History Day students prepare for D.C.

The National History Day tradition at Highland Park will continue as freshmen Samara Kroeger and Tessa Newman-Heggie advance to Nationals in Washington D.C. This is the fifth year that Highland Park has sent students to the National History Day Competition.

At Sate History Day on May 3rd, Samara placed 1st with her individual website, titled “Toxic Time Bomb: Love Canal, Superfund and the Establishment of Environmental Rights and Responsibilities”. Her project also received the Environmental History topical prize. Tessa’s individual documentary,“Violations of Rights in the Obedience Experiments: How Stanley Milgram Shocked the World”, received 2nd place.

Both Tessa and Samara have participated in the Minnesota State History Day competition in past years. According to Samara, “I was really happy because this was my fourth year doing history day, and I’ve been improving every year. So I finally achieved my goals.”

They leave for Washington, D.C. on June 14th. The girls are excited to see landmarks and museums, and of course, to go running together in our nation’s capitol. They are happy that they will be able to experience a high level of competition and meet students from all over the world.

Tessa and Samara NHD (2014) 2


From right: Samara Kroeger and Tessa Newman-Heggie


Goodbye Class of 2014

Surrounded by friends, family, and teachers, 261 seniors graduated earlier tonight at Roy Wilkins Auditorium. Wise words were shared by faculty, guests, and graduates to aid the Class of 2014 in all their future endeavors. Speakers included Mary Doran from the Saint Paul Board of Education, Senior Class Advisor Charlotte Landreau, and Superintendent Valeria Silva.  The Highland Park choir serenaded the graduates, and the symphonic band played a special rendition of “Happy” by Pharrell. Rachel Lindholm, a member of the Top Ten, gave the valedictorian speech. The members of the Senior Class Council also spoke to their peers about the years they’ve shared together.

The commencement address was given by Andrew Dirks, physics teacher, who was chosen by the students. Many would say his speech ended with a bang, as Mr Dirks closed with a demonstration of a ping-pong ball cannon to simulate traveling through high school.  The ceremony was both exciting and saddening.

As red and white caps flew through the air, a new chapter opened in the lives of these students. On behalf of the rest of the current student body: Congratulations Class of 2014 and thank you for all your contributions to Highland Park. We wish you the best.






End of year movie reviews

By Gigi LeFebvre

Reviews of two of the latest big releases, The Fault in our Stars and X-Men: Days of Future Past

The Fault in Our Stars

Whether you follow the hype of young adult novels/series becoming movies, you can’t deny how well they’re doing for the box-office. Movie franchises that started off as book series like The Hunger Games and Harry Potter have been the kind of investments that make money because of its large base, and The Fault in Our Stars is no different.

Hazel Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) has a terminal lung cancer that should’ve killed her years ago but still lives thanks to a lot of medication and an air tank. She meets Gus Waters (Ansel Elgort) after a cancer support group and the two strike up a bond unlike any other romance movie. Based on the best selling novel by John Green, the story is one for the ages, even if it is not a happy one.

A good movie formula is this: Good Writer + Fantastic Cast – Long Running Franchise=Oscar Worthy, this movie has everything it needs and more. Sure, this movie might be taken for granted because of all the young actors and it being based on a young adult novel, but it shouldn’t.

This moving film is filled with life lessons that even the healthiest of people should learn from; life is not a wish granting factory, and making an impact on one person is more important that making an impact on the whole world. Though this movie is hard to get through because of the reality of death and cancer, it is surprisingly heartwarming.

Five Stars and Two Tissue Boxes

You can read about the girl that inspired the book and the organization “This Star Won’t Go Out” here—>http://tswgo.org/our-mission.html

Unknown-1X-Men: Days of Future Past

Marvel Studios is famous for its Summer Blockbusters. This summer, they’re already making millions with Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. So it was a bit shocking to find that X-Men: Days of Future Past wasn’t as good as expected.

Set in a apocalyptic future where Mutants are being hunted into extinction by Sentinels, robots created by humans that can detect Mutant DNA even in the most normal looking disguise. The only way to stop them is by going back into the past and stopping Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from causing this dark future. Which sounded like a good idea in the comics when Shadowcat (Ellen Page) goes into the future, but in the movie they had to change a few things in order to work with the story line of the movies. So much to nobody’s surprise, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is sent back.

As a person who loves the X-Men, I had some expectations that this movie would make me forget that The Last Stand ever happened, which it did. However, this movie was very hard to follow. With the conflicting storyline between what happens in the comics and what happened in the movies, there was no way to properly execute what could happen next for the X-Men. Bryan Singer, the director of Days of Future Past, tried to connect what he had done in First Class to the older movies in order to make a brighter future for the franchise, which seems nearly impossible.

Despite all the great actors and great story, this movie was boring and confusing. Not to mention I couldn’t even count how many times Wolverine said, “By the way, I’m for the future”.

Marvel has been beating the dead horse known as the X-Men franchise for too long, making two solo Wolverine movies and First Class. Frankly, if they want to make things right, a reboot with a new cast is what’s going to do it. It’s very hard to fix a vase that’s been thrown out an airplane.

Three Stars because Quicksilver was the only thing I really enjoyed.