A Letter to Freshmen

Juliane Francia

Dear freshmen,

Welcome to the Viking family, class of 2018! You’ve made it through the awkwardness that is Westridge and now the real fun begins. High school. The best and worst years of your life.

There are a few rules here at West, some spoken and some unspoken, that you will learn and follow during your time here.

Rule 1: Have school spirit

You go to THE Shawnee Mission West. We are kind of a big deal. It is of the utmost importance that you attend as many, if not all, sporting events that you can. The Nordic Nasties do not mess around. We like to yell loudly and proudly to let other teams know that we mean business. Learn the chants. Do the chants. Stay tuned in to themed games and don’t be that kid who wears black to the white-out games.

On the topic of dressing up, there are two spirit weeks during the school year. Please try to dress accordingly to each day’s theme. Don’t think that you are “too cool” to participate, because you know what’s cool? Having school spirit.

Rule 2: Get involved

There are over 50 different sports, clubs, and groups here at SMW. High school is what you make it. Try out for sports and join clubs. You are guaranteed to meet new people and make new friends. It also looks good on a college application, and no, it is not too early to start thinking about college. Studies show that people who are more involved in extracurricular activities are more likely to be successful in life and I’m pretty sure we all want to be successful.

 Rule 3: Respect upperclassmen

We all started out as freshmen. We’ve been there and done that. We know what it’s like to be in your shoes. Juniors and especially seniors are the veterans, while you are the rookies. Seniority is just a part of the high school experience. You’ll understand when your time comes. There are certain things that upperclassmen are entitled to that you’ll have to wait and earn.


  • We sit in the front rows of the student section
  • We sit towards the front of the cafeteria
  • We get front row parking in the senior lot
  • Seniors get open lunch
  • Seniors are allowed to get senioritis – freshmenitis is not a thing


These not-so-official rules are pretty simple to follow. In all seriousness though, your high school journey will be filled with ups and downs, but it’s up to you to make the best of it. Enjoy your freshman year and get to know your classmates. Respect your teachers and take your classes seriously. These beloved halls of West will become your home for the next four years and there’s no place like home, am I right?

Peace and blessings,