What is spirit week? And how was it for HPSH?

By: Domingo Basso

Image taken from: https://www.westonschools.org/middle

So, our school, Highland Park Senior High, has this thing called spirit week at certain points in the year.

Actually, first allow me to explain to you what exactly this “spirit week” is. Spirit week is a time of year for schools to be a little more festive and have some fun with some little event or spin on the norm every day of the week. Such as: wearing all white clothes to school one day or wearing pajamas. Spirit weeks usually last… well one week (hence the name) and are usually active before an event at said school.

Another thing to note is that most high schools have their spirit week on the week of homecoming ,and ends with a pep rally on the Friday of that week, followed by the homecoming dance later that night. 

In Highland Park Senior High’s case, spirit week had the following events each day: Monday was pajama + stuffed animal day, Tuesday was Twin day, Wednesday was Cultural pride day, Thursday was class color day, and finally, Friday was RED OUT day. 

The whole concept of spirit week was first really put into use in the year of 1952. The first spirit week was known as “Friendship Week” at Palo Alto High School and later on in the 1960s it was renamed to what we know it as today: “Spirit Week”

Finally, to close off this article, let’s see the opinions of some students around Homecoming Spirit Week of 2022.

I interviewed four students and this is what they all said: 

The first student said: “Mid.” And after having this person elaborate a little more they proceeded to say that it wasn’t all that good because “There wasn’t a no backpack day,” and “it was so bad that I can’t even remember any of the themes from that week” (By the way this same person didn’t know what the theme of most of the days even were).

The second student said :“Kinda boring,” and after making this student also elaborate more, via the use of a very friendly message including their address and a picture of their immediate family, they proceeded to say that it was because “None of the daily events were all that interesting or engaging.”

And the third student had this to say about spirit week: “It was alright, Friday was cool because of the pep fest but some of the other days barely anyone participated in spirit week.”

Finally, the fourth student said: “Yah I like spirit week.” Not much to say there they simply found spirit week enjoyable.

Overall, I’d say spirit week was alright. Last year was better though, because the events were more interesting.

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James Webb achievements

By: Reed Morris

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) launched on Christmas Day, 2022. At a cost of over 10 billion dollars, a project of this magnitude MUST have a worthwhile outcome. The JWST has only been operational and in position for three months, but has already surpassed expectations. 

Throughout the launch process, deployment, and calibration, everything went perfectly. All 300 some single points of failure deployed without issue, and the telescope was finally up and running by July of 2022. The first set of images was released on July 12th, showing the world what NASA’s bleeding edge technology could do. 

The first image released by NASA was a much more advanced and detailed version of Hubble’s deep field. The deep field is pictured below.

Image taken from the NASA app

While this picture might seem like any other picture of space, it contains some of the most spectacular sights in our known universe. This image contains the farthest intergalactic objects humans have ever observed. It also shows many instances of gravitational lensing, where massive galaxy clusters warp space enough to bend the light from galaxies behind, to amplify and focus their light. 

This deep field is fascinating in many ways. First off we have to talk about its size. While this image seems large, the area that Webb viewed to take this picture was roughly the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length. Another very interesting aspect about this deep field is the time it took to capture the image. While Hubble took weeks to capture a lesser deep field, James Webb took just hours to capture the spectacular image pictured above. With that sort of efficiency and processing power, the future of space exploration is in Webb’s pocket. 

One of the most important aspects of Webb that I mentioned a lot in my previous article is its ability to peer back in time further than we’ve ever dreamed. While we currently live just around 14.5 billion years after the theoretical Big Bang, the above deep field displays light captured back to under 1 billion years after the Big Bang. Webb’s large mirror and intense infrared capabilities allows us to view the warped and stretched light that has been traveling for eons through cold empty nothing, just to be absorbed by Webb’s censor and displayed in the spectacular deep field. 

As Webb continues to explore deeper into space and further back in time, keep an eye out in the news and here for further exploration into the James Webb Space Telescope’s achievements and discoveries. 

The pros and cons of students being allowed to use personal devices in school

By: Abisola Dosunmu

Image taken from:

Should the use of interpersonal devices—like phones—-be allowed in schools? I feel like that’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves at one time or another. Maybe not in that exact wording—but, well, you know what I mean.

In our modern world, life thrives on the use of digital technology.  We can use digital devices to communicate with our friends, family, literally anybody. There are around 7.753 billion people on this earth. With a few key types and a click of a button we can easily communicate with them. Maybe we’ve gotten desensitized to that, especially with the younger generation, but let me remind you, a hundred years ago, this would have been impossible to even think about. Now, it’s our reality. That’s pretty amazing.

So, what does ranting about the use of modern technology have to do with my topic? Well, cell phones have many uses besides the opportunity of being socially connected. They can be used for organization, note taking, access to educational apps, and new and unique learning opportunities tailored to each student’s needs. There’s really no one size fits all for everyone, especially when it comes to learning. 

Now, we have a whole labyrinth of information on the internet waiting to be discovered, with new takes on information and data from people all around the world. The ability to discover new perspectives and the opportunity to expand students’ minds and stray from the dusty old textbooks and worksheets.  Isn’t that what learning is about? Why not take advantage of that?

But, I also understand how cell phones can easily be misused in a learning environment. From distractions and cheating, to bullying, the use of cell phones can have a very negative impact on students’ daily lives. It all comes down to trust. When executed the right way, it can be a fresh and a helpful new way to develop new ways of learning.

I’m not saying I prefer this one way or another. Each point has its advantages and drawbacks. I mean, distance learning was done on devices. Some students thrived on it, some people didn’t. That’s fine. 

Instead of policing and trafficking use of all personal devices, recognize that some people can handle their devices responsibly and some genuinely need it (emergencies, to notify a guardian, personal problems, rescheduling something, etc.), while some people may have trouble focusing on learning with it.  That’s okay, because everyone learns differently and has different challenges. 

How can we achieve that? Well, there’s really no fair way to make it a rule one way or another. Despite what I just wrote, you can’t really allow one student to be on their phone and ban the other student from using it. What you can do is teach students to be responsible with their personal devices, to be respectful when using it, to be responsible with sharing content, and realizing when it’s time to put it away.  I know it might not seem like it, but it’s just another life lesson you need to teach in school.

So, what do you think? Should we encourage personal digital devices in school settings or completely veer away from it?

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