The School Newspaper of West High School

West Signals

The School Newspaper of West High School

West Signals

The School Newspaper of West High School

West Signals

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The National Honor Society provides help in many AP exams. Tutors were assigned to one subject to improve their tutees experience, providing advice based on previous experience in each class. “I recommend coming to these AP cram sessions because you can receive help from students who have previously and recently taken the test,” NHS board member Katie Ho (12) explained.
Time to Cram!
Katelyn Baba, Staff Writer • May 9, 2024
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Kira Erikson: A Fencing Star at West

Even+as+a+high+school+student%2C+Kira+Erikson+%2811%29+%28right%29+has+made++a+name+for+herself+in+the+fencing+world.+Training+from+a+young+age%2C+Erikson+dedicated+herself+to+daily+practices%2C+always+pushing+herself+to+improve.+Photo+courtesy+of+Kira+Erikson+%2811%29.
Even as a high school student, Kira Erikson (11) (right) has made a name for herself in the fencing world. Training from a young age, Erikson dedicated herself to daily practices, always pushing herself to improve. Photo courtesy of Kira Erikson (11).

   Although West High is home to a variety of sports, it does not have a fencing team. Still, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t talented fencers at West. In fact, there is a current West High student, notable for her highly decorated fencing career: Kira Erikson (11).

   Erikson’s fencing journey started rather plainly. She explained: “My dad asked me one day if I wanted to try [fencing] . . . I tried it, and I was really good at it. So I just decided to stay with it.” Despite this mundane beginning, Erikson has now become a notable figure in the fencing world.

   There are a total of three fencing disciplines: the foil, the épée, and the sabre, each based on the type of blade used. Because of the difference in equipment and target areas that come with each type of fencing, each requires separate, specific training. The type of fencing Erikson competes in is the sabre, which, as she described, is “the fastest” form of fencing. Because of this, Erikson emphasized the importance of being “faster than your opponent” in victory. To truly gain speed and to succeed, Erikson took part in consistent, rigorous training. She further described that process, saying that “a lot of blade work [and] a lot of technique are involved.”

   Still, physical prowess is not the only important factor in the nature of the sport. Erikson also sees fencing as a mind game. In fact, she implied that “you want to trick your opponent,” and stay “two steps ahead” in order to prevent them from blocking or predicting your next move. To hone these mental and physical skills, Erikson trains with the South Bay Fencing Academy. She trains “six days a week” in practices that last two-and-a-half hours at a time. Of the many things Erikson works on during practice, she explained that “staying sharp and staying composed is . . . the biggest factor in fencing.” She elaborated that “keeping your confidence up” is also integral, especially since success in fencing depends heavily on what you show your opponent on the outside.

   It seems that all of Erikson’s work and dedication has paid off. In 2021, Erikson took gold in Division 3 Women’s Sabres, and in 2022 Erikson placed third in Cadet, which was a national event encompassing fencers under the age of 17. In addition, she has competed in two international World Cups in France and Romania. Finally, her most recent win came when her team took gold at the Division 1 national championships in St. Louis. Though it may be hard to believe, these action-filled stories of passion and victory are stories of a young high school student, here at West High. Erikson’s talents and story of hard work and success set an example for all to follow. 

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About the Contributor
Sarah Han
Sarah Han, News Editor
Seyeon (Sarah) Han is a senior and the News Editor for West Signals.. As a part of her second year at Signals, she hopes to deliver accurate and exciting news to students and further develop her skills in writing and journalism. Sarah is also involved in multiple clubs on campus outside of Signals, including Mindful, Key Club, and UNICEF.