Student Stories


Elizabeth Barnes

Faryn Clevenger and River Fowler during the Homecoming Walk.

Bianca Gould, Staff Member

ElizaThe top 12 Homecoming nominees were exceptional this year. Why, might you ask? This
year our debate vice-captain,
River Fowler, is within the top 12 Homecoming nominees. She is very involved with a variety of activities here at school as well.

“I feel very happy about [this nomination] and I hope that other trans people can feel a bit more secure in their identity within the school space,” Fowler said.

As I’ve said, Fowler is involved in this school’s debate team. She’s won nine medals and a trophy in debate; being the vice-captain of the team, I think it’s clear this is where her passion lies here at West. She’s described herself as sort of a mom for the team.

“In the debate team, I help the novices get used to debate and I help coach them on how to improve.” Fowler said, “I joined debate because I wanted to argue with people about things and I stayed because I thought it was fun. Normally, people in the world don’t listen to what you have to say when you try to express complicated ideas, but people listen to you in a debate.”

Along with debate, Fowler is also involved with music both in school and outside of school; she is involved in Madrigals in school and works on her own music separately. For those who don’t know, Madrigals is a mixed choir here at West and consists of those who are considered to be the best singers at our school. She’s said that once she graduates, she wants to continue making music and make a career out of it.

“I started playing bass guitar because I heard a bassline in a song and wanted to play it. I continued because it was fun and I liked it. I play bass, guitar, and piano now.”

Outside of school, Fowler likes to research philosophy as well. Her favorite philosopher is Albert Camus, who’s famous for his Absurdist philosophy. Basically, Absurdism is the theory that existence in general is absurd and there’s no purpose to life. Fowler advises everyone to read “The Myth of Sisyphus” by Albert Camus.

As a school, West has been more accepting and supportive of LGBTQ+ youths and their identities. That being said, trans youth will still suffer so much because of things outside of anyone’s control; no matter how accepting the world becomes.

“I wanted to kill myself all of junior year because I knew everyone saw me as a man. Everyone who doesn’t respect trans people should start being more empathetic towards people with different experiences than themselves.”

“Don’t kill yourself.” Fowler said, “It does get better and it seems like it’s impossible and you’ll be stuck in this endless pain and suffering for the rest of your life, but it will get better and you’ll eventually find a safe space for yourself.”

You can’t deny that we have taken incredible steps recently to make marginalized youth feel more seen here at West. River Fowler is an excellent example, with all that she does here in and outside of school.