From Boilers to bears: In the shoes of a school custodian

Ask a custodian at Highland Park, and they will tell you about the legendary bears that were chased out of Battle Creek. In truth, they’ve had encounters at Highland with birds, bats, and squirrels. Against the odds, they worked to trap a bat, who nearly set off a motion sensor and triggered the police. Ask them what happens when a squirrel gets caught in the fieldhouse. Or what about the time that they helped newly hatched ducks escape the courtyard?

However, the life a custodian extends far beyond rodents and other small animals. Consider the time they spend on the roof, navigating the ventilation system. The real danger is cleaning and draining the pool. “The chemicals we use to clean the pools can be dangerous.” One custodian told me. Alongside maintaining the pool, the custodians spend time cleaning and maintaining the boilers: which has potential to be very hazardous. The boilers are hot and challenging to clean because of that.

Chasing off animals and cleaning the boilers is only a small piece in the giant operation of maintaining Highland Park. The custodians also sweep, vacuum, wipe down glass, clean the bathrooms, take out the trash, and take part in the security–only a few of the many things they do. Even with the predicaments custodians face daily, they told me that, “The staff and students at Highland Park make our job easier.”

Why is social media addictive?

By: Mateo Barrera

In recent years, social media has become increasingly more popular, with almost everyone having access to an electronic device. Because of almost everyone having an electronic, it’s really easy to get social media apps such as Instagram and Facebook because they are free.

Social media is an access point for people to get recognition from people that they know and people that they haven’t even met. But not only that, it also gives people opportunities to share their opinions to other people. Due to this, people have created a sort of addictive habit to go onto social media constantly to check others’ posts and their own.

 According to an article on The Huffington Post, the psychological reasoning behind the addiction is because  “Social media engagement has been found to trigger three key networks in the brain – the ‘mentalizing network’, the ‘the self-referential cognition network’ and the ‘reward network.’”

The use of the mentalizing network is important because one of the sections of your brain that is being used in the mentalizing network, the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, is used to basically help us judge how people are, through looking at them, and “has been the reason we exist today.” So, the use of this section of your brain is super important.

The self referencing section of your brain is used because on social media a lot of the time you are talking about yourself, so it is clear to see why it is used.

The reward network of your brain is triggered during the use of social media because the people who post on the platforms get a sense of reward from their friends and other people liking the things that they have posted. This feeling is a lot stronger when you are a teenager because one of the sections of your brain connected with the reward system, the nucleus accumbens area, is connected to “exaggerated” feelings of pain and pleasure. And this is why it is a lot more common for teenagers to use social media than adults, or at least feel more feelings towards the things that they post.

 

Homecoming Game 2018

Highland vs MSB
By: Maggy Alarcon

On Saturday, September 29th, after tailgating at 1pm, the Highland Park Scots football team walked out of the school building while the cheerleaders cheered for them. Then they headed to the stadium to play against MSB (Minnehaha, SPA, Benilde St. Margaret). After that, they started to warm up and get ready. The game began and Highland started off well, but later on, the other team made a comeback.

In the bleachers you could see the crowd cheering loud for Highland. Most students had their faces painted and wore red clothes. That day was very cold many people had blankets. Also, during the game concessions were selling hot chocolate to help people stay warm.

When you saw the cheerleaders, many of them were wearing sweatpants and sweaters underneath their uniforms since the day was pretty cold. The cheerleaders still brought out the school spirit. You couldn’t enjoy the game a lot because of the weather, and most people ended up leaving early.

A player from the Highland Park side name Dawit got a concussion after getting hit by another player from the other side. The players on the other side were big compare to the Highland Park players. They were harder to tackle and throw.

The game ended with Highland losing and MSB winning 35-6.

Homecoming: Pepfest, Dance and Tailgating

At the end of September, we had our annual homecoming week. All week students were encouraged to dress up and participate in our themed spirt week and all the events planned for that weekend.

On Friday, we had our Pepfest and Homecoming Dance. This year’s Pepfest had a lot of different things. Ms. Headwall and Ms. Rohweller were in charge, like every year, and they did a great job. Towards the end of 6th hour, students started pouring into the gym. The band played as people were getting settled and they filled the whole gym with their music. All the capitans came out to talk about their clubs/sports and invited everyone out to upcoming events/games.

This year, there were a lot of candidates who ran for Homecoming Royalty. After everyone was paraded out, and the winners were announced for each class, we had presentations by the dance team, the cheerleaders and the soccer teams. All of the dances were very different from each other, and from anything else I’ve personally seen at previous Pepfests. Everyone seemed happy, excited and full of school spirit.

Friday night, from 7PM-10PM, was the Homecoming Dance. The field house was full of students all dressed up hoping to have a good night. At the tables, where you could check in bags and jackets, they sold refreshments, like water, soda, and candy. As you walked into the gym, where the dance was held, all you could hear was people off key singing along to the songs. Everyone was huddled together in a 20 x 20 foot area near the DJ’s table. Outside of a few problems, everyone one seemed to be enjoying their night, until they turned the lights on and told everyone it was time to go home.


The morning following the dance, we had pre game tailgating in the link area near the school house. Even though it was freezing outside, there we around 15 different booths selling everything from food to t-shirts. Some of the more popular foods to buy were: the ACC’s egg rolls, Union Latinas pupusas and horchata, and Cane’s, sold by the girls basketball booth. Black Student Union held a bake sale, while student council sold Highland Park t-shirts and sweaters. Everyone walked around eating and taking pictures in the photo booth while people played music on bluetooth speakers.

Ms. Headwall ran around taking pictures of everyone and everything, making sure not to miss documenting anything important. Even the man who plays the bag pipes at the games went to participate in the pre game activities. No one seemed to really mind the cold, and just looked like they were enjoying their time. Around noon, everyone started leaving the link area and made their way down to the field to show support at the football game. This year’s homecoming was a lot of fun, and everyone seemed to have a lot of school spirit. Hopefully, next year will be even better.