Celebrating the Class of 2019 and Welcoming the Class of 2023

On Saturday, May 25th, West Leadership Academy celebrated our fourth graduating class.  These students became the 136th graduating class from West High School.  This year’s graduates were accepted to 21 different colleges and universities and received over $360,000 in scholarships!

On Thursday, May 30th, we held a continuation ceremony for our 8th graders who successfully completed middle school and are prepared to transition to high school.  Denver City Councilman Paul Lopez was our keynote speaker.

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2019 Alumni Awards

West Campus seniors were recognized by our Alumni Association and the Denver Scholarship Foundation for their achievements during high school. All of our high school students and teachers assembled in the auditorium to recognize the Class of 2019 and to be inspired by their accomplishments.

2019 West High School Alumni Association Scholarship and DSF Recipients:

Adriana Banuelos-Belloc, $500.00, Alice D. Maypole, Class of 1940
Enrico Blackwell, $500.00, Dale Wieland
Amy Cera, $2,500.00, Marie Robinson
Julius Cotton, $1,500.00, West High Alumni
Blandy Ek-Cardoz, $500.00, Alice D. Maypole, Class of 1940
Diego Guzman, $1,000.00, West High Alumni
Umutesi Karinganire, $1,000.00, West High Alumni
Alyssa Ledesma, $1,000.00, West High Alumn
Stephani, Lopez, $500.00, Robin and Barbara Lopez
Briana Mestas, $500.00, Alice D. Maypole, Class of 1940
Kenia Rodriquez-Munoz, $500.00, Alice D. Maypole, Class of 1940
Elias Romero-Leanos, $1,500.00, West High Alumni
Thalia Urbina-Astorga, $500.00, Alice D. Maypole, Class of 1940
Daniel PonceDeLeon, $100.00, Clow-Henerson/ Evan Computer/Business Award
Enrico Blackwell, $250.00, Valedictorian
Amy Cera, $250.00, Valedictorian
Chris Mares, $100.00, Speech/Drama award
Thalia Urbina-Astorga, $100.00, Alumni Athletic Award
Julius Cotton, $100.00, Alumni Athletic Award
Briana Mestas, $100.00, James Fluckey/Gary Lee Kientz Music Award
Elias Romero, $100.00, Lewis V. Fergus Math Award
Umutesi Karinginare, $100.00, War Memorial Citizenship Award
Sandra Galindo, $100.00, War Memorial Citizenship Award
Aleah Lopez, $100.00, Charles R. McDonough Award
Klany James, $100.00, Charles R. McDonough Award
Laisha Flores, $500.00, Vera Ramirez Gomez Scholarship

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50 Years Later

Remembering the West High School Blowout

50 years ago, students of color were oppressed due to their ethnicity, the way they looked, and the languages they spoke.  Chicano students at West decided they’d had enough so they made a list of demands to stand up to the racism they faced everyday and to improve their education.  They wanted bilingual education and Chicano studies integrated into their classes, and they wanted respect from teachers and staff. A walkout was coordinated with the help of Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales, the head of the Chicano organization Crusade for Justice.

On March 20th, 1969, approximately one hundred and fifty students walked out of class.  Students marched to Baker and then back to West, where they were met by police officers.  Tensions escalated quickly.  Police reacted aggressively and used tear gas to disperse the crowd.  The next day, students of all ethnicities walked out of several other Denver high schools and met in front of West in solidarity.  There were over a thousand protesters.  Because of the clashes with police the previous day, the demonstration quickly exploded into chaos and violence, which is why the West High School Walkout became known as the West High School Blowout.  In the end, 25 people were arrested and 6 were injured.

This week students participated in a variety of activities to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the blowout.  We analyzed the poem “Yo Soy Joaquin”, which was written by Corky Gonzales in the 60’s, and explored our own identities.  The band Los Mocochetes and the Su Teatro theater troupe performed for us.  We learned from Lita Gonzales what is was like to be Chicano in Denver in the 60’s, and we compared and contrasted how things were then to how they are today.  On March 21st, community members gathered in front of the school for a symbolic march to Su Teatro, reenacting the walkout of 1969.

Link to 9 News story about the blowout – This story features Principal Teresa Klava and Assistant Principal Mia Martinez, “daughters of two men who were a part of the West High School blowout”, both now leaders at West.

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Día de los Muertos

The West Campus remembered and honored those who have passed away while learning more about our cultural roots by participating in Día de los Muertos.  During the morning students and staff created ofrendas, drank hot chocolate, ate pan dulce, got their faces painted, and listened to storytellers.  Alumni and families joined us in the afternoon for performances by students and community organizations, including Grupo Tlaloc Danza Azteca, Fiesta Colorado Dance Company, and Mariachi Sol de Mi Tierra.

Student Photographers:  Alejandra Diaz-Chagollan, Emily Martinez-Ocon, Elias Romero-Leanos

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Good Luck Class of 2018, Welcome Class of 2022

On Wednesday night, May 30th, West Leadership Academy held its third graduation ceremony for a group of seniors who join 134 years of West High School graduates before them.  90% of this year’s graduating class have been accepted into post-secondary programs of study, and they were awarded over $400,000 in scholarships.   The following morning, we welcomed 117 students to high school at our 8th grade continuation ceremony.

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2018 Alumni Awards

West Campus seniors were recognized by our Alumni Association and the Denver Scholarship Foundation for their achievements during high school.  All of our high school students and teachers assembled in the auditorium to celebrate the success of these amazing students and to be inspired by their accomplishments.

2018 West High School Alumni Association Scholarship and “Special Award” Recipients

Paola Rodriguez–$2500 Marie Robinson Memorial Scholarship
Jeffery Carrillo Garcia–$1500 WHS Alumni Scholarship
Joaquin Carcamo-Tapia–$1500 WHS Alumni Scholarship
Darlene Valdez Benavides–$1000 WHS Alumni Scholarship
Ana Samayoa Ramos–$1000 WHS Alumni Scholarship
Ricardo Aguilera–$1000 WHS Alumni Scholarship
Luis Carrasco–$500 Dale Weiland Memorial Scholarship
Fernando Ambriz–$500 “Special Alumni Award” in memory of Alice Maypole
Christian Borjas–$500 “Special Alumni Award” in memory of Alice Maypole
Melissa Sanchez–$500 “Special Alumni Award” in memory of Alice Maypole
Yoxin Carranza-Lopez–$500 “Special Alumni Award” in memory of Alice Maypole
Amina Aden–$500 “Special Alumni Award” donated by Robin Lopez and Bernie Lopez
Jeffery Carrillo Garcia–$500 “Special Alumni Award” donated by Loretta Gonzales in honor of Ernest P. Garibay

2018 West High School Teachers Awards

Catherine Clow-Henderson, Warren Evans, Computer Business Award- $100
Brian Garcia, West Early College

Ernest Peck and Mary Coyle Chase, Speech Award- $100
Neteru Davis, West Early College

James Fluckey and Gary Lee Kientz, Music Award- $100
Ashlyn DeLaRosa-Ramirez, West Leadership Academy

Alumni Athletic Award- $100 each
Yoxin Carranza-Lopez, West Leadership Academy
Abdirizak (Abdi) Mohamed, West Early College

Lewis V. Fergus, Math Award- $100
Darlene Valdez-Benavides, West Leadership Academy

War Memorial Citizenship Award- $100 each
Gustavo Torres-Martinez, West Leadership Academy
Haley Burkhardt, West Early College

Charles R. McDonough Award- $100
Cassandra Torres, West Early College

Jay T. Slagle, Life Science Award- $500 each
Jennifer Vera-Medina, West Early College
Christian Borjas, West Leadership Academy

Alumni Scholarship Award, Valedictorian- $250 each
Jeffrey Carrillo, West Early College
Paola Rodriguez, West Leadership Academy

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Service Learning Day

West Leadership students demonstrated our core value of citizenship today by cleaning up and beautifying our community.  High school students worked around campus scrubbing walls, cleaning windows, sweeping floors, and weeding and mulching the garden beds in the courtyard.  Middle school students worked with Denver Parks and Rec to spread mulch around the trees at Sunken Gardens, rake the playground, and pick up trash along Cherry Creek.  Students also decorated meal bags for Project Angel Heart.  After a morning of hard work, we celebrated with refreshing paletas.

Photos by Yitzeiry Serna-Villalva and Mariana Romero.

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WLA Students Perform on the Hamilton Stage

On Wednesday, March 21st, West Leadership Academy students attended a special performance of the Hamilton Musical at the Performing Arts Center.  The show was the culmination of a unit in which students spent weeks studying about Alexander Hamilton and the founding fathers.  Teams from 60 schools competed by researching, writing, and performing original pieces that were submitted to the Hamilton cast.  Before Wednesday’s show, students from several schools were selected to perform their pieces for the audience, including WLA students Jose Torres-Andazola, Zehydi Chaparro-Rojas, Rossy Martinez-Sanchez and Alexandra Andazola-Chavez.   The event was covered by The Denver Post and Chalkbeat.

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7th and 8th-Graders Visit DU

West Leadership Academy is part of Denver University’s VIP (Volunteers in Partnership) program, designed to promote self esteem in students and bridge the transition from secondary to post-secondary studies.   Our middle school AVID students visited DU last week to tour the campus and learn about some of the many opportunities DU offers.  Students were greeted by a West Leadership alumni and current DU freshman, they then participated in an engaging presentation by the Physics Department, and finally received an extensive tour of the campus.  Students were impressed by the library, athletics facilities, and they especially enjoyed eating lunch in the dining hall.  This experience gave students a glimpse at college life and motivated them to work harder to achieve their goals.

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2017 College Fair

October is College and Career Readiness Month at Denver Public Schools and it’s also the month of the annual West Campus college fair.  This year all of our high school students had the opportunity to learn about admissions requirements, financial aid, majors, and student life from the representatives of 40 different colleges and universities.

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