Youth Climate Justice Summit

By: Vivian S

If you are currently alive in the world, you have probably heard of climate change. One of the most discussed issues in this day and age, everyone seems to have an opinion about climate change. And youth are no exception, which is why they will be having a discussion about it.

On Wednesday, February 26th, which yes, is a school day, from 8:30am to 3pm, youth will be holding a summit to discuss climate change.

During the summit, youth will learn how to participate in government, specifically on the issue of climate change, and get a chance to speak with their representatives. Youth will also get to listen to youth activists, and learn how they are protesting climate change. While the summit may be about climate change, it also will be talking about how social justice relates to climate justice.

While posters around the school proclaim that the summit will be taking place at the MN State Capitol Building, the website says that it will be taking place in a multitude of buildings, mainly the Good Neighbor Center. The Good Neighbor Center is where the Highland group will be meeting first as well. If you are confused, like I was, you can find a map and instructions of where to go on the website.

To find that map and register, go to: https://www.climategen.org/our-core-programs/yea-mn/youth-climate-justice-summit-2020/.

They very strongly recommend and would like you to register.

If you are worried about transportation, the organizers also have options for that. You can fill out an application for transportation funding (though I’m unsure if they’re taking them anymore given applications were supposed to be turned in by January).

The Highland group is currently trying to work out transportation, but hasn’t yet got anything, if they do get transportation, they will be announcing it via announcements or their Instagram (@hpsavestheworld).

Also, if you are worried about food, there will be food there.

Last year, about 200 youth met with 50 senators at this summit. They participated in workshops, some of which discussed climate justice. Multiple organizations including Yea! MN, MN Can’t Wait, Women for Political Change, and MN350 participated in the event.

If any of this sounds interesting to you, whom I’m assuming is a Minnesota youth, you might want to register and plan to attend. 

Sheridan Story service trip

By: Vivian S

If you are as obsessed with staying up to date with the school announcements as I am, or you look at the posters hung up all around the building, you may be well aware that on Wednesday, February 19th, there will be a service trip to the Sheridan Story.

The Sheridan Story is an organization dedicated to helping defeat child hunger and food insecurity. They work with schools and communities to help children get the food they will need, especially for weekends and breaks.

Not only do they provide food, but they try to make sure it’s healthy, consulting with dieticians from Allina Health and Saint Paul Public Schools.

And Highland Park Senior High is going to head over and help them! The field trip will be from 9:30AM to 12:00PM on February 19th. There are only 100 spots though, so the trip is already full.

If you still want to volunteer, you can sign up to volunteer on the Sheridan Story website.

While I always appreciate service opportunities just because, if you are part of a club or program (*cough* National Honor Society *cough*) that requires service hours, this would also be a good place to get some in. 

To find out more about the Sheridan Story or donate to them go to: https://www.thesheridanstory.org.

The proceeds of the school’s Bid Out, February 10th-18th, will also be going to the Sheridan Story. Bring money to your 2nd period class, the 10 classes that raise the most money will be going to ComedySportz, an improv comedy show.

CCRC

By: Vivian S

Right beside the counselors office in our fair school lies the humble College and Career Resource Center. If you go to Highland, you may know of it, considering it sends out an email and updates Schoology every two weeks with its newsletter. But exactly what services does the CCRC offer?

The CCRC newsletter includes information about: summer camps and programs you can sign up for, ACT tests and resources to prepare for the test, and events hosted by colleges. The newsletter also has information about volunteer opportunities and job opportunities, with a few requirements and details for each. Finally, a list of scholarships, requirements, deadlines, and the amount of the scholarship can also be found in the newsletter. 

Walking into the CCRC, I could already see that it had many tables for students to work at. It had a few computers and a laptop cart, along with a printer that costs 5 cents per page. There was a small shelf with ACT prep books that could be checked out, and students were sitting, doing work, and talking to Ms. Baheriy about scholarships. I was honestly surprised by how busy the CCRC was, with people constantly handing papers in to Ms. Baheriy.

Ms. Baheriy graciously agreed to sit down and tell me what the CCRC does.

The CCRC is a place for students to prepare for colleges and careers, and get help planning those. Students come in to discuss and work on college and job applications, and career planning. Ms. Baheriy described her help as providing students with guidance and sharing all the options they have.

She also had some tips for students, saying that we should all start planning early instead of later. To start preparing for college, during the fall, there are many college visits, so researching colleges then would be helpful. She also encouraged students to look at the CCRC newsletter.

For applying to scholarships, she told me that most scholarships aren’t based off of what college you go to, but that many don’t open up until senior year.

The CCRC is open at any hour so students can have a place to work. If Ms. Baheriy isn’t available, students can make an appointment with her. But remember, the CCRC is not a place to hang out and eat lunch.

For more information, here is the CCRC’s website https://www.spps.org/Page/8150.

Read Brave

By: Vivian S

Are you looking for a new book to read, despite the fact that you never get around to reading anything, and your pile of recommendations is growing in the corner of your house, and you can’t motivate yourself to read them? So am I!

The Saint Paul Public Libraries are once again doing their yearly Read Brave program. Read Brave is a city-wide program where everyone is encouraged to read the same one or two books to learn about an issue facing our world.

The issue this year is climate justice. The main book is The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline, with a non-fiction option Climate Justice by Mary Robinson.

The Marrow Thieves is a dystopian young-adult novel, taking place in a future in which climate change has destroyed the whole world, and people no longer have the ability to dream. Indigenous people are the only ones still able to dream, and are hunted for it. The story follows Frenchie, who is on the run.

Climate Justice is about the impact climate change has on ordinary people, and their struggles to survive and find sustainable solutions.

I have not read these books, so most of that information came from their summaries (which aren’t always representative of what the book will be about).

At the end of the program, the Read Brave author, who this year is Cherie Dimaline, will visit Saint Paul and talk about the book. Dimaline will be coming March 11th through the 13th.

The book club will be reading The Marrow Thieves for their February meeting, and already have copies, so if you are interested, visit Ms. Rahman. The environmental club will be reading Climate Justice.

Read Brave is one of the biggest programs sponsored by the Saint Paul libraries, and an amazing opportunity to read a new perspective and meet an author. I, for one, will be taking advantage of this program.

The Good Club Vol. 2: Food drive

By: Vivian S.

One of Highland Park’s newest clubs is back at it again. The Good Club will be holding a food drive this week.

They will be collecting donations of food and/or hygiene products up until December 12th, when later that night, during parent-teacher conferences, they will be passing out the food to HP students next to the auditorium from 5-7pm.

If you have any donations, you can bring them to Ms. Jane’s room or Ms Ostendorf’s room (2207 and 2208).

So, once again, to find out more, I interviewed Cailin and Delaney, two of the people running the club.

Please note that these are not direct quotes. 

V: What is your goal for the food drive?

C&D: To make food security less of a taboo topic in our school, as many of our students do need food, we’re hoping to make it more normalized.

V: What do you want people to donate, and is there anything you do not want?

C&D: Anything is fine, especially canned and boxed food, stuff kids can make for themselves. Not fresh produce, milk, or eggs though. Healthier options if you have any.

V: What do you plan on doing with any remaining food?

C&D: There is a food shelf here, so it’s going to be put there, and if there isn’t enough room, the rest will go to a local food shelf.

V: Do you plan on doing it again?

C&D: Yes, if given the opportunity and resources to do it again, we’ll do it again.

V: How much more food do you need to reach your goal?

C&D: A lot, we don’t have a goal, we just want as much food as possible.

V: How are you getting donations, and who from? I heard you talking about getting donations from Cub and a dentist’s?

C&D: Members of the club reached out to specific stores to ask for donations, and neighbors and friends. 

V: Why did you choose to do a food drive?

C&D: Hunger is something that isn’t really talked about in our school, and we wanted to bring awareness to it as it is important.

V: Do you have any plans for your next project?

C&D: No.

Black Friday

By: Vivian S

As the great day of destroying and devouring a turkey approached, so did another holiday that I feared much more. Black Friday is came on November 29th. 

I remember as a child hating Black Friday, when my mom would drag me around the overcrowded stores for hours. I still do hold a distaste for it, but it also intrigues me. 

Why do we have a holiday for a day that is just stores selling all their items on sale? The day after Christmas isn’t a public holiday of this much renown. So why does Black Friday exist?

My research for this immediately became complicated with all the different origin stories I was inundated with.

I first found a History.com article that listed 4 different origins of Black Friday, though only one was listed as the “true” beginning of the holiday. The holiday apparently comes from Philadelphia, “Black Friday” being a term the police would use to describe the chaos of the day after Thanksgiving, when everyone would go out shopping in advance of the Army-Navy football game. None of the cops were allowed to take the day off, they would have to work extended shifts, and shoplifters would take this opportunity to do as shoplifters do. 

The term eventually spread, and retailers found a way to spin it in a positive light for them with all the sales.

However, the term Black Friday wasn’t even used in the beginning to describe the holiday. Instead, it was first used to describe the collapse of the gold market in the 1800s because two stock-brokers tried to make themselves rich and it didn’t work. 

The article listed other stories of how Black Friday originated, but says the one I repeated above was the correct one.

Yet, that still didn’t answer to me why Black Friday is such a popular holiday.

Wikipedia says that Black Friday marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, and that many employees are given the day off as part of Thanksgiving, which could be reasons for its popularity.

In the end, I don’t think the endurance of Black Friday will ever make sense to me, and I will just have to live with it, and the shopping my mom will drag me around for.

‘Coraline’ review

Button eyes and spiderwebs, Coraline is full of the stuff of nightmares.

Coraline was originally a novella written by Neil Gaiman, published all the way back in 2002. It quickly won many awards, which may I say, it deserved. In 2009 it was adapted into a stop motion film by Laika, which also appears to be quite well received. 

And in this one occasion, the movie may be just as good as the book.

Coraline is about a young girl, called Coraline, who has just moved to a new house. She feels as though her parents don’t pay enough attention to her, and she’s slightly ignored, not to mention bored. Then, she finds a small door in her house, which was originally boarded up, but suddenly one night, it is not. It leads Coraline to a fantastical world with two other parents and all the stuff she could ever want. But her other mother has more plans than just trying to make Coraline happy, and Coraline must fight not only for her own life, but also her parents’, to get out of the other mother’s world.

The book and the movie do have some differences though, the movie spends much more time exploring the world and characters, while the book is very fast paced. 

The book and movie are listed as horror, so while they are aimed at children, they are also full of ghoulish imagery. For example, the scene in the movie with Misses Forcible and Spink; trust me, you do not want to know that scene.

Neil Gaiman is also the author of novels such as American Gods, Good Omens, Anansi Boys, and more.

Laika, the studio that made the movie, also has made other movies such as Paranorman, Kubo and the Two Strings, and recently Missing Link.

I cannot recommend Coraline high enough. The book is short and a fun read, and I could rewatch the movie over and over again. If you are looking for a spooky movie to watch after Halloween, or just a fun time, Coraline is a must-see.

Boo!

By: Vivian

I have never been the biggest fan of the horror genre. I cannot even remember ever seeing a horror movie over my entire life. But recently, I have become somewhat fascinated with the genre, so I set out to discover more about it.

Literaryterms.com defines horror as a fiction genre made to inspire feelings of fear, dread, repulsion, and terror in the audience. It feeds on ideas that have bothered humans for centuries, and delves into our deepest fears.

There are many different types of horror; gothic horror, supernatural horror, and non-supernatural horror are listed on the website. If you want an example of a horror story, read practically anything by Edgar Allan Poe.

Masterclass gives you a few tips on how to write horror. They say that you should use your own real life experiences, remembering things that used to be creepy to you, or other things to put a more sinister spin on. They also suggest you write the title first so you can draw on a whole host of ideas from it. You might also want to write the ending first so that you know what will happen and can put twists and turns throughout the story to both mislead your reader and set up the conclusion. They also say to use cliffhangers and plot twists to keep your reader hooked, but those tips could be argued that unless done right they become a bit annoying. 

Other sites have other tips, for example Nownovel.com talks about word choice and creating an unsettling tone or mood. They also advise that you read plenty of horror so you can observe how others write. It also compares the horror and tragedy genres, and the same elements both use. Tragedy is born out of character flaws and the choices they make, and so is horror. 

So, now I had to wonder, why do some people like this genre when I normally avoid it like the plague? Science Daily suggests that people actually enjoy feeling scared and other “negative” emotions in horror films, not just waiting for the payoff, while other arguments seem to be that people enjoy the payoff. Instead of feeling fear, some people feel excited, or full of adrenaline, and that makes everything more vivid.

Even now, after reading multiple articles on why people like horror, and how to write it, I am not fully sure I understand it, but I am definitely going to keep looking into it.

The Good Club

By: Vivian S

Everything is fine. You’re in the Good Club. Or, at least, you could be.

But why should you be in the Good Club? What do they even do? To satisfy my curiosity and hopefully your own, I went to one of their meetings.

Upon arriving, everyone signed in, and for the first five minutes of the meeting, more and more students streamed in until Ms. Ostendorf’s room was almost full. Then, they began the meeting with a short presentation, discussing the activities of the club and their aim, which is to help the community.

The Good Club will be participating in the event Trunk or Treat hosted by HopeKids. This will include decorating their cars until they are the coolest things rolling down the streets. They then participate in giving out candy to kids at a set location.

HopeKids is the organization that the Good Club will be working with this quarter. They provide events and support to children with life-threatening diseases and their families. Each month, they have a different activity for the whole family, such as sporting events or concerts. If you want to learn more about them, go to https://www.hopekids.org.

While I was there, I interviewed Cailin and Delaney, two of the people running the club.

They say that how they would describe what they do in the club is that they work with nonprofit organizations to create a better community. They formed it because they believed that there needed to be more service opportunities at Highland, especially for underclassmen.

They say others should participate as it is a great opportunity to meet new people and get involved. Even if you are unable to go to meetings, they say you can still volunteer on your own time and sign up for some of the events the club does.

Their goal for the club is to make connections with other organizations and continue to work with them in the future. Also, to build relationships in between students.

Even with their room almost filled to capacity, they still urge more people to join.

They meet at 7:45AM on Thursday mornings, in room 2208, though I wouldn’t be surprised if they have to move to the auditorium. Be sure to check it out!

A limited number of bathroom passes

I’m sure every student has, or will at one point, encounter a teacher that will only give out a limited number of bathroom passes for the quarter or semester. They may give out so few bathroom passes that even with your best attempts to not use the bathroom during that class you would be unable to avoid running out.

But why do teachers choose to enact such regulations?

I spoke with two teachers on why they choose to give out limited bathroom passes and their answers were rather similar. They want students to remain in class and focus on the material.

One of the teachers, when she had not had this rule, had too many students missing too much class time and felt it was likely they were goofing off in the bathroom.

Both teachers believe the number of passes they give out is sufficient so if it actually is an emergency they’ll be able to go, and that passing time, or the amount of time they will give them at the beginning of class (one teacher gives their students an extra 5 minutes at the beginning of class to use the bathroom), is enough.

One of the teachers also made the point as due to the new cellphone policy it is more likely that students will go to the bathroom just to use their phone.

They say these regulations have been working to accomplish their goals. Students are spending much more time in class and without having to manage what kids are in the bathroom or who is going next, class seems to run much smoother.

They say that each teacher runs their class a certain way and knows what is best for it, but if they are having problems with students using the bathroom, this is a solution for them.

However, the students I interviewed seemed to have some different ideas than the teachers. 8 out of 9 of them said that they did not support teachers giving out a limited number of bathroom passes. A majority of them did say there might be ways for the policy to be changed enough for them to support it though. 

Most of them also said that while it depends on the class, passing time is not enough to use the bathroom, unlike what the teachers believe.

7 out of 9 of them said that it did not help students pay attention in class, as if they need to use the restroom, but are unable to, they would not be able to pay attention.

So, while teachers who implement this rule think it is good and helps students pay attention, students seem to be of the opposite opinion.