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Students You Should Know: February 2023

Learn about impactful students at WHS

Owen Wright

Staff Writer

February 16, 2023

Dressed for success - Eliana Colón (9) happily spins as she basks in the gorgeous sunshine.

Eliana Colón (9)

Q: What was it like to move to Westfield as a freshman?

A: There were a lot of emotions from going to a small school to a very large school in a new place. I was very nervous with the new change, but I felt very welcome at Westfield!

Q: What helped you adapt to a new school the most?

A: I think the thing that has most helped me adapt is being a part of clubs and sports. It really helped create new friendships and gave me those people to reach out to when in need.

Q: What advice would you give to either new students or incoming freshmen?

A: My advice for new or incoming students would be to get involved. Getting involved through sports & clubs allows you to meet people with similar interests and creates a safe environment where you feel welcome in such a large school.

Eyes on the prize - Porter Temples (10) books his ticket to State.

Porter Temples (10)

Q: When did you start wrestling, and why did you want to?

A: I started wrestling around preschool. And I started mostly because my dad made me and my brother do it. I enjoyed it when I was young, but I did not love it the way that I do now.

Q: How has your journey been to State so far?

A: It has been a lot of work. In the postseason I have done a lot of tournaments and practices to get to this, and I had to fight and work very hard to get to state.

Q: What would you say to other people that would want to start wrestling?

A: I suggest that you have got to understand what you are getting into. You need to put in a lot of work if you want to be good. And wrestling is such a hard sport you have to absolutely love it, or you won’t get anywhere in it.

Suited up - David Young (11) attends a conference at the Wellington Fishers Banquet as an emerging leader.

David Young (11)

Q: Why did you decide to join the Black Student Union?

A: The main reason I joined was because I wanted a space to meet other black students and friends starting off high school. As the current president of the Black Student Union, what has kept me going is seeing new student leaders emerge as leaders, seeing slight improvements [in] connectivity within our group, and also being able to provide students w/ a plethora of different opportunities.

Q: What improvements have you seen in the school regarding diversity?

A: Most of the improvements I’ve seen in [regard] to equity in our school have been minimal and promoted by student action/activism. As a result of student activism, we’ve seen the creation of new positions across the district called “student mentors” - these positions are often filled by diverse candidates and able to serve different groups within their school. Other than that, unaware of positive changes to diversity, equity, and inclusion practices throughout our district.

Q: What do you think the school can improve on?

A: A lot. First, the demographics of WHS are continuing to become more diverse. There are more Black, Hispanic, Asian, and LGBTQ+ students however our staffing at all levels (teachers, counseling, administrative) is not reflective of our demographics. Even though white students are still the majority there should be no reason that our school doesn’t have more diversity being practiced. The district often mentions that diverse candidates don’t want to come to Westfield and inner cities, but that’s partially because we don’t often create a welcoming environment for marginalized students and teachers.

We also lack proper consequences for discrimination. Students shouldn’t be able to discriminate against their peers, make them feel unsafe then not have consequences [for] their behavior. This is something we’ve asked for since the beginning of my freshman year and still, minimal changes have occurred.

Also, we could improve by simply allowing symbols of inclusion. Last year the district took away symbols of inclusion after students directly told them that the symbols made them feel safer. There was no true reason behind taking away symbols of inclusion besides hatred, and intolerant parent groups such as Unify Westfield.

Across the Globe - Haru Watanabe (12) adapts to a new school as an exchange student from Japan

Haru Watanabe (12)

Q: So where are you from, Haru? And how long have you been living in Westfield?

A: I am from Tokyo, Japan. And I have been living here almost five months

Q: What were your expectations of Westfield? And what did you think it would be like here?

A: I thought that Westfield High School would be very big and very fun. And I thought the people would be very kind. And now that I’ve been here I feel the same way just as my expectations. It is a very good high school here.

Q: How is Westfield different from your old schools in Japan, and do you think that you have adjusted well to this new environment?

A: My old school is a private school where there are only boys, but this high school is much bigger than my old one. And I think that I have adjusted well. I have made many friends and the people are very kind to me.

Q: What are some of your favorite classes that you have taken at Westfield?

A: My favorite class I have taken here is probably Strength and Conditioning because we don’t have it … it is a very fun class

Q: What are some of your favorite things about America so far?

A: I really enjoy watching American Football.

Q: Do you have a favorite team?

A: Not really, I just enjoy watching it is very fun.

Q: What are some of your favorite foods and TV shows in America?

A: I like hamburgers from Mcdonald’s the most. And for shows, I would say "Breaking Bad."

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