Are fidget spinners O.K. at Highland?

It seems like at least once a year a new craze will sweep across the youth of America. Whether it’s a new toy, dance, or app, it seems unavoidable. This year, a new trend has spun the world into a debate. What is this subject of mass dispute one might ask? You probably guessed it – the fidget spinner.

If you aren’t aware of what these little gadgets look like, just picture three exposed ball bearings surrounding a capped ball bearing in the middle, connected with plastic. (If that description didn’t help just look at the photograph below).

The creator of the fidget spinner, Catherine Hettinger, had the idea for the now very popular toy more than 20 years ago. When Catherine was in Israel she saw boys throwing rocks at law enforcement officials. This gave here the idea to create a way for kids to release their stress, and negative emotions, in an appropriate fashion. In 1997, she pitched the idea to Hasbro Toys, but was shot down. Despite this setback, she got a patent. Unfortunately for Catherine, she patented the idea back in 1997, and the patent expired just this year; meaning the rightful creator is getting no money or credit. It’s really unfortunate when you consider tens of millions of spinners have been sold within the last few months.

photo courtesy of Elliot Wall

So, what has people all worked up about these seemingly harmless toys? Well, a few things. For one, teachers absolutely despise them because they are just another distraction for a generation with more than enough distractions. So, like cell phones, teachers have started to confiscate all fidget spinners seen out during class. Some schools have went as far as to ban them completely from school grounds.

Another reason people don’t like the little toys are the fact that they are just annoying. People complain about the obnoxious buzzing noise they make. They also complain about the little kids running around wildly spinning.

One more reason people don’t like them is the are “just a fad.” Although it’s 100% true that fidget spinners are a fad, and a kind of dumb fad at that, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t enjoy it.

At Highland, it isn’t uncommon to see a kid with a spinner (one author of this article has three). So, is it O.K. to bring them to class? A few teachers were asked to give their opinion of fidget spinners:

Mrs. Corbett, the math teacher, was asked what she thought when she saw kids spinning in class: “I don’t care when I see them out in class but I don’t think they help with ADD or anything. More like a Tech Deck, just a toy to play with… oh and also the kids who use the app are ridiculous.”  

Agriculture and floral design teacher Ms. Wedger was also asked about fidget spinners in the classroom: “It doesn’t bother me. It really bothers me when kids start timing them [how long they spin] or having competitions. I think they can help a very specific group of people, only sometimes, but most kids don’t need them.”

Finally, Mr. Manthis, an English teacher, was asked about his feelings: “I understand their purpose and I don’t care if people are spinning alone. When kids start passing them back and forth is when it becomes distracting.”

We think that fidget spinners are harmless, but can become a nuisance when kids are buying light up, speaker versions and constantly spinning in class. Teachers seem to think the same thing. As long as you keep the spinner to yourself, make sure it’s quiet, and don’t have competitions, it seems like it’s fine to bring them to Highland.

YA! program at CLUES

Throughout the Twin Cities, there are many programs (within and outside of school) to help students prepare for their future/college.

CLUES (Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio) has The Youth in Action! (YA!) program in St. Paul, and for the first time, the program will also be running a CLUES in Minneapolis!

The YA! program is dedicated to help Latino students feel more empowered to become future leaders. Every student in the program is matched with a mentor to support and motivate them. Student and mentor pairs get to know each other during the YA! Institutes, and on an individual basis to help them with whatever they need. YA! Institutes are held every second Saturday of each month, through September and June.

photo courtesy of Tanya Tzwald

Along with mentors, students are given many amazing opportunities to volunteer at places like Feed My Starving Children and Toys for Tots.

Students are also given the opportunity to develop their leadership skills by planning civic engagement activities. Civic engagement activities are focused on topics like problem solving for the community, formation/changing of laws, local and national governing bodies, and bettering our communities.

I have been in the YA! program since 2015 (my sophomore year), and I wish I had joined sooner. Since joining, I have definitely seen my leadership skills grow. I have had the opportunity to help/run a civic engagement activity, and volunteer at not only the places I mentioned, but I also became a Play Team member at the Minnesota Children’s Museum.

Applications are out! If you know someone that will be in 9th grade next year, encourage them to apply! Or if you have further questions, please contact Tanya Zwald at tzwald@clues.org or call (651) 379-4235!

More info – http://www.clues.org/wp_english/portfolio/youth-engagement-enrichment/

BBMAs

The Billboard Music Awards is an award show that honors outstanding chart performances for the past year. The award is given on by Billboard Magazine. The first Billboard Music Awards (BBMAs) were held in 1990, and was continued as an annual event until 2006. It was then restarted in 2011.

The 2017 Billboard Music Awards were held on May 21, 2017, for the 6th annual year. The award show took place in Las Vegas, at T-Mobile Arena, and was hosted by Vanessa Hudgens and Ludacris.

The list of nominees was announced on April 10, 2017. A few of the categories along with their nominees and winners were: 

Top Artist:

Drake — WINNER

Adele

Beyonce

Justin Bieber

The Chainsmokers

Ariana Grande

Shawn Mendes

Rihanna

Twenty One Pilots

The Weeknd

Top New Artist:

Zayn — WINNER

Alessia Cara

Desiigner

Lil Uzi Vert

Lukas Graham

Top Male Artist:

Drake — WINNER

Justin Bieber

Future

Shawn Mendes

The Weeknd

Top Female Artist:

Beyonce — WINNER

Adele

Ariana Grande

Rihanna

Sia

Every year, Billboard has many artists, both old, new, and up and coming, preform at the event. This year’s show included 19 different performances from 19 different artists. Some of the acts that were included: Miley Cyrus – who performed her new single “Malibu,” Drake who performed “Gyalchester” from his album More Life, Halsey, Sam Hunt, Ed Sheeran, Julia Michaels, The Chainsmokers, Camila Cabello, and many more.

Billboard gave out a total of 42 wards at this year’s event, and rapper Drake claimed 13 of those, for his album More Life, breaking the previous record of 12 awards held by Adele for her album 21 in 2011. According to Billboard Magazine’s official website, winners are chosen on fan interactions, and the winning artist depends on many factors such as album and digital song sales, streaming, radio play, touring, and social engagement.