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Westlake High School

One Day and One Week at a Time...

Well, it is December 11th. We have almost made it through the Fall Semester of 2020 at Westlake High School. Back in late July, we made the simple statement that we would take each day and each week at a time. We all have our own memories of this semester. We all remember each day differently depending on our lives. We have had good days. We have had miserable days. We have had ok days. We have had days filled with fears and others with courage and a deep resolve. We have had days with sadness, joy, anger and appreciation. And we have done this as a team of students, staff and parents. True collaboration has allowed us to continue to be the finest high school in the state of Texas.

"The question is not what you look at, but what you see." - Henry David Thoreau

When one has passed by WHS this fall and early winter, you have seen the same building.
The same structures: buildings, parking lots, athletic fields, etc. True, that the parking lots have had fewer cars. And sometimes we make the same assumptions at no fault of our own based on past experience - that is how the mind simply works. This year has changed how I see our collective WHS experience.
This picture is one of my new favorites. It is a shadow of  the chaparral at the front entrance in the admin lot.  The shadow caught my attention one Friday evening. I had to take the pic. My wife was with me and was not overly impressed since it is not the best shot and taken with a phone by a true amateur. But that pic has come to mean so much to me for what it meant that evening after that particular Friday. Here’s what I was fortunate to see that day:

I walked the halls and entered classrooms - what I saw were a group of teachers engaging with students in their classrooms and in the zoom world as the kids call it. Somehow, some way, our teachers have given our students a phenomenal learning experience by spending more time designing and implementing than ever before! Our teachers are the best - we may not be perfect, especially in this time period, but we are the best around. The effort has been inspiring, motivating and humbling -  for some of these teachers are simply not of this world. And to do all this while following safety protocols and procedures never imagined even a year ago.

I saw students who show up in person ready to go - wearing masks (highly compliant and respectful), following daily protocols and procedures while appreciating the time with their friends and teachers. And ready to learn! I saw students via zoom ready to go - iPads, personal computers, and students asking questions and in breakout rooms. And ready to learn! As we have seen, some kids flourish in each setting and some struggle in each setting. And there is choice, which is a wonderful thing.

That early evening we went to watch some WHS volleyball in the NGC gym. Again, I got to see students and coaches doing what they love. Playing and coaching. Coach Carrillo and the team had a great game. And while following new volleyball protocols. As we left the game, we went out the back door of the gym. As we were walking along, we saw Mr. Essad in the delivery area for the Black Box Theatre. Mr. Essad and Ms. Yanchak were filming students individually on a green screen so they could create a play for the students. Time consuming work. Work well worth it after visiting with Mr. Essad. These three fine educators, working together with students safely late on a Friday night, illustrate the commitment of our teachers, coaches, directors, front office staff, counselors, administrators, custodians, security personnel, food service staff and teaching assistants to our students and community.

Some look and see a shadow of a Chap - I SEE so much more that makes this campus and community so special and dear to us all.

Have a wonderful Winter Break. Rest, relax and continue to stay as safe as possible.

Take care.

Principal Steve Ramsey

Principal Steve Ramsey


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