Talk of high school memories from long ago filled the ball room at the Country Club on Saturday night as West High School celebrated its 50th anniversary with a gala.

The evening started out with a welcome by Trojan Army Board Member Leigh Sempkowski who thanked everyone for coming and shared a few of her favorite memories from West High School.

“Tonight we are here to relive high school memories and come together to love on the place that was home for 4 years,” Sempkowski said.

After dinner, Scott McMinn gave a speech from the Trojan Army, which was was established in 2009 as a nonprofit organization and is directed by a board of community leaders, alumni and parents.

The primary responsibility of the Trojan Army is to raise funds to support Morristown-Hamblen High School West in its endeavors. The Trojan Army is an umbrella organization for other activities such as scholarships, PTO organizations and an alumni association.

“The reason the Trojan Army exists is to help the school be the best it can be by supporting it with funds or any way we can,” McMinn said.

Saturday night, The Trojan Army began an annual fund to help teachers in the classroom.

“We want to make sure that West High continues to be the best,” McMinn said. “With the fund, we can support teachers in the classroom however they need it.”

David Wild for his service to the school for the last 40 years.

“I love Morristown West and our community,” Wild said. “I don’t do this for the recognition. I do it because I love to give more than receive.”

Wild also gave a toast to West High school.

“It’s amazing the success that West High has brought over the years,” Wild said. “Here’s to the next 50 years.”

After the toast, some former members of the Trojan Nation shared their favorite memories.

Bo and Natasha Morrison shared some of their favorite memories like working at the DE store and having drivers ed.

They also shared somethings that were cool in 1997 like “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion and the Sexiest man alive was George Clooney.

“West High will forever be great,” Bo said. “We can’t wait to see what happens in the future.”

Next up was Traci Leonard who was happy to be celebrating the place that means so much to her. Her connection to West High spans back because all of her family is Trojan Alumni.

“I am thankful for all the lessons that West High taught me over my four years,” Leonard said. “They are lessons I have used my entire life.”

Next, Coach Buddy Saulsbury, the first West High football coach, spoke.

He shared how West High got their colors because the principal at the time was a huge Alabama fan and a huge Bear Bryant fan.

“Somehow over those years, the fight song changed from the USC fight song to the Alabama one,” Saulsbury said. “Don’t ask me how that happened but it did.”

Saulsbury shared story after story of his time coaching at West High and said that he is thankful for the honor to coach there.

“I still love this school,” Saulsbury said. “It is an amazing place and it will only get better in the future.”

Last up was Coach Don Woods who also shared story after story about his time at West.

“Being at West was fun time for me,” Woods said. “I have nothing but good memories there.

Woods also thanked the people that supported him during his time as a coach.

“I had a great team behind me,” Woods said. “If it wasn’t for those folks, I would not have been successful as a coach.”

For more information on the Trojan Army, visit

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Terry Hurst, owner of Terry E. Hurst Attorney At Law, has been serving the Newport area for over 20 years.