Wildcat spirit returns at parent open house


Photo by Brianna Roskilly

Spanish teacher Elizabeth Mastroianni meets with parents during the open house.

By Brianna Roskilly, Reporter

On Thursday, September 9, West Chicago Community High School hosted its annual Parent Open House from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m, inviting parents to meet and visit with their children’s teachers.

After nearly two years, WCCHS’s Parent Open House returned. This annual, school-year kick-off event allows parents to meet their children’s educators and understand the curriculum of their classes, typically running through a shortened bell schedule of their day. However, this year, parents were introduced with a more relaxed approach consisting of an open time frame with no bell schedule. Due to several classroom number changes and renovations, the school felt it was in best interest to allow parents to attend and explore at their own pace.

As principal, Dr. Will Dwyer stated, “We just had it wide open this year. So you could just kind of come and go as you pleased.” Several guests enjoyed observing the new wings, lounge areas, and class remodels. For many, it was their first time seeing them.

Dwyer voiced, “I had nothing but positive feedback, which is very rare. Usually, you’ll get a least one or two people who have some critiques, but everyone loved that there was no pressure, that they could just take their time, they could move around, and everybody really loved the building.”

Parents make their way around the building.

However, with the circumstances of the pandemic, this year, a virtual open house was held too. Teachers of every department were required to create videos about themselves and their classes to post to the WCCHS website, where parents could then watch. With a second option available, it created a new opportunity for those unable to make the open house or in discomfort of the situation. “Overall, as of right now, I think it’s safe to say we were able to reach more people than we would typically reach because we did it in two different ways,” Dwyer expressed. As for the future, the virtual option could potentially stay as well.

Beyond virtual accessibility, in-person was a huge success. When asked if the event was run well, Spanish teacher Elizabeth Mastroianni stated, “ I believe it was. I saw a lot of administration around the building, and tons of student ambassadors around to help parents find their way! None of my parents said they had problems finding their way which was great.” There were also so many attendees that “I almost did not even get a break for a sip of water,” she expressed.

With the help of student ambassadors, parents and other visitors were guided around the building as they listened to beautiful orchestral tunes, courtesy of the school’s orchestra. The night was full of liveliness and a sense of community. Although the past year has disconnected many, the open house, reconnected Wildcat spirit.

Dwyer said, “ I just wanted parents to get a sense of welcomeness and a sense of getting to know the adults that their kids are going to be around so much every day.”

The night had quite a turnout, ending with complimentary cookies and water. When asked what the event symbolized, Dwyer voiced, “It feels like a bit of a return in doing school in a somewhat normal way. Obviously, it felt a little different; everyone was wearing a mask. At the same,  it does feel like another step towards that sense of new normalcy. We’re getting back to normal but our normal is never going to look like it did two years ago.”

Brianna Roskilly