Dan Oppenheim, Jr. Memorial Scholarship


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Meet the scholarship winners


Elsa Wright, 2017
Throughout her Valley High School career, Elsa consistently stood out as an outstanding student and athlete. She graduated with a 3.37 GPA and plans to pursue a fashion merchandising degree from Iowa State University. Her goal is to one day provide quality and affordable apparel to the millennial generation.

While at Valley, Elsa was a four-year Varsity letter winner in both Cross Country and Track and Field and she was a Cross Country Captain in her senior year. In addition, she competed in the Drake Relays on numerous occasions and she even showcased her talents at the state track and field meet three different times. She also had a great history of providing leadership, volunteering, and showing a great deal of initiative in addition to her substantive athletic accomplishments. Since 2013, Elsa has volunteered for a number of organizations including Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Best Buddies, and Silver Cord at Valley High School.



Katherine Rauch, 2016

Katherine graduated Valley High School with a cumulative GPA of 4.0. She will attend Iowa State University wheree she intends to study athletic traiing and she plans to go to obtain a Master's Degree in athletic training and attend physical therapy school. During her high school career, Katherine participated all four years in Varsity Softball and served as a Boy's Basketball Manager. She also participated in Best Buddies, was a Varsity Football Student Trainer, a Peer Partner, and was a National Honor Society member.  In addition, Katherine earned an All Conference Academic Award four times in both Softball and Boys Basketball as a manager. She also was awarded several Varsity letters, an Academic letter, and Academic Gold Bar twice.  The two years she spent as a student athletic trainer for football helped her to make her decision to pursue Athletic Training as a field of study in college and as a profession.  English teacher Cameron Gale describes Katherine as ..."a good student: reliable, hard working and extremely thoughtful."


Austin Hronich, 2015
Austin.jpgAustin graduated with a 3.3 GPA from Valley High School while being involved in a variety of sports and activities. Known as a hard worker and a team player, Austin participated in Football, Track, and Silver Cord) during his freshman year; in Football, Hockey, Silver Cord, and BestBuddies in is sophomore year; in Football and Silver Cord while a junior; and in Football and Silver Cord during his senior year. He earned varsity letters in both Track and Football.

Here's what Head Football Coach Gary Swenson had to say about Austin:

"Austin has all the qualities educators and coaches appreciate. Austin is reliable and dependable . . . . he was a starting wide receiver on our varsity football team and he is a fierce competitor and a relentlessworker. I loved coaching Austin as he made the most of his abilities and was a consistent contributor to our team. Austin has the utmost respect of his coaches and teammates." 

Austin plans to attend Simpson College where he will study Criminal Justice. "My objective is to become a Federal Agent and protect and serve our country and it's leaders," he explained.



Ben Miles, 2014
Ben.jpgBen graduated with a 3.88 GPA while being involved in a variety of sports throughout his four years at Valley High School. In addition, he chalked up a number of honors including two varsity letters in football, a varsity letter in basktball, three academic letters, and 11 acadamic all-conference awards. On top of that, he was involved in a number of other activities including student government, Rock-in-Prevention, Homecoming and Prom committees. And, he managed to find time to volunteer for such causes as Meals From the Heartland, The Salvation Army, and the Blood Drive just to name a few.

Known for his strong work ethic and positive attitude, Ben served as an inspiration to his peers – both in sports and in the classroom. He plans to attend the University of Iowa to study business and sports management.




Alex Bodin, 2013
Alex Bodin.jpgScholar-athlete Alex Bodin graduated with a 3.52 GPA from Valley High School. He was an accomplished swimmer throughout his high school career having been a four-year Valley Varsity Letter winner, Valley Outstanding Swimmer in 2012 and 2013, a four-event medal winner at the 2012 Iowa High School State Meet and a three-event medal winner at the 2013 Iowa High School State Meet, and a four-year Academic All Conference Letter recipient.

Known for his strong work ethic and compassion, Alex was respected by his peers and he led by example. As Senior Captain of the Valley Swim Team, Alex honed his leadership skills while encouraging and mentoring underclassmen. Alex was also actively involved in a number of extra-curricular activities including serving as a volunteer YMCA swim coach, a member of the Central Iowa Aquatics Swim Club, a member of the Valley Chorus, and taking part in Valley Men's Syncro and Water Polo activities.

"I am humbled and honored to have been selected to receive Dan's scholarship," Alex said. "I hope Dan would be proud of my years at Valley and my future plans for attending and swimming at University of Wisconsin at Green Bay. My family and I thank you for your generosity and support."



Conner VandeVenter, 2012
conner.jpgConner is a very accomplished young man. Graduating with a 3.1 GPA from Valley High School, he was recognized for taking a very active role in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation as a mentor for children who also share his disease. Sharing a quote by his high school counselor Larry Mandernach, "...Conner is not one to delegate work and then idly stand by and watch. He is a doer, guiding others and leading by example. His level of involvement is tops as his resume will show..."

Conner participated in Cross Country all four years as a Valley student earning Varsity Captain, Coaches Quality Award and Coaches Leadership Award as a senior. He also participated in Track and Field and Swim team while attending high school. A well rounded student, Conner also was a member of the Choir, Baker's Dozen Mime Troupe, Valley Thespian Troupe, Iowa High School Speech Association, and commanded numerous Theatre Production responsibilities. Conner's commitment to many volunteer and community involvement experiences exemplifies the quality young man he has become.

Conner now attends The Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University in St Louis, Missouri, to pursue his dream of becoming a light designer on Broadway. We wish him the best of luck in his endeavors and hope that he reaches his ultimate dream of becoming an instructor.



scholarship.jpgJoseph Rivas, 2011
Joseph graduated from Valley High School with a 3.4 GPA. Headed to Iowa State University to study Engineering, Joseph was an academic all conference winner all four years at Valley.  As a student athlete, he played basketball and baseball both freshman and sophomore years and he then went on to varsity baseball both his junior and senior years. Joseph enjoyed his membership in Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Outdoors Club, and intramurals. Coach Cooley wrote: "During practices, Joe was always a leader by example throughout drills and game situations. He always performed at a competitive level that helped him improve each day." Coach Cooley added, "Joe is a unique young adult and will be able to do anything he sets his mind to. I admire Joe Rivas and know that he will be successful in anything that he desires."

Asked why he was applying for the Dan Oppenheim Jr Memorial Scholarship Award Joseph wrote, "...the leadership I have displayed in athletics, in the classroom, and in life have put me in a position to receive this scholarship. I have always been a strong believer in character in every aspect of life and it would be an honor to receive the Dan Oppenheim, Jr. Scholarship Award."



Katelyn Bakey, 2010
Katelyn graduated with a GPA of 3.89. She plans to attend Minnesota State University in Mankato and major in exercise science and then go on to graduate school. She ultimately wants to work in physical therapy. While at Valley, Katelyn played Varsity softball for four years, she played basketball for three years, and she played Freshman and Varsity volleyball. In addition, she was a member of the Athletic Director's Advisory Council, a volunteer assistant softball coach, a 10-time CMIL All-Academic, and she was named to the honor roll all four years of her high school career. When asked what a supervising coach, faculty member, teammate, or peer would want to know about her, Katelyn replied: "I would say I am a quality teammate, a strong competitor, and I consistently demonstrate a strong work ethic . . . . I am a strong, quiet leader who leads by example while offering encouragement."


 Maren Idso, 2009
Maren Idso graduated in 2009 with a 3.84 GPA and plans to study design at Iowa State University. During her four years at Valley, Maren played softball and basketball and participated as a football trainer in addition to being on the honor roll. In addition, in her sophomore and junior years she was a member of the German Club, Althletic Directors Advisory Council, Valley Ambassador, and Youth Leadership Forum. Of all her experiences, Maren says taking part in softball has been "the most important to me; it is one of the many things that define me over the years and it has taught me some life lessons: communication, dedication, responsibility, and a strong work ethic."

Angela Davis, 2008
Angela Davis graduated in 2008 with a 3.7 GPA and plans to attend Central College in the fall. She participated in softball all four of her years at Valley while also playing volleyball and basketball during her freshman and sophomore years.  In addition, she added cross country in her junior and senior years. On top of that, she was a very involved volunteer for many organizations including the Athletic Director's Advisory Council, Secret Santa for the homeless, P.E.O.P.E.L  PE & Functional Foods, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Special Olympics volunteer, peer helper, and John Stoddard Rally Against Cancer volunteer, to mention a few.
Angela's athletic accomplishments and awards include 4A State Champion both as a freshman and junior, 1st team all conference, 3rd team all state, three-time varsity letter winner and athletic academic letter recipient, volleyball captain both freshman and sophomore year, two-time volleyball athletic academic letter recipient, and two-time athletic academic letter recipient in basketball and cross country. When asked which of her many experiences has had the greatest impact, Angela replied, "Working each day with the handicapped students at our high school has been the most important to me because I enjoy helping them learn new skills in PEOPEL PE & Functional Foods.  I hope I have impacted their lives as much as they have impacted mine because they are great kids."



Mike Beals, 2007
Mike Beals graduated from Valley in May with a 4.029 cumulative GPA. In addition to excelling in academics, Mike was involved in a wide variety of activities while also participating in golf and basketball throughout his high school career. His parents, Larry and Cathie Beals, are former teachers of Dan's and have fond memories of him as an enthusiastic and fun-loving student. Mike plans to attend Iowa State University and major in accounting.



Megan Altemeier, 2006

Megan graduated from Valley High School with a 3.9 GPA. Among her many significant accomplishments: She was a two-sport letter winner in track and cross country all four years, CIML all academic all four years in cross country and track, 4800 track state champion (2005) and track team state champion in 2005, and National Honor Society member. Megan will be attending UNI with a major in Elementary Education/Coaching certificate. Here’s what Megan had to say about winning the Dan Oppenheim, Jr. Scholarship:

“Thank you for everything. This scholarship meant the world to me. It was so neat to be the first female recipient. Next year, I will be attending the University of Northern Iowa, and I plan to major in elementary education. I will not be running cross country or track there but I plan to join a running club called Pacers where I will run with girls from across the campus. I also plan to be involved in intramural sports such as volleyball and soccer. I was so honored and humbled to be picked as the female award winner. I had worked so hard throughout high school in athletics and academics-something I hope Dan would be proud of. THANKS AGAIN!"

-- Megan Altemeier

Jake Williams, 2006

Jake participated in four sports during all four years of high school while managing to be on the honor roll, perform 40 hours of community service each year, and work part time. Jake also wore #22 in basketball, which is the same number that Dan wore. Among his many achievements at Valley High School: Baseball and football state champs 2005, all conference academic all four years, 1st team all state selection in football, and 1st team all conference -- unanimous selection. He plans to attend the University of Northern Iowa to study business.