Westhill High School (WHS) started construction with the vision of two separate schools: freshman and sophomores in one building and juniors and seniors in the other. The thought was to separate the four year program into two, more “intimate” settings housed in the Finch and Raynor buildings. The plan changed and school opened in 1971 as a traditional high school with all students having classes in both buildings. Now the Westhill campus, the city’s largest high schools also features an agricultural science facility, two all-sports artificial turf stadiums, and a 35-classroom building which houses the Freshman Academy. The school colors, purple and gold, and the mascot, the Viking, were borrowed from the Minnesota Vikings, the new NFL team that season.
Four decades later Westhill High School is thriving. A student body of roughly 2,500 students and nearly 200 certified staff work tirelessly to improve the teaching and learning environment for all learners. A multitude of AP course offerings, numerous electives, a JROTC program, an agricultural science program, dozens of clubs and numerous sport offerings have Westhill High School the place to be now and for decades to come.
There’s so much going on here:
Columbia Press Awards and The Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) which is affiliated with Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism recently awarded Westhill High School’s student-run publication, The Westword, a Silver Crown Award during the 93rd annual Scholastic Convention in the category of Hybrid Newspaper. According to CSPA, publications are judged on design, photography, concept, coverage and writing. Crown Awards demonstrate overall excellence in the entire publication.
The Westword has a history of winning CSPA awards, and has earned commendations from the American Scholastic Press Association. Though the majority of the work done on The Westword is completed after school hours, many of the articles are written by students in Westhill’s Journalism and Communications classes. “The Westword’s mission, ‘the test of good journalism is the measure of its public service,’ is something that we truly strive for at all times,” said Lauren Schechter, Editor-in-chief (print). “To be commended for that effort only encourages us to push ourselves further.”
Creative Connections, an International Cultural Education Organization, selected WHS as the “2017 USA Art Partner of the Year.” The artwork of all the WHS AVID students participating in the ArtLink International Exchange Program was recognized by a jury of educators and artists as an outstanding collection of work. According to Creative Connections, the WHS students’ artwork, which reflected the theme “TEAM Up,” was selected based the cultural insightfulness, quality and uniqueness of the work.
The WHS theater program, Northstar Playmakers just wrapped up their Spring Musical, Guys and Dolls. For more information on the theater program, check their website: http://westhilltheater.org/home
Westhill is a diverse high school representing more than thirty-five distinct nationalities within it’s student body. In Westhill’s media center, flags from around the world are hung from the ceiling to representing Westhill’s diversity and welcoming environment.
Westhill is about to come to the end of an era & the begin a new chapter with Michael Rinaldi taking over as the new Principal on July 1, 2017. Both a Stamford native and Westhill alum, Mr. Rinaldi has been serving almost 30 years in the Stamford School system. It was the first time in nearly two decades that the board chose a new principal for WHS. The retiring Principal, Camille Figluizzi has been at WHS since 1998.
Rinaldi decided he wanted to become an educator while still a student at Westhill. “It changed my life,” he said, “Westhill is where I discovered my passion for this work. I would not be a teacher today if not for the fact that I had the opportunity to work with special-needs students as a teenager.”
The Vikings are set to embark on a new era, continuing to support it’s diverse population and commitment to excellence