Three girls holding each other and smiling

Life in the WDMCS 5/26/15

Life in the WDMCS is a weekly feature that highlights what is happening at each of our buildings. If a school is not listed, there was no submission from that building this week.


West Des Moines Community Schools sixth-grade students took part in the district’s annual Dick Bittner Sixth-Grade Memorial Track Meet on Tuesday, May 19. The meet is the culmination of the physical education unit and sponsored by the WDMCS physical education staff. Events included the 10-, 200- and 800-meter races, the 4×200 relay, the sprint medley, the 4×70 shuttle run and the 4×100 relay. Ribbons were awarded for the top three places in each individual running heat and relay event and in each flight of field events.

The West Des Moines Community School District proudly announces that 713 students graduated from the district this year. Valley High School graduated 648 seniors, plus six Certificates of Attendance (foreign exchange students). The Valley Class of 2015 earned many awards, including the following:

  • 159 students earned Silver Cord Awards
  • 82 students took five or more AP exams
  • 63 students became AP Scholars
  • 44 students joined the National Honor Society
  • 21 students were part of Student Government
  • 15 students earned the Presidential Volunteer Award
  • 11 students will graduate with honors
  • 11 students were National Merit Finalists

Walnut Creek Campus will graduate a total of 59 students this year; 49 participated in commencement on Thursday, May 21. Thirty-three students graduated with a traditional diploma, 14 graduated with a core diploma, one received a diploma from Des Moines Area Community College, and one received a HiSET high school diploma equivalency.

Clive Elementary

Clive Elementary first-graders visited Jester Park as part of their “Pebble, Sand and Silt” unit in science on Monday, May 1. Students talked with a Polk County Conservationist about the three types of rocks and how they are formed, then enjoyed a nature scavenger hunt. They searched for and located things like spiders, bird nests and animal tracks. The highlight of the trip was the shoreline hike along the Des Moines River, as they got to identify the rocks they found with their new knowledge.

Clive Elementary sixth-grader Jordan Thomas won first place in the girl’s discus event at the Dick Bittner Sixth-Grade Memorial Track Meet. Her throw reached 63-8 (63 feet 8 inches). She credited her success to a lot of practice in physical education class and doing stretches at home.

“I felt very proud when they called my name,” she said.

Jordan Creek Elementary

Fourth-grade students from Jordan Creek Elementary enjoyed a bike ride on the Neil Smith Bike Trail on May 15. Students spent the day biking from Birdland Marina to the Cottonwood Recreation Area at Saylorville Lake. The bike ride was used to teach students about fitness, bike safety, healthy habits and Iowa bike trails. The student cyclists watched for Iowa wildlife, like beavers, squirrels, geese and deer; they saw one snake when it crossed the trail in front of them. Parents also participated in the bike ride. Special thanks to Forrest Ridgway, Bike World owner, for helping to make the ride a success.

Valley High School

Seventy-six students were inducted into the Tiger Chapter of the National Honor Society this year. The inductees are:

Class of 2015 Inductees: Jake Rodgers and Sophia Seltz

Class of 2016 Inductees: Keara Anonson, Emma Avdic, Abbey Bierma, Andrew Bohn, Thomas Bonus, Joseph Brennan, Alex Bruinekool, Victoria Cassady, Jacquelyne Chu, Molly Cline, Emma Cox, Brett Donahe, Pete Economos, Dawson Edwards, Ethan Eiler, Haley Gion, Zachary Graves, Melissa Grinvalds, Eric Henning, Grant Hillenbrand, Matthew Hrdlicka, Alexander Johnson, Carly Johnson, Lanee Jung, Robert Knudsen, Alexa Kort, Colin Lane, Paige Marshall, Quinn Nolin, Nicole Nucaro, Jason Nye, Jack Ohringer, John Rafferty, Katherine J. Rauch, Rhea Reddy, Jessa Rhea, Alexia Sanchez-Garcia, Annie Schacht, Turner Scott, Sydney Sheffield, Carl Skoog, Claudia Stewart, Sarah Thompson, Samuel Throm, Maren Tuttle, Trevor Tyma, Ramya Vemulapalli, Chad Wang, Elizabeth Watson, Jake Wheeler and Benjamin Wiese

Class of 2017 Inductees: Rachel Anfinson, Hanna Bush, Emily Carroll, Cayden Codel, Emma Degen, Anne Marie Derouin, Austin Fest, Timothy J. Foley, Arjun Ganga, Trent Gilbert, Emma Madden, John Mahoney, Abby McCullough, Evan McKinney, Caitlin Mills, Gabriel Mintzer, Guowei Qi, Lizbeth Salinas-Reyes, Rachel Snodgrass, Emily Steimel, Jessica Studer, Sarah Turri and Nathan Yencer

The students were inducted on May 20, 2015, at Valley High School’s 2015 Honors Evening.

To be inducted into the Tiger Chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS), students must maintain a minimum 3.5 grade point average, but no student is inducted based solely on academics. The NHS strives to recognize outstanding high school students who have demonstrated excellence in academics, leadership, service or citizenship and character. NHS membership is one of the highest honors that can be awarded to high school students.