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Westhill High School Highlights

WHS Highlights from the 2022-2023 School Year

Fine Arts Department Visual Arts 2022-2023

  • Students competed in the annual Scholastics Art Competition earning 7 Gold Key awards and 5 Honorable Mention Awards

  • All 11 Scholastic Award Winners had their artwork on display at OCC from January through March

  • Ceramics students will traveled to OCC on May 5th to compete in the annual Feats of Clay competition

  • Ceramic students' artwork is currently on display at OCC in the annual Feats of Clay art exhibition

  • Students in the Art Club created dozens of different T-shirt designs for extra curricular activities.

  • The Art Department with help from the Portfolio Club put on our annual High School Art Show on May 22nd from 6-7pm

Music 2022-2023

  • Westhill named as a NAMM Foundation Best Community for Music Education in the Nation for 2023

  • Music Students selected to instrumental and vocal honor groups including:

  • NYSSMA Area All-State

  • Symphoria Youth Orchestra

  • OCMEA All County Band, Chorus, Vocal Jazz, and Jazz Ensemble

  • NYSBDA Honor Band

  • 65 students performed more than 1300 hours of musical service through their participation in the Tri-M National Honor Society for Music.

  • The Westhill High School Music Department traveled to Tennessee where we visited Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Dollywood, the Gatlinburg Convention Center, and the Smoky Mountain National Park! Our Westhill High School Concert Choir and Festival Symphonic Wind Ensemble swept first places in both of their sections at the Smoky Mountain Music Festival. Both ensembles received the highest possible rating of Superior. Senior vocalist Meg Dwyer and the Symphonic Wind Ensemble flute section received Citations of Excellence for their performances!

  • The Westhill Instrumental Music Department now has a Modern Band program: Modern Band is a school-based ensemble that features contemporary and popular styles and rock-style instruments. Our Modern Band is student led and advised by Mr. Riley - the group meets on Fridays after school at the same time as our Audio Production and Engineering Club, so the groups can work in parallel and also collaborate on projects! Modern Band debuted at the 2023 LaFayette High School Rockfest and performed for the whole school at Warrior Day.

  • More than seventy WHS Music students performed NYSSMA Solos for state adjudication.

  • The Westhill Education Foundation sponsored our Day of Jazz featuring ESP. ESP led our grade 7-12 Jazz Ensembles in a day of masterclasses, concerts, and clinics. They performed for students at OHMS, WHS, and also the greater community in an evening concert.

  • The Masquers Club presented this year’s musical: Mamma Mia! to over 1800 people.

  • The Drama Club staged The Greek Mythology Olympiaganza

  • The WHS Music Department and Tri-M Hosted OCMEA Jazz All County for the county and brought in internationally renowned jazz saxophonist Roxy Coss for a three day set of clinics with Middle School and High School Jazz Ensembles from around CNY

Business/Computer Department

  • Westhill Yearbook received the Gold Status of Excellence Award

  • Students in the Business Communications class as well the Graphic Arts & Media class worked collaboratively on the senior slideshow which highlights each senior. This was shown on the TVs throughout the building.

  • Graphic Arts also worked collaboratively with Lit Mag in designing the pages of the literary magazine.

Science Department

  • Wrote a grant for snowshoes and got it accepted!

  • Visited the wastewater treatment facility, visitor center, and the old pump house. Researched the history of Onondaga Lake and completed a big project with Environmental

  • Celebrated Earth Day in a week of Events; created pollinator cups, reusable bags, wrote inspirational chalk messages, picked up trash

  • Taught a new course and developed a hands-on curriculum for Environmental Science

  • Raised over $1,200 for Buckets for Baldricks in Character Ed's Penny Wars!

  • Students in Mrs. Kemper’s biology class enjoyed a full year of in class learning with a lot of hands-on activities. In the fall, the biology students studied the ecological health of the Harbor Brook stream by analyzing macroinvertebrates living in the stream located next to the high school. Biology students were introduced to more Inquiry or student designed laboratory investigations throughout the year showcasing how to answer student developed questions through experimentation. The first experiment involved students selecting a variable and how that variable affected pillbug preference using choice chambers, the students even brought in their own pill bugs from home. The year continued with more interactive activities that included a cell part and function “speed dating” activity, diagnosing a patient to determine the type of diabetes the patient suffers from to understanding how humans have impacted our fragile environment.


  • Project Lead the Way End of Course Assessment Results:

    • Design and Drawing for Production: 10 Students are eligible for College Credit at RIT

    • Principles of Engineering: 13 Students are eligible for College Credit at RIT

    • Civil Engineering & Architecture: 4 Students are eligible for College Credit at RIT

    • Engineering Essentials: 10 Students are eligible for College Credit at RIT

    • Digital Electronics: 8 Students are eligible for College Credit at RIT

    • In the previous year, 2021_2022, 14 students applied for college credit which gave us $280 of Grant Money from RIT.

  • Student Awards

    • Outstanding Engineering Student: Lizzie Horner

    •  Outstanding Technology Student: Julian Curtis

  • Special Events

    • Nicholas Scheel and Zane Eldred participated and came in 3rd place in the Most Embedded design contest.

    • Lizzie Horner participated in our VEX Robotics Team, with competitions located in Liverpool and South Onondaga.

    • Woodworking and Metalworking classes visited GA Braun, manufacturer of Industrial washers and dryers.

    • Civil Engineering & Architecture participated in a tour of the school with Turner Construction to connect class content with the WHS renovation.

ELA Highlights 2022-2023

  • Students in English 11R explored the American prison system and collaborated to create a presentation that advocated for a change in policy or practice that was rooted in their research.

  • Students in OCC English researched and presented a multitude of current societal issues that have recently emerged to analyze how cultural shifts will dictate our “new normals.”

  • Students in English 9H explored rhetorical analysis to see how effective arguments are developed, find reliable sources of information for fact-checking and craft a formal debate.

  • The WHS Literary Magazine represents the WHS student body's fantastic creativity and showcases various artistic formats. Congratulations to all who submitted work for this year’s mag: Constructs.

  • With this year’s study focus on The American Revolution, students in Academic Decathlon finished in 1st place at the state competition and went on to represent New York State at the Virtual National Competition this spring. The team won 33 medals collectively in the competitions this year. Through a generous grant from Westhill’s Educational Foundation, various members of the team also traveled to Philadelphia for a more immersive learning experience that included visits to The Museum of the American Revolution and a Founding Fathers Historical Walking Tour. Congratulations to the entire team on a successful year of competition.

  • Students in English 10H created slides featuring Black American influencers - people who have made a difference in our society with their time, talents, or intellectual endeavors. Part of the challenge was to either find someone who was relatively unknown or find new information about a more well-known influencer. Slides were shared in class and students voted on which ones were most interesting, most surprising, and best overall.

Social Studies Department

  • The Social Studies Department welcomed Rebecca Fesinger into the department. Our members were recognized at the halftimes of girls basketball, softball and chaperoned the Senior Ball. Also, the Social Studies Department orchestrated the St. Lucy’s Food Drive, which donated almost 1000 needed food items to the Syracuse Community.

  • Global History and Geography 9: Students participated in many trade and adventure based simulations on Exploration, Paleo-Neolithic Game, and Silk Roads. We are excited as we approach the 2023-2024 school year with many new digital and text resources!

  • Honors Global History and Geography: Students participated in many simulations based on economic choices and worked together in socratic seminars to enhance their understanding of essential questions. These included the following: Cave of Wonders, Indian Ocean, and Anatomy of an Empire!

  • Global History and Geography 10: Students completed a fun game on surviving the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror, simulations on the Industrial Revolution, a two-day webquest on World War I, annotated timelines of the Cold War Period, created a comprehensive review “Shower Curtain” project, and new comprehensive review activities that prepared students for the NYS Regents Exam.

  • Advanced Placement World History: Mr. Wells and APMH students utilized the Harkness Method of Discussion, a comprehensive “Shower Curtain Review” at the end of each unit, competitive games against other schools and other classes, and a series of simulations to cover content in an exciting, inclusive and rigorously engaging way.

  • Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Politics: Ms. Grome completed her first year teaching AP U.S. Government. The students took part in multiple activities such as debates, creating websites, and completing a final civics project after the AP Exam in May. The students also took full advantage of using the whiteboards in their new rooms as well to plan out writing and review for the exam. Dave Rahme was honored with the yearbook dedication, invitations to the girls basketball and softball staff recognition nights and chaperoned the Senior Ball

  • Participation in Government: These seniors did a fantastic job this year of analyzing countless Supreme Court cases and comprehending the impact of those on Americans today. Each week, Seniors also shared current events with their classmates and this led to multiple productive discussions on the events occurring in our community and world today.

  • United States History: Students participated in many debates throughout the year. Students practiced innumerable exercises and strategies for the new US History Regents exam.

Math Department

  • This year the math department welcomed two new teachers, Adrienne Torrey and Angela Warne. They have proven to be valuable members of the department, especially as supports for our non-Regents and AIS students. We are sad to say goodbye to Nancy Gorman, but are grateful for her years of service to our school and congratulate her on her retirement!

  • As a department, we continued our 2022 summer work on supporting struggling students and formative assessments and began our work on creating a well-defined curriculum for each course. Algebra I teachers incorporated more interactive, online activities, and Geometry and Algebra II teachers also incorporated more technology such as GeoGebra and Desmos. Fourth year courses such as Precalculus, Statistics, and Math Applications incorporated problem solving and problem-based learning and the Statistics class ended the year with fantastic self-guided projects.

World Language Department: French

  • Peer Tutoring : FNHS students worked with lowerclassmen to help improve their French skills. Students came once a week to help and be helped. Tutees appreciated the practice, tutors learned a lot from their work and also earned Honor Society hours.

  • High School students presented French option to Middle Schoolers. They created fantastic videos (April) AND visited OHMS. Recruited MANY new French students!

  • Launching of OCC French 201 and 202 IF I pass the proficiency exam

  • Junior Amerault, gray cat: behavior has improved with updated IEP, but it continues to be one step forward, two steps back. He is barely passing French. Alice Amerault black cat: has made considerable strides in French and made captain of the Mouse Squad.

Professional Development:

  • AATF PD about celebrating diversity in the World Language classroom

  • Signed up for curriculum development this coming summer

  • Continuing to try to learn from past mistakes

Spanish V AP

  • Used the Screencastify audio program consistently throughout the year.

  • 16 students took the AP Spanish Language and Culture Exam in May.

  • Used Google Classroom and other Google applications throughout the year.

Spanish IV H

  • Created new and original assessments

  • Researched current events on major Spanish speaking websites for presentations.

  • Researched different Spanish-speaking cities and presented.

  • Used Google Classroom and other Google applications throughout the year.

Spanish III

  • Implemented original assessments and projects for course.

  • Implemented technology such as Kahoot!, Quizlet Live!, Conjuguemos

  • Applied real world experiences from Spanish speaking countries into daily lessons through videos, articles, television shows, etc.

  • Throughout the year, students created skits, compositions, and on-the-spot role play.

  • Used Google Classroom and other Google applications throughout the year.

ENL & Spanish Highlights

  • Worked with the department leader to update the Spanish 2 final to model the checkpoint B level exam more closely. Found 4 more advertisement type pictures and created questions to go along with them.

  • 97% passing rate for Spanish 2 course (1/36 failed)

  • 79% passing rate for Spanish 1 course (3/14 failed)

  • Working with an ENL family to try to get a 504 in place for next year to continue to support a former ENL student with their academic needs beyond the 2 year transition period.

  • Will be attending a 2-day summer workshop focused on Checkpoint B Unit Design used to address the new rollout of the World Language standards.

Extracurricular Highlights

  • Math Team

    • Nancy Gorman and Julia Hatt advised the math team. There was one team that competed in the Onondaga County Math League and the students on the team were enthusiastic and committed throughout the season. In addition, Cade Caloia scored in the top 25 scores in the county to qualify for team Onondaga, which competes at the state level. Unfortunately, Cade was unable to attend the competition.

  • DECA (formerly FBLA)

    • Trip to NYC in December with DECA - toured CBS Paramount studios and took in all of the sights of the holiday

    • 42 students competed at Le Moyne College against other schools as part of the DECA competition

    • 1 student attended DECA Nationals in Orlando, FL in April

    • 24 students went to Rochester in March for DECA States

    • DECA had a former student speak to the club about his experiences and how he used his education to get where he is today

  • French Club and FNHS activities

    • Successful French National Honor Society induction in April with the help of all of the previous year’s Members.

    • Cine Club throughout the year (4-5 showings)

    • Top Chef French cooking competition (11/22)

    • Correspondence with Belgian Penpals (2022-23)

    • beginning planning for Belgian visit in April of 2024

    • French Club X-mas party with crepes and games (12/22)

    • Syracuse Crunch game : French night at the CRUNCH !! (01/23)

    • French trip to Que?bec ! 35 students had a wonderful time! (2/23)

    • beginning planning for France trip in 2025

    • Paint Westvale Purple : annual participation of French Club & FNHS (05/23)

    • Cre?pe sale: with student participation, earned $155.00 (6/23)

    • AP « graduation » ceremony: cords, certificates, berets & cake (6/23)

    • AP French dinner at Joelle’s French Bistro (6/23)

  • Spanish National Honor Society

    • Met once a month to practice and participate in different cultural activities

    • Organized and conducted Induction Ceremony for Juniors.


  • VARSITY GIRLS BASKETBALL: OHSL League Champs; Lost to Cortland in the Section Finals

  • VARSITY BOYS BASKETBALL: Class B Section 3 Champions [win over Marcellus], Class B Regional Champions [win over Owego], Class B NYSPHSAA Champions [wins over Newark Section V in the Semi’s; Catholic HS Section II in the Finals]

  • VARSITY BOYS INDOOR TRACK AND FIELD: Class B1 Champions; Drew O’Reilly qualified for states

  • VARSITY GIRLS INDOOR TRACK AND FIELD: OHSL Champions, Class B1 Champions; Ashley Bolesh qualified for States

  • VARSITY GIRLS VOLLEYBALL: Liberty League Champions, Class B Sectional Champs, Class B Regional Champs, lost in pool play at States

  • VARSITY FOOTBALL: Lost in the Section Quarterfinals vs Indian River

  • VARSITY BOYS XC: Liberty League Champions, Class C Sectional Champion – Drew O’Reilly, NYSPHSAA 4th Place Finish – Drew O’Reilly

  • VARSITY GIRLS SOCCER: Liberty League Champions, Class B Section 3 Champs, Class B Regional Champs, lost in the State Semi Final game to Haverling

  • VARSITY BOYS GOLF: Finished 9-4; placed 3rd in Sectionals; 3 players in State Qual’s in May

Westhill School logo
Stephen R. Dunham, Superintendent
400 Walberta Road
Syracuse, NY 13219
Phone: (315) 426 - 3000