West begins new year with new look


Hannah Sparrow

Memorial for Charlie Crabtree is displayed outside of gymnasium.

Hannah Sparrow, Staff Reporter

While students and staff were on summer vacation, West alumni and community members gathered to give Normal West a fresh look. 

The school now displays a memorial in remembrance of Charlie Crabtree, new window skins, painted murals around the school and a new sign displayed in the front of the school. 

“The process of it all lasted about four months; we began the changes in April,” said school principal, Mr. Johnson. 

The changes began with the school and community coming together after the tragic bus accident that took place in December, 2019. “We had a bunch of people that wanted to donate to a Charlie memorial,” explains Mr. Ostling. “The Crabtree family was kind enough to say ‘whatever you think the best use of the money would be, go ahead and do it’ so we met and discussed the best way to honor our friend Charlie.” 

The entrance to the north gym sports a large photograph of the gymnasium with written words “In Memory of Charlie Crabtree”. In addition to the photograph that captures Charlie’s love for West sports, above the gymnasium doors there is a banner displayed that reads the words, “Westside Wildcats Eat ‘Em Up Eat ‘Em Up”.

“That’s a quote of something he used to yell all the time at games,” said Ostling. “Sometimes even into the microphone while he was announcing,” added associate principal, Mrs. Codron. 

Hannah Sparrow
The Wildcat banner is displayed above the north gym entrance.

Both Ostling and Codron are proud of the memorial and enjoy being reminded of the great joy Crabtree brought to Normal West. 

In addition to the Crabtree memorial, the school updated their entryways with new window skins, donated by the 2019 graduating class. 

“Each year the senior class has money they like to donate back to the school,” said Codron, “After throwing around ideas they decided to design new window skins.” The 2018-2019 Senior Class Board designed skins to be displayed in the entryway doors. Codron said, “We have received a lot of wonderful feedback, I even had another Unit 5 worker say the window skins ‘look sick’.”

The auditorium doors have a new look thanks to the 2019 graduating class’s donation.

Once the senior class has completed their project for the school, their remaining money goes into an all-Alumni fund. This year, the fund went towards a new sign for West to display in the front of the school. “We were able to get a new sign this year with one electronic side,” said Johnson. “However, we had to keep the tradition of one side informational and one inspirational.” The sign provides students with upcoming events and announcements on one side and displays a motivating quote on the other. 

“I’m really proud of all we’ve done, it makes me more excited to come to work and I think it motivates students to come into the building as well,” said Ostling. 

“We’re all about being one big team this year, I think showing our school spirit throughout our building will help with that,” said Codron.