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Articles in Ames High School

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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Rev’n for Seven: Girls Swimming and Diving Win 7th State Championship

The Ames High Girls Swimming and Diving team were Rev’n for Seven as they entered the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) State Championships. The two day event was held in Marshalltown on November 3-4, and the Little Cyclones entered with an undefeated season with several contenders looking to dethrone Ames as the top program in the state.

This year’s team had the responsibility of carrying history into the State Meet. Since 2010, the Little Cyclones have won 6 state titles, with their only loss coming at the State Meet in 2014 where they were runner up to Pleasant Valley. Since that time, the Little Cyclones have forged ahead with a new winning streak and their eye on a seventh state championship.

Friday night consisted of the diving event where Ames qualified 3 divers in the top 10. The team was led by Jayna Misra, who entered the competition with the second highest qualifying total. After her second of 11 dives, Jayna took the lead and never looked back. Her combined score of 542.45 was the second highest total since 1967 and 57 points better than the runner up finisher. Senior Kaylee Clendenen had her best meet of the year, finishing 6th. The 33 team points earned during the diving portion got Ames off to an early lead in the team competition.

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The Future of Ames High: An Overview of Whether to Build New, Renovate, or Do Nothing

Next spring, the Ames community has a big decision to make regarding what to do with the high school. Do we build a new one? Renovate? “Do Nothing?”

It’s a complex issue with a lot of things to consider, but we hope to explain many of the questions we’ve been hearing to keep you informed.

Why do we need a new high school? Where will we build it? We’ll do a quick study on school finances, looking at how much each option will cost and how that decision will impact taxpayers. Finally, how will this decision benefit students? Because after all, schools are for kids.

Current State

Initially built in 1960, our current building as it stands today has 15 additions and 13 elevation changes. The first addition was put on in 1962, offices were added in 1963, the pool in 1965, and then a gymnasium was added on in 1966.

When Haila Architecture did their Phase 1 study, they found that with the exception of the pool and a few other areas, the overall exterior structure is actually okay. It’s the interior that’s becoming more of a functional challenge. Some of the major concerns cited in the Phase 1 study include the circulation of students within the building, accessibility, along with security features.

Hallways within the high school are tight and with the many additions, it is not laid out efficiently. Although the building is ADA compliant as far as accessibility, if you’ve ever been in the high school, you know it can be difficult to get around, especially in the fine arts wing. Additionally, the building has far too many exterior doors and lacks some of the security features that our new building have.

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Darin Johnson receives Distinguished Service Award from ICTE

English Teacher Darin Johnson

On Friday, October 13th, 2017, Ames High School English teacher and department chair, Darin Johnson, was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the Iowa Council of Teachers of English (ICTE). It is the highest honor that the ICTE bestows once a year to a member who has displayed extraordinary service to promote and support English teachers in their own schools and throughout the state. Darin accepted the award, saying, “I can’t thank the ICTE community enough for the ways you have fed my heart and mind and – most importantly – have repeatedly asked me to share my voice. For this I am truly thankful, and I am truly humbled to receive this award. I thank you for helping me lift my voice.”

Darin has served as an English teacher at AHS for twenty five years. In that time, his primary focus has been on meet the needs of his students. As Erin Miller, ICTE President and former AHS English teacher, describes, “Darin’s continual drive to better his craft, dedication to building relationships with students, and willingness to be a constant innovator has made him an ideal role model for teachers in Ames and around the state.”

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