Open House 2016

April 1, 2016

Open House takes place every year. Crowds of excited eighth graders flock into the gym, eager to hear about their upcoming high school experience. Parents face conversations with teachers about their children hoping to hear positive feedback, while the student stands by embarassed. So why is it important to spend a night talking to teachers and principals? The school is a like a family and once a year students get to share their school family with their actual family. Incoming freshmen are even welcomed into our family and our home– the school.


“I like showing my parents my teachers and my classrooms so they can see and understand who or what I am talking about at home,” freshman Marika Van Gent said.


This event is a team effort with many components. Tables are set up across the entire campus while teachers await patiently in their classrooms for visitors.


“It’s not hard but it’s a lot of detail. We’re basically opening our home and think about how many rooms are in your home, now think about an 80 acre campus. There are lots of teachers, people, and programs and we just want to ensure that everybody gets to show their program well,” said Manfredi.


Along with the stellar performances from the dance team, freshman cheer team, and jazz band, one of the many events that takes place during Open House is the Spanish fiesta, which even reflects gatherings in Hispanic countries. In between the foreign language buildings, tables are placed along the walls and lined with dishes brought by students.


“Everything that you see here, the students worked really hard to do. They made the dishes and have to keep everything clean throughout the night. Because it is student lead, the preparation doesn’t come from us, it comes from the students,” said Spanish teacher, Shantal Rivas. This tradition started about three years ago in order to show students the culture of Hispanic countries.


“It has been successful every time so we continue to do it. It does reflect Hispanic culture because Hispanics tend to gather together. It doesn’t have to be a party or for a special event but they still love to gather around the table with their families and enjoy a meal. When we do this, we’re showing our students that it’s all about being together, being a big family, eating together, and obviously the music helps too,” Rivas said through happy giggles.


On the upper campus, there are a variety of areas to show the different activities that students can participate in here at West Ranch. Displays are held by the ceramics and art students where they do live demonstrations to show their passions. Freshman Sydney Marbach spent the night crouched over a pottery wheel, molding a block of clay with her hands in mesmerizing motions. Repeatedly she smashed the figure into the wheel with her palms and starts all over again. Beside her is a table full of dozens of ceramics pieces that have been painted and fired by students over the past year of the class.  A little to the left, two choir students filling the upper campus with melodies. Towards the end of the night, the darkness drowned out their sheets of music, but they adapted and had a friend shine the flashlight of an iPhone over it.  Elsewhere, Wildcats Against Cancer members stood patiently behind a table of baked goods. The proceeds will help the club continue to raise awareness across campus.


As the night drew to a close, students volunteer to clean up the Spanish fiesta and teachers said goodbye to the last groups of parents before locking their doors.


“My favorite part about Open House is 8:30 when it’s over and the guests are gone and I can go ‘Whew,’ it was a successful hospitality night,” said Manfredi.


Overall, the night was another successful and enjoyable Open House. We gathered as a school family to open our home to our real families. It was a team effort and it couldn’t have been done without the teachers, students, and the parents. Until next year, Open House.


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