Can’t spell West without WE

Falcon Friends host a week dedicated to inclusivity consciousness


Makenna Burt

Falcon Friends join up with the West Connection Show Choir to learn a dance.

Lanora Sprague, Reporter

Inclusivity. It’s a big word with a lot of meaning, but what does it look like? West high school works to include special education students in lots of different activities around school. The Falcon Friends program brings together West students of all abilities in order to participate in things that would not be possible with just their teachers. Essentially everyone looks out for each other. Last week, February 27 through March 3, West held inclusivity week, where students and teachers were all encouraged to decorate their doors, dress up for spirit week, and overall be more conscious of being inclusive. 

Inclusivity can be defined many different ways but it really boils down to belonging. Everyone wants to belong, making this week important to students all over West. 

“ [Inclusivity] means involving as many students as you possibly can within the West High school environment and helping them have fun and feel an attachment to their school and other students … To give the students a great sense of belonging with their peers and staff members,” School counselor Stephanie Reagan said.  

Others have a simpler definition of what it means to be inclusive. 

“Havin’ fun,” Ricky McCall said. 

Every day of the week the Falcons Friends and special education students got together during fourth block and played basketball, tried engineering challenges, judged the door decorating contest, made posters, and learned a show choir dance. 

“I really love doing the dance with the show choir and it was so fun to see everyone participate and be able to learn that dance and some of them went out of their comfort zone to try to learn that and that was really cool,” Reagan said. 

All of the special education students were able to go out with the show choir and Falcon Friends and learn the steps to a dance. Even the students who use wheelchairs were included and tried to do the arm movements. They were all able to participate in something that they see all the time but aren’t usually included in. Everyone really got into it and had a lot of fun. 

“Hanging out and making the posters,” McCall said was his favorite thing about inclusivity week. 

The biggest hit among the students seemed to be the poster decorating. They all got to work together and create something they loved. 

“Making the posters, I asked a lot of the kids [and] they loved making posters and collaborating and working together,” Reagan said.  

Inclusivity however, is not just limited to one week. Inclusivity is a year round objective and one that the Falcon Friends try their best to accomplish. While there’s always opportunities to do more Reagan makes sure to gather everyone at least once a month. 

“I think we can always do more, right? But I love the Falcon Friends club that I run and we try to do at least once a month activities of inclusion … I think it’s important to try to work in inclusion every day of the school year if possible, but we intentionally do it with a big group of us at least once a month, if not more,” Reagan said. 

Overall inclusivity week was a big hit, across the building people participated in acts of togetherness. West strives to be inclusive of all students. While more can always be done, it was fun to dedicate a week to coming together and taking part in all sorts of activities.