W.F. West Receives ACAC 2020 School of Excellence Award


W.F. West High School in Chehalis has received a School of Excellence award from the American College Application Campaign (ACAC), a national effort to increase the number of first-generation college students and students from low-income families pursuing a college degree or other higher education credential.

The award, now in its second year, is meant to honor “exemplary schools across the nation that are helping students pursue postsecondary success,” according to a press release.

W.F. West High School is being recognized for its increased percentage of students applying to college as well as their high school graduation rates. The graduation rate for the class of 2020 was 99% and 100% of the graduating class applied to and were accepted into a post-secondary program, according to a press release.

“Kerri Chaput, college prep advisor at W.F. West High School, works to ensure all students know about their post-secondary options throughout their high school career. She is passionate, thoughtful, and diligent in her work to increase post-secondary opportunities at W.F. West,” said the press release.

In addition, W.F. West has fostered a strong partnership in their local community with Centralia College, with data from the class of 2018 showing 54% of W.F. West students attending Centralia College have earned a credential.

The college’s average completion rate is 37%.

“This community effort to grow college going culture in Lewis County has been inspiring to watch,” said a press release.

ACAC, which is part of ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning, selected the School of Excellence award recipients based on their demonstrated commitment to student success for serving as an exemplary model for their state’s application campaign and timely submission of student application data.

“Despite the uncertainty that the pandemic has inflicted on the college-going process, planning for the future does not stop, and the American College Application Campaign is committed to helping remove barriers to the college application process to provide support and clarity for students,” ACAC Director Lisa King said. “It is our goal that all students at ACAC events — especially Black, Native American, Latinx and first-generation students — have the opportunity to apply to college and explore a path to postsecondary success. I want to thank everyone who played a role in helping the class of 2021 apply to college, especially our School of Excellence recipients who are leading the way in their communities, their states and our nation. We know that this was an especially challenging year for students, and we are especially grateful to our nation’s educators who innovated and found ways to virtually support students as they navigated a complex and sometimes confusing process.”

Each year, ACAC works with coordinators in every state and the District of Columbia to host college application events and reach students in their schools and communities, encouraging them to apply to college.