How to write a better essay

By: Ava Bleifuss

Essays are an important part of every high school student’s life. Sometimes it’s hard to know how to begin, so here are some steps, taken from 

1: Understand the criteria

It is very important that when you are trying to write an essay you understand the criteria. Most teachers will provide a rubric, as well as instructions to help you understand what they’re looking for in these essays. If you have any questions about the essay, don’t be afraid to ask the teacher to clear something up.

2: Brainstorm about your topic

What excites you? What do you care about? Even when there is a topic given by the teacher, it’s important to find something about the topic that you care about in order to write a good essay about it. Get a piece of paper, or a new document, and write down everything you want to say in the essay. It does not have to be perfect, and should be messy. Getting down all of your thoughts, and seeing everything as the big picture can really help someone get started on writing an essay. 

3: Decide on a thesis  

Look at the notes you took, and see what the main theme is that connects everything together. Teachers will talk about some good thesis ideas in class discussions about the book which can be helpful, and sometimes they will also ask you a question that they want to be answered in the thesis statement. When you find that, make sure it is in one complete sentence and not too long. Your thesis statement should be short and to the point. 

4: Find evidence 

In the many different kinds of essays a student has to write, all of them require some kind of evidence. For English class if you have to write about a book, find quotes and other evidence from the book that support your main points. In history class it’s important to find specific people, quotes, or important events that will help with the whole of your essay. Finding primary sources will help provide direct insights into the past instead of someone else’s interpretation.

6: Create an essay structure

According to there are several common ways to structure an essay. One structure is the argumentative essay, where you order your points from most important to least important, or build up from least important to most important. Another is the chronological essay, where you list your points in order of time. Yet another is the compare/contrast essay, where you talk about the similarities and differences between your points. Your structure will depend on the type of essay you want to write.

7: Connect your ideas

Without some segues connecting your different paragraphs, an essay can seem very choppy. Making sure that it has a nice flow to it, and isn’t hard to follow, is a very important step to writing an essay. 

8: Choose memorable language

Choosing the right vocabulary is a crucial part in writing a good essay. Using many adjectives to help describe something will allow the reader to have a better picture of what you’re explaining. It’s more interesting to say a “big blue fluffy blanket” rather than just “a blanket”. Something that can be helpful when you’re stuck on what word to use is the thesaurus. A thesaurus can help with finding interesting words, but makes sure that you don’t use the same vocabulary over and over. 

10: Edit and proofread your essay 

Once you are done writing your essay, be sure to proofread it. Go through your whole essay making sure that there are no run-on sentences, grammatical errors, spelling errors, capitalization problems, or sentence fragments. After you think your essay is finished, put it aside and look at it the next day. You might find some points that you want to change or other errors you didn’t notice before. Having someone else read your essay and give you feedback can also be very helpful. It allows you to have some outside perspective on how your essay was written. 

Using this list will help you write an essay from beginning to end. There are lots of other helpful tools like the internet, textbooks, or this page of the Highland website that includes many writing and research resources. 

Best food places

By: Jessica Garcia Saligan

These are some of my favorite food places here in Minnesota. I will be sharing my favorite restaurants to go out to eat for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

1st The Pancakes house (BREAKFAST)

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My favorite place to eat breakfast is The Original Pancake House. They don’t just sell pancakes, they have a lot of good breakfast options like: souffle omelets, crepes, French toast, and Belgian waffles. Everything on their menu is so good and The Original Pancake House is mostly known for their hot chocolate.

They are located right in front of Rosedale mall. It is a good place to go out and eat with your friends and family and have a good time.

2nd Burger Moe’s (Lunch)

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One of my favorite places to go eat for lunch is Burger Moe’s. Burger Moe’s is a burger place. They don’t just sell burgers, they also sell some other food such as: coconut shrimp, buffalo ranch chicken sandwich, wings, and soups & salads.

Burger Moe’s is a good place to go eat lunch because you can just get your food and it’s ready to go. It’s also a good place to go grab lunch with your friends.

3rd Buffalo Wild Wing (DINNER)

My favorite place to go out to get dinner is at Buffalo Wild Wings aka Bdubs. Buffalo Wild Wings is a good place for people that like watching games on a big screen. They sell wing bundles, burgers, sandwiches, and also some wraps.

It’s a good place to go out with your friends, and watch the games together. Also, at some Buffalo Wild Wings you can request a song and then play it.

Best and most fun forms of exercise

By: Olivia Miller

Not everyone loves to exercise. It may even be some people’s least favorite thing to do. But exercise is a very important part of staying healthy and fit.

When most people think of exercise their minds go to the gym, lifting weights, running on the treadmill, etc., but there are actually endless forms of exercise, and ways to stay fit that people may tend to forget about; ways that are more exciting and fun, and will make you forget you are even exercising all together! So, I am going to tell you about some of the best, most fun forms of exercise.

The first, and my personal favorite, is dancing. Now you can practice this in a variety of different ways. Attending a dance class at your local gym or rec. center is a very easy way to do this. You have fun, and you’re around other people as well so it feels like a group activity. If you’re not comfortable with dancing around other people, you can have your own personal dance party in your living room. Something you can do for this is get ‘Just Dance’, it’s super fun and you’re playing a video game while getting exercise all at the same time.

Other fun forms of exercise can be found in common sports. Basketball, tennis, soccer, etc. These are super easy to take part in and they add in that competitive element if you’re playing against other people. These require little supplies, and If you don’t have the gear or supplies to play, it is super easy to rent out what you need at your local second hand clothing and item stores.

Another form of exercise, and probably the most easy, is just getting outside. Going on walks or hikes when it’s nice outside is super easy, and a great way to get your cardio in. Even in the winter time going ice skating, or skiing can be options as well. There is always a great form of exercise to go with every season

The key factor in most of these forms of exercise is turning it into an activity you can do with multiple people. Making a day out of it, and inviting friends or family to go along with you can make the experience much more enjoyable for you.

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

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Justice Breyer has announced that he will be retiring from the Supreme Court and President Biden has nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace him. In a statement, Biden said, “I select a nominee worthy of Justice Breyer’s legacy of excellence and decency someone extremely qualified, with a brilliant legal mind, with the utmost character and integrity, which are equally as important.”

Ketanji Brown Jackson was born in Washington D.C. but grew up in Miami. During her childhood her father attended law school and her mom was a teacher. Her love for the law traced back to when she sat next to her father in their apartment as he tackled his law school homework – reading cases and preparing for Socratic questioning.

In high school, she was a speech and debate star. When she told her guidance counselor that she wanted to attend Harvard law school, they told her not to set her “Sights so high.” Despite their warning, she went to Harvard University, and then later attended Harvard Law School, where she graduated Cum Laude and was an editor of the ‘Harvard Law Review’.

After law school she served as a Judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Then, President Obama nominated her to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. She again was nominated by President Obama to serve as the Vice-Chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, and she also served as a public defender for those who couldn’t pay for a lawyer. She also was a Supreme Court clerk under Justice Breyer.

Her confirmation hearing lasted four days; she was asked questions from Republicans and Democrats about her qualifications. Most Republicans questioned her on critical race theory, cultural issues, and children’s books. Few Republicans brought up her intelligence and qualifications for the job. Democrats brought up how she is making history. At the end of the hearing, Judge Jackson said that “She hopes to inspire people to try to follow this path.”

The Senate will vote on her confirmation, on April 4, and after that, the full Senate will hold a vote.

Almost all the students here at Highland that I talked to, feel that Kentaji Brown Jackson is the most qualified out of all the Supreme Court judges because of her outstanding resume of being a public defender, serving as vice-chair, and serving on the District Court. They also feel it is time for the African American community to be more represented on the Supreme court, and that by her being confirmed she would be historical and inspire young girls around the world to be whatever they want to be.

‘When They See Us’

By: Samera Adam

Ava DuVernay produced, co-wrote, and directed ‘When They See Us’, a four-part Netflix original crime drama miniseries that premiered on May 31, 2019. It is based on the 1989 Central Park jogger case and follows the lives and families of the five Black male suspects. The five were wrongfully convicted and prosecuted for the rape and abuse of a white woman in New York City.

The show starts off with the 5 main characters Raymond, Kevin, Korey, Yusef, and Antron hanging around in their neighborhood of Harlem. At this point of the story none of them have met yet, except for the 2 best friends Yusuf and Korey. It continues with them and their different friend groups all heading for Central Park after sunset. They didn’t know that by going to the park, they were walking into trouble.

Instantly, when the groups got to the park, policemen surround the boys, and the groups they were with. The majority of the boys were able to run away but Antron and Raymond were tackled down. While Kevin, the tiniest one, was beaten with a helmet. The 3 boys were then taken to the precinct where they were interrogated for hours.

Korey and Yusuf thought that they had gotten away; they were wrong.

Days later, Yusuf and Korey were stopped by a group of policemen walking back home. Yusuf “fit the description” so was taken for questioning. The police officer then told Korey he could leave unless he just wanted to tag along and keep his friend company. Which as a loyal friend, he did. 

During the long period that they were interrogated, they all somehow told the cops what they wanted to hear (some were told to do so by family or lawyers), as a group of scared teens will do. They were then recorded and they played their fake confessions in court where they were taken to trial.

The show then continues with all their different experiences with being incarcerated and finally getting freed after the actual rapist came out with the truth.

Drake and his career

By: Julia Swee

Image taken from: Drakes Discography by AdrenalineRush1996 on DeviantArt

These days, Drake is a huge name among the common youth. More than the youth, but young adults as well. The 35-year-old rapper and actor grew up in Toronto, Canada with biracial parents; his father, Dennis Graham, is a Catholic African American, and his mother, Sandra, is white and Ashkenazi Jewish Canadian. Drake grew up listening to all different types of music, and this led him to become accustomed to many different genres.

“We have a very deep musical background. My grandmother, who passed away in Memphis, used to babysit Louis Armstrong. And my dad was a drummer for Jerry Lee Lewis,” Drake told Hip Hop Canada in 2006. Drake took his stage name from his middle name, which his father Dennis had given him. Drake’s full name is Aubrey Drake Graham.

In 2001, Drake got his big break when he landed a role at 14 in the famous Canadian teenage drama ‘Degrassi’. This gave Drake a head start in his career, as his influence rose with his role as Jimmy Brooks in the show. 

“17, 18, is when I was really getting into that hip hop phase, you know, and really studying the things that I needed to study as far as learning about flows and learning about lyrics,” Drake told GQ in an interview about his life. He told the interviewer that he was a natural, and he soon became more interested in music than his acting. During the fourth episode in the seventh season of the show, Drake’s skills are featured as he freestyles during a school talent show. This allowed viewers to take an interest in Drake’s musical career, as he was immediately deemed a very talented musician. 

In 2008, Drake quit his acting career to pursue his music full time. At the time, Drake had already released his debut album, ‘Room for Improvement’ in 2006 and his second album ‘Comeback Season’ in 2007. On February 13th, Drake released his third album, ‘So Far Gone’, which dramatically improved his career. The album’s most successful track, “Best I Ever Had” had gone on to be nominated for two Grammy awards – best rap solo performance and best rap song. This release had shown the country Drake’s best talents, and with it came the increase in his musical fame. Drake would go on to collaborate with many other famous artists such as Lil’ Wayne, Kanye West, Eminem, and was even featured in the LeBron James documentary in 2009. 

Drake’s most recent release, ‘Certified Lover Boy’, on September 3rd of 2021, showed the world that Drake still had it, as the album instantly topped charts with its release. To this day, Drake boasts the most top 10 hits, with 54 hit songs. Over the years, Drake has made many many influential pieces of music, and will forever remain in history as one of the greatest rappers of all time. 

Personally, I have listened to every single one of Drake’s albums. Each and every song he continues to amaze me with his lyrical genius and his ability to incorporate so many different types of music within each album. No matter if it’s a rainy day, a sunny afternoon, or even snowing, I can always count on Drake to bless my ears with his tunes.

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Review of APEX Legends

By: Abdirahman Ege

APEX Legends is a battle royale type game. There is a certain number of people that load into one game, and the map is humongous.

As the game progresses, a gas starts to erupt. There will be a circle which you go to so you can protect yourself from the gas. Last team standing wins.

The game has different characters which are called “legends”; they each have different abilities. Each legend has three abilities, their passive skill, a tactical skill, and their ultimate skill.

My favorite legend is Octane. Octane’s passive is while he isn’t taking damage, he restores health overtime. Octane’s tactical is a “stim” – he moves faster after he uses it on himself but it also takes some health. Octane’s ultimate is he deploys a bounce pad that takes you into the air and you can double jump from it.

Each legend have unique skills that are beneficial for different things; they are all balanced. APEX Legends has about 3 different game modes. It has casual, ranked, and 3v3.

  • Casual is more for beginner players or people who want to chill.
  • Ranked are for more advanced players who want more of a challenge, there are 7 different ranks. The ranks are Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Master, and lastly, APEX Predator, which are the top 750 players on their platforms.
  • 3v3 game mode is very similar to the game Valorant; you spawn into a room and you buy guns with points before the round starts. You can get more points within the map by collecting them. You get better weapons the more points you have. The team who wins 3 rounds in a row are the winners.

It’s an overall fun game that I enjoy greatly. 5/5 stars

The game is available on all platforms.

Who is St. Peter’s college? A 2022 March Madness Cinderella

By: Toby Martin-Kohls

March Madness kicked off earlier this month with its first and second-round games, and with it, another Cinderella team was born.

No. 15 seed, Saint Peter’s, was written off as an afterthought coming into this year’s NCAA Tournament, as prior to their win, No. 15 seeds went 9-135 all-time against No. 2 seed foes.

They came into the first round as 18.5pt underdogs. That means that Vegas sports betting casinos thought Kentucky would win by 18 to 19 points.

They beat Kentucky in OT, 85-79, and busted many brackets. According to data from ESPN’s Tournament Challenge, Kentucky was the fourth most popular Final Four choice, with 13% of entries picking the Wildcats.

It was a great story, a small school beats a college basketball blueblood. They played again in the second round against a No. 7 seed, Murray State, that went 30-2 during the regular season, and did the improbable again, winning 70-60.

So, you may be asking like many, what and where is St. Peter’s University?

The private university is located in Jersey City, New Jersey, and was established in 1872 by the Society of Jesus. It is a Roman Catholic school. They are a smaller college, with only 2,600 undergraduate students and 800 graduate students. This is also what makes their run in the tournament so special.

Their basketball facilities are miniature compared to what Kentucky and other D-1 programs offer. St. Peter’s plays in the Yanitelli Recreational Life Center nicknamed the Run Baby Run arena. It holds 3,200 people, compared to Kentucky’s Rupp Arena which holds 23,500.

Because of the many disadvantages these smaller colleges have, it shows that anyone can succeed in the Big Dance. St. Peter’s can join the very exclusive list of No. 15 seeds pulling off major upsets.

As the all-time record indicates, it is a rare occurrence. Hopefully, we can witness more great games from St. Peter’s throughout the tournament.

‘Batman Begins’ review

By: Ava Olson

Image taken from: Batman Begins

This movie, starring Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne (Batman), follows his journey of training with Ra’s Al Guhl and the League of Shadows then leaving to try and help Gotham. This movie shows his backstory including how he gets his suit and how and why he becomes Batman.

I really enjoyed how much we learned about Bruce Wayne and his struggles throughout this movie, like his childhood trauma. It was cool to see how he got his suit and batmobile and why he chose the bat as his symbol.

I liked how the movie really showed that Batman was still learning and getting the hang of being Batman. He still made mistakes along the way and took a lot of risks.

The main villain in this movie was Scarecrow, played by Cillian Murphy. He did a great job and I thought his weapon, the psychedelic drug that causes people to experience their deepest traumas, was very interesting and unique.

The plot was very engaging and had many different layers to it. It kept me intrigued throughout the whole film and I never felt bored. I found all the different characters very compelling and I thought the casting was pretty well done.

The visual effects look a little funny watching it today because of how much we’ve improved with them, but they were good for their time. I loved watching this and seeing all the differences between all the different Batman’s including the newest one starring Robert Pattinson.

Overall, I liked this movie and thought it did a great job of showing people Batman’s backstory. This movie is the first of the Christoper Nolan Batman movies so you don’t need to watch anything beforehand to understand it. I would recommend this to any action movie fan or people who want to know more about Batman. I would give this movie 3.5/5 stars. You can watch this movie on Netflix or HBO Max.