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Valley Team Wins Iowa Knowledge Bowl Championship

One of two teams from Valley High School won the Iowa Knowledge Bowl Championship on Oct. 30, 2015. The team — made up of junior students Jacob Bedia, Cayden Codel, Chris Loyd, Gabriel Mintzer, and Aidan Morrow — defeated 11 other qualifying teams to take first place.

The team qualified through an online exam earlier in October. For the final rounds, they answered general knowledge questions in eight rounds of competition: one written round and seven oral rounds. Up to five students could participate in the written round, which consisted of 50 questions in 30 minutes. Four team members answered 22 questions in 15 minutes for the oral rounds.

The three highest-scoring teams at the end of eight rounds advanced to compete in the live championship round, which consisted of 40 oral questions.

Valley High School teacher Nathan Speichinger is the sponsor and coach for both Valley High School knowledge bowl teams. The team members each won a three-credit fee waiver for Des Moines Area Community College, as well as a team trophy and ribbons.

Shubham Tayal, Linh Tran, Joe Swanson, Jack Kinseth, and Varun Myneni made up the other Valley knowledge bowl team.


Both Valley knowledge bowl teams. Not pictured: Aidan Morrow. (Photo source: Nate Speichinger)


Valley Dance Team Regional Hip-Hop Champions

VHS-DanceTeam2The Valley High School varsity dance team earned first place in the hip-hop category at the Universal Dance Association (UDA) Iowa Dance Challenge on Saturday, Nov. 14, making them regional hip-hop champions in the UDA varsity category.

The hip-hop routine was one of two the Valley varsity dance team performed at the competition. They earned second place with their jazz routine. The Valley junior varsity dance team competed as well, earning second place with both their jazz and pom routines.

Five sophomore soloists from the team also performed at the competition. Ellie Willse earned first place, Allison Hutchinson took second place, Haley Buchanan placed third, Camryn Cline earned fifth place, and Gracie Bach took sixth place.

The Valley High School dance team competes across the country each year, representing the district at national competitions. The 2015-16 team is made up of 20 auditioned dancers and is coached by Nicole Barreca and Lyndsay Gold. In addition to competitions, the dance team performs at Valley High School football and basketball games, local parades, and school functions.



WDMCS Choirs Collaborate with Musicians for Winter Concerts

vhs-show-choir-1415West Des Moines Community Schools vocal music ensembles will feature district musicians in four concerts from Dec. 14–17. The concerts will showcase seasonal and traditional pieces, and popular songs from Broadway and the radio. All concerts are free and open to the public, and will be held in the Staplin Performing Arts Center at Valley High School, 3650 Woodland Ave., West Des Moines

The Stilwell Junior High seventh-grade choirs will present their Winter Concert at 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 14. The treble clef choir, bass choir and a combined choir will all perform. Musical selections include “Winter Wonderland” as arranged by Joyce Eilers Bacak, Israeli folk song “Hava Hallelujah” and “Hooked on a Feeling,” the Blue Swede song recently heard in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” film.

The Stilwell Junior High eighth-grade vocal music concert will follow at 8 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 14. The treble clef, bass clef and combined choirs will perform. Selections include “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” featuring student instrumentalists, a medley from Disney’s “Newsies” and “Silent Night” as arranged by pop a cappella group Pentatonix.

The Valley High School and Valley Southwoods Freshman High School choirs will perform their concert at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 15. Valley’s Concert Choir, A Cappella Choir, Select Treble Clef Choir and combined choir will all perform, as well as the Treble Clef and Bass Clef choirs from Valley Southwoods. Song selections include “Piae Cantones” featuring percussion from Valley band students and “O Magnum Mysterium” by Morten Lauridsen. Valley band student will be featured during “Gloria, Movement I” by John Rutter.

Valley Singers and Southwoods Singers, the auditioned show choirs, will also perform. Southwoods Singers will sing three pieces including “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” arranged by Jay Rouse and featuring WDMCS orchestra teacher and Des Moines Symphony member Michele Senger on cello. Valley Singers will perform “This House of Peace” accompanied by Valley orchestra students. This piece was commissioned in 2008 to celebrate the grand opening of the Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield, Oregon. The text was drawn from quotes from Sacred Heart caregivers and patients and their families.

Indian Hills Junior High will present its Winter Choir Concert at 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 17. The seventh-grade choir, eighth-grade choir, treble clef choir and bass clef choir will be performing. Selections include “Yo Le Canto,” “Seize the Day,” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

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Crestview School of Inquiry Power Restored

UPDATE, 11:42 a.m.: Power has been restored at Crestview School of Inquiry!

11:15 a.m.: Crestview School of Inquiry is currently experiencing a power outage. MidAmerican Energy has been contacted, and backup lights are being used. Phones at the school are currently working, but may not continue to work.  Updates can be found here on the district website and on the Crestview School of Inquiry Facebook page.


WDMCS Band and Orchestra Concerts Celebrate the Season

Detail Performing Arts CenterThree seasonal concerts from West Des Moines Community Schools ensembles herald the beginning of the winter season. The concerts will feature seasonal and popular pieces, as well as band and orchestra favorites. All concerts are free and open to the public. All but the Stilwell concert will be held in the Staplin Performing Arts Center at Valley High School, 3650 Woodland Ave., West Des Moines

The Stilwell Junior High orchestra and the junior high chamber orchestra will perform their Winter Concert at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 8, in the Stilwell auditorium. Stilwell’s orchestra is the largest in the school’s history, with 108 members. The orchestra will perform “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” from “The Nutcracker Suite” and several popular tunes, including “Stand by Me,” originally performed by Ben E. King. The chamber orchestra, a select group of students from Stilwell and Indian Hills junior high schools, will perform “Allegretto” from “The Creatures of Prometheus” by Ludwig van Beethoven and “Viva Violas!” by Richard Meyer, which will highlight the viola section.

All West Des Moines Community Schools students can begin studying orchestral music as early as fourth grade. All students have the opportunity to participate in small group and large group lessons, with advanced groups becoming available in sixth grade. Students are taught using an adapted Suzuki method that encourages active engagement between students, parents and teachers. The district’s high school orchestra programs consistently receive superior ratings at regional contests and have performed nationally and internationally.

The Indian Hills Junior High seventh- and eighth-grade bands will present their Winter Concert at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 8. Musical selections include patriotic pieces like “Americans We” by Henry Fillmore and “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The bands will also perform season pieces including “Jingle Bell Rock” and Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride.” Audience members will have the chance to donate to West Des Moines families in need at the concert.

The Valley High School Concert Ensemble and Symphony Band will join with the Valley Southwoods Band for the Winter Concert at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 10. Musical selections include “Lux Aurumque” by Eric Whitacre, “Nobles of the Mystic Shrine” by John Philip Sousa and “Celtic Carol” by Robert W. Smith. The concert will also feature percussion ensembles from the Valley High School bands.

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