Outstanding Accomplishments in the WDMCS – March 2012

The Board of Education of the West Des Moines Community School District is pleased to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of district students and staff.



Valley High School seniors Scott Johnson, Liu Xiaoxue, Sam Schulte, Edward Tannenbaum and Luchang Wang have been selected as a candidate for the United States Presidential Scholars Program, which recognizes the nation’s most distinguished graduating seniors. If selected, the students will be invited to Washington, D.C., in June to participate in National Recognition Weekend, where they will participate in a ceremony sponsored by the White House.

Congratulations to our Science Bowl team: Scott Johnson, Elaine Mou, Sarah Liu, Will Crichton and Phil Dobrinov. They competed in a tightly contested final round at the State Science Bowl competition at ISU last Saturday and edged out Central Academy to become the champions. They also won an all-expenses paid trip to represent Iowa at the National competition at the end of April.

The Valley Robotics team won the First Tech Challenge Inspire Award for the second year in a row at the FTC Iowa Championship at the University of Iowa. They advance to the World Championship that will be held in St. Louis in April. Team members are Annie Howard, Chase Schweitzer, Daniel Miller, Jordan Burklund, Sidd Somayajula, Saketh Undurty and Tanvi Yenna.

Latin students competed at the Illinois Junior Classical League Convention with senior Kat Hemken finishing in second place for Handy Craft Arts; junior Lily Koufer placing fourth in Handy Craft Arts; sophomore Brianne Tuttle placing third in Costume Contest; sophomore Lexi Brennan placing second in Reading Comprehension; Abby Pepin placing fifth in Reading Comprehension; Catherine Leafstedt placing fourth in Mottoes, Quotes and Abbreviations; and Abby Pepin and Lexi Brennan placing fifth in Latin Sight Reading.  Students represented Valley and the state of Iowa at IJCL in various competitions, colloquia and events designed to explore Latin and ancient Roman culture.

Three students from the West Des Moines Community Schools were honored at the Martin Luther King Celebration at the Iowa Historical Building for the essays they submitted to the state-wide MLK Essay Contest. Brittany Burklund from Stilwell and Grant DeWaay from Jordan Creek each placed first in their grade category, while Hailey Stark placed second in her grade category. Each of the honorees received an awards certificate and got their photo taken with Governor Terry Branstad, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds and the keynote speaker of the program, Dr. William G. Anderson. In conjunction with the Martin Luther King Day of Service, students were asked if they had no money worries and could volunteer all the time, what would they do and why would it help the community. The program was sponsored by the Iowa Commission on the Status of African-Americans.


Valley’s Lincoln-Douglas debate team shined at the National Forensic League National Qualifying Tournament. Only the top three debaters at the tournament qualify for nationals and out of 40 students, Valley’s debaters finished in first, second, third and fourth place. Junior Lucy Korsakov, sophomore Jason Smith and senior Moses Sloven will move on the nationals. Junior Megan Nubel finished fourth.

At the Harvard National Debate Invitational, Moses Sloven advanced to the top eight in varsity Lincoln-Douglas, while Megan Nubel advanced to the top 16 of more than 300 debaters. Sloven received his fourth bid to the national debate Tournament of Champions, while Nubel received her third. In JV policy debate, the team of sophomores Catherine Leafstedt and Thomas Leafstedt placed third overall with Catherine being named top speaker and Thomas finishing third out of more than 250 contestants.

Valley won the team state championship at the Iowa High School Forensic League State Tournament and was the only school to place in all four divisions. In Lincoln-Douglas, Valley swept first through sixth place for the first time in the history of the tournament. Moses Sloven and Megan Nubel were co-champions in Lincoln-Douglas, with Sloven being named top speaker and Nubel second speaker. Also in Lincoln-Douglas, junior Nanitcha Lutt placed third, junior Lucy Korsakov placed fourth, sophomore Colin Timmerman placed fifth and sophomore Jason Smith placed sixth. The team of seniors Will Crichton and Sam Schulte were champions in public forum, while the team of junior Morgan Torbert and freshman Rishi Shah finished in the top 16 of policy debate. In congressional debate, freshman Gina Scorpiniti placed ninth.
Coaches: Dave McGinnis, Gracie Brandsgard, Steve Renzi, Alex Kramer, Sophie Ruff, Josh Miller, David Basler


After qualifying a record number of entries into the Iowa High School Speech Association’s State Competition, Valley High School, Valley Southwoods Freshman High School and Walnut Creek Campus brought home a record number of I ratings from the weekend. Each school is allowed to enter 22 events in the district competition, and for the first time in school history Valley advanced all 22 of its entries to state, where all 22 entries received a I rating. Valley Southwoods advanced 14 of 15 entries from districts to state and brought back 10 I ratings. Walnut Creek Campus advanced two of its three entries to state and received a I rating from each judge for its Short Film entry, which was a first for the school. Seven Walnut Creek Campus students, 64 students from Valley Southwoods and 131 students from Valley participated in the state competition. Valley was also honored with the IHSA All-State Festival’s E. Wayne Cooley Sweepstakes Award for the seventh consecutive year. The award is given annually to the school with the most entries in the competition. Students performed in the areas of choral reading, solo mime, one act play, group improvisation, ensemble acting, group mime, musical theatre and television newscasting.
Coaches: Stacy Hansen and Katie Dorrell


Kathryn Hoemann, Hanna Howard, Mary Hudson, Rebecca Ihnen, Zach Lepperd and Madison Wepfer were accepted into the North Central American Choral Directors High School Honor Choir. They traveled to Madison, Wis., to work with 120 high school singers from the Midwest under the direction of Dr. Brad Holmes from Milikin University.

The Varsity Show Choir, Choralation, placed second in its division and third overall at the Emmetsburg Competition.  The Show Band received 91 out of 100 points for the accompaniment of the singers.
Director: Dr. Keith Touchton

The following students received a I rating and placed in the top five at the Perry Band Olympics: Taylor Altemeier, Noel Do, David Duvall, Sarah Hanson, Chad Harvey, Keegan Hockett, Matthew Johnson, Todd Johnson, Daniel Marcus, Meredith Marturello, Christian McClairen, David Nicholson, Gernant Rae, Colleen Seuren, Saketh Undurty, Sheanah Wright, Alec Garringer, Scott Johnson, Meredith Marturello, Joseph Petersen, Derek Yu, Brooke Beatty, Joshua Cooper, Sarah Hanson, Todd Johnson, Darci Kobolt, Ashley Mayrose, Sam Schulte, Jake Thaker, Maddie Vincent, Jordan Burklund, Doug Clarke, Ryan Garmoe, Joshua Higginbottom, Taylor Kobberdahl, Will Swanson, Steph Helland, Lauren Johnson, Taylor Kobberdahl and Jared Lancaster.
Director: Roxianne Classen

Stilwell bands performed at the South Central Iowa Band Directors Association  District Band Festival held at Norwalk.  The seventh grade jazz band, eighth grade jazz band, seventh grade concert band and eighth grade concert band all  earned I+ ratings. At the Hoover Jazz Festival, the seventh grade jazz band placed second in the seventh grade band class and the eighth grade band placed fourth in the large middle school band class. Eighth graders receiving outstanding soloist awards were Sarah Clarke and James Hada on alto sax, Chris Roberts on tenor sax, Sean Hilzendeger on bari sax, and Joe Brennan on trombone. Seventh graders receiving outstanding soloist awards were Samantha Kobberdahl on alto sax, Justin Jones on tenor sax and Becca White and Grace Trane on trumpet.
Directors: Bobbi Garringer and Jon Lewis


The boys swimming team won the conference team championship with the following student-athletes crowned as individual conference champions: 200 Medley Relay – Coner Elliott, Jaden VanDike, Stephen Davick, Derek Yu; 400 Freestyle Relay – Alex Bodin, Casey White, Derek Yu, Nate Harris; 100 Butterfly – Stephen Davick; 200 Freestyle & 100 Backstroke – Nate Harris; 500 Freestyle – David Merriman; 100 Breastroke – Jaden VanDike; 100 Freestyle – Derek Yu.
Coaches: Shawn DeBoef, Stephen Davis and Kelsey Hudson

The wrestling team qualified for two state tournaments this season, finishing sixth in the individual state tournament and second at the state dual meet. State individual qualifiers were Jake Koethe at 106 finished third, Clayton Eicher at 113, Eli Johnson at 120, Kyle Larson at 132 finished third, Trey Lewis at 152 finished third, Clint Underwood at 160 finished sixth, Jacob Bell at 170, Mitch Monahan at 182, Tarin Phillips at 290 finished third and Louis Gutierrez at 220. Clayton Eicher at 113, Kyle Larson at 132 and Zach Henaman at 285 pounds were CIML champions, and conference runner ups were Jake Koethe at 106 and Trey Lewis at 152.
Coaches: Travis Young, Jeff Dyer, Chris Novak, Thad Loeb, Matt Lindholm and Tony Wieland

Kale Abrahamson was named the CIML Player of the Year by the Des Moines Register after leading the Tigers to their first state tournament appearance since 1999. With this honor, Abrahamson is also a member of the Des Moines Register’s All-CIML Elite Team. First-team all conference honors went to Abrahamson and Clint Boffeli, with Nate Meyer and Peter Jok being named to the second team. Tyus Mason received honorable mention.
Coaches: Jeff Horner, and Josh Frey

Ally Swartz was named to the first-team all-CIML in girls basketball, while Madie Agey and Lauren Jensen earned second-team honors. Honorable mention went to Grace VanderWeide and Whitney Fuller.
Coaches: Eric Boyle and Karen Klinge

The girls bowling team finished fourth at the CIML tournament with a score of 2,313, led by Katie Hines who finished fifth overall and Kayla Cory who placed eighth. The team tied for third in the conference standings with a 4-4 record.
Coach: Jason Eckhoff

The boys bowling team finished third in the CIML tournament with a score of 2,892, led by Chris Jurkikewicz who finished ninth overall. The team finished fourth in the conference standings with a 2-6 record.
Coach: Chris Amundson

The Valley Competition Cheerleading Squad competed at the National Cheerleader Associations Senior and Junior High School National Championships. They finished sixth in the High School Large Advanced Division! This is only the third time in Valley’s history that a cheerleading squad has competed at the national level. Valley cheerleaders Jamie Bullington, Carissa Just, Rachel Larson, Erica Lyons and Kirstie Overton were named to the all-state cheerleading squad and performed with the group at the boys state basketball tournament.
Coach: Beth Ferguson

The following students participated in National Signing Day and will go on to participate in their selected sport in college: BOYS GOLF – Tomas Gouveia-Rollins University; FOOTBALL – Trevor Hanson-University of Northern Iowa, Austin Stephens-Iowa Western Community College, Turner McGill-University of Wisconsin Whitewater; VOLLEYBALL – Alli Hornbrook-Ellsworth Community College; BASKETBALL – Kale Abrahamson-Northwestern University; WRESTLING – Kyle Larson-Iowa State; GIRLS SOCCER – Mary Hoffman-University of Missouri St. Louis, Hannah Turner-Wartburg, Sam Wipperman-Wartburg, Maddie Anderson-Clarke College, Haley Helverson-University of Minnesota, Lauren Waggoner-Iowa State University; BOYS SOCCER – Eric Williams-Drake, Konnor Tranoris; GIRLS TRACK – Allie Wood-Missouri University of Science and Technology, Kaitlyn Nelson, Alex Armitage, Ashlee Downs, Alex Kock, Meaghan Wilson; BOYS TRACK – Quentin Smith; SOFTBALL – Laura Milligan-Minnesota State, Meagan Jones-Simpson College, Kaye Taylor-Simpson College, Jamison Koethe-Iowa Central Community College, Megan Brady-Indian Hills Community College; BASEBALL – Nolan Lodden-George Washington University.


Lauri Pyatt, school/community relations specialist, was featured in the National School Public Relations Association’s e-newsletter “NSPRA This Week” in its Tip Sheet of the Week feature for the district’s efforts with the Booster Pak program. The program was entered into NSPRA’s annual communications contest and won the Golden Achievement Award.

Beth Ferguson was named the South Central District Iowa Cheer Coach of the Year. Beth will be recognized at their Spring Awards Banquet in April.