Guest Editorial: West has opportunity to reinvent what it means to be ‘Spartan’


Jacey Piacenza

Construction crews are hard at work building a new version of Greeley West. Science teacher Mr. Zach Armstrong believes the West community should start thinking about a better version inside the walls, as well.

Zach Armstrong, Guest Editorialist

In August of 2022, we hope to be completing our move into the new building.  Moving is a lot of work and you don’t want to work harder than you need to.  We have been in our current building for over 50 years.  As you might imagine, we have collected many things that we do not need or want to bring to the new building.  Windowless walls and awkward floor plans are being left behind for sure, but what else should we leave with the old building?  When you move, there are some guidelines about what to bring with you and what to leave behind.  Things to leave behind will fall into one or more of the following categories: 

  1. Things that we don’t use anymore
  2. Things that will be replaced by something better
  3. Things that are mismatched

If something falls into one of these categories, then it should not come to the new building.  Chairs and desks that will be replaced by new ones, textbooks from 1986 not used anymore, and the always wrong clock and bell system should not be moved over to the new building.  Physical things are easy to identify, but ideas and programs need to be considered as well.  

Take this opportunity to look at ideas and programs that have outlived their usefulness or that can be replaced by something better.  I would encourage you to focus on two key areas.  First on changing our ideas and traditions to have more diversity and inclusion.  Some old traditions should be kept and carried forward but we should not maintain everything just because “that is how we have always done it.”  Our current students and families should have the opportunity to create a new version of West that holds dear the parts that we cherish and love but that better represents who they are.  Second, should the International Baccalaureate (IB) program come to the new building?  I have taught many different parts of the IB program and love teaching it, but my love for the IB program is not what matters most.  How it benefits and supports our students is what we should be evaluating.  On paper, it sounds fantastic. But in practice, it often feels forced and mismatched to what our students want and need.  Is IB something that we can remake and improve in the new building or should we say thank you and goodbye to find something even better?  What traditions do we keep and what will our new traditions look like? 

We have an opportunity to reinvent what it is and means to be a Greeley West Spartan.  Look carefully at what we choose to bring forward with us.  This is the time to make plans for what we want to be in the future.  Moving on to better things is a sign of strength, but we must not leave behind the things that are important to us either.  Greeley West will be what we make it; let’s make it the best it can be.


Zach Armstrong has been a science teacher at Greeley West since 2008. In addition to teaching advanced physics, he’s also the AP Coordinator.