June 7, 2023

The final weeks of high school are a prime time to look back, to remember, and to be appreciative of the journey we have traveled throughout these last four years. From our first day of high school to finishing our senior year finals, our journey has been long and arduous, yet filled with fond memories that will be cherished in the years to come.

Every October, our Homecoming Weekend brings together students of all grades to celebrate the beginning of the school year. Starting with Pep Rally, we cheered alongside our classmates in the school-wide competition to determine which class had the best spirit, creativity, and athleticism. Roars would fill the gym with excitement and encouragement, urging classmates on to defeat their competitors from the other grades. “There was so much spirit all around. I remember my friends and I screaming our heads off while cheering during the relay races,” comments Senior Elliott Vogel. But despite the rivalry between the different grades, the competition helps unite students in each grade level and raises school spirit to an all-time high each year. With the thrill of anticipation and wild commotion, Pep Rally exposes the elation and exhilaration of being a member of the Hills West family, with every grade level excitedly cheering on their classmates, regardless of whether they know each other or not.

Outside of classes, extracurricular clubs and sports gave us an opportunity to exploit and explore our interests while forming new friendships. From academic clubs to ethnic clubs and everything in between, the time we devoted to these activities allowed us to create connections with students who have similar interests while learning more about our passions, whether it be writing, music, culture, academics, or raising awareness of the environment. Senior Julianne Nicolette says, “LitMag allows me to connect with people who appreciate art and poetry. There, I look forward to hearing and editing pieces for the magazine… It’s nice to have other people who actually care about the same stuff as you instead of looking for them.” For those of us who opted to join a sports team, we would dedicate ourselves to our team and through our blood and sweat, work hard to win our games. The friendships we formed in practice quickly strengthened as we learned to support and rely on one another throughout the season. “I was able to hang out with my best friends everyday after school and play soccer. There’s nothing better than doing something you love with people you love,” says Senior Cole Tobias.

For West’s musicians, there were a plethora of opportunities for students to showcase their talents in band, orchestra, or chorus. “My favorite thing about chorus is being able to be a part of a group where every single voice is vital to the overall sound of a piece,” states Senior Isabella Dana. “My time in orchestra has allowed me to make friends that have been more like a second family to me. I’ve had great laughs, as well as timeless memories with everyone, including Mrs. Romeo,” adds Senior Pooja Pandya. In addition to the winter and spring concerts, the ensembles also compete in the Music In The Parks Competition in the Spring. Apart from these music classes, students also take their talents to the stage in the Variety Show and Theatre West. “My favorite memory in Theatre West would have to be taking my final bow on the Hills West Stage with my fellow seniors and having the underclass men behind us. I just felt so loved. It was bittersweet because it was the end of my time with what had become my family but it was a new beginning,” comments Senior Brianna Robinson, who directed and wrote the script for #HighSchool, West’s student-run play.

Finally, for seniors, second semester of senior year is often the most memorable and enjoyable time in high school. With our newfound independence and without the relentless worry of college decisions and maintaining A pluses in all of our classes, we could spend more time relaxing with our friends before the chaos starts all over again in a few more months when we start college as freshmen. Now is a time to reminisce and cherish our most memorable moments of our journey before we depart from our friends and family to begin a new chapter of our lives. From the day we first stepped foot into High School West to the day we decided on where we would be spending the next four years of our lives, we have made countless memories as we overcame obstacle after obstacle, only to end up with a select number of memories cherishing the lifelong friends we have made in these fleeting four years.