4 things to do this summer


photo taken from City Pages

The State Fair

The State Fair runs from August 25th to September 5th. The State Fair is a Minnesotan tradition. Watch G Eazy and Weezer while eating some whacky foods like porcupine meatballs and lobster on a stick. Or you can enter in competitions like the 4-H or the Fine Arts.




Sea smoke rises from Lake Superior over the North Breakwater Lighthouse during sunrise Friday, December 6, 2013 near Canal Park in Duluth, Minn.

Sea smoke rises from Lake Superior over the North Breakwater Lighthouse during sunrise Friday, December 6, 2013 near Canal Park in Duluth, Minn.

Take a road trip to Duluth

Duluth is a destination for nature activities such as hiking, camping tour, kayaking and canoeing tours. Visit Spirit Mountain or the Superior Hiking Trail.






photo taken from Daily Deals Twin Cities

Highland Fest

Highland Fest is near school, right in the Village on Ford Parkway and Cleveland Ave. It’s held July 15-17 and features local art and music. Not only can you enjoy the venders and live entertainment, but you can also eat in the many restaurants like Noodles & Co, the Highland Grill, and Chipotle. Catch a fro-yo while listening to music at Menchies.  



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photo taken from The Walker Art website

Go to an Art Museum

Minnesota is home to several museums, like the Weisman Art Museum, located on the University of Minnesota campus, The Walker, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA). Explore exhibits like the Guerilla Girls and the Walker Art collection featuring 75 years of Walker Art.  


Kite Runner Book Review


image taken from Goodreads

The Kite Runner is about the coming of age story of a man named Amir. He grew up in Kabul, Afghanistan with a childhood friend that was inseparable growing up. Amir betrays Hassan’s trust, and they are separated. While Amir goes to America, and Hassan stays in Afghanistan, the Soviet Union invades Afghanistan and the Taliban takes over Afghanistan after the Soviets leave. When Amir comes back to Afghanistan post war, he realizes he has to make up for betraying Hassan, when they were children, by rescuing Hassan’s son, who now is an orphan.

This novel is a heart racing story about the impact of class and politics as they play out in people’s lives. It also gives a more human emotion to the lives of refugees that we don’t regularly see. Amir’s Dad, Baba, loses all his wealth in America, and has to work hard labor jobs in the U.S. This is a similar story to many immigrants.

This book is worth your time, and will definitely have you more interested in Afghan culture and refugee life. The journey that people take to get to a better life is sometimes frightful, but bravery comes through people while fleeing a country. This in turns shows how people are able to help one another through the kindness of their hearts.

5 upcoming concerts

Minnesota is home to a lot of great music, and this summer you can experience music from both local and international artists. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to see some noteworthy artists!

Soundset (May 29th):

Soundset is an annual national hip hop festival that has hosted some amazing artists. This year, Soundset features popular artists like A$AP Rocky, Future, and Machine Gun Kelly. Soundset changed its location in Minnesota this year from Shakopee to the State Fair Grounds in St. Paul

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - MAY 26: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Beyonce performs on stage at Ovation Hall at Revel Resort & Casino on May 26, 2012 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – MAY 26: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Beyonce performs on stage at Ovation Hall at Revel Resort & Casino on May 26, 2012 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

Beyonce, the Formation World Tour (May 23rd)

After Beyonce’s critically acclaimed performance at the Superbowl this February, and her recent album Lemonade, that was originally exclusively on Tidal and Itunes, Beyonce has proved that she’s not only an amazing singer and dancer, but also can convey more important themes in her music. Lemonade centers around themes like race and infidelity.


Rock the Garden (June 18th):

Rock the Garden is sponsored by the Walker Art Museum and the Current. Rock the Garden is featuring Hippo Campus, a band from St. Paul, and all of the members have attended SPCPA in downtown. Chance the Rapper is from Chicago, has received a lot of national acclaim, and is becoming more of a national artist.

Drake (July 24th):

This tour is following the release of Drake’s new album Views from the 6. Since the Excl Energy Center is a little more pricey, the tickets are around $50-130. Future will also be a special guest. Drake has had several successful albums, including If you’re reading this it’s too late, What a time to be alive, and Nothing was the same.

Warped Tour (July 24th):

Warped Tour is an annual tour with a host of different bands sponsored by Vans. This year, bands include Against the Current, Real Friends, Bullet for My Valentine, and Waka Flocka Flame. The genres that are popular on this tour are rock and screamo.

Prince’s death


image taken from The Guardian

On Thursday, April 21, 2016, the world lost one of the greatest musicians it has ever seen. Prince was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on June 7, 1958. He was involved in the Twin Cities music scene growing up, while playing with his high school’s band Grand Central.

Prince achieved great critical acclaim with the albums Purple Rain and 1999. Purple Rain had an accompanying movie of the same name, which won an academy award. Purple Rain, also was filmed in the Twin Cities, and Lake Minnetonka got famous from his line in the movie, “Purify yourself in the waters of lake Minnetonka.” 

Prince was also an extremely talented musician, who could play 27 instruments, which were all featured on his For You album. He was also known to record a new song everyday, which has led to dozens of unreleased albums.

Even with the great success Prince received during his lifetime, he still chose to live and record in Minnesota. He died in his home in Chanhassen, Minnesota.

Prince’s cause of death has a lot of speculation around it accoding to NME. There is currently speculation about the painkiller Percocet having caused his death. Five days before his death he overdosed on Percocet, and he was rushed to a hospital where he was treated with the anti-overdose drug Naloxone. No physical trauma was found on Prince’s body, so suicide has been ruled out by coroners. Prince has previously been rumored to be a heroin and/or cocaine user, but others say he wasn’t much of a drug user after becoming a Jehovah’s Witness, a religion that bans the use of drugs.

According to The Guardian, Prince didn’t have a will before he died. With no children, and both of his parents dead, his inheritance is going through court. If no past wills are found, his net worth of $300 million will be split six ways: to his sister and his five other half siblings. It’s surprising that Prince didn’t leave a will, because during his life, he was known to be in control of the legal aspects of his career. Now there is a possibility that the direction of his music may be changed to something he may not have approved of (i.e. he did not allow his music to be streamed), because he didn’t explicitly record who he wanted to be in charge of his music during his lifetime.

Prince is a music legend that will never be forgotten in Minnesota, or the world. His gender binary defying persona and the creativity that he showed in his music and in real life was rare. Through his music, we can all learn to be as eccentric as we want to be.

European trip: Spring Break 2016


photo courtesy of tour manager Patty Somner

This Spring Break, 22 students at 3 teachers from Highland Park Senior High went to a trip with EF (Educational Tours) tours to Amsterdam, Paris, and London.

EF is a company that organizes international trips for students to learn about different cultures. EF provides a large array of countries for possible trips, including trips to Costa Rica, that Highland Park also participated in this spring break, Rome and Athens, and South Africa. The trip cost approximately $3,700. It was a good deal because it included tour guides, hotel and airfare, and breakfast and dinner. However, you do have to bring spending money for lunch and souvenirs. EF has different plans to pay for the trip, including monthly payments and paying for the trip in thirds.

We saw many tourist attractions, including Notre Dame, the Anne Frank Museum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Eiffel Tour, the Eye of London, Keukenof Garden, Palace of Versailles, Buckingham Palace, and many more. One of my favorites was being able to see the view of from the Eye of London. Also, the Camdon markets in London have a lot of cool stuff that you can only get there such as hand crafted art. We also visited Delft, a city outside of Amsterdam that had many shops and canals.

Brussels, Belgium was originally supposed to be included in the trip, but because of the terrorist attacks in March, the stop was cancelled. However, we still had a lot of fun in the other locations, and we got to spend more time in Amsterdam and less time on the bus getting to Paris.

In the end, the Europe trip was worth the money, and is a life changing experience that I would recommend to anyone at Highland Park.

Speech Sections

On Wednesday, March 16th, Highland Park’s Speech Team competed in their sectionals at Eagan High school. Each school sends representatives, and Ramona White was Highland’s representative in Poetry.  She was the only person from Highland to final, which means she made it to the top seven, however she only placed fourth which means she didn’t make it to State. Only the top three finalists in each category go to state. White placed in finals last year in the Poetry category as well. There are twelve other categories in speech, some of which include: duo, drama, humorous, discussion, and creative expression. 

The Speech Team also has other school events, for example, at the end of the season they come into English classrooms showcasing the piece they have performed for the whole season. Before sections, there are almost weekly tournaments on Saturdays at different high schools.

Kaylee Voigt, a freshman at Highland Park Senior High, talked about her experience in this speech season. “I think that for me speech was about confidence and being able to put myself out there. Like for most people speaking in front of an audience was scary but after a while I didn’t care. Even though it’s a little scary getting up and talking in front of a group of people it helped a lot.”

Speech has a category for almost everyone’s interests – and there may be something for you. The Speech Sections were a great opportunity for everyone to be proud of the hard work they had done with their pieces over the past year.


photo taken from Kaylee Voigt’s Twitter

Five best restaurants in the Highland area

If you’re a student looking for places to eat in the Highland area, don’t look any further, here are the five best restaurants around (in no particular order).

IMG_1339The Cleveland Wok is a high quality Chinese buffet featuring staple items like egg rolls and sweet and sour chicken. They have great service and the food is fairly priced. However, parking is hard in the street; you most likely will have to park in the back of the bank next to it. The Cleveland Wok deserves to be on this list because they have excellent value and service.

The Neighborhood Cafe is much more than a cafe. It provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with happy hour specials. It is on Selby and Snelling, but if you take the 84X after school, which is right next to the school buses, you can get there fast. The Neighborhood Cafe deserves to be on this list because of the big portions they serve for a good price. It also has a cozy environment and the staff is friendly.

Smashburger is a chain restaurant that serves not only burgers, but also chicken sandwiches, salads, and shakes. The burgers come in a large variety of options, along with the create your own option. One of the unique burgers they offer is the Buffalo & Blue Cheese burger, that has buffalo sauce and an egg bun. The atmosphere is very hipster-like and relaxed. It deserves to be on this list because of the wide variety Smashburger provides.

The Highland Grill is a little more pricey than the other options, but the food is definitely worth it. The Highland Grill provides a large array of American breakfasts and entrees. The atmosphere of the Highland Grill is very social; on warm nights you can usually find people relaxing just outside the restaurant socializing while enjoying their meal. It deserves to be on the list because of its beautiful decoration and chic style.

Which Wich, a restaurant that specializes in subs and sandwiches, is located on Ford Parkway right next to the Walgreens. For a sandwich shop, they have a lot of variety. From vegan options to seafood. The food is reasonably priced and uses high quality ingredients. The wait is usually not that long and you can either eat in or take out. It deserves to be on this list because of it’s creativity in sandwiches.

St. Paul Youth Services

On Wednesday February 10, St. Paul Youth Services (SPYS) hosted an event at the Sun Ray library for finding the next St. Paul Police chief. Mayor Chris Coleman and City Council member Russ Stark attended. SPYS wanted to hear youth voices on how the police affect our community.


photo courtesy of NPR

We talked about how police officers influence our everyday lives. You can find a police officer in most SPPS high schools. At Highland Park Senior High School we have Officer Hull. In a country that has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, does our discipline on teens have to be linked to police officers?

The school to prison pipeline has been a growing topic in the media. The school to prison pipeline is a term that refers to pushing at risk schoolchildren, who are predominantly people of color, into the criminal justice system. There have been studies that have shown the link between students that are suspended to their committing future law violations.

What is most disappointing is how small the ethnic population is in Minnesota schools, compared to their suspension and high school drop out rates. For example, nearly 60% of suspensions in Minnesota were from black, Asian, Native American, and Hispanic students, but they only make up a quarter of the population of the schools. 

SPYS is trying to help us learn that the school to prison pipeline is a real and urgent issue. We should be using our law enforcement to help and protect youth instead of making it difficult to get an education.

St Paul Youth Services was founded in 1973, and provides many services, including the Pre-Court Diversion Program, which helps young adults that committed petty theft offenses like shoplifting and curfew violation have other alternatives to help them stay out of the criminal justice system. Another service they provide to young adults is the Ambassadors for Youth program, which provides counseling and tutoring in community centers.

Diversity in the media

2016 has marked the second year in a row where the major nominees for the Oscars have been all white. Even President Obama has put his two cents into the conversation, “Are we making sure everyone gets a fair shot?”

But it isn’t just the lack of representation for African Americans. According to the LA times, it has been 54 years (since 1957) since a Latina person has won an Academy Award. However, white actors are being applauded when playing Latino and Asian characters.

But this isn’t a new issue. Ever since the film industry has started, it has been white dominated. Maybe people have been giving more attention to diversity in media recently because of the popularity Black Lives Matter has been given, and the resurgence of topics being brought to popular media because of social media. Obviously the hashtag #oscarssowhite has brought together many people with similar ideas to solidify what they want to see in the media. According to a study done on 18 top Hollywood companies done by NPR, 94% of the CEOS were white, and 100% were male. The overwhelming white dominance in the film industry both cuts away important stories that can be told through a minority’s perspective, but also takes away opportunities from talented people of color and LGBT people.

African Americans have been going against Hollywood by making their own films and TV networks. Although African Americans have made strides in diversity, African Americans have repeatedly been given stereotypical roles. Like being a maid or a slave.

Other minorities like Asians and Latinos have been given stereotypical roles as well. Asians are usually given roles that are related to being smart and not speaking English. Latinos are also treated like African Americans and Asians in that they often are portrayed as servants or people who can’t speak English.

LGBT members are rarely given diverse roles in popular film, they don’t go far from the flamboyant feminine gay men. Like roles in Modern Family and WIll and Grace. However more diverse LGBT roles are now being seen in popular series such as Orange is the New Black. 

Indigenous people are possibly the most stereotyped for example they are often portrayed as being “blood thirsty savages” and of being red face. Their plight has been gaining more attention due to the push by the Native community to change the logo of the Washington Redskins.

It’s important to have roles for minorities that aren’t just stereotypes. Dejra Bishop, a 15 year old sophomore at Highland Park Senior High, talks about diversity, “It feels good because I’m not just stereotyped as something bad. Black people can be good characters as well.”


Black Student Union

A new club called Black Student Union (BSU), has started at Highland Park. This club is focused on bringing awareness to problems in the black community, giving back to the community, and educating people about black history. It’s held in Ms. Noah’s room 3312 every Wednesday from 2-3. Other clubs at school that are like BSU are the Asian Culture Club (ACC), Union Latina, and the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA).

The National Black Student Union (NBSU), was originally in Wisconsin and for undergraduate students, according to the NBSU website. Our BSU at Highland does activities to promote discussion about social injustice issues. Like a privilege walk and presentations about the advantages and disadvantages in our society.

IMG_0454John Edwards, a freshman at Highland Park Senior High and member of BSU, expressed why we need a BSU in our school, “It helps people be aware about issues going on within different groups of our community.”

Kennedy McTeague, also a freshman at Highland Park Senior HIgh and member of BSU, says “It was a fun and reflective place to be. It was a safe place to talk about your ideas and thoughts about issues happening.”

You can follow BSU on twitter @hphsbsu, where there will be profiles of members of BSU and updates about events happening within in the group.