‘I want to know that I’m healthy’: Two local students on starting — and quitting — vaping

Although e-cigarettes were allegedly created to help adults give up their smoking habits, they quickly became a starter pack for young people to consume nicotine. Offering flavors such as watermelon, mango and mint, e-cigarette suppliers have been accused of enticing young people with their product.

Several states and major cities have restricted or outright banned vaping, and Juul, a company dominating the e-cigarette market, has limited access to its fruit-flavored vape pods seen as targeting young people. On Thursday, Juul also decided to halt sales of its mint-flavored pods, after recent studies found that mint was the most popular flavor among high school Juul users. The studies, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), also found more than half of teens who vape, vape Juul products.

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Budding girls wrestling team prepares for season

View the original West Side Story post published on Nov. 6 here.

The girls wrestling team is becoming a reality. In informative meetings held before and after school on Nov. 6, assistant wrestling coach Kody Pudil went into detail about his vision for the program.

Practices will begin Dec. 2, the Monday after Thanksgiving break, and the season will end on Jan. 24 with the Girls Annual State Tournament. The team will practice three times a week, once before school from 6:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. and twice after school from 4:15 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. — one of those after school practices likely landing on a Thursday.

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Club connection: Food For All


View the original West Side Story post, published Nov. 3, 2019, here.

School is a constant for teenagers, giving structure to their day and the opportunity to participate in clubs, sports and other extra-curricular activities. It also provides two meals a day, and for students with food insecurities, those might be the only meals they eat in a day. The reliance West students have on school-provided resources may slip the mind of students who don’t struggle with their food supply.

“I don’t think that people understand how much of a need it is here, and I think that’s anywhere. It’s one of those things that maybe flies under the radar and unless you yourself, or one of your good friends, or a family member has gone through a point in their life where there is some food insecurity,” said Jamie Schneider, a student family advocate who runs the Welcome Center at West. “You wouldn’t really think of it being a concern because there is breakfast and lunch provided here at school, but a lot of times, those are the two meals that you get and that’s it.”

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Shoultz replaces warning bell with marching band

Today, instead of the usual 30 second warning bell that was added this year, students were surprised to hear the West High marching band blasting over the loudspeaker.

Last night was the Sounds of the Stadium, a concert where band students play a culmination of West marching band classics to mark the end of football and Friday night halftime shows. Principal Gregg Shoultz was in attendance and took an audio recording of the band playing the Trojan Fight Song.

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Sidekick Coffee & Books encourages guests to unplug and connect

View original Little Village post from Oct. 25, 2019, here

Jazz plays over the speakers as an employee prepares an iced chai latte. He wears a gray tee shirt with a design in white of a boy with a book sitting with his dad, who holds a steaming cup of coffee. Under this image are the words “Sidekick Coffee & Books.”

The University Heights business feels modern, yet cozy. Dark wood with marble countertops, faux white chandeliers and sleek black lamp shades that hang from the ceiling and produce a soft orange glow all indicate the establishment, which opened Sept. 14, 2019, is new. Yet the two long green couches, which beacon customers to lounge and get lost in a story while they sip their latte, feel warm and familiar. Most strikingly, bookshelves that almost reach the ceiling are stocked with children’s and young adult books, creating the calm and literary atmosphere of a library.

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Perspective from the front row

View the original West Side Story post, published Oct. 17, 2019, here.

Whether the Trojans are winning or losing, the student section finds something to cheer for. In West gear, camouflage, or at times shirtless, the swarm of students is always interacting with the team, cheerleaders, drumline and each other at football games. No group is more influential in the student section than the seniors, who claim the best seats and lead the chants.

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