Typically, the West Des Moines Community Schools highlights a Valley High School senior or two who exemplify the "Valley Standard" through its four A's—Academics, Activities, Arts, and Athletics—for an in-depth feature chronicling their educational path through the district up to the graduation stage.
But the ending to the 2019-20 school year is unlike any other we've experienced in recent memory.
Beginning on March 12 and to this day, our classrooms and hallways are empty as a result of COVID-19. Learning and daily interactions with teachers and classmates relied solely on electronic messages and Web cameras. Big things, like the spring sports season, performances, and Prom, were canceled.
Valley's commencement, however, is set for June 27-28—with rainout dates and backup plans following even those backup plans. Signage and instructional information is already placed at Valley Stadium, this summer's home of the three separate graduation ceremonies. Months of planning and collaboration from school staff and district leadership have led us to this moment in an effort to (safely) recognize, honor, and celebrate Valley's Class of 2020, a final tribute we can all agree these students and families deserve.
We reached out to over a dozen students selected by Valley administration, staff, and teachers as prime-time graduating seniors who best showcased the four A's during their high school and WDMCS careers. Learn more about each student. Dive into their own personal narratives that illustrate their journeys. Read how COVID-19 abruptly altered the closing chapters to their senior years and what lies ahead in their futures, told by none other than the students themselves.