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Pleasant Valley High School

Pleasant Valley High School

From the Salute to Academics and Achievements series

PLEASANT VALLEY High School has selected these outstanding seniors from its class of 306 students:


JOSH BOWMAN, son of Gail and Todd Bowman of LeClaire, plans to major in physics/environmental science at the University of Iowa, Iowa City.

Top achievements:

• Top 1% on ACT

• Iowa Governor's Scholar

• AP Scholar with Honors

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: Mr. Spangenberg's AP Physics class challenged me to utilize problem-solving skills and ingenuity to solve abstract problems. During his classes, I felt that I progressed significantly as a student and as a scientist. His class is the reason I'm motivated to pursue a career in science and the reason I've gained an interest in astronomy and physics.

HANNAH HUMES, daughter of Kerry and Tim Humes of Bettendorf, plans to major in biochemistry at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Top achievements:

• Research Presentation at the University of Iowa on Optical Air Quality Sensors

• National Merit finalist

• US Presidential Scholar candidate

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: This year I had the incredible opportunity to be the editor-in-chief of the Spartan shield. Organizing and writing a monthly news magazine was incredibly fun, but a lot of hard work. Through the dedicated work of my classmates and our advisor, Mrs. Dyer, we were able to put out a product every month of which we were incredibly proud. I also learned about the importance of journalistic freedom. Although we were a school magazine, we were given freedom to talk about the issues affecting students today, no matter how they reflected on the school. We were able to discuss issues such as helicopter parenting, the use of social media in teenagers’ lives, and the collective bargaining rights currently being taken away from teachers in Iowa. The experience as a whole allowed me to share my voice with my school and learn about journalism.

The Arts

IAN APLINGTON, son of Jim and Jen Aplington of Bettendorf, plans to major in music performance and business at Iowa State University, Ames.

Top achievements:

• All State, 4 years

• Playing a concerto with the Quad-City Youth Symphony

• Playing a concerto with the Quad-City Wind Ensemble

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: I remember in 4th grade, our teacher allowed us to learn by exploring what lay just outside the walls of our school. She would take us down to the woods and teach us about the things that surrounded us, showing our class how each tree benefited the other creatures in the ecosystem. It was a fun way to learn about nature that was brand new to me and my class, and a memory that will stick with me forever.

LAUREN BREWER, daughter of Sherry and Robert Brewer of Bettendorf, plans to major in biology and art at Iowa State University, Ames.

Top achievements:

• 3rd Place, All State Art, junior year

• 2nd Place, Quad-City Arts Festival of Trees, 2016

• All State Choir

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: The experiences that I've had by actually being around other creative people in art class has had the most impact on my life as an artist. Of course learning all the technical skills I have gained in the past years has been extremely helpful, but I have found that having a lot of creativity can really make your life that much better. It has not only added a whole new level of interest to my art work but to my daily life as well.


KAITLYN EVANS, daughter of Troy and Colleen Evans of Bettendorf, plans to major in accounting at Scott Community College, Bettendorf, and University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls.

Top achievements:

• Played viola for 9 years; Quad-City Youth Symphony, 2 years

• Completed 21 college credit hours

• Phi Theta Kappa honor fraternity

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: In the first semester of my senior year, I finally had a class with my best friend since elementary school. We were taking Mr. Zahn's Sociology class for 3 college credit hours, and it ended up being the best class I've ever taken. Within this class, I accomplished things I never thought I could do. I wrote my longest and most successful research paper of 22 pages and given my small class size, became a social butterfly I never had the chance to become. I also developed my research skills, study skills, and acting skills as we completed a good variety of final projects and presentations. Mr. Zahn either laughed at us or congratulated us for something we had done well. Having my best friend along side me was the greatest thing I could ask for and the experience made me a better student and a better friend.

ISAAC SEARS, son of Stephen and Beatrice Sears of Davenport, plans to major in biology at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois.

Top achievements:

• National Merit Scholar finalist

• National History Bee & Bowl qualifier

• Top 2% of National Geography Bee qualifiers

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: The most impressive thing about my high school experience was the intellectualism I found in my classes. Each year of English, Social Studies, and Language classes featured fantastic forums, debates, and activities we students used to entertain all sorts of ideas. My teachers in all the humanities, such as Mr. Fry, Ms. Levora, and Ms. Russell (to name a few), undoubtedly should be thanked for honing my critical thinking skills. I have always loved speaking and debating, and so Dr. Lundberg's Friday Forum will forever hold a special place in my heart. Every two weeks on Friday, the students of Dr. L's class would bring in a news article for discussion. It was such a unique experience spending those forty-five minutes debating the automation of the workplace, free will, genetic modification, or a myriad of other fascinating topics. Those intelligent conversations will stay with me forever. Thank You.


JARRIN FLORES, son of Miguel and Andrea Flores of Bettendorf, plans to major in business analytics and information systems at the University of Iowa, Iowa City.

Top achievements:

• 4.0 GPA, Grades 9-12

• Student Council president

• National Honor Society, co-president

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: When I was in elementary school, I was frequently paired with special needs students. I would listen to all my friends get paired while patiently waiting for the inevitable. I didn’t understand why I was always paired with James. One day, I came home with tears rolling down my cheeks. My mother asked me what was wrong and I explained the situation. She helped me see what a privilege it was to be partnered with James. I was the only student in the class who was able to do my own work while helping him at the same time. My teacher recognized my gentle and compassionate heart and my ability to work with kids like James. My heart was forever changed. I realized what an honor it was to be chosen to work with him. To this day, I still have a compassionate and loving heart for people like James.

PATRICK McMONAGLE, son of Robert and Denise McMonagle of Davenport, plans to attend the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana.

Top achievements:

• National Merit finalist

• National Honor Society, co-president

• Eagle Scout

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: As a junior in Dr. Lundberg's Language and Composition class, I studied Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." This letter eloquently describes Dr. King’s thoughts on, experience with, and peaceful confrontation of injustice. Dr. King warns that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Our analysis fostered greater understanding of Dr. King's urgent requirement for equality for all. This letter remains of great historical, literary, and theological significance. These words demonstrate the true focus of all humanistic endeavors: respect for the dignity of all people. Dr. King’s timeless letter is, and will always be, relevant for all people. Since that powerful class, Dr. King’s words abide with me, reminding me of my duty to prevent injustice. I remain grateful for many classes which have elucidated such enduring truths, as it is these classes which genuinely educate and inspire the best in us all.

Math/The Sciences

EMILY SUEN, daughter of Benjamin Suen and Jennifer Chui of Bettendorf, plans to major in biological sciences.

Top achievements:

• National Merit finalist

• AP Scholar with Distinction

• Conducted research at the University of Chicago and the University of Iowa

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: In our fast-paced society, we often live in a state of constant hustle with our minds absent from the present. I am certain guilty of this. But, in my psychology class senior year, we opened each class period with a minute of mindfulness. The simple round of meditation to collect ourselves in the present increased my self-awareness and appreciation for the little things in life. This life-skill is one that I will definitely carry with me to college and beyond. In the midst of an overwhelmingly stressful situation -- when thoughts are speeding and the heart is racing -- stop and breathe.

CAMERON TRENTZ, son of Brian and Julie Trentz of Bettendorf, plans to major in biomedical engineering at the University of Iowa, Iowa City.

Top achievements:

• National Honor Society, co-president

• Three sport while maintaining straight A’s

• Sons of the American Revolution Outstanding Citizenship Award

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: While attending Pleasant Valley High School, I have played football, tennis and baseball, been part of the multicultural and astronomy clubs, participated in the FIRST Tech Challenge robotics competition, and led National Honor Society events. Through my involvement in these various athletic activities, academic organizations, and clubs, I have learned to understand and appreciate individuals with differing backgrounds and personalities. Broadening my horizon in this way not only opened my mind, but also allowed me to assimilate into an assortment of cultures. I’m fortunate to have had experience with a multitude of groups. Working with people from all walks of life has molded me into the person I am today. In addition to peers and friends, teachers, coaches, and mentors served a vital role in my development as well. I’d like to thank them for the guidance and support they provided that has enabled me to become a well-rounded individual.

Vocational Education

MICHAEL BREES, son of Nathan and Lana Brees of Bettendorf, plans to major in mechanical engineering at the University of Iowa, Iowa City.

Top achievements:

• 1st place, QCESC Putnam bridge building competition

• 3rd place, QCESC scholarship program for designing and building a bridge, trebuchet and cardboard boat

• Placing in the top 50 nationally for the Drake physics scholarship

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: All the times Mr. Spangenberg blew my mind in AP Physics 1&2!

EMMA HARTMAN, daughter of Lori Hartman and Dr. K. John Hartman of Bettendorf, plans to major in psychology at Cornell College, Mount Vernon, Iowa.

Top achievements:

• ACT score of 33.

• Invited to be the student voice at the PVCSD CTE Advisory Council meetings.

• Completed service learning hours as literacy and math tutor at GiGi's Playhouse

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: In my Caring for Children with Exceptional Needs class, I was asked to work with a student at our school. I met with him four different times. I was able to really connect with this student and help him with some of his school work. Whenever I see him around school now, we say hello to one another. I was so excited to get hands on experience and be able to establish a lasting relationship with this student.

Young Journalist

SAM LUNDRY, son of Joe Lundry and Kim Lundry of Bettendorf, plans to major in English and political science at The Ohio State University, Columbus.

Top achievements:

• Winning Iowa High School Press Association "On-the-Spot" Writing Contest

• Quad-City Times “Rising Star”

• Iowa House of Representatives page, 2017 legislative session

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: Last November, the PV student newspaper produced a one-hour live news broadcast on election night. The newspaper staff worked all week to prepare their reports, research, and transform our classroom into a newsroom. We came in early and stayed late. We had thousands of viewers and hundreds of people who participated in the discussion about some of the issues we brought forward. It was a huge success that helped to better inform the student body and community about how elections worked and about the importance of political participation. It was a testament to the passion, talent, and work ethic that many students at PV have and to the great things a group of young people can do when they come together and take risks. In all, we put this project together in less than a week and with little to no funding. It's a high school memory I'll never forget.

MACKINSEY PAULSON, daughter of Angie Paulson and Nate Paulson of Bettendorf, plans to major in human communications and organizational leadership at Butler University, Indianapolis.

Top achievements:

• Spartan Shield co-editor-in-chief

• National Honor Society

• Honor roll, 4 years

Describe a classroom learning experience you’ll remember forever: I will always remember sophomore year English with Mrs. Levora. She worked to show our class different majors and job options that related to English which is how I was able to find my future career path. She showed me that there are so many options for me to continue with English outside of being an English teacher. She shaped my future by teaching me to think outside the box and showing me the importance of research.


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