Student Life


Create. Evoke. Inspire.

The fine arts are an essential part of the school curriculum at Dowling Catholic High School and an important component in the education of every student. The fine arts enhance and enrich learning, nourish the soul, inspire spirit, and encourage creativity. Dowling Catholic offers many opportunities for students to participate in the fine arts, including band, choir, visual arts and theater.

List of 5 items.

  • Band

    This year-round activity provides students the opportunity to experience instrumental music in a variety of styles. The season begins with camp in early August, and includes performances at home football and basketball games, weekend competitions, and concerts throughout the school year.

    Students may participate in Vanguard, Drumline, Wind Band, Jazz Band, Pep Band, Chamber Ensemble, and may audition for the All-State Music Festival. All students in grades 9-12 that show a commitment to performing and to music education may participate.

    For a more comprehensive overview of the program and latest news, please visit: DCHSBand

    Students perform flag and dance choreography as an auxiliary unit of Vanguard. The season begins at the beginning of August and runs through November. From November-February, Color Guard members are part of Winter Guard which performs at two competitions and at basketball games.

    Students audition for membership in the spring and rehearse weekly during the summer on Wednesday evenings. Students also attend guard and band camp, and perform at all marching band events during the fall, including competitions and some home basketball games.
  • Choir

    The Dowling Catholic Choral Program provides students the opportunity to experience vocal music in a variety of styles. Dowling Catholic offers participation in Concert Choir, A Cappella Choir, Dowling Catholic Singers, Jazz Choir, and Dimensions Show Choir.

    All students in grades 9-12 that show a commitment and dedication to performing and music may participate. All choir participants receive academic credit and attend daily rehearsals, perform annual concerts, and in selected contests and competitions. Students may also audition for the All-State Music Festival.

    For a more comprehensive overview of the program and latest news, please visit:

    Quinn Tipping

    Assistant Director
  • Speech & Debate

    Founded in 1968 by Fr. John Acrea, Speech and Debate at Dowling Catholic High School has a long history of state, regional and national competitiveness. The team gives students the opportunity to improve their public speaking, research, and persuasive writing skills. Dowling Catholic holds a Chapter in the National Speech and Debate Association and students can become members of this honor society. Events range from interpretation acting to argumentation.
  • Theater

    Theater at the high school level is both an academic discipline and a performing art. A study of theater motivates students to study and to discuss and develop ideas, insights, and values. Theater is helpful in increasing self-esteem, motivation, aesthetic awareness, cultural exposure, empathy, creativity, improved emotional expression, and appreciation of diversity. Students have the opportunity to take classes in theater and/or perform on stage.

    Performance class offerings include Acting I, II and Acting+. Acting I is open to any student. Acting II and Acting+ are for students who have successfully completed Acting I. A course in Play Production is offered for students with interests in the backstage aspects of staging performances. A course in Film is offered to explore styles, themes, and genres of motion pictures.

    Stage performance opportunities include:

    Fall Play
    All DCHS students are welcome to audition for the annual Fall Play. Rehearsals occur after school and culminate in four performances. The plays selected for each fall rotate annually between traditional high school fare, American classics, and Shakespeare. There is a $20 participation fee.

    Interpretive Speech
    Acting opportunities exist as part of Speech and Debate.

    Winter Play
    This theatrical event is the first weekend of December. The winter play is produced by the Acting+ class. Last year the class performed Puss N' Boots. Students not enrolled in the class can help backstage with sets, costumes, lights and serve as ushers. Past performances of the winter play include James and the Giant Peach and Alice in Wonderland.

    IHSSA Large Group Speech
    This is a theater competition including events such as a one-act play, short film, improvisation, acting, and mime. There are also a variety of opportunities for students behind the scenes. Meetings are held November - February in room 500 with competitions in January and February.

    Spring Musical
    All DCHS students are welcome to audition for the annual Spring Musical. The Spring Musical is a collaboration of all faculty in the Performing Arts Department and frequently other educators from Dowling Catholic and the Des Moines arts community. There are opportunities for singers, dancers, actors, musicians and technicians. Rehearsals occur after school and culminate in four performances. Annually, the show is adjudicated for the Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards.

  • Visual Arts

    The Visual Arts Department offers students a dynamic and creative space to explore their artistic talents. Whether you are an experienced, college bound artist building your portfolio, or someone who wants to explore the arts for the first time, we have classes for you! The Visual Arts Department has four studio classrooms and offers a variety of 2D and 3D courses. Facilities include a wet darkroom and a ceramic studio with eleven wheels and a variety of kilns. Graphic Design and Digital Photography students work on individual classroom laptops.

    Art & Design is the starting point for most courses. Following this pre-requisite, students may select from Drawing & Painting, Ceramics, Sculpture, Metals and Graphic Design. Photography with film cameras precedes Digital Photo as a pre-requisite. Multiple semesters of study are available in all areas. We have a tradition of excellence fueled by dedicated, knowledgeable and caring instructors. Come visit with us today to bring the arts into your life. You’ll be amazed what you can do!

    Brenda Kane

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Dowling Catholic High School

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 Christ-centered leader.