West kicks off the first week of October with two college fairs

October is College and Career Readiness Month for Denver Public Schools.  On Tuesday, October 4th, the West Campus hosted the Student Leadership Summit with USHLI (United States Hispanic Leadership Institute).  Students heard from guest speakers Carlos Ojeda Jr. and Ernesto Mejia from CoolSpeak about overcoming the struggles of growing up poor and Latino.  The speakers motivated students to find their voices, shed the labels that are holding them back, and to be the greatest versions of themselves every single day.  One West Leadership senior was given $100 to share with his family, with the message that there will be more financial help to come after he graduates from college.  Representatives from 20 colleges were present.

On Thursday, October 6th, West hosted the larger Colorado Council College Fair.  Students met with representatives from 45 different colleges and post-secondary institutions.

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Welcoming the Class of 2020 to High School

This year’s 8th Grade Continuation Ceremony was hosted by Middle School Principal Dave Alex and Executive Principal Teresa Sena Klava.  Student speakers included Angelo Anchondo, Fransee Samayoa-Ramos, and Ashley Sanchez.  Councilman Paul Lopez, who graduated from West High School in 1997 and now represents West Denver, was the keynote speaker.

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DPS recognized as an AP District of the Year by College Board

On March 10th DPS was recognized by College Board not only for having consistently increased enrollment in AP courses between 2013 and 2015, but also for increasing AP scores.  A representative from College Board stated that this is an anomaly, as school districts usually see decreases in AP test scores when they show drastic increases in enrollment.  All of WLA’s AP students boarded buses to Thomas Jefferson High School to attend the event.  Many DPS schools were in attendance but West Leadership was called out because we were founded with the help of College Board and we are the last remaining College Board school.   WLA currently offers AP Geography, AP Spanish, AP Calculus, AP Language and Composition and AP Literature with plans to offer even more AP courses next year.   AP courses prepare students for the rigorous coursework they will receive in college.
Event report by Keabeth Gonzalez
Photography by Jayline Castellanos-Orozco

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Spring Musical

Little Shop of Horrors

The West Campus spring musical was a success thanks to the dedicated cast and crew from West Leadership Academy, West Generation Academy and West Career Academy.  Special thanks to Ms. Walburn, Ms. Kennedy, Mr. Cooke and Ms. Irvin for all their hard work!

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Race Forum with the Denver Nuggets

On January 20th WLA hosted retired NBA player Mark Randall, Lieutenant Governor Joe Garcia, and Nuggets players Randy Foye and Jameer Nelson to kick off Black History Month. There was a panel discussion about race and discrimination. The purpose of the event was to get students ready to study civil rights in Mr. Curtiss’ US History class. All WLA 10th graders attended.  Highlights were a shooting prize contest and hearing the message the players sent of not being persuaded by peer pressure and to seek help from teachers and mentors when you need it.
Event Report by Jorge Celis
Photography by Leslie Valles

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75th annual Singing Christmas Tree

Generations of West Cowboys Unite Under West Campus Singing Christmas Tree
Story from thecommons.dpsk12.org

This week, the West Campus celebrated the 75th Anniversary of its annual singing Christmas tree. The tradition has been a constant in the community since 1941. “I can only imagine what it meant to the community, as the nation entered the war, to have this bright light during the holidays,” said Greg Cooke, executive director of the West Campus Singing Christmas Tree.
Approximately 80 voices were included in this year’s singing tree, including those from students in grades six through 12 at West Generation Academy and West Leadership Academy, as well as 35 alumni — representing six decades of West Cowboys. New this year was a multimedia element of the show, with video from alumni speaking about the significance of the singing tree in their own lives.
One alumnus shared his story about how the singing Christmas tree helped him rekindle his love for music after his pursuit of a career in that field was put on hold when he was drafted into the Vietnam War.

For West Leadership Academy principal Teresa Klava, this year’s performance represents unity for the West Campus, which is shared by West Generation Academy and West Leadership Academy. “We’ve gone through a lot of changes in the past five years, but the West Cowboys and the West Campus are still a part of our community –- and the tree exemplifies that,” Teresa said.

 

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Photography by Jim Guerra.

 

West Campus unveils newly-renovated Butler Building

Robotics ArenaOn November 30th West Campus celebrated the completion of a dramatic $600,000 renovation to the Butler Building.  The Butler Building will house the West Campus CareerConnect program. The upgrade was made possible through the 2012 bond. The ribbon-cutting ceremony included student demonstrations and a tour of the facility.

The DPS CareerConnect program offers students hands-on, project-based courses. These classes engage students with rigorous, relevant and applied learning. Historically, students enrolled in these career-focused courses graduate at 30% higher rates and are better prepared for post-secondary education.

The University of Colorado Denver made an announcement during the ceremony to partner with the Denver Public Schools CareerConnect program. This exciting new partnership will allow educators to better prepare Denver students for higher education and the workplace. The partnership will give DPS students access to innovative learning opportunities, leading to meaningful college and career options.

Explore Week

West Leadership students participated in a week-long,  intensive course in October that allowed them to apply skills from their academic classes to real-world situations.  Every year students are given the opportunity to choose a topic they are passionate about and spend one full week deeply exploring that topic.  Options this year included culinary arts, performing arts, athletics, film, fashion design, finance and engineering.  Students worked collaboratively on projects at school and also attended field trips to universities, museums, restaurants, and theaters in the Denver metro area.

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Sophomores soar to new heights at Genesee Park

On Friday, September 18th, all the 10th-graders attended a field trip to Genesee Park.  It was a fun and unforgettable experience.  We learned how to work as a team, to face our fears, and to trust in our classmates.  The experience helped us as young teens learn that we can overcome anything as long as we set our minds to it.  Thank you Ms. Klava, Mr. Curtiss, Mr. Filiowich, and Mr. Sanchez for this unforgettable and helpful life experience!

Trip report and photos by Ana Samayoa-Ramos, Luis Carrasco, and Joanna Wieser.

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