Rebuilding WO one jungle at a time


  Since Jungle first began in 1988, it was an absolute hit. People didn’t just “not show up” to jungle. Everyone went.

   When COVID hit, big events like this had to be canceled or downsized for health reasons. Events like WOSTOCK, Prom, Hoco, Graduation are not only trickling back in, but coming back without masks or fear of spreading COVID. Some of them, though, need an extra boost. After the low turnout of the fantastic event WOSTOCK, there is fear of a similar thing happening to Jungle. We’ve got to rebuild what West Ottawa used to be.

   West Ottawa Alumni (aka, my mother) Abby Guerrin (Vruggink) said, “For the first 20+ years of Jungle, 95% of the graduating class attended.  It was just something you did. Somewhere over the last 10 years Jungle attendance numbers started to decline. It’s really unfortunate, and kind of a mystery.”   

  Jungle is a great opportunity to connect with your class one final time. West Ottawa Alumni Kennedy Dumas said, “I loved being able to connect with my classmates one more time before graduation.” West Ottawa Alumni Lydia McCourt said, “My favorite part about Jungle was getting to spend one last night with my peers and friends that I had known almost my whole life.” Guerrin said “High school was over, and none of us cared if we made complete idiots of ourselves!  We were there to celebrate the end of an era, and make some lasting memories together.”

Jungle ’88

 It’s apparent that Jungle is a pretty pricey event. This price might make some people more skeptical, especially with the surprise aspect. No one knows where their money is going until they get there. Guerrin said “I remember thinking, ‘Is this just going to be like a youth group all nighter?’ But the secrecy factor is actually really exciting, and to my surprise Jungle was on a completely different level than what I was anticipating.  Jungle is a huge event that requires a TON of money and volunteers to pull off, and you can’t really understand it until you get there.”

Jungle ’93

Along with the fun and memories people make at Jungle, there are a surplus of prizes to win. McCourt said, “I won earrings and a free car wash.” Dumas said, “I won money from the cash vault and also a speaker for my dorm.” Guerrin said, “In 1999, grand prizes looked different from 2023, but I thought it was pretty awesome to win my own tv/vcr combo for my dorm room. One of my good friends won a mountain bike too.  Every single kid walked out with something that night, and that is still one of the huge goals of the Jungle  planning committee every year.”

   Some students have been confused and questioning why Jungle is the night before graduation instead of after. The reason for this is because, with jungle scheduled after graduation, students are rushing out of graduation, and missing out on time with their families, so that they can get on their bus and go to jungle. This is this year’s jungle committee’s attempt at a solution for that issue. Since it has been moved to the night before, students can party late at night, sleep in the next day, and enjoy their graduation.   

Jungle ’99

“All I know is that if you’re on the fence about going, take the leap.  I’ve never heard anyone say they regretted going to Jungle.  And if you’re still on the fence, then just go for the prizes. (And the special guest… you definitely don’t want to miss that!)” Take it from my mom, Jungle is going to be a blast, and we should make the most of our Senior year by going.