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Articles in Ames High School

Ames students showcase ITech skills at state competition

Ames High School Industrial Technology students garnered top awards at the Southeast Polk Expo state industrial technology competition held May 13. ITech teacher Craig Boylan said the students did an amazing job and deserve recognition.

“They earned 18 blue ribbons and three gold medals,” Boylan said. “Students also earned one red ribbon and three silver medals and two bronze medals.”

Sixteen students represented Ames High School at the competition.

Students and their awards:

  • Michael Ylonen, blue ribbons for butternut box and scroll saw wild turkey
  • Austin Clayberg, blue ribbon for scroll saw deer silhouette
  • Brandon Cable, blue ribbon for scroll saw cherry
  • Ryan Cole, blue ribbon and gold medal for cribbage board
  • Garrett Cooper, blue ribbon and gold medal for walnut goblet
  • Rylee Gibbs,  blue ribbon and bronze medal for cutting board
  • Alex Gindt, blue ribbon and silver medal for walnut table
  • Brian Glenn, blue ribbon for walnut bowl-blue ribbon
  • Yushi Hattori, blue ribbon and gold medal for  wooden pendulum clock
  • Cole Haverkamp, blue ribbon and bronze medal for chess set, blue ribbons for ribbon box, four-fold picture frame
  • Matt Holtzbauer, blue ribbon for walnut gun rack
  • Kaden Peterson, blue ribbon and silver medal for candy dispenser
  • Colby Shane, blue ribbon and silver medal for  multi-wood bowl
  • Gauge Sletten, red ribbon skateboard
  • Max White, blue ribbon for walnut bowl
  • Zach Vince, blue ribbon for carved skull
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Ames High School hosts Iowa Supreme Court

Ames High School will host the Iowa Supreme Court, at 7 p.m., Wednesday, March 2. The Court will present oral arguments on a criminal case in a session open to the public that will take place in the Ames High School Auditorium, 1921 Ames High Dr.

The evening session is part of an outreach effort to give the “public a first-hand look into how the legal system works at the state level,” Iowa Supreme Court Communications Director Steve Davis told The Ames Tribune.

“Right now, the Supreme Court traditionally hears oral arguments during the day at 9 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon, which is really not that convenient for people that might be curious, but are working or have other responsibilities,” Davis said in an article published by The Ames Tribune.

The oral arguments pertain to case no. 14-1112,  State of Iowa v. Kenneth Osborne Ary, from Polk County District Court. The State seeks further review after the court of appeals reversed and remanded appellant’s drug-delivery convictions based on alleged error in the jury selection process. The State contends that existing case law that Iowa should follow does not allow a presumption that an entire jury panel has become biased based on the comments of one prospective juror—in this case a pastor who explained his experience with drug dealers and criminal defendants.

A public reception with the supreme court justices will follow the oral arguments in the Ames High School media center. The reception is sponsored by the Story County Bar Association.

Justice Ed Mansfield will return to Ames High School to present to combined Ames High School Government classes in the Auditorium, Thursday, March 3, during second and third periods.

Attorneys’ briefs for the cases and a guide to oral arguments are posted on the Iowa Judicial Branch website.


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Ames High School Symphonic Band  hosts Gustavus Adolphus College Wind Orchestra for joint concert

AMES– The Gustavus Adolphus College Wind Orchestra will join Ames High School’s Symphonic Band for a free concert, 7 p.m., Friday February 26.

Band director Chris Ewan said the joint concert is a “great opportunity for our students to see what is possible after their high school music career.”

The Symphonic Band will play first,  performing “Dusk” by Steven Bryant, under the direction of Gustavus Adolphus College Wind Orchestra Conductor James Patrick Miller.

Ewan said there are approximately 70 students in the Symphonic Band, selected for their skill, based on auditions each fall.

The Gustavus Adolphus College Wind Orchestra joins a list of other college bands Ames High School has hosted in the past that includes Concordia College, Drake University, Western Illinois, and Northwestern College (Orange City). The Wind Orchestra, in Ames to perform at the College Band Directors National Association Conference at Iowa State University, will also present a short version of its concert for the Ames High School music department and other interested students and staff, during the Plus Period,  1-1:40 p.m.,  Friday, Feb. 26.
Gustavus Adolphus College Wind Orchestra tour schedule. 


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Student says move to Ames High School changed his life

Ames High School senior Jacob Hess says he went to a pretty good high school in Minnesota before he moved to Ames in 2013 as a sophomore.

“My school had a good variety of AP classes and a chance to take some classes at the community college,” he said.

So the prospect of packing up and moving to central Iowa did not appeal to him, he said.

“I wasn’t thrilled about moving to Ames, but academically it’s one of the best things that ever happened to me,” Hess said.

By the time Hess graduates from Ames High School in the spring, he will have earned more than 18 college credits and completed more than a year of internships, he said.

“It all started when I talked to Dr. (Mike) Avise,” Hess said.

When Hess was placed in a freshman study hall upon arrival at Ames High School because the sophomore study halls were full, he looked for ways to avoid becoming even further disgruntled.

Avise recommended that Hess look into the school’s Extended Learning Program.

With the help of the ELP staff, support from Industrial Technology teacher Kent Jahn and the encouragement of some upperclassmen, Hess learned he could enroll in classes at Iowa State University to pursue his interest in computer programming while gaining college credits.

“I’ve been interested in computer programming since seventh grade,” he said, recalling the time he was home from school sick for several days and became so bored he started looking at “how-to” YouTube videos about Python, a widely used general-purpose programming language.

“I guess I was Inspired by my dad, who always tells me to put time to a good use, and my uncle, who’s a professional computer programmer who uses Python from time to time,” he said.

While taking Computer Science 227 at ISU, Hess applied for and was chosen for an internship with ISU’s Institute for Transportation, or InTrans. His work focused on writing a computer program to visualize traffic data.

“With a hobby-level background in coding and what I learned in  Comps Sci 227, I wrote a program to convert thousands of lines of data into 3D graphics,” he said.

The program got noticed not just by leaders at InTrans, but also by a lead software engineer at the Iowa Department of Transportation, Hess said.

Hess, who has decided to pursue a mechanical engineering major at ISU, says Ames HIgh School does a good job preparing students for higher education.

“Open campus and free periods, and taking classes at a major university has really helped me in managing time and being responsible and self-motivated,” he said. “If you want to push yourself academically, there are countless numbers of opportunities.”

Read about Jacob Hess in The Ames Tribune

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Ames High School’s average ACT scores up from last year

AMES–Ames High School students’ average ACT scores typically outpace the state and nation. In 2015, however, the District’s composite score also moved past the previous year’s score by .6 percent.

Associate Superintendent Mandy Ross attributes Ames’ strong ACT scores to the District’s commitment to creating individualized learning plans for students that help them build academic success well before reaching high school.

The district has added additional instruction and academic time at all grade levels, and this year, Ames High School has added  a “plus period,” which gives students multiple opportunities to learn and master concepts.

The ACT is designed to gauge how well students are prepared for college-level work by measuring their knowledge in English Composition, College Algebra, College Social Science, College Reading, and College Biology, using a 36-point scale. The test results provide a composite score that predicts college success across all these areas.

According to ACT, a “benchmark score is the minimum score needed…to indicate a 50 percent chance of obtaining a B or higher…in the corresponding…college courses.” Ames’ composite score went from 25 in 2014 to 25. 6 in 2015.

Associate Principal Mike Avise said Ames High School’s educational philosophy embeds a seamless approach to the ACT’s “action plan” for student success that staff is always seeking to improve.

“The rigor of our course work, the individual attention our teachers and counselors give our students and the frequent assessments our teachers use to make adjustments to instruction all help our students do well on the ACT,” he said.

For more information, visit the ACT Condition of College & Career Readiness 2015.





Source: The ACT

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Ames Coca-Cola Scholarship winner honors former fifth grade teacher

AMES–Rachel Kim considers research as something that’s fun to do in her downtime, speaks three languages fluently, has garnered a list of academic awards longer than most adults’ entire resumes, and recently learned she has been accepted to Harvard. But the 2015 Ames High School graduate considers starting an after-school tutoring program for an elementary school among her greatest accomplishments.

Kim’s dynamic set of academic achievements and community leadership attributes helped launch her become a national Coca-Cola Scholars Program winner. From a field of more than 102,000 applicants and nearly 2,200 semifinalists that narrowed to 250 regional finalists, Kim was selected for a rigorous final interview process that set her apart as one of the 150 national winners. She attended the Coca-Cola Scholars Weekend April 16-19 in Atlanta and received a $20,000 award to be used toward her college tuition.

In the midst of these accolades, Kim reached out to honor one of the teachers who helped her believe in her own potential. On Friday, May 24, Kim surprised Elise Wright, a Fellows Elementary fifth grade teacher, as the “distinguished educator” who made a difference in her academic and leadership choices.

2015 Ames High School graduate Rachel Kim, (L) and Fellows fifth grade teacher Elise Wright display their Coca-Cola Scholars program awards. Kim is a national Coca-Cola Scholars winner who named Wright as a Distinguished Educator.

2015 Ames High School graduate Rachel Kim, (L) and Fellows fifth grade teacher Elise Wright display their Coca-Cola Scholars program awards. Kim is a national Coca-Cola Scholars winner who named Wright as a Distinguished Educator.

Flanked by Coca Cola Scholars program officials who presented Wright with the award, Kim told Wright in a prepared statement, “It was because of your dedication that I realized that a great leader is one who can empathize with many individuals.”

Kim said she learned from Wright that it is the “willingness to hear others’ stories and take a momentary pause in life to help others surrounding you that distinguishes a notable leader.”

“Hearing stories from young kids who live a life of day-to-day survival and have insecure futures, my growing compassion for young children has allowed me to realize that a true leader does not simply emphasize self-improvement, but deeply contemplates reform for an entire society,” she said. “Through this opportunity, I would like to thank you for teaching me how to find a window in the walls placed in front of me and developing me to become the leader that you envisioned walking through your classroom door seven years ago.”

Fellows principal Carol Page said Kim and Wright both exemplify true leadership.

“You see, Rachel was always a good student, but Mrs. Wright pushed her to move beyond those comfortable zones,” Page said.  “She pushed her to reach out with her leadership skills to help others!  Empathy building was key—and leadership isn’t about promoting oneself, but reaching out to others to help them reach THEIR potential!”

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Ames High School student’s infographic wins national award

At first, Brandon Johnson chose to study Environmental Science simply to avoid being just like his friends taking physics and chemistry. The Ames High School junior became a standout student, however, for an unrelated reason. During the course, taught by award-winning environmental science teacher Mike Todd, Johnson won the Project Localize national award for the most informative artwork.

Over the past several years, students in Todd’s classes have participated in Project Localize, an educational initiative from the Lexicon of Sustainability that “provides teachers and students with tools to map their food systems, identify local producers and their sustainable practices, then turn their findings into information artworks to share with their community,” its website says.

Johnson said the class opened his eyes to facts about climate change.

“Before this class, people would talk about global warming and I never knew how much damage we’ve been doing,” Johnson said. “Now I’ve seen the scientific concepts first hand.”

The Project Localize experience also reawakened Johnson’s passion for graphic design that sparked when he studied 4D art in ninth grade with teacher Shelli Hassebrok.

“I made the connection to how graphic design can tell a story,” he said. “In this case, I used graphic design to tell a story that has been a good experience for me and will help the community.”

For Project Localize, Todd matched Johnson with Lee’s Green Farm in Ames, whose owner is perfecting a process for growing food year-round.

“We were the first group to document the work he’s doing in his greenhouses,” Johnson said.

Johnson said he built on the basics of photo editing he learned in ninth grade and “self taught the rest, playing with the program.”LeesGreensBuild 5_7_15

“We were on our own to decide how to set stage for the story,” he said.  “I had to figure out how to use all the components–the background, the roof, the interior—to make the composite image.”

Later this summer, Johnson will travel with Todd to Washington DC to receive his award and tell his story to legislators.

“We’ll be going to the legislative sessions,” he said. “Legislators are invited to see our work and talk to us about our images.”

Johnson credits classmates who participated in Project Localize and the Lexicon of Sustainability for their spirit of collaboration, and for motivating each other.

Next year Johnson said he plans to take more art classes. And he’s going to try to go against the grain again.

“This class has raised my expectations about what I can do,” he said. “I’m going to ask if I can work with Project Localize again, if that’s permissible, even though I won’t be part of a class project.”

Other participants in Project Localize:

· Zoe Pritchard

· Fox Henson

· Tori Herber

· Austin White

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Ames High School Spring Play presents evening of 80s themes

AMES–Ames High School Theatre is returning to the 1980s with two shows set in the decade of glam metal music and big hair.

“That’s Not How I Remember It,” by Don Zolidis opens the evening, a one-act comedy about a husband and wife attempting to explain to their children how they met in the 1980s.  Unfortunately, each parent has a different perspective on how their relationship began.

The main stage show is “The Gifted Program (High School Edition),” by Ruben Carbajal. The play follows a group of misfit Dungeons and Dragon players navigating the rough waters of friendship, relationships and high school.  Anyone familiar with the 1980s movies of John Hughes (“Breakfast Club”) or “Revenge of the Nerds”, or even the 2004 “Napoleon Dynamite” will recognize these characters. Due to the mature themes of this show, Ames High School Theatre is not recommending anyone under the age of 13 to attend.

Curtain is 7:30 p.m,  Friday and Saturday, April 24 and 25, in the Ames High School Auditorium.

Tickets: $5, adults and students ninth grade and older; $4, students eighth grade and younger.

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School pantries help students meet basic needs

Access to personal hygiene products, clothing and food is so basic to most people’s routines, they may take it for granted. For students living with financial or housing instability, however, staple items can be hard to procure. The Ames Community School District unveiled an innovative solution this month by opening Student Pantries at Ames Middle School and Ames High School.

District Homeless Liaison Sipele Quezada gave intern Jenna Lincoln, a senior at Iowa State University majoring in child adult and family services, the task of getting the pantries up and running.

“We were excited to announce the opening of the pantries because they’re available to any student in the District who has need,” Quezada said.

Lincoln said personal hygiene products and school supplies are the most sought-after items so far, because they’re high on the list of priorities for all students.


Intern Jenna Lincoln adjusts the clothing rack at the Ames Middle School student pantry. Pantries opened at the high school and middle school this month to help students who need access to personal hygiene products, food, clothing and school supplies.

“It’s important for middle and high school students to be as well-groomed and fitted for school as their peers,” she said. “The pantries give them quick access and a bit of privacy in choosing items.”

Students may also collect non-perishable food items and even diapers to take home to their families, Lincoln said, thanks to generous donors such as Food Banks of Iowa, Duck Worth Wearing and The Loft.

A classroom that was formerly a computer lab hosts the pantry at the middle school, although the high school pantry is in a much smaller space due to the temporary constraints of construction in the school’s administrative wing.

“Both pantries look nice and they function well, thanks to lots of hard work by volunteers,” Lincoln said.

The Ames Middle School Builders Club and Cornerstone Church helped organize the middle school pantry, she said, and Ames High School’s Students Helping End Poverty and Hunger (SHEPH) Club helped set up the high school pantry.

The middle school pantry is open Tuesdays during lunch hours and 3:15-4 p.m. Thursdays. The middle school pantry is open during lunch hours and 3:05-4 p.m. Wednesdays.



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