Freshman Brian Gu with his opponent holding debate awards

Outstanding Accomplishments in the WDMCS

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



Colin Timmerman placed third in the local VFW Voice of Democracy speech contest. He entered this year with the theme “Why I’m Optimistic About our Nation’s Future.” Colin presented a fine speech describing how we all can contribute to serving our country.

Valley High School was honored as one of five districts in the state, and 477 nationwide/Canada on the 4th Annual AP District Honor Roll. The districts were honored for simultaneously increasing access to AP courses for a broader number of students and also maintained or improved the rate at which their AP students earned scores of 3 or higher.


The office of Governor Terry Branstad released a list of appointments to the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. Among the 15 appointments is Valley senior Annie Howard. She is the first student to be appointed to this group. Her term began Sept. 1 and will run through August 2014.

The Rotary Club of West Des Moines honored Valley High School students Claire Maly and John J. Micka as Outstanding Students of the Month for September for providing leadership, making a difference and going above and beyond in their school.

Valley sophomore Danielle Reyes was chosen to be one of the speakers at the Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit at Hy-Vee Hall.  She was the youngest member of the State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council and has represented the youth in Polk County for the past two years.

Valley senior Maria Lind was presented with the 2013 Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award for her efforts in bringing representatives from To Write Love on Her Arms to Valley and Valley Southwoods as well as a public presentation at Johnston.

The following Valley students earned the Presidents Volunteer Service Award in the fall of 2013.  Each student volunteered over 100 hours from June 1, 2012-May 31, 2013. Class of 2014: Kyra Cooper, Sandeep Dhingra, Mark Fowler, Madison Gausman, Daniel Miller, Katherine Phillips, Trevor Schmitt, Kelli Schulte; Class of 2015: Megan Alexander, Hannah Anderson, Julia Anderson, Marisa Anfinson, Ann Braveman, Katelyn Broman, Cooper Christensen, Katie Daft, Erin Healy, Chase Koschmeder, Dani Lipman, Jacob Rojohn, Jordan Stone, Alyssa Tainter, Grace Vaner Weide, Ravjot Virdi, Ryan Voggesser, Allison Zieser; Class of 2016: Claudia Stewart and Nicole Nucaro.


Valley was champion of three of five debate divisions at the season opener at Simpson College. In Student Congress, sophomore John Anthony Danos received Valley’s highest finish at a congress competition in six years, winning his house in the Friday session and placing third in the Saturday session. In varsity policy debate, the team of juniors Brody Diehn and Rishi Shah placed second, while the teams of juniors Sam Basler and Nolan Dahm, and Lauren Phalen and Sam Hites placed third and fourth. In novice policy debate, the team of freshmen Manasi Singh and Mackenzie Armstrong were the tournament champions, while the team of freshmen Nora Raine and Katy Green were semifinalists. In varsity Lincoln-Douglas, freshman Trent Gilbert and seventh grader Conal Thomas-McGinnis closed out the final round, with Trent named champion based on points. Freshman TJ Foley was a semifinalist while sophomore Jackie Chu, freshman Evan McKinney and eighth grader Kyle Kopf were quarterfinalists. In novice Lincoln-Douglas, eighth grader JJ Kapur and freshman Brian Gu closed out the final round, with JJ named champion based on points. Freshman Nicole Marlett was a semifinalist, freshmen Quinton Curry, Jackie Castro and Xandra French were quarterfinalists, and eighth grader Jack Kinseth placed in the top 12.  In public forum debate, the team of senior Carolyn Hoemann and junior Grady Stein were semifinalists. The team of juniors Lexi Takla and Tanner Barkley placed in the top 16, and the team of senior Mackenzie Copley and sophomore Ethan Eiler won the consolation round, placing them in the top 20.

Valley took home the team sweepstakes championship for the second consecutive year at the Minneapple Debate Tournament. In novice Lincoln-Douglas, freshman Brian Gu was the tournament champion, while freshman Xandra French finished as a quarterfinalist. In JV Lincoln-Douglas, seventh grader Conal Thomas-McGinnis finished in quarterfinals while freshmen TJ Foley, Trent Gilbert and Evan McKinney all placed in the top 16. In varsity Lincoln-Douglas, senior Jason Smith finished as a quarterfinalist, receiving his second bid to the national debate Tournament of Champions, which is held each spring at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Jason is now fully qualified to attend that event.


Valley senior Stephanie Hansen has been selected to the prestigious GRAMMY Camp – Jazz Session as a vocalist. She will perform with the top 32 jazz instrumentalists and vocalists of the nation in conjunction with the GRAMMY Awards in late January.  She is the only Iowa student selected for this honor and just one of two students from the Midwest.

Stilwell chorus students Grace Axman, David Bone, Lizzie Brackett, Matthew Christensen, Dominic Cravero and Ethan Glenn; and Indian Hills chorus students Anthony Alvarado, Lizzie Napier, Olivia Ramaekers and Erik Skoog were selected to participate in the 28th annual Opus Honor Choir Festival. More than 3,300 students were nominated by their directors for 720 positions in the four Opus Honor Choirs.

All-state band members: Bryce Sederberg, Taylor Altemeier and Stephanie Hansen on clarinet; Brooke Beatty on bass clarinet; Susannah Crichton and Julia Anderson on flute; Sam Anderson on cornet, Saketh Undurty on trumpet; Sean Graves on tuba; Matt Johnson and Jacob Bedia on trombone; Todd Johnson on baritone sax; and Matt Nicholson on alto sax. Alternates: Natalie Bantz on flute, Julian Castillo on oboe and Madison Heilskov on tenor sax.

All-state choir members: Emma Stier, Abby Hudson, Chloe Goodman, Leah Stroh, Claire Maly, Sammie Binns, Kyra Cooper, Kara Masteller, Annie Howard, Dani Lipman, Keaton Denker, Matthew Hrdlicka, Colin Lane, Asynn Soukrasmy, Will Ward, Sam Cacciatore, Andy Han, Ben Klooster, Justin Umthun and Michael Keay. Alternates: Jessica Martens and Maria Lind.


All-state orchestra members: Elsa Klein on harp; Hannah Willard, Laura Carther and Phuong Tran on violin 1; Victoria Cassady, Guowei Qi and Andrew Yi on violin 2; Alex Carther, Lexi Brennan and Daniel Miller on viola; Michael Stevens on cello; and Lauren Johnson on bass.


Girls swimming set new pool records during a 136-49 win over DM Lincoln this year. Kaitlin Wisty clocked 2:15.06 in the 200 individual medley, Morgan Rafferty received a 269.25 in diving and Moriah Moore swam a 54.58 in the 100 freestyle. The team placed third at the state meet. Top finishers were 200 Medley Relay – Chloe Stewart, Allison Moore, Kiley Davick and Annie LaMair placed fifth; 200 Free – Moriah Moore placed fourth and Lauren Conte placed sixth; 200 Free Relay – Allison Moore, Annie LaMair, Lauren Conte and Moriah Moore placed fifth; 100 Breast – Allison Moore placed seventh; 400 Free Relay – Rachel Anfinson, Allison Moore, Lauren Conte and Moriah Moore placed second with a new school record.

The Valley Competition Cheerleading Squad won its seventh consecutive State Cheerleading Championship in the 4A large division. The JV Football Cheer Squad placed fourth in the large school time-out division and the stunt group finished fourth out of 35 teams.

Senior Torey Brown qualified for the state cross country meet for the fourth consecutive year, finishing seventh overall and running a personal best time.

The boys cross country team qualified for the state meet for the 10th consecutive season, finishing in 10th place. Junior Daniel Soto finished third in his class, while clocking the sixth fastest time overall.

All-Conference/District/State Honors

Name Sport Honor(s)
Megan Cox Volleyball academic all-state, second-team all-CIC West
Peyton Kellner Volleyball academic all-state, second-team all-CIC West
Team Volleyball state all-academic team
Lexie Jensen Volleyball honorable mention all-CIC West
Sydney Pick Volleyball honorable mention all-CIC West
Briana Woods Volleyball honorable mention all-CIC West
Torey Brown Cross Country all-state, all-conference
Daniel Soto Cross Country elite all-state, all-state, all-conference
Greg Rinn Cross Country all-conference
Trevor Kirk Cross Country all-conference
Boys Team Cross Country 43 academic all-conference
Tyus Mason Football named national player of the week by, elite all-state by DM Register, first-team all-state by   Iowa Newspaper Assoc., first-team all-conference
John Raridon Football elite all-state by DM Register, second-team   all-state by Iowa Newspaper Assoc., first-team all-conference
Dakota Miller Football elite all-state by DM Register, first-team all-state   by Iowa Newspaper Assoc., first-team all-conference
Connor Sorge Football second-team all-state by DM Register, first-team   all-state by Iowa Newspaper Assoc., first-team all-conference
Adam Harris Football second-team all-state by DM Register, first-team   all-conference
Josh Brunk Football academic all-state, second-team all-conference
Dominique Dafney Football first-team all-conference
Nate Spacek Football first-team all-conference
Drew Gray Football second-team all-conference
Sam Hartman Football second-team all-conference
Connor LaGrone Football second-team all-conference
Brady Smith Football second-team all-conference
Reese Garver Football second-team all-conference
Keller Prien Football second-team all-conference
Tyler Goode Football honorable mention all-conference



Katie Seiberling was accepted to the TLI (Teacher Leadership Initiative) class of 2014. She joins more than 160 NEA teacher-leaders in six states across the country who are focused on enhancing leadership skills and impact.

Valley Assistant Principal Dr. Erika Cook was invited by the Iowa Department of Education as the 2013 principal to represent the state of Iowa at the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) meeting December 3-4 in Orlando, Fla. The meeting will be with department of education leaders plus one principal from each state to focus on implementing the Common Core State Standards.