If you’ve ever been in the halls or a classroom of Cherry Hill High School West, you may have heard the phrase “the West way.” It can be hard to put into words exactly what that means, but the school is asking the community to give it a try.
Officials from West are asking members of the community to record a video of themselves defining what “the West way” means to them. The submissions will subsequently be compiled into the freshman welcome video as an introduction to their new school community.
Carole Roskoph, English teacher and student activities coordinator at West, said the “West way” can be difficult to articulate, but to her, it means the sense of camaraderie that takes place between the school’s four walls. She said when students come to West, they’re entering a place with longstanding traditions and where connections between faculty and students mean something. She said there are families who have incoming freshmen who represent the fourth generation to attend West.
Roskoph said she and Kwame Morton, principal at West, were engaging in discussions about what it means when you turn to someone and say “the West way.” They thought, what better way to help define it than to encourage alumni of all ages to submit their take on the phrase?
They’re looking for graduates of all ages – whether they graduated 50 years ago or just this past June – to highlight West in a positive way. Roskoph said West has a rich history, having been the first high school built in town. She said in a lot of ways, the school is an extension of the Cherry Hill community itself.
“It was the cornerstone of the town from the very beginning,” Roskoph said. “A lot of traditions and values of the town are reflected in the building.”
She said as the Cherry Hill community has changed, the demographics of the school have changed as well. Today, the school has more than 70 first languages spoken in the building.
“The demographics are reflected here in a very positive way at West,” Roskoph said.
It’s this diversity of history, tradition and thought that they hope gets reflected in the video. They want to capture the spectrum of experiences students can have at West – whether they’re an athlete, actor or engineer. She said they’re also hoping to hear about how West has shaped its graduates and prepared them for the future.
The video will premiere at the Aug. 28 freshman orientation. Roskoph said she hopes the freshmen learn a little bit about their history, understand that they’re walking into a place with a strong sense of heritage and know that no matter where they go, when they leave, they’ll take West with them.
“The takeaway really is that we are very proud of what we do here as teachers, as parents and as alumni. We are all extremely proud of what happens in this building,” Roskoph said. “I just want students to understand that they are a piece of something.”
Community members can submit a one minute or shorter video of themselves defining “the West way” to email@example.com. The deadline for submissions is Aug. 15.