ALL GOLD: Stamford High proudly displays their past  trophies and sports records for all students to see. Photo provided by SHS.
ALL GOLD: Stamford High proudly displays their past trophies and sports records for all students to see. Photo provided by SHS.

Stamford v. Stamford: True Crosstown Rivals

This joint feature was also published in the February 2024 edition of the Westword, Westhill’s student newspaper.
STAR-STUDDED ATHLETES: SHS displays plaques for record-breaking student athletes, as well as a celebratory banner for the 2015-16 Girl’s Basketball team. Photo provided  by SHS.
School Spirit at Stamford High

School spirit at Stamford High School (SHS), is amongst the most exceedingly well done characteristics of the school community. From sporting events, spirit weeks, fundraising events such as the Pink Out, clubs, activities, school spirit is intertwined throughout the culture of the student body and provides various opportunities to be engaged in productive ways.

Throughout the year, our student governments conduct spirit weeks in preparation for events such as Home coming, the Halloween dance, and Pink Out, to name a few. During the course of those weeks, copious numbers of students represent SHS through dress ing up and embracing their school spirit with themed outfits. These events al low students to actively participate in a display of school unity through the relatability of the various themed events to the diverse interests of the student population.

Another significant aspect of SHS school spirit is attendance at sporting events. At SHS, we’re proud of our athletic teams and enjoy cheering on the players. Students like Nabeesha Nafey attested to this, saying, “things like foot ball games are really important because they bring everyone together and every one cheers for SHS.”

Though sports are an essential part of SHS culture, they aren’t a req uisite for student engagement. Students are also involved in an array of classes, activities, and clubs. Stamford High’s drama club, The Strawberry Hill Play ers, is a great club that allows students to express their artistic talent and creativ ity. They put on many plays throughout the school year, all of which are attended by SHS families.

Classes like journalism and communications allow students to use their passions for journalism, communications, writing, and
broadcasting in a compelling and immersive way through the Round Table. Clubs like debate have also done an astounding job
in cultivating a culture of articulation, ambition, and courage for a large number of students. Inclusivity is also running rampant at SHS. From a school-wide celebration of Jaidon Nara njo’s birthday to the cultivation of the Friendly Faces club, it is undeniable that SHS is united not only by fervor for school spirit but the devotion to loving and caring for one another through well thought out actions of kindness. Friendly Faces has been integrated into SHS to connect students with differing races, religions, ethnicities, cultures, interests and special education needs the opportunity to establish meaningful friendships. Students from all different backgrounds readily engage in this club because it in vokes their respect and appreciation for the differing ascribed identities found in the SHS community.

The Pink Out is an annual fund raising event that the majority of the SHS body participates in. This month-long event originated to draw focus to the importance of breast cancer awareness. As rates for breast cancer increase, Black Knights’ participation in the fight against it has increased as well. Raising a record donation total of $12,910 and intentionally stopping before $13K because recently deceased staff member Curt Tinnin’s favorite number was 12, this year for the Bennett Care Center through the Pink Out game tickets, merchandise and donations, SHS has reinforced the importance of representation and acknowledgement of the issues that affect the community.

Something else unique to Stamford High School is the culminating “Knight of Excellence” ceremony. “This annual award show brings all of the amazing accomplishments of SHS students to center stage and celebrates the diverse endeavors of our student body in academics, athletics, and the arts,” Stamford High teacher Katherine Wingertzhan said.

Through this tradition, students and faculty are celebrated for their hard work, determination, and dedication through nominations and an awards show. Though this tradition has only been running for two years now, it’s had a tremendously positive effect on the SHS community.

STAR-STUDDED ATHLETES: SHS displays plaques for record-breaking student athletes, as well as a celebratory banner for the 2015-16 Girl’s Basketball team. Photo provided by SHS.
BLACK KNIGHT NATION: Stamford High shows off merch and  memorabilia in a display case. Photo provided by SHS.
School Spirit at Westhill

The passion and sense of pride that ties faculty and staff together that also creates a strong sense of community is known as “school spirit”.

From energetic pep rallies to lively lip dubs, students and teachers take pride in their school spirit at Westhill. Based on a survey conducted on 30 students across all four grade levels, 70% agreed that Westhill has school spirit and a majority expressed that school spirit is also seen outside too. 60% stated that they personally value their school spirit and largely emphasized that “school spirit makes a proud and vibrant community.”

During the beginning of the school year, Westhill holds its annual pep rally in late September or early October. It is held at the football field where spirited Vikings are first welcomed by the color guard who swiftly spin their flags and dance to the Westhill marching band. As each class settles down, Principal Rinaldi
starts the event off by saying the daily pledge. Then, he begins his inspiring speech about his pride to the Westhill

“I felt connected to my fellow classmates and was inspired,” Tahlia Ninan (‘26) said.

As the crowd started cheering again, the marching band and the color guard hyped up the sports team as they introduced themselves. The dynamics in the field were very enthusiastic as the students stomped on the bleachers. The varsity cheerlead ing team performed their intense routine and our mascot interacted with other Vikings.

“One thing I liked about the pep rally this year was how exciting it was. I felt the adrenaline rush in me,” Alexa Pineda (‘26) said.

The Viking country likes to express their school spirit by sharing their pride through lip-syncing videos, also known as the famous Lip Dub. The Lip Dub at Westhill started around 2017 when various students of different cultural backgrounds, sports, clubs, and interests joined to represent Westhill. Throughout the video, students and faculty dressed in Westhill’s iconic colors of gold and purple and lip-synced to multiple songs.

One of the most popular songs known to Viking Country is the song “High Hopes” by Panic! at the Dis co. This song represents a crucial message— no mat ter what difficulties you are facing or how low you’re feeling, always have high hopes. Westhill does this daily by our Vikings demonstrating bravery and fierce determination to win a game, earn representation, or simply just try. Seeing over 2,000 students par ticipating in a 15-minute video symbolizes how much an average student takes pride in their school.

Westhill’s school spirit is evident through the love and support that students show for each other at sporting events, fundraisers and awareness campaigns, and so much more. When students wear purple and gold, they are proud to be from the Hill.

BLACK KNIGHT NATION: Stamford High shows off merch and memorabilia in a display case. Photo provided by SHS.
CHEERS TO THE KNIGHTS: Students rally in support for their  favorite teams during sports events. Photo provided by SHS.
High School Rivalry at Stamford High

The Stamford High and Westhill rivalry has been going on for many years. Some might just see it in sports, but many students agree that it goes deeper than that. Through school spirit, dedication and various other aspects, we show this historic rivalry even today. “I can’t even wear purple in this school without feeling like I’m a traitor,” said Jasmine Whitfield (‘24), an SHS senior who is also a member of student council, the drama club, Round Table, and the wrestling team. At different events, the two schools show all their dedication and enthusiasm, especially when it comes to sports. Looking back to the fall Thanksgiving game against Westhill, you could clearly see how many students came out to support Stamford High against their rivals at the Turkey Bowl.

This healthy competition pushes students to do their best both physically and academically, as often it’s the school spirit that drives us to be better than one another. Friends that go to opposite schools also frequently display a lively rivalry, because both sides want to show off for their schools. Such competition is not just athletic in nature; many students see a sense of competitiveness in endeavors like debate, drama pro ductions, and school spirit itself (check YouTube for the respective schools’ 2019 “lip dub” videos for a fun example). Overall, while there are many individual areas of competition with Westhill, SHS students seem most proud of the overall school dynamic.

“The stands were packed, everyone was here from both schools, adults, everyone who went to these schools,” Whitfield (‘24) said. The rivalry isn’t everywhere, though. Since the schools share a swim ming team and a hockey team with Westhill, there are moments where the high schools put their pride aside and work together as one. In such instances, it is as if the two rivaling schools were, in fact, one. “We all go to the games and we support both schools,” Victoria Puneyko (‘24) said.

“Stamford High just has it all – knowledge, teams, and freedom,” Ruby Arevalo (‘25) said. “We’re the real school,” Sam Cooper (‘24) said. In conclusion, both Stamford High and Westhill show immense pride and spirit when it comes to representing our respective schools. What is most important at the end of the day, is that we recognize one another not only as a worthy rival but as a great ally as well.

CHEERS TO THE KNIGHTS: Students rally in support for their favorite teams during sports events. Photo provided by SHS.
Graphic by Nicole Baclayon (WHS ‘24).
High School Rivalry at Westhill

The Westhill-Stamford rivalry is something everyone cares about here at Westhill. Games between the two Stamford schools are often packed and seen as very competitive, Stamford High is bantered very often in the morning announcements and by our principal, and insults are hurled left and right between students.

But is this genuine or is it mere theater? Is there a real rivalry between Westhill and Stamford, or is it nothing more than a joke?

Westhill students reinforced the idea that there is, in fact, a rivalry between these two schools. In a survey done amongst 53 Westhill students (excluding Freshmen), 56.6% of the students
who responded believed that Westhill is better than Stamford High, putting aside athletics, while a surprising 24.5% voted that Stamford High is better. 18.9% were neutral on the matter.

The responses were slightly more united. 60.4% believed that Westhill has an athletic rivalry with Stamford High, while 22.6% of students disagreed. Amongst the group of students surveyed, 58.5% of students had attended a derby game in the past and 60.4% had previously participated in school sport.

Many believed that the rivalry was alive and well. “Usually the Westhill vs. Stamford games are very hyped and are more anticipated than any other normal games,” Bhavaguhan Senthilna than Sudha (’26) said. “I have personally seen players more motivated for a Stamford game than [any] others.”

In the survey, many people also mentioned the excitement the rivalry brings. “They always talk about each other after games and on social media, but not necessarily in a bad way,” Zahara El-Ouardighi (’24) said. “It’s just the fun tension between the two big high schools in Stamford. So, of course, they will be rivals and competitive,” she said.

To students, opinions on the rivalry are very divided. However, from the athletic point of view, this rivalry means everything. “I think [the rivalry] is great,” Mr. Cerone, the Westhill Sports Director, said.

“These gamestake on added significance, no matter what the teams’ records are,” Mr. Cerone said. Every year, beginning in the 2018-2019 school year, Westhill and Stamford participate in a city championship for every single seasonal sport. Whoever wins the most championships wins the City Cup. Westhill has won the cup three consecutive times, the most recent being this year. These victories mean a lot to Westhill. “In this city, we take a lot of pride in being the Cup champ, because of the importance and specialness that the rivalry entails,” Cerone said. So, back to the big question. Is the rivalry real? Most certainly, it
is. While the rivalry is a respectful one, with no genuine hatred toward the black-orange school on the east side of town, this
rivalry is both incredibly competitive for athletes and very fun for students to witness. “It’s taken seriously, it’s fought at a very high level, but it’s not a nasty rivalry. I think there’s respect for each other, and you want to win at all costs,” Cerone said. These kinds of things are what make high school more interesting, at least, a little bit.”

Graphic by Nicole Baclayon (WHS ‘24).
Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

All The Round Table Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *