My experience with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is released on February 5, 2016 in theaters across America. The film stars Lily James, Douglas Booth, Matt Smith, Sam Riley, and Bella Heathcote.


The Jane Austen novel of young love and pride takes place in 19th century England. This film, directed by Burr Steers, honors Austen’s original story, only Buur adds one more complication to the love story-an army of hungry zombies.

Highland Park High School was contacted by a producer from the film offering the Plaid Line staff two tickets to see the premiere of the film at MOA as well as the opportunity to participate in a nation wide conference call with the cast. Excited, I, and another writer, John Edwards, accepted the invitation and saw the premiere.

The movie was exactly what you think it might be, a strong and independent woman who falls victim to prejudice daily but somehow falls in love with the same man that oppresses her, all the while fighting the never ending war against zombies.

The day after the premiere we were told that we could participate in a press conference where we could ask the cast questions about the movie. The press conference was scheduled to take place at 2:30 and last till three. My fellow writer and I racked out a few questions we were eager to ask and report back to our fellow readers. Patiently we sat next to the phone listening to the smooth jazz that reminded us we were on hold; for half an hour. It wasn’t till after four “thank you for waiting”’s and a few minutes after three did the press conference begin.

We were instructed to press a pattern of buttons and wait for an operator to ask our questions. If we did that, we couldn’t listen to the cast answering questions from a few writers who were fortunate enough to be able to ask a question. A few questions later, we thought we finally had our turn; the operator had our name and we had our question ready. That was when the host of the conference said “Thank you for participating in the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies press conference…” and that was it. Fifteen minutes of listening to redundant questions, struggling to figure out the procedure to ask our own, all the while the holding-jazz-music was laying in the back of our heads.

So overall, we would give the movie itself, 3.5 stars out of 5 due to its cheesiness, and lack of originality.

As for the conference call, we would rate that experience 0 out of 5 stars. Overall, not worth the time invested.

Our ever-warming planet

~b421185Did it feel warmer than usual to you last year? Well you’re not the only one. 2015 has officially gone down as the warmest year on record since 1880 when they first started keeping track of global temperatures. Not only was 2015 the hottest year on record, it was also a part of a 39 year streak of above average temperatures. What’s the cause of these crazy numbers? According to the third U.S National Climate assessment “The global warming of the past 50 years is primarily due to human activities, predominantly the burning of fossil fuels.” The burning of fossil fuels produces carbon dioxide and natural processes cannot fully absorb those gasses so the rest of it ends up going into the atmosphere. All of this has many harmful effects on ecosystems, biodiversity, and of course us humans.

In December, the 2015 United Nations Climate Change conference was held in Paris and the 195 participating countries agreed to a global pact named the Paris Agreement. These countries agreed to reduce emissions to try and reduce the greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere. This agreement is to be adopted through these countries’ legal systems and by doing so, they are then required to try to reduce their emissions. Many people have said that this is a big step to help the rising temperatures.

This may seem like a daunting task to many, but I believe that we already know the solution to these problems. Renewable energy resources like solar, wind, hydropower, and geothermal energy are the greatest alternatives to burning fossil fuels. The earth does not have infinite amounts of fossil fuels, and burning them is just damaging our planet. Thankfully there are is an infinite amount of renewable energy resources and these will not damage the planet.

Another problem with fossil fuels is that  those sources are spread out and some countries don’t have any. Renewable sources can be found anywhere, and most countries have at least one.

Therefore, I believe that if the world would start to switch over to these renewable energy sources, and continue to reduce the burning of fossil fuels, global warming might slowly become something of the past.

Threatening posts

On Monday January 18th, Black Lives Matter protesters gathered at the corner of University and Snelling Ave at 1P.M. for a MLK Day march to the capital.

Saint Paul Police Sergeant Jeffrey M. Rothecker posted an online statement informing viewers on ways to run over the gathering protesters and avoid charges. This is particularly concerning because an officer, whose purpose is to protect the general public, is providing ways to harm civilians.20160118__1-JMRoth_policeBLM

Mayor Chris Coleman expressed his outrage and stated, “There is no room in the St. Paul Police Department for employees who threaten members of the public”. Coleman also stated that if the allegation was true, strong action would be taken.

A statement was released by Saint Paul Police Federation (the union that represents police) in regards to Rothecker’s online post. In the statement Rothecker writes, “I am extremely sorry for posting what I did, I understand that the post was insensitive and wrong. My poor choice of words conveyed a message I did not intend and am not proud of”.

Currently the police force put Rothecker on paid leave while they investigate.

For more information, please visit:

51st anniversary

Highland Park, home of the Scots, has been around for almost 50 years!

1964 is when Highland Park Senior High opened, and 1965 was the first graduating class. Students who graduated in 1966 started off in a different school such as Central, Washington, etc, but when they heard about Highland and how it just opened up, some of the students transferred over, and enjoyed Highland better.

Highland was known for its academics, fellowship, and how good the athletics were. Some called it the “dream school”, while others just thought it was just another school.

FullSizeRenderOver the years major changes have been made to HPHS. Back in 1965 there were just designated areas that are now football, baseball, and soccer fields. Cheerleading outfits have changed, such as in the fabrics used, and the Highland logo has evolved.

As we were looking through the past yearbooks, we saw so many interesting, and amazing activities that Highland delivered for the students. We saw a large assortment of clubs, and the many different homecoming activities that they had around that time. The yearbook used to be called “Tartan”, and Highland’s neighborhood rival used to be “Derham Hall”, as said in the 1965 yearbook.~2908344

Reunions are for people who want to come together again after a long period of separation, and the second graduating class from 1966 is reuniting once more! The founder of this reunion is Synthia Van. The reunion is Saturday August 13, 2016. There is a tour on August 13 at 9:30 A.M. at the Lost Spur Country Club in Eagan.

On that day, 50 years will have passed by for these grads. May that day be filled with happiness, joy, and miracles.

St. Paul Winter Carnival

~b339324One of the most important events in St. Paul during the winter season, is the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, starting this weekend (1/29-1/31) and continuing the following weekend (1/5-1/7). Some of the events include; ice carvings and an ice palace in Rice Park, a snow sculpting competition at the State Fairgrounds, and of course, the Winter Carnival parades.

This year’s festival has three parades, each ending in Rice Park. The first, the Moon Glow Pedestrian Parade, will be on Thursday, beginning at 6 P.M., at 401 Robert St. The next, the King Boreas Grande Day Parade, will be Saturday, beginning at 2 P.M., along West 7th. The last, the Vulcan Victory Torchlight Parade, will be Saturday, Feb. 6, beginning at 5:30 p.m. in Lowertown.

If you’re looking for a way to challenge yourself to get out in the cold, the Securian Winter Run may be for you. It features 3 races; a 5k, 10k, and half marathon. The starting time is 9 A.M., beginning this Saturday, January 30, 2016.

Whether it’s going to a parade, ice skating in Rice Park, appreciating the snow and ice sculptures, or running in the cold, the St. Paul Winter Carnival has an event for any winter-lover. More information on the Winter Carnival can be found at

Things to do if you’re single on Valentine’s Day

Valentines Day is known as the day you spend with the person you love. However, if you don’t have that special someone, here are some ideas to show and express your love for yourself or friends/family in your life.

nightclubHit the clubs

Go out and party with some friends and give yourself the opportunity to even other singles doing the same as yourself.


679-65_d1Go out to dinner

Spend the evening with someone in a different position in your life that you love, like a family member or some close friends.


Netflix-Asia-ExpansionBinge watch chick-flick movies on Netflix

Get a bucket of ice cream or a comfort food of your own and watch a bunch of sappy romance movies.


What-to-Say-to-a-Girl-You-Meet-at-a-BarAsk someone on a casual date

If you don’t feel like being lonely on this special day, ask someone that you have interest in on a friendly first date. Who knows, there might be potential.


spa4Treat yourself

Splurge on something that you’ve wanted for a while. Maybe go to a spa, get your nails done, or take a nice warm bath along with a bath bomb. Do what makes you feel good.


shutterstock_145310344Have a singles party

Throw a little get together with other single friends and ask them to bring a snack. Be sure to have a combination of activities, like movies or interactive games.


quickgetawaypanoramic-3212012-14450_panoramicGet out of town

Go on a spontaneous, quick, getaway trip to somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit.


20-Best-Cute-Valentines-Day-Gift-Boxes-Ideas-2013-For-GirlBoy-Friends-3Share the love

Send a cute sentimental gift, big or little, it doesn’t matter. Perfect for friend or family member that you have love for.


man-thinkingAppreciate the single life

Recognize the benefits of being single and independent at this time in your life.



Nothing spreads love more than some volunteer work for those in need. Giving back in your community is important.

The Gates Millennium Scholarship

~b762812All over the nation, homes were filled with the clicking and clacking of keyboards as students furiously typed the night away. Rushing to unleash the eight stories of their lives, these student kept in mind that those essays would be the summary of their academic success, adversities, and commitments as a potential leader. With those eight stories, there could be a chance that they will create a life changing moment, determining the fate of their future, and their financial support in college. Being one of those students, the night before the deadline, at 12:15 AM, I sat back with a sweet sigh of relief after smashing the submit button five times (grateful that the site did not crash on me), and from there the waiting began. 

January 13, at 11:59 EST, was the final deadline to submit the largest scholarship opportunity in the US for students of color. The Gates Millennium Scholarship was established in 1999 by Bill and Melinda Gates. Just in case you didn’t know, Bill Gates is the co-founder of Microsoft, known as the world’s largest PC software company. With the $1 billion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the goals of the Gates Millennium program is to provide outstanding minority students an opportunity to fulfill their highest academic potential, without being hindered by a financial barrier, so that they can create more diversity in different career areas including education, health and sciences, and mathematics, while also providing better opportunities for future leaders, and offering full support for both undergraduate and graduate programs. Only student of colors are eligible for this scholarship, including African American,  American Indian/ Alaska Native, Asian American/ Pacific Islander, and Hispanic American. Other requirements include:

  • US citizenship or permanent resident;
  • GPA of at least 3.3 on a 4.0 scale or have earned a GED,
  • demonstrate leadership and commitment to community service, extracurricular activities
  • Eligible for the FAFSA
  • Will be enrolled in a US accredited college/university as first year students

Students who are rewarded with this scholarship will have their entire college tuition covered at a 4-year institution, and depending on whether the student chose to pursue careers in the sciences, mathematics, or education fields, six years of their graduate degree will also be covered. Being eligible is one small step towards an amazing opportunity, but being able to sacrifice time and effort requires a great commitment.

For the process, students would complete an extensive application with basic demographics and a profile, including your ethnicity, parent income, and self listing your classes and grades. The short descriptions must be included when listing your your leadership roles, community service positions, and jobs you have attained. Some students feel intimidated when they notice the five spaces given per category and worry about not being able to fill all five spaces with large contributions like being class president or team captain. Leadership in this case is just your participation in activities where you have a role and purpose. You don’t have to obtain a high or significant position to be considered a leader. However, the time spent completing the application itself is nothing near the amount of time spent writing the eight essays.

The person reading the essay is only able to identify students as an individual based on the content of the essays. Within those eight thousand words, applicants should be aware to use words wisely and creatively so that those eight thousand words will paint a clear portrait of who they are as a student of color both in their community and at school, leadership capabilities, and educational devotion. By portraying the descriptive details of the particular moment that is unique to only themselves, students are able to explain how their personal characters represents their worth towards this scholarship. 

The essay prompts are as follows:

  1. Discuss the subjects in which you excel or have excelled.  To what factors do you attribute your success?
  2. Discuss the subjects in which you had difficulty.  What factors do you believe contributed to your difficulties?  How have you dealt with them so they will not cause problems for you again?  In what areas have you experienced the greatest improvement?  What problem areas remain?
  3. Briefly describe a situation in which you felt that you or others were treated unfairly or were not given an opportunity you felt you deserved.  Why do you think this happened?  How did you respond?  Did the situation improve as a result of your response?
  4. Discuss your short and long-term goals.  Are some of them related?  Which are priorities?
  5. Discuss a leadership experience you have had in any area of your life; school, work, athletics, family, church, community, etc.  How and why did you become a leader in this area?  How did this experience influence your goals?
  6. Discuss your involvement in and contributions to a community near your home, school, or elsewhere.  Please select an experience different from the one you discussed in the previous question, even if this experience also involved leadership.  What did you accomplish? How did this experience influence your goals?
  7. Other than through classes in school, in what areas (non-academic or academic) have you acquired knowledge or skills?  How?
  8. Is there anything else you would like to tell us about that may help us evaluate your nomination (i.e., personal characteristics, obstacles you have overcome)?

The Gates Millennium Scholarship uses the same application every year, with the same constraints, and the identical eight essay prompts. The majority of the prompts are rather specific, and although you should grab the reader’s attention with a detailed story, it is also particularly important to give a clear answer in your conclusions. Although the minimum requirement for the essays are 500 words, it is encouraged that students make the best out of the 1000 word maximum.

Think that the organization will only take your word for everything you say about yourself? Nope. The application also requires students to seek recommendations from two individuals who are capable of recognizing your achievements and identify who you are as a suitable applicant. One person has to be the nominator and another a recommender. The nominator is often a teacher who you most connect with. It is crucial to ask someone who recognizes the importance of this scholarship in order for them to incorporate how much effort you have put in towards this scholarship.

The scholarship is very competitive with about 64,000 applicants each year. However, the faction of students who complete the application or fulfilled the requirements of at least 500 worded-essays leaves us with a 1 in 16,000 chance to be among the 1,000 students who will be winners. In mid-March, applicants will be notified on how to access the status of their application to see whether they made it in as a finalist. After that, the finalists will have to submit additional materials including transcripts, tax returns, college acceptance letters, and other information that determines their eligibility before announcing the actual winners. Not all finalist will be awarded the scholarship. By mid-May, finalist will be informed of the outcome of their applications.

Between 2000 and 2014, $845,713,056 has been awarded to the Gates Scholars, with and average award of $12,492 per scholar.

Unfortunately, the Gates Millennium Scholarship Program will no longer be open to new applicants after this round due to the lack of funds left for future students. This shocking news became a major motivation for students to complete their best work for the scholarship, recognizing that their younger siblings and peers will no longer attain the same opportunity to become a Gates Scholars.

Virtual Reality

The next big step in electronics is planned to be released this year in 2016. Virtual Reality (VR) headsets are headsets that allow the user to feel like like they are in a variety of situations. At the moment there are few companies that produce VR headsets. The main VR headsets include the Oculus Rift which is produced by Facebook, Samsung Gear VR, HTC Vive, and Sony’s Morpheus.
While most of the VR headsets will be quite pricey, Samsung Gear VR offers a cheaper form of VR. Samsung Gear VR is priced at around $99. Samsung Gear VR allows the user to use their Samsung smartphone as the screen for the headset, however not all Samsung smartphones will work with the Samsung Gear VR.

Oculus-Rift-imageAt the other end of the VR spectrum you have Facebook’s Oculus Rift. Oculus Rift focuses more on quality. Oculus Rift is not yet out in the market, however on its website, you can pre-order the Oculus Rift for $599.

Many skeptics believe Virtual Reality will not become a big part of the future of technology due to the high prices, and because VR companies mainly target gamers. However, despite popular beliefs, VR headsets have a variety of uses other than games. Other than feeling as though the user is in a game, VR users can watch movies and television, visit significant landmarks, ect. Virtual Reality also can be used for purposes other than entertainment, such as military training, construction, education, medical purposes, and more.

For more virtual reality uses visit:

Movie review

~b267570I recently saw the movie The Forest at Regal Brooklyn Center Stadium 20.

The movie is about a girl who goes to Japan after her twin sister disappears. Sara (Natalie Dormer) becomes determined to find out what happened to her sister. Sara’s investigation leads her to the legendary Aokigahara Forest (suicide forest), located at the base of Mount Fuji. Accompanied by expatriate Aiden, she enters the mysterious wilderness after being warned to “stay on the path.” Her investigation brings her into a dark world where the angry and tormented souls of the dead prey on those who dare to explore the forest.

Overall, it’s a good movie. On a scale from 1-10 I give it a 8.5 because it has slow parts and is sort of boring in some parts but overall it’s a great film filled with scary scenes that will make you jump.

I recommend this film to people who like paranormal movies.

Valentine’s Day treats

Valentine’s Day is a day meant to be spent with the people you love, but it could also be spent with the sweets you love. With typically red and pink colors, Valentine’s Day has inspired many unique and delicious treats that you can make. Below is a list of some ideas, with links to the recipe:

Red Velvet Heart Sandwich CookiesScreen Shot 2016-01-21 at 10.24.29 AM

These are a creative yummy way to make heart shaped cookies with shortbread and cream cheese icing.



Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 10.24.45 AMValentine’s Day Sorbet Sandwiches

Icy, tart, and refreshing. A delicious treat with chocolate outsides for you chocolate lovers.



Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 10.24.57 AMRed Velvet Milkshakes

A thick, rich, flavorful dessert drink, perfect for those sweet sugar cravings.



Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 10.25.10 AMConversation Heart Cheesecakes

An extravagant way to show your love to that special someone.



Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 10.25.25 AMPecan and Cherry Linzer Cookies

A delicious and rather simple cookie to show cute Valentine’s Day spirit.