Updated: Valley IHSSA Entries Set State Records at All-State Festival

Updated Feb. 23 — Valley High School received Critic’s Choice Awards in five different categories at the Iowa High School Speech Association (IHSSA) All-State Festival, held Feb. 21 at the Iowa State Center in Ames. This set a new state record for Critic’s Choice Awards won by a single school.

Top Iowa professionals acted as Critic Judges during the All-State Festival, selecting entries in their own fields to receive the Critic’s Choice Awards. Valley received the Critic’s Choice Award for the following entries: Group Improvisation, judged by Rick Anderson from Kirkwood Community College; Reader’s Theater, judged by Susan Cantine-Maxson, of the IHSSA Hall of Fame; Solo Mime, judged by David Walker from Buena Vista University; One-act Play, judged by Gai Jones, from the Donna Reed Foundation; and TV Newscasting, judged by Paul Yeager of IPTV.

Valley also earned the E. Wayne Cooley Sweepstakes trophy, awarded to the school with the most entries performing at the All-State Festival. This is the 11th time Valley has won the award in the past 13 years, another state record.


Feb. 16, 2015 — Valley High School hosted the Iowa High School Speech Association Large Group Contest on Feb. 7. All 24 VHS entries and eight Valley Southwoods entries received top ratings, earning a “I” rating from a majority of judges. Thirteen VHS entries and four entries from VSW received special recognition and were invited to perform at the IHSSA Large Group All-State Festival on Feb. 21, at Iowa State University. VHS will also receive the E. Wayne Cooley Award, presented to the school with the most entries at the All-State Festival. This is the 10th time VHS has earned the prestigious award in the past 12 years.

Those who want to watch the All-State Festival may purchase tickets for $8 on the day of the event at the Scheman Building at the Iowa State Center. All spectators must purchase a ticket. Prior tickets can be purchased through Stacy Hansen at VHS or through Katie Dorrell at VSW. Make checks out to the IHSSA.


Valley High School entries performing at the All-State Festival are:

One-act play, “Eurydice.” Director, Ryan Penning; assistant director, Bryan Gamboa; technical director, Amanda Pichler; stage managers: Reid Epstein, Erin McCauley, Katie Ringgenberg; tech: Tommy Anderson, Sam Berry, Jamie Hanson, Emma Kazeze, Brillian Qi-Bell, Liz Remus, Brienne Edwards; cast: Andrew Axman, Grace Barker, Hanna Bush, Emily Carr, Cooper Christensen, Taylor Denman, Izzy Fidler, Lauren Frederick, Dillon Frost, Ashley Gettinger, Courtney Graham, Melissa Grinvalds, Beth Hammond, Grace Horvath, Carly Johnson, Zac Johnson, Libby Lorts, Nic Lovan, Clara Lyden, Carlo Maina, Sofi Mandil, Margaret Mungai, Paige Marshall, Augustina Mateo, Abby McCullough, Evalyn Nougi, Sharissa Patanapanich, Anna Peterzalek, Josh Rodrigues, Lizbeth Salinas-Reyes, Julie Sisler, Elena Soto, Jack Standefer, Madison Stegman, Heather Stout, Allison Tow, Maren Tuttle, Ramya Vemulapalli, Noah Welch, DeVuntae Williams, Justine Williamson, Anna Wood, Piper Wood.

Choral reading, “The Grudgekeeper.” Director, Stacy Hansen; stage manager, Cheyenne Raney; cast: Kyra Casper, Lily DeTaeye, Jared Freiburg, Andy Han, Colin Lane, Jessica Martens, Nicole Miller, Anna Mokricky, Lauren Pfeil, Derek Pham, Elise Ramaekers, Owen Snyder, Melanie Taylor, Nick Wang, Jake Wheeler


Reader’s Theater: “Tuck Everlasting” — Photo Credit: Jeri Williams

Reader’s theater, “Tuck Everlasting.” Director, Stacy Hansen; stage managers, Kathryn Catellier, Reid Epstein; cast: Liz Cleaven, Keaton Denker, Emma Erhard, Matthew Hrdlicka, Kamden Lee, Dani Lipman, Savannah Mendenhall, Nico Mulhern, Marisa Potts, Sydney Sheffield, Caroline Stump, Pearl Tate, Ryan Voggesser, Annie Weinberg, Danny Williams.

Group mime, “To Cheat the Devil.” Director, Derek Claussen;  performers: Hanna Anderson, Julia Anderson, Logan Benson, Lily DeTaeye, Jared Fisher, Masha Smirnova.

Group mime, “Alice Returns: The Looking Glass, the Stolen Watch, and the Lost Brother.” Director, Derek Claussen; performers: Cameron Denker, Nico Mulhern, Angelina Mullican, Derek Pham, Jake Wheeler, Trinity Zynda.

Group Improvisation:  Noah Dorsett and Grady Stein Photo Credit: Beenie Stein

Group Improvisation: Noah Dorsett and Grady Stein — Photo Credit: Beenie Stein

Solo mime, “Tsunami: Japan.” Director, Nicole Crawford; performer: Hanna Anderson.

Solo mime, “The Race to Save the End of Time.” Director, Ted VanDeventer; performer: Daniel Soto.

Group improvisation. Directors, Joe Van Haecke, Amanda Pichler; performers: Noah Dorsett and Grady Stein.

Musical theater, “Heathers.” Directors, Megan Helmers, Brianne Magel; stage manager, Kathryn Smoldt; cast: Colin Lane, Maria Lind, Nicole Miller, Lauren Pfeil, Elise Ramaekers, Daniel Soto.

Musical theatre, “Bring it On.” Directors, Megan Helmers, Brianne Magel; stage manager, Kathryn Catellier; cast: Sarah Clarke, Rebekah Conard, Andy Han, Derek Lutt, Jessica Martens, Nick Wang.

Musical theater, “Assassins.” Directed by Megan Helmers, Brianne Magel; stage manager, Cheyenne Hensley; cast: Keaton Denker, Matthew Hrdlicka, Dani Lipman, Claire Maly, Josh Miksch, Jack Wilson.

Television news, “We Report: Progression or Oppression.” Directors, Glen Biermann, Ryan Van Every; cast: Lejla Avdic, Katie Daft, Jenna Hanson, Cheyenne Hensley, Allison Isenhoff, Alex Johnson, Sarahi Lopez, Alli Newell, Jack Ohringer, Mara Smith, Gloria Tanui, Cheyenne Vanlandingham, Suilley Vuong, Megan Yeates.

Short film, “Limbo.” Director, Allison Koontz; cast: Emily Bergez, Susannah Crichton, Katie Daft, Alex Fell, Jared Freiburg, Tevan Fuller, Catie Judge, Allison Kacer, Emily Kacer, Katie Pixley, Blake Porter, Lukas Rysavy, Chase Stine, Abby Tobin.


The Valley Southwoods entries selected for the All-State Festival were:

Choral reading, “’Til Death Do Us Part.” Stage managers: Ashlyn Williams, Grace Basler, Gracie Pollack; cast: Sam Allbee, Anthony Alvardo, Cooper Earle, Rebecca Figueroa, Jack Freeborn, Maddie Hansen, Alec Jessen, Emma Ksiazak, Liz Lau, Sam Sheffield, Maddy Swaim, Olivia Ramakers, Caroline Smoldt, Garrett Wheeler.

Reader’s theatre, “Fly Away Home.” Valley senior directors: Liz Cleven, Annie Weinberg; stage managers: Cassie McKinney, Amy Wickenkamp; cast: Zoe-Ella Anderson, Grace Axman, Trinity Bierl, Emma Bohn, Alainna McAuliff, Erin McCoy, Charlie Overton, Zach Pits, Lillian Poulsen, Carter Pretzsch, Hannah Taylor, Ann Thomas, Jack Thompson. (Not performing due to time constraints.)

Ensemble acting, “Captive Audience.” Guest directors: Jake Leberton, Maddie Ripperger; cast: Maria Masteller, Kylie Miller, Miller McCoy, Carter Oakley. (Not performing due to time constraints.)

Ensemble acting, “When Shakespeare’s Ladies Meet.” Guest director, Rachel Ogden; cast: Amy Wickenkamp, Zoe-Ella Anderson, Olivia Hansen, Jo Craven, Marisa Rethman, Quinn Fox. (Not performing due to time constraints.)

The other Valley High School entries receiving I ratings were:

Group mime, “Ivory Wars.” Director, Derek Claussen; performers: Kamden Lee, Connor McCarville, Melanie Taylor, Spencer Tramontina, Ryan Voggesser, Danny Williams.

Solo mime, “The Death of Figaro: A Final Sonata.” Director, Amanda Pichler; performer:Tommy Anderson.

Group improvisation. Directors: Joe Van Haecke, Amanda Pichler; performers:  Hira Mustafa, Lilly Seltz.

Group improvisation. Directors: Joe Van Haecke, Amanda Pichler; performers: Becca Dorsett, Tevan Fuller.

Ensemble acting, “Proof.” Director, Kim Van Haecke; cast: Rebekah Conard, Alex McNunn.

Ensemble acting, “Thistle Blossoms.” Director, Allison Koontz; cast: Savannah Mendenhall, Annie Weinberg.

Ensemble acting, “Mime in a Box.” Director, Charlie Reese; cast: Julia Anderson, Liz Cleven, Jack Standefer.

Television news, “Wake Up America.” Directors, Glen Biermann, Ryan Van Every; cast: Thomas Bonus, Gabe Butler-Klein, Sam Dayton, Josh Farmer, AnnaMarie McQuliff, Olivia McDermott, Hira Mustafa, Alyson O’Hara, Elizabeth Reed, Anthony Reno, Dani Roth, Kathryn Smoldt, Grady Stein, Chase Stine.

Short film, “Road Trip.” Director, Allison Koontz; cast: Wil Abeling, Andrew Bohn, Gabe Butler-Klein, Anne Marie Derouin, Sarah Estes, Ryan Jones, Nikolaus Kammerer, Alex McNunn, Grace Patrick West, Zainab Sohail, Cody Thompson.

Radio news, “SPCE.” Director, Glen Biermann; cast: Thomas Bonus, Catherine Christian, Cooper Christensen, Anna Mokricky, Elizabeth Reed, Andrew Thompson.

Radio news, “SUPR.” Director, Glen Biermann; cast: Dawson Edwards, Carly Johnson, Olympia Manning, Jack Ohringer, Abigail Patterson, Trevor Tyma. 

The other Valley Southwoods entries receiving I ratings were:

Group mime, “A Laughing Mess.” Valley senior directors, Nick Wang, Melanie Taylor; performers: Bree Cole, Cooper Earle, Bre` Eigenheer, Deonna Garcia, Jeff Purcelle, Susan Vue.

Group mime, “The Babadook.” Director, Katie Dorrell; performers: Leann Grandia, Rebecca Figueroa, Charlie Overton, Collin Reeves, Faith Smith. Rebecca Stockham.

Musical theater, “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” Director, Katie Dorrell; music director, Adam Kent; cast: Anthony Alvarado, Preston Hayes, Emma Ksiazak, Liz Lau, Keegan McCullough, Lizzie Napier.

Musical theater, “Hairspray.” Director, Katie Dorrell; music director, Adam Kent; cast: Bella Giudicessi, Lauren Johnson, Camille Mireault, Kate Raridon, Emma Seybert, Julie VanKirk.