By Sydney Poppe
Walking among the two thousand-plus students that fill the halls of West, it can be easy to get lost in the shuffle. Yet, one particular staff member has become a beacon for many Titans, greeting them with a smile and helping guide the way.
Whether it be assisting administration or playing his most well known role of directing traffic in the school parking lots, campus supervisor and former JV girl’s basketball coach Sidney Moore has managed to help assist the school while taking on another task: getting to know students. “I probably do that more than my job,” laughed Moore.
“I try to make myself very friendly to them, I speak to them everyday. I realize some of these kids, the only hello or side hug they get is when they get to school,” said Moore. “Sometimes, I try to make myself available and let them know somebody cares about you like [saying] ‘Hey, you look nice today’ or ‘Keep your head up’.”
His efforts have not gone unnoticed. Moore’s friendly nature and yearn to connect with students has earned him the role of arguably one of West’s most loved staff members.
“He actually wants to be involved in students lives, he cares about every single student. He is very cognizant of people’s feeling and how their day is going,” said senior Casey Cunningham. “Students gravitate towards him because he remembers the little things and he helps you when you need him. He is hilariously funny and just an all around awesome guy.”
By taking the time to show honest interest and compassion towards students, Moore has maintained a prevalent part in the lives of several Titans throughout their high school years.
“He didn’t stop being a mentor to me when I stopped playing basketball. I still talk to him in the hall almost everyday about all kinds of stuff,” said senior Katie Evans. “He always lets me know he’s thinking and praying about my family and he asks me about CrossFit all the time. He always calls me the Fitness Queen and says that one day he can picture me being a famous CrossFit athlete and watching me on TV.”
“I love talking with him because he always shows genuine interest in my life and my future and there aren’t a lot of teachers like that. You can tell he really cares. Whenever I am talking to him in the halls he will say Hello to five-plus different people who walk by us, he’s just a super friendly, caring guy who loves students,” said Evans.
From talking sports to discussing academics to addressing the plethora of problems that may arise in the life of a high school student, Moore tries his best to act as a listening ear as well as a helpful voice for students.
“…I don’t have kids so when they’re here in this building, they’re my kids. I just talk to them about their future, where they’re heading, goals in life, making sure they’re getting their grades,” said Moore. “Making sure they’re looking towards their future, keeping them positive and happy.”
For some Titans, the feelings are mutual; Moore’s role exceeds that of the average teacher and parallels that of an insightful parent and mentor.
“Oddly enough, he’s kind of like a “father figure” to me but in a chill way,” said sophomore Maddi Loomer. “We talk about school and grades but we also just talk about like in general how I am boys drama. I think it’s fun to talk about boys with him because he gives me a perspective and teases me about it which is funny.”
By his willingness to go the extra mile and bond with students, Moore stands out as a personable individual in the minds of those he has met over the years.
“He is passionate in relationships with students and truly cares about the students at our school. Other teachers just go through their day and their only purpose is to teach you want they wrote down for that day, but he takes time out of his day to ask ‘How you are doing?’ and how life is going,” said senior Daphne Plummer.
For some, even Moore’s small acts of kindness serve a significant role in the school and encourage a friendly atmosphere within the building. “Moore has taught me how a simple “Hey” in the hallway goes,” said senior Megan Hoffman. “If only the whole student body would catch on to that…”
To know that students look up to him and appreciate his acts of kindness is “the best feeling in the world” said Moore. He views his ability to reach students and possibly have an impact on their lives as an opportunity to share wisdom and insight that extends past the walls of West.
“It’s a sense of purpose for me. I’ve lived life, I’ve made mistakes, done some good things so it feels good when I can tell young people, I’ve been down that road, I know where you’re going,” Moore said.
“It’s like a video game, I’ve played that video game, I know all the controls. I know where to go, listen to what I’m saying,” said Moore.
When students come up to him with problems and in need of some advice, Moore continually encourages young individuals to think towards the future and remain positive.
“I would say the biggest thing I tell students is be who you are, be the best that you can be, and have a goal in life and strive for that goal. When you do mess up, get back up and keep moving. There’s a new day coming,” said Moore.
“It’s just like I told the girls when I coached basketball, you make a turn over, guess what?” Moore said. “Go back and play defense, we’ll get the ball again. In life, you’re going to have turnovers but it’s how you get back up and how you keep competing.”
For Loomer, his messages ring true. Knowing a mentor like Moore has offered her guidance on how to approach her time at West as well as life in general.
“I feel like he has just given me an overall happier outlook on high school. He has impacted me in a way that I should not take things for granted and just take life day by day because you don’t know what’s going to happen. I have so much respect and love for him and personally he has taught me through certain experiences that you really do only live once so might as well live good,” Loomer said.
Perhaps one of Moore’s biggest messages that sticks with those who consider him a mentor is his advocation for students to look towards their future and continue striving for the best.
“[He] always tells me to just keep shooting (threes in basketball) and in life, he never forgets to remind me how much I have ahead of me in life going to med school, medical missions… and that no matter what to stand up for the right thing because in the end, God is the only one that can judge,” said Cunningham.
Aside from insight on life and the future, Moore’s influence as a basketball coach has stuck with Plummer ever since she first played for him her freshman year at West.
“He impacted my high school basketball career greatly. I have learned that confidence in myself is the only way I will succeed in sports and that relaxing and having fun is the most important part about sports,” Plummer said.
While students have attained advice through their relationships with Moore, he has learned from them in return. Since the majority of the students he talks to are girls due to his history of involvement in girl’s athletics at West, Moore has had the chance to gain some wisdom from many female Titans.
“Being around girls has taught me a lot of patience, a lot of compassion. I always tell the girls they make me a better man just by being around them. They’re strong willed women,” said Moore.
By offering students an outlet to vent, talk, or even seek help without judgement, Moore sees there is something special about having the opportunity to meet and connect with all parts of West’s student body.
“The best part is you’re meeting kids from all walks of life, black kids, white kids, Asian kids, Hispanic kids, Muslim kids,” said Moore, “Just getting to interact and get to meet them where they’re at. Getting to know them and being able to share and laugh and sometimes shed a tear with them.”
Through his efforts of serving as a helping hand and open ear for students needing advice or just being a smiling face for students to friendly engage with, Moore wishes others recognize his efforts and try to do the same in their life.
“I hope to leave an impact of somebody who cared about the students. Hopefully students will remember how I treated them and they’ll go off and treat other people and society the way I’m treating them. Black or white, it doesn’t matter, we’re all the same people,” said Moore.
In the end, Moore views his capability to bond with high schoolers and serve as a mentor for many Titans as a passion he excels in. His actions are not forced, his warm smiles are not reluctant; Moore wants to leave his mark as an individual who truly cares and connects with the students.
“I think everybody has something in life that they’re really good at, and this is natural for me,” Moore said. “I’d love to make a million dollars and be a business person or a doctor or lawyer, but that’s not something that comes natural. Talking to kids, mentoring the kids, it’s just natural.”