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


Seniors Andrew Son (left), Tommy Eschbach (center) and Kaiden Kelley (right) laugh together while waiting for their robot, OverDriv6, to compete at the 2024 Missouri VEX State Championship. Although the competition was stiff, the trio managed to have a good time, content with their performance and teamwork. “We’re very good at recognizing small victories while in the face of adversity. If one of our subsystems failed or one of the parts of our robot broke, wed spend half an hour or so fixing that. The next match, even if we lost, wed still celebrate the fact that that adjustment we made ended up working and succeeding. Being able to celebrate minor victories was very good for our team chemistry and strength,” said Eschbach. (Photo by Mikalah Owens)

Graduating gears

Mikalah Owens, Staff Writer March 28, 2024

All four robotics teams competed at the 2024 Missouri VEX State Championship in Park Hills, Mo. While each individual team did well in competition — robotics team Blue Brains even earned a spot at the...

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.

Inscribed legacy

Cindy Phung, A&E Editor March 21, 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

Rising to the occasion, West hosted its 21st Special Olympics on Wednesday, Feb. 21. Founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in 1968, Special Olympics was created in response to discriminatory actions and behaviors...

Peering through his glasses, Blue Brains Team Lead and senior Sawyer Ladd carefully examines his team’s robot in between contests. As team lead, Ladd seeks to encourage collaboration among his teammates. “We try [to] become more than just a group of people achieving successful robotics. On my team, Ive tried to make us more of a friend group than a robotics team. So thats improved our team chemistry — we just generally enjoy being around each other and that allows us to work together a little [better],” Ladd said.

Robotics teams compete at Ladue Tournament

Serena Liu, Editor-in-Chief February 8, 2024

For the first time this year, all four robotics teams competed under one roof at the Ladue VEX Robotics Competition Tournament. On Sunday, BreakPoint, MetalMinds, OverDriv6 and Blue Brains put their robots...

Juniors Laith Alhamid and Brooke Hoenecke smile at the camera, sitting behind a red table in the cafeteria as they sell candy canes. A sign beside them advertises the Candy Cane Exchange.

‘Tis the season

Serena Liu and Ruthvi Tadakamalla December 13, 2023
This week, Future Business Leaders of America is hosting their annual Candy Cane Exchange. For $1, students can purchase candy canes to be delivered to a recipient of their choice. Each candy cane can come with a complimentary note.
Triumphantly celebrating, senior Cameron Hickert is hefted into the air by fellow Mr. Longhorn contestants. Out of 15 contestants, Hickert took the first-place prize. “At the end of the day, I’m just glad I’m having fun with my friends,” Hickert said.

The finale: senior Cameron Hickert wins Mr. Longhorn 2023

Serena Liu and Elizabeth Franklin November 24, 2023

On Friday, Nov. 17, Mr. Longhorn tested 15 senior contestants across the categories of occupation, talent and formal wear, and senior Cameron Hickert came out on top.  In an effort to curry favor with...

Teaming up with seniors Chase Haun, Brock Sweet and Mitchell Seavey, senior Ben Gingrich performs a comedy act during Mr. Longhorn dress rehearsals on Nov. 16. Gingrich signed up after being encouraged by Longhorn Council’s recruiting efforts. “Weve got a lot of talent out there, a lot of funny acts, a lot of impressive acts — its gonna be a good show. My Sports Lit teacher Casey Holland encouraged me to do it and branch out and try something different from what I’d usually do,” Gingrich said. “Bring positive attitudes, and be ready to be wowed.”

Behind the scenes: A peek into the process of the Mr. Longhorn contestants

For the past few days, the senior contestants for the annual charity pageant Mr. Longhorn have rehearsed in the theater, practicing their acts, learning a group dance and mastering the art of swaggering...

Each year, senior boys compete in Mr. Longhorn, a talent show and pageant designed to raise money for charity. “It’s going to be a blast, it’s going to be a great time,” Haun said. “I think its going to be exciting. Im not too scared, as long as I dont mess up, itll be great.”

The show must go on

Triya Gudipati, News Editor November 16, 2023

On Friday, Nov. 17, 16 senior boys will take the stage to compete for the coveted title of Mr. Longhorn. To win the crown, participants must score the highest cumulatively in three categories: occupational...

Dressed and ready to create melodies, junior Andrew Son and senior Nathan Zhou prepare to play at the St. Louis Suburban Music Educators Association (SLSMEA) All-District Band concert. The concert, held at Kirkwood High School, was a journey that led them to the Missouri All-State Band. “Playing with my peers not only from our school but from other schools in the district amplifies not only the music but also the enjoyment and the passion,” Son said.

Students win honors at the 2023 Missouri All-State Band

Raj Jaladi, Newsletter Editor April 21, 2023

The All-State Band is an annual tradition featuring the top musicians at the high school level in the state of Missouri. Over 1,200 students auditioned for the 105-member 2023 All-State Band. A journey...

After being qualified for the VEX robotics world championship, members of the 5430 robotics team remain humble because of their drive to collaborate and express their ideas with each other. For sophomore and Blue Brains member Esther Young (center), being the newest addition of her team has allowed her to meet people that she shares interests with. It has also allowed her to meet some of the nicest people she has ever met. “Being on the team is very energizing. I know for a fact my team definitely wants to take home trophies, but we also wanted to be qualified for world. That basically just means performing super well — maybe an award,  but the experience is good too,” Young said.

Beyond the bots

Esta Kamau, Staff Writer April 17, 2023

Gearing up all four robots in preparation for the big day, members of the robotics program boarded a 5 a.m. bus March 5 and set off for Jefferson City, Mo. Each team — the Blue Brains (5430A), END GAM3...

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