Anchorage’s West High wins national performing arts award

Anchorage’s West High School has received national recognition for its performing arts programs.

The National Federation of State High School Associations named West High as its 2022 Performing Arts School of Excellence last week.

West High, the seventh school in the U.S. to receive the annual award since the association began presenting it in 2016, was honored for its award-winning band, orchestra, choir, dance, drama, visual arts and debate programs — which have each garnered a dizzying number of honors and awards.

“While the accolades, achievements and notable performances are an unmistakable indicator of West Anchorage’s robust performing arts track record, they shine an even brighter light on the greater purpose of education-based activities — the dedication, diligence, teamwork and other valuable traits students develop throughout the process,” the federation said in its announcement of the award.

The federation highlighted West High’s diversity both in its arts programs and its demographics. West is among the most diverse high schools in the nation.

“The diverse community at West Anchorage High School is ecstatic to be receiving this award and is so honored to be recognized,” West High principal Sven Gustafson said in the announcement.

Morgan Krakow

Morgan Krakow covers education and general assignments for the Anchorage Daily News. Before joining the ADN, she interned for The Washington Post. Contact her at