What's recently happened?
Recently, Gary Community School Corporation reopened. The first day back was August 10 for teachers and staff and August 15 for all students. Many things are growing and improving at Gary High School and West Side Leadership Academy (WSLA). At WSLA, they have freshly redone the entire gym so that it looks new and clean for the upcoming year and basketball season.
At WSLA and throughout the Gary Community School Corporation, there is value placed on the various clubs that each school offers. At West Side, they offer a plethora of clubs and are actively creating more. Some of the new clubs they have added for this upcoming school year are the Fashion Club, Coding Club, and Academic Superbowl.
While emphasis is placed on joining clubs, sports are also a big part of Gary Community Schools and an even bigger part at the high school level. Many students dedicate hours to their practices and other events. With the current focus on sports, the football team has recently begun their Fall 2023 season. So far they have won three of the five games that they have played. They had their most recent win on September 8 against River Forest High School.
The cheer and cross-country seasons have also begun at WSLA. The cheerleaders have performed at many events in the city including the National Night Out at RailCats Stadium.
What's coming up?
Highlighting the significance of high school sports, West Side is currently immersed in the festivities of their homecoming week, eagerly awaiting their homecoming game scheduled for Saturday, September 16. They will have a high-spirited game against the Whiting Oilers, who currently hold a 2-3 record this season.
Homecoming week is filled with exciting activities designed to boost school spirit. High schoolers are in the midst of their themed spirit week, adding vibrant colors and enthusiasm to the school environment. An energetic pep rally ignites pre-game excitement, followed by a vibrant parade that showcases West Side unity and pride. Of course, the climax of it all is the homecoming dance, where students gather to make cherished memories.
Despite the excitement that is homecoming, students are still adjusting to the rhythm of school life after the long summer break. To enrich their experience, a sign-up fair was recently held at West Side Leadership Academy, offering high school students the opportunity to explore and join various clubs tailored to their interests.
In the midst of this bustling academic and athletic environment, the homecoming game and its accompanying festivities are a much-anticipated highlight.
Amerah Bowen is the cheer coach at West Side and is currently in her second year of coaching the cheer team. While she is new to West Side, she is no stranger to the world of cheer. She was a cheerleader in high school and has been coaching for over 10 years.
“I have always enjoyed being a coach and embracing cheer as a whole,” Bowen said.
She has high aspirations for the team and its growth in this upcoming school year. So far, her cheerleaders have been requested for many performances across the city. This includes the National Night Out and events going on within the Gary Community School Corporation.
“Coaching these young girls has been a delight and I can't wait to see what’s in store for us in the future,” said Bowen.
As of recently, Bowen has been preparing her team for the upcoming pep rally, parade, and homecoming game that was previously mentioned.
Ja’Kayla Lewis is a senior at West Side and is the new founder of the Fashion Club at West Side. She has always had a passion for fashion and decided that if there were any other students who loved fashion like she did, they should have the chance to experience that.
“I’ve always deemed fashion as the way I can speak to others, especially girls and boys who’ve struggled with their insecurities like I have," said Lewis
Lewis aspires to become a fashion designer as she grows older. She would like to go to college and major in business so she can learn how to run a fashion design business.
She even has her own small business that helps people update their style to fit their personalities. It’s called “FlyJane” and she does a plethora of different things with it.
With all of these dreams and aspirations, Lewis remains an active member of her school community. She is the vice president of the Student Council and an honor roll student. She would like to be a role model for those people whose shoes she was once in.
“I want the other children in our school to know that your pain or passions can be expressed through anything,” said Lewis.