Homecoming 2016

It’s the start of a new school year, new people, new Homecoming royalty, and new rules. This year, Homecoming rules are a little different than previous years. Previously, the student body would nominate their class royalty by writing in their names and then, through the democratic process, the nominees would be narrowed down to the top three options. Then, whomever received the most votes would be elected class royalty. However, this gave students the opportunity to produce “bully-nominations.”

Bully nominations can be defined as a group of students who decide, as a critical mass, to elect someone for Homecoming out of a joke.

Ms. Hedwall, and Ms. Rohweller-Kocur, have spent many years orchestrating the Homecoming season, ensuring fun traditions, and really highlighting the school spirit. This means ensuring a safe, and respectful atmosphere which had been violated in years past.

I interviewed the two faculty members on their goals and plans for Homecoming this year, and how it might differ from the past. The two reflected on an incident when they noticed an individual who was nominated every year of his high school career. Every year, this student’s name would be called, and the group of students “tipped over laughing” as Ms. Rohweller-Kocur reflected.

Once a year, at least one student gets through as a bully nominee, usually an underclassmen. Despite administration and faculty efforts to prevent bully nominations, Ms. hedwall reports, “There isn’t a mechanism to catch underclassmen [bully] nominees.” Now, this isn’t to say underclassmen shouldn’t get excited about Homecoming, and having the opportunity to be elected class royalty.

To put your name out in the student mass as a Homecoming nominee, there are a few steps that have to be taken first. This year, instead of just saying “vote for me” on twitter and in your classrooms, you have to explain why.

hcIn front of Ms. Rohweller-Kocur’s room, 3211, there is a “HOMECOMING 2016 ROYALTY NOMINATION FORM.” On the new sheet it explains that you must “[S]elf-nominate to ensure that those nominated want to be a part of the ceremony and that they embody the positive qualities valued by Highland Park Senior High School.” You and one other person, who also wants to run, must write a 150 to 200 word response to the question, “Why do you believe that you are an excellent representative of not only your class, but also of Highland Park Senior High?” The form was due Friday, September 19, 2016 at 2 pm.

The nominated Homecoming royalty will be announced at the Pep Fest on Friday, September 30th.

iPad handout

This week was iPad handout week where students got their iPads during their Social Studies class. Since the district is controlling the iPads this year, some things were changed.

If a student wanted their iPad, their parents had to go on Parent Portal and fill out the form (iUpdate) online. Last year, students were given printed forms to sign which made things easier for those who had no access to Internet.

There were a few complaints about going on Parent Portal. One thing, is that people say the form was hard to find. At max, it took them about 10 minutes to find the form. Another complaint was that the access to Parent Portal was sent in the mail to the person’s residence during the summer. The complaint was that some people didn’t keep their mailing, or that the parents didn’t know they were supposed to keep it for future use.

For those students who didn’t get their iPads, there was a mailing sent to everyone about the iPad makeup day. Students would get another chance to get their iPad once their parents filled out the iUpdate form.

This year’s iPad handout went by surprisingly fast. Hopefully, everyone uses their iPads appropriately.

Dreamline tutors interview

img_0001Available to all students, the Dreamline Tutors are here to help you. Be it math, science, history, or English. I sat down with them to ask them some questions, and here are their responses.

Who are you?

Ms. Tegan Thompson, Mr. Chris Young (Highland Alumni, had Ms. Lingofelt as a teacher), and Mr. Matt Johnson

What do you do as a tutor?

We give support in the classrooms, core stuff, and after school stuff.

Do you get many students looking for tutoring?

Just 9th grade and 10th grade students.

What is the most common and least common subject for tutoring?

Math (most common) and Science (least common).

Does your tutoring typically improve the grades of your students?


What days are you available?

Monday through Thursday, 2-4 P.M.

What made you want to be a tutor?

“Been working in schools for the past 3 years, but liked working in small groups as opposed to classrooms,” said Ms. Thompson. 

Team 2823: The Automations

Last year our very own Highland Park High robotics team, 2823, made it to the championships in St. Louis, MO. They had many victories and ended up leaving with the title “Most Creative in Minnesota.”

Now it’s a brand new year and the whole team is looking forward to what this new school year brings. I interviewed some of the team members and mentors about what happened last year in St. Louis, what they have been doing this summer, and what is to come for this year on the team.

Photo from Go Fund Me Page

Name/ Grade: 

Moriss: 10th

Qwadir: 11th

Talking About St.Louis

So last year in St.Louis I would say we did a fairly amazing job. How do you think we did and why?

Moriss: We did amazing. They say we were the last team to be undefeated but technically we were undefeated in my opinion.

Qwadir: We attended the FIRST Championships and it was actually pretty spontaneous and ended up going undefeated in qualifications.

What was the best part of being in St. Louis with some of the team for the championships?

Moriss: Interacting with the other teams.

Qwadir: How well we did and how unexpected it was for us to do that well.


What has the team been doing over the summer to raise awareness about the team or robotics in general?

Qwadir: The biggest thing, first off, the better organization. Getting more structured and organized. We have also been attending the Highland Fest and the State Fair.

Whats to expect this year on team 2823

What do you think is to come this year for robotics?

Moriss: I have higher hopes for Duluth (where the State Championship is held) and robotics in general

Qwadir: Steampunk industral aged theme game. From the team a great preformence and going to champs again.

Do we see Duluth as another possibility this year?

Moriss: Yes, I do.

Qwadir: For sure. We are definitely going to Duluth again. We are already securing the funds.

What would you say to someone thinking about joining the team?

Moriss: You should join because we have a lot of opportunities to learn new skills and build more friendships.

Qwadir: Definitly, just come and see what it’s about. We are here every Thursday in the fall. There are a lot of things to do besides just build the robot.

The Go Fund Me Page

Our robotics team has a Go Fund Me page. Definitely go check it out. It supports the team a lot and also gives the team more opportunities for competition and building. The team goal is $10k. The goal of the team is to develop and apply the knowledge of science, math, business, teach leadership, and problem solving. More info can be found on the Go Fund Me page: https://www.gofundme.com/txf7z5qc










Comparing ways to get to school

Students have a lot of options to get to school in the morning, and this article will be reviewing the pros and cons of each option. The three most popular ways to get to school are: by school bus, biking, and driving. Each of these options have good and bad things about them.

Bussing is a great option to get to school for many reasons. One main reason is that it’s reliable. Unlike biking and driving, one doesn’t really have to worry abut weather because bus drivers are much better trained than a high school driver in terms of heavy weather driving, and biking is pretty much out of the question unless you are willing to get soaked. Bussing also is a great place to talk with your friends that live near you. Another pro about bussing is that you can take it all season, unlike biking unless you own a winter bike.

However, there are also cons about bussing to school. One major con is not being able to stay after school to talk to a teacher, retake a test, or study in the library without having to take an alternate way home. Another con to bussing is that you may have to leave earlier than other options, because the bus stops so many times.

Biking is also a great way to get to school, weather permitting. Biking has mostly the same pros as driving, with a few exceptions. Biking is also a great excercise and can be fun.

Some cons to biking is that we live in Minnesota. Winter lasts ⅔ of the school year which makes it very difficult to bike for most of the school year.

Driving has both a lot of pros and cons. Some pros are being able to leave your house relatively late, compared to biking and bussing. Also, driving gives you the freedom to stop for food before or after school if you’re hungry. You can keep textbooks in your car too, if you don’t want to carry them around all day.

Some cons to driving though are having to worry about parking and paying for gas. Paying for gas can get expensive if you drive to school everyday.

Overall, there are many good options to getting to school. I personally drive, but I have both bussed and biked in years past. It all matters on your personal preference and what works best with your schedule.

Minnesota scholarships


photo taken from: Eastern Oklahoma State College

For those interested in college, a main concern is the price. However, there are many scholarships available from Minnesota schools that are directed towards juniors and seniors in high school. It is helpful to know what you need to qualify for one, and the different categories for scholarships to see if you fit into one. In this article you will find a variety of scholarships known for helping students pave their own college path.

Army ROTC Scholarship: The Army ROTC Scholarship is directed towards people planning to serve but want a degree as well. The scholarships are awarded less based on your financial status and more on your academic performance.

For more info: http://www.goarmy.com/rotc/scholarships.html

EMPOWER Scholarship: The EMPOWER Scholarship is directed towards people going into the medical field. Students are selected for the scholarship based on their intended use of the college education, need, high school stats, and personal achievements.

For more info: http://www.allinahealth.org/Courage-Kenny-Rehabilitation-Institute/Programs-and-services/Volunteer-opportunities/EMPOWER-Scholarships/

Minnesota Academic Excellence Scholarship: The Minnesota Academic Excellence Scholarship is directed towards people planning to enroll to a private or public Minnesota university. Selections for the scholarships are made based on applicants who have excelled in multiple school subjects, demonstrating a high success rate with potential for many different career paths.

For more info: https://www.ohe.state.mn.us/mPg.cfm?PageID=150

Minnesota Child Care Grant: The Minnesota Child Care Grant was made to help people, with kid/s ages 12+, financially in order for them to proceed with college while continuing to support their household. To qualify your income must qualify and you must also be a Minnesota resident.

For more info: https://www.ohe.state.mn.us/mPg.cfm?pageID=140

Minnesota Indian Scholarship Program: The Minnesota Indian Scholarship Program is meant to provide financial aid to people who are ¼ or more Native American. You must also be a Minnesota resident. The scholarship amount ranges $4,000-$6,000 per year based on need and education status.

For more info: http://www.ohe.state.mn.us/mPg.cfm?pageID=149

Minnesota State Grant Program: The Minnesota State Grant Program is directed towards low and moderate income families with financial aid. There is no application fee for this specific grant. If awarded with this grant, it is eligible at both universities and community colleges, however it must be in the state of Minnesota.

For more info: https://www.ohe.state.mn.us/mPg.cfm?pageID=138

PFund scholarship: The PFund Scholarship is directed towards members of the LGBTQ community. Scholarships range from $2,000 to $10,000. To be elligible you must live in Minnesota and attend a Minnesota college.

For more info: https://www.petersons.com/scholarship/pfund-scholarship-program-111_157203.aspx#/sweeps-modal


Fall sports

hphsFall. It’s something a lot of us look forward to. From going back to school (just to see your friends), to wondering if Halloween is just around the corner, or when winter break finally starts. But no one else looks more forward to fall than the athletes participating in this year’s fall sports. From football to girls swimming, girls volleyball, boys soccer, cheerleading etc. these athletes have been waiting all summer to do what they love the most.

“I love a good challenge for these athletes and just seeing their energy and dedication that they have when participating…” said Pat Auran, Highland’s newest athletic director. “It’s a rewarding and comradery type of atmosphere.”

During this small interview I had with Mr. Auran I asked him what it means to be a great athlete. His response was:

“School always comes first, always. No exceptions, it just does, that’s why so many athletes have a greater chance of graduating when they participate because they know that if they don’t get their homework in they can’t play or they get put on academic probation…” He added, “I feel as if sports is just an extension of school. Think about it: you have seven classes in a day so just think of it as your eighth [class]. They’ve also got to be proud of our school [Highland], I always encourage school spirit it brings the school closer in some ways and after all they’re representing our school. I also expect them to be respectful towards others and themselves 100% of the time.”

I had also asked him what it means and what it takes to be a good coach (or assistant coach) for the athletes. He said, “They’ve got to be able to get along with the athletes and feel like they’re just having fun with whatever sport they chose to be in. The coach also has to be approachable. Besides being their mentor and help the kid achieve their goal we’re helping these bright athletes transform into mature adults that could eventually help them in the long run. We try our best to help these kids be prepared for their future.”

“So far, it’s been a great season for all sports that are going on right now. Sure we may not have won a ton of games, but the spirit the people have when they’re on the stands is incredible. The Washburn vs. Highland game for football was a loss for us, but the crowd in the Highland area stayed throughout the whole game. Win or lose the people stayed to show support for our school and that’s something I’d like to see at all games.”

For more listings about when and where the next games/meets are for each sporting event, you can go on the Highland Park website and click on the athletic calendar for more information, or follow this link: http://sports.spps.org and go show some school spirit and support!!


Meet the new staff members!

A new school year includes: new supplies, new opportunities, new students, and new teachers! This year we’ve welcomed 10 new staff members to our school. We had the chance to go around and ask some of them a little about themselves and their thoughts on Highland so far. All of the new staff members were very open and kind about answering the questions that we had for them. They all had very interesting things to say about the school and about themselves.


Ms. Rahman, Highland’s new librarian

All of the new staff members have been loving the vibe of Highland. The new librarian Ms. Rahman said, “I love the friendly, warm, and caring vibe I get from the staff members and the students.” Each staff member that we interviewed said that they can’t help but love just how lovely and kind everyone here at Highland is. Their favorite thing about Highland so far is the students! They all love just how friendly and smart the students are.

Mr. Auran, our new athletic director, said he was excited to come back to the high school side, this time in a new position. 

All of the new staff members are all very friendly and they all are very dedicated to their jobs here at Highland. We asked each staff member why they had chosen to come here and work at Highland. They all said that they loved what Highland had to offer for them, and that they’d heard so many wonderful things about this school. They all were very excited to start working here. and once they did, they couldn’t help but love the atmosphere.

Mr. Auran, the athletic director, who grew up near Highland, and also graduated from here, said that, “He always loved just how open-minded and fun the staff and students were.”  

During these interviews we got to know something fun and interesting about each of the staff members, and learned that all of them were pretty cool. All the fun facts went from playing the guitar for themselves and only themselves to doing scuba diving.


Mr. Rios, Highland’s newest Spanish teacher, picture taken from the HPSH website

We also found out that Mr. Rios loves to sing and write poetry and that Ms. Rahman had studied classical piano while growing up, but she hasn’t played since.

Hopefully, all of these new staff members create new and awesome memories here with us and have a great year at Highland.


Trump mural


For this article, we conducted interviews at school focusing on Donald Trump. We interviewed people anonymously, all from very different backgrounds and ages, in order to receive a wide range of perspectives. The interviews were mainly concerning the Trump mural painted in our school on the third floor. We wanted to know how it made people feel, and if something should be done about it. Although the mural was our focus, we also wanted to understand how people felt about Trump as a person. We did this to better understand the reasoning for the opinions about the mural.

While interviewing a variety of our peers, as well as some of the staff members, about their feelings on Trump, we came across many different views on him. We asked our interviewees to give us a short phrase or a couple of words to describe their feelings. Many had very angry comments such as:

“I hate him.”

“He is stupid.”

“He’s an orange sexist bigot.”

“He exploits people for his own gain.”

“He makes me feel ashamed”

Or words such as “pretty low, awful, Orange, Oompa Loompa, scared” were used.

We also had some responses that were very interesting and unbiased:

“I love him, I love him as a human being, because I love every human being.”

“I think he has always had a good life. Never struggled. He doesn’t know how to relate and empathize with people that have.”

“I may not agree with him all of time, but I always have to respect him and his opinions.”

Many of our classmates had no opinion on Trump at all. When asking the people we see everyday, many contrasting feelings and points were brought up.

Following hearing how individuals felt about Donald Trump, we informed them of the pop art painting located on the third floor.trump2

After hearing of the arts existence, we prompted subjects to tell us about how a painting of Trump in our school made them feel. We personally have no bias, and all responses were their own. There were a considerable number of students who were indifferent to the art piece, but some had feelings about the piece that they felt needed to be heard. There were points made that art is an expression, and no one has the right to censor art, and on the opposing side, a painting or “mural” of Trump made some students uncomfortable because of the comments he has made.

“It’s an outrage that a school with such a large Hispanic population has a painting of a man who has discriminated against us.”

“Art is an expression, and we can’t tell someone how they can or can’t feel.”

“There are better things that can be done with that space.”

“With how heated the air is surrounding this topic, I don’t believe it is a good idea for the school display such a controversial figure.”

“It is art, and art should never be censored. The painting has no degrading quotes, so no harm is truly being done.”

“Schools should not display political figures, especially when we are only showing one side of the argument.”

Overall, we gathered many views from our school’s community, and got a variety of answers. We learned different ways of thinking, broadening our perspectives. There was a significant amount of knowledgeable feedback, and we learned about the acceptance of others’ opinions.


A Highland Freshman’s first week

Becoming a Freshman at a new school can be exciting, frightening, and new to most. Link Leaders are here to make it easier for the Freshmen to find classes and feel welcome at Highland, but do they really? We wanted to see how Freshmen really felt during their first couple of weeks at Highland by surveying a class of thirty-four students.   


Freshman Will Altman

We developed nine questions, to ask Freshmen, to cover a wide range of things that they experienced during their first week here. We asked the students the following questions:

  • Our first question was about about the school itself, we asked them what their favorite part of Highland was. Their answer could be about the environment, the people, the classes, or even some of the clubs or activities.
  • The second and third questions asked about Link Crew events, and the Link Crew leaders themselves.
  • The fourth and fifth questions were about whether or not students were going to school events, and or if they joined any sports or clubs.
  • The sixth question asked what the students were expecting, and whether or not the school is close to their expectation.
  • The seventh question asked about which class was their favorite.
  • The eighth was about if they felt welcome at Highland.
  • The last question asked how they felt about their first week overall.   

The Link Crew leaders made a presence to the Freshmen. A lot of the Freshmen saw their Link Crew leaders and maybe said, “Hi” if they needed help with something. The Link Crew did their job and helped out the Freshman which is good to hear.

With Link Crew comes Link Crew events, almost every Freshman attended the events of Freshmen Fun Night and Shananalympics. Even though the Link Crew events were a hit, the Friday night football game was a not with most of the Freshmen because about 68 percent decided not to go.

Many sports and clubs are available to incoming Freshmen, ranging from soccer to science . We asked if they had joined any clubs or sports and most had. Freshmen in our survey joined a wide variety of clubs which included: cross country, football, dance, tennis, and robotics. A common answer was “not yet” so we’re expecting more Freshmen to join clubs in the latter part of the year.

The second part of the survey was more about the Freshman experience with the the school and its environment. Right off of the bat we asked the students what their favorite part of Highland was. Although it would be hard to list all thirty-four students responses, here are some of the best and most interesting:

  • Lots of students liked seeing their friends and meeting new ones, many Freshmen thought the teachers use the class time wisely which is nice.
  • The athletic program seems to be enjoyable for a lot of Freshmen especially for the football players.
  • People seem to think that Highland is a comfortable environment to learn. Link Crew leaders contribute to this feeling with their events that they run for the Freshmen.
  • Freshmen seem to think that a lot of the students here are nice and treat one another with respect.

We asked them what they thought of the first week overall, and most students said that they had enjoyed it, liked their teachers, and felt welcome.

Being a Freshman is a challenge at first, but from the responses we got Highland seems to make it an easier experience.