A New Year at West

September 4th is finally here and Tosa West’s newest students are the first to don its halls. Feelings of excitement and anxiety are inevitable. Kelly Tucker, the parent of a freshman, admits her daughter “was both excited and nervous” for the first day but assures her “it will all be okay.”

The overwhelming feeling from the adults in the building today is that of support. Social Studies Teacher, Andy Zietlow, comforts students’ jitters in homeroom, “Whatever I can do to make your day a little better, a little more exciting, I’ll do it.” Such gestures are what start the student-teacher relationships off in a positive way–as proved by the smiling faces in his room.

As students befriend others–which they are according to freshman mentor, Sam Clough–they are reminded of the infamous “Trojan Way.” At the first assembly of the day, Principal Frank Calarco, Associate Principals Matt Byers and Lena Patton, drilled the phrase into new students’ heads, promoting values of respect, responsibility, connection and engagement. Principal Calarco gives the task of maintaining the “Trojan Way” to students, “It’s your job to make [the school] better.”

An ongoing focus of the day was responsibility. Students have the responsibility to behave. Students have the responsibility to get involved (a favorite line of Athletic Director Jeff Gabrielsen or “Coach Gabe”). Students have the responsibility to be on time. Students have the responsibility to dress appropriately. A significant amount of trust is being given to new students and Principal Calarco recognizes that, “In high school we start treating you like adults.”

The first day of classes has now come to a close, but the year has only begun. Here is to responsibility and the Trojan Way.