Volunteer opportunities for high schoolers in the Twin Cities

image taken from: http://www.pfrc.ca/about-us/volunteering/

Volunteering is a great way to help out in your community, earn volunteer hours, boost your resume, and gain new experiences. There are many different opportunities right here in the Twin Cities that can suit your different interests, and here are some of our favorites.

Animal Humane Society
Calling all animal lovers! The Animal Humane Society (115 Beulah Ln, St. Paul, MN) is a great way to spend your time by helping out at the shelter by doing various tasks. You may be bathing a dog one day, and helping a customer adopt a rabbit the next. If you’re into animals and want to help them stay happy and healthy, then this may be the place for you. If you are 16 or older and physically capable of handling animals, check it out at https://www.animalhumanesociety.org/volunteer.

Science Museum
Volunteering at the Science Museum of Minnesota (120 W Kellogg Blvd, St Paul, MN) is a great opportunity for all people who love to learn all about STEM and help others! Volunteers do all types of things including preparing a fossil, helping direct families, and answering questions about an exhibit you can learn all about. You also get many benefits such as free omnitheater films, free museum admission, free parking during volunteer shifts, a discount on the museum store, and more! If you’re 16 or older and willing to dedicate 4 hours a week or 4 hours every other weekend, apply at https://www.smm.org/volunteer

Literacy Program
The Literacy Program offers a great, easy way to volunteer. Volunteer opportunities are available Monday – Thursday from 4pm-6pm. This program offers the opportunity to work with children from grades k-3 with lessons on reading, writing and fun activities to help them in their everyday lives. Volunteers would be assisting staff members with teaching the lessons, on using vowels, blending spelling, language structure, reading fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Head on over to 690 Jackson Street St. Paul, MN 55130 for a great fun way to help out the community! For more information about this program visit https://www.volunteermatch.org/search/opp2789513.jsp

Feed My Starving Children
If you haven’t heard of Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) come out from under  the rock you’re living under. FMSC is a great, fun, easy way to make a big impact of the lives of many children. Volunteering is super simple and fun. You can bring your friends, family coworkers, anyone! Volunteers pack a specially made meal pack that suits the needs of the world’s neediest children. FMSC is also a great way for groups of people to bond and do some good for the world. For more information go to https://www.fmsc.org

Friends of the Mississippi
Friends of the Mississippi (FMR) is an organization based in St. Paul that works to protect and restore the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities region. They work in and around the river to combat things trying to disrupt the life and natural beauty surrounding our river. The Mississippi is something so close to home, that many of use take granted of in our everyday lives. Volunteering here is an amazing way to show your appreciation for the natural resource that we are very lucky to have right here in St. Paul. There are a lot of hands on opportunities to work with FMR, and can work for everyone. An easy way to volunteer is with their over 60 organized clean-ups throughout April and November. If you participate in 4 or more events you get SuperVolunteer status with a free T-Shirt and access to many events! You can also organize a group of 20 or more and complete your own event. They have a special program for students so we can complete our volunteer hours. For more information on how do get involved, click here: https://fmr.org/serve-river-participate-fmr-events

Children’s Hospital
Volunteering at the Children’s Hospital is an amaizng way to help people that need it the most. When you volunteer, you won’t be doing the tasks you might think of at a hospital; you’ll be helping to make the kid’s lives a little bit better. Volunteers help young children do what they’d be doing in school, like math or reading, and planning activities for them to enjoy. You’ll also do things like read to and play with the siblings of patients, to make their time their more enjoyable. For more information go here https://www.childrensmn.org/support-childrens/volunteer/

There are so many ways to help out all around the Twin Cities, and we hope you found something that inspires you to go out and try!

NBA athletes and their pay

image taken from: https://www.coloribus.com/adsarchive/prints/national-basketball-association-nba-jump-ball-15817105/

According to businessinsider.com, NBA players are the highest paid players in the world, (right behind the NBA are cricket players in India), with an average player making $6.4 million a year. The NBA has had many players that have been paid millions of dollars to shoot and dribble a basketball. Some of the NBA’s best players are being paid anywhere from 20-30 million dollars.

This year NBA players have been getting paid higher than ever. Stephen Curry, the point guard from the Golden State Warriors, got paid a 5-year, 201 million dollar contract to play with the Warriors. This would make his annual salary just about 34 million dollars. Behind him is Lebron James, the small forward from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Lebron James has a current annual salary of about 30.3 million dollars. The third current highest paid NBA player is Paul Millsap, the power forward from the Denver Nuggets. His annual salary is about 31 million dollars. Some of the highest paid players in the NBA are paid so much just to stay with their current team and not leave to play somewhere else.

One of the most recent pay boosts is Andrew Wiggins from our local team, the Minnesota Timberwolves. He recently signed a 5 year, 150 million dollar deal. The contract had been available to him for some time now, but he didn’t take it because he wanted to let all his fans and teammates know that he wanted to stay in Minnesota no matter what and that pay wasn’t something that was a deciding factor. Wiggins, like most players, want to be seen to be players that don’t care about pay and love playing the game itself. The NBA likes to advertise their players as people who care and love where they play.

Many people believe that all the money NBA players make is from their play on the court, but a lot of their money and earnings come from off-court things. This can, and does include: advertisements, sponsors, charity, appearances on TV, and the internet. As the years pass, more and more player in the NBA tend to get paid more and more on and off the court.

HP Tailgating 2017

October 7th, was Highland Park’s big homecoming game, and of course, comes the fun filled and food filled tailgating (which comes before every homecoming game)! This year, at Highland Park’s tailgating, things such as temporary tattoos, pins, an awesome photo booth, and of course food, were being sold to those who showed up to show some school spirit.

Though this particular day was very cloudy and rainy, and many booths lost their electricity, it didn’t stop many students and their family members from showing up to help  support the school. Many different school clubs participated in this event including, Union Latina, FFA, Student Council, and many more. Each brought their own great items, especially the food, things like taquitos, popcorn, fresh lemonade, and horchata were being sold. Many people showed up and enjoyed this event, and so I went around and asked some students how their experience was and what some of their favorite things were:

“This was my first ever tailgate, and I loved it. All of the people and the food there was great. Definitely a memory to add on to for my freshman year.”

“I had a good time with my friends and that awesome photo booth really made the day so much more fun, plus the food there was so good.”

“Since this is my last year here, I am super happy with the experience I had. I was able to hang out with friends, eat good food and even get good Highland merch to remember the great experience.”

Even through the rain and the cold, everyone who showed up seemed to have a great time, and for many, it was their last high school tailgating. Many seniors showed up to help lend their support, and I believe that many great memories were made. This year’s tailgating was one to be remembered!

The origin and brief history of Halloween

image taken from: http://www.refinery29.com/2016/10/127383/halloween-gifs

It’s that time of year again! That’s right, it’s almost Halloween, my personal favorite. Halloween is a holiday that, in modern times, celebrates ghosts, ghouls, zombies and anything spooky really. And of course, free candy! Who doesn’t love the free candy? However, Halloween is a very old holiday with a rich history that not many know about, including myself. So I researched the origin and history of my favorite holiday and here’s what I found.

Halloween originated in Celtic tradition with a festival called Samhain (pronounced sow-in), which was celebrated on the same day as modern Halloween. During Samhain people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. During this day, Pagans believed that the worlds between the afterlife and the living aligned, allowing ghosts to walk freely around the living world. They believed the ghosts would wreak havoc on their crops and spread illness.

In the 7th century, Pope Gregory III dedicated May 13th as a time to honor the saints, which included some aspects of Samhain, and during this time they would commemorate the dead.

In the 9th century it was changed to November 1st. Many historians believe it was changed to overshadow the Pagan festival. It was called All Saints Day, and the night before that was called All Hallows’ Eve which was later called Halloween.

By 1550s, Allhallowtide – a three day event, was recognized and almost obligatory in most of Europe. During these three days people would mourn the dead, dressed in black, and treat on soul cakes which were given out to remember the dead.

The 1700s is when some of the modern practices of Halloween come into play. People celebrating Samhain, would go door-to-door exchanging sung songs for food, and doing so while in costume, of course. Some would play pranks on people and hold lanterns made of gourds to imitate the malicious spirits that come out during Samhain. Even bobbing for apples was recorded in Scotland, but it was called “dooking.”

During the 1800s an influx of Scottish and Irish immigrants came to the U.S. bringing along their Halloween traditions.

Which brings us back to the present. Now, Halloween’s humble beginnings are but a tale lost, mostly, to time. And possibly bad record keeping.

For more information about the origins of Halloween, please check out the following websites:

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/timeline-origin-halloween-article-1.2406149

http://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween

The 2017 wildfire crisis

Image: Damage in Coffey Park, Santa Rosa after wildfire (NBC News, https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/western-wildfires/one-killed-major-wildfires-ignite-overnight-across-northern-california-n809206)

Since October 8, firefighters in California have responded to 250 new wildfires. In 2017, 7980 fires have burned 1,046,995 acres of land in California, according to CAL FIRE. One wildfire, the Tubbs Fire, has broken the record for most destructive wildfire in the history of California, burning 36,793 acres, destroying 5300 structures, and killing 22 civilians as also reported by CAL FIRE. In total, the wildfires have killed 42 civilians, according to CNBC. These wildfires pose serious questions about the nature of climate change and how we should treat our environment, as well as questions about how the government should respond to natural disasters.

In an article by Scientific American entitled “Scientists See Climate Change in California’s Wildfires,” UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain explains how climate change exacerbated the California wildfire crisis. The summer of 2017 was the warmest in more than 100 years, which dried out vegetation which in turn acted as fuel for the fires. This drying out of vegetation is also related to California’s recent historic drought, also linked to climate change. Additionally, strong winds blew the fires farther and into urban areas.

In the same article, climate scientist LeRoy Westerling says that climate models predict California to have continuing cycles of drought and rainfall due to climate change, a deadly combination when it comes to wildfires.

On October 19, a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation to combat wildfires in California and elsewhere, according to The Hill. Among other things, the bill would include a program for the U.S. Forest Service and Interior Department agencies to treat the most potentially dangerous areas for wildfires by removing dried vegetation, which might drastically decrease wildfire destruction for reasons previously explained. It would also provide $100 million to prepare against wildfires for communities most threatened by potential wildfires. This would be in addition to $576.5 million in disaster relief funds for wildfire recovery recently approved by The House.

The wildfire crisis is not just a Californian phenomenon. So far this year, The Hill has reported that over 50,000 wildfires have burned over 8.8 million acres in the United States, a massive increase over the average number of acres burned per year over the last 10 years, which is only 6 million. As well as wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters have also been occurring at an alarming rate in the United States. We must work as a country with our government to respond to these situations and aim to prevent them in the future by addressing their root causes, including climate change.

You can donate here to help two of the counties most affected by the California wildfire crisis: https://www.gofundme.com/napa-sonoma-fires

For information on how to contact Minnesota senators to discuss wildfire prevention and relief, click here: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/senators_cfm.cfm?State=MN

 

 

Sports schedule for: Oct 23-Nov 1

For  a full calendar of events please refer to: http://www.sports.spps.org

Fall Sports: Co-ed Cross-country,Adapted Soccer, Football,Girls Soccer, Boys Soccer, Volleyball, Girls Tennis, Girls Swimming. Danceline, Cheerleading

Activities the Week of Oct. 23-Nov. 1

Monday  Oct. 23

Volleyball Twin CIties Match @ Mpls. Southwest  C-Squad & JV 5:30pm  Varsity @ 7pm  (Bus 4:15/8:15pm)

Danceline begins

Tuesday Oct. 24

Varsity Volleyball @ HP TBD

Girls Swim Varsity Twin Cites Meet @ Mpls. Southwest 5pm (Bus 4:30/8:30pm)

Wednesday Oct. 25

Co-Ed Cross Country Sectional @ Bolstad- University GC 3pm (Bus 1:30/5:30pm)

Girls Varsity Conference Diving @ Humboldt 6pm(Bus 4/8pm)

Thursday Oct. 26

Girls Swim Varsity Conference Meet @ St. Catherine’s 6pm

Friday Oct. 27

Saturday Oct 28

Mon.Oct. 30:

Girls ‘Blades’ Hockey begins

Tues: Oct. 31:

Wed. Nov. 1

Girls Swim Varsity Twin Cities Meet TBD @ Mpls. Site 6pm

Thurs. Nov. 2

Fri Nov. 3:

Sat. Nov. 4:

State Cross Country Championship @ St. Olaf College (Bus 7:30/12pm)

Go Scots!

North Korea gets U.S. and South Korea war plans

image taken from: https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/10/north-korean-hackers-allegedly-stole-south-korean-and-us-war-pla/E

Early on morning of October 11, North Korean hackers were able to hack into the South Korean government computers and stole about 235 GB of data. The stolen data included 300-lower classified, confidential documents, and there were also classified wartime plans drawn up by the U.S. and South Korea.

Mr. Rhee Cheol-hee, a South Korean lawmaker, had stated to reporters that one of the documents that was stolen included South Korea’s military plan of removing North Korea leader, Kim Jong-Un, if war between the Korean Peninsula breaks out. The hackers had used a computer vaccine service, and South Korea had been able to trace the IP address, of the vaccine, which originated in Shenyang, China.

In 2010, the U.S. broke into North Korea’s computer system; targeting Reconnaissance General Bureau, which is North Korea’s equivalent of the US C.I.A. Last month, U.S. strategic bombers, and fighters jets, flew along the East Coast of North Korea. North Korea claimed a right to shoot any American warplanes flying near the country.

The Pentagon hasn’t yet released a statement, but spokesperson, Army Col. Rob Manning, stated that “I can assure you we are confident in our security in our operations plans and our ability to deal with any threat from North Korea.” He also added, “The operations plan that they are referring to is a bilateral plan, so the Republic of Korea-U.S. alliance remains steadfast in their commitment to make sure they safeguard that information and ensure readiness on Korean Peninsula to counter any North Korean threats.”

Trump tweeted on Monday, October 9th, “Our country had been unsuccessfully dealing with North Korea for 25 years, giving billions of dollars and getting nothing. Policy didn’t work.” He then tweeted later in the afternoon “Presidents and their administrations had been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements been made and massive amounts of money had been paid…hasn’t worked, agreements violated before the ink was dry, making fools of US negotiators. Sorry but only one thing will work!” When the reporters asked Trump what he meant by his tweets his only response was “You’ll figure it out pretty soon.”

Minnesota Twins vs New York Yankees Wild Card game

image taken from: http://twinsdaily.com/uploads/blog-0425770001507065395.png

On Tuesday, October 3rd, Brian Dozier and the Minnesota Twins faced sensational rookie Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees in the American League Wildcard Game. Aaron Judge, who is six foot seven, hit a rookie record 52 home runs this year, breaking Mark McGwire’s record of 49 home runs as a rookie in 1987. Along with Aaron Judge, the Yankees have a good pitching staff, boasting an ERA over the 2017 season of 3.72. They also had an astounding 1,560 strikeouts! But the most impressive of the pitching staff? Rookie pitcher Luis Severino. Throughout the season he was constantly in the Cy Young Race (Award for the league’s best pitcher; awarded in both the National League and American League) and had an impressive 2.98 ERA with 230 strikeouts. He will start on Tuesday.

With the Yankees seeming to be the favorite in the Wild Card matchup, don’t count out the Minnesota Twins. According to Baseball Reference, the Minnesota Twins ranked 9th in the American League in home runs, with 206, and 4th in the AL in batting average, with .260. The Twins offense, lead by second baseman Brian Dozier, who lead the team in home runs (34) and RBI (93), will look for a spark from him in the Wild Card game. The Twins will also be looking for production from Joe Mauer, who finished the season with an impressive batting average of .305.

The ace of the Twins, Ervin Santana, also had an impressive season. He finished the year with a 3.28 ERA, 16 wins, 211.1 innings pitched, 5 complete games, and 167 strikeouts. With Ervin Santana on the mound Tuesday, the Yankees have something to fear.

Both with impressive rosters, powerful offenses, and great pitching staffs, this is bound to be a great matchup. The American League Wild Card Game will be played at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, October 3rd, at 8 P.M. Go Twins!

Additional information can be found at: http://www.espn.com/mlb/recap?gameId=371003110

 

Pep Fest

Pep Fest was held on October 6th, and took place in the gym.  Classes were called down by floors starting with the third and moving down. Students were to go to the side of the gym where their grade was and sit there for the entire time during the Pep Fest.

photo courtesy of Asiah Atiq

At the beginning of the Pep Fest, there were people from student council making accouncements. From the announcements, they moved onto the homecoming royalties. They started with the Freshmen pairs and then continued with the Sophomores, Juniors, and then Seniors.

The pair in each year, who got the most votes, won. Emmy Tawah and Mario Delgado Shellenberger won for the Freshman, Fernando Rivera and Cesar Ramirez-Ponce won for the Sophomores, Alex Moreno and Michelle Bourassa won for the Juniors, and The Plaid Line’s own,  Dejra Bishop and Asiah Atiq won for the Seniors. They were given sashes to wear, and some of the student council kids took their pictures. After the homecoming royalites, each fall sport was announced, captains talked about how the season went, and announced if they had any upcoming matches.

After other announcements were made, three seniors performed a dance. After they performed, the dance team came up and also performed a dance. After the dance team performed, the cheer leaders had their dance, closing the pep fest.

 

Highland Park Senior High School Homecoming Dance

The Highland Park Homecoming Dance is a tradition at our school, and it happens every year. Some people go to the Homecoming Dance to be have fun and enjoy the music, and others think it is a good place to meet new people and hangout with friends.

I also took time to specifically ask some of the freshman what they think about the dance, and how they feel about it. Some of them told me that they were hoping to meet some cute guys and talk to people they don’t talk to doing school hours, and also to get to know more people.

Picture of the author at the dance

I also interviewed some of the seniors, and I asked them how they felt about this being their last Homecoming Dance at Highland, and what will they miss about it. Some of them told me that they will miss their friends, and the fun. They also told me that they are so ready to leave the school because they were tired of seeing the same faces every year, spending money for the same things, and that they were glad that this was their last year so they will meet new people and see new things.

I also got to ask some juniors, who were going to the Homecoming Dance for the first time, about why they never go, and they told me that they went this year because they wanted to know how it looked.