Mr. And Miss Westwood ’16 Announced


Kimberly Sladek ’16 and Preston Varozza ’16

Jenny Xu and Nicole Souydalay

Roaming through the walls of Westwood, the qualities of students form a diverse spectrum. However, there are commonalities that resonate through many Warriors: perseverance, leadership, compassion, and dedication. These virtues woven together manifest into the ideal Westwood student.

Each year, teachers elect two seniors that best embody the Westwood spirit to award them the title of ‘Mr. and Miss Westwood.’ This year, Preston Varozza ‘16 and Kimberly Sladek ‘16 were chosen by the school staff to receive this designation as the model Westwood students.

Varozza will be attending the University of Texas and plants to major in Sports Management and minor in Marketing. His interest in a wide range of activities is also shown in the organizations he is a part of. Varozza is an active member of the National Honor Society (NHS), and is involved in Boy Scouts, where he recently became an Eagle Scout.  

With talents in a broad variety of subjects, Varozza credits much of his success to his parents, stating that they have inspired him and act as his role models. His father taught him his own personal motto: “Don’t listen to ‘IT.’”

“‘IT’ is the little voice in your head that tells you ‘stop what you’re doing, it hurts’,” Varozza said. “It’s just the bad voice in your head that tells you not to succeed. The goal is to not listen to it, to block it out, to become the most successful person you can be.”

This motto has helped him succeed during his four year high school varsity swim career. The motto will continue to motivate him at the University of Texas, where he will be swimming as a collegiate athlete. He has attained many remarkable feats in swimming, placing second in the 100 backstroke, third in the 100 freestyle, and second in the 200 medley relay at the State meet this year. In addition, at the 2015 Junior Nationals, he placed eleventh in the nation. With these astounding achievements, Varozza has proved to be a superb member of the swim team.

“He went from could be really good to really good to the best I’ve ever coached,” Coach Matthew McBrearty said. “Along the way he became an inspiration and unique leader who made everyone want to be better and at the same time made everyone enjoy the ride.”

This year’s Miss Westwood is also involved in sports, being a three year member of Westwood’s varsity volleyball team. Captain of the team for two years, Sladek is an exceptional leader and player, reflected in her numerous volleyball awards. She received Defensive Player of the Year, Academic All-District for three years, and First-Team All-District for two years.

“Kimberly has always been a leader by example but after serving as co-captain of her volleyball team these past two seasons, she has emerged as a vocal leader and served as a role model for younger athletes in the program and peers in her community,” Coach Tara Nelson said.

When Sladek isn’t working hard on the court, she spends her time volunteering, helping out with the Miracle League and Mobile Loaves & Fishes. For two years, she was the president of her class in the National Charity League, and was the vice president of Philanthropy. As an NHS member, Sladek spends much of her time helping out with Westwood activities as well.

This is the community that you’re a part of, and you want to make it a better place for the people around you,” Sladek said. “It’s important to give back to your community because you may brighten someone’s day and make a difference in someone’s life that they really needed.”

Sladek will continue to aid others, pursuing a career in Physical Therapy at the University of San Diego in the Honors program. Although she is taking her next step in life, Westwood will forever remain in her heart.

“It’s definitely been a challenge, but Westwood is where I’ve gone to school all four years, so it’s definitely like a home,” Sladek said. “The activities here help me be a part of the community where I’ve made friends and life long friends, it’s important because we’re involved in the community and you’ll make friends for life because of it.”
At the end of the day, Varozza and Sladek will always be remembered as dedicated Westwood Warriors. No matter where life takes them, the experiences they had here will never change, and the imprint that they left will forever stay. The times they spent here have become a part of them, shaped them, and likewise, their high spirits will echo in future students for years to come.