Congratulations to Valley’s IHSSA Individual Speech program, which earned 15 “I” and one “II” ratings at the state competition. The competition had originally been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, then was held virtually.
While the IHSSA Individual Speech All-State competition will not happen this year, nominations still took place. Five of the 16 Valley students earned All-State nominations.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our students who pulled it together through this quarantine to stay polished and professional!” coach Carol Engelmann said in an email.
Valley IHSSA Individual Speech Performers
* = indicates All-State nomination
- Gretta Acheson: Prose (“Growing Up”)-I
- Gavin Beedon: Review (“Jack & Jill”)-I
- AJ Bleskacek: Improv. – I*, Review (“The Mandalorian”)-I
- Olivia Brown: Acting (“Lesbians Last Pizza”)-I*, Literary Program (“Behind Armed Curtains”)-I*
- Seren Castellano: Poetry (“Colors of Racism”)-I, Radio-II
- Michael Cunningham: Acting (“Wolf of Wall Street”)-I*
- Veena Kappaganthu: Oratory (“Black & White”)-I, Solo Musical Theater (“The Greatest Star”)-I*
- Quinn Kelly: Spontaneous-I
- Valerie Jepchirchir: Prose (“Dignity”)-I
- Carter Scallon: Spontaneous-I, Oratory (“Fishing for a Feeling”)-I*
- Gabe Schebel: Storytelling (“About Barbers”)-I
- May 27, 2020
Meal service from West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) Nutrition Services will be changing for the summer months, starting June 2. Drive-thru locations will also be closed on Memorial Day.
Current WDMCS meal sites will be closed for Memorial Day on Monday, May 25. Extra meals will be given out at Friday meal distribution. Meals that would have been delivered on May 25 will be delivered on Friday, May 22.
Sites will reopen and serve meals on Wednesday, May 27, and Friday, May 29. Then, summer meal service will begin on Tuesday, June 2.
Summer Meal Service
WDMCS will serve summer meals at three grab-and-go meal sites, starting Tuesday, June 2.
- Dates: June 2-Aug. 13
- Times: noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays
- Summer Grab-and-Go Meal Sites
- Valley High School
- Stilwell Junior High
- Crestview School of Inquiry
- Signage directing traffic will be posted at each location.
- Boxes with 3 breakfasts and 3 lunches will be provided for each child.
- Vehicles will need to enter drive-thru lines as directed and open their trunk or back hatch for boxes to be placed in vehicle.
- Driver will then need to pull forward and exit vehicle to shut trunk or hatch.
- Staff will not be allowed to touch vehicles to open or shut trunks and hatches. Staff will be required to keep a 6-foot distance from all vehicle occupants.
Parent/guardians can pick up meals for children 1-18 from any of the WDMCS summer meal sites. No identification or registration is required, other than stating the name of your child.
Summer Home Delivery
Summer home delivery will remain on Monday and Wednesdays.
The WDMCS Summer Meal Service was made possible by the extension of three nationwide waivers by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). Extending the waivers through Aug. 31 gives child nutrition programs the flexibility they need to continue to feed children while promoting social distancing and keeping families safe.
For families, the waivers mean:
- WDMCS can serve grab-and-go meals to support social distancing (Non-Congregate Feeding waiver)
- parent/guardians can pick up meals and bring them home to children (Parent Pickup waiver)
- WDMCS can provide multiple days worth of meals at one time (Meal Times waiver)
WDMCS Nutrition Services Department upholds the USDA Nondiscrimination Statement, the Iowa Civil Rights Commission Nondiscrimination Statement, and the WDMCS Non-Discrimination Policy.
- May 21, 2020
This event was held Wednesday, May 20, 2020. Please watch the video above for a replay of the virtual experience.
Valley Class of 2020 Honors Evening FAQ
Who receives an invitation?
Any student who will be recognized during the evening will be sent an email invitation stating they will be recognized during the event, but anyone may view the event.
What recognition will there be?
Valley Administration and community members will recognize accomplishments in National Merit competition, Advanced Placement (AP) awards, ACT testing, DMACC degrees and certifications, Seal of Biliteracy, various scholarships and awards presented by community members, Silver Cord awards, and scholarships from the West Des Moines Student Scholarship Fund.
If my student received a scholarship, should I let the Counseling Center know?
Valley students are highly accomplished and will receive many scholarships from organizations and the postsecondary schools they’ll attend. To keep the length of the evening reasonable only those scholarships given by organizations that contacted Valley directly, and presented by the organization that evening, will be included in the program.
Can I find out for what my student will be recognized?
Generally, yes. Though some awards will be a surprise to recipients, Polly Maly, Counseling Secretary, can generally let you know. You can reach her at email@example.com.
How long is the evening?
Every effort is made to keep the evening to a reasonable length, approximately two hours. The virtual event may be shorter.
If a student receives an award or scholarship, how will they receive it?
If there is a plaque or certificate given with the award, it will be delivered when Chromebooks are returned. Scholarship packets from the West Des Moines Scholarship Fund will also be delivered at that time. If a student isn’t able to be there at that date, awards and packets will be mailed home. If the scholarship is from an outside organization, they will be mailing information home.
What if I’m not able to watch the event at the scheduled time?
What if my question wasn’t answered above?
- May 20, 2020
- May 20, 2020
They couldn’t present in person, but you can still see the 2020 Honors presentations! Join Valley High School’s Honors students as they explore unique topics of their choosing.
- May 20, 2020
The WDMCS Transportation Department is requesting families who would like to take advantage of school bus transportation for their student(s) to register now for the 2020-21 school year. It is required for every student who plans to ride on the bus to register each year.
You can register either through an online form or by calling the department’s automated phone line: 515-633-4990 (for English speakers) and 515-633-4989 (en español). The phone line is available 24 hours a day, every day.
- May 18, 2020
Congratulations to Valley High School juniors Parker Johnson, Dorothy Junginger, and Emma Thompson, who were recently earned named 2020 Herbert Hoover Uncommon Student finalists.
The three make up one-fifth of the ‘Uncommon Student’ finalists. They will present their summer service projects in October during the 23rd Annual Herbert Hoover Uncommon Student Award Stanley and Helen Howe Presentation Day at the Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch. Each of the finalists receives a $1,500 cash award at the completion of the program. Three finalists will earn Pete and Meredith Hoover scholarships, worth an additional $10,000, for a total of $11,500.
The Uncommon Student Awards program annually identifies and honors up to 15 Iowa high school juniors who propose and then accomplish a project of their own choosing and design. Grades, test scores, essays and financial need are not evaluated.
Correction: An earlier version of this announcement omitted Emma Thompson from the list of finalists.
- May 14, 2020
Congratulations to Valley High School seniors Aidan Drake and Aviana Gedler, who both earned scholarships through the Iowa Arts Council.
The pair of Valley students were awarded with the Iowa Scholarship for the Arts, which is worth $1,500. The scholarships are given annually to Iowa high school seniors with proven ability in dance, creative writing, music, theater, traditional arts, or visual arts who plan to major in the arts at an Iowa college or university.
Drake plans to major in art education and attend the University of Iowa, she told Jeff Morgan of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs (Iowa Culture).
“My elementary and high school art teachers have shown me the joy art can bring and have instilled a passion for creating that I will never forget,” Drake said. “I want to be that person for kids in the future, to do my best to teach the wonders of art and show children their full potential when it comes to their creative minds.”
Gedler plans to major in professional music and attend Southwestern Community College in Creston. She told Iowa Culture that she wants to perform or sing with an orchestra while working as a music teacher.
“The more I can learn, like being able to write vocal charts, use equipment in a recording studio, comp (accompany) easily on piano, or play in a chamber string group, the easier it will be for me to adapt to a changing world of music careers,” Gedler said.
Congratulations, Aidan and Aviana!
- May 12, 2020
Congratulations to Valley High School juniors Isabella Dobrinov, Cael Elmore, Parker Johnson, and Dorothy Junginger, who have earned top composite scores of 36 on the ACT test, according to ACT, Inc. This is the highest score possible on the college readiness exam. The national number of students earning a composite score of 36 varies from year to year, but only about one-tenth of 1 percent of students receive a top score. Junginger’s composite score was achieved through the rare feat of earning a perfect 36 on all four sections of the ACT.
Further congratulations go out to 27 West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) students who earned perfect scores on individual sections of the ACT test, according to ACT, Inc. All WDMCS 11th-grade students were automatically registered to take the ACT for free on Feb. 25.
- Veda Amalkar—English
- Graham Bechman—Reading
- Abigail Bishop—Reading
- Jay Chevuru—English
- Quinn Clair—Science
- Ashwin Dervesh—Science
- Joseph Donahoe—Reading
- Sean Eddy—Reading
- Abigail Feldmann—Reading
- Arun Ganga—English
- Claire Gu—Science
- James Hall—Reading
- Aisling Hallahan—Reading
- Levi Janssen—Math
- Lauren Lake—Reading
- Min Hyuk Lee—Math
- Xiangheng Li—Math
- Noah Mack—English
- Clara Mintzer—Math
- Tessa Morgan—Reading
- Emmaline Nau—Reading
- Elizabeth Penick—Reading
- Gabe Schebel—Reading
- Devin Thomas—Science
- Isabel Thomas—Reading
- Justin Toth—Science
- Aditi Tripathy—English, Reading
The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading, and science. Each test is scored on a scale of 1-36, and a composite score is the average of the four test scores. Based on 2019 data, Valley High School’s average composite score of 23.7 exceeds both state and national averages. With an average composite score of 21.6, Iowa is tied for first in the U.S. among states that tested more than half of its students in the Class of 2019. The national average is 20.7.
Valley High School’s current average composite score for 2019-20 is 22.2, based on 994 tests administered. Our district testing in February included 650 students with an average score of 21.2.
Read about other Valley students who earned top scores on the ACT this year:
- May 7, 2020