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Articles in Ames High School

National Honor Society 2018

National Honor Society

The Ames Community School District would like to congratulate the 128 Ames High students who earned membership into the AHS chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS). This year, 61 seniors and 67 new members were recognized and celebrated at an April 22 event at Ames High.

Each chapter of the National Honor Society can have slightly different criteria for admission, but all assess academics, service, leadership, and character. New members were chosen by a selection committee based on how each student upholds the purpose of the Ames High School Chapter. Over 100 applications were considered this year for new membership, increasing the competitive nature of the process.

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Science Olympiad State Competition

Science Olympiad

The Science Olympiad is a competition where students work in partnerships competing in different disciplines in science that include chemistry, physics, biology, engineering and general science knowledge events. High school and middle school students competed at the state competition on Saturday, April 7th at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Historically, to say that Ames has dominated the State Science Olympiad would be an understatement. The Science Olympiad is like a track meet for science where a team of 15 students compete in 23 events with usually 2-3 students in each event. The more 1st places finishes the better, and the team with the lowest score wins. This year, 16 teams competed at state in the high school level and 18 at the middle school level.

Ames Middle School has been competing for the past 26 years and has won state 23 years. Ames High has been competing for 25 years and has won 24 times. Their only loss came last year and this year’s team was hungry to reverse that outcome.

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Kendra Kruse is IAAE Newcomer of the Year Award

IAAE Newcomer of the Year Graphic

Ames High English Teacher Kendra Kruse recently won the Iowa Association of Alternative Education Newcomer Of The Year Award. This award is presented annually to an alternative educator who has less than five years of alternative education experience, and honors a person who is enthusiastic about promoting a positive atmosphere in the school setting, and is an advocate for students.

Kendra has been an invaluable member of the six person Ames High School Alternative Learning Program (ALP) Team for the past three years and she has taken on the unofficial responsibility of serving as the ALP team manager. In his nomination letter of recommendation, fellow Ames High teacher Ben Matthies wrote, “She has the unique experience of being the one teacher nearly all our ALP students interact with for four years of high school. She is able to build relationships with our students to teach them English, Life Skills, and simply be there as a positive, caring adult in the student’s life. It is with this same caring deposition that Kendra embraces any students who walks into her classroom, regardless of academic programming.”

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Jazz Band Championships

Jazz Championships

The Ames High School Jazz Band, under the direction of Andrew Buttermore, participated in class 4A at the 43rd Annual Iowa Jazz Championships on Thursday, April 5th, 2018 in Ames, IA for the first time in school history!

Longtime Ames High Band Director Home Gartz (1962-2003), confirmed that no jazz band participated in any competitions under his tenure. “They were called ‘dance bands’ and ‘stage bands’ in the early years. It is quite an accomplishment to achieve this award.

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Ames High Culinary Students Compete in a “CHOPPED” Competition

CHOPPED competition

On Friday, April 6, four Story county schools gathered for a culinary arts expo held at the DMACC Hunziker Center in Ames. Participating schools included Ames High School, Colo-NESCO High School, Nevada High School, and Roland-Story High School. Students participated in a “CHOPPED” competition using the mystery ingredients of turkey tenderloins, strawberries, zucchini, mushrooms and strawberry patch kids candy. During this competition, students applied skills and knowledge learned in their Family and Consumer Sciences classes to create an entrée using the required “mystery” ingredients. 

Students had 40 minutes to prepare their entrée all while being evaluated on teamwork, safety and sanitation, food preparation skills, and presentation of food. The judges for this competition were Executive Chef Robert Bruno from the Iowa Stater restaurant at the Gateway Hotel, Chef/Owner Evie Peterson from Farmhouse Catering in Nevada, and Director of Member Services Sheila Larson from the Iowa Turkey Federation.

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Youth Diversity Inclusion Committee

Youth Diversity Inclusion Committee

The Youth Diversity Inclusion Committee (YDIC) is one of the newest groups this year at Ames High an is already increasing awareness about social justice. YDIC is composed of student leaders from a variety of different organizations that include student council members, SACRE (Students Advancing Civil Rights Education), Spectrum (LGBTQA), DECA (business), and SHEPH (Students Helping End Poverty and Hunger), among others.

The group got started in the fall when they attended the inaugural Youth Diversity and Inclusion Summit in Des Moines along with many other CIML-member schools. Junior Kijune Kim said, “A lot of us were really inspired at the Summit and presented a lot of ideas there and wanted to take them back to Ames High, but it didn’t happen that way.”

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Boys Swim Team Wins First State Title Since 1982

Boys Swim State Champions

In his 20th year of coaching, Dan Flannery finally got the state title that has eluded him. The Ames High boys swim team won the 2018 State Championship, their first since 1982.

The Little Cyclones were ranked #1 in the state for much of the year and went through the regular season undefeated before losing at the District meet to Ankeny. Going to state is nothing new for this senior heavy team; they’ve been there the last 4 years. But going in with a legitimate chance to take the title is new, and something this team has spent their high school career working toward.

This was the first year that the University of Iowa has hosted the Iowa High School Athletic Association Boys State Swimming Meet at their new pool. This year the meet was held on February 10. Throughout the season, the boys team took on the motto “swim like it’s 1982.” With former Hall of Fame and Ames High coach Mike Wittmer, who led the 1982 Little Cyclones to a state title in attendance, they did just that.

The meet got off to the start that Ames needed. The 200 Yard Medley Relay team of seniors Dalton Lillibridge, Misho Mahrous, Nick Matthews, and junior Ethan Johnson, set a new school record of 1:33.83 as they won the state title in the event. The winning time is currently under All-American Consideration. It got the Little Cyclones out to an early lead, but after the second event, Ames fell behind West Des Moines Valley for much of the meet.

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Ames High Career Fair

It had been nearly 15 years since the last time that Ames High hosted a career fair for students. That changed on February 6, 2018 when all ninth grade students were able to explore a variety of career pathways from more than 25 different businesses in Ames.

Ames High Business Teacher Vicki Hales led the organization of the career fair, but each department was represented as a part of the planning committee. The career fair replaced the students’ regular class schedule and included booths that students could explore while a number of sessions were being led by community members in the classrooms. Those sessions discussed a range of topics that included the importance of developing the 21st Century skills of communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. Others explained what soft skills employers seek in potential employees such as being on time, taking risks, continually improving, treating others respectfully, learning from mistakes, using appropriate technology to communicate, adapting to changing requirements, setting goals, taking initiative, and modeling global awareness.

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Bond Referendum Polling Locations and More

Ames High Project Overview Graphic

Polling Hours and Locations:

7 A.M. to 8 P.M. at all Ames locations

There will be eight (8) vote centers available. Any registered voter within the Ames Community School District who is eligible to vote at the regular school election may vote at one of the following locations:

(1) Ames Public Library Auditorium, 515 Douglas Ave.

(2) Grand Avenue Baptist Church, 612 24th St.

(3) Bethesda Lutheran Church, 1517 Northwestern Ave.

(4) Ascension Lutheran Church, 2400 Bloomington Road

(5) Green Hills Retirement Community, 2205 Green Hills Dr.

(6) Ames Middle School, Rm B111A, 3915 Mortensen Rd.

(7) Collegiate United Methodist Church, 2622 Lincoln Way

(8) Trinity Christian Reformed Church, 3626 Ontario Street

Why are we voting on a new high school?

On April 3, 2018, the Ames community will vote on a bond referendum for a new high school that will have the learning space and security features that our current building lacks, as well as additions to three elementary schools: Meeker, Mitchell, and Edwards. The amount will not exceed $110 million and requires a 60% approval from voters.

What is the status of the current high school?

Initially built in 1960, our current building has 13 additions, 11 elevation changes, and 83 exterior doors on the building. When Haila Architecture did their Phase 1 study, they cited the circulation of students within the building, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility, along with a lack of security features as major concerns.

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Iowa Teacher of the Year: Aileen Sullivan

Aileen Sullivan, a veteran chemistry teacher at Ames High, was named the 2018 Iowa Teacher of the Year by Governor Kim Reynolds at a surprise event that was also attended by Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise.

Sullivan has taught at Ames High School since 1996 and is known for challenging her students, her colleagues, and herself to grow and improve. Superintendent Dr. Tim Taylor hired Sullivan in 1996 and dubbed her a “kid magnet.” She has “that hidden ability to understand and relate to young people that draws them in and allows her to push them to their potential.”

Sullivan, along with her husband Joel Sullivan, who nominated Aileen and is also a teacher at Ames High, found out that she was selected as the Teacher of the Year two months prior to the event and was embargoed from discussing it. “When I nominated her, my goal was for her to get the recognition she deserves as a teacher and leader in our district. None of what she does is very public and few people realize how hard she works and how dedicated she is to improving her craft and helping students.”

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