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.

Jr/Sr High School Yearbook

The North Cedar Jr/Sr High School yearbook will have a new feature this year - aurasma. Aurasma is an app that links videos of the events with the photos in the yearbook. The cost is $55. Order forms are available during conferences. Check out this YouTube video to learn more about this cool feature. 

Mini Dance Wars Fundraiser

North Cedar Student Council (SC) and Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) would like to congratulate the seniors on winning the Mini Dance Marathon "Penny Wars". Each grade-level competed against each other by placing positive pennies in their grade-level jar and negative coins and dollars in other grade-level jars. The competition was fierce this year, as the official amount raised was $727.05. Great job everyone! 

Currently, students have four jars to choose from to put all positive counting money in to vote. The vote decides who gets duct taped to the wall during the mini dance marathon. The choice is between Mr. Kasik, Ms. Curley, Ms. Potts, and Mr. Hoefler. We cannot wait to see who wins! 

The SC and FBLA have invited high school students from Tipton, Mt. Vernon, Lisbon, Anamosa, Solon, Midland, and Calamus-Wheatland to join in our fundraising efforts. The proceeds help our needy families to use the U of I's hospital services. After deducting DJ costs, all proceeds from Penny Wars, Duct Tape a Teacher, t-shirt sales, dance entry fees, snacks, and glow stick sales will go toward supporting U of I's hospital financial services for families. 

SC and FBLA have designed a music mix and a Just Dance theme video for students to have fun enjoying. The music and video will go out to student e-mails and social media. This will give the students an opportunity to learn and have fun with the music that is going to play at the top of every hour during the dance. We cannot wait to see your dance moves! 

If any person or business would be willing to help us cover the cost of our DJ, that would be so welcomed! Please contact Jane Koch for more information. We look forward to this fun event and for the opportunity to help the hospital families! Thanks to everyone for their participation! 

Senior Class Winner 

Thank you to following student council and FBLA members who faithfully attended the overflowing jars daily: Samantha Kremer, Tessa Fields, Makayla Schluter, Madison Cornelius, and Leah Crock.

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Please plan to attend the parent-teacher conferences on Tuesday, February 20 and Thursday, February 22. Teachers will be available in their classrooms from 1:30-4:30 p.m. and 5:00-8:00 p.m. Teachers will have a supper break from 4:30-5:00 p.m. and will not be available at this time. For the full schedule and additional details, please read through this parent-teacher conference letter. Thank you for meeting with your child’s teacher. We look forward to seeing you there!

Mini Dance Marathon

Mini Dance Marathon is on Saturday, February 24 at the Stanwood Gym from 6:00 p.m. until 12:00 midnight. Students under freshman leave at 10:00 p.m. Please join us at our dance marathon and dance the night away! All the proceeds go to the U of I Children’s Hospital and our goal is $5,000! Bring some money and your dance moves. We'll see you there.

Babysitting Basics

Kirkwood Community College is offering a babysitting basics class on Thursday, March 29 at Tipton High School. This course will cover the basics of babysitting for the beginner babysitter. The cost is $25.00. Please call (563) 886.2590 or visit Kirkwood Community College Continuing Education to register.

Kirkwood Continuing Education Personal Enrichment and Professional Development for Iowa’s Creative Corridor. Babysitting Basics: Thursday, March 29th, 6pm-9pm. This course is geared for the beginner babysitter. Instruction includes first aid, recognizing safety hazards and choking hazards, and how to respond. You will also learn diaper changing, age appropriate games and easy meal ideas. The cost for this class is $25 and will be held in the consumer science room at Tipton High School. Must be at least 9 years old to register! Register online at or call us at 563-886-2950.

Moped Operator Course

Kirkwood Community College is offering a moped operator course on Saturday, March 10 at Tipton High School. This class will cover safety, rules of the road, and laws governing mopeds. The cost is $39.00. Please call (563) 886.2950 or visit Kirkwood Community College Continuing Education to register.

Kirkwood Continuing Education Personal Enrichment and Professional Development for Iowa’s Creative Corridor. Moped Operator Course: Saturday, March 10th, 8am-2:30pm. Get ready to ride your moped! This class will cover safety, rules of the road and laws governing mopeds. There will also be discussions on rider responsibility, safety checks for the rider and moped, and rider scenarios. Bring a sack lunch and drink to class. The cost for this class is $39 and will be held in the cafeteria at the Tipton High School. Register online at or call us at 563-886-2950.

Tipton Parks and Recreation Programs

The Tipton Parks and Recreation Department is currently registering for summer camps, swim lessons, and other fun activities. We have registration forms available in our elementary offices. Please see the Tipton Parks and Recreation website for more information.

Lowden’s Knight Pride Practices Determination

On January 26, Lowden's Knight Pride groups talked about determination, and then worked together to see who could build the tallest towers. Each group demonstrated their use of determination because they believed they would be able to go the highest without it toppling over. With only 100 toothpicks and marshmallows to use, they worked hard and did an excellent job!

View more photos of the students building towers
Gazette Article by Darby Hawtrey

Senior Darby Hawtrey wrote an article about Samantha Paup, and it was posted in The Gazette. Please take a moment to read Darby’s article. Well done Darby!

Makayla Schluter

Check out this article from The Gazette highlighting North Cedar senior Makayla Schluter's exceptional demonstration of leadership and self-discipline. 

Back To Her Roots

A woodworking, forging, crocheting, fishing, softball playing math teacher whose name is Alex Curley. She considers herself “a jack of all trades, master of none.” Alex Curley is a not so new teacher here at North Cedar and is an amazing addition to our group of math teachers, teaching geometry, statistics, and algebra A and B. While this is her first year teaching here, it is not her first time here at North Cedar. Curley graduated from North Cedar in 2012 and accomplished a lot in her four years. By the end of her high school career Curley was valedictorian, a four sport athlete, won the Silver Cord Volunteer scholarship, was involved in student council and math club, was a gallon blood donor, and received the Governor's Scholarship award among many other scholarships. After graduation she went on to attend Simpson College to play softball and rugby and work towards her degree to become a math teacher. Curley graduated from Simpson College in 2016 with the Breakdown National Player of the Week award and two NSCRO national championship appearances for rugby and graduated cum laude with a bachelors of arts degree in mathematics and minors in secondary education and coaching. Curley went into the workforce right away after graduation getting a teaching job at South Central Calhoun Middle School in Rockwell City, Iowa for a year before applying for the open math teacher position here back to her roots at North Cedar. Curley was never really gone though. Since 2015 Curley has been assistant coaching for the Knights softball team and will take the head coaching position this season. 

Since Curley has been in school there have been quite a few changes. Curley says the biggest changes she noticed when she came back as a teacher instead of a student are the building and the grading system. Curley said, “I miss the Stanwood high school like crazy. It doesn’t even feel like the same school I went to. It’s sad seeing the building gone.” Here at North Cedar we are also switching over to a new grading system, standards-based grading. Not only has this system been hard on students, it’s been rough on teachers trying to implement the system in classes as well, “I have very limited experience with standards-based grading, and I'm learning as we go. It's a big transition for me especially not being able to grade homework. In math, the more practice the better.” Standards-based grading is a big transition for all the teachers and students, but with teachers helping the students and the students helping the teachers it is gradually getting easier for everyone. 

Usually people can’t wait to get out of high school and their home town and never look back, but not Alex. Curley said, “Coming back to work at North Cedar was something I always hoped to do. I never thought I would be back in only my second year of teaching, but I'm glad I am.” Coming back to your home town is one thing, but coming back to work with all the teachers you may or may not have liked is a whole different thing. “It wasn't a difficult transition for me to go from student to colleague. All of the staff has welcomed me back with open arms.”

Although Curley is a first year teacher here she already knows what she wants to accomplish at this job she is so passionate about. Curley said, “My goal while working here at North Cedar is to change the mindset of students. We have a tendency here to settle for just being okay. I don't want us to just be okay. I want us to push harder and get better. We need to increase work ethic and accountability.” Curley is more than ready to be involved here at North Cedar and to help students be the best they can be when they leave high school to enter the real world. 

A special thank you to junior Kaitlyn Thompson for writing this article.

Alex Curley playing left field and going for a catch for North Cedar during her high school years.

Alex Curley running track during her high school years.

Alex Curley going for a tackle in rugby during her rugby career in college at Simpson.

Alex Curley playing basketball for North Cedar during her high school years.

Alex Curley coaching then eighth grader and junior varsity player Katie Thompson during her first year of coaching.

Robotics Competition

The North Cedar robotics teams had a successful day at the recent league championships. The Griffin Gears team came home with a trophy for being on the second place team during the tournament part of the competition. The Blood, Sweat, and Gears team had a rough day due to an update on their phones but showed lots of improvement from the start of the season. Way to go, teams!

More photos and videos of the Robotics Competition
Lowden Reading Challenge

101 Lowden students returned their winter break reading challenge sheets. They enjoyed hot chocolate and candy canes thanks to KCO. Keep up the great work! 

More photos of Lowden Reading Challenge
Team Tower Building Project

Mrs. Hamdorf's junior high math classes worked in groups to build towers yesterday. Click on the link below to view photos and videos of the project!

more photos

Lowden and Mechanicsville Receive Shirts

American Trust and Savings Bank in Lowden donated t-shirts to kindergarten students in both Lowden and Mechanicsville. These students were very excited to put on their new shirts showing the year they will graduate from North Cedar!

Shirt Photos

Oz The Great And Powerful

The North Cedar Drama Department put on Oz! by Tim Kelly the weekend of November 10-12 at the Debbie Harms Theatre in Clarence. Twenty-four students were involved in Oz! directed by Terry and Hobert Flory, with Music Director, Peter Fourniea assisting. 

Oz! is about a girl from Kansas named Dorothy, played by junior Shelby Slaton, who was lost in a storm and was taken to the wonderful land of Oz! There, her and her little dog Toto, Marty McAtee, met the munchkins who helped her “Follow the Road,” along with Glinda the Good Witch, played by Kira Jones. She learned about the Emerald City and wanted to ask Oz to fly her back home. Dorothy made three new friends along her journey who each wanted something from Oz themselves. The Tin Woodsman, played by senior Keynan Pearson, the Scarecrow, played by senior Brady Lehrmann, and the Lion, played by senior D. J. Stull, all welcomed Dorothy with a song and even a little bit of dancing before they made their way to Oz. Throughout the play they were stopped many times by the Wicked Witch of the West, played by senior Sam Paup, and her evil flying monkeys. They ended up trapped in her castle where they were forced to do chores. Dorothy found a way to kill the witch by pouring water on her, which resulted in her melting. With the death of their leader, the flying monkeys were set free and helped the prisoners return to Oz to tell him the good news. When they got there, he could not grant their wish, and told them to come back tomorrow. Toto eventually found where he was hiding and pulled Oz, played by senior Ethan St. John, out and showed his real identity. This scam artist of a wizard shocked the characters in surprise, but each person eventually received what they wanted, a heart, a brain, and courage, besides Dorothy. They had no way to fly her back home, so she was stuck there forever. Glinda the Good Witch came out of nowhere and told the story of how she can get Dorothy back to Kansas. The secret was in the shoes! With three simple clicks her silver slippers took both Dorothy and Toto back to Aunt Em, played by senior Darby Hawtrey, but not before waving her new found friends goodbye.

View more photos about the playPutting on a play is hard work. Directors have many challenges including making sure lines are being memorized and making sure backgrounds are being made and are in the right spots at the right times. They also make sure costumes are found for each character and make sure to find a practice schedule that allows every student the opportunity to be involved. Being a small school, everyone is involved in every sport and club imaginable, so it’s challenging to find a schedule that works for every person. At most practices, half the cast wasn’t there due to sports. Despite all of these conflicts, everyone still came together and produced a fantastic show.

Many memories are made while preparing for the performances. Whether it’s seeing our choir director’s twins that were just born, or singing and dancing to music, it will be something I won’t forget. If you were in theatre, you too probably know what I’m talking about. There's something magical about drama. It brings people together and breaks the stereotypical upper classmen and lower classmen rival. Everyone is equal and no one is judged on who they are because we are all different characters and mostly are all out of our comfort zones. I’ve also grown closer to people I never knew I had common interests in. It’s definitely amazing seeing the transition from the first day of rehearsal where you only know the people in your grade that you feel safe with, to the last day of rehearsal where you can go up and have a conversation with anyone. Most importantly our program is a family. 

This year we have seven graduating seniors that fill big roles in and out of the Drama Department. We welcomed two new faces into our program this year, Darby Hawtrey who played Auntie Em, and D. J. Stull who played the Lion. Both were excellent additions to our program and they each made the musical extra special. In addition to these two, Keynan Pearson, Ethan St. John, Jasmine Doty, Brady Lehrman, and Sam Paup are all seniors as well. These seniors are hardworking and really deserve the extra round of applause. 

A special thank you to Breylee St. John for writing this article.