Making Highland a safe space

Donald Trump’s inauguration was on January 20th, 2017. Many students in our community don’t feel as though he will make America a safe place for them to live. A few peer leaders in our high school community wanted to do something to show that we want Highland to be a safe space for everyone. They went about showing support to other students by having a gathering during lunch, in which people could share their concerns, fears, hopes, and any feeling they may have during this time. Everyone wants our community here at Highland to be a safe space for all, and we are doing everything we can to make our students feel welcome.


We asked the leaders of the gathering what their overall goal was and what their plans were for the next meeting; here was their response, “We wanted something that would draw positive attention and help broadcast a sense of community. Basically we wanted to create a platform to continue more events that would be similar and encourage people to be more politically active.”

Based off of the turnout, it’s easy to say that the leaders were successful. Many of the students were able to discuss their worries free of judgment in a very respectful and inclusive environment.

Overall, the rally went on successfully, serving its original purpose of bringing a community together. The students of Highland hurt by President Trump’s election came together to voice their opinions and stories. Leaders of the rally, both staff and students, brought a positive outlook in a dark time for many. They are looking forward to having more gatherings for social injustices in the future.

Trump vs. Streep

The Golden Globe Awards is a ceremony where the most esteemed actors and actresses are recognized for their work. This year Meryl Streep, a well known actress, was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award. While stepping onto the stage and quieting the crowd, Streep had a few things to say to our soon to be president, Donald Trump. She spoke of the comment Trump made when he imitated a mentally disabled reporter, and how she felt it was absolutely unacceptable. Although Streep’s speech wasn’t the longest ever given, many of the other people attending the ceremony were nearly in tears or gazing in awe.

When she went up to give her speech many things happened: she started out by saying how thankful she was for the award, she then moved on to name many actors, and actresses, then she listed where they were from, and explained that if we take out all the foreigners from Hollywood then we wouldn’t have anything entertaining, art filled, or even meaningful.

Streep then went on to say how we have let someone who is insensitive, and not speaking for the greater good, into our most cherished and honored seat of our country. She talked about how having our president elect making fun of disabled people makes Americans feel ashamed and hurt.

Meryl Streep was standing up for America, and then got dragged under the bus by that very same president elect for exercising her first amendment rights.

When he heard what Streep had to say about him, our president elect, Donald Trump, went to Twitter to share his opinions on the actress. He went on to call her a “Hillary flunky who lost big,” as well as “overrated.”

The Internet was enraged by his comments, with many pointing out how unprofessional it was. An international hashtag regarding the feud was started: #ThingsTrumpThinksAreOverrated. Many disagreed with his statement and went to Twitter to share their opinions. The tag was filled with tweets agreeing with Streep’s statement against Trump’s controversial and hateful comments.

Even though Streep had her supporters, there were still many people who agreed with Trump and defended the comments he made. For example, Tomi Lahren, an online video host for TheBlaze had multiple comments for Streep. Lahren called the people at the ceremony an “Overrated collection of liberals” and “Out of touch with the rest of America.” Many others along with Lahren sided with Trump and began to bash Streep.

Whatever your views are, we hope we can all get along under the new president.

Highland (post) holiday movie picks

Everyone knows that Christmas movies are a clear indication that the holidays are truly here. Out of curiosity, we wanted to know what movies Highland favors. We distributed a survey asking students to pick their favorite film out of these five choices: The Polar Express, The Grinch, Home Alone, A Christmas Carol, and Elf. Christmas movies are a great way to spend the holidays and this was the perfect kick off to winter break!

When we surveyed our classes, the results came back, and without a doubt the family classic Home Alone was the favorite Christmas movie. Most people wrote that they liked it because it was funny and entertaining. They said things like:

“It shows that mischief can be mixed with love. True loyalty lies in the heart.”

“It is a funny movie and is great for the family.”

“Because it’s funny and entertaining”

As for the other movies, there were a fair amount of votes for Elf and The Grinch. But it is easy to understand why most of them picked Home Alone. We love all of these great Christmas movies and any one of them could have been the top choice for our Highland community.

Based on our survey’s outcome, Home Alone was deemed the winner as the best Christmas movie of the five given. The movie has always been labelled by many as a Christmas essential, and we here at Highland would have to agree. If you’re looking for a light-hearted family film to get over the holidays, or anytime, Home Alone is a perfect choice.

J.A.M. – How to pass your permit test

Hello, this is Jane, Alandra,  and Michelle and we have recently received the question: “I’m about to take my permit test what will help me pass ?”

We have all gone through drivers ed, and have gotten our permits, so here are some great methods that can help you out. We would like to say that the permit test is fairly easy and mostly based on common sense, a few laws, and signs.

When teens go to driver’s ed, the first thing they receive is a manual. Many overlook this essential tool, tossing it on their bedside table and completely disregarding it. If you’re smart, you won’t do this though, as it’s like the study guide for your permit test, and along with notes taken in class, looking over your manual is key to acing your permit test. Reading helps information process thoroughly in our minds, helping the jumbled words from instructors come together to make sense. When looking over your manual, take it in as if it is a textbook for one of your academic classes, memorizing key points and phrases. The manual gives you headings, which helps you when taking your own notes. Use this valuable tool to your advantage.

Along with your manual, one thing that really helps is studying with good and specific notes. During drivers ed, you are supposed to be taking in everything the instructor tells you, so notes are really helpful. You should go over the notes you receive and highlight the important things (measurements, traffic laws, signs, and symbols). After you have highlighted what you think is important, then you should look over them, maybe make a game with them, have someone quiz you, and anything else that you will think will help.

Another method to use, besides reading, is observing things as you’re in the car with an experienced driver. It is extremely crucial to ask questions and get comfortable with certain signs, intersections, and proper driving etiquette. Many of the questions on the test are easier to remember once you have asked and/or discussed the laws and scenarios that come with driving. Talk with your parents, go over your quizzes from drivers ed, and you’ll be ready to get your permit!

Overall, the permit test isn’t something you should overthink. With these helpful strategies you’re basically guaranteed to pass. Once you arrive at the facility to take your test, stay calm and try remembering everything you’ve worked so hard to learn. If you’ve studied enough you’ll be out the door and ready to drive!

Trump mural is painted over

Note: for this article we did a follow up on our previous Trump interview.

Donald Trump announces his candidacy for president during a rally at his Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York, on Tuesday June 16, 2015. Mr. Trump also announced the release of a financial statement that he says denotes a personal net worth of over 8 billion dollars.

Donald Trump announces his candidacy for president during a rally at his Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York, on Tuesday June 16, 2015. Mr. Trump also announced the release of a financial statement that he says denotes a personal net worth of over 8 billion dollars. photo taken from:

We conducted the exact same survey, we gave in the fall, about Donald Trump, except with one additional question. We wanted to see how people would react to the Trump mural after it was covered in spray paint, and how they feel about him post election. Answers ranged from strong political responses, to simply not caring at all. Every survey was anonymous and distributed to a large diverse group of students. The overall reason for this survey was to obtain a better understanding of how students feel at Highland Park Senior High.

We prompted our census takers (students aged 14-18), with the question regarding how they felt about Donald Trump and his election as president, and the responses were nearly identical across the board. The following are some that summed up the views of the census, but explained their thoughts rather than just “yuck” or “ew.”

“I hate him. He’s an egotistical, racist, sexist, homophobic, and Islamophobic moron who pretty much personifies everything wrong with America.”

“I think he is a horrible person. He is sexist, racist, and definitely not a person who should be leading anything, much less our country.”

“Considering my hispanic background and my identity in general, I fear a Trump presidency.”

“The very thought of him as president makes me sick.”

Following the question regarding their viewpoints on Donald Trump we asked if the painting on the third floor evoked any emotion from them. There was more variation in their answers to this question. Some students were neutral to the painting, as there was no ill intention behind it, while others were angered by the concept of such a controversial figure.

“It represents something different than when it was painted but it still makes me uncomfortable.”

“I dislike it but the artist did not have poor intentions.”

“If it makes people feel uncomfortable or unsafe it should be removed.”

“I feel very disgusted that a painting of him is on our third floor. A person like him should not be painted in our school as if it praises him.”

“I am not a fan, but I don’t think you should be able to restrict people from painting what they want.”

Recently the painting had been painted over with black paint, and though it is not known who the culprit is, many students have voiced their opinions on whether they agree with the individual or not. Out of our census the majority thought that even though they don’t like Trump, art shouldn’t be censored. Others believe that there should be something less controversial in that space.

“It doesn’t seem appropriate anymore. There is nothing wrong in painting over something that makes people feel unsafe or uncomfortable, especially in a school environment.”

“Although it would be considered vandalism to paint over someone else’s art work, in this case it makes me feel safer. I don’t feel comfortable with a picture of a disgusting man in our school.”

“He hasn’t acted on any of the terrible things he said, so there is no reason to censor it.”

“I understand they were trying to make a statement, and I appreciate that, but vandalism is illegal.”

We felt that it was necessary to do a follow up on our first Trump mural article because we wanted to give our Highland Park community a voice. We also wanted to see if their opinions changed since the mural’s vandalization occurred. We got an array of answers but not one that was pro Trump, which did not surprise us whatsoever.  

All in all, this article was done as a piece that not only Alandra, Michelle and Jane wrote, but also our peers from Highland.

TV shows

Are these T.V. shows worth the hype?

The X Files:

The X Files is a show that started in the 1993, and is still playing today. This T.V show is a sci-fi thriller that follows the lives of two FBI agents, Dana Scully and Fox Mulder. These two agents are best known for their work on cases that showed signs of non-human forces at play, aliens, god, monsters, ect. While agent Mulder was a strong believer in such forces, agent Scully had her doubts.

Now that you know what the show is about you may want to know is it really worth watching? Well we are here to tell you YES!! This show is definitely worth watching. In this show everything is real and committing crimes from God to werewolves to aliens to psychics and much more. The X Files brings to light many thing that you may or may not believe in; whether you do or don’t, in this show, it does exists, which is why it’s so good.

This show combines real world work like the FBI, with extraordinary phenomenons like shape shifters. The X Files is thrilling, funny and a bit steamy and romantic all at the same time. If you have never seen The X Files or are contemplating watching it, then our suggestion to you is GO FOR IT, you won’t be sorry and if you are, well then we don’t know what to tell you.

Another great thing about this show is that it has an abundance of seasons, so you won’t watch it super quickly. The X Files is a show that is 100% worth watching.


Scandal is another interesting show that began in the April of 2012. The show revolves around a character by the name of Olivia Pope. Pope is a former White House Communications Director who starts her own organization to solve the crises of the wealthy and well known. Olivia and her team of gladiators are so good at what they do that people hurry to them, before the police. Olivia can bury someone’s deepest secrets and ultimately solve any chaotic problem placed in her path.

One of the most intriguing aspects of this series is the dirty political vendettas among the people of Washington D.C., along with the continual backstabbing that comes with them. The series is undoubtedly alluring and quite addictive. If, and only if, you’re prepared for a road of enormous secrets and uncanny events, Scandal is the show to watch.


Gossip Girl:

As the show that gave actress Blake Lively her rise to fame, Gossip Girl (2007-2012) has gotten an array of reviews from its audience, and is labeled by many as a “must watch” show. The series centers on the socialites of the Upper East Side of New York, following the scandalous lives of Serena Van Der Woodsen, Blair Waldorf, Nate Arichbald, Dan Humphrey and fan-favorite Chuck Bass.

Going into the show, we expected plain, annoying rich kids arguing over popularity, but was greeted with a much different tale. We can’t reveal too much, but, the twists and turns make the seemingly boring plot interesting. With several different storylines regarding each character, it’s hard to get bored of the same old thing.

The comedy throughout, gives watchers a break from the intense hardships the group faces. We are into binge watching shows, as it takes a lot to keep us interested, but Gossip Girl had us staying up all night waiting for the next ambush. We would highly recommend this series to anyone looking for a Netflix binge session.

How to Take Good Notes

How To Take Good Notes

Today we are going to share with you a few things that will help you take better notes.

One thing that really helps with remembering the content of what you’re reading is writing a summary. This sounds like extra work but it really helps you understand the material you are taking notes on. When writing a summary start with the main idea; this should be the focus of  what you are writing about. Summaries should only be a couple of sentences so that when reviewing you don’t have to read all your notes. Lastly, in regard to summaries, we suggest writing them for confusing or longer notes, this will help to ensure your comprehension.

Another thing that really helps is to organize your notes is using colors and distinguishing marks. You don’t have to use many colors – maybe one or two at the least. We suggest underlining main ideas or important facts, this will help you study when reviewing your notes. When taking notes you can use colors to distinguish one section from another so it’s easier to look back on. A further method you can use is circling or marking areas that you need to work on to remind yourself what topics to study before a test.

When you take notes, being organized and concise are main focuses. It’s important to have key ideas, so when you go back to study you’re not confused as to what type of questions you’ll be trying to answer on a quiz or homework. Use different symbols (like * or -) to show the difference between headings and points made. You don’t always have to use color, so when you don’t have it, make sure to box and underline to help create borders between sections. Writing in cursive helps a lot because it’s faster than printing, so you’re given more time to make sure your notes give you the information you need.

Overall, notes are very important in our everyday school lives, so taking good ones are key to a successful education. There are many ways to do notes, these are just three ideas to help guide you into improving your own.

Ask J.A.M.

Ask J.A.M.screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-7-43-29-am

Hey Scots! High school is a difficult time for the growing teen, and we would like to help others in this intimidating journey through Highland Park Senior High. It’s not easy to talk about your problems face to face with another individual, so we thought of starting an advice column here in the Highland Plaid Line. For our first article, we would like to introduce ourselves so our audience knows who they are spilling their hearts out to. “We” are J.A.M.: Jane Iverson, Alandra Hickman, and Michelle Bourassa.

Hi guys, it’s me Jane. I’m a sophomore. I know that high school can be hard and we are here to help. High school is a time where kids are figuring out who they are and who they want to become. That can be very confusing and hard sometimes, so if you ever need, or just want to talk, we are always here to help. Last year I played golf, and I figured out that wasn’t something I wanted to pursue. In my free time I enjoy reading mystery novels and spending time up north at Lake Superior. During school, when I’m not learning, I enjoy eating smothered burritos and mashed potatoes. J.A.M. believes in helping others and making this a safe environment for them.

I’m Michelle, a sophomore here at Highland. Last year, I wasn’t too thrilled about Highland or school in general. Over the summer, I made a promise to myself to maintain a positive attitude and spread happiness among our community. This is my first season doing cheerleading, and it is definitely the highlight of my day. It works with my loud persona, giving me a platform for all my energy. I love to laugh and make others laugh, so look out for me if you want to hear a funny joke during your day. Life is hard, so I like to try and ease others stress if only for a second. Despite being more of a “jokester,” I also have a very mature mentality. If you want honest advice, come to me. I believe in facing your problems head on before they face you. I hope to help anyone I can this year!

Hey everyone, I’m Alandra! I’m also in my sophomore year at Highland. Everyone has a different high school experience and I’m here to help make it better! High school offers a myriad of things that every person should be involved in. Here at Highland we have great sports programs, Link Crew, and a variety of clubs! Here at Highland I play JV and Varsity volleyball. While playing, I have made a lot of friends and learned so many things not only pertaining to volleyball, but also life. I’ve learned methods on how to juggle sports, homework, and my personal life. These are things that I am more than willing to help you with. We believe that school can be a wonderful place where we as students should be able to express ourselves and have a wholesome high school journey. If you need advice for anything concerning sports or academics I’m always here!

If you would like to talk to us, contact us at our @askhighlandjam

Trump mural


For this article, we conducted interviews at school focusing on Donald Trump. We interviewed people anonymously, all from very different backgrounds and ages, in order to receive a wide range of perspectives. The interviews were mainly concerning the Trump mural painted in our school on the third floor. We wanted to know how it made people feel, and if something should be done about it. Although the mural was our focus, we also wanted to understand how people felt about Trump as a person. We did this to better understand the reasoning for the opinions about the mural.

While interviewing a variety of our peers, as well as some of the staff members, about their feelings on Trump, we came across many different views on him. We asked our interviewees to give us a short phrase or a couple of words to describe their feelings. Many had very angry comments such as:

“I hate him.”

“He is stupid.”

“He’s an orange sexist bigot.”

“He exploits people for his own gain.”

“He makes me feel ashamed”

Or words such as “pretty low, awful, Orange, Oompa Loompa, scared” were used.

We also had some responses that were very interesting and unbiased:

“I love him, I love him as a human being, because I love every human being.”

“I think he has always had a good life. Never struggled. He doesn’t know how to relate and empathize with people that have.”

“I may not agree with him all of time, but I always have to respect him and his opinions.”

Many of our classmates had no opinion on Trump at all. When asking the people we see everyday, many contrasting feelings and points were brought up.

Following hearing how individuals felt about Donald Trump, we informed them of the pop art painting located on the third floor.trump2

After hearing of the arts existence, we prompted subjects to tell us about how a painting of Trump in our school made them feel. We personally have no bias, and all responses were their own. There were a considerable number of students who were indifferent to the art piece, but some had feelings about the piece that they felt needed to be heard. There were points made that art is an expression, and no one has the right to censor art, and on the opposing side, a painting or “mural” of Trump made some students uncomfortable because of the comments he has made.

“It’s an outrage that a school with such a large Hispanic population has a painting of a man who has discriminated against us.”

“Art is an expression, and we can’t tell someone how they can or can’t feel.”

“There are better things that can be done with that space.”

“With how heated the air is surrounding this topic, I don’t believe it is a good idea for the school display such a controversial figure.”

“It is art, and art should never be censored. The painting has no degrading quotes, so no harm is truly being done.”

“Schools should not display political figures, especially when we are only showing one side of the argument.”

Overall, we gathered many views from our school’s community, and got a variety of answers. We learned different ways of thinking, broadening our perspectives. There was a significant amount of knowledgeable feedback, and we learned about the acceptance of others’ opinions.