Outdoor Open House marks new tradition


Sophomore Tanner David roasts marshmallows with two Open House attendees at the Language Arts booth. Photo by Walters

Haley Cooper, Editor-in-Chief

Northwest’s annual Open House was hosted outside for the first time in school history on Tuesday, Aug. 25. An inflatable bouncy house, snow cone machine, student performances and more greeted families as they entered the football field.

Families picked up student schedules at the entrance. They could then visit with the student’s teachers, who set up booths along the track. Children were invited to take pictures in the photo booth or play games, also located alongside the track, while adults chatted with teachers.

Principal Gil Alvarez said he worked with the family engagement team in hopes of improving attendance at the event.

“Ultimately we’re just trying to figure out how we can engage our families better,” Alvarez said. “It’s more of a family atmosphere and a fun atmosphere than it is feeling like you’re in a job or having to go on a time schedule.”

Administrator Stacey Steffes-Sundquist believes that the move outside has successfully created this atmosphere, along with added student participation. Band, choir, JROTC, cheer, and dance showcased their talents on the field throughout the evening.

“This is just a more positive start to the year,” Steffes-Sundquist said. “It’s good for the students to get involved. It’s not just the athletic crowd here, seeing these groups perform that always do.”

Teachers have made major adjustments from the usual Open House system, where teachers adhered to scheduled times to visit with parents. Dennis Cox, history instructor, is taking advantage of the time constraints being removed.

“I’ve always liked to have it in the classroom just to have that closeness,” Cox said. “But they’re only in there for seven minutes. Out here I’ve been able to talk to parents longer than just the seven minutes which has been good.”

History instructor Paul Kitchen sees the advantages and disadvantages of this system.

“I do like the interaction,” Kitchen said. “It does make it difficult because you can get caught up in a conversation for a long time and not get to talk to somebody else.”

Not only teachers are adjusting to the shift, but students as well. Senior Carlos Galindo is pleased with the switch.

“It’s a lot more entertaining and engaging,” Galindo said. “[The booths] are lit.”

The event will continue to be hosted outside next year. Alvarez is excited about the addition to Northwest tradition.

“Hopefully every year it gets bigger and bigger,” Alvarez said. “I’m very excited about how it turned out.”