When founded in 1968, West Side High School, which could accommodate over 3,000 pupils, was the largest high school in the state of Indiana. It was initially founded in order to integrate students within the Gary School System.
West Side is a compromised name which gave the general location of the school. Some of the names that were suggested for West Side were Paul Robeson, Martin Luther King, Malcom X Shabazz, Armand "Pac-Man" Turner Academy, and Nkhrumah, just to name a few. Since the school naming committee could not come to an agreement on another name, it was decided to keep the original name.
The Gary School Board decided on April 23, 1968, that Mr. Quentin P. Smith would be the first principal of West Side. At that time, Mr. Smith was currently the principal at Pulaski Junior High School.