Should you take a gap year?


The gap year between senior year of high school and freshmen year of college is finding an increase in popularity in the United States, with a 20% rise since 2006, according to Forbes. Gap years originally started in the United Kingdom, but have expanded into an actual life decision. The American Gap Association records gaps as long as two months to two years.






Pros (according to Forbes and Time):

  • Gives students a chance to learn about themselves and increase self-awareness
  • More colleges are offering scholarships for students who want to take gap years, universities include Princeton and University of North Carolina.
  • Can help you re-evaluate what college you want to go to.
  • There are low cost gap year plans, such as AmeriCorps, City year, or WWOOF-USA

Cons (according to Forbes and Time):

  • Because gap years are such a big commitment, it’s not a good idea to only want to only want to commit yourself if you just want to have fun or travel.
  • Many public schools won’t let you take a gap year, if this occurs, try to talk to your school administrator.
  • To avoid colleges, you have to go back to school by the end of the year, so make sure to decide where to go before or during the gap year.

Marah Prpich Grade 12, Highland Park High School, when asked about her stand on gap years says, “No, I want to get college over with, if they want a break from the academics, or a break to find themselves then that’s a good idea.”

Ms. Esso counselor from Highland Park High School says, “I think they’re a good year if students have a plan; if they’re going to volunteer or intern.  Sometimes, it can be harder for students to start school again if they take a year off.”

So, the decision is different for everyone. Just be concerned with what is the best for your future and which career decision will make you happy.

Sports update Homecoming Week

Here’s a second update on some Highland Park fall sports! This past week was a rocky one with many ups and downs. Homecoming week was filled with some big games, including the football game on Saturday against Fridley;

The football team pulled out an exciting last minute win Saturday at homecoming! They beat Fridley by a score of 21-20. Congratulations to Danny Belinski for the game winning field goal! There was a great turnout for the game and tailgating prior. Congrats boys and keep up the good work! For more stats check out the Highland Park Football website;


James Farnsworth


Here’s a picture of the student section saturday, where as you can see many students participated in the red out theme!




Football homecoming game picture thanks to Jeniffer Ponce on the yearbook committee.

Girls varsity soccer had a successful week with two wins against Minneapolis South on Monday and Humbolt on Thursday. Winning a close game with a 4-1 score in the end against Minneapolis South. They won the second game of the week with an outstanding score of 8-1 Humboldt. Keep up the good work ladies! They have three upcoming games this week, two home games and one away game. The home games will be on Wednesday against our rival Central and Thursday against Simley. The away game is on Friday against Como Park. Come and support our lady scots on the field!

Boys varsity soccer team also managed to win a game this week but lost one as well on Monday. They lost a very close game against St. Thomas Academy with a final score of 2-0. Winning another very close game against Humboldt on on Thursday with 1-0 lead. This upcoming week the soccer boys will be busy with four games! Two home games are on Monday against Bloomington Kennedy and Wednesday against Central. The two away games will be on Friday against Como Park and Saturday against Minnehaha Academy. Come support the boys as they play our rivals Central and Como Park!

Girls volleyball suffered losses this week against rival schools Como Park and Central. Monday against Como, they lost by two in the fifth set, and Thursday against Central they also lost by two in the fourth set. Both games were very close and nerve racking with many ups and downs. Congratulations to the C squad and JV team who defeated both Como and Central! The team really appreciates all of the fans who came out to support! Here are some pictures of the amazing fan section:


James Farnsworth


James Farnsworth








The girls tennis team beat both Washington and Humboldt with a score of   7-0! Last friday, they also beat Central for the first time in ten years with a score of 4-3 and are now first in conference. This week they’ll take on Harding @ Harding and Park- Cottage Grove @ Highland. Congrats ladies, keep up the good work!

The cheerleading squad had an impressive performance this week at Friday’s Pepfest and Saturday’s game. Coached by Karen Sjoberg, she says, “They did really well and nailed it. I’m so proud of them because we practiced many new things and it looked great.”

Congratulations to Micah Mather and Abram Donovan for winning first at the Saint Paul Relays meet with a time of 24:44! Libby Pearson and Keiko Hilmo also won first with a time of 31:23! Both the boys and girls teams took first. This weekend they also participated in the Griak Invitational where Micah placed top 10! Their next invitational is this Friday, October 2nd. Keep up the good work!

Last week girls Swimming/Diving beat Como/Johnson with a score of 92-77. Their next meet is Monday the 28th against Blake at Blake. Good luck and congrats ladies!

These are just a few updates of the many sporting events going on this all at Highland. Check back here for more updates to come. Keep up the good work athletes. Go Scots!

14-Year old is accused of practicing terroristic acts

Earlier this month, Ahmed Mohamed, a freshmen in Irving, Texas was arrested for building a bomb and bringing it to school. The incident instantly went viral when the teenager was pictured confused, handcuffed, and sporting a NASA t-shirt.

The day began with Ahmed showing his engineer teacher his new project, a homemade clock. His teacher was impressed but advised him not to show any other teachers, so Ahmed stuck it in his pencil box until it began to beep later that day in his english class. Ahmed took it out to try and shut the beeping off which is when things turned awry. Ahmeds english teacher mistook the home-made clock for a bomb and called the front office. From then the school neglected to evacuate the school, call the bomb squad, or isolate the “bomb”. Instead they called the police and held Ahmed and his clock in the office. From there the police proceeded to handcuff Ahmed and bring him to the juvenile detention center. What did they do with this ticking time “bomb”? They put it in the back of a police car and took pictures of the young man’s creation.

America rallied for  Ahmed Mohamed posting #istandwithahmed over 40,000 times the day following the incident. Ahmed received invitations and praise from Google, Facebook, Space Camp, MIT (his dream college), and the White House. Bobak Ferdowsi, American systems engineer at NASA even offered Ahmed the chance at a job working with Nasa; “Hey Ahmed, give me a call in a couple years. We could always  use smart, curious & creative people.”

Not everybody stood with Ahmed, however. Some of whom included former Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin. “If that’s a clock, I’m the Queen of England” said Sarah Palin after reviewing the event. “Yep, believing that’s a clock in a school pencil box is like believing Barack Obama is ruling over the most transparent administration in history.” She also proceeded to call President Obama “childish” for supporting the young entrepreneur.

Ms. van Duyne, Mayor of Irving, Texas, stated “I do not fault the school or the police for looking into what they saw as a potential threat. They have procedures to run when a possible threat or criminal act is discovered. They follow these procedures in the sole interest of protecting our children and school personnel. To the best of my knowledge, they followed protocol for investigating whether this was an attempt to bring a hoax bomb to a school campus. Following this

investigation, Irving PD has stated no charges will be filed against the student. I hope this incident does not serve as a deterrent against our police and school personnel from maintaining the safety and security of our schools.”

Ahmed does not believe he will be returning to Irving High school but he does intend to continue to create new technologies and continue in his engineering path.

How to be happy

Being happy is something that is very important in life. Happiness is an important key to life. Although sometimes things may happen that may make you feel low, it’s always important to try to at least keep yourself lifted.

There are many little simple things you can do to make yourself happier, for example:

silhouette of jumping kid in the wheat field


According to talking to someone new can make you feel happier. You get to learn about them and also you get the opportunity to expand yourself. It makes you feel as though you are getting the chance to make a new friend. also suggests trying to respond to things in a positive manner and not let them affect your day. By doing this you can make the choice to have a better day and not get upset. suggests to try soul-searching. I know it sounds kinda cliché but trying something new and stepping out of your boundaries can push you and help you find things that you didn’t know you had an interest in. Finding new passions can really create a more motivated person also give you new things to love to do.

Taking a risk can just push you to a happier life according to Sometimes risks can be great give you more opportunities it just pushes you and you might find taking that risk help you get to where you wanted to be. says you should relieve yourself from stress. It takes some time to do something for yourself to really relax and reach your inner peak. You can really change your style of  life and make it more pleasant. Also learn to accept your body and start loving yourself. It makes a huge difference!

Enjoy the little things, for one day you make look back and realize they were the big things.” ~Robert Brault

Highland clubs

~b393235Highland has many different clubs and activities it sponsors. This article aims to give a glimpse into a few of those clubs and activities.

One of the clubs we have is FFA which is an agriculture club. I talked to Ms.Wedger to see what she had to say about FFA. FFA is a club that is for students who are interested in Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources. They do volunteer work, compete in contests, participate in leadership events, educate the school and public on agriculture things and hold an Agriculture Day in the spring. FFA is really fun and is not all about farming. Many students find that they like wildlife or small animals and fit in very well. It’s important for people to understand that everyone is connected to FFA and Agriculture-if you eat food, you’re connected!

As Ms. Wedger is new to Highland this year, I asked her to tell me a little about herself:

“I am very excited to be here at Highland Park. Prior to coming here, I taught Agriculture for three years at Sauk Rapids-Rice High School. I grew up on a hobby farm just north of the cities, where we had horses, dogs, cats and the occasional cow or two. I studied Agriculture Education and Work Based Learning at the University of Minnesota, Go Gophers! In high school, I spent some time in FFA and often enjoyed the volunteer opportunities. I currently live north of the cities with my husband, Caleb and our dog, Daisy.” 

The next person I talked to was Ms. Sobota. She is in charge of Book Club and here is what she had to say about Book Club.

“Book club is for kids who love to read and love to talk about what they’ve read with other readers!  Our teen book club, Book TABLE (Talking About Books in the Library while Eating) is modeled after an adult book club, with the hope that the teens who join continue to be lifelong readers.  The time commitment in school is minimal, and FUN!  Students read the selection on their own time, and then we meet to chat about what we’ve read, which ends up being about every 6 weeks.  We are usually a group of between 20 and 30 readers who snack on pizza and have animated conversations about our latest great read!  It is not a thing like English class and isn’t supposed to be.  As a bonus, book club members get to keep their copies of all the books we read.  The only two “rules” are (1) that you read the book and (2) that you talk about it at Book Club!  We usually meet about 6 times per year.  I absolutely love the days Book Club meets! That is what she had to say about book club.”

Another club at Highland is the Gay Straight Alliance. 
The co-advisors are Ms. ~b190977Kallestad (room 2204) and Ms. Ostendorf (room 2208). According to Ms. Kallestad, “GSA’s current mission statement is to make the school a safe place for ALL people, no matter what race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. They do this by promoting a positive environment.  All members of the Highland Park GSA, try to stop discriminatory slurs and any other form of violence from happening.”


The last club I talked to is Link Crew. There are three staff advisors who are in charge of Link Crew. Mr. Dirks, Mr. McKinney, and Ms. Corbett. Link Crew is a national program created because parents wanted something to help their kids ease into high school. Link Crew was brought to Highland for the first time in 2009. I asked Mr. Dirks why he thought Link Crew was so successful? He responded,”The upperclassmen want to help the incoming freshmen. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from. Link Crew has been around for 6 years and hopes to go on for many more years.”  

Upcoming events outside of school!

Have nothing to do for the next few weeks? Or just want to help in your community? Here are some great fundraisers/activities coming up!




Maplewood 5k/3k rec run: Join families on Saturday, September 26, 2015 in a 3k/5k run at the Maplewood community center. A fun filled day with a crazy hair station, games, nature crafts and much more! One child gets in free for the price of one $30 dollar adult ticket.





MIA: A free event celebrating native american art on Sunday, October 11, 2015. hands-on activities, meet Native artists, and watch live drumming and dance performances at the Minneapolis Institute of Art!




TUTU 2 mile run: Don’t miss the Tutu 2 mile run on Saturday September 26, 2015. CHILD provides support for abused children and promotes public awareness about child abuse. Join them in a 2 mile run wearing your favorite tutu to help stop child abuse. $25 dollars for an adult ticket ( 18+) and $10 dollars for childrens tickets (18 and  under).

These organization a great way to get involved outside of the Highland Senior Park  community and to help those around you! Go Scots!

Maplewood 3k/5k rec run:


Tutu two mile run:

School survey

The 2015 school year started off with a bang! Seeing familiar faces from last year and getting to know new faces arriving this year. It’s always good to meet new people and still have your regular friends during high school.

With that in mind, my fellow writer, Tationna, and I decided to write and give a survey to all students in each grade at Highland Park Senior High. This survey asked 5 specific questions.


  • Name
  • grade
  • class they have next
  • their favorite class and why its their favorite class
  • what type of grades they get.




We separated the surveys by grade level, and then separated it again into class type. In total we surveyed 21 people throughout HPSH.

Here are 2 examples of the survey responses that we received:

1) Name: Dejra Bishop

Grade: 10th grade

Class you have next: Small animals; Do you like it? Yes

Favorite class: English  Why: Cause I know people in my class.

Type of grades you get: A’s and B’s

2) Name: Yalayna Buther-Griffen

Grade: 11th grade

Class your have next: Math studies; Do you like it? Yes

Favorite class: Drawing  Why:  Because I like drawing

Types of grades you get: B’s and lower

We found out that it’s better for others to work in a classroom with people they know because sometimes, depending on whether it’s a hard class or not, knowing people makes it a little bit easier.

Most of the people that we surveyed picked “History” as their favorite class.  One of the people we surveyed said, “I like learning World History and I like the way the teachers teach the class.”

While we were surveying people, we discovered that asking people questions is a great way to meet someone new, and get to know them and what they are into!  It also gave us an opportunity to become better aquainted with what is available at school and the new students that are attending Highland Park Senior High.


Solutions not suspensions

“Teachers of color can have a positive influence on Students of Color…especially when teachers and students share the same racial background.” -2012 MNEEP study

With the rising number of ethnic students attending St. Paul Public Schools, there has been a rise in suspensions of students of color.

According to an ACLU study, American Indian, African American, and Latino students are facing an estimated 50% dropout rate because of the inequity they face in the classroom. That same study has shown that there is a connection to increasing suspensions, which can lead to the school to prison pipeline. Zero tolerance policies and stricter rules in school have been proven to be more harmful for students of color.

96% of teachers, in Minnesota, are white (MNEEP Report), which not only misrepresents the diversity we have in the Twin Cities, but also doesn’t give children of color role models to look up to in the classroom.

Annalise Archambault, grade 10 at Highland Park High School, is a student of color that recognizes the disparity students face in the public school system. “I do believe there’s a strong difference in suspension rates, or just discipline in general. I feel like when a white kid does something bad, the staff at school is a little more surprised.. But I feel like with students of color they think, ‘this is going to happen again.'”

What’s new at HPSH

Thisfloor year at HPSH there’s been some changes like, this year we got new flooring on the 1st floor and in a couple of rooms on the 1st floor.





We also got 3 new hydration stations/water fountains. These water fountains have cold water and also you can fill up your water bottles. They are located by the main office, by the French and Spanish rooms on the first floor, and also there is one in the cafeteria.





Also this year, all of the lockers got painted our school color RED, so now the lockers look the same, except the personalized ones.






And the courtyard got leveled out, so now there’s not a big whole in the middle of it. This makes the courtyard  look nicer overall.

Fall music highlights in the Twin Cities

Looking to take advantage of all the great headliners coming to the Twin cities this Fall? You’re in luck because this concert season is packed with the best. Here are some of the highlights that just can’t be missed.

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Dem Atlas- This local rapper is coming to 7th St. Entry at First Avenue on September 25th, tickets are $15.

Of Monsters and Men- This rising indie/folk band is coming to the Roy Wilkins auditorium on October 1st, tickets are $37.50

Madonna- The “Queen of pop” is playing at the Xcel Energy Center on October 8th, tickets range from $42.50-$357.50

Franz Ferdinand and Sparks (FFS)- Just officially formed last March, this indie rock/pop supergroup is touring together for the first time, and playing at First Avenue on October 9th, tickets range from $35-$40

Tove love- After having a breakout year with the song “Habits (Stay High)”, this Swedish singer is coming on October 10th to  First Avenue, tickets are $25.

Pouya and The Underachievers- Pouya, a solo rapper from Miami is teaming up with the rap duo The Underachievers, to play at First Avenue on October 14th, tickets are $18.

Chance the Rapper- This acid rapper is coming to Myth on October 15th, tickets are $39.95 in advance, $45 on the day of the show.

Bad suns and the Neighborhood- These alternative rock bands are teaming up and coming to First Avenue on October 16th, tickets range from $30-35

Mac Miller- Fresh off releasing his new album titled GO:OD AM, this rapper is playing at Mill City Nights on October 18th, tickets range from $35-38

Twenty-one Pilots- This alternative duo from Ohio is coming to Myth on October 29th, tickets are $26.75

Marina and the Diamonds- After releasing her new album this past year, ‘FROOT’, this electro-pop babe is ready to bring it at the Northrop Auditorium on October 30th, tickets range from $30-39.50