Highland Park Track 2021

By: McKenna Nutter

Image taken from: Instagram @hptrack

As we near the end of the school year, all of our classes and activities are starting to wind down, including HP Track.

One of our most recent wins was at Conference, with Morgan Jones, a 2021 senior, setting a new school record of 39’ in the shot put. She went on to win the conference championship!

In discus, Josiah Christopher set a new personal record by ten feet, an amazing feat, and went on to win the conference championship too.

Andrew Ali and Charlie Fragassi also went on to set new personal records. 

In the 3200m, first place went to Molly Moening, followed in second by 9th grader Luna Scorzelli, and in fourth by Chloe Koch! Both Molly Moening and Luna Scorzelli beat Molly’s previous record of 5.05.59, both making it within the 4 minute range for their incredibly fast miles. After working hard, it all seems to pay off in their amazingly fast performances. 

On Wednesday, May 12th, Highland Park went against Minneapolis Southwest, and Roosevelt. Highland Park brought home so many winners; it was incredible.

Vincent Langenbrunner took first in the 110HH and the 300HH.

In the 200m, Gospel Simon took the front, and as for the 400m, Spencer West-Hest and Ellie Moore both brought their A-game.

Luna Scorzelli may be a 9th grader, but so much more than thought, because Luna came in #1 for the 1600m.

Amelie Isom couldn’t seem to have put more strength and stamina into her run of the 3200m.

Congratulations to all of our runners, and don’t forget our relay runners: Tommy, Terez, Melvin, and Gospel in the 4×1; Clara, Athena, Ellie P., and Camille in the 4×2; and Ellie M., Delia, Luna, and Molly in the 4×8.

Let’s give a hand to all of our amazing track stars this year. 

The 2020-21 school year has been hard, and many people haven’t been able to participate in after school activities, but thankfully we’ve been lucky enough to have most of our sports teams this year. So many people who play sports rely on them, and we are so thankful that each and every single one of the runners got their chance to do what they enjoy.

This year has brought a lot of new talent to Highland Park Track, but sadly we have to say goodbye to many seniors as well. Fortunately, we were able to send them off with a great season!

Ocean colonization 

By: Grace Helmke 

We live in a society based upon development. We develop our minds through education, our beings through spirituality and religion, and our cities through unusual thinking. It is no surprise that unorthodox ideas should emerge, especially when we are faced with issues of increasing population.

Ocean colonization has been proposed as a possible solution to modern issues such as overpopulation and climate change. It is believed to be a sustainable development which could aid in our world’s healing process. But upon looking closer, is this really the case? 

Ocean colonization is the theory of extending society to the water. Settlements would be created either as floating platforms, or as underwear habitats. There is the potential for practically anything in these habitats; buildings could be created atop a floating platform, cattle could be raised, a city could be built on the sea floor with a lid to create atmosphere, buildings could be built with their own systems of oxygen, bubbles suspended in the ocean could be created. Almost anything is possible.

The most popular design plan, and at this point in time most feasible, is the floating structure. The Seasteading Institute is a non-profit think tank promoting the creation of floating ocean cities. They have already finished their crowdfunding campaign and have created the company Blue Frontiers, who actually construct the floating islands.

These platforms are made of reinforced concrete that will last longer than a century. The design was meant to be flexible, so that they can be rearranged to fit the needs of its citizens. On top of these platforms, bungalow villas will be created, accommodating around 2000 residents. But, because of the design’s flexibility, platforms can be added to accommodate for the growing population.

Image taken from: https://www.businessinsider.com/
seasteading-institute-floating-cities-by-2020-2016-3

One of the best regions to implement ocean colonies is the Atlantic Ocean, near the equator. Tsunamis and earthquakes are incredibly rare here, therefore destruction due to natural disasters would be incredibly rare. The water is also very temperate compared to other oceans. This would be appealing because it could create a tourist industry for those seeking a vacation destination or a place of work. 

Another argument which promotes ocean colonization is the pursuit of science. Creating structures in the middle of the ocean would allow scientists to further explore the mystery that is our ocean. It would also force us to come up with long term solutions to water pressure and corrosion.

While this sounds like a great idea, it is only that in theory.

The development of structures in aquatic environments actually disrupts marine ecosystems and destroys the natural environment. The construction process of many of these design plans would involve the demolition of part of the ocean floor. This would destroy vital ecosystems such as coral reefs and kelp forests, which are vital in slowing down the rise in carbon dioxide. These ecosystems are legitimately maintaining a liveable planet. Their destruction would accelerate the rate at which our earth becomes uninhabitable. 

In addition to the demolition of natural habitats, immense amounts of pollution will be created. The construction process is not in an enclosed area. This is the open ocean; debris, chemicals, and gases are bound to enter the water. What this does is kill off animal and plant life, cause eutrophication, and make the area uninhabitable to native wildlife. 

Colonizing the ocean could bring about a lot of good: new industries, new living spaces, advancements in science, and so much more. But something far more important is the evil it can do as well. If these structures were to be implemented, our oceans would continue on a downwards spiral. Life would die off, and our home would be put in danger. 

For more on this topic, please visit:

Everything you need to know about Mother Mother’s new album

By: Caroline Crosby

Vancouver’s beloved indie-rock group Mother Mother recently unveiled their upcoming global tour in 2022, along with a shiny new album that has fans buzzing with anticipation.

For those unaware, Mother Mother is a renowned 5-piece band whose success shot to new heights at high-summer of last year. The group is no new installment, though, having respectably surfed Canadian based alt-rock charts since late 2008.

Via the video sharing social media platform TikTok, a resurgence of the group’s older music recently exploded onto a new, broader scene with an equally broad audiance.

Teenaged, and young adult, fans flocked to Mother Mother’s music in droves. Many spoke of being drawn to the unique, androgynous harmonies and daring lyrics that comprised very “on-brand” viral songs such as “Verbatim”, “Burning Pile”, “Arms Tonite”, and “Hayloft”. 

After the raging revival of the older albums ‘O My Heart’ and ‘Touch Up’, courtesy of social media, Mother Mother’s new album was formally announced on April 8 of this year. It’s titled ‘Inside’ and was informally referred to as ‘MM LP 8’ before its official debut. 

In an interview with ‘Rolling Stone’ last fall, the band was asked about the creative development behind the appropriately dubbed “pandemic album”. 

Guitarist, vocalist, and group frontman Ryan Guldemond answered: 

“The world stopped, and all the sudden I had a lot more alone-time on my hands, which isn’t necessarily conducive to song writing. Usually, I like to venture out and find guidance from an external, interactive narrative—travelling, people, serendipities etc. I love that process – it’s almost like you’re in collaboration with the world. But since that wasn’t an option, I set about a different kind of travel, one more inward and personal, exploring different types of therapies, meditation, and journaling as a means to unearth songs from a deeper, interior place.”

Only 4 of the 14 total tracks are currently available on streaming platforms, but the complete release of the band’s eighth album will drop on June 25 (mark your calendars!). The 4 songs immediately available, however, follow Guldemond’s poetic foundation exactly as the quote suggests. 

As established, Mother Mother’s music (both old and new), consistently works with themes such as pushing societal standards and often encourages questioning of personal identities. The most recent music video and lyrics to the fifth installment of ‘Inside’s’ 14 tracks; “Pure Love”, is an excellent example of this. It flaunts the band’s unique portrayal of the world, and provides an introspective take on self-realization and discovery. It features the sole, haunting voice of band member Molly Guldemond.

‘Inside’ takes a deeper dive into the fundamentals of these ideas, and will resonate with listeners who desire to internally perceive, learn, and grow as many individuals and communities have, regardless of the pandemic’s trials this year. 

For more information, please visit Mother Mother’s official website at:

Or, read their interview with ‘Rolling Stone’ at:

You can watch the music video for “I Got Love” at:

Global warming

By: Charlie Fragassi

Image taken from: bioguia.com

Global warming is a huge problem that the world has yet to get under control. A lot of people may not know what global warming is at all. Global warming is basically when there’s a temperature increase in the earth’s atmosphere. This is caused by the amount of pollutants in the air today. Experts say that around the time of 1980, is when there began a huge increase in global temperatures, and it really hasn’t gotten much better at all.

Global warming affects a lot more than just humans; it also affects animals as well. For example, the polar bear is a common example brought up in global warming/climate change because the ice is melting at a faster rate and that’s part of the polar bears habitat. They use ice floes to catch seals and other marine animals. Unfortunately, there are fewer than 25,000 polar bears left in the wild, and at this rate, with the way everything’s going, they won’t be here much longer.

There are some ways to help with global warming, and one of the ways is recycling. This, along with just bringing your own shopping bags with you while you go shopping, reduces the waste of plastic that is brought out into the world.

Driving electric cars also tremendously helps the spread of global warming because there is no gas coming from the car, so it doesn’t produce pollution out in the air.

Another main reason global warming is such a pressing issue is because not everyone thinks that it is even real. Many people believe that it is fake and is made up even though there has been full scientific evidence backing it up. People still refuse to believe in it, and that causes things to get done at a slower rate.

Global warming could get under control a lot quicker if everyone was just on the same exact page.

For more information, please visit:

  • “Global Warming, Greenhouse Effect, Climate Change and Their Relationships” sgkplanet.com/en/global-warming-greenhouse-effect-climate-change-and-their-relationships/
  • “Global Warming 101” http://www.nrdc.org/stories/global-warming-101

Educating the educators: HPDA club and the Schoology course for SPPS teachers

By: Caroline Crosby (Vice President of Disability Alliance club at Highland)

Highland Park Senior High School, as well as similar learning establishments around the Twin Cities, display great student body diversity. It may be inferred, then, that a variety of individuals and ranging abilities demands a variety of accommodating instruction and environments.

Inclusion and accessibility are crucial in any working facility, especially in academic settings catered towards young adults and adolescence. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics dictates that the current 7 million students with disabilities in the U.S. comprise 14% of national public school enrollment. No small number!

With this significant information in mind, HP’s own Disability Alliance club (known to many Scotties as “DA club” for short) has been collaborating with the Office of Equity, and other district staff members, to create a comprehensive Schoology course on ableism. The course is described as an asynchronous educational training tool for SPPS faculty and teachers.

The goal? To prompt reflection and growth with attitude, bias, and experiences regarding education and ableism in schools. It may* include informative content on student perspective, the history of disability rights and laws, implicit bias, inclusive suggestions for the classroom, and much more.

As the VP of Disability Alliance, my hope is that this project will prompt lasting, progressive, change for faculty and students alike. Our club has been working closely to provide an in-depth understanding of academic encounters from middle and high schoolers’ perspectives.

From April 21 to May 9, DA opened a survey recording student experiences with accessibility in school. It was available to 6-12 graders anywhere within the district, and collected written and recorded accounts that may be used in the course material.

By the time submissions closed, the survey had collected a whopping 712 responses! Members of the club’s executive board were reportedly ecstatic with the volume of data that the survey received. 

When asked about her time working with the project, HP Junior, Founder, and DA Club President Rui Rui Bleifuss said, “I’m so excited for the impact of the Schoology course, and everything that comes with it. I look forward to seeing the change, and hope it raises awareness around the topics of inclusion + accessibility!”

It appears that enthusiasm for their work was shared across the board! Fellow Junior, and Club Treasurer, Samara Hickle stated, “I love working with Sherry Kempf and the other administrators! I hope this course will educate teachers and give them a better understanding of our experiences as students.”

As those involved move forward with the Schoology course and its illuminating information; students, teachers, and faculty can work day by day to promote a more inclusive environment for all. Positive change is often founded both by organized contribution, and individual participation!

*As a disclaimer: discussed/listed aspects of the Schoology course material in this article are not indicative of the final product. Finalized features and course details are subject to change. For questions or concerns, contact the DA club directly at hpdaclub@gmail.com.

For additional statistics on education and persons with disabilities, please visit:

Why live action adaptations are bad

By: Bijou Kruszka

Live-action adaptations are getting out of hand. It seems like there’s always a new film that has everybody on the internet talking, and it’s hardly ever people saying, “Oh wow, look at this cool new idea for a movie.”

No, the discussion usually goes along the lines of, “Oh wow, I can’t believe that they’re adapting this movie, and it looks like garbage.”

How did we get here?

Technically, this trend started in 2010, with the remake of ‘Alice in Wonderland’. This movie is genuinely good, and it did what adaptations are supposed to do: stay somewhat faithful to the story in tone and plot, while adding some fun changes and fixing anything that needed to be fixed.

This continued in 2015, when Disney released ‘Maleficent’, which also follows what adaptations are supposed to do. This was the film that started the never-ending train of remakes.

After that, Disney started to release 1 or 2 live-action remakes every year. Why? Because of the money. For example, 2017’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ made over 1 billion dollars in the box office.

All Disney had to do to make money was use the nostalgia to get parents to take their kids to see it, get a few celebrities in the cast, and boom, 1 billion dollars. They think that because some live-action movies were good, all of them would be. So, they don’t put much effort into it, leaving the terrible movies we’re getting.

Now, because Disney only has a limited amount of movies that deserved the remake treatment, they started adapting the good movies, like ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Aladdin’. Though these movies are nowhere near perfect (like the issues with ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and Stockholm Syndrome), most of their problems are embedded in the plot, and can’t be removed without heavily changing the story. Plus, the originals have added charm because of the magical elements, which are elevated because of the animation. When you take the animation away, it feels flat and dull.

Because Disney is a media giant, others are following their lead, like the ‘Sonic’ movie. Although it isn’t an exact adaptation, it is a live-action movie using a name almost everyone knows with a few celebrities in the cast.

If more movies are made like this, it does not bode well for the film industry. Not only does it feed the idea that movies don’t have to be original, but it also just means that companies like Disney will get millions of dollars for something they didn’t put effort into because people will still want to see how terrible the movie is.

In the end, live-action remakes, though fun in concept, create a lot of problems, especially with unoriginality.

Daily life during Ramadan

By: Mohamed Ahmed

Hello this is an article about my experiences in Ramadan and what I do every year. This is not an article about Ramadan, explaining what you could do, it is more of an experience article.  

Starting off, I have reached the age where it is mandatory to fast. That age differs per person but when you reach 14 years and 8 months of age you must start to fast. I will be starting earlier than that though. 

When I was younger, I would see my parents, cousins, and older siblings all fast. The effect this had on me was that I wanted to fast as well. So, when I started fasting I only did a half day, like 7 or so hours, then I would break my fast. 

When I was in fifth grade I would fast the whole day and the whole month. 

In the morning, typically from 3AM to 5AM, I would wake up and eat until prayer. After doing so, I would return to sleep but some people go to the Mosque to pray and there is a quote from the Prophet saying the time after morning prayer is a great time to read the Quran. 

When I wake up for the second time, I would go to school and then go to work. 

The no water, or eating, continues until the sun sets, then you can break your fast. At the table there is normally too much food and a lot of cultural delicacies. 

After this, there is another prayer that is one of the five mandatory prayers, but after this, there is an optional but highly recommended prayer. This prayer goes on until 12:30AM, or so, then everyone returns home. 

In the last ten days (the day is random), there is an opportunity for complete repentance, but this is if after sundown you participate in all the prayers beforehand and leave after the following sunset.

Pfizer vaccine for kids

By: Alexandra Rimbu

On Monday, May 10th, the U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) made the critical decision to expand the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 12-15, making it the first vaccine in the U.S. authorized for this age group. Previously, the Pfizer vaccine was authorized only for persons ages 16 and up. The two other COVID-19 vaccines, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, are still only authorized for persons ages 18 and up.

The authorization of this vaccine came after the FDA’s review of a clinical trial, conducted by Pfizer, involving 2,260 12-to-15-year-olds, which showed the vaccine’s efficacy to be 100%.

The FDA also took into consideration the immune response of these persons aged 12-15 in comparison to the immune response of persons ages 16 and above who were vaccinated as well. Results yielded that the response to the vaccine was good, and, in fact, the younger age group (12-15 years old) had better responses than those in the older age group.

With the vaccine authorized, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and its Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, met on Wednesday, May 12th, to advise the CDC on whether to recommend use of the vaccine in this age group. CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, decided the agency will recommend the vaccine’s use in the new group.

Following this recommendation, the Biden administration quickly mobilized to get vaccinations ready for 12-15 year olds through the federal pharmacy program, pediatricians, and family doctors. 

However, states make the decisions on who gives the vaccine and when, so there is no fixed date on which 12-15 year olds may begin to be vaccinated. As of now though, state licensing boards are discussing the distribution of the vaccine, and hopefully soon, the vaccine will be approved to be distributed throughout the whole state, a decision which will strive towards the eradication of COVID-19.

For more information, please visit:

Benefits of learning a new instrument

By: Joxery Mezen Camacho

Reduces Stress 

Music itself is known to be a great stress reliever! And according to San Antonio Music Schools, music helps reduce our blood pressure and our heart rate; it also releases happy hormones which helps us feel more relaxed. 

Improves Memory 

When you learn all the different aspects that come with your specific instrument, you’re giving your brain a workout which helps improve your ability to remember things.  

Enhances Patience

Patience is a very important skill to have. It helps us stay relaxed and ultimately leads us to enjoy life a little more. While learning a new instrument, you must make use of that patience through continuous practice and pushing through despite making mistakes. When trying to play new pieces of music, you’ll be learning how to take things slow which you can then use in other areas of your life. 

Improves the Immune Response 

Making music strengthens the immune response, which allows us to fight diseases, as shown in a ‘Live Science/ article! 

Boosts Confidence 

Learning a new instrument shows you that you’re capable of learning new things. With practice, you’ll be able to see your improvement as a player which helps boost your confidence and that confidence boost can slip into other aspects of your life. You can also try to play in front of some friends/family or others in order to feel more confident speaking/performing in front of a group of people. 

Improves Coordination 

With any instrument you play, you will most likely use two or more parts of your body in order to be able to play it correctly. Your mind is also used as it tries to be aware of whether or not you’re playing the right notes. This all comes to play with coordination; practicing all the different movements with your instrument will improve your ability to coordinate. 

Enhances Focus 

In order to learn a new instrument, you must be able to focus. Concentrating on everything you need to work on and your practice sessions makes the brain work on its ability to concentrate which enhances your entire ability to focus. 

For more information, please visit: 

Elon Musk’s SNL feature

By Caroline Crosby

I’ll begin with a confession. I watched the SNL episode that featured Elon Musk on the night it aired, May 8. However, “watched” may not be the most appropriate term for my experience. 

For context, it was technically Sunday. That evening, I had participated in every IB student’s favorite recurring nightmare: furiously writing an overdue English essay until ungodly hours of the night. For reasons still unknown to me, I decided to reward myself (after its completion) by watching the entire program at 4 am rather than sleeping. 

So, in a delirious, half-conscious haze, a few extreme opinions were formed. To clarify, I’ve never been a devote supporter of Elon Musk. Nor am I particularly familiar with his life’s details. Most of my thoughts on his content made little sense then, as you may have guessed. 

After some thorough reflection though (and thorough re-watching), I’ve returned to share!

Surprisingly, the “lovable billionaire’s” appearance as a celebrity host on the widely popular ‘Saturday Night Live’ was a bit mundane. For someone who spends their free time manufacturing flamethrowers and sending cars to space, I’d have thought that Musk would be more adept with simple jokes and public entertainment. 

To expand on that, SNL’s celebrity host changes episode to episode. They appear in “sketches” throughout the show and act as announcers for the regular act changes and assorted commercial breaks. You can think of the weekly guest as one of those charismatic hosts on ‘Jeopardy’, but make them moderately political and multiply their contractual salary by 1000. 

Many of these featured, famed individuals consistently use SNL’s opening monologue to connect to fans. This usually consists of a heartwarming, comedic, or down-to-earth routine that hosts write and perform themselves.

Elon, however, broke the mold – as he has many times before (though usually with the aid of inane sums of money), and somehow achieved to be neither down-to-earth, comedic, or heartwarming. 

This isn’t to say that nothing good came of his performance, though. 

After all, I, a middle-class high school student, can now proudly support the space cars and hieroglyphic named children (all due respect to little X Æ A-Xii), with the knowledge that I would absolutely demolish Elon Musk in a game of ‘Apples-to-Apples’. Or any other terrible, serialized, and humor-based activity for that matter.

Getting down to the specifics, the sketch capitalized on a very exhaustive comedic narrative. Namely, that Elon is rich; you aren’t.

But fear not! He also unearthed the time, in September of 2018, when he “smoked weed on Joe Rogan’s podcast”. I admire the guts it takes to bring up something that publicly embarrassing, but…why? What did it add? The only line I found outwardly laughable was what he said about OJ Simpson. Which speaks for itself, I feel.

In any case, SNL has always been famous for its lighthearted satire of celebrities and superficial social stereotypes. However, it can prove difficult to land a punchline about the “hilariously” unfathomable economic gap between people like Elon Musk and everyone else, when you are Elon Musk. The man, the myth, the legend: could pay his way into a class or two on writing standup comedy, preferably before performing in front of a live televised audience. 

To no one’s surprise, the most notable extent of his social media influence is economic.

Perhaps the raging sea of devoted fans would argue that “You could buy, demolish, and rebuild an entire country from the ground up with his pocket change alone! Elon Musk doesn’t need to be funny, he’s rich!” To these individuals, I might admit that such a controversial statement merits a degree of truth. Do wealthy people really need to be good at everything they do? In Elon’s case, I believe we have our answer.

Scathing criticism aside, I would like to clarify that any and all critique is directed only towards the content of his routine, not the delivery and performance. I’ve noticed a circulation of comments on social media that target Musk’s monotonous tone and use that to dehumanize him. Jeers like “I like the way he tries hard to host the show like a human does,” or “Him and his mom talking sounds like 2 robots trying to simulate human emotion,” under the YouTube clip of the SNL appearance (linked below) are uncalled for.

As someone with Aspergers, Elon Musk may struggle with public speaking and anxiety. Prosody has long been a source of difficulty for people with autism. Individuals on the spectrum may speak in a monotone way, or do the opposite and exaggerate their intonation. The first instance seems likely here. Attacking Musk for something beyond his control is callous, to say the least.

Though, he is an adult and an accomplished CEO who has addressed and spoken to national audiences before. Numerous times, even. It’s not impossible to handle.

Entertaining a live audience, however, in addition to writing and performing a stand-up act using a medium you’ve never experienced before, is an entirely different matter. 

Really, it’s important to remember that the man is by no means a professional comedian, and a creative medium of this scale is difficult to pull off even for those with years of experience. Regardless of all questionable punchlines, I applaud him for taking a break from running a company and launching things into space, and setting out to try something new.

To watch the performance in question, please visit: