Basketball Program Holds 50th Anniversary Ceremony

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The main gym was especially packed as the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams took on Shawnee Mission East. That night, dozens of former Viking basketball players and their families diverged onto their alma mater to celebrate West’s rich basketball history.

“West was a strong community back then and it continues to be today, and we just want to celebrate that,” Marlys Nevans-Fitzsimmons, member of the 50th anniversary planning committee, said. She graduated in 1972 and currently has two children attending West.

After girls’ varsity played and before the boys’ varsity game started, former basketball players stood out on the court as Gordon Wetmore, history teacher, provided a history of both the girls’ and boys’ programs and recognized each for their accomplishments.

“It was great to be honored. It is such a privilege to be a part of the West basketball family, and share the floor with players of the past and the future,” Kristen Schepker, 2002 graduate, said.

Going out on the court again brought back many memories.

“I still get this rush of excitement anytime I enter the West gym. It was a place where we spent hours upon hours shedding blood, sweat, and tears all for the love of the game. I loved every moment, win or lose, sharing the court with my teammates and playing the game,” Schepker said.

Many members of last year’s class of 2011 also returned.

“I felt very proud to be recognized by name on the court. It made me feel like I made a difference and did something great with my time playing basketball. I am also very proud of how well the ’11 seniors and team finished last year and that we could be recognized for our hard work,” Kaitlin Beeman, 2011 graduate, said.

The basketball event is not the last of the 50th anniversary activities. The Glenn Miller orchestra event in February, an alumni band concert in March, and an open house in April will also be ways for the West community to celebrate fifty years.

“It is a weird feeling walking into West, a place I spent so much time in growing up, and knowing that I am an alum. However, I always feel at home and I feel that no matter how old I get I can always come back to West and feel welcome,” Beeman said.