Overcrowding in classes blooms opportunity for new teacher

View original West Side Story post here. While August is usually the time for students to meet new teachers, get acquainted with classmates and fall into a rhythm with their subjects, a group of American studies and success center kids got a change of pace when they were switched to a new teacher part-way throughContinue reading “Overcrowding in classes blooms opportunity for new teacher”

Friend crush: Katy Nahra, Ann Rocarek and Christian Aanestad

I co-wrote this story with Misha Canin. It originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of the West Side Story magazine, then it was published on wsspaper.com. In the morning, the three meet for coffee ahead of their busy days. At lunch, they are gathered around the dining table in room 102, definitely not gossiping about theirContinue reading “Friend crush: Katy Nahra, Ann Rocarek and Christian Aanestad”

Amplifying the voices of a nation

Originally published on West Side Story on April 25, 2019. A phone in one hand, a mic in the other, Prisca Namutchibwe ’19 took the stage at Walk it Out. The night of March 9 had consisted of students from various cultures of the world modeling on stage and dancing to music, but the crowdContinue reading “Amplifying the voices of a nation”


View the original post here. View The Gazette post here.  Education was not a guarantee for Veronica Kharunda ’19. The first school she attended was at a refugee camp in Kenya when she was 10 or 11. Children ranging from five to 20 years old attended before it was even finished being built. When itContinue reading “Resilience”

Pakistan to the USA: the journey to paraeducation

View the original post with family photo’s shared by Samina Naz here. View The Gazette publication here. Following the death of her parents, Samina Naz was devastated. Her mother passed in 1998 and two years later, her father died of a heart attack. The loss brought her from Pakistan, her home at the time, to theContinue reading “Pakistan to the USA: the journey to paraeducation”

Joy at West

Read original West Side Story post here. Zheyi Li ’20 is walking through the same halls, going to the same classes and talking to the same teachers as many West students. While the day to day life in the Iowa City Community School District has become mundane for most of her peers, this is aContinue reading “Joy at West”

From a kid with a toy to a champion with a platform

Originally posted on September 20, 2018. View the West Side Story post with art by Emma Hall here. He was given a 3×3 Rubik’s cube eight years ago. With a few twists it could go from a colorful mess to an organized block of color. He became fascinated with turning the scrambled squares back intoContinue reading “From a kid with a toy to a champion with a platform”

Prioritizing your passion

Originally posted on December 5, 2017 on the West Side Story website. View the original post with a photo by Pareen Mhatre here.  When she was four, Annie Chen ’18’s mother taught her how to play the piano. When she was five, Chen picked up the violin. As a freshman, she performed at All-State withContinue reading “Prioritizing your passion”

Building connections across the district

Originally published on May 27, 2018. View the West Side Story post with a photo by Maddi Shinall here. When the new high school opened, West lost a large number of both students and teachers. Next year, more teachers will be migrating to Liberty High School. Among them is Mayra Devries.