Clubs and activities: The who, what, when, and where of HPSH extracurriculars

By: Jo Knorr & Erin Moore

Image taken from: HPSH BSU Instagram page (@hp_bsu)

Jo and I have talked to many friends and wondered ourselves about getting involved at Highland. When we looked for more information, we realized there were so many different places to learn more, but most information was spread out. Thus, we decided to write this article so there could be one place to find almost everything you need to know about clubs at HPSH.

Adoptee Club
Adoptee Club is a place for adopted children, and their siblings, to come together and discuss their unique experiences and perspectives. This club met for the first time this year on October 12th, at 7:45. They meet in room 2204. (Ms. Kallestad’s room.)

African Students Association
HPSH African Students Association is a club for African students at Highland to play games, talk, and learn about African culture. However, this club is not exclusively for African students, according to their interview in HP News. ASA meets from 3:15-4:15 every Thursday after school in the CCRC.

Asian Culture Club
The Asian Culture Club is open to everyone—People of Asian descent, friends, and those just looking to learn! Club meetings are held every other Friday from 3:00-4:15, starting September 30th. Meeting location is room 3210; snacks are provided.

Black Student Union
Black Student Union (otherwise known as BSU) is a club focused on diversity, cultural awareness, and support within the Black community. The Black Student Union holds meetings every Wednesday in room 1204 between 3:15 and 4:00.

Book Club
Book Club is, well, what it says on the posters. At the beginning of each month, books are voted on, and the winning book (YA, usually tying into a social issue of some kind) will be read throughout the course of the month. This month’s book is I Hunt Killers, by Barry Lyga. Meetings are held in the library; the next one will be Tuesday, October 25.

Climate Justice Club
Climate Justice Club focuses on educating students about climate change, making an impact in our community to improve the environment, and fighting for a healthier Earth. Their meetings are held at 7:45am in room 2314. CJC meetings will be the first and third Tuesday of each month.


Contrary to popular belief, debate is a sport—the art and science of speech and civil argument. Debaters are given evidence for two sides of an issue, and it is up to them to fit things together and think up rebuttals on the fly to their opponent’s remarks. If you debate all throughout high school, Augsburg University might even offer you a scholarship! Debate meets on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3:15 to 4:30. It’s held in 2220, Mr. Hayes’ room.

Girls Alliance Association
Girls Alliance Association, or GALA, is a girls empowerment group set on providing a supportive community for the girls of HPSH that educates and advocates for important women’s issues such as health and inequality. GALA meets in room 2203, on the second and fourth Fridays of every month, at 3:15.

Gender Sexuality Alliance
The Gender-Sexuality Alliance is a club for those in the LGBTQ+ community, allies, and those questioning their gender, sexuality or romantic orientation. Individuals come together for support, conversation, and a place to discuss the ins and outs of being in the community. Meetings are in room 2208 every Wednesday after school.

The Good Club
The Good Club meets every other Wednesday from 7:45-8:10am in room 2208. The Good Club describes themselves on their Instagram account as “a club who strives to help our community and world by learning and taking action. It’s a good way to meet new people, get involved in the community, and get service hours!” Their next meeting is on October 26th at the usual time.

Otherwise known as the Highland chapter of the Healthcare Occupational Students of America, HOSA is a club for those who want to go into the medical services in the future. It offers lectures from real medical professionals, first-aid lessons, and an introduction to many tools and terms you’ll be using in the professional world. It meets next on October 20th, at 7:30. Meetings are conducted in the nurse’s office.

Jewish Culture Club
Jewish Culture Club is for Jewish and non-Jewish students alike to learn more about Jewish culture. Meetings are every other Thursday at 3:10pm in room 2202. In their first meeting, they had snacks, made cards for Rosh Hashanah, and introduced themselves. If you’re interested in learning more about Judaism, be sure to check it out.

Knit and Crochet Club
Knit and Crochet Club is a club for anybody who wants a quiet space to knit, crochet, and make friends. From beginners to experts, everyone is welcomed! Meetings are after school on Mondays, in room 1215

Model UN
Model UN is a club where students, by roleplaying a delegate from a particular nation, can simulate the functions of the real United Nations in miniature. This will help students develop their research skills, comprehend international relations, flex their problem-solving muscles, and understand the complex issues that affect our globe. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Ms. Rise, in 2201.

Muslim Student Association
The Muslim Student Association is a club by, and for, students who are practitioners of Islam; those who want to learn are also welcomed. The club holds prayer services and celebrates holy days together. Club meetings are every Monday, from 3:15 to 4:15. They are held in room 1204.

Robotics is a club for technologically and STEM-minded students to get together and build a robot! Participants will then compete in competitions that can even go up to the national level. In the first half of the year, meetings will be held on Tuesdays. In the latter half—once the season picks up—meetings will be Tuesdays and Thursdays. They meet in the wood shop.

Science Club
Science Club meets in room 2305 at 7:45 every other Wednesday (their first meeting was on September 21st). Science Club is for learning more about various aspects of science and discussing it with others also interested in it. Members of the science club also write for The Nucleus, a science journal. Want to check out The Nucleus? Their website is:

Student Council
Student Council is open to anyone, and is for those interested in helping the school community and being part of decision making for school events. For example, in the first meeting of student council, they voted and decided on the spirit week themes and the homecoming dance theme, and in the second meeting they sorted grade shirts and held signups for handing out shirts, the pep rally how-to video, and selling homecoming tickets. They meet around once a month, and will hold their next meeting on November 1st at 3:10 in room 2214 (Ms. Becker’s room).

Theatre Club
Highland’s Theatre Club is for students interested in performing or helping with the various productions put on by HPSH throughout the course of this year. Currently, the plays ‘Clue’ and ‘The Children’s Hour’ are in rehearsals, performing in early winter of 2022. To join Theatre Club for tech crew, or later performances, contact Ms. Nancy. Later in the year, Theatre Club will have winter one acts, a spring musical (‘Addams Family’), and a spring play, all of which require zero experience for auditioning.

For more information, be sure to check out HP News, club fliers in the hallways, club social media accounts, and listen to the announcements in advisory! If we missed any clubs, the previously mentioned sources would also be great places to find information on those.

JOYSTiCK Ep. 1: Metroid Dread – Too late of a revival?

By: Daniel Kendle

19 years is a long time for a sequel, especially a story-related one. But when your sequel sells the best out of the entire franchise, reinvigorates an entire audience, and wins eight awards… is it okay?

Hello, and welcome to JOYSTiCK, the HPSH serial that enjoys reviewing and exploring video games. Today’s topic is of the Nintendo game Metroid Dread, and how well it was executed, particularly about if it’s worth almost 2 decades of wait.

(This review is story spoiler-free by the way, though if you don’t want to know about the bosses, E.M.M.I’s and/or power ups, then this isn’t for you.)


Metroid Dread began development as a Nintendo DS game, its 2nd prototype being shown off to staff of Nintendo of America, as well as other companies during E3 2009. Reportedly, it wasn’t meeting the standards of Metroid’s producer Yoshio Sakamoto, and the game’s progress was halted because of the DS’s power not being able to handle Yoshio’s vision. It was decided that more powerful hardware would be needed if the game’s full identity was to be created. Fear-based gameplay was Dread’s focus, and a truly-intimidating antagonist for the game required much more demanding hardware. This reason, the antagonist not being able to handle the DS, is widely considered why the game was put on hold for the time being.

But then in 2021, Nintendo’s E3 direct showcased a reveal for the game, now being made by both Nintendo and MercurySteam, a developer on previous Metroid games. Fans were hyped, not just because of it being the first main-line Metroid game in close to 2 decades, but also the fact that it was to be released only months after the reveal.

October 6th, 2021, the game was released to critical acclaim and financial success; nines and tens across the board and becoming the highest-grossing Metroid game, selling at around 3 million units. It satisfied fans of the originals, and also became many’s first experience with Metroid.

In my opinion, the Metroid Dread is hands-down the best Nintendo Switch game ever made. Games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey and Splatoon 2 get thrown around that title, but what I feel Dread succeeds in, that those 3 don’t, is simple: polish. But before I continue, let’s start the review.


If you’re not well-versed in video game vocabulary, then the term ‘Metroidvania’ might not mean anything to you. Metroidvania defines a set of games, of which the word is made up of two games; ‘Metroid’, (obviously) and ‘Castlevania: Symphony of the Night’. These two games basically co-created the genre, whereby games like Hollow Knight, Guacamelee, Ori and the Blind Forest, and Cave Story are part of.

Metroidvanias play as large, normally 2D games that feature one large map instead of multiple regions, connected to one-another via many entrances and passages. The thing that makes Metroidvanias unique is their system towards progression, where the player has to traverse and back-track across the map, finding pickups that act as gaining new powers in order to further progress in the game.

Keeping that in mind, Metroid Dread does something different than other Metroidvanias.

Dread had the conscious decision to have mostly every “lock” (something to use a power up to overcome) and “key” (the power up) not very far away from each other. Things like the Space Jump and Morph Ball each have obstacles now solvable thanks to them, only a few minutes away. And this goes for, again, most items. There are exceptions, but this is Dread’s defining difference from the rest of the pack, and even previous Metroid games.

While this has been seen as a controversial design element, I personally like this WAY more. Prior entries like Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion are fantastic games in their own right, but getting lost, while a cornerstone of this franchise, isn’t much fun for me. I want to be entertained, and while finding your way through vast areas is fun for some, I don’t agree.

In short, I believe that if one of your main gameplay elements has a player backtracking, it’s not very fun in my opinion. I want to be able to experience a rich world full of new discoveries and adventures, not a rich world where half of the game is looking around previously-cleared rooms. It’s something that’ll make some disregard my review entirely, but what are opinions for, hey?

Moving on to how the main character, Samus Aran, plays, a widely agreed upon aspect of Metroid Dread is how gosh-darn smooth she handles! If you’ve never played a Metroid game before, the main weapon and piece of Samus’ moveset is shooting, and this might be the best it’s felt to do that yet.

The game is the first of its prior entries to feature 360o aiming, compared to previous entries’ 8-way shooting (they were on much weaker hardware, so I wont discredit them for that). You can shoot while running, jumping, crouching, and falling, so Samus can have a very versatile array of ways to kill something.

Speaking of ‘array,’ her powerups in this game are great! Some of my favorites include the Screw Attack, which basically turns her into a ball of death when jumping, killing anything touching you, the Ice Missiles, which can freeze things in place to make temporary platforms, and the Morph Ball, which has you curl up into a ball to travel around small passageways with ease. These were all in previous games, but they’ve been tightened and worked to a new level of polish.

The game runs at a slick 60fps, allowing for quick, uninterrupted movement. I can imagine the game feeling a lot worse to control if not, or at least close to, this framerate.


This is a gorgeous looking game, even with the Nintendo Switch having graphical hardware somewhere between an XBox 360 and PlayStation 4, both consoles releasing years before. All games in the Metroid series range from okay to phenomenal graphics, and Metroid Dread might just take 1st place.

In order to maintain a solid framerate, the game has background elements and animations played at a decreased framerate, around 30fps. This could come off to some as disorienting, but in my experience, it becomes normal at some point.

Since the game is split up into several different areas, we obviously get many different environments as well. The first area, Artaria, doesn’t have much of a theme, as its main purpose is housing the tutorial areas and introductions to the game’s mechanics. However, you eventually reach other parts of the map, places like Cataris, a lava-filled place with blistering heat, Burenia, an oceanic sea laboratory with coral and dark trenches, and Ghavoran (my personal favorite) a rainforest with alien plants and animals spread about, things like giant spiders and meat-eating trees. The game makes sure that each place you head to is distinctive and unique, and that’s a good thing.

Other than that, there isn’t too much else to talk about concerning graphical fidelity. Textures are great, and so are color palettes, color variety, and so on. Metroid Dread is an incredibly polished game in terms of its looks and style, and since I’m not the most qualified person to talk about video game animation and art design, I’ll stop here.


The bosses in Metroid Dread have obviously had lots of love and dedicated time put into them. Metroid has always had memorable boss fights, whether it be Ridley, Kraid, or Nightmare (these three are from previous games). So, when MercurySteam had their hands on an all-new Metroid game, they delivered things on par with the past’s greats.

The first boss, Corpius, involves them turning invisible at scripted moments, having to focus dealing damage to the ends of its tail. Upon defeating him, you gain the Phantom Cloak power up, allowing you to become invisible through charging up a meter. Most bosses in the game follow this design: have a moveset consisting of varied attacks and abilities, then upon defeat drop a pickup that relates to one of said abilities. Corpius is a good way of introducing players to this system.

The next ‘big’ boss you fight is Kraid, a big lizard-thing from previous games. He has similar attacks to prior titles, flinging claws and breathing fire and poison projectiles. Also, if you pick up the Bomb power up before fighting him, there’s a way to insta-kill him during his second phase, allowing speed runners to beat him quicker than normal and move on. Metroid Dread has loads of these skips, allowing those skilled enough to bypass obstacles that would normally be roadblocks to those not in the know. While he doesn’t drop anything directly, a room accessible upon his defeat is nearby. This is also something the game does; having a boss not drop anything when defeated but having a room be stationed on the way out of their arena.

Next is Drogyga, an underwater plant-octopus thing. I have less to say about them, they don’t drop a power up or have a room nearby for one, they’re okay. The fight is similar to plant-creature fights from other games but underwater, so it’s an interesting spin, but not one that I find super fun.

Escue, a beetle that shoots out lightning projectiles, is okay as well. They’re arguably the most forgettable main boss of the game, being in a small room out the way of anything else. You do get a power up this time, the Storm Missile, which let’s you lock-on to many targets and fire out an array of missiles all at once, which is fun.

But going from 2 meh bosses, we have Experiment No. Z-57, my personal favorite boss. This lizard-bug-octopus thing has an incredible fight, involving all the power ups you’ve collected so far. It even has a speed run skip! While it doesn’t drop anything itself, you’re led to Artaria once again to nab the Screw Attack, which I consider a link between the two. Just… excellent work, this one.

Golzuna is a crab-esq boss that attacks using a grid like system of bombs in the air. While considered to be a forgettable encounter by others, I enjoy this one. You gain the Power Bomb upgrade from it, allowing you to place rows of bombs to get to high areas or out of reach places.

And before anyone asks, I’m NOT reviewing the final boss, as this is a spoiler-free review.

There are also many smaller bosses that are encountered, the two main ones being Chozo Warriors and Robot Chozo Warriors, each bird-like Sapiens. The normal Chozo’s are sleek, fast, and nimble, attacking using a spear in two different ways: slashing at you on the ground, or leaping to a wall and slamming down in a general area. At their second phase though, they have their face split open and become these horrifying, animalistic creatures. Before they had very controlled, graceful movements, like a dancer with a sword or something, but now they move wobbly and fluidly, more like some kind of creature than a sentient being. It’s a cool change, and they also now spew out black ink to attack.

The Robot Chozo Warriors, however, move in a more formulaic way. This is something all standard robot enemies do, though seeing as the Robot Chozo’s need more versatile ways of attacking you (they are a mini-boss, after all), they still move a little more smoothly than other ‘bots. They attack you using laser projectiles and ramming moves, which makes them fun to fight against. If you end up fighting 2 of them at once however, it’s just annoying.

But now… the E.M.M.I’s.

E.M.M.I’s are large, spider-like robots that control a large part of each area’s map. While not exactly bosses, killing each one lets you gain another power up. Killing one, however, is extremely hard.

E.M.M.I’s are immune to EVERY weapon you have, even the gear you get at the very end of the game. While you can avoid them, make too many vibrations and noises in their vicinity and they’ll track you down, eventually finding you and killing you. There’s a fraction of a second to react whenever an E.M.M.I finds you; parrying it will let you break free and stun it for a few seconds. But this is extremely hard, and is unlikely to be mastered, keeping gameplay interesting.

E.M.M.I’s can be defeated, however. Within their ‘patrolling area,’ you’ll eventually find a room containing a mini-boss, a giant eyeball. The fights are pretty easy, but upon defeating one you gain access to the Omega Blaster. With this, you can both blast a rapid-fire stream of laser projectiles, along with charging it for a few seconds in order to deliver a powerful, devastating beam that – after breaking it’s face-shield with the flurry of lasers – kills it. This is how you get the power up and free the designated area of the E.M.M.I.

I love the E.M.M.I’s; they’re so fun and rewarding to evade and later conquer! While I do think the SA-X from Metroid Fusion is a little better, these guys are very close to it’s level. I could go on and on about them, but to wrap things up, here’s some more things I think about them.

  1. While I love most, the two E.M.M.I’s in Artaria are both somewhat forgettable. The first one is a damaged, broken version, which serves as a tutorial for killing one, so I guess that’s fine. But the second one – this time working – doesn’t have any flashy moves or special abilities. They both kind of left my mind the further I went into the game.
  2. E.M.M.I’s each have different colors for the areas they appear in, though I think having more visual differences would make them stand out more. Maybe the one that drops the Ice Missile could have icicles and permafrost all over it, stuff like that.
  3. The E.M.M.I’s move in a disturbing, insect-like way, contorting and reforming their bodies to fit whatever surface they have to scale; I love it.


As I’ve said before, Metroid Dread is the best Nintendo Switch game yet, beating out Breath of the Wild and other contenders. It’s a masterful look at gameplay, beautiful graphics, and dreadfully-awesome enemies. It’s a game that I’m convinced will go down as an instant classic among many.

But the million dollar question is here: is Metroid Dread really worth 19 years of wait?

Yes. Metroid Dread is one of few games I’ve given a 10/10 score, and by golly it deserves. I cannot recommend this game enough, and if you haven’t played it yet I urge you to do so.


And that’s a wrap for this episode of JOYSTiCK, specifically the pilot episode. Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll come back for the next episodes. And if your interest in the Plaid Line has grown by this report, then check out others’ works.

Ten fun things to do during Halloween season

By: Maya Breininger

It’s finally that time of year, where we layer up on sweaters and pumpkin spice rules the flavor industry; Halloween Season!

As exciting as autumn is for many people, a reoccurring challenge that many usually face is that when each season comes around, it’s difficult to choose how to best celebrate the jolly time. If you struggle with planning fun fall ideas, or would overall appreciate a detailed guide of things to do during October, read on my friend!

Here is a complete guide of exciting festivities and activities to take part in during Autumn!

Number 1: Decorate your House Exterior

We start with a classic fall tradition many partake in, but could not be overlooked on this Halloween List. Decorating your house! Considering it’s ‘tis the season to be scary, many shops and stores will have decorations available for you to purchase! Red leaf wreaths, skeletons, graveyards and candles! There are many creative ways to go about this activity. It’s fun, easy and a nice activity to carry out with friends and family.

Number 2: Create Halloween Themed Treats

Ghosts, Witches, Bats – Oh my! What screams autumn more than a chocolate covered pretzel, decorated as your favorite monster? You haven’t experienced true Halloween fun until you’ve topped cupcakes with orange, green, and purple frosting, or grounded Oreo’s to look like the dirt on your graveyard cake! Making snacks – whether it be for a party, or for you own tasty interests – is always a fun way to spend the 31st of October.

Number 3: DIY Interior Decor

Image taken from:

Before you throw away that milk bottle – go ahead and spray paint it white and draw a ghost face on it! And that toilet paper roll, paint it white and place a fake candle head inside, boom – Hogwarts level candles at your fingertips! There are plenty of interior decor designs that can be made with ordinary things in your house!

Number 4: Visit an Apple Orchard/ Pumpkin Patch

What better way to celebrate the spooky season, than to visit the hub of growing gourds? scarecrows, hay barrel rides, apple cider and corn fields! The perfect geographic location for all of your autumn needs. Pick out a gourd, apple, or pastry to bring home, and munch down on your fresh treats!

Number 5: Carve Pumpkins

Image taken from: Halloween-guide-steps-make-tips

Well now that you’ve taken your pumpkin home, skinned its guts, and baked its insides, why not carve a face in it as well? The face of Jack o’ Lantern is an old, spooky story that would be an interesting tale to tell over your fireplace. Go ahead and place these funky pumpky guys on your front porch!

Number 6: Have a Halloween party

Now that you have your house decorated, your treats made, your DIY decorations crafted, and your pumpkins carved, it’s time to show them off to friends and family! Having company join you around a spooky fire and sharing and enjoying your scary treats together sounds like the perfect way to celebrate your Halloween night, no?

Number 7: Costumes

If that face doesn’t scare you, what will?
Dressing up in your favorite costume would definitely put a smile on your face – or of the face of anyone who beholds you!

Number 8: Visit a Haunted House

Image taken from:
08/09/haunted-houses-demonic-domiciles-polterg eists-and-malevolent-entities/

Boo! We’re you scared? No? Oh, man.
Well, if that didn’t set shivers down your spine, try visiting a haunted house! An enclosure full of mummy’s, witches, ghosts, and skeletons. Nothing like a room of horror to get your blood pumping!

Number 9: Put on a Puppet Show

Image takan from:

Here’s something fun and simple that will always excite the kids;
A puppet show!
Gathering crowds of kids from all over, preforming for them on the scariest night of the year! Go ahead and get some paper, fold it, and color it into your favorite monsters!

Number 10: Visit Stores with Free Halloween Samples

Who can say no to free food? Head down to your local grocery store, and peek around on Halloween! Search for the tiny tray of candy and treats ready for you to eat with your family; it’s almost like store trick or treating! Be careful to avoid opening things in boxes – those usually need to be purchased!

Now that you’ve taken a dive into this list and seen what true fun can be had on Halloween, what activity will you be trying out? Maybe a trip to the pumpkin patch with your friends, or visit a haunted house with your family! Either way, you now have many ideas on how to spend your October Holiday!