North Cedar News

One of the benefits of a small school district is that we can immerse ourselves in our community of learners. Get to know the movers and shakers in the North Cedar Community School District! Our News page is chock full of student and staff praise, helpful tips, and information about what’s new in the district.

High School Journalism Continues To Shine In The Gazette

The school years is over, and graduation parties have ended. It’s time to reflect, ok brag, on another successful year for The Gazette’s high school journalism program.

If you are not aware of what this is, it’s a program started in November 2011 to promote journalism and the importance of writing well at high schools across eastern Iowa. Over the past six years, I have been an editor, mentor, and a cheerleader for hundreds of high school students who took part in this program.

Although it’s a small part of my duties at The Gazette, it has become a passion of mine to talk about and teach young journalists the importance of news and telling good stories.

If you haven’t seen or read the work of these talented students in The Gazette or on this site, you’re missing some fantastic stories.

One of this year’s talented students, Hanna Roltgen, who will be a senior at Cedar Rapids Prairie in the fall, has had stories posted and in the paper the last two weeks. Hanna is interning at The Gazette as part of Kirkwood’s workplace learning connections. Later this summer, North Cedar senior Saleena Jones will join our staff as part of that same program. Saleena already has had many photos appear on this page and online.

Please take a moment to read J.R. Ogden's complete high school journalism article in the online version of The Gazette.


Unable to make it to the big game? No problem! We've got you covered! Check out Knightcast for live broadcasts of most North Cedar sporting events.  

Ambitious North Cedar Students

Two ambitious North Cedar students, Tessa Fields and Lydia Esbaum, are extending their educational experience into their summer months by learning Microsoft Office 2016 (Word, Excel, Access, and Powerpoint) and taking the MOS certification exams for Microsoft's specialists certification level. Tessa Fields is on her way as she has two components completed, Word and Powerpoint. Lydia decided to start with the hardest component first, Access, and is very close to being ready to take her first exam. When these girls complete all four components and take the regional area business teacher's exam they will earn one credit for computer business applications, and they will earn one credit toward their graduating credits. They will will also get the right to list these skills on their resume, which will be a great asset in their finding a job in the future.

Senior Picture Information

All seniors will need to turn in at least one senior photo. Seniors may use the same pose for both the yearbook and the class composite. All photos are due to Mrs. Green at the high school by Friday, December 15. Please see our senior picture information flyer for more information.

FBLA At Elegant Barn

On Saturday, May 27 FBLA members Makayla Schluter, Breylee St. John, and Madison Cornelius helped at Beth Bowie's business, Elegant Barn, with parking cars and directing traffic. In return for helping her out, Beth made a donation to the FBLA organization. The money will go toward members competition expenses. FBLA is looking for more opportunities to help businesses out. If you have an interest, please contact advisor Jane Koch via e-mail.

Becoming Fast

From being hidden in the 3200 pack to winning gold junior year, Seamus Raney a junior at North Cedar is becoming a very talented runner. Raney started his high school running career by running cross-country in the fall of his freshman year with his best time of 20.06. Then moving into the spring Raney started running varsity track events. In the 3200 meter with his best time of 11.31, 1600 meter at 5.32 and also running the 800 meter with a time of 2.25. Continuing the running lifestyle, Raney ran cross-country again sophomore year and again improved times every meet. Raney then ran track again in the spring with faster times than his freshman year cutting his mile time 28 seconds and his 800 time by 16 seconds. Raney also ran in the 400 with his best at 55 seconds. 

This fall running cross-country with his best time of 18.40, he is now medaling left and right. At the beginning of his junior year Raney was running his 800 meter at 2.09, his 400 meter at 52 seconds, anchoring the sprint medley with the 400 meter, and finishing most meets with the 4x400. Now Raney is running his 800 meter at a 2.03 cutting 6 seconds off while running his 400’s in 50 seconds cutting five seconds off. 

“I like being considered a leader,” Raney says. From leading stretches to start off practice to leading the runs Raney is no doubt a great leader on the team. 

“Seamus is fast, really fast, I wish I was as fast as him” teammate Chance Cinkovich says. 

Raney has some big goals for his senior year, the want for more never ends with him. He says qualifying for Drake and breaking the school record for the 800 is what his summer, fall, winter, and spring training will be for. 

Coach Kasik has been Raney’s coach since freshman year and Raney says “Kasik has helped him by being hard on the team in practice so we are ready for meets,” and, “sometimes practices suck but they are making us better”. Raney says the things that help him the most at meets are doing the same stretches, focusing on the event he is about to run, and hearing coach Kasik yelling at him to keep his form. 

Saturday May 20, Raney ran on the blue oval for the first time ever in his high school career. Raney qualified in two events, the sprint medley, and the 800-meter run. Despite getting sick the week of state, Raney still represented North Cedar with his head up and pushed through. Raney represents what a dedicated runner looks like. Not running as well as Raney hoped to he still has the mindset of a winner and says, “Going from the bottom this year to first next year is what I am going to do."

Raney qualified in two events, the sprint medley and the 800 meter run. Despite getting sick the week of state, Raney still represented North Cedar with his head up and pushed through.

Dancing The Year Away

Click to view moreThe North Cedar dance team ended their 2016-2017 dance season with a showcase to show off their talent to their family, friends, and community. This year they included a dance clinic which included the elementary school students. Team members wanted to get the word out about what the dance team is really all about. Having the high school dancers helping with the clinic really means a lot to the younger students. It makes them want to go out for dance.

The showcase featured twelve dances. The dance team took all the dances they have learned this season and presented all of them to the audience. The showcase really is a good cap to the season and a good time to show off their skills to people who might not have been able to make it to one of their performances. The team has been working on this since around June of last year (2016). The dancers were missing a few people at the showcase, so they had to work extra hard to fix the dances the night before and the day of so the dances would still look presentable. 

New to this showcase were two solos performed by sophomore Rachel Hart and junior Mikayla Burcum. Hart performed a solo to “Rise Up” by Andra Day and Burcum performed to “DNA” by Lia Marie Johnson. Burcum and Hart got together for a duet to “Halo” by Beyonce. Hart and Burcum both dance for other teams outside of school dance. Hart is a part of a dance studio in Tipton and enjoys dancing with girls from all over.  

Also new to the show this year was the dances the high schoolers taught the young children at the dance clinic. The high schoolers split the kids into different grades at the beginning of the clinic to teach them the dance separately, then at the end of the clinic all the grades got together and practiced the dance together as one big group, which is the way they performed it at the showcase. Preschool through first grade was taught by junior Chelsea Lovell and junior Mikayla Burcum. Second through fourth grade was taught by sophomore Kayla Sander and sophomore Rachel Hart. The fifth and sixth graders were taught by freshman Alyssa Higbee and freshman Haven Brown. 

A special thank you to Elizabeth Lovell, freshman yearbook student, for writing this article and to Saleena Jones, junior yearbook photographer, for taking the photos.

Book It

Congratulations to North Cedar Elementary students that successfully hit every goal for Book It this year! They were awarded a book for their accomplishments, compliments of the KCO. Great work!

Lowden's Final PBS Winners

At Lowden, we celebrated our final PBIS winners. Thanks to everyone for showing respect to self, respect to others, and respect to property. They include: 

  • Back row - Addi Ehlts, Ashton James, Ava Wenndt, Logan Eiselstein, and Kasen McDowell.
  • Front row - Marx Dittmer, Isaac Tharp, Phoenix Mayberry, Izzy Errthum, Aiden Carney, Cooper Heister, and Evan Tjaden.

Summer Reading

Summer reading sheets will be coming home with all elementary students in grades preschool through fifth. Please encourage your children to keep reading over the summer, and keep track of the books they read. They will fill in one sun for each book they read on the back of the flyer. When they come back in the fall they can bring the completed flyer to their teacher to receive their incentive for continuing to read. Summer reading is important for the students to maintain what they have learned and to avoid a lapse in their learning.

Fundamental Basketball Camp

We have a basketball camp coming up for students going into 4th through 9th grade. For all of the details and registration information, please view our flyer. We hope to see you there!

Lead2Feed Awards $420,000 for Student-Led Projects Supporting Community Needs

The Lead2Feed student leadership program is awarding $1,000 charitable grant and $1,000 technology grant based on the outstanding work of the North Cedar Hungry Helper team of Mikayla Burcum, Mariah Behrens, Breylee St. John, Fiona Raney, Madison Cornelius, and Makayla Schluter.  

Aligned to 21st century skills, Lead2Feed encourages students to develop leadership, literacy, and teamwork skills by completing service learning projects addressing needs in their community. In a recent survey conducted by Lead2Feed, 91 percent of Americans believe that middle and high school students should learn leadership skills as part of their curriculum. The program is inspired by co-founder, former CEO and chairman of Yum! Brands, and leadership expert, David Novak. The program was developed by the Foundation for Impact on Literacy and Learning, the Lift a Life Foundation, and the Yum! Brands Foundation.

Please take a moment to read our Lead2Feed press release for additional details on this program.


High Jump Season

We encourage you to read this article about Darby Hawtrey and her high jump season. Written by Darby. Hawtrey has qualified for state in the high jump. She is a junior yearbook student. 

In track there is both running and field events, I participate in both running and a field event. High jump has become a big part of my track career. My freshman year I could barely clear 4’10 and sophomore year 5’0, so my expectations for junior year were to improve another two inches. The very first meet we had was the UNI indoor and I hadn’t even practiced high jump yet for the season, but Coach Ketelsen wanted Lexi Crist and I both to jump. I ended up jumping 5’2, a new personal record for myself. I also tied for third place, and got to stand on the podium to receive a medal. That was just the start of the season. 

In between the UNI meet and the Iowa State indoor meet, I maybe only practiced once, where we would work on our steps and getting our hips up and over the bar. At the ISU meet I jumped 5’2 again but only placed 6th. The next meet was our conference indoor and I cleared 5’0 and then tried to jump at 5’3. I didn’t clear it, which caused me to end up third. For a while I was stuck with only jumping 5’0, which meant I was consistent but it wasn’t going to be enough to get into Drake. So I kept trying to get 5’3, and even though I was the final one left every meet, I still never got it. Then the Solon meet rolled around and it was a beautiful day. I was jumping really well and was super excited Lexi Crist and I jumped at 5’2 and made it. Then we went to 5’4 and I luckily made it. I was super excited and started thinking I would jump at 5’5 and make it. So I took my first two jumps at 5’5 and didn’t make it, but on the third jump I made it. I was so happy that I set a new school record and set my own personal record. Since I made 5’5 it meant I qualified for Drake Relays, which was something I didn’t think I could accomplish at the beginning of the season. 

Drake came around and I jumped 5’0 on the first try and then when the bar went up to 5’2 where I lost control and did not jump well. I ended up 16th out of 24 girls. We had a few meets after Drake-one being our conference meet where I jumped 5’0, 5’1, 5’2 and 5’3 easily on the first try each time. Then I tried at 5’4 and didn’t get it. Districts was our next meet so we got to practice a few times before then. Going into the meet I was fairly confident, but when it came time to jump I didn’t do as well as I had hoped. At 4’10 I missed the first one and then at 5’0 it took me all three tries to finally get it. I still won, which meant that I get to go to state. Hopefully I can redeem myself there and jump a new personal and school record. 

Mr. Photoshop

Check out this article written by Jacob Gottschalk, a freshman, and the only male member of the yearbook staff. 

Hi, my name is Jacob Gottschalk and I am the only boy in Yearbook with a dozen girls talking about their jobs, what their prom dress looks like, and if Ketelsen is having a long track practice. My role is to Photoshop photos and create special effects to photos for the yearbook. I signed up for the class second semester because my English teacher who is the yearbook sponsor saw me on Photoshop and asked if I would join the yearbook staff. So just like that, I became a yearbook staff member. 

There are some good things about being in a room of girls like I can say that it is the quietest room in the building. Sure, there are some girls having a conversation here and there and sometimes there is chaos when we found out Makayla Schluter placed in the Iowa High School Press Association contest, but it is calm in here for the most part. 

Going back to the main topic, which is how am I involved in the making of the yearbook because what may look or sound easy is in fact somewhat difficult for us. While others are writing articles or captions, I usually make most of the photos and what I mean by most I mean one part of the photo at the time. Changing things on a photo is a three-step process and then I might have to make more changes to a photo for one article, which gets hard. The first step for a divider page making and placing the border, then I focus on the photo. The second step involves photoshopping the photos using effects and other techniques to create a finished photo. The final step is getting the OK from Mrs. Green. The process of cutting out the background in a photo, or placing a photo inside another object-a mortise- or cropping usually takes what seems like a long time, but I have fun doing it so the time goes by fast. If I had to think which job would be the most difficult I think that all of the jobs are as equally difficult because the staff works hard to get the stories correct, proofread pages, and get just the right photo. For us the yearbook takes a school year to make because we are covering junior and senior high events all year. As a staff, we all have to work together in our jobs to get the yearbook finished before the deadline and yes, it does take a while until it is finished. So to conclude this article I would like to say that I am really obsessed with Photoshop as you can tell and I have been photoshopping photos for a year now. So just call me Mr. Photoshop I will be here with all the girls. 

Babysitting Basics

Please join us for a babysitting basics class. This course is geared for the beginning babysitter. You will learn first aid, diaper changing, age appropriate games, easy meal ideas, and more! The class is on Thursday, July 20, 2017, from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. at the Cedar County Center.

Kids Club - The Beginning For North Cedar Golfers

Most of the North Cedar’s golfers started out at Kids Club. Kids Club is a golf league for young people ages 8-14 in Lowden, Iowa. Kids Club starts the first Monday in June and runs through July. They divide the young people into small groups and volunteers coach them. During Kids Club the coaches teach the youth how to hold the club when driving, chipping, and putting. 

Junior Madi Cornelius started Kids Club when she was 11 years old. The last couple of years Cornelius’ team consisted of eighth graders Parker Stout, Carly Meier, and Costner Pruess. Now she is a volunteer at Kids Club every Monday morning from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Her favorite memory is getting first place at the end of the session almost every year. Cornelius is a five time medalist and is ranked number one on her team this year. So far this season she has been first place medalist against Camanche, Northeast, Cascade, and Bellevue and second place medalist at Lisbon. Coach Lori Dittmer says “She has fine tuned her all around skills, so she is consistent in every area of her game.” 

Senior Nick Dewell also was in Kids Club and joined when he was ten. His team members were now graduated Cody Fields and senior Jacob Jensen. Dewell’s favorite memory was beating Fields and Jensen most of the time. Denise Conrad, instructor for Kids Club, taught Dewell how to chip and putt correctly to improve his short game. Dewell joked, “My short game is what I think I do well, even if Coach Cox disagrees.” This season Dewell is ranked second on his team following senior Tanner Mullan. 

Another Kids Club graduate is sophomore Lydia Esbaum, who started Kids Club at age 14. Family friend Kent Stout told her about Kids Club, and Esbaum made the decision to join. Esbaum’s favorite memory from Kids Club was going out and golfing, but the real fun was when she started seeing improvement. “During Kids Club I remember always having trouble hitting the ball. One day while practicing with Blake Sander she told me I needed to keep my lead arm straight,” commented Esbaum, “this helped me in a lot of ways, and I always tell myself to keep my arm straight when golfing today.” It is the little things that Esbaum has taken to heart to improve her golf game. 

This year Esbaum has gotten third at almost every meet including Northeast, Camanche, and Cascade. She has seen some disappointments in her golf game, but her determination to medal will keep her working hard. Her goal is to medal, but she hasn’t yet due to the fact they only medal first and second. Esbaum said, “My best meet this year was when I tied with Taylor, a girl from Cascade for third, with a score of 55 at their home meet.” Before golf started Esbaum trained with the girls track to stay in shape, but as soon as golf started she was back on the course with her team.

Since Kids Club all of these golfers have improved tremendously. In more ways than one Kids Club has helped form North Cedar students into the golfers they are today. 

A special thank you to Maranda Thurston, senior yearbook staff member, for writing this article and creating the mortise photo of Lydia Esbaum.

North Cedar’s Nicole Deerberg Leaves A Positive Environmental Footprint

More Project Aware PhotosIf Nicole Deerberg had been asked a couple years ago if she would willingly put herself in the heart of the wilderness to get muddy and wet every day, while sleeping under the protection of only a tent every night, she would have certainly said no. However, for the previous two years she has done just that. 

Project AWARE is a five-day week full of fun, if you don’t mind getting a little dirty. The majority of your time is spent on the river in either a canoe or a kayak, but there are still plenty of opportunities to get in the water and get dirty while diving and digging for trash to clean up. Project AWARE is an event put on by the Iowa DNR to create awareness about water quality issues in Iowa and to engage Iowa citizens in a rewarding project that challenges them daily. Deerberg has participated in Project AWARE for two consecutive years, both times with her friend, Aubrey Cady, and her friend’s mother, Laura Musser. Both Cady and Musser were returning Project AWARE participants. Deerberg had very different experiences both times she participated in Project AWARE, and to this day she says that she would still go back to experience yet another week of spontaneous adventures in the wilderness. 

During her week out at Project AWARE, Deerberg claims she was able to get out of her comfort zone, but still enjoy the unusual experience. When she says get out of her comfort zone she is referring to the parts of the trip that might not sound that appealing, such as: getting her clothes wet and muddy, picking up wet trash and sitting in it all day in the canoe or kayak, having to wait in line for the showers, showering in a campground, eating off the same plate and using the same utensils each day, getting a countless number of bug bites, or staying in a tent each night no matter what the weather is like. Each of these factors mentioned make up the basics and accomplish the goals of Project AWARE. 

Deerberg attended the 13th Annual Project AWARE her first year. They cleaned up the Wapsipinicon River, which is about 20 miles from Clarence. According to Lynette Seigley, research geologist who has helped out with Project AWARE for many years, out of the 63 miles that the Project AWARE participants paddled that week, 30.1 tons of trash was removed and 54,656 pounds of that trash was recycled.

While most of a volunteer’s time during Project AWARE is spent out under the sun on the river getting dirty and cleaning up trash, there are perks. In the evenings there are several opportunities that will keep the participants entertained, if they choose not to hang out by their tent and play cards or just relax. Project AWARE invites experienced guest speakers to inform the participants on water quality and other relatable topics. There are also fun games that are available for the younger participants to play. Most people would say their favorite part of Project AWARE is the catered meals. However, Deerberg disagrees. “My favorite part about Project AWARE is by far the determination and the positivity of every other participant there,” she emphasises. 

Jim Dodd, a Project AWARE participant of ten years, explains in an interview, “It’s kind of a family thing. I’ve met these people from the first year and they all come back every year.” 

Deerberg explains a normal Project AWARE day to us. She claims that each day out on the river is full of new and exciting adventures. Her day would start by waking up in a tent. Whether she had to pack up her sleeping luggage and take down her tent would depend on where they were camping for that night, however she would pack all of her river luggage, which included sunscreen, bug spray, sack lunches, water bottles, etc., into the back of a pickup truck that would drop it off at the starting point. After packing up, if necessary, Deerberg would head to breakfast with her plates and utensils she brought from home. Then, after breakfast she would listen to the safety instructor give a quick repeated safety lesson that was given the morning before. Deerberg would also be informed on how many miles she would be expected to paddle that day. Lastly, she would pack onto the buses or the vans that will bring her to the starting point on the river. 

Once they all unload from the buses or vans Deerberg would head to find her river luggage and the canoe and paddles of her choice. Then, she would start the adventure for that day by putting her canoe into the water and paddling to find some trash to clean up. After finding tons of trash to pick up, the canoe will feel a little weighed down, so Deerberg and her friends would have to stop at the halfway point to have members of the volunteer staff unload the trash for them. To refresh, they grab water and a snack. Then, they would be back on the river to clean up some more trash. By this time volunteers would either stop to eat their sack lunch, or if they had three people in a canoe, they could switch off turns eating and paddling so they could keep going. After a while, Deerberg and the other volunteers would finally see the ending point and start to paddle faster. Once there, the volunteer staff help to pull in the other volunteers and take the trash out of their canoe as they get some more water and snacks, and wait in line for the van to come pick them up and haul them back to the campsite where they are staying at that night.

Once the volunteers are back at the campsite they will grab their sleeping luggage and their tent, if at a different campsite than the night before, or else they are allowed to shower. Then, around 6:00 p.m. Deerberg and the other volunteers can start getting in line to eat supper. After supper they have free time to do whatever they choose to do, however, Project AWARE does have activities that will keep everyone entertained. Lastly, Deerberg emphasizes that all volunteers will need to get a full eight hours of sleep to be rested up for the next day’s adventure.

Megan Berberich explains in her article Project AWARE Cleans Des Moines River that “the goal of Project AWARE is to increase awareness about water quality issues that impact the health of Iowa’s resources." 

When one signs up for Project AWARE they are volunteering their time to make a difference in their environment. Not only are they impacting the water quality of the rivers they are cleaning up, but also the animals that live in those dirty and polluted waters. According to the Iowa DNR website in 2006 there were 176 participants that removed a total of 48,586 pounds, which is 24.29 tons of trash. These numbers have since been doubled in the summer of 2016 with 329 participants and a total of 80,062 pounds, which is 40.0 tons of trash removed from our rivers. This shows the huge impact that Project AWARE has on our environment. 

A special thank you to Makayla Schluter for writing this article.

Lowden Elementary - PBIS Winners

Lowden Elementary celebrated April PBIS winners on Tuesday, April 25. We recognized those students who have shown respect to themselves, respect to others, and respect to property. Great job, everyone!

April PBIS WinnersBack row: Jaydon Waterman, Harley Usher, Isaiah Bodkin, Emma Higbee, Anikah Boettcher, Carson Cornelius, Jacob Balke

Middle row: Kirra Stock, Kyler Dierks, Braxton Lange, Tailynn Lange, Mason Cox, Khrista Wiesner

Front row: Eli Schmacht, Cameron Carney, Serenity Edwards, BayLee Feckers, Derin McMellen, Declan Dies, Bently Hormann, Ashlynn Hammes, Josephine Morgan