Wolfpack Mentality Assembly Sets Tone for New School Year


By Leila Meseljevic, Staff Writer

Students and staff attended a double assembly on the first Friday of the school year to define “Wolfpack Mentality,” West’s new motto.  School leaders also reviewed rules and expectations for the start of the new school year.

Niles West principal Dr. Karen Ritter kicked off the assembly with a definition of Wolfpack Mentality. “Real wolves in nature are unique, smart, take care of their young, care about each other, and stick together as a family. This all describes the Wolfpack Mentality we need to obtain,” Ritter said.

Assistant Principal of Operations, Steve Parnther, carried on the assembly by explaining the consequences of receiving a tardy or loitering in the hallways. Consequences for disrupting the learning environment include detention or even suspension.  He also encouraged students to use the resources available to them, such as the Literacy Center. Parnther also reinforced the school’s headphone policy. Phones and headphones must not be used when walking into class, but students may use them for passing periods and study hall.

“This place [Niles West] is much more than a school, it is my home, your home, and our home, and we all have to follow these expectations,” Parnther said.

With the most experience as Niles West students, Parnther trusts the seniors to set a good example: “The seniors’ jobs are to protect this house and reiterate to your peers and underclassmen to follow all of these rules.”

“What Parnther said doesn’t sit well with me because I do not agree about the strict rules for phones and headphones. I think they should be allowed to either be on your desk or in your coat pocket because you might have an emergency, and it usually is not a distraction for myself and other students,” Sophomore Moreen Mercado said.

Belonging and safety play a huge role in Niles West High School. “High school has all kinds of expectations like thinking about how you look and realizing the way you interact with those around you. However, you should not think about those imperfections, and instead come out with your vulnerabilities because everyone has imperfections, you’re not the only one,” Assistant Principal Antwan Babakhani said. Working together, talking to each other, being kind, and being brave all contribute to a sense of belonging.

“Level one is us protecting each other. Level two is focusing on the safety issues and addressing them, being vigilant, and working together leads to the sense of belonging,” Babakhani said.

“There was an air of optimism for what is to come, and it was reassuring to hear from the administration on the goals for the upcoming year; the idea of community and mutual respect was evident, and I look forward to seeing how it comes to fruition over the course of the year,” senior Zahra Nathani said.

Senior Mia Cejovic and sophomore Nabiah Sheikh concluded the assembly with their thoughts on the rules and expectations.

“Be honest about your ups and someone will be there to celebrate with you, about your downs and someone will be there to raise you up, about your problems or your fears and someone will find a way to help you, about your stories and someone will connect, about your goals and someone will be there to push you and support you until you are one step forward. There is so much good in this auditorium and school, so let it show and be honest to those around you,” Cejovic said.

“I was brought here to talk to you about being present, and the first thing that came to mind was living in the moment. I would one hundred percent encourage everyone to join clubs, try new electives, or do anything that makes you happy. Also, ask for help when you need it, no one is going to think you’re dumb. High school is a time where grades a really important, there are tons of resources like the library, the Lit Center, and teachers who are willing to meet before or after school. If there is one thing I want everyone to take away from today, it’s just to use your resources wisely,” Sheikh said.