Class of 2004 reunion

Natalia Bijak, Zephyr Staff Copy Editor

West High’s class of 2004, who has planned an upcoming ten year reunion, was unique. Although West has changed a lot since the alumni remember it, the friendships they’ve created here have remained the same. The class of 2004 was a very spirited and close knit group of students. Many friendships, between students or with teachers, were made during their four years have remained strong throughout the last ten.

Shauna Nielson, a 2004 graduate, has nothing negative to say about her four years at West High. She was in leadership and cheerleading; therefore she was very involved, just like many other students. The class of 2004 left their lasting mark by starting the Blue Crew, which is a big part of our school today. Along with all the spirit and support from unforgettable teachers, the bonds she created with her friends made her high school years the most memorable.

After high school, Nielson went to San Joaquin Delta College because she was unsure what career she wanted to pursue. After, she went to California State University, Chico to major in criminal justice and then went to California State University, Sacramento to receive her Crime Intelligence Analysis Certificate with the Department of Justice. She currently works in workers compensation in the Bay Area.

In high school, she never expected to work in this field. That’s why Nielson feels it is important to try many things to find out what interests you before choosing a major.

“If you’re not sure what you want to do, take a bunch of classes in what you think you might be interested in and then find something you are passionate about,” Nelson said.

Sahar Amin, another 2004 graduate, followed her family tradition of attending University of California, Davis. She graduated with a degree in communications and sociology and then went to the John J. Kennedy University School of Law. She recently graduated from Santa Clara University with a masters of law in intellectual property law. Throughout high school she often thought about becoming a lawyer. She was interested and often heard classmates and teachers tell her she would be a great lawyer one day. “My plans in high school were not concrete only because I wanted to make sure that I was open minded to other possible careers and professions,” Amin said.

There are many differences between the class of 2004 and the class of 2015, especially technology. In 2004, students got their pagers taken away when using them in class and now, almost every student walks to class looking at their cell phone. There was no Twitter or Facebook in 2004; the students were just getting into MySpace and AOL. However, the students found a different way to stay connected. Amin recalls her friends, and other groups of students, writing in notebooks. Each person would write about what they did over the weekend or how they felt about another person and would pass it on to their friend who would comment on it and write something of their own.

“Our class truly knew the difficulties and struggles of not having Google at the tip of our fingers… Yet, we survived,” Amin said.

With all these lasting friendships, many alumni thought a reunion would be a good idea. Nielson enjoys event planning so she took charge of the opportunity. After researching reunion organizations she decided to plan it herself back in February hoping people would be interested. With help from Brett O’Hara and Cindy Garcia, her former classmates, the reunion will be held in the Tracy Grand Theater in October. West High’s class of 2004 has planned a fun night to catch up with friends they haven’t seen in a while.

Several teachers are invited to this event as well which is unusual. The class of 2004 just seemed to have a strong connection with their teachers. Many teachers, including Mr. Jeremy Fallquist, stays connected with them through Facebook and always appreciate their visits back to West.

“[I decided to go because] I thought it would be fun to catch up with students from ten years ago,” Fallquist said.

Amin reminds current students to work hard and balance all their activities, and, of course, to watch out for senioritis. She understands how difficult it is, but now looking back at it all she can say it has all paid off. Amin suggests using teachers for help and support, as they were a big part of her success in high school. However, the most important thing is to take care of yourself, which means sleeping at least eight hours, eating healthy and exercising. “When you feel good about yourself, in return you will perform and behave well,” Amin said.