Finishing Strong

May is a time for learning at Northwest

Kappa League Banquet Highlights New Program

Several Northwest Junior High students were recognized as leaders in the local Junior Kappa League this past week. The Junior Kappa League is a youth leadership league directed locally by Dr. Alex Lodge. The program focuses on helping young men grow and develop their talents with challenging and rewarding experiences. Dr. Lodge praised the entire NWJH group of Junior Kappa League members for their efforts, which included the “Adopt a Cop” program with the Coralville police department, and other events. The NWJH group is currently practicing as a drum corps. We look forward to a fun performance very soon!

These individuals were recognized for exceptional contributions:

•Parrish Forrest "Emerging Leader Award"

•Traivon Hodges "Responsible Leader Award"

•Devon Skyles "Academic Leader Award"

•Demetrick Byars "Junior Leader of the Year"

Security Upgrades Changes Student Access to NW

Beginning May 11, Northwest Junior High will be a bit more secure. Installation of new doors which include an electronic security system will become fully implemented. As a result, all students should enter the school during school hours at the front entrance.

Parents and students who come to school after 8:10 must use the front entrance and they will be instructed to use the intercom system so they can be "buzzed" in by an office worker.

KMO Team Finishes 4th in the Nation

The Northwest Knowledge Masters (KMO) academic competition team competed in the Questions Unlimited 3-2-1 competition on April 6 against 60 teams from across the nation. Our Viking KMO team correctly answered 77% of the 156 varied and difficult questions to score 239 points and finish 4th in the nation in the Middle School Division! This 4th place award comes after the KMO teach won the national title in a different division last fall. Coach Dan Mascal commented that he is always quite impressed with how this diverse group of 26 students show excellent teamwork and support each other in this challenging academic competition.

Team members for the spring competition include: Olivia Barker, Emily Buck, Ethan Chen, Sophia Chen, Nicu Curtu, Ethan D’Alessandro, Francis Dai, Rachel Ding, William Feng, Sam Fennell-Chametsky, Michael Han, Anjali Huynh, Yegor Kuznetsov, Brody Lassner, Maneesh John, Ian Prescott, Yangtian Shangguan, Daniel Stewart, Daniel Song, Jared Staskel, Patrick Taylor, Grace Wang, Steven Yuan, Jenna Zeng, and Charlie Zheng

Colors Club Help Diversity Library Collections

Not only is it important for our students to see themselves and their families in our school library books, but literature can go a long way in teaching our students how to be allies for their LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) peers. Studies have shown, however, that school library collections are often lacking in their inclusion of materials with LGBTQ themes and characters. After learning more about this issue, I solicited the help of Ms. Sotillo and her COLORS club to help me choose some new LGBTQ books for our library. I began by making a list of 75 critically acclaimed young adult novels. Many of these titles have been featured on the American Library Association’s annual Rainbow List. I then met with the COLORS club who shared insights about books they thought might be interesting and useful for our students. We narrowed the list to 25 titles and I purchased them for our collection.

-Jenna Spiering, Teacher Librarian

MathCounts Competes Against High Schoolers; Prepares For Nationals

National Competition May 7, in Boston MA.

Nine members of the Northwest Math Club qualified and competed at the Iowa High School State Math Competition held Saturday April 18 at West High School. The young Vikings placed 4th overall against the best of the best high school kids in Iowa and qualified for the Midwest Regional High School Math Competition to be held May 15th in Kansas City, Missouri.

Pictured below (from left to right) are the Northwest Junior High team members.

Ananth Shyamal, Divya Shyamal, Michael Han, Yangtian Shangguan, John Li, Daniel Stewart, Ethan Chen, and George Liu. Not pictured: Yegor Kuznetsov.

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Chess Players Compete at Nationals

Several members of the NWJH Chess Club traveled to Galt House,Louisville ,Kentucky from April 24th to April 27th to compete against chess teams from all around the country. Team members included Michael Takakashi, Gokul Thangavel, Sanmati Thangavel, and Joseph Wan.

The NW team won the National k8 championship and placed 6th in the nation overall. The individuals on the team played very well and all contributed points to help the team place ahead of over 60 teams from across the nation. Sanmati Thangavel tied for first place in the 1200 class in the k8 championship. Joseph Wan placed 11th in the k8 championship section. Individual trophies were received, and the team brought back a huge trophy for the school.

More Honors for Band Students

Northwest JH band students have been busy with several jazz band performances including their final concert on Monday, April 27 in the West High auditorium. Featured guest soloist was Mr. Mike Conrad, who really treated the audience with his talents on trombone and piano. The first week of May each jazz band will visit and perform for a couple of elementary schools as a tour day.

Congratulations to 10 band students, who were accepted and performed in the Coe College Honor Band on April 19. This included: Anjali Huynh (flute), Rachel Ding (flute), Chen-You Wu (clarinet), Anna Brown (clarinet), Makenna Hendrickson (clarinet), Yangtian Shangguan (alto sax), Chris Kim (alto sax), Nick Stilwell (baritone sax), Olivia Barker (trumpet), and Eddie Wilson (horn).

And congratulations to the 18 band students accepted to play in the Five Seasons Kennedy Honor Band to rehearse and perform on Saturday, May 2. This includes: Anjali Huynh (flute), Rachel Ding (flute), Ellie Kouba (flute), Sophie Stephens (flute), Kate Wilson (flute), Delaney Holthaus (flute), Makenna Hendrickson (clarinet), Pattarin Oonmettaree (clarinet), Chen-You Wu (clarinet), Chris Kim (alto sax), Daniel Song (alto sax), Yangtian Shungguan (alto sax), Nick Stilwell (baritone sax), Katelynn Hillberry (horn), Olivia Barker (trumpet), James Mons (trumpet), Lindy Rublaitus (trombone), and Arie Paul (tuba).

NW is Open on Saturday to Support Academics

If your student needs help with homework, please take advantage of Saturday School, and finish the year strong! Two teachers are available from 8:30-11:30 in the library for Saturday School every Saturday through May 16 (May 2, 9, and 16) . Students should sign up with Mrs. Carlson in the guidance office.

2015 Remley Viking Relays a Big Success

Over 30 volunteers gathered on April 23rd to help run the annual NWJH invitational track meet. Four schools brought both girls and boys teams, and unlike last year (which was cancelled due to rain), enjoyed beautiful spring weather and strong competition.

We were honored to have the meet's namesake, James Remley, travel from Moline, Illinois to announce the meet. Mr. Remley is a former NWJH teacher who is dedicated to the school and its track program. Mr. Remley knows all aspects of putting on a good track meet. He has raised funds for uniforms, set up and worked concession stands, and announced the events and results - sometimes overlapping these duties!

PSTO Looks for Volunteers for 2015-16

The NW PSTO (motto: much more fun than elementary) is recruiting for next year's PSTO. The PSTO meets once a month for one hour and it supports the school's social and co-curricular (clubs and performing music) programs. The PSTO does this by holding one fundraiser and by volunteering to chaperon various school events. PSTO members remind you that junior high flies by, and the low key approach of the junior high is perfect for parents who would like to help, but don't want to be stuck with a huge time commitment.

The PSTO is currently looking for a president-elect, which is a two year position, a treasurer and a volunteer coordinator. This last position is perfect for someone who is familiar with Signup Genius. For more information, please contact Laura Westemer at or come to our final PSTO meeting of the year on Wednesday May 27th at noon in NWJH’s main conference room (enter through the office and you’ll be directed).

8th Graders Celebrate Earth Day

One of Northwest Junior High’s stated missions is, “educating the whole student,” engaging learning from as multifaceted an approach as today’s diverse and ever-changing world demands. Wednesday was a great example of those efforts from the students and staff at Northwest.

The morning began with organizing into homerooms and reviewing the plan for the day. Students and staff would rotate between four different classes as the day progressed, a logistical undertaking not to be understated. Each Homeroom was to participate in at least one Earth Day activity, an educational hour of Elizibethan theatre from Riverside Theatre actors, and a rotation through the first annual Financial Literacy Fair. “Cyrano,” the story of a love-struck, but awkwardly be-schnoz-ed military hero kept students a-buzz throughout the day. The free preview of “Cyrano” is Thursday, June 18, 7:00 pm, at Riverside Theatre, 213 N. Gilbert St. in Iowa City. With only 118 seats, TICKETS MUST BE REQUESTED IN ADVANCE by email to

In addition to the captivating cultural arts shared by city circle, a host of local entities, from New Pioneer Co-Op’s “Soilmates,” to the Bike Library came together to present an offering of Earth Day programming to 8th grade students. Bicyclists of Iowa City, Bluezones representatives and the Iowa City Bike Library not only teamed up to provide students education on bike safety, maintenance, and the value of daily exercise, but each entity contributed, along with Sugar Bottom Bicycles to award the winner of the “Bike Essay Contest” a free bike from the Bike Library, and a lock, helmet and lights from Sugar Bottom to keep a NWJH student Safe, Responsible and Respectful while peddling around town on their new set of wheels. A special thanks to: Natalia Espina, Del Hahn, Steve Hendrickson, Bob Opplinger, Shannon Greene, and Jennifer Fish for their hard work on this program!

Brad Friedhoff, of Johnson County Naturalists, was on hand with an educational presentation of our area's wildlands, and how we can get involved in their preservation and protection. Cassidy Bell Volunteered her time to host a discussion on local foods and poverty via the “Local Foods Connection,” an area non-profit that specializes in providing local, low-income families a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share, nutrition education, and community building opportunities free of charge. Students in her session were encouraged to brainstorm, in small groups solutions to the complex problems facing our nation’s modern food system.

The indefatigable Scott Keopke returned to NWJH for a third straight year to deliver education on the value of good soil. He instructed students not only in the science of compost, but in the value of leading a balanced life. He left behind a challenge to start a large scale compost program at NWJH, and a number of Basil seeds to thrive in the soils generated by future Vikings. Science teacher Stacie Smith took her students to the Coralville City park to assess water quality, while language arts instructors guided their students through a “River of Words,” place poem activity.

All 8th grade students were also asked to participate in a “real world” financial simulator, assigning students jobs based on interests and skills, indicating an initial salary, and asking students to rotate through a round of consultants to figure just what sort of life they could expect to live, financially, under said circumstances. Students were guided through stations representing everything form home and vehicle purchase to pet selection. They were then asked to budget additional expenditures per month, and assess their financial feasibility.

Wednesday, April 22nd represented the very best of what our community has to teach its youth. From theatre to taxes, students were given an opportunity to question and contribute in the word they will all too soon inherit. We celebrate the many organizations and individuals who contributed to these efforts, and look forward to many more exciting days of applied curriculum to come!

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Summerships Available Through United Way

The United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties and the Community Foundation of Johnson County have a limited number of scholarships available to help kids go to camps! The funding is partially from the sale of the 2014 Herkys on Parade.

Please see Ms. Cotton for an application or go to

NWJH is a Fuel Up to Play 60 "Touchdown School"

Fuel Up to Play 60 is a program launched by the National Dairy Council and the National Football League, with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It encourages youth to eat healthy and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Based on the efforts of our students and their P.E. instructors, Northwest Junior High received the status of "Touchdown School" for 2014-2015! (Read more about that at this link:

Five NWJH students enjoyed a day of fun in Ames with the Play 60 group recently, as a reward for their level of participation. Check out the fun pictures Ms. Ali Browning shared below!

Mark Your Calendar

Spirit Assembly: Friday, May 8

8th Grade Party: Friday, May 15

8th Grade Adventureland Trip: Saturday, May 16

Northwest Gives Back: Thursday, May 28

The Outdoor Activity Day (TOAD): Thursday, May 28

All-School Picnic--June 2, 12:15--2:15, St. Morrison Park

Awards Assemblies

8th Grade--Tuesday, June 2, 8:15--9:00

7th Grade--Tuesday, June 2, 10:15--11:15