A Public Letter to the WSCUHSD Board of Trustees

KatieAnn Nguyen

Dear WSCUHSD Board of Trustees, 


Tell me, when will you hear us? When will you hear our cries, our screams, our chants, our spirit, our protests, our community? When will you understand the depth of your decision and finally hear the students and staff who have worked tirelessly to get your attention? When will you acknowledge your error in judgement? When will you acknowledge West County? When will you acknowledge us


We have treated you with the respect that you asked of us and yet you still do not do the same for us. You have neglected our voices, the voices of the students you’re supposed to be representing, and you have shown your lack of empathy for us. Our student board representative, Dylan Peña, has sat through every single meeting since he was appointed, he has spoken on behalf of the students, he has represented all of us throughout the 3 or more hour long meetings, and yet you do not take him seriously, you do not treat him with the respect he deserves. Instead, you have excluded him, you have ignored his opinions, you have treated him with a lack of consideration, and you have even refused to recognize his presence. Do you realize that he is our voice? Do you realize that he is representing the students that you’re supposed to be listening to? Do you realize that by treating him as you have done, you are treating the West County student body in the same manner? 


Your December 1st 4-1 board decision to go back to the Analy name hurt. You neglected our voices, undermined all we had to say, ignored the community once again like you did last year with your March 2020 decision to consolidate. You forced us into this community of West County, forced us to readjust to this new reality, and now you take it away? We have adapted to this new environment, we have made it into more than just a name, we have made it flourish into what it is today. When you pushed us all onto one campus, it was uncomfortable, and yet we still made the best of it. We came together as one student body, we came together as West County. We reached out to one another, we connected with one another, we created something memorable here. 


When Julie Aiello told us to not have another walkout before winter break, we did not walk out. We did not walk out because we trusted that she would keep her promise to greatly consider agendizing rebranding for the January 19th board meeting. She told us in that meeting with Dylan and another student that she would consider putting rebranding on the January 19th board meeting agenda if we did not walk out, threatening that if we were to walk out, both her and Kellie Noe would refuse to visit the Leadership class to discuss the rebranding back to Analy. We trusted her to keep her word, so we did not walk out. However, when we came back from winter break, we were faced with the harsh reality that you, the board, would be doing no such thing, we were faced with the reality that you did not care for our voices, we were faced with the reality that you broke another one of your promises. 


Before our December 2nd walkout, we had never seen your face on campus before. We had never seen you at the sporting events, at the school events, never even seen you just walking around campus before. Some of us had gone our whole four years of high school not seeing one of you even once. For you to make that decision to go back to the name Analy without even taking into consideration the students you would be impacting, the lives you would be impacting, was simply disheartening. You never even came to campus to try to understand this newfound West County identity, you had never interacted with the students, never even saw them out there cheering at school events. It wasn’t until after we walked out that you finally agreed to meet with the Leadership class, the class who represented the students. Of the four of you that chose to vote for the reversion back to Analy, only two of you visited the Leadership class. Julie Aiello and Kellie Noe came and listened to our voices that day, they came and they sat down with us, they heard our pleas, our desperation, our pain, and yet we are still here, fighting for the West County name. They told us that the decision had been made rather rashly, and to not allow them to take away from our high school experience, but when will you realize that the name West County is a part of our high school experience? When will you realize that by taking away that name, you are taking away so much more from this school? When will you realize that this name stands for the relationships we have made with one another, stands for the community we have created, stands for the memories we have made, stands for all that we have built?


We walked out the day after your December 1st decision to return to the Analy name. You heard from both students and staff that night that we did not want to go back to the name Analy. You heard from our student board representative that Analy was not the name the student body wanted to return to. You heard us that night, and yet you ignored every single one of our voices. You ignored us that night, and you went with the decision that pleased those who went to this campus years ago. You disregarded our voices, and so we walked out. 


On December 2nd and January 14th, the students of West County High School walked out of class in opposition to your decision. Our December 2nd walkout was planned in the span of a single night, it was spurred on by your unjust decision and hundreds of students walked out because they were pained by your failure to represent them. We did not want to walk out, we did not want to walk out of our classes, we did not want to miss out on any more of our high school careers than we had to, and yet you pushed us into a corner. You left us with no other choice except to walk out that Thursday afternoon, you forced us to walk out ten minutes into our fourth period and then again on January 14th. We were forced again to walk out of class at 10:30 am on Friday, and we chanted our support for the West County name for the whole community to see, for you to see. On Friday, we walked out of our 3rd, 5th, and 7th periods because we had no other choice, because you left us with no other choice. The students that day, they were there because they supported the West County name, they walked out because they too felt like you were underrepresenting them. We stood in the sun, we screamed our throats dry, we chanted through the Barlow, we chalked the district office, we gave speeches, we did everything to get your attention, everything for you to hear us. You heard us out there, and yet you still refused to listen to us. 


If the walkouts weren’t enough for you to hear us, then what is? We have had individual conversations with only three of you, we have written you letters, we have canvassed, we have spread the word through social media, we have attended your board meetings. We have voiced our opinions right then and there for you to hear at both the December 1st and January 19th meetings. You were sitting there as we spoke, as we told you the stories and memories West County has formed for us. You were sitting there as our voices shook in anger, sitting there as we spoke from our hearts, sitting there as we implored you to keep the West County name. To be there, to hear us, to know how we feel, and still not address that? Do you not understand that West County is the name we are fighting for? We are still fighting, we have never stopped since your December 1st decision. You have denied us of our high schools, you have denied us of our memories, you have denied us of our voices. 


When is it going to be enough until you finally acknowledge us? When will it be enough until you acknowledge the pain and hurt you’ve inflicted upon us with your December 1st decision? What will push you to hear us? What will push you to finally understand what we have been trying to tell you all this time? How much louder must we scream until you finally hear us? How much will be enough? When will you realize that West County is the name we, as the student body, want? 


Tell me, are you hearing us? 



KatieAnn Nguyen