195 Students, Teachers, Community Members Collaborate on District Video
Almost 200 students, family members, district staff, volunteers, and community members contributed their time, energy, and talents to a new video for the West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS).
Featuring an original song composed and performed by Valley High School musicians, the video focuses on the most important people in our district: the students.
See someone you know? Let them know by sharing the video using #WelcometoWDMCS on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!
The Story Behind Our Video
Our students were a creative force behind the video, assisting with all aspects of production, from the script to the original song. Often using their own words, they talked about their experiences in the district, from working together in class to designing a fashion line and programming a computer.
Valley High School graduate and 2015-16 Valley Student Council President Thomas Bonus provided the video’s theme in an interview a few weeks before his graduation. With a senior student’s perspective, he talked about changes in learning brought about by new technology and the dawn of the Information Age. He emphasized the importance of interactive learning, collaboration, and the ability of education to prepare students for their futures. To show those opportunities in action, we searched for students who wanted to tell their stories and would represent the district as a whole.
Eighth-grader Joseph Maxwell helped adapt his lines in the video from a statement he had submitted to the website using the “Share Your Story” button. Alayna Meeks and Susanne Schemmel, both 2016 Valley graduates, talked about their respective authentic learning experiences in Valley’s Culinary Arts and Design Studio classes. Sixth-grade Hillside Elementary students and English Learners Oscar Ivan Aldana Barrera, Jesus Berber, and Juan Soto-Silva helped write and translate their own lines so their story could be told in both English and Spanish. Walnut Creek Campus graduate Chloe Christensen tried on a cap and gown for the video just a few weeks before her real graduation. Many other students shared their unique stories, interests, and goals with us as we explored the district through their eyes.
Students also created the original song heard at the beginning and end of the video. Olympia Manning, a 2016 Valley High School graduate interested in film score composition, composed the song herself and worked with videographer Ryan Buck on the lyrics. Manning and seven other students from the Valley band, choir, and orchestra learned and recorded the song with help from Buck. The students developed their own parts, performed the song for a demo and the final recording, and participated in the opening shot of the district video.
Part of the West Des Moines Community Schools promise to students is that they will have a voice. Each students’ journey is part of our district story, and the goal of this video was providing students the opportunity to tell their own stories. We feel privileged to have worked with so many students who helped us tell our story with authenticity.
We would like to extend a special thank you to everyone who was part of the video, especially the many students and teachers who donated their time and energy and Ryan Paul Buck Productions. A full list of credits can be seen below.
Produced by Ryan Paul Buck Productions
with additional footage provided by Wil Abeling
Composed by Olympia Manning
Lyrics by Ryan Buck and Olympia Manning
Guitar: Liam Carroll
Bass Guitar: Matt Christensen
Drums: Jakhari Durham
Vocals: Derek Lutt, Nicole Miller, and Caroline Stump
Violin: Olympia Manning
Keyboard: Curtis Craven, Nicole Miller, and Caroline Stump
Choir: Abisai Garcia, Quinn Kelly, Maya Knudsen, Azure Peterson, Maren Stegh, Justin Toth, Crystal Westberg
Oscar Ivan Aldana Barrera
Mariana Castro Dominguez
Jordan Creek Kids Care Club
Valley Girls Basketball Team
District Staff and Community Members
Special thanks to all the students who participated in the opening shot of the video:
Catherine Christian, Jared Fisher, Olivia Hope, Nic Lovan, Carter Oakley,
Theresia Reineke, Jacie Stewart, Justine Williamson
Kailee St. John
Ceira White (Current)
Paula Vivian Youbor