All posts by James Farnsworth

Editorial: Pep fest behavior

This letter was submitted to us from a HPSH student. They wanted to share their thoughts on the recent homecoming pepfest. If you’re interested in submitting an editorial to us on any topic, please send an email to:

Dear Highland Park,

I am writing this to express how deeply I am ashamed of the caustic behavior of the majority of the school at the pep fest. Freshmen are students just like the rest of us and we should respect them as such. Almost all of us have freshman friends or siblings, so think about how it would feel to say to their face that they are not worth the school’s time.

Sophomores: You were freshmen only three months ago. The beginning of a new school year does not automatically give you greater respect. You must earn respect, including the freshmen’s, and you can not be respected through bullying someone because of their age. Next year, they will be the sophomores, so set a good example.

Juniors and seniors: It is even worse that the older kids in the school, and supposedly the more mature, would degrade another student based on his or her age. You are almost adults and treating kids two or three years younger than you as was done at the pep fest is petty, bullying, and hurtful to self-esteem. You are also setting an example and what you do is often regarded more highly by the freshmen than what the sophomores do.

Freshmen: I sincerely apologize for the caustic words said by most of your school. Though I myself am not a freshman, the chant hurt me, too. It hurt, because I can not believe that a school, my school, that celebrates it’s respectful and supportive environment could allow this. All of us were freshmen at some point, and just because we were told to “go home” by older students does not mean we have to make it a tradition. An eye for an eye does not create a stable world. Chanting such a thing tells our freshmen that their classmates do not respect them at all.

This letter was not supposed to condemn, but to make you think. I recognize that many students did not chant at the pep fest, and I greatly appreciate that. Please consider my words, and hopefully all Highland Park students will treat their peers, younger or older, with the respect they deserve.


A Concerned Student at Highland Park

Welcome to the 2015-2016 school year

Hello everyone,

Welcome to the new school year, and welcome back to another year of the HPSH Plaid Line newspaper.

Something new that’s exciting this year is we finally have a designated Newspaper/Journalism class here at Highland Park Senior High School. The class is held everyday in 4th hour in Room 2205, and is taught by Ms. Lingofelt. Right now, about 21 students are enrolled, which provides us with a great opportunity to produce more content and to get a more well rounded perspective on events happening around the school.

Also new this year: we have a new Co-Editor. Junior Abby Thompson has been selected as the new Co-Editor to serve alongside me this year.

Here’s to a great year!

James Farnsworth

Co-Editor, HPSH Plaid Line

Host a Spanish Exchange Student with Exatur!


Have you ever been interested in hosting a Spanish exchange student? Worried about making a whole year commitment? Look no further. From their website: “Exatur is a small, local company. Our founders are passionate about intercultural immersion as a valuable, life-enhancing and educational experience. We have all personally benefitted from our experiences as exchange students as well as hosts of international students in our homes. For many years, we’ve helped hundreds of students become world citizens breaking down barriers of language, culture and geography.”

This week on Thursday March 12th, Exatur is hosting a Spanish tapas party and open house. It’s a chance to learn more about the program, and how you can host one of the 20 Spanish high school students who are visiting with the program this summer. Information about the tapas party is below. For more information on Exatur, contact Director Katie Sterns (who is also a HPSH parent!) or 651-295-1730

Spanish Tapas and Info Night Open House
Thursday, March 12  3-7 p.m.

(special presentation for educators from 3-5… but you can drop by anytime!)

Macalester Alumni House
1644 Summit Ave. St. Paul, MN 55105

“Spanish Tapas and info” are fun opportunities to enjoy great traditional Spanish foods, to learn more about our programs, ask questions and register.  You will meet the fabulous and friendly Exatur staff and former program participants!   Join us !!!

FHA: Engaging Students and Empowering the Community

Friends of the Highland Arts is a new non-profit organization that is forming, to help support all types of art in Highland area schools. Currently, they are actively involved in organization development stages, and are well underway to becoming a strong presence in the Highland community. Here are some progress updates about what they’re up to:

First Annual Highland Arts Showcase

FHA will be promoting the first Annual Highland Arts Showcase to be held 7 PM Thursday March 19 in the HPSH auditorium. The program is free (donations accepted) and FHA will promote to the greater Highland Park and St Paul community.

There will be selections from HPSH IB band, choir, jazz, and dance performances.

HPSH visual/media art work will be exhibited in the auditorium lobby.

They will invite elementary and middle schools in the HPSH articulated network to display some of their student artwork.

There may be a music ensemble from Capitol Hill perform, either on stage or in the lobby before the Showcase.

They hope to have a table staffed with student volunteers to help younger children create a simple art project before and after the performances.

FHA will create the Showcase program (Playbill) and solicit advertising to raise funds for Highland Arts programming.


FHA has done a great job of engaging students thus far in the process. Congratulations to Meagan Blair for submitting the winning logo design in the recently held contest. She gets to work with a professional graphic design artist next! Also, 11th grader Misha Prasolov is working on website development. In the future, they have talked about forming a student advisory board, to give guidance and direction to the organization from the student’s perspective.

For more information about FHA, email: or contact Colleen Zuro-White or Anne Gimpl. 



Congratulations Annie Conzet and Micah Mather!


Congratulations to Annie Conzet (12) and Micah Mather (11) for being featured as Pioneer Press high school athletes of the week! Annie was featured for volleyball and Micah for cross country. Below are the write-ups of each from the article. We are so proud. Thanks for being all-star representatives of Highland!


School: Highland Park

Sport: Volleyball

Year: Senior

The Scots rallied from a two-game deficit to defeat Johnson in the first round of the Class 2A-Section 4 playoffs and then defeated Holy Angels in another five-set match. Conzet had 76 assists, 19 digs, 1 ace and a 92 percent serving percentage.


School: Highland Park

Sport: Cross Country

Year: Junior

He was third in the Class 2A-Section 4 meet, matching his school record with a 5,000-meter time of 16 minutes, 5 seconds at Les Bolstad Golf Course. This season, he won the Blaine Invitational and St. Francis Invitational. Next up is Saturday’s state meet in Northfield.

Original article link:


Highland Students Named PiPress High School Athletes of the Week!

From left to right: Emilia Czapiewska and Molly McMahon

This week, three Highland students were named High School Athletes of the Week, by the Pioneer Press. Sophomore Erin Moening for cross country, junior Emilia Czapiewska for volleyball, and senior Molly McMahon for volleyball.

From the article:

“The outside hitters led the Scots (19-4) to victories over Como Park and Central to wrap up a 12-0 season in the St. Paul City Conference. Highland Park won 25-16, 25-17, 25-22 over Como Park and 25-20, 25-12, 25-21 over Central. Czapiewska had four aces, 17 kills, four digs and four solo blocks in the two matches, and McMahon had six aces, 11 kills, six digs and two solo blocks.”

“She won the St. Paul City Conference meet with a time of 16 minutes, 16.8 seconds on the 4,000-meter course at Como Park Golf Course, leading the Scots to the team championship for the third consecutive season.” (Erin Moening)

Congratulations to Molly, Emilia, and Erin for their fabulous accomplishments. You make Highland proud! #scotsnation #scotslove

Original story link:

Pictured middle: Erin Moening with state qualifying teammates Riley Quinlan and Micah Mather

Highland Wellness Committee event: Work experience showcase

Co-Written By: Izzy Rojas

Today in the community garden, the Highland Park Wellness Committee conducted an event showcasing the work experience program coordinated by Mr. McCann. Several booths were set up as part of the display, including: fresh vegetable stand, produce trivia, work experience program information, and a soccer/physical activity circle. There were also tours of the garden by Ms. Rise. Many classes came down to participate in the event and to support the hard work that the students have done over the last year.

One class in particular that came to the event was Ms. Ketterling’s Horticulture class. The Horticulture class is connected with the agriculture department here at Highland, and is a new class offering this year. “The Horticulture class is all about learning about plants and the environmental factors that effect the proper growth of the plants. We go from learning about soils, to different non-soil media, propagating plants sexually and a-sexually, light requirements, things like that”, said Ms. Ketterling. Horticulture students also do AP-Bio level labs, measuring things like porosity and textures of soils.

It was a great event, ending with tours and fellowship in the garden. Below are some pictures of the morning:










#ScotsLove: Support for Mrs. Bonk

IMG_0564Mrs. Marissa Bonk, a 9th grade World History teacher, distance track coach, and the IB-MYP (Middle Years Program)/MYP Personal Project Coordinator at Highland was recently diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Mrs. Bonk is widely loved at HP for her unique ability to connect with and inspire her students.

On Thursday May 22nd, Highland student Tarik Kidane organized a “pinkout” for students and staff, to show support to Mrs. Bonk from the Highland community as well as to promote breast cancer awareness. A giant card was brought around for students to sign, as well as a supply of pink duct tape for making breast cancer ribbons and other accessories as a way of participating in the pinkout and showing support.

The following is a message from school parent liaison Nancy Kolb about ways to reach out to Mrs. Bonk and her family: “If you wish to send her a card, please have your child bring it to me in Room 1311 or send it by mail to my attention. If you wish to make a gesture of support, I will also collect gift cards, either to a specific place or a Visa gift card, and ensure delivery to Mrs. Bonk. I am sorry we are unable to accept cash or checks. We are trying to keep things as simple as possible for her, and encourage her to focus on herself, her health, and her family.”

Below are a few pictures from the day:





pink out pic





!Fantasy fitness: Revolutionizing Highland cross country

bveM6Qcj_bigger!Fantasy Fitness was a website/platform created by current Highland junior Tate Bosler back in the summer of 2012. Brad Moening, a staff member at Highland, created the overall concept years prior. Tate took the next step to bring it onto the web. It’s an aerobic training/exercise game played each summer by the Highland Cross Country team, as well as alumni of the team, coaches, parents, and a group of Highland staff members.  About 80 people played last year, the second season of the game. The game lasts 10 weeks – 70 days – from the last week of school to the first day of practice (the team’s summer training season).

During the game athletes try to score as many points as possible. Athletes score points by performing aerobic exercise – running, biking, swimming, rollerskiing, and hiking all count for different amounts of points. They then go to the game’s website,, to post their records. Records get posted onto a leaderboard ( that is publicly viewable.  You win if you score the most points, run the most miles, or if you are on the team with the most points. All players are drafted onto teams, led by upperclassmen, at the start of the game – this year’s Draft is Wednesday, May 28 right after school. It will take place in room 3303. Cross country runners and participants need to register by Wednesday, May 28 at noon. The official competition dates are June 2 to August 10 2014.

Using his skills in web development, Bosler created a platform that will continue to have an impact not only on the Highland Cross Country team but other sports teams at Highland for years to come. “I developed the original version (in 2012) from scratch. I am maintaining it year after year but this is my last year running it. Coach Moening will take over mid-summer and into next year.”

For more information on !FF, visit the website for find it on Twitter:
Twitter: @ifantasyfitness

Pediatric Sleep Medicine: Evening Event with Dr. John Garcia

john_garciaThe Highland PTA (Parent Teacher Association) is hosting an event tomorrow evening (Tuesday May 6th) in the senior high school auditorium at 6:30pm . “Dr. John Garcia, a pediatric sleep specialist at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. His topic is “Pediatric Sleep Medicine: Informing High School Policy.” Any parent, particularly parents of teenagers, knows that sleep (when, how much, how regular) is a crucial component of daily life. The talk, sponsored by the Highland Park Senior High School PTA, is free and open to the public.” 

With Saint Paul Public Schools considering altering school start times for the 2015-2016 school year, this event is of particular interest. Hope to see you there!