ACT preparation/tips

By: Maggie Alarcon

The ACT test is a standardized test used for college admissions. The ACT is required to be taken your Junior year of high school. Your ACT score is a key component of your college applications.

The purpose of the ACT test is to measure your high school readiness for college. College admissions officers will review your test scores, alongside with your high school GPA, the classes you took in high school, letters of recommendation from teachers, extracurricular activities and personal essays.

The higher you score on the ACT, the more options for attending, and paying for, college will be available to you.

There are four sections on the ACT that you have to complete: English, Reading, Math, Science and an optional 40 minute writing test. The ACT takes about 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete, and if you do the writing test it’s about 4 hours.

I hope these tips below are helpful!

1. Get an ACT book
Having resources where you can study from is really helpful. Having the book to take places to study is helpful as well, and helps you work efficiently. Spending time reviewing and answering answers from the book helps you understand the format of the test. Also, it gives you a better understanding of what type of problems there will be on the test for each section.

2. Plan a reasonable study schedule
Set aside time for ACT practice and study.
Study for at least 3 hours a week or more. If it’s getting closer to your test day, then I recommend reviewing more. Get in the habit of studying too, so you can get used to the test and work on your test taking speed.

3. Do some timed practice to check in on your pacing
It is important that you have enough time to complete all the questions. I recommend you use a timer to time yourself in each section. Also, practice what was more challenging and took more time.

4. Take a couple of practice tests before the real one
It helps give you an idea of what the real test will look like. Taking a practice test gives you an idea of how well you would do, and the results will let you know what to work on more. Taking a practice test also helps you improve on your speed when taking the real test and the more practice the better.

5. Practice on the subjects that you struggle the most with and you know you’re not that good at
If you know you are not good at math or English, study more on those sections. Getting better before the test will help you improve on your worst subject and knowledge, but also your grade on the test. Look into more resources for those subjects as well.

6. Tutoring
Find options that work for you like tutoring. Getting help from someone else helps so much, having a one-on-one session is a good way to study, especially if you don’t understand something you can talk to them and ask them to clarify. It’s a more efficient way to get your studying done without getting stuck and not knowing what to do or study. You will be prepared for when the test starts and understand what you have to do.

Mid-quarter advice

By: Maggie Alarcon

Finals are around the corner, so you should take this chance that it’s only a bit past mid-quarter to catch up on any missing work and give it your best. Try to take this time as an opportunity to talk to your teachers about your grades if you haven’t already. Or even arrange a time with your teachers to do makeups for a test, projects etc.

I highly recommend to communicate with those around you more, it doesn’t always have just be your teacher, to get the help you need in any class that you don’t understand or need more guidance in. Check if there’s any tutoring sessions going on in school. Another way you can improve your grades during mid-quarter is asking your friends for help as well.

If you are having a test coming up, or any big project that is happening soon, make sure to stay focused and study really hard to do well, or to bring your grades up, especially if they are not looking the best. Study at least an hour or two.

Speak up also, and ask for help if that’s better for you. Don’t just stay quiet and wait until the last minute to try to get help from your teachers. Not all will help you out last minute.

Summer school is not very fun, and I suggest you get to work and don’t procrastinate and leave work to do at the last minute. It will just get harder if you do, and it will become a habit.

Lastly, another good idea that I can suggest is asking an adult, or someone you know you can count on, to check on you and your process being made, like your grades, and to keep pushing you to keep going and motivate you.

I hope these suggestions were helpful!

5 fun Christmas activities to do with your family during the holidays!

By: Maggie Alarcon

1. Gingerbread houses:
Making a gingerbread house creates a magical moment with your family I recommend you try this.

– Start from scratch and take inspiration from your favorite places. When rolling out your dough, make sure it is of even thickness before baking. This helps with construction later.
– Build your house on a cutting board or serving tray so it can be moved easily if needed.
– Trim baked gingerbread with a serrated knife.
– Use royal icing. Just make sure it’s the right consistency, not too stiff, neither too runny. Put in piping bags.
– Get creative with candies. Incorporate your family’s favorites and create your windows, the roof, etc.

2. Go sledding
Sledding is a fun wintertime activity for adults and children.

– Get the right sleds. Make sure they have brakes to slow them down. Avoid sleds that can’t be steered.
– Dress appropriate for the weather, and avoid wearing scarves or any clothing that can get caught in a sled and pose a risk of strangulation.
– Choose the right hill/place to go sledding. Not all hills are safe.
– When you are in the sled be very cautious at all times.
– Keep your arms and legs within the sled at all times.
– If you find yourself on a sled that won’t stop, roll off it, and get away from it.
– Have fun and enjoy your time sliding.

3. Go ice skating
Ice skating is one of the best ways to enjoy the season.

– Have the proper gear. You’ll need a pair of skates for everyone.
– Have a good set of winter clothes (thick socks, hat, jacket, gloves, scarf).
– Make sure when you get to the skating rink that you warm up and take it easy the first time you go in unless you already know what you are doing.
– Start with basics until you’ve mastered skating without falling.

4. Christmas movies with hot chocolate.
There’s nothing quite like Christmastime. When the cold, snowy season comes, what better time to curl up on the couch and watch some Christmas movies with your family. Here are some Christmas movies to put on your to-do list this holiday season.

– The Nightmare Before Christmas.
– A Charlie Brown christmas.
– The Polar Express.
– Home Alone.
– The Grinch.
– How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

5. Build a snowman

Children build snowman. Kids building snow man playing outdoors on sunny snowy winter day. Outdoor family fun on Christmas vacation. Boy and girl play snow balls. Winter clothing for baby and toddler. Image taken from: https://www.istockphoto.com/de/foto/kinder-schneemann-bauen-kinder-im-schnee-winterspaß-gm859142848-141913305

Get outside this winter and spend some quality family time building a snowman.

– Get outside in the cold.
– Get a snowman kit or just simply get a top hat, a scarf, sticks for the arms, eyes, a nose and mouth.
– After you’re done getting the things you need, start rolling the snow and making 3 big balls of snow for the body.
– Start getting creative outside in the snow and start building your snowman.

I hope you guys enjoy this suggestions!

How to prepare yourself for the cold weather

By: Maggie Alarcon

Getting ready for the long winter, and adjusting to it, can be hard. That’s why you should prepare yourself. Here are a few tips to stay warm.

Dress appropriately:

Layer up, although you might think that big winter jumpers are the way to go, wearing layers of thin clothes will keep you warmer as they trap body heat. Another simple thing you can do is wear gloves and hats and scarfs. Don’t leave the house without being all covered up.

Drink hot drinks:

Drinks like coffee, hot chocolate, and hot tea will also help keep you warm, especially if you are outside at an event or walking. You want be drinking something hot. Clothing only helps trap the heat your body produces and that is what keeps you warm.

Anytime you get cold, the single best strategy for rewarming is to start moving or increase your pace. Just be prepared and always check the weather before going out.

End of the 1st quarter

By:Maggie Alarcon

When it’s close to the end of the quarter, people tend to start panicking and stressing out about turning in their work on time. Most students leave their work to do, or to turn in, until the last minute and end up getting a bad grade.

Although some teachers are flexible,and extend the due date, or let you turn it in later, you still won’t get the grade that you wanted.

During the end of the quarter, you usually get a summative assignment: either a test, or project, or just work.

Your grade depends on how well you do on the summative and how well you prepare yourself for it. It goes easier for you if you actually put in time and study for it.

The whole week of the end of the quarter is very stressful, and you have a lot of pressure to have everything turned in, making sure your grades are good and everything is in order.

Día de los muertos expectations

By: Maggie Alarcon

On November 1st, at the school library, there will be a display of “altars,” also called ofrendas, starting from second period to six period. In each side of the room there will be ofrendas that are set up on a tablecloth. There will be papel picado, which is cut tissue paper set over the cloth as a decoration.

On the table there will also be levels that are set using boxes to represent different levels. The levels represent the levels a soul needs to journey though to reach the next life.

When you are walking around in the library you will also see salt and water next to the decorations as essentials. They are set to quench the thirst of their souls.

Another thing you will see at the the library is people dressed as a “catrina” or a “catrin” and other people with their face painted as a skull.

There will also be a description in paper of the elements used to make an ofrenda and their significance.

When you walk around you will also see pictures of people who have passed away, some are famous, and some are people that were important in someone’s life in school.

There will be so many great ofrendas that will be shown on dia de los muertos November 1st, at the library! Make sure to come take a look.

Homecoming Game 2018

Highland vs MSB
By: Maggy Alarcon

On Saturday, September 29th, after tailgating at 1pm, the Highland Park Scots football team walked out of the school building while the cheerleaders cheered for them. Then they headed to the stadium to play against MSB (Minnehaha, SPA, Benilde St. Margaret). After that, they started to warm up and get ready. The game began and Highland started off well, but later on, the other team made a comeback.

In the bleachers you could see the crowd cheering loud for Highland. Most students had their faces painted and wore red clothes. That day was very cold many people had blankets. Also, during the game concessions were selling hot chocolate to help people stay warm.

When you saw the cheerleaders, many of them were wearing sweatpants and sweaters underneath their uniforms since the day was pretty cold. The cheerleaders still brought out the school spirit. You couldn’t enjoy the game a lot because of the weather, and most people ended up leaving early.

A player from the Highland Park side name Dawit got a concussion after getting hit by another player from the other side. The players on the other side were big compare to the Highland Park players. They were harder to tackle and throw.

The game ended with Highland losing and MSB winning 35-6.

Junior year assembly: Class of 2020

By: Maggy Alarcon

Auditorium lobby

On Friday, September 7th, during 2nd period, juniors were dismissed with their class to go to the auditorium for a assembly. The assembly started with the principal, Dr. Tucker, welcoming all the new juniors, and the returning ones to the school. The assembly was held to give information from the principal and staff at Highland Park about junior year, and what you’re responsible for during the school year.

Some main things they talked about were the IB program and the classes that you will have to test in, in order to get your IB certificate. Any students who are motivated to take harder classes are welcome to participate in Highland’s International Baccalaureate (IB) program. They can either take the complete IB Diploma curriculum or an IB Diploma individual class in an area of interest.

They also talked about safety in school; they encouraged you to talk about your concerns and to speak up if you see anything wrong going on (such as bullying, threats, or talk of suicide). Keeping the school safe requires everyone’s participation, and they wanted students to take that more seriously to help make the school a safer place for everyone.

Something else they talked about was the upcoming exam called the “ACT” which is an achievement test that determines college readiness. Students who take the ACT are tested on their skills in: English, mathematics, reading, science, and writing. They wanted students to be aware of this test so they can prepare and know it’s coming very soon.

During the assembly the staff addressed that it’s very important for students to take school seriously and to pass all their classes; many kids don’t take their grades seriously and wait until the last minute to get them up. That’s not how it works though, if you turn in some work late some teachers might not accept it and will fail you. You’re required to have all your class credits before graduation and many students leave it until the last minute. They wanted us to think more about the consequences and work harder this school year.