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Dear Friends, I hope you had a blessed Christmas and are looking forward to all that a new year brings. As we prepare to start a new semester, I am pleased to share with you some highlights from the first half of the school year. Our students continue to uphold Dowling Catholic’s longstanding tradition of excellence not only in academics, athletics and the arts, but also in their faith lives and in service to others. Nothing demonstrates this more than the annual Christmas Baskets service project which our students completed in December. Thanks to the excellent leadership by the senior class and tremendous support from parents, faculty and staff, and others in the DCHS community, our students were able to assist 90 local families this holiday season, providing gifts, groceries and other household items. We are thankful to the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph Academy alumni for sharing this time-honored tradition which is so meaningful for everyone at Dowling Catholic. This project makes such an impact not only for the families who receive assistance, but also for our students who learn what a difference they can make by helping others. This was just one of the many extraordinary things that took place in recent months. We had excellent representation by sixteen students at the Iowa All-State Music Festival, an annual event featuring the top choral and instrumental high school musicians in Iowa. This accomplishment culminated an already successful season for our band and choir students. Our performing arts department put on two excellent productions for the DCHS community, providing many opportunities for our students to share their talents on stage or as part of the crew. Our sports teams also achieved at the highest levels, with several making history this season. The football team won an unprecedented seventh consecutive state championship title; the boys cross country team took home the Class 4A team state title, the fourth in the last five years and the eighth overall; and the girls swim and dive team captured the championship title at the state swim meet for the first time in school history. I am continually impressed and inspired by the level of commitment it takes for our students to achieve this level of success in the classroom and in their activities. One last highlight I will share is the visit we had from Father John Riccardo in December. He held a half-day retreat for our students followed by a faith formation session for faculty and staff. We were also able to provide our parents with the opportunity to hear him speak in an evening session. We are so thankful for the time Fr. Riccardo was able to spend with us and blessed with this incredible faith development opportunity for our community. As I reflect on the past year I am reminded that we are more than just a school. We are a close-knit community working together to fulfill our mission of preparing Christ-centered leaders. This was fully evident in the outstanding turnout at our recent community events, including the annual Pancake Breakfast and Grandparents’ Mass which continues to grow every year. Nothing makes us happier than to see our community members come together year after year for these great Dowling Catholic traditions. I am honored and blessed to be a part of this community and eternally thankful for your support. I wish all the best to you and your loved ones in the new year. Yours In Christ,

Dr. Dan Ryan President




Focus magazine is published for Dowling


Catholic parents, alumni and donors.

ON THE COVER The cover features a photo from the Art Club’s Annual Day of the Dead Ofrenda which was created in honor of Mrs. Wendy Swanson, a long-time French teacher at DCHS who passed away unexpectedly in April of 2019. The unveiling took place on October 29, 2019, and included a reception and prayer ceremony with many students, faculty and staff members, and friends of DCHS gathered together in her honor.







| ACTIVITIES SPOTLIGHT Students find success in music.

| CALENDAR Find out about upcoming Dowling Catholic events.


| TRUE MAROON Featuring outstanding and successful alumni.


Success in the classroom and on the field.


Dowling Catholic High School 1400 Buffalo Rd. West Des Moines, IA 50265 515.225.3000

Check out the latest school happenings.



CLASS NOTES Submit class notes, including your full name and class year, to

| CLASS NOTES / IN MEMORIAM Be in the know about alumni and friends of Dowling Catholic.


| THE PULSE DCHS athletes make history.






Donors make a significant impact at Dowling Catholic, providing crucial support to programs and resources that truly benefit all students. Thanks to the generous support of those who contribute, we are able to fulfill our mission of preparing Leaders for Life, Centered on Christ.

Every aspect of the Dowling Catholic experience - including faith and academic programming, student activities, athletics and the arts - is supported by the Annual Appeal. Important funding is also provided for improvements on campus and throughout the building, including technology updates and increased security measures. Funds from the Annual Appeal are also designated each year to enhancing our tuition assistance program, making a Dowling Catholic education accessible for all.

To make a donation, please use visit:

WELCOME TO DOWLING CATHOLIC Moines native and co-founder of The Standard Manner™ Etiquette and Communications Consulting, preparing individuals for etiquette success in social and professional situations. She previously served as Donor Relations Manager at EveryStep Foundation. Blair lives in Des Moines with her husband, Jack Ryan ‘99, and stepson Leo.

Carolyn Burch Kirchoff has joined the team as the new development manager. Carolyn oversees volunteer engagement and the planning and coordination of all Advancement events, including the annual We are pleased to welcome four new members to the Advancement

Golf Outing, Grandparents’ Mass, Pancake Breakfast, Evening of

team at Dowling Catholic.

Style and Bash on Buffalo. Prior to DCHS, Carolyn worked for Drake University as the alumni & development director for athletics and in

Kathy (Kirby) Power ‘80 has joined the team as the new

development at Grand View University. She and her husband, Randy,

administrative assistant. Kathy previously worked at St. Augustin

are parents to Anna ‘20 and Piper ‘22.

School where she was administrative assistant to Dr. Nancy Dowdle for the past seven years. Her experience also includes more than

Charles Hernandez is the new business systems administrator,

25 years at the Gannett Company where she served as a senior

responsible for analyzing systems processes and requirements,

advertising manager and in various roles prior. Kathy and her

maintaining databases and ensuring data integrity. Charles

husband, Ted, are parents to Kirby ‘18, Allie ‘19 and Jack ‘23.

previously worked as a systems administrator for Orchard Place and in IT for the American Red Cross. He and his wife Yesenia are parents

Blair Ryan is the new assistant director of Advancement, overseeing

to Romél ‘21, Devin, a second grader at Sacred Heart School, and

annual fundraising efforts, expanding community relations and

four-year-old Marcus.

helping build a strong foundation for the future. Blair is a Des 4


THE PANCAKE TRADITION Dowling Catholic’s 58th Annual Pancake Breakfast was another great

It is the generous support of local businesses that also makes this

success as more than 3,000 community members gathered together

event possible. Harvey Sergio of Heartland Products is a long-time

in late October in the Varied Industries Building at the Iowa State

sponsor who has supplied the pancake batter for many years, and

Fairgrounds. This great DCHS tradition is one of the school’s longest-

Global Direct Mail & Marketing, Global Aviation Resources, Global Tech

standing community events and remains a favorite for many who

Services and West Bank also provided their support as lead sponsors.

attend and volunteer year after year.

Also contributing generously were the following in-kind sponsors: Capital City Fruit, Campbell’s Concessions, Father Michael Hess, IHOP,

It takes approximately 1,200 pounds of pancake batter, 50 pounds

Iowa Catholic Radio, Cubbie Bear, Catholic Tuition Organization,

of sausage, 3,200 cartons of milk and orange juice, and 8,000 pats

Oakwood Builders Group, and Eye Care of Iowa.

of butter to feed a crowd this size, none of which would be possible without the dedicated volunteers who donate their time and talent. Jen

Thanks to all who attended and supported this event, the proceeds will

and Paul Damge, Josie and Jim O’Halloran, and Dawn and Rob Young

truly help the students and teachers who are the beneficiaries of this

served as co-chairs with an additional 350 volunteers contributing

treasured DCHS tradition. To learn about upcoming DCHS community

greatly to the success of this year’s event. Student clubs and groups

events, please visit:

provided entertainment and engaged with community members.

ST. JOSEPH EDUCATIONAL CENTER We are pleased to introduce Tom

of Dowling Catholic. “His experience provides him with a distinct

Quinlan as the new director of

perspective in understanding the different seats and the resources

the St. Joseph Educational Center

necessary for training and increased collaboration. We believe his

(SJEC). Located at Dowling Catholic

experience will be invaluable in helping us overcome the greater

High School, the SJEC serves the 23

challenges facing our parishes and the diocese.”

parishes and the broader Catholic community of Des Moines. The

Quinlan is looking forward to bringing his experience in parish,

primary focus of the center is to

diocesan and national church leadership work to the role of ministry

coordinate educational development

director and in service to the parishes that are a part of SJEC.

for parish employees, to provide adult faith formation programming, and to serve as a unifying element between the parishes, Catholic

“I’m thoroughly enjoying getting to know members of the Dowling

schools and families.

Catholic community, from administration and faculty to some of the students,” said Quinlan. “I hope to connect with the wonderful

Quinlan joined SJEC in July after serving for 25 years in parish and

DCHS parents and alumni as well as those in the parishes throughout

diocesan catechetical ministry in Northern Illinois, most recently at the

the Des Moines area that I serve. I’m very impressed with the parish

Diocese of Joliet as director of religious education for 17 years. He is

leadership and the faith-filled, gifted and dedicated staff and parish

a published author of two books who has presented throughout the

members. It is a privilege to be in a position to try to help these

U.S. and Canada. His experience also includes extensive work with the

parishes grow as communities of faith.”

National Conference for Catechetical Leadership and serving on the governance board, representative council and multiple committees.

Quinlan holds a B.S. in Business Administration from DePaul University in Chicago and a Master of Divinity from the University of St. Mary of

“Tom is a uniquely qualified individual with his years of experience

the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois. To learn more about SJEC please visit

at both the parish and diocesan levels,” said Dr. Dan Ryan, president






CHRISTMAS BASKETS In December, Dowling Catholic students, faculty and staff celebrated the conclusion of another successful Christmas Baskets service project with the annual Candlelighting prayer ceremony. This longstanding tradition was brought to DCHS by the BVM sisters who taught at St. Joseph Academy, some of whom generously contributed to this year’s project and were able to attend the prayer ceremony. Today, Christmas Baskets is the largest, school-wide service project during which DCHS “adopts” families in need during the holiday season, providing gifts, groceries and other household items. With excellent leadership from the senior class and tremendous participation from the entire student body, this year’s project was a great community wide effort with everyone from parents, faculty and staff, and alumni contributing. Many local businesses also provided their generous support. “I have been doing this Christmas Basket project for 28 years and I am always humbled by the commitment and compassion our kids demonstrate,” said Jeff Ferguson, a teacher and director of student activities at DCHS. “Christmas Baskets is the true manifestation of Dowling Catholic and our kids make it come to life. This is what faithful, caring and dedicated looks like.” Following Candlelighting the seniors went out into the community to make deliveries to their families, a highlight which demonstrates the difference they are able to make in the lives of others. Thanks to the generous support of the DCHS community, our students were able to make Christmas a bit merrier for 90 local families this holiday season.



Dance Team

The varsity boys golf team finished as

The 2019-20 cheer squads are made up of 56

The dance team competed in the Iowa State

conference champions and qualified for the

student-athletes who promote sportsmanship

Dance/Drill Team Association (ISDTA) State

4A State Golf Championship where they

and school spirit. The season began at UCA

finished fifth. This was the 16th consecutive

Team Championships in early December,

camp in July where the following DCHS

year Coach Ron Gray has led the team to

cheerleaders were named All-American:

state. Jake Calhoun was named to the 2nd

Morgan Griese, Maddie Janezcko and Julia

Team All Tournament team for placing eighth

Roemen. The competition squad had success

individually. At the conference tournament,

at the Tritan Challenge and at state, finishing

Jake Calhoun placed second, Will Yurgae third, and Jack Yurgae finished 10th. This was the 25th top-five finish in 36 years. Girls Cross Country The girls cross country team had an excellent season, placing fourth at the conference meet with two all conference performers, Lauryn Frerichs and Annie Flood. The team qualified

with zero deductions at both.

IV Lyrical. The month prior, the following six dancers competed in the ISDTA solo competition where each received Division I Superior ratings, the highest honor available: Greta Rhoads, Megan Sheridan, Mia Catalano,

The girls volleyball team had a very successful

Ellen Clark, Katie Cosgrove and Rachel

season, winning the conference and making

Maucieri. Cosgrove, Rhoads, Maucieri and

their eighth consecutive state tournament

Catalano finished in the top 10.

appearance. They put forth a great team effort but fell to Valley High School in the quarterfinals. Regular season highlights

Frerichs named all district. The team finished

include winning the Westside Invitational, a

the season strong, placing 10th at state.

first in program history.


Lyrical and placing second overall in Class


for the state tournament with Flood and


earning Division I ratings in both Jazz and

GRANDPARENTS’ DAY This year marked the 14th annual Grandparents’ Day Celebration and Mass at Dowling Catholic High School. This special day takes place each year in late October, providing grandparents with the opportunity to visit campus and celebrate Mass with their grandchildren. The event continues to grow, with more than 850 grandparents in attendance this year.

Guests heard remarks from Dr. Ryan, DCHS president, and senior Madeline Ball, who spoke about how the Mass provides a wonderful opportunity to celebrate family and faith together as one community. For Linda Tessau ‘66, who presented the offertory with her four grandchildren, the day provides a special opportunity for her and her husband to connect with their grandchildren.

“Grandparents’ Day offers the most meaningful way for grandparents and grandkids to connect - by celebrating a beautiful Mass together!” said Tessau. “This illustrates the blessing of our faith continuity through the generations. With four grandsons currently attending Dowling Catholic and two more grandsons to come, we treasure this tradition.”

Like the Tessau family and others in the DCHS community, the Mass has become a tradition for alumnus Rick McConville ‘66 and his family as well.

“I always enjoy the opportunity to attend Grandparents’ Day Mass with my grandchildren,” said McConville. “As a graduate of Dowling, the parent of five Dowling grads, and the grandparent of several DCHS students, now and in the future, I have had the opportunity to observe Dowling for almost 60 years. I feel that this event showcases the close family spirit which is a core of the DCHS community. It is this continuity, not only of the people involved from generation to generation in the school, but of the same Catholic religious, moral and ethical teachings which are taught in all areas at DCHS that provides students and graduates the tools they need to be Leaders for Life, Centered on Christ. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a small part of this continuity.”

GIVING THANKS We were blessed to welcome Bishop William Joensen to Dowling Catholic in late November to celebrate Thanksgiving Mass with students, faculty and staff. In addition, we were joined by several alumni who reminded us through their generosity that faith and community are at the center of all that we do.

Fr. John Frost ‘79 and several alumni from the class of 1979 gathered for their 40th class reunion over the summer and pooled their resources to give DCHS a new ciboria and holy water bucket with sprinkler which was used for the first time during Thanksgiving Mass. Fr. Frost and several members of the class were in attendance.

was blessed by Bishop Joensen during Mass. The crucifix now stands in the counseling center at DCHS. We are so grateful for these special

Also joining us for Mass were alumnus Rick Lehman ‘65 and his wife

gifts and our alumni who are such an important part of the DCHS

Marcia. Lehman handcrafted and donated a beautiful crucifix that

community. F O CU S




Coming Home No one knows a school better than the

formation and co-chair of the Theology

students who walk the halls every day, unless

Department at DCHS also had that one

you happen to be an alumni working at your

teacher who made a huge impact on his life.

alma mater. That story is not uncommon, with many Catholic school students returning

“My goal in college was to someday come

to teach at the schools they once attended.

back to Dowling Catholic,” said Clark. “I loved

What makes Dowling Catholic unique

my experience here and was so inspired by

however, is how many alumni have returned,

Sharon Abler, as a teacher and the person

a number that currently makes up a quarter

she is, that I wanted to have that same kind

of the 176 faculty and staff members.

of effect on students. The opportunities our students have with service trips like Terra

Some went on to pursue other career

Livre, Guatemala and Costa Rica, along with

opportunities before returning to DCHS,

Christmas Baskets, the retreat programs and

while others realized early on that this was

so much more, I couldn’t imagine working

their calling. The paths taken and their

at any place better than this. It has been a

reasons for returning vary, but the majority

blessing to me for a great majority of my life.”

have one common theme: they hope to make a difference in the lives of their students like

Jeff Morris ‘78, a business education

those who came before them.

instructor, also knew early on that he wanted to return to DCHS.

“I think in some ways my journey back began in the first class on the first day of my

“We just held our annual Candlelighting

first year as a Dowling student,” said Quinn

ceremony,” said Morris. “This is one example

Tipping ‘09, director of choral music at

of why I teach at Dowling Catholic. I received

DCHS. “I walked into the choir room, met Mr.

a great faith-filled education and now I

Rohwer, and knew on that day that I wanted

am trying to give back. My goal when I

to be just like him when I grew up. Mr.

graduated was to be a Dowling football

Rohwer was the first male teacher I ever had,

coach, accounting teacher, and sing the two

and the impact he made on my life has been

turtle doves part just like my mentor, Mr.

profound. On his last day, he left a note on

Al DiMarco. I have met all three goals and

my desk that said, ‘Trust in God. Everything

I continue to enjoy the people I work with

else will work out just fine.’ I look at that note

and the students I teach. I have a lot to be

every day when I get to school. It reminds

thankful for.”

me of the mission I’m on and how fortunate I am to be back in this place that formed me

The bond of community and faith as well as

and continues to do so.”

the traditions and history are also a big draw for many alumni. Just two faculty members

Terry Clark ‘96, director of ministry and 8


remain who attended Dowling Catholic’s

founding schools, St. Joseph Academy and

God’s calling that led her back. For her it

Dowling High School: Ron Gray ‘73 and Paula

was a phone call from Father Pfeiffer about

Placensia ‘71.

an open position at DCHS that he thought

“While teaching at DCHS, I was selected to

she would be interested in. She went on

be on the Building Leadership team which

Following graduation Gray left the state on

the interview and has been back at DCHS

helped provide professional development

a wrestling scholarship to attend Blackhawk

working as the community and cultural

for teachers,” said Baranosky. “This served

Junior College in Moline and then Illinois

liaison ever since.

as the catalyst for me to pursue my master’s

State University. A series of events eventually

co-leading student council.

degree at Drake in educational leadership.

led him back to Des Moines and Drake

“I hadn’t been back to Dowling since I

When I finished my degree, I knew that

University where he returned to finish his

graduated but I would pass by from time

I wanted to stay in the Catholic school

degree. Gray attributes his return to DCHS as

to time and wonder if it was still the same,”

system. When St. Pius X had an opening for

divine intervention.

said Placensia. “After getting the call from

an assistant principal position, it felt right,

Father Pfeiffer and interviewing for the job, I

like my next home.”

It was while helping out with the Drake

was in. I had been doing non-profit work and

wrestling team that he ran into Bob Darrah,

thought that God wanted me to come back

Baranosky has been assistant principal at

his Dowling wrestling coach. Darrah learned

for a reason. Now, more than 16 years later,

St. Pius X in Urbandale since 2018, serving

he was studying to become a teacher and

I’m so glad I did.”

alongside principal Mary Jo Kiever ‘78, a

told him he could use his help with the

graduate of St. Joseph Academy.

wrestling team at Dowling. Gray showed up

For others like Alex Baranosky ‘08, his

These alumni and others like them play an

the following Monday for practice and the

experience teaching at DCHS has led to

important role in preserving the traditions

rest is history. That chance encounter led

the advancement of his career in Catholic

and history that make DCHS what it is,

to the start of a career at DCHS that has


something the administrators who hire them

spanned nearly five decades.

see great value in. “School has always felt like home,” said

Gray did his student teaching under Jim

Baranosky. “I grew up in the hallways,

“I think having alumni on staff is something

Jorgensen, a former football coach whose

classrooms and office at St. Theresa because

that strengthens our school significantly,”

job as a social studies teacher he eventually

my mom was the school secretary.”

said Matt Meendering, DCHS principal.

filled upon his retirement. He spent the next 12 years coaching with Darrah and then became head coach when he retired. Today, he teaches social studies and serves as head coach for boys and girls golf, having recently led the boys team to state for the 16th consecutive year.

As a student, Gray made Dowling history as the first wrestler to win a state medal and become an All-American. Now he enjoys

“They understand how academics and


faith can be successfully intertwined to enhance the Dowling Catholic experience. They learn firsthand what a difference a faith-based education can make and they want to perpetuate that experience for as many students as possible. With a Dowling Catholic graduate comes a certain sense of pride. We are fortunate so many want to give back to the school that made such a difference in their own lives.”

helping those he teaches and coaches achieve their own levels of success.

Baranosky taught drama, technology and English at DCHS, while also moderating

The path back to DCHS was not quite as

service groups. Serving in a leadership role at

direct for Placensia, but she also feels it was

a school wasn’t on his radar until he started






NATIONAL MERIT SEMIFINALISTS Semifinalists. These students are now

To become a finalist, a semifinalist must

competing to become National Merit

have a strong academic record, be

Scholars with the opportunity to be

recommended by the school principal, and

awarded one of approximately 7,500

earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s


earlier qualifying test performance. An essay and participation in leadership and

More than 1.5 million juniors from high

extracurricular activities are also used in the

schools around the U.S. entered the

judging process.

National Merit Program by taking the PSAT, which serves as an initial screen of

Finalists will be notified in February and the

Congratulations to seniors Ryan O’Halloran,

program entrants. The nationwide pool

2020 National Merit Scholarship winners will

Megan Szalay and Jack Drey who have

of semifinalists represents less than one

be announced beginning in April.

been named National Merit Scholarship

percent of all high school seniors.

SUCCESS IN SPEECH & DEBATE The Dowling Catholic speech and debate

biggest tournament with competitors from

falling one debate short of obtaining a bid to

team has enjoyed success throughout

more than a dozen other states. Weinhardt

the Tournament of Champions.

the years competing at the local, state

and Haus did not lose a debate in the

and national level. This year has been no

preliminary rounds, one of three teams out

At the Bulldog Invitational in November,

exception, beginning in June when the

of the 86 competing to do so. They won in

runners-up included Riley in Student

policy teams of Dashiell Weinhardt ‘20/

three elimination rounds before finally losing

Congress and Ellie Coleman ‘21 in Dramatic

James Piazza ‘21 and Ted Thursby ‘19/

in the semifinals to the eventual tournament

Interpretation. Pierson was crowned

Catherine Haus ‘20 had the opportunity to

champion in both Spontaneous and

compete in the National Speech & Debate

Extemporaneous speaking.

Tournament in Dallas, Texas, with both Haus, Sisco and Mary Scholz ‘20 have each

teams finishing in the top 50.

earned the National Speech & Debate The rest of the team kicked off the

Association’s Academic All American

competition season in October with the

Award. This distinguished award recognizes

Des Moines North Polar Bear Open. Zach

academic rigor, competitive speech and

Harnden ‘22 and Christopher Pierson ‘22

debate success, and personal excellence.

were semi-finalists in Public Forum Debate,

Fewer than 1% of the more than 140,000

competing against 50 teams from across

student members of the association receive

Iowa. Oliver Sheaff ‘23 and Danielle Stacy

this award each year.

‘23 won Duo Interpretation, George Pierson

winner, Edgemont High School from New

‘21 placed in the top three in three different

York, the team rated fourth in the country.

Dowling Catholic’s history of success in

categories, and Andrew Riley ‘21 was the

Weinhardt and Haus earned a coveted bid

speech and debate dates back to 1968 when

runner-up in Congressional Debate.

to the Tournament of Champions held at

the program was first established by Father

the end of the season at the University of

John Acrea. Today, the program is led by Tim

That same month varsity policy debaters

Kentucky. Piazza and Holden Sisco ‘20 also

Sheaff ‘86, director of drama and debate,

traveled to the New York City Invitational

reached the elimination rounds, winning their

who has been teaching and directing at

Speech and Debate Tournament, the area’s

first round but losing in the octofinals and

DCHS for more than 20 years.



STUDENTS TAKE THE STAGE The Dowling Catholic Performing Arts Department presented the

characters. She also thought the message was important and would

winter play production, Still Life with Iris, for the DCHS community

resonate with an audience of all ages.

in early December with a special matinee performance for local parochial school fourth graders prior to opening night.

“This play is really fun, but it’s also about the importance of keeping the people who are close to you close,” said Leary. “It reminds us to

The story takes the audience on an adventure which centers on a

be thankful for what we have, and how important our memories, our

young girl’s journey to find her family. The main character, Iris, lives

families and our homes are. We get busy and take things for granted.

with her mom in the land of Nocturno, a magical place in which

I thought the message of this play was very timely, especially during

the workers make by night, all things seen in the world by day.

Advent, in reminding us to treasure those things.”

In this society everyone’s memories reside in their coats and not their minds. As the story unfolds, Iris is kidnapped and her coat

The winter play is traditionally focused on children’s literature and

is removed, taking with it her memories. What remains is just one

is one of three opportunities available each year for students to

button, providing clues to help lead her back to her family.

take the stage or be a part of the production crew. The fall play is directed by Tim Sheaff ‘86, director of drama and debate. This

The show was produced by students in Acting +, a class offered to

year’s fall play production of You Can’t Take It With You by George

juniors and seniors who have completed Acting I and II. Students

S. Kaufman and Moss Hart was presented to the DCHS community

taking Play Production also assisted, making some of the props and

October 31 - November 2, 2019.

painting set pieces. The play was directed by Emma Leary, a teacher new to the faculty this year who teaches Acting 1, Acting +, Play

When making selections for the fall play, Sheaff has a rotation

Production, Video Production and Dramatic Literature.

in place which provides what he believes is the perfect mix for students who participate for several or all four years of high school.

Leary thought the play was the perfect fit because of the length

That rotation includes the American classics, Shakespeare and

and number of roles, but also because of the fun storyline and

then something more light-hearted every third year. Sheaff’s goal is to provide material that will make a resume stand out at auditions for those who go on to act in college.

“I want the person holding the audition to look at the student and think, wow, how did you do all of these different productions?” said Sheaff. “I think this high school experience will make them highly competitive.”

Next up for the Performing Arts Department is the spring musical which will take place April 30 - May 2, 2020. This year’s production will be Disney’s The Little Mermaid. This show is adjudicated for the Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards and provides opportunities for singers, dancers, musicians and technicians to participate.






ALL THE RIGHT NOTES in the BOA Regional in Cedar Falls where they

in the first-ever Concertshare which took

outscored all Class 4A bands from Iowa and

place in the Coppola Family St. Joseph Chapel

placed 17th out of 23 bands from throughout

at DCHS and ended with a standing ovation

the midwest.

for the combined group. In December, the choirs kicked off the season for community

In October, the DCV competed at the annual

members with a beautiful Christmas concert

Valley Showdown where they placed fifth

at St. Ambrose Cathedral.

overall, third in both Percussion and Horn Line, and received the highest score in their class for

Some additional accomplishments from the

Music General Effect. Drum Majors Nick Bindel

fall include acceptance to the 2020 ISU Honor

Sixteen Dowling Catholic students were

and Lauren Pogemiller also won Best Drum

Choir for Joshua Bartemes, Andrew Cox,

selected to participate in the 73rd Annual

Majors out of all Class 4A bands. They closed

Audrey Holtkamp, Hannah Martin and Sandy

Iowa All-State Music Festival Concert

the competition season a few weeks later

Paz-Garcia. Now in its 20th year, this event is

on Saturday, November 23 at Iowa State

with “the double,” performing first in the State

designed to honor the top high school music

University’s Hilton Coliseum in Ames. The

Marching Band Contest where they earned a

students in the region.

festival takes place annually and features

Division I rating, the 17th consecutive for DCHS

the top choral and instrumental high school

dating back to 2002. That evening, they won

Several DCHS singers also enjoyed great

musicians in Iowa who are selected through a

the Waukee Invitational, placing first overall

success at the Central Region NATS

rigorous audition process.

out of 13 Class 4A schools and winning the

competition in Iowa City in November. Stan

caption award for Best Winds.

Przedlacki placed first in Classical Men and

Following are the All-state Chorus members

second in Musical Theatre Men; Joshua

from DCHS: Joshua Bartemes, Ben Faber, Erin

Also in October, the Downtown Swing Project,

Bartemes placed third in Classical Men; Sandy

Greening, Maddy Hall, Eva Kilbride, Alejandro

a seven-piece jazz combo, performed at the

Paz-Garcia placed third in Classical Women;

Konrad, Katherine Kunz, Hannah Martin, Joe

opening ceremony of the World Food Prize

Audrey Holtkamp received Honorable Mention

Miyazaki, Eric Pimentel-Valadez, Marie Porto

at the Iowa State Capitol. This was the 11th

in Classical Women; and Erin Greening placed

and Peyton Riewer. The number of students

year the Swing Project played for the world

second in Musical Theatre Women.

selected ties the second highest All-State

leaders who gather annually to seek solutions

Chorus acceptance in DCHS history and

to end worldwide hunger. During the fall the

The season is just beginning for the

doubles the historic average yearly acceptance.

group also performed at Dowling Catholic’s

Dimensions Show Choir which put on a

President’s Council Dinner and Open House as

great performance at the Preview Show on

well as the State Convention.

December 16 at DCHS. Next they will compete

Those selected for the All-State Band and Orchestra are as follows: Jude Borromeo

in Waukee, Bettendorf, Keokuk and Southeast

(trumpet), John Cahalan (trumpet), Emily

Several individual band students also enjoyed

Polk during January and February. To learn

Nguyen (clarinet) and Annamaria Dimon

great success, including John Cahalan on

more about upcoming performances, please

(violin). Additionally, Jordan Fortelka

trumpet, sophomore Annamaria Dimon on


(trumpet) and Lily Leyser (clarinet) were

violin and freshman Emily Nguyen on clarinet


selected as alternates.

who were selected via audition for the Des Moines Youth Symphony.

The first half of the school year included many additional highlights for student musicians

Some highlights from the vocal music

and vocalists at DCHS. The Dowling Catholic

department include incredible performances

Vanguard (DCV) began a very successful

by the DCHS choirs at the Fall Concert which

competition season in September with the

took place in October at Drake University’s

Eden Prairie Colors Invitational where they

Sheslow Auditorium. In November, the DC

placed third. The same month they competed

Singers and Waukee Concert Choir performed




> APR 30 - MAY 2

Evening of Style Sacred Heart Parish Center 1601 Grand Avenue West Des Moines

Spring Musical Dowling Catholic High School 1400 Buffalo Road West Des Moines

Enjoy an evening of great food, friends and

The Spring Musical is presented annually

fashion! Students, faculty and staff will hit the

by the Dowling Catholic Performing Arts

runway with the latest styles during this fun

Department. Performances will take place

night to benefit Dowling Catholic’s students

April 30 & May 1 at 7:30 p.m. and May 2

and teachers. Groups may purchase a table

at 2 and 7:30 p.m. in the Dowling Catholic

and decorate with a theme of choice.


> APR 18

> MAY 3

Bash on Buffalo Dowling Catholic High School 1400 Buffalo Road West Des Moines

Spring Band Concert Dowling Catholic High School 1400 Buffalo Road West Des Moines

Dowling Catholic’s annual auction – The

The concert will take place at 4 p.m. in

Bash on Buffalo – will be held in the school

the Dowling Catholic Auditorium and will

gymnasium. Please join us for an evening of

feature performances by the Concert Band,

wonderful food, music and community for a

Symphony Band, and Outstanding Performer

great cause – our teachers and students!

award winners from the State Solo Contest. In addition to musical performances, the Band

> APR 23

Scholastic Achievement Assembly/ Distinguished Alumni Awards Dowling Catholic High School 1400 Buffalo Road West Des Moines

Awards presentation will also take place.

> MAY 7

bestows alumni of both St. Joseph Academy

Spring Choral Concert Sheslow Auditorium Drake University 2507 University Avenue, Des Moines

and Dowling Catholic High School with the

Please join the choirs of Dowling Catholic at

Distinguished Alumni Awards. Nominees

7:30 p.m. at the historic Sheslow Auditorium

will be honored during the Scholastic

for their annual Spring Concert. The concert

Achievement Assembly held at DCHS.

will feature performances by the Jazz

Nominations will be accepted through

Choir, Chamber Choir, Mixed Chorus and A

February 15, 2020. Please contact Kimberly

Cappella Choir and will conclude with special

Bowman ‘78 with questions at 515.222.1048

recognition of senior choir members.

Dowling Catholic High School proudly

> MAY 21 Baccalaureate Mass St. Francis of Assisi 7075 Ashworth Road West Des Moines The Class of 2020 will have the opportunity to celebrate the Sacred Mass together one last time and to be sent forth from Dowling Catholic to love and serve the Lord. The celebration of Mass with the graduates and their parents will begin at 7:30 p.m.

> MAY 22 Graduation Ceremony Knapp Center, Drake University 2525 Forest Avenue Des Moines Dowling Catholic’s commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 will take place at 7:30 p.m. at the Knapp Center on the Drake Campus.

> JUNE 9

Golden Jubilee Dowling Catholic High School 1400 Buffalo Road West Des Moines Please join us for a reunion celebration of St. Joseph Academy and Dowling High School alumni. Mass will take place in the St. Joseph Chapel with reception and tours to follow. Reconnect with classmates from classes 1940-1969.

For the most up-to-date calendar information visit:







STEPPERETTES More than 60 years after their first performance at a Dowling basketball game, the Stepperettes were welcomed back to campus during the 2019 Homecoming festivities at DCHS.

The Stepperettes were a precision drill team that first performed at Dowling in 1959. In the years following they performed for many high school, college and professional football and basketball audiences throughout the U.S., including several national television appearances. They won five national drill team championship titles, two National V.F.W. Championships and were inducted into the Iowa Hall of Fame. They were invited to participate in the 1961 and 1965 Presidential Inaugural parades in Washington, D.C. In 1973, they were invited and were able to attend.

It was an honor to welcome them back in celebration of their 60th anniversary and to recognize their important role in Dowling Catholic history.

ATHLETIC HALL OF FAME The following alumni were inducted into the Dowling Catholic/St. Joseph Academy Athletic Hall of Fame during Homecoming on Friday, October 4, 2019: Elliott Baker ‘11 was an Aquinas Key Excellence Medal recipient, was awarded an academic letter and named to the honor roll all four years of high school. He was a multi-sport athlete and a singles state champion in tennis. He continued his tennis career at Creighton University where he was an Intercollegiate Tennis Association Scholar Athlete from 2013 to 2015. He was named Big East Men’s Tennis Player of the Week in 2014 and was team captain and team MVP in 2015.

Jessica Campbell ’13 participated in track, volleyball and cheerleading. She was a Dr. Robert Breedlove Scholarship recipient, member of the National Honor Society and selected for the National Council on Youth Leadership. She holds school records in the 100, 200, 4x100 and 4x200. She qualified for the Drake Relays and state all four years of high school and was an individual state champion in the 200 and a member of the state champion 4x100 relay team. She continued her track career at Drake University where she was a Missouri Valley All-Conference performer.

Coach Matt Dillon served as head football coach at Dowling Catholic from 1996 to 2005. He is a 33-year veteran of both high school and college football. He has been selected as coach of the year 14 times at various levels, was named State of Iowa Coach of the Year in 2000 and twice-named All-Star Head Coach of the Year in South Florida. The crowning achievement of his career was the opportunity to serve as head football coach when Dowling Catholic won their first two back-to-back state championship titles in 2000 and 2001. He led the Maroons to the playoffs seven times during his tenure. 14


Claudia Farrell ‘14 helped the Maroons to a state softball title and was captain all-tournament. She was a two-time pitcher of the year, was named to the all-tournament team in 2014, and selected for all-state honors in 2012 through 2014. She went on to play at Grand View University where she was a four-time pitcher of the year and the first in program history to be selected as a four-time AllAmerican. She finished with a career record of 104-20 with more than 1,000 strikeouts.

Tommy Gaul ‘10 competed in football, basketball, baseball and track. He was a National Honor Society member and Aquinas Key Excellence medal recipient. He earned three letters each in football, baseball and basketball; was recognized with first team all-state and all-conference honors as a senior; and was selected to compete in the Iowa Shrine Bowl. He also served as football team captain. He went on to play football at the University of Iowa where he won the Bud Flood Fighting Hawk and Next Man in Iowa awards.

Eric Lee ‘11 played football, basketball and baseball at DCHS. He was a National Honor Society member and recipient of the John B. Hayes scholarship and the Nick Niedert Award. He helped his teams to three consecutive undefeated seasons and conference championships, as well as state titles in football and baseball. He was a two-time all conference basketball player and first team allstate in football. He was consecutively named all-conference, all-city, all-region and all-county each of the three years he played baseball. He went on to play football at Notre Dame where he was a Monogram Letter winner.

Lincoln Mincks ‘99 ran varsity track for one year, played varsity football for two, and played varsity baseball for all four years of high school. He was named first team all-state, elite all-state and was recognized as the Iowa High School Baseball Player of the Year. He helped lead the baseball team to a state championship title as co-captain his senior year. He continued his baseball career in college, playing at Iowa State and the University of Central Florida. He was an all-conference pitcher at both schools and went on to play professional minor league baseball for four years following college.

Karissa Schweizer ‘14 is a 12-time IAHSAA all-state athlete in cross country and track. She helped the Maroons to three cross country titles; was a cross country state champion and an IAHSAA champion in the 300 meter run. She turned pro following a highly successful collegiate career at Missouri where she became a six-time NCAA champion. She competed in the USA Track & Field championships in the 5,000 meter run, finishing fourth in 2017, third in 2018, and second in 2019 which qualified her to compete in the IAAF World Athletics Championship in Doha, Qatar in October. She currently runs professionally for Nike with the Bowerman Track Club.

DCHS proudly bestows numerous awards on St. Joseph Academy and Dowling Catholic alumni. To learn more or submit a nomination please visit: F O CU S




CLASS NOTES Karissa Schweizer ‘14 finished ninth in

Dowling Catholic girls basketball alumni

the women’s 5,000-meter run at the

and coaches were celebrated in early

IAAF World Championships in Doha,

January with a special reunion at DCHS.

Qatar. Her time of 14.45.18 makes her

A reception took place and players and

the fifth-fastest woman in American

coaches were recognized at half-time

History in the 5,000-meter. Schweizer

of the boys and girls varsity games.

is a six-time NCAA champion and 10-

The girls program began at Dowling in

time NCAA All-American who turned

1973 with six-on-six basketball. Since

professional following a highly successful

that time teams have won five state

collegiate career at Mizzou. She currently

championship titles, finished as runner-

runs professionally for Nike with the

up once, and qualified for state 19

Bowerman Track Club.

additional times. Thanks to everyone who helped celebrate the great history The 2019 Dowling Catholic boys state

of Dowling Catholic girls basketball.

championship cross country team paid tribute to those alumni who inspired them following their win. The five seniors found a photo of the 1974 championship team of Paul Pappas ‘76, Marty Scaglione ‘77, Tom Farrell ‘75, John Scaglione ‘75 and John McMichael ‘76 and replicated it in honor of the outstanding Maroons who came before them. Students, staff and members of the

Congratulations to Howard Kerr ‘53, the

Dowling Catholic community gathered

recipient of the University of Iowa’s 2019

on December 12 for Mass in honor of Our

Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.

Lady of Guadalupe in the Coppola Family

Kerr was a career naval officer, aide to the

St. Joseph Chapel. The beautiful statue

38th president of the United States, and

that resides in our chapel was gifted to

CEO of three corporations. He has been

DCHS last December by the Class of 1978.

honored with several awards during his career, including the Legion of Merit Medal

Dowling Catholic hosted a Young

in an Oval Office ceremony by President

Alumni Professional Networking event

Jacob Nissly ‘01, principal percussionist for

Ford. Kerr has also been recognized with

at Jasper Winery on January 8, 2020.

the San Francisco Symphony, premiered

a Distinguished Alumni Award at Dowling

A special thank you to the following

a percussion concerto in October at the

Catholic. Read more about Kerr’s award

alumni who served as panelists: Dave

Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco.

and career online:

Leto ‘95, CEO of the Palmer Group;

The concerto was commissioned for him

Jennie Baranczyk ‘00, Drake Women’s

by the Symphony from composer Adam

Basketball coach; Anne Roth ‘08, Iowa

Schoenberg. Read more about Nissly and

Business Council; and RJ Tursi ‘05,

his career in the San Francisco Chronicle:

owner of Exile Brewing Company.



Alumni news and updates can be sumbitted online. Please visit:



We extend our sympathies to the families of the following alumni

The Art Club’s Annual Day of the Dead

“After 16 years this is still the project that I

Ofrenda unveiling took place at Dowling

hate to love so much,” said Kane. “Wendy

Catholic on October 29, 2019. This year’s

was a patron of the arts. She was kind,

ofrenda was created in honor of Mrs.

had a strong work ethic and a great

Wendy Swanson, a long-time French

appreciation of beauty and love. Those

teacher who passed away unexpectedly

things shone through in this display.

in April 2019. The evening included

Her generosity knew no bounds, and

a reception and prayer ceremony

I truly believe in this case she offered

with many students, faculty and

yet another opportunity for the work of

staff members, and friends of DCHS

our talented students to be showcased.

Paul Anthony Joyce ‘47

gathered together in her honor.

She was always there for others and

Rose (Carroll) O’Reilly ‘47

continues to be even now.”

Robert Joynt ‘48

The Day of the Dead provides an

who passed away. Anthony Giudicessi ‘40 Mary Ann Coyle ‘43 John S. Woolway ‘43 Theresa (McCaffrey) Engle ‘44 William “Joe” Shaw ‘44 Mary Helen (Cavanaugh) Bertrand ‘47 Barbara J. (Thompson) Fath ‘47 Fr. William Frazier ‘47

Bernard Wayne Gottner ‘51

opportunity to remember and

Swanson’s career as a French teacher

Gerald Holland ‘51

celebrate the lives of departed loved

spanned four decades, with the last 38

James L’Estrange ‘56

ones. The ofrenda is an essential

years spent at DCHS where she was a

Mary Elizabeth (Novinsky) Mullin ‘56

part of this celebration, serving as a

beloved teacher, colleague and friend to

Michael (Mike) Duffy ‘57

visual reminder of those departed.

many. She inspired a love of language,

The project is lead by Brenda Kane,

culture and travel for countless students

art teacher and head of the Visual

through her classes and trips abroad.

Arts Department. She sees the ofrenda as a great example of how DCHS comes together as a community of faith, uniting

Wendy was six weeks from retirement and had planned to travel the world with her beloved husband, David. More than 100 individuals

Carmela (Toni Leo) Casber ‘59 James C. “Jim” Proctor ‘59 Kathy McBride ‘60 James “Jim” Toma ‘61 Juliet Bliss ‘62 Thomas “Tom” Devereaux ‘63 Charles Michael Falbo ‘63 Jack B. Daly ‘64

those of different cultures

contributed to the ofrenda in

Dan Davis ‘64

and interests through their

her honor, demonstrating that

Susan (Tell) Rezek ‘64

intentions during the month

she is missed greatly and will

Eileen Fitzgerald ‘66

of November.

never be forgotten.

James N. Lacona, Sr. ‘66 Jerome Tormey ‘66 Michael Bugler ‘68 Phillip M. Murphy ‘68 Dr. Michael Hart ‘70 Kathleen Reese ‘70 Marie Johnson ‘73 Mark Hoffman ‘75 Matthew Kouri ‘76 Francis “Frank” McRae ‘76 David Scieszinski ‘76 Mary Quinn ‘78 Mary Kay (Gillotti) Zumbach ‘81 Sean Wieser ‘89 Warren Batiste ‘06 Michael Nall ‘07






BACK-TO-BACK STATE TITLES The Dowling Catholic boys took home the Class 4A team title in the Iowa High School State Cross Country Championships in Fort Dodge on November 2. This victory marked the fourth 4A team title in the last five years and the eighth overall. Competing for the Maroons were Sam Hall, Zach Fry, Mike Gipple, Jordan Daniel, Cade Muller, Will Ode and Lucas Martin. Sam Hall finished as runner-up and earned All-State honors along with Zach Fry. Additional state team members and alternates were Max Brown, Jackson Heidesch, Nolan Kyhl, Brandon Latting, Ryan O’Halloran, Griffin Rhode, Andrew Robey, Will Ryan, Tyler Schweizer and Gabe Shaw. “Our cross country team had another exceptional season culminating in our program’s 8th state championship,” said head Coach Tim Ives, who was named All-Iowa Boys Cross Country Coach of the Year. “Our performance on November 2 was the climax to another season of successful training and gaining the necessary experience to win at the highest levels in our state. The runners in our program enjoy training together and putting themselves to the test in high stakes 5k races. It seems the combination of our runners’ accepting the long process of development and performing well when the stakes are highest has become a hallmark of our program.”

SEVEN STRAIGHT The Dowling Catholic varsity football team made Iowa football history in an unprecedented game against West Des Moines Valley. After meeting up in the postseason nine times, the Maroons and the Tigers faced off at the UNI-Dome for the Class 4A championship title on November 22 for the first time in history. The Maroons came away with a 21-16 victory, making them the first Iowa football team ever to win seven consecutive state titles. another 22 times since Wilson joined DCHS in 2005, splitting the “We couldn’t be more proud of what this team has accomplished,”

victories evenly with 11 each before the championship game.

said DCHS head football coach Tom Wilson. “This has been a great team to work with as they have worked hard and represented all of us

In his 28th year of coaching, Wilson has won 253 games. With eight

with class. We are thankful for the phenomenal support we received

state titles all at Dowling Catholic, he holds the second-most all-time,

from the school and the Dowling Catholic community.”

just behind Harlan’s Curt Bladt with 11.

The Maroons have gone 87-6 over the last seven seasons, with five

“As a young coach, I dreamed of one,” said Wilson. “To think of

of those losses to Valley. The Maroons and the Tigers have faced one

something like this is unbelievable. These kids are part of history now.”



MAKING HISTORY The Dowling Catholic Girls Swim & Dive team made school history by capturing the championship title at the girls state swim meet on November 9 in Marshalltown. The Maroons had previously finished back-to-back seasons

Dowling Catholic High School is committed to serving the Greater Des Moines Catholic community and embracing learners of all faiths. In an environment that is faithful, caring and dedicated, Dowling Catholic forms each student to become a Christcentered leader. Focus is a publication of Dowling Cathlic High School.

as runner-up but kept Ames from their fifth consecutive title with four event wins and four top-three finishes. PRESIDENT: Dr. Dan Ryan

Mary Martin and Katie Broderick finished as state champions in the 100 breastroke and 100 backstroke, and the following teams were relay state champions: the


400 freestyle team of Mary Sweetman, Julia Sweetman, Berit Quass and Broderick; and the 200-yard medley team of Broderick, Martin, Quass and Cassie Rounds.


The team had the following

Earl Hulst

additional nine top-five finishes:

Chris Pose

Meg Susil and Sweetman (third and fifth, 200 freestyle); Martin (fifth, 200 individual medley); Quass (second, 100 butterfly); Broderick and Sweetman (fourth and fifth, 100 freestyle); and Quass and Susil (second and fourth, 500 freestyle, second in the 200 freestyle relay).

COPY EDITOR: Rachel Brown

“We are extremely proud of these girls for their hard work in and out of the pool along with their sportsmanship,” said DCHS alumna and Coach Frankie Hanson ‘91. “They gave it their all and were able to come out of the meet on top, making school history. I cannot thank our coaching staff enough for their dedication to this team and the hours they have committed to it. We are all proud to be Dowling Catholic Maroons!” Hanson, along with coaches Paul Eure, Boris Bachmann and Saundy Joos were recognized as Coaching

SUBSCRIPTION: To notify the school of address changes or personal updates, please contact 515.225.3000

Staff of the Year. Hanson was also named the Des Moines Register’s All-Iowa girls’ swimming coach of the year and will be honored at the 2020 All Iowa Sports Awards this spring.








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$65 Maroon Spirit Door Sign

$24 Baby Snuggie

$25 Cascade InďŹ nity Scarf

$26 McFly Logo Scarf

$18 Rush Beanie

$50 Folding Stadium Seat

$12 Acrylic Christmas Ornament

$15 Double-Sided Garden Flag

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Profile for Dowling Catholic High School

Focus Magazine XI  

Focus magazine is published for Dowling Catholic parents, alumni and donors.

Focus Magazine XI  

Focus magazine is published for Dowling Catholic parents, alumni and donors.