The Student News Site of Traverse City West Senior High

The Occidentalist

The Occidentalist

The Occidentalist

Alyssa Masiewicz

Alyssa Masiewicz, Editor-in-Chief

Alyssa Masiewicz is a senior and has been on The Occidentalist staff for three years now. She was on the Editorial Board her sophomore year and worked her way up to editor-in-chief her junior and senior years. She is on the Traverse City Tritons rowing team, volunteers with the National Honors Society, and loves going to school sporting events. In her free time, she enjoys reading and making Spotify playlists. 

All content by Alyssa Masiewicz
Letter from the Editor

Letter from the Editor

Alyssa Masiewicz, Editor-in-Chief May 26, 2022

  As the school year ends–my last year as a Titan–I am filled with excitement, anticipation, nerves, and dread. I didn’t think I would be this emotional leaving the Occidentalist behind, but here...

Hintz competes in the freestyle event at Y-States. Photo: C. Hintz

Swimming into States

Alyssa Masiewicz, Editor-in-Chief April 5, 2022

  The Grand Traverse YMCA Breakers Swim Team has been around for 40 years, with swimmers across the county competing together in relays and individually. Recently, swimmers traveled to compete at the...

CORRECTION to ‘Snowcoming Canceled’ In-Brief

Alyssa Masiewicz, Editor-in-Chief March 7, 2022

CORRECTION: Prom is NOT for seniors only this year. Both juniors and seniors will be able to attend prom, but there will be "some limitations on other guests that we'll figure out closer to May," principal...

Graphic: A. Masiewicz

Kamila Valieva Tests Positive for Three Substances. Who is to Blame?

Alyssa Masiewicz, Editor-in-Chief February 16, 2022

  The Olympics are a symbolic event for the entire world and have been for a long time. Its purpose is to bring countries around the globe together through sport so athletes can showcase their natural...

TCAPS Changes Transportation Schedule for the Week of Jan. 31

TCAPS Changes Transportation Schedule for the Week of Jan. 31

Alyssa Masiewicz, Editor-in-Chief January 31, 2022

  On Jan. 30, Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) made the decision to change the transportation schedule for the week of Jan. 31 due to a transportation staff shortage.   “We have been extremely...

Students Speak Up on Issues at School

Alyssa Masiewicz, Editor-in-Chief December 13, 2021

  What was once a select group of student leaders from the National Honors Society (NHS), Student Senate, and other leadership groups at school has turned into an opportunity for students of all grades...

Dustin Thaos Debut Novel, Youve Reached Sam, is One You Wont Be Able to Put Down

Dustin Thao’s Debut Novel, “You’ve Reached Sam,” is One You Won’t Be Able to Put Down

Alyssa Masiewicz, Editor-in-Chief November 16, 2021

  “You’ve Reached Sam” by Dustin Thao is a wonderfully written story about loss, grief, and learning to move forward after losing someone. If you’re looking for a good book to make you shed some...

Photo: E. Shoemaker/staff

Getting into a Routine

Alyssa Masiewicz and Emilia Shoemaker September 30, 2021

  Getting back into the routine of school and waking up early can be rough for students. Managing homework, extracurricular activities, while trying to get enough sleep, can be hard if students are no...

(From left to right) Seniors Matthew Zoutendam, Cameron Oliver, Michael Schermerhorn, Caleb Kouchnerkavich, and Will Gaston lead the team down the field. 
Photo: E. Kloska

Patriot Game Pressure

Alyssa Masiewicz, Editor-in-Chief September 23, 2021

   On Friday, Sept. 17, the stands of Thirlby Field were packed with students and community members to watch the cross-town rivals, West and Central, face off on the football field. Last year, due to...

Mask Mandate Lifted for Fully Vaccinated People

Alyssa Masiewicz, Editor-in-Chief June 10, 2021

   On May 14, Gov. Whitmer lifted the mask mandate for all fully vaccinated people (two weeks after the second vaccination dose). On July 1, all COVID restrictions and mandates will be lifted for everyone...

Maria Chargo teaching Algebra two to her third hour students. Photo: R. Ashbury

Trading in Lesson Plans for Sunshine

Alyssa Masiewicz, Editor-in-Chief June 1, 2021

   Algebra two and AP Calculus teacher Maria Chargo will be retiring after this school year. Chargo has been teaching for 25 years years, 21 of those years were spent teaching here at West.     Even...

Weekly COVID-19 Testing for Student Athletes

   On March 19, 2021, Gov. Whitmer issued an order stating that all student-athletes ages 13 to 19 must get a weekly COVID-19 rapid test in order to participate. There have been many mixed feelings...

The Dramatic Spike In COVID Cases

The Dramatic Spike In COVID Cases

Alyssa Masiewicz, Ava Whinnery, and Riley Ashbury April 15, 2021

 COVID-19 cases around the state have been rising among students. Between school sports, hanging out with friends, working, extracurriculars, and spring break students have a higher risk now than ever...

The College Board Does Not Have Students Best Interest

The College Board Does Not Have Students Best Interest

Alyssa Masiewicz, Editor-in-Chief April 15, 2021

   Many say junior year is the hardest year, and I would have to agree; between AP tests, the SATs, and everything in between, it takes a toll on students' mental health and their self-worth, especially...

The construction inside M22

[Photo] Local M22 Store Expands

April 16, 2021

The construction inside M22

Remote learning for TCAPS Middle and High Schools

Alyssa Masiewicz, Editor-in-Chief April 6, 2021

  Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) transitioned to remote learning for the week of April 5, 2020, due to recommendations from the Grand Traverse County Health Department (GTCHD).     Recently,...

Grandma Carole and her grandkids.

Goodbye Through the Phone

Alyssa Masiewicz, Editor-in-Chief March 10, 2021

   “I’m not very good, but giving it my best fight,” was the last text message I’ve ever received from my grandma Carole on Oct. 22, 2020, just four short days before she passed away due to...

When Does True Positivity Become Toxic?

Alyssa Masiewicz, Editor-in-Chief March 8, 2021

   We’re all in this together! Many of us first heard that phrase in High School Musical back in 2006 during the last dance number of the movie. 15 years later, with the growing pandemic, it has an...

Underage Drinking: Students Crack Under the Peer Pressure

Alyssa Masiewicz, Editor-in-Chief December 1, 2019

According to Grand Traverse County Drug Free Coalition (GTCO), from 2008 to 2018 in Grand Traverse County, the percentage of teens who drank underage rose from 18.8 percent to 26.1 percent. What many of...

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