Hey, local school boards.
If you’re thinking about what to call your next high school, consider Singin’ in the Rain High, Wicked High or Phantom of the Opera High.
For decades, the official history of Omaha’s Westside High School said it was named after “West Side Story,” the popular musical. Turns out the origins of the school’s name are far less interesting.
The school apparently got its name because it was on the western edge of the Omaha area when it opened in 1952.
Questions about the origins of Westside High’s name popped up on social media this week following the naming of the Elkhorn Public Schools’ third high school.
A World-Herald editor checked the Westside Community Schools website to see how the district’s high school got its name. The staffer found a reference to the school being named after “West Side Story” and tweeted that out.
Then, a World-Herald reporter, an alum of the school, did a little digging. The reporter tweeted what she found: The musical didn’t open on Broadway until 1957, five years after the school opened.
Things just weren’t adding up.
The mystery caught the attention of Brandi Petersen, the school district’s communications director, when Westside Schools was alerted to the tweets. She then did a little checking.
Peterson said she talked with longtime district staffers and the alumni association president, and asked for help on social media. But she couldn’t find any confirmation that the school was named for the musical.
She said the whole idea that the school was named after the musical probably started as a bit of conjecture decades ago, and the district just hung on to it.
The reference to the school name being connected to the musical has been removed from the district’s website.
Lucky for the cheer squad the school wasn’t really named after some other musical.
Can you imagine trying to sound peppy shouting out: “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying High.”