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Valley Senior Published in Johns Hopkins Magazine

Cover of the March/April 2015 issue of Imagine, from the Imagine website.

Cover of the March/April 2015 issue of Imagine, from the Imagine website.

The Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth magazine, Imagine, published an article by Valley senior Cooper Warner in its March/April 2015 issue. Warner’s article, “The Stories that Matter: Finding My Voice through the School Paper” is about becoming a writer and editor at Valley’s school paper, the Spotlight. The article can be found on the Imagine website. Warner’s article was published alongside pieces by authors Junot Díaz and Michael Chabon.

Warner is currently Spotlight editor-in-chief. She started at the paper as a writer, then became the opinion section editor. Warner is planning to attend Drake University to study journalism and political science in the fall.  


Baker’s Dozen Presents Spring Night of Mime

The Baker’s Dozen presents its Spring Night of Mime this Saturday, March 28, 2015, at 7:30 in the VHS Performing Arts Center. Admission is free, and donations are accepted. The performance will include the original sketches that have made the Baker’s Dozen such a long-standing tradition at Valley.


So, Who Are The Baker’s Dozen?

The Baker’s Dozen has been performing original pantomime and improvisational sketches at Valley since 1969. They developed a format of presenting fall and spring shows composed of skits that were poignant, funny, and at times, stinging commentary.  For nearly 50 years, the Baker’s Dozen has been the satirical voice of Valley: not afraid to take humorous jabs at society, their school, and themselves. These students use the ancient art of pantomime and the free-form expression of improvisation to present topics that can make audiences burst with laughter at one moment and wipe away tears the next.  The Baker’s Dozen also do numerous performances throughout the year for elementary schools, corporate events, and farmers markets around Iowa.




Valley Individual Speech Team Earns Top Ratings

The Valley High School IHSSA Individual Speech team earned 16 “I” ratings at the State speech contest on Saturday, March 14, 2015. Three students were selected to attend the All-State Festival at UNI on March 30: Dani Lipman — solo musical theater (second year at All-State), Thomas Warden — solo musical theater, and Grace Barker — storytelling (second year at All-State).

Congratulations to all of the following students: 

The VHS IHSSA Individual Speech team.

The VHS IHSSA Individual Speech team.

Josh Rodriquez — After-Dinner Speaking

Dani Lipman — Solo Musical Theater and After-Dinner Speaking

Nick Kammerer — Expository Address

Grant Hillenbrand — Improvisation

Alex Johnson — Poetry and Review

Thomas Warden — Solo Musical Theater

Maggie Wildermuth — Prose and Expository Address

Kyra Berg — Solo Musical Theater

Lily Seltz — Literary Program & Storytelling

Cheyenne Vanlandingham — Literary Program

Hannah Kate Fox — Improvisation

Grace Barker — Storytelling


Whittle to be Associate Principal at Valley

The West Des Moines Community Schools announces that Erica Whittle has been approved by the School Board as associate principal of Valley High School. Whittle will begin her duties on July 1, 2015.

Whittle's Dallas Center-Grimes staff photo.

Whittle’s Dallas Center-Grimes staff photo.

Whittle is currently an instructional coach for technology integration in the Dallas Center Grimes Community School District, where she has served for five years. She has also served as an eighth- and ninth-grade math and science teacher at the junior high and high school levels in the district. She received a master’s degree in technology integration from Graceland University and a bachelor’s degree in math and science education from Northwest Missouri State University. Whittle is completing her specialist degree from Drake University in education leadership.

Current Valley High School Associate Principal Erika Cook recently announced her resignation effective in June to become bureau chief for standards and curriculum at the Iowa Department of Education.


Valley Chamber Orchestra and ISU Symphony Orchestra Collaborate

Valley High School’s Chamber Orchestra is joining with the ISU Symphony Orchestra to perform Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 “From the New World” at 7:30 p.m. on March 3 in the Valley High School Performing Arts Center, 3650 Woodland Ave., West Des Moines. Admission is free. The symphony will be directed by Dr. Jacob Harrison, ISU director of orchestral activities.


“It is a truly wonderful work, full of energy, beautiful melodies, exciting rhythms, and some of the best orchestration ever,” Phil Peters, Valley Chamber Orchestra director, said of Dvorak’s symphony. “It is very appealing for performers and audience members alike. There are musical challenges for our students to overcome while striving to play expressively. The audience will recognize many of the melodies used in the work.”

Dvorak started composing the “New World Symphony” during a six-month stay in Iowa, and it was first performed at Carnegie Hall in 1893. It has remained popular to perform and is widely referenced in pop culture. It was also one of the pieces Neil Armstrong took with him during the first manned lunar landing in 1969.

The Valley Chamber Orchestra is an auditioned group of string musicians at Valley. There are currently 31 members. In addition to this collaboration with ISU, the orchestra also worked with the Wartburg Community Symphony recently, performing in a concert featuring Simon Estes.

“They are getting exposed to some of the greatest orchestral music ever composed,” Peters said of the collaborative performances.


Valley IHSSA Individual Speech Team Students Advance

The IHSSA Individual Speech Team earned 19 I ratings at the competition on Feb. 28, with 14 students advancing to the State competition on March 14 at Nevada High School. Students are advancing in the following categories: After-dinner Speaking, Solo Musical Theater, Expository Speaking, Improvisational Acting, Literary Program, Review, Storytelling, Prose, and Poetry.

The Valley IHSSA Individual Events Speech Team.

The Valley IHSSA Individual Events Speech Team.

The students and their events are:

  • Josh Rodriquez — After-dinner Speaking, Improvisational Acting
  • Izzy Koeppel — Poetry
  • Dani Lipman — Solo Musical Theater, After-dinner Speaking
  • Nick Kammerer — Expository Address
  • Grant Hillenbrand — Improvisational Acting
  • Alex Johnson — Poetry, Review
  • Thomas Warden — Solo Musical Theater
  • Maggie Wildermuth — Prose, Expository Address
  • Kyra Berg — Solo Musical Theater
  • Lily Seltz — Literary Program, Storytelling
  • Cheyenne Vanlandingham — Literary Program
  • Danahe Lopez Lozano — Poetry
  • Hannah Kate Fox — Improvisational Acting
  • Grace Barker — Storytelling



Valley High School Invites Community to Forum on Addressing Racism

MicrophoneWPeopleValley High School, 3650 Woodland Avenue, West Des Moines, will host a community forum on race relations in our schools and local community on Thursday, March 26, at 7 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria.

The evening will include a panel discussion and break-out sessions. During the break-out sessions, attendees will have the opportunity to provide ideas on how Valley High School and our community can better address and work to solve racism. The ideas generated will assist the school in developing long-term action steps. Valley administrators will be at the open forum to talk with community members.

Members of the panel are WDMCS board member Milton Cole, Urban Dreams founder and former Iowa State Representative Wayne Ford, education and social justice researcher Katy Salwell, educator and BMX Racer Kittie Weston-Knauer, Valley teacher Kevin Neal, and Valley students Ojas Pradhan and Tatyanna Triplett.

Follow-up meetings will be held on Thursday, April 30, and Thursday, May 28, at 7 p.m. in the Valley High School cafeteria to continue the conversation and further develop action steps.


Valley Girls Basketball Team Advances to State Championship

UPDATED March 6: Congratulations to the girls basketball team, which won the 5A semifinal game against Iowa City West 57-41. They are advancing to the State Championship Game at 8 p.m. on March 7 at Wells Fargo Arena.


March 1: Valley Girls Basketball Team is advancing to state and will play on Wednesday, March 4 at 1:30 pm. 

Tickets on sale in the Valley Athletic Office

Monday, March 2 – 8 a.m–3 p.m.

Tuesday, March 3 – 8 a.m–3 p.m.

Wednesday, March 4 – 8 a.m.–noon

All tickets: $10

If a student would like to attend they must:

  1. Buy a ticket from Valley’s Athletic Office and
  2. Bring the ticket with a parent note/phone call  to the office excusing them at noon to go to the game.

This will be excused as a school activity. It will not count against opt out for Finals as long as students follow the above procedures.



National School Breakfast Week Contest

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