February is here and intramurals will be meeting few and far between. There are calendars posted around the school so take a look. We will be meeting for dodgeball on the following dates: Monday, 2/1; Thursday, 2/11; Monday, 2/15; Tuesday, 2/16; Monday, 2/22. All games will be at Rex Mathes until 3:30. See Mrs. Zenti if you have any questions. The first week of March will bring hockey!!!
It is awards season in show business, and now in the West Des Moines Community Schools district as well. Indian Hills and Stilwell junior high schools held their joint film festival last Thursday, Jan. 7.
The festival highlighted the students’ creativity and collaboration, and gave their parents a chance to view the finished films. To make the festival seem as professional as possible, junior high drama teachers Nicole Crawford and Allison Koontz set up a red carpet and gold Academy Award statue cutouts, and invited everyone to dress in formal wear.
The films covered a wide range of topics and genres, from supernatural comedies to dramas about bullying. The festival was judged by local experts, including Iowa High School Speech Association Film category judges and the owner of a local modeling and talent agency. The People’s Choice awards were voted on by students and staff at the school. They had heard about the films thanks to marketing campaigns organized by each production.
Best Drama: “Purpose”
Best Comedy: “99 Problems — This Demon is Every One”
Best Actor: “Suraj Moorjani, “99 Problems — This Demon is Every One”
Best Actress: Sarah Dorn, “Purpose”
Best Supporting Actor: Nate Loecher, “Damaged Goods”
Best Supporting Actress: Summer DeCamp, “99 Problems — This Demon is Every One”
Best Directing: Dayna Dunnwald, “TTYL”
Best Screenplay: “Damaged Goods”
Best Cinematography: “TTYL”
Best Editing: “Purpose”
Best Musical Score: “99 Problems — This Demon is Every One”
Best Costumes: “Stolen”
Best Use of a Prop: “Detention”
Best Ensemble: “Not It”
Best Publicity: “Purpose”
Best Make-It-Work Moment: “Student Stereotypes”
Indian Hills People’s Choice: “99 Problems — This Demon is Every One”
West 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.”
Three 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.
Incoming Valley Southwoods Freshman High School student Conal Thomas-McGinnis won the junior high Lincoln-Douglas debate tournament at the 2015 National Speech and Debate Tournament. The incoming ninth-grader is the second national champion from the WDMCS district in three years; incoming junior Trent Gilbert was the national champion in 2013.
At the same tournament this year, recent Valley High School graduates Rishi Shah and Brody Diehn made it to round 11 in policy debate, making them one of the top 24 high school policy debate teams in the country.
Recent Valley grad Nolan Dahm was the 10th speaker in the policy division, and Gilbert made it to round eight in high school Lincoln-Douglas debate.
Incoming seventh-graders Bevan Fogdall and Isabella Nadel were octofinalists in policy debate, and incoming eighth-grader Animesh Joshi was an octofinalist for Lincoln-Douglas debate. Incoming freshman Joseph Whisler made it to double-octofinals (top 32) for Lincoln-Douglas debate.
The Valley debate team was founded in 1968. High school and junior high school students can participate in debate. The team attends 35–40 competitions per year, traveling to different locations including Yale and Stanford universities. This year’s National Speech and Debate Tournament was held in Dallas by the National Speech and Debate Association.
(Photo credits: David McGinnis)
Policy debate team members: seniors Sam Basler, Nolan Dahn, Lauren Phalen and Rishi Shah; and seventh-graders Bevan Fogdall and Isabella Nadel.,
Lincoln-Douglas debate team members: senior Gina Scorpiniti, sophomore Trent Gilbert, eight-graders Conal Thomas-McGinnis and Joseph Whisler, and seventh-grade students Lauren Gilbert and Animesh Joshi.