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West IS Best!
by Mr. Mueller, Principal

You've heard me say it many times. What do you think I mean when I say that? Let's see…you might think that I say it because the words rhyme. Maybe I say it because I don't want to admit things aren't perfect, and I want everyone to think things are just peachy. If I keep saying it, West just might become best!

I had a conversation recently that caused me to think about this saying. The basic content of the conversation was, "You know, Mr. Mueller, everybody is kind of tired of the, 'West is Best,' stuff, because it really isn't; there are a lot of issues at the school, and your saying, 'West is Best,' all the time really doesn't solve them."

Wow! I thought, OK, I couldn't really say, "West is Worst," because it isn't - besides, it doesn't rhyme (although it is somewhat alliterative), and it wouldn't be such a great thing for a high school principal to say.

After a quick moment, I said that the saying isn't West is PERFECT; it's West is Best - as good, if not better, than any school anywhere. In everything we do, we don't confuse quality with perfection. We recognize our strengths and weaknesses and consciously strive to build on our successes and improve in areas of need.

West Geauga is just that - a high school, a place where young people gather to learn and grow. High school is a part of life, and the life experiences that challenge our students, even though they are not part of our curriculum, challenge our school. No school can exist in isolation from the factors that impact the families and students it serves. Peer pressure, isolation, teen heartbreak, and all the stresses that include friends, family, and community at this stage of life create problems that we must address at school. Listen to our announcements, read our newsletters, check ISS, and you'll see we are aware of these issues and do our best to help resolve them. Are our resolutions perfect - no! But we work hard to hear every voice in the problem solving process.

High School is a test run for life. Generally, the habits and performance demonstrated in school are taken as an indication of chances for future success. That's why schools exist.

So, is West Best? Every indicator used to rate schools says, "Yes." Check out our state report card: we've exceeded every academic benchmark. Our attendance and graduation rates are outstanding. What a year we have had in athletics! Our music and arts programs are excellent. We have a safe school environment, free from the threat of violence that plagues many schools and communities. We know our students and families and communicate with them about developmental as well as academic issues. We promote mutual respect in all areas. When compared to other schools and communities, West is Best!

These are some of the things I thought about in considering whether we use this saying, "too much." While there is so much more that goes into it, there is no doubt that "West is not Perfect," but the more I think about it - and I hope you do, too - the more I am convinced that we need to say, "WEST IS BEST!" more than ever.

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West Geauga High School | 13401 Chillicothe Road | Chesterland, OH 44026 | 440.729.5950