always ask me what my goals are, but I don’t believe in goals, because thats one way of failing. What if I could do more than just achieve that one goal that I set out to do? I’m gonna set objectives. What I say is what Im gonna do, and Im not going halfway in life,” - Trenton Livingston, 11

Trenton Livingston

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
February 23, 2023
“My parents were really involved with school for me, they would always ask about my grades and stress the importance of school. I think that contributed to my desire to do well in school and take hard classes and I think it’s going to be very helpful for me in the future. I was really looking for a city vibe in college, and I recently just committed to Loyola so it’s gonna be really nice to have Chicago so close to me. The campus is beautiful and really close to the lake. I didn’t want a huge school in a college so Loyola is perfect. I regret not sticking with some of the sports [I played growing up]. I did gymnastics until junior year and I feel like I could have done a lot more. I feel like theres unfinished business there. Someone that impacted me growing up was my older sister Abby, she was always there for me when I needed her and always encouraged me to aim high and pursue my passions. I’m looking forward to college because I’m gonna be in a new city and I’ll get to make new friends. I’m super excited to be on my own and start my future,” - Tristan Caudill, 12

Tristan Caudill

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
February 22, 2023
“My grandpa is someone who was very impactful to me as I was growing up. He wasnt the ‘lets go play catch’ or ‘lets play a game’ type of grandpa, he was the ‘sit on my lap and Ill tell you a story’ grandpa. As a veteran who served in World War II and The Korean War, he was never short on stories. As I got older, we would often spend time together driving from his home to the small town where he grew up. We really didnt have much of a destination in mind, it was more about the time together in the car. During these hours, the stories he told helped shape who I am, the value I place on family and home, and my perspective on our armed forces. After he died, I missed these long talks but value the oral history that he passed to me and I can now pass along to my children as they learn to enjoy long drives with mom,” - Leslie Lindsey, English

Leslie Lindsey, English

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
February 21, 2023
“I was painfully shy as a middle school student and early in high school. I didnt like to ever participate in class. Luckily I dont think it impacted me long-term in any real way, and I was able to break out of my shell a little bit by my junior and senior year of high school. I regret not continuing to train and run competitively after high school. In my senior year of track, I was still improving, but as soon as that season ended, I stopped doing any serious training or running competitively. I never picked it up again, so I regret that I never reached my peak in running. My parents had the biggest impact on me for sure, but my high school cross-country coach probably influenced my career choice more than anybody. He was the first one who planted the idea of me working in education. I had such a good experience running high school cross country with him that I decided I wanted to work at a high school in the future, and he also made the first phone call to get me a foot in the door at West. I am proud that I decided to go into teaching even though it really did not come naturally to me. I have never been someone who liked to be the center of attention or had a lot to say, so teaching was not something I really ever saw myself doing. I knew I didnt want to work in an office, and I had a great experience in my own education and some great teachers and coaches who influenced me, so I decided that teaching was something I might be able to pursue. It was not easy, but I am proud that I tried it and have stuck with it. I am looking forward to biking the Katy Trail this summer, hopefully with a few fellow math teachers.” - Kevin John

Kevin John, Math

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
February 9, 2023
“Im really overwhelmed about getting a good score [on my ACT test] because my parents put a lot of pressure on me to get a good score, since they have a lot of expectations [for me] as well as having an older brother who really set the bar high by getting good grades and a good score on the ACT, that puts a lot of pressure on me to do just as well. It stresses me out a lot and it kind of scares me but I know that my parents are wanting the best for me. Although I know theyre not just putting the stress on me for nothing because they want me to work hard and achieve everything I want. I know they put the stress on me for a good reason, they do it to make sure I wont have any regrets when Im older. My parents are really supportive. I told them I needed a math tutor because Im struggling with math and my parents just took the initiative, my mom spent days just trying to find the best possible math tutor she could find for me that will also fit my schedule. They care definitely a lot about my needs and they wont be afraid to just jump into action to get me what I need. Im extremely grateful for my parents. They focus so much of their time focused on me, since I am like the only child right now basically with my brother at college. This could be a good and bad thing since all of their attention is on me now, which puts a lot of stress on me, but it also makes me relieved that I have parents who actually care about my success and achievements. Im really excited to go to college. Its just stressful to think about the process of having to get into college, but I know that no matter where I go, or whatever I end up doing Ill be happy with whatever it is. Im really excited to get out of Missouri and meet new people and make new friends. Whatever is outside of Missouri I want to explore. I want to explore different areas of our country and go out of state for college. I really want to go somewhere urban and populated with more things around me, for example, more activities I could be doing on the weekends. I want to meet new people in different areas. I definitely am looking for diversity on campus because I really want to go to a college with a large variety of diversity, as a student of color. I want to make sure that [the college I go to will] have a good business and marketing program which is really important, and like a large population of like their student body is involved in like the business or marketing area. Otherwise, I feel like itd be a waste to go to a college that doesnt focus on the area I want to study.” - Angie Ren,11

Angie Ren

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
February 2, 2023
“My first two years of high school I don’t even consider to count. Freshman year I honestly dont even remember [what we learned] and it was cut short. I was virtual my entire sophomore year and took the time to focus on academics, dance and myself. The pandemic definitely caused me to lose motivation during my sophomore year. It took a lot of effort during my junior year to jump back into staying focused and taking school seriously. Junior year, I met a freshman on poms named Poppi Wright, shes meant so much to me ever since. Were very similar, its weird. We clicked instantly and I just absolutely adore her. Throughout high school, one unforgettable moment for me was joining the yearbook staff. I absolutely adore [journalism teacher Debra] Klevens and taking her class was the best decision I made. I found a true passion in designing and making yearbook spreads. I got really into it and by my senior year, I was made an editor. I love going to Klevens room after other classes I dont enjoy as much. I’m a student aide for her so I have her every day and I love it. I honestly feel like I had two true years of high school, my junior and senior year. Im most proud that I just survived the journey. I can say I was in high school during a pandemic and still managed to get into college, continued dancing and formed new relationships.” - Kelsea Wilson, 12

Kelsea Wilson

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
February 1, 2023
During a Crime and Law mock trial, senior Nadir Gheith acts as the defendant, Jack Percy who is on trial for the first-degree murder of Butch Burly. Officer Matthew Paubel removed Gheiths handcuffs at the start of the trial after escorting him to the pretend courtroom. “[The most challenging part of the mock trial] was seeing me lose because I hardly lose, and I needed to bounce back from that. [I lost] because the jury hates me. I don’t know what I did wrong, but they just didn’t like me,” Gheith said.

[Photo] Photo of the Week – Nov. 11

Elle Rotter, Deputy Conceptual Editor-In-Chief
November 14, 2022
Liora Hoi

Liora Hoi

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
October 10, 2022
Clutching the ball on a quarterback run, junior Joseph Federer hustles on the field, attempting to score a touchdown. As a child, Federer grew up watching football. “An NFL player who inspires me is [quarterback] Kyler Murray. He is a very accurate quarterback and can also make tremendous plays with his feet,” Federer said.

Drive to play

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
September 27, 2022
“I think the best part about being a teacher is seeing  how many different lives you impact. Sometimes it takes years. You see a student you havent had in 10 years and they come up to you and they have a conversation; that impact that we have on many [ students]  lives can help shape the world. Obviously thats the main goal for what I would hope a lot of people in teaching, but I feel like that it is hard to see when youre in the moment, but you can find that if you  teach long enough. I come to different insights. [I] focus in on what I find to be important, and what we need as a society and culture. Right now, we need more interactions with each other. And unfortunately, were dealing with a situation where theres a lot of impersonal contact that we have. Part of it stems from our technology; we can also lay some blame on our current situation with COVID. I worry about those aspects and students abilities to socialize and work together. – Brian Welch, librarian

Brian Welch

Lia Emry, CJ1 Writer
April 22, 2022
Hustling off the field, alumnus Drew Seers finishes one of his many season games. The 23-year-old started his football career through the junior Longhorn program, “I was glad that I was able to start playing football at Parkway West’s Jr. Longhorns program. West allowed me to meet a lot of great people and form relationships that I’ll have for a lifetime,” Seers said.

Road to the 2022 NFL Draft

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
April 13, 2022
After a long day of walking around, Olmedilla poses in front of the Palacio Real located in the middle of Madrid. Spending her last few weeks in Madrid, Olmedilla cherished the last few weeks of summer. “We went all over Madrid that day. We went to stores, listened to music and just talked.” Olmedilla said. However, Olmedilla’s excitement to arrive in the U.S didn’t stop.

Adiós Spain, Hola St.Louis

Lia Emry, Staff Writer
March 29, 2022
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Lia Emry