The Fall Semester In Review



Falling leaves and lights

A-West is back. This fall of 2021 marks the first full semester in person since the fall of 2019. As we approach the end of this year it’s important to look back on the events that have shaped our school. Here is A-West’s 2021 fall semester in review. 

This year A-West got off to a bit of a rocky start for both faculty and students who found getting back into school to be a bit more challenging than expected. A few took issue with the district mask mandate in schools that arrived just before the start of the year leading to an anti-mask protest a few weeks into the school year. 

A-West Principal Geree Santarelli commented on the mandate, “I know there’s a lot of people that don’t like the mandate but that’s what we’ve been mandated to do and if that’s what keeps us in school then that’s what we’re gonna do…I’ve also said that 98 percent of our kids here at Arvada West are doing the right thing for the right reason…I think that 95 percent of our kids follow the mask mandate…We’ve had very few kids who have been blatantly disrespectful or defiant about it.”  

Many underclassmen also had troubles adjusting to high school and serious acts of vandalism were committed across the school. Santarelli attributes this challenging start to the lack of structure that became the norm last year.

Santarelli says, “18 months with a lot of unstructured time for kids, hasn’t been in everybody’s best interest. I think we had a lot of struggles with getting back into structure, following structural rules, just being in school again”

The semester was certainly not all bad however. A-West truly started to look more like itself again as we moved into the month of October. A-West celebrated homecoming week with in person events for the first time in over a year. Powder Puff football, the bonfire, tailgate, freshmen BBQ and the drive in showing of The Sandlot brought A-West students together to finally show school pride and spirit. The week was capped off with a historical win over Columbine high school, and the outdoor dance on that Saturday night was one for the ages. 

On the Columbine football game Santarelli says, “having the whole student body in the stands that day was just so positive and that was really amazing.”

A-West football also managed to beat rival Ralston Valley at the end of the month and the regular season. The glory cannot go only to the football team though. A-West theatre put on their first live production of  the year. Their brilliant performance of ‘Clue’ reminded us all of how enjoyable the theatre is at this school and got everyone excited for the upcoming spring musical ‘The Addams Family’. A-West’s national honor society also had a chance to shine with their immensely popular trick or treat street. 

Santarelli remarks on the events this semester saying, “It feels good to do things that finally kinda seem normal…People, families were seeing people they hadn’t seen and that just felt really good.”

A-West now enters the closing weeks of the fall semester. Everything is starting to wind down a bit. November brought us an impromptu senior ditch day, the end of the fall sports season and a much needed week long break with families. Santarelli looks forward to us having a full semester under our belts, the events of next spring, a new maturity that spring brings and of course some snow. 

Santarelli leaves her students with a simple message in this historic semester, “I’m proud of ‘em. I really am proud of our student body. Our upperclassmen have really stepped up…I’m proud of our freshman and sophomores who are doing the right thing. I’m proud of the resilience that I see, and the excitement…I’m proud of our kids.”