Bringing West Torrance Together With the First Annual West Fest
December 15, 2022
High school is more than just lengthy presentations and analyzing novels. High School can be about coming together as a community. To showcase this exciting aspect of West High, the campus came to life with its first West Fest on Monday, Dec. 5.
Mrs. Murata explained that the goal of West Fest was to celebrate and bring together different West Torrance schools. Since the beginning of the school year, Mrs. Murata worked closely with other West Torrance principals from Jefferson Middle School and Bert Lynn Middle School, and Activities Director Mrs. Eriksen to make this event become a reality — reaching out to teachers, various clubs on campus, West’s dance programs, and sports teams to participate as well. “We want[ed] to make sure that all of our future Warriors . . . know about all the great programs that they can be a part of,” Mrs. Murata said. “We really wanted those students to get excited about being future Warriors.”
In addition to introducing West to incoming students, Mrs. Murata also wanted to “promote our school to anyone who might be looking for a high school to be a part of,” and increase enrollment. Since 2019, enrollment has gradually declined, dropping from over 2,000 students to just below 1,900.
Although she was plagued with the possibility of an empty campus, the thought quickly faded away as 6:30 p.m. rolled around. She, along with many other West High clubs, underestimated the event’s turnout. Black Culture Club (BCC) found their crock-pot, once filled with creamy mac-and-cheese empty by the thirty minute mark. “Everyone kept coming back and we were like ‘We’re so sorry, it’s gone!’” Club president Paris Rudison (11) explained. Even after decreasing portion sizes, they still couldn’t compete against the wave of people flooding the event.
Similarly, Robotics Club also found success in West Fest through sales. Riyana Roy (12) manned their table with trays of neatly stacked cookies for sale. After finding the recipe for these tasty treats over quarantine, Roy thought “they would sell super well” during this event and was pleased to find that in the end “[they] were right!”
West Fest also reached Mrs. Murata’s goal of enticing future Warriors. Over in front of Cafe 5, children gathered around Robotics Club’s homemade robot that previously participated in the FIRST Robotics Competition. “A lot of kids were very interested in how the robot was driven, and wanted to try handling it,” Captain of Engineering Dylan Lee (12) recounted. “It was a good way to show the hands-on experience at robotics.”
After wandering through the food stands, visitors made their way past a large West High inflatable and into the gym where assorted coaches and players dressed in team apparel spoke to future prospects and their parents: “I was able to talk to the kids and ask them about where they were going to high school, and [also] tell them they should definitely go to West to play basketball,” explained Varsity player Maddy Heinemann (11). Many sports also captured the attention of young kids showcasing their talents: Soccer players impressed the crowds by skillfully juggling the ball for what seemed like forever and students in Volleyball rallied the ball back and forth, spiking and digging up tough hits. Heinemann, along with others, included kids in the fun, “mostly just [rebounding] balls for them to keep shooting.” At the end of the night, she happily concluded that “it looks like we’ll have at least a few future high school ballers!”
As the various groups stowed away their tables, Mrs. Murata stood proudly, admiring the work of West’s administration. Thinking towards the future, she beamed, “We would love to make it kind of a tradition in the West [Torrance] area so that people can get excited about it every year and look forward to it.” Although the campus drew quiet, signaling the end of a night, it proved to be just the beginning of a tradition yet to be.