Appreciate your elders

Your elders are very important, they are people that have many experiences and wisdom, but are also very under appreciated. Often, we look past all the advice and love that not only our grandparents give us, but many elders like maybe your old neighbor, or someone that has helped you through a rough situation. Many times, it takes a death situation, or a near death situation to realize how much you need your elders, or how much you would miss them.

~b001448A recent picture that went viral online showed a picture of a grandfather known as “Papaw” that was photographed by his granddaughter eating a burger by himself. She captioned that photo “He made 12 burgers for all six grandkids and I’m the only one who showed. Love him.” This caused a lot of commotion online showing sympathy for Papaw. Many were upset that his grandchildren didn’t show up. Many were upset, but didn’t realize that they may not appreciate their elders either, just in a different manner.

There are many ways to appreciate your elders. One of them can be to express to them how much they mean to you at a unexpected time. By doing this you surprise them and show them you care and were thinking of them. Also, thanking your elders for the little things they do whether it’s the advice they give to you, words of wisdom, their cooking, or for simply being apart of your life. Make your elders feel like they’re needed is also appreciated. Often, older people are not able to do most things that the younger can, so do something with them that you both will enjoy and they can take part in.

~b221820Kenny “Papaw” Harmon, know as the sad grandpa, had a cookout in Oklahoma this weekend and it attracted thousands of people from all over the world. Brock (one of Papaw’s grandkids) said, “The most special moment of the day was seeing my grandpa cry.” He also added that he never saw his grandfather cry before, but there were “a couple of people telling their stories that made him tear up. He was really touched.” Brock said the event helped “make people realize that your grandparents aren’t going to be around forever and to call them up and tell them you love them. Whether it’s in whatever way or form your elders should be treated with respect and love they truly deserve.”

Harsher penalties for bias crimes

asma-jama-gofundme-attackMinnesota lawmakers recently passed a bill to increase the penalty of crimes committed for bias reasons. The problem was brought to light by a case in October, when Asma Jama, a Muslim women was attacked. While dining in a Coon Rapids Applebee’s, Jama was struck across the face with a beer bottle, for speaking Swahili. Jama received deep cuts to her right eyebrow, nose, and lower lip, needing a total of 15 stitches. Jama was attacked by Jodie Burchard-Risch, a 43 year old Ramsey Resident.

Third-degree assault charges are classified under felony with up to 5 years of imprisonment, whereas a hate crime would be classified under a misdemeanor, which has a far less harsher punishment. Burchard-Risch was charged with third-degree assault by the Anoka County District Court. Members of the Minnesota Council on Islamic-American Relations were pushing for Burchard-Risch to be charged with a hate crime. However, the Members of the Minnesota Council on Islamic-American Relations were not only pushing for a hate crime, but they also wanted the severity of hate crime punishments to increase.

Increasing the penalty on bias crimes in Minnesota should help to lower levels of hate crimes. By not allowing hate crimes to fly under the radar like as third-degree assaults, and charging the attackers with felonies instead of misdemeanors, Minnesota is not only making an effective step to stopping hate crimes, but is also showing where it stands when it comes to discrimination.

For more information:

Highland’s badminton team

One of the spring sports at Highland Park Senior High is badminton.

First, off here are some things to know about practice and how it works. The players in badminton practice from 2:20-4:00 pm. They set up the nets and do some warm ups. Warm ups include: running back and forth (in many ways), 50 crutches, planks, and stretches.

Now, about how games work. First, they wait for the other school to show up, if it’s a home game. After both teams practice for awhile, getting themselves ready to play against each other, they then line up in ranks depending on which team there on.

Lastly, after the game players usually play with other members just to relax after a long game.

Fact: Highland Senior High School started the season right by beating Pairie Seeds Academy winning 7-0 on their first game, which was a home game.

Speech Sections

On Wednesday, March 16th, Highland Park’s Speech Team competed in their sectionals at Eagan High school. Each school sends representatives, and Ramona White was Highland’s representative in Poetry.  She was the only person from Highland to final, which means she made it to the top seven, however she only placed fourth which means she didn’t make it to State. Only the top three finalists in each category go to state. White placed in finals last year in the Poetry category as well. There are twelve other categories in speech, some of which include: duo, drama, humorous, discussion, and creative expression. 

The Speech Team also has other school events, for example, at the end of the season they come into English classrooms showcasing the piece they have performed for the whole season. Before sections, there are almost weekly tournaments on Saturdays at different high schools.

Kaylee Voigt, a freshman at Highland Park Senior High, talked about her experience in this speech season. “I think that for me speech was about confidence and being able to put myself out there. Like for most people speaking in front of an audience was scary but after a while I didn’t care. Even though it’s a little scary getting up and talking in front of a group of people it helped a lot.”

Speech has a category for almost everyone’s interests – and there may be something for you. The Speech Sections were a great opportunity for everyone to be proud of the hard work they had done with their pieces over the past year.


photo taken from Kaylee Voigt’s Twitter

Supreme Court nomination

Following the death of death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, President Obama has nominated Merrick Garland to fill the seat. This has stirred much controversy between the Democratic and Republican parties, as numerous Republicans have refused to consider the President’s nomination. A majority of the Senate is Republican, so a large part of the Senate is fearful that court would drastically shift to a more liberal focal point. Some members of the Republican Party have gone so far as to say that President Obama does not have the authority to make a nomination. However, these claims are false  because there is a clear Constitutional right granted to the President of the United States for nominating a Supreme Court justice.

Many members of the Senate wanted to wait until the next president is elected for a nomination to be made, however President Obama thought Judge Garland would be a perfect fit for current American politics. “At a time when our politics are so polarized, at a time when norms and customs of political rhetoric and courtesy and comity are so often treated like they’re disposable, this is precisely the time when we should play it straight,” Mr. Obama told an audience that included Judge Garland’s family, Democratic Senators and liberal activists. Some Republicans are open to the idea of Garland as the new leader of the Supreme Court. Current Republican presidential candidate, and Ohio Governor, John Kasich said, “Frankly, they probably ought to all sit down and meet with the guy.”


photo taken from Wikimedia Commons


Celebrating the arts at the Art Showcase

On March 23rd, at 6 pm, the celebration for our second annual Art Showcase was held in the lobby and auditorium of our school, with free admissions for all. The event was organized by Highland, in partnership with the Friends of Highland Arts (FHA), and a combined effort of arts, band, choir, and theater students. Highland’s Choir and Theater instructor, Kate Mendenhall, was the point person who organized the event this year, and is hoping to for this to become a tradition at HPSH.

Friends of Highland Arts (FHA) is a local non-profit group that works closely with the schools, and Highland community, to promote and further the arts in our community. They were also a tremendous help in organizing and promoting the show.

The afternoon was splendidly filled with the art of music. Stage performances in the auditorium began around 7 pm, featuring our Jazz Band, Honors Orchestra, Tremble Choir, Honors Choir, and Symphonic Band. Each of the groups performed works from their past and upcoming concerts. Some of the titles played by the Honors Band included “Adagio” by David R Holsinger and “Symphonic Dance No.3” by Clifton Williams.

Not only that, the cast of the musical, Lucky Stiff, also made an appearance at the showcase with a snippet of their upcoming spring musical which will be held on April 21-23. The Highland Theater Friends and Family were also fundraising in support for HPSH Theater. Other featured art included, Ramona White from our school’s Speech Team, who performed on stage with her creative piece.

“I feel like this event was a huge success,” said Ms. Mendenhall. “All of the groups performed really well and seemed like they were having a great time participating. Most of the times, performing groups do not get to listen to other performing groups, so it was nice that they could listen to their peers at an event like this.”

The showcase was the perfect opportunity for both our fellow peers and community to expose themselves to the talents and arts offered at Highland. During the night, students were able to present their works to the community and be appreciated for their efforts in the arts and freedom of expression. Not only was this event a wonderful source of entertainment for the open audience, but it was also a rewarding experience for our students and teachers who contributed to the show. “The most rewarding thing for me is to be able to let my students experience all different types of art,” said Ms. Mendenhall. “In choir, a lot of our focus goes into choral and vocal music. I really like that my students are able to see what other talent is here at HPSH.”

The overall Art Showcase was met with great praise from our community as well. This was evident in Ms. Mendenhall’s comment, “I noticed that community members and families really like that we provided a ‘one stop shop’ – meaning they could hear and see all of what Highland Park has to offer in our fine arts department in one night.”

Featured outside of the auditorium were the large white panels, collapsible doors, and tables filled with the collection of works from about 20 IB Visual art students. The majority of these student will use these collective pieces from both their junior and senior year to submit to IB later this month. Each of their works were linked with a cohesive theme, with their own unique sense of style. This part of the showcase itself is considered to be a huge new step for the art department, as this was Highland’s first year reserving an organized space for an art gallery of students’ masterpieces.

“The event was a huge success, despite the snowy afternoon,” said art teacher, Keri Schultz. “The gallery and audience was very full. People were excited about the wide variety of art styles that students shared.” The Saint Paul District arts coordinator, Jan Spencer Gutierrez, also showed up for the celebration.

The art gallery was a new component for IB Visual Art students, and provided students with an opportunity to first-hand experience a live art show. Mrs. Schultz also noted that the most rewarding aspect was allowing students to plan out their methods of visual presentation by finding desirable locations, lighting, and completing pre-hangings to create purpose for the organization of art collection.

“I also liked how students personalized the way they presented the titles for their work. Mazzy put her labels on rocks, which really made her environmental theme come through in a visual way.  I also think that Highland complex and the Friends of Highland Arts were able to further develop our relationship, and that was very positive.”

A total of 15 under the sea watercolor paintings, from students of Highland Park Elementary, also contributed to the visual art gallery. As a group project, elementary student also created a sculpture made up of lights, plastic bottle caps, and paint, resembling a Dale Chihuly type sculpture. Along with that, there were 10 figure drawings from the middle school students. As for our high school students, they contributed 30 self-portrait paintings, 40 sculptures, and tiles from the ceramics students.

Some of Mrs. Schultz’s hopes and goals for the future of Highland’s Art Showcase is to incorporate more activity tables to engage the youth of our community, and have them share their art as a part of our community. “I think it might be fun to have high school students there to teach techniques or little projects to other people (young and old) from our communities.” The art department is also hoping to seek more grant money for permanent lighting solutions in the space of display.

Similarly, Ms. Mendenhall also has hopes for the future of the Arts Showcase to be an event that HPSH students look forward to attending, not just families and community members. “I think this is a great way to support your peers in their artistic endeavors, and maybe even become involved with a group yourself!”

“In terms of the art, I was just really proud of how nicely students were able to share their creative efforts,” Mrs. Schultz said. “I also wanted to thank Kate Mendenhall for being the liaison between Highland and FHA Friends of Highland. It went great!”

The best parks with walking paths in Minnesota

Now that the weather is getting nicer, many of us who enjoy walks and want to get more exercise are looking for places to go for walking. There are many walking paths in the Twin Cities. Minnehaha Regional Park, Swede Hollow Park near Dayton’s Bluff, Fort Snelling State Park, and Harriet Island Regional Park, are some of the walking paths that aren’t too far from the Highland Park area. All these parks have history behind them, and today they are used for site seeing, and are calm recreational places for us all to enjoy.

photo taken from Family Fun Twin Cities

Minnehaha Regional Park is right across the Ford Parkway bridge. It’s known for it’s big waterfall. Minnehaha Regional Park has walking paths along the Minnehaha Creek, it allows you to follow it as it makes it’s way to the Mississippi River. The path is a beautiful, calm environment. Walking along the water can make your walk more exciting. It’s very family-friendly, and pet-friendly, and wildlife is all around. Biking is also available at Minnehaha Park; you can rent bikes for you and your friends and family and biking is a great way to get exercise.

photo taken from Metro Bike Trails Guide

photo taken from The Minnesota Historical Society

Swede Hollow Park is near Dayton’s Bluff on the East Side of St. Paul. It is near the Mississippi River and Downtown St. Paul. This Nature Park has great views of the city, and the change of noises you hear in the park is remarkable; with all the traffic around the park you wouldn’t expect it to be a very quiet and secluded recreational spot. Swede Hollow has bike paths and walking paths all throughout the park. At the northern part of the park, there is a assemblage of stones arranged in circles that are very cool to see.

Fort Snelling State Park was built in the 1800s and is located by the Mississippi River in Hennepin county. It is a great place to go for a day outside and for a glimpse into the life of our past, involving civil rights and the lifestyle that came with it. Some of the State Park’s attributes include multiple hiking trails along the river, a beach for swimming in the summer, tours, and scenes/displays of how it was like to live daily at this military base in the 1820’s. These scenes/displays include the jobs and standards of men in the military, nurses, families, blacksmiths, and slaves. Fort Snelling offers many different opportunities depending on what you are looking for, and it is great for people of all ages.

photo taken from Saint Paul, Minnesota: The most livable city in America

Harriet Island Regional Park is located along the Mississippi and is near downtown Saint Paul, with a bridge as the connection. Harriet Island is one of the most popular parks in the Twin Cities with its beautiful views and spacious grounds. The park offers great scenery and picnic areas, perfect for a day out. These grounds are known to be great for hosting events such as weddings, festivals, etc. Playgrounds, tents, and many hiking and biking trails are available to the public as well.

ULA Cinco de Mayo

20150855d2355373263ULA (Union Latina) is a club after school that anyone is free to join. The club meets every Wednesday in room 3509. Over the past 2 months, they have been practising and editing bits and pieces of multiple dance routines that they have choreographed themselves for the Cinco de Mayo show at Highland Park Sr. The show will be on May 5th.

Not only is ULA a great way to learn how to dance, but it is also a great way to make new friends, stay involved in school, and also to learn some Spanish.

The purpose of the Unión Latina Club (ULA) is to create awareness of Latin American heritage. This club aims to educate all students by developing a better understanding of Latin American culture, current issues and diversity. ULA also brings together Latino students to develop constructive and cooperative relations and academic support among grades.

The club is open to any student interested in learning more about Latin American countries and their heritage. It sponsors a variety of event such as Cinco de Mayo and Día de los Muertos.

Benstock gone wrong


photo courtesy of HPSH Yearbook

Did you hear about what happened at Benstock?

On March 11, Highland Park held its annual talent show Benstock. The show consists of dancing, singing and performances. The event is held in our auditorium. This year, it began at 7:00 P.M. and lasted until past 9:00 P.M.

Some of the performers included Tahji, Maeve and Roland (who performed together), Claudia, Malik and many more. Many performers that night had sung or rapped a song while a few others performed with their bands. The band, The Father, and the collective of Charlie, Alex, Thomas, Evan, and Fernanda were both bands who had performed a mix of rock and metal songs.

The most memorable performance of the night was from Francisco, Zach, and Nathan. When the trio first came on stage, they began performing “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice. Then before they could say a word, the music cut off and started a different beat. They then started to recruit a crowd to be at the front of the stage. Once they had a crowd, they began to freestyle. Due to them swearing in the song, they were shut down. The performers were later taken to the principal’s office to discuss repercussions.

The performers had uploaded a video on Youtube, but they then took it down a day later. The video included multiple view points from the performance and it ended with a voicemail left by our principal, Dr. Tucker. Due to this change in the performance, many expect some rules and guidelines for next years Benstock.

Just like most people in the audience, I enjoyed the performance. In the moment, I was not aware that they were swearing. Their rapping was one of the best experiences at Highland. Everyone in the audience seemed to like this performance. I even asked a few of my friends for their opinion on this situation. Here are a few of their comments:

Nick:  Hilarious. The video on YouTube was good! I hope it happens again, I enjoyed it a lot.

Sauldki: I enjoyed it very much. I felt the school was taking away their rights to perform.

Annalise: It was fine. We are all in high school, we are all old enough. The staff over reacted.

Charlie: I was prepared and disappointed because they stopped it. I can see why the parents find it disturbing. It’s a good way to go out as a senior.

Molly: It was stupid because they are seniors. They should be able to do what they want for their last year.

These are just half of the people I asked. Just like I mentioned before, many students enjoyed the performance. It was in fact, in my opinion, stupid to suspend the seniors for five days. It is no different from original rappers who swear in their music.

To conclude, I do think some of the reactions and consequences were unnecessary. Only because it is no different from what we hear in the hallways. It was a simple crowd pleaser.




Highland Park math team

The Highland Park Math Team made it to state for the 21st year in a row, and finished in seventh position. Mr. Anderson and Mr. O’Connell are the coaches of the Highland Park High Math Team. David and Geeta are the captains of the math team. I interviewed them and a couple of people from the math team.


photo taken by Anne Kelly Berg via Facebook

1. What is your name/grade?
Michael: Freshman.
David: I’m a senior.
Geeta: I’m a junior.

2. How do you feel about making it to state?
Michael: Proud.
David: Pretty great. Always good to beat Central.
Geeta: It’s our 21st yr to make it to state.

3. What made you want to be part of the math team?
Michael: I enjoy competition and math.
Geeta: Like math, I was in the math team in middle school. I wanted to work with people who love math as much as I do.
David: I was in the math team in middle school too and I love math.

4. What are some challenges you faced along the way?
David: Takes a lot of practice. Meet two, three times a week.
Geeta: Memorize all the formulas.
Michael: A lot of information to know and memorize.

5. Any information you would like for us to know about the math team?
David: Join math team you don’t have to be great at math. Still get to learn.
Geeta: Good for test anxiety and for times tests.
Michael: It’s fun if you like doing doing math.

6. What advice do you have for students who want to join the math team?
David: Come to practice we don’t bite. Works pretty well with sports, you can be in a sport and math team at the same time.
Geeta: You don’t have to know math really well because we teach you what you want.
Michael: Don’t worry about the actual competition but having fun doing math.

7. Anything else you want to say?
David: Nothing.
Geeta: No.
Michael: No.