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Assumption High School

Assumption High School Newsletter

September 17, 2014

Dear Assumption Community,

With the excitement of a new school year and the start of fall just around the corner, we invite you to enjoy another installment of our Assumption High School e-newsletter.

The latest newsletter features news about enrollment, new hires, upcoming fall performances, recaps of recent athletic accomplishments, as well as alumni updates.

In addition, Gary Laake '68, who will be retiring at the end of this academic year, has penned a letter to the entire Assumption community that I invite all of you to read. Notes and well wishes may be sent to Mr. Laake at

I enjoyed reconnecting with many of you at various reunion events this past summer, and look forward to seeing you all in a few days at Homecoming!

Please continue to send your news, feedback, and ideas. As always, we look forward to hearing from you!

One in the Spirit,

Jordan Gizzarelli '99
Director of Alumni Relations

Assumption Welcomes Class of 2018

Assumption welcomed 103 new Knights this fall, keeping enrollment solid at 460 total students. This year's student body includes 9th through 12th graders from all of the local parishes, and has a diverse makeup with 17 percent of students self-identified as minority, up from 15 percent a year ago.

Auditorium Seat Renovation Complete

Replacement of the nearly 40-year old seats in Sunderbruch Auditorium was recently completed by American Seating.

This project was funded with the help of April Knight 2013, Backstage Angels, private donations, and the General Fund. For information on naming a seat or donating to this project, please contact Liz King at ( or 563-326-5313 x 228.

To view a photo gallery of the renovation, please click here.

Alumni Q&A with Fr. Pat Barnes '97

We recently caught up with Father Pat Barnes, a 1997 Assumption graduate, and pastor at Saint Nicholas Catholic Church in Elko New Market, Minnesota.

Father Barnes graciously shared his experiences at Assumption and in the priesthood. Read the full text here.

Looking Toward Homecoming Week 2014

Assumption will celebrate Homecoming 2014 during the week of September 22. As always, the week will include several dress-up days and plenty of Knight Spirit at the Homecoming Pep Rally, Bonfire, and Dancing with the Studs competition to be held Thursday evening, September 25, starting at 6 p.m.

An all-school Homecoming Mass will be celebrated on Thursday, September 25, at 9:55 a.m. in the newly-renovated Sunderbruch Auditorium, and the Knights will face Mount Pleasant at Brady Street Stadium on Friday, September 26, at approximately 7:30 p.m. The annual Homecoming Dance is set for Saturday, September 27.

Fall Blood Drive Saves Lives

Assumption students and faculty recently participated in the annual Fall Blood Drive led by science teacher and “Top Teacher Search (“LIVE! With Kelly”) national finalist Mrs. Wendy Martin. Staff members from the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center were on hand to collect donations.

"The Blood Drive is a great way for students and staff to perform an invaluable community service together. It gives students a sense of pride when they know they helped us reach our goal," Martin said. "Many students who first donate at school blood drives become lifelong donors."

New Faculty and Staff Join AHS Family

Assumption welcomed several new faculty members this year, including Ms. Brenda Hansen (Science), Mrs. Sue Timmerman '87 Huber (Consumer Science), Ms. Vanessa Shipley (Social Studies), and Mr. Anthony Wittemeyer (Health/PE).

Mrs. Annie Vaughn is Assumption's new School Counselor, while alum Mrs. Jenny Kelly '98 Grobstich was recently named Director of Admissions. Father Thom Hennen and Mother Susan Rueve have joined the Religion department.

Fine Arts News

Knight Players to Perform Two Shows

The Assumption Knight Players will stage two performances this fall, the Children's Play, Once Upon a Wolf, and Fall Play, Theophilus North.

Once Upon a Wolf is a fast and furious collection of fractured fairy tales with a modern twist. It explains what happens when the Big Bad Wolf decides he (or she) doesn't want to be big or bad anymore! Directed by Assistant Drama Director, Emily Hill '09, the cast and crew will stage performances on October 11 and 12 at 2 p.m. in Sunderbruch Auditorium. The Oct. 12 performance will be preceded by a Children’s Workshop for students in 1st–6th grade.

Performances of Theophilus North will be held November 7 and 8 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. Set in the tiny resort town of Newport, RI, during the height of the Jazz Age in summer, 1926, Theophilus North follows the exploits of the title character as he searches for adventure and his place in the world.

Drama Director, Elizabeth (Liz) King '00, would like to invite everyone to experience the talent of Assumption’s Drama Department. “We have a wonderful group of gifted actors and actresses this year. If you haven’t been to a Knight Players’ production recently, come back and see what you’ve been missing!”

If you have questions about the Knight Players or the Children's Workshop, please email for more information!

Athletic News

Knights are Des Moines Register All-Sports Champions Again

For the third consecutive year, and sixth time overall, Assumption won the Des Moines Register’s All-Sports Award. The Knights are champions of the Medium School Division (350-799 students) for the 2013-14 academic year after earning points for State Tournament championships in Wrestling, Girls’ Track & Field, Girls’ Soccer and Baseball teams, as well as State Tournament appearances by the Volleyball, Girls’ Cross Country, and Girls’ Basketball teams. Below are the final standings for the 2013-14 academic year:

Top 5 Medium Schools – Up to 799 students – (grades 9-11)
1. Assumption (54) – (volleyball 5.5; girls' cross country 6; girls' basketball 2.5; wrestling 10; girls' track 10; girls' soccer 10, baseball 10)
2. Waverly-Shell Rock (44)
3. Solon (36.5)
4. Cedar Rapids Xavier (34.5)
5. Harlan (30)

Assumption has won the Register’s All-Sports Award in the Small School Division four times (2004, 2008, 2012, 2013), and the Medium School Division twice (2003, 2014). Congratulations to all of our coaches, athletes, and supporters!

Girls' Soccer Makes It A Four-Peat!

The Assumption Girls' Soccer Team did it again as the Lady Knights earned their fourth consecutive Iowa Class 1A State Championship with a 3-0 win over Nevada on June 14 at the James W. Cownie Soccer Complex in Des Moines.

Led by NSCAA All-American and four-time Iowa Gatorade Player of the Year Rose Ripslinger, the Knights downed Bishop Heelan 2-0 in the semifinals, and Columbus Catholic 5-2 in the quarterfinals.

Ripslinger was named Captain of the Class 1A All-Tournament Team for the third time, while Riley Behan, Shannon Leon, and Maddie Irmen joined Ripslinger on the All-Tourney Team. The Lady Knights finished the year 18-4 overall under first-year head coach Jonathan Dreasler.

Watch Season Documentary aired on Iowa Public Television

Baseball Claims State Record tying 9th State Championship

The 2014 Assumption Baseball Team set out to finish what it started in 2013 when it reached the Iowa Class 3A State title game but came up just short. In 2014, it was "Mission Accomplished."

Playing in the state finals for the 12th time, the Knights shutout Dallas Center-Grimes 1-0 to earn Assumption's state record-tying ninth Summer baseball state championship (1982, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1999, 2004, 2006, 2008). Senior pitcher Jay Campbell '14 was named the Pizza Ranch Player of the Game after hurling 7 scoreless innings and giving up only 5 hits, amidst 4 strikeouts. For head coach Billy Argo '83, it was his fourth state title as coach of the Knights.

Senior Jake Gervase was named the Iowa Class 3A Baseball Player of the Year by Sports Spotlight. He was also selected to the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association’s 16-player Super Team, was a First Team All-State pick by the Iowa Newspaper Association, and also a First Team Academic All-Stater (IHSBCA). In addition, Zach Adrian, also a 2014 graduate, was selected to the IHSBCA's and Sports Spotlight’s Iowa Class 3A All-State teams.

Alumni Notes


• J.T. Vonderhaar ’11, a senior on the Coe College men’s basketball team, was selected to play on the USA Basketball Division III teams on a tour of Brazil.

• Assumption High School track and field head coach Tim O’Neill ‘96 was named the 2014 Iowa Coach of the Year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) and the Iowa Class 3A Coach of the Year by the Iowa Track Coaches Association after leading the girls track and field program to its second consecutive Iowa Class 3A State Championship in 2014.

• Molly Monroe ’14 received a $1,500 scholarship from the Genesis Medical Center Auxiliary Board of Directors for completing more than 100 hours of service at the Genesis Medical Center.

• Haley Bugos ’14 received a $1,000 Promise Award from the Davenport Noon Optimist Club for outstanding character and contributions to their school and community.

• Ragan Duax ’11, a senior runner at Grand View University, was named to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics 2014 Winter and Spring Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes list. Student athletes are nominated by their institution's head coach, must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale, and must have achieved junior academic status in order to qualify for the honor.

• John Klein '85, principal of Redstone Content Solutions, was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) during their annual meeting in July. In May, the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce named Klein’s company the 2014 Small Business Excellence Award winner in the 1-50 employee category. Redstone received high marks based on their display of innovation, leadership, community involvement, company history and organizational culture.

• 18 former Assumption athletes are currently on NCAA Division I rosters: Claire Bird '14 - Dartmouth (softball), Danielle Cabel '14 - Iowa (volleyball), Topher Carton '12 - Iowa (wrestling), Lexi Flynn '14 - Coastal Carolina (volleyball), Jake Gervase '14 - Iowa (football), Brody Grothus '11 - Iowa (wrestling), Erica Grubbs '12 - Northwestern (cross country), Maddie Irmen '14 - Northern Iowa (track & field), Tim Kilfoy '12 - Northern Iowa (football), Ryan Langford '11 - New Mexico (football), Danielle Moore '13 - Iowa State (soccer), Remington Ricciuti '12 - Johns Hopkins (track & field), Rose Ripslinger '14 - Iowa (soccer), Libby Rolf '12 - George Mason (rowing), Nick Schebler '13 - Army (football), Hailey Schneden '13 - Iowa (basketball), Kyle Springer '13 - Indiana (wrestling), Krysta Tutsch '12 - Louisiana Tech (softball).

• Palmer Foster '10 was awarded a one-year Postgraduate Scholarship to Durham University in England, where he will complete a graduate degree in Business, while serving as Player/Coach of the Durham Saints, a student-run American Football team representing the university.

Marriages & Engagements

• Charlie Kautz ‘05 married Kendall Morris on August 16, 2014.

• John Blough '11 married Chelsey Semprini, July 5, 2014, at St. Ambrose Cathedral, Des Moines, Iowa. The couple currently resides in Ankeny, Iowa.

• Dr. Peter M. Blough, DDS '03 married Jessica Herrick on October 25, 2014 at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Iowa City, Iowa. The couple resides in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin.

• Michael Orchard ’97 is engaged to Brooke Anderson. The couple is planning a September 2014 wedding.

• Otto Nobis ‘01 is engaged to Makaila Jensen.

• Abby Kent ‘08 was married to Jim Cichon in August.


• Anna Markey '99 Thissen and Greg Thissen '99 welcomed Cooper Gregory Thissen on Feb. 10, 2014. Cooper was 9 lbs., 4 oz., and 21 inches at birth.

In Memory

• Patrick Alexander Reilly ’67 passed away on April 28, 2014.

• Gerald J. “Jerry” Johnson ’72 passed away on June 4, 2014.

• Virginia Hansen '64 McGee passed away on June 12, 2014.

• Richard B. "Richie" Jansen ’94 passed away on July 6, 2014.

• William (Bill) Lagrange Davis '65 passed away July 26, 2014.

• Debbie Gripp ’80 passed away July 30, 2014.

• Lawrence Meek '60 passed away on July 31, 2014.

• Robert Mueller '60 passed away on August 14, 2014.

• Mary Lou Snider '50 Coughlin passed away on September 10, 2014.

If there is news that you would like to see appear in the next newsletter, please email us at:

Upcoming 2014 Reunions

Class of 1964: September 25-27
Contact: Judy McNamara-Petkunas

Class of 1959: October 24-25
Contact: Celine Micklewright Quigley
                 (563) 940-2863

If you are interested in planning your class reunion, or know of someone who might be, please contact Jordan Gizzarelli at 563-326-5313 x 242 for more information.

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Assumption High School · 1020 W Central Park Ave · Davenport, IA 52804 · USA