Congratulations to Valley High School seniors JJ Kapur and Anvay Pradhan, who have recently been recognized for some outstanding achievements.
Valley High School JJ Kapur won the ACLU of Iowa’s 2017 Robert Mannheimer Youth Advocacy Award. The award recognizes his work as founder of the Iowa Sikh Turbanators, a youth-run organization focused on “turban-ating” the negative stigma surround Sikhism through awareness building and community service. Kapur was honored at the ACLU of Iowa Bill of Rights Brunch in September. Kapur was also recently named winner of the Herbert Hoover Uncommon Student Award for his work with the Iowa Sikh Turbanators.
Valley High School senior Anvay Pradhan earned the James E. McLeod Insightful Leadership Award at the National Council on Youth Leadership (NCYL) “Town Meeting on Tomorrow” conference in St. Louis this October. Pradhan was also selected to advance in the NCYL Youth Leader of the Year competition as a national finalist. Pradhan was recently named a Wendy’s High School Heisman Scholarship state finalist as well. He will continue to compete for a chance to become a state and national winner
Valley High School social studies teacher Dan Kelly is one of eight teachers who have been chosen for the 2017-18 fellowship program through the Center for the Study of the American Constitution (CSAC) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Kelly will have the opportunity to study the founding of the United States under the direction of experts including Professor John P. Kaminski of UW-Madison.
Valley High School’s Performing Arts Department presents its fall play, “Sweeney Todd,” by playwright Christopher Bond.
The inspiration for Stephen Sondheim’s musical thriller, Bond’s “Sweeney Todd” introduces a psychological background for the psychopathic barber introduced in Victorian penny dreadful “The String of Pearls.” The play begins with Todd returning home and seeking revenge against Judge Turpin, who destroyed his family. Todd begins murdering his customers and goes into business with pie-maker Mrs. Lovett, who bakes the victims into her pies.
The play features senior Cooper Early as Sweeney Todd, senior Kate Raridon as Mrs. Lovett, and senior Ethan Glenn as Judge Turpin. Senior Christian Patrick plays the Beadle, another antagonist, while junior Alex Matthews plays Tobias Ragg, Todd and Lovett’s sidekick. Senior Lauren Johnson plays Todd’s daughter and Turpin’s ward, Johanna. Senior Jordan Potter plays Anthony Hope, a sea captain indebted to Todd who falls in love with Johanna.
More than 150 Valley High School students make up the rest of the cast and crew, with senior Amy Wickencamp as head stage manager, junior Emily Schnoor as head production manager, senior Chase Brown as master carpenter, and senior Mary Scout Cole-Duvall as master electrician.
Performances are at 7 p.m. on Nov. 3 and 4, and at 2 p.m. on Nov. 5, in the Staplin Performing Arts Center, Valley High School, 3650 Woodland Ave., West Des Moines. Tickets are $7 and $10, and can be purchased through MIDWESTIX at www.midwestix.com or by calling 515-244-2771.
Forty-two West Des Moines Community Schools students were selected to participate in the 71st Annual Iowa All-State Music Festival Concert at 7:30 p.m.
on Saturday, Nov. 18, at Iowa State University’s Hilton Coliseum in Ames. The students were selected through a rigorous audition process that included students from throughout the state.
In addition, ninth-grader Marina Deyev (violin) and sophomore Min Hyuk Lee (cello) were selected as alternates.
Tickets to the Iowa All-State Music Festival Concert can be purchased at the Iowa State athletics ticket office or online at Ticketmaster.com. The concert will also be shown on Iowa Public Television at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 23, 2 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 24, and 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 3. For more information on the Iowa All-State Music Festival, visit the IHSMA All-State website, ihsma.org/all-state-music-festival.
Congratulations to Valley High School seniors Emma Bohn, Lucy Brown, Nathan Conte, Aarushi Dervesh, Christopher Jun, Chinar Kaul, Ariz Keshwani, Catherine Larson, Grace Matera, Keegan McCullough, Varun Myneni, Anvay Pradhan, Milan Sherman, Joseph Swanson, Shubham Tayal, Linh Tran, and Oliver Willham, who have all been named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists. Valley High School graduate Grant Hurt is also a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist.
These students are now in competition to become National Merit scholars, earning a $2,500 scholarship. Of the 1.5 million entrants, about 50,000 with the highest PSAT/NMSQT® Selection Index scores qualify for recognition in the National Merit® Scholarship Program. Academic records, school curriculum, test scores, an administrative recommendation, information about activities and leadership, and an essay are used in the judging process.
Finalists will be announced in February, and students will be notified by the end of June if they have been selected as National Merit Scholars.