Winter Pep Fest 2018 in Hmong

Lub ob hli ntuj nees nkaum peb, Highland Park Senior High tsev kawm ntawv tuav lawv qhov Winter Pep Fest. Winter Pep Fest pib thaum hoob xya, tag nrho cov xib fwb thiab cov menyuam kawm ntawv mus rau lub gym. Txhua txhua xyoo, lawv tuav Winter Pep Fest hauv lub gym. Thaum pib, lawv qhia peb cov leaders nyob hauv peb cov clubs tiab cov sports. Cov clubs tiab cov sports yog: basketball, newspaper, Black Student Union (BSU), gymnastics, thiab ntau heev.

Thaum lawv hu tag nrho cov clubs tiab sports, lawv qhia txog khoom lawv ua tiab haiv txog lawv ua dab tsi hauv cov clubs thiab sports. Thaum lawv hais tag, cov gymnastics pab los seev cev rau peb saib. Lawv seev cev tau zoo saib heev. Thum lawv seev cev tag lawm, cov ntxhais, thiab cov tub hauv qhov basketball team los ntaus pob rau peb saib. Lawv ntaus pob saib seb pab twg yuav yeej. Ob pag pawg taub ob lub pob, lawv yuav tsum pov lub pob nkag hauv lub basketball hoop. Thaum pib, cov ntxhais lawv pov tau zoo tshaj, tab thaum tag, cov tub yeej lawm.

Lawv pov tab cev cov dance team los seev cev rau peb saiv. Thaum lawv seev cev tag, cov menyuam kawm ntawv tawm lub gym mus tsev. Winter Pep Fest mus tau zoo heev.

For those of you unable to read Hmong, here is the English translation:

On February 23, Highland Park Senior High had its Winter Pep Fest during seventh period, all students and staff reported to the school’s gym where the pep fest is held every year. At the beginning of the pep fest, they started it off by introducing the leaders of different school groups and sports. These included: Basketball, Newspaper, Black Students Union, gymnastics, and many more.

After all of the school groups and sports leaders had their chance to speak out about their group, and tell the students what they do, the gymnastics team took the stage and showed us just how talented they were. It was hard to look away, with all of their flipping and bending. It’s no wonder why they had such a great season.

After their performance, the boys and girls of the basketball teams came out, front and center, to show us their skills. It was a great game; the students in the crowd were shouting and screaming their hoorays! The game was a race for which team could make more shots. They were given two basketballs each. In the beginning, the girls were pounding the boys, making shot after shot. Though people thought that the girls had a good shot of winning, the boys quickly caught up in the end and won. The game was a very, very close one.

After the game, the dance team came up to perform. At the end of the performance, everyone left and headed home. The Winter Pep Fest went well.

Preparing for the ACT

The ACT is a standardized test used for college and university admissions. The ACT is out of 36 points in total, with the average score being 21. Students usually take the ACT test, for the first time, in their junior year of high school. There are many ways to prepare and study for the test. Some of those ways listed below.

1. Buy an ACT prep book.

ACT prep books are one of the best forms of studying. They can be found at Walmart ($47.94), Target ($27.96), and Barnes & Noble ($13.29). The prep books usually have practice tests and strategies that can help you when the real test comes up.

2. Get a tutor. 

ACT tutors can help with each section of the test, which includes: math, English, reading, and science. They will help by going over the content of the exam and will try and pin-point your weaknesses to try and help you improve on them. Tutors cost around $80-$200 per hour. Although they may be costly, they are always worth it, and you’ll see that your ACT score will be higher than you think.

3. Take practice tests that are offered near you (or online).

There are many schools and colleges that offer free ACT practice tests. All you have to do is register for them and show up in time. If you can’t make it to schools near you, there are also preps offered online that will be able to help. For prep test at schools, it would be best if you brought your own materials which include: a number 2 pencil, and a calculator. The calculator they allow you to bring is a T1-84 Plus made by Texas Instruments.

4. Ways to de-stress before the test.

There are many ways to de-stress before the test. Some ways to de-stress are: eating breakfast, drinking a lot of water, trying not to be on your phone so much, and sleeping early the day before. Don’t try to think about the test so much, it can lead you to over worry about the test.

There are also many other ways to prepare for the ACT, but the ones I’ve talked about are the most common ways I’ve seen people use to prepare.

Nordic Ski team

image courtesy of Coach Moening

Highland Park’s Nordic Ski team has been skiiing for a few weeks now. They started practice in early November, and are still going, with a few days of shoveling in between.

The Nordic Ski team consists of 90 skiers in total, including both boys and girls from both the middle school and high school. There are different rosters for boys and girls which can be found on the Minnesota State High School League for Nordic Skiiing. There are many coaches such as: Abby Boruff, Matt McKinney, Sophia Risatau (HP grad, 2011), Jaclyne Theirs Jandro (former HP teacher), and Brad Moening.

The season this year is said to be going well, and very successful. The Junior Varsity team is doing very well, beating most Varsity teams in their conference. The Varsity teams are both ranked in the top 10 State, and are undefeated during this season. In one of their competitions, both the boys and girls won the Loppet Invitational, which is the biggest invite in the metro.

This season is going very well for the team, including a conference championship win! The season isn’t over yet so let’s wish them the best of luck and look for another successful season next year!


Hmong New Year

Hmong New Year is a celebration celebrated by Hmong people every year. It is celebrated from November 24th to the 26th, it lasts three days. In St. Paul, the New Year takes place at RiverCentre, near the Xcel Energy Center. Many people wear traditional Hmong clothes to the celebration. The celebration usually starts early and ends very late with an after party.

At Hmong New year, there are food stands that sell common Hmong food and drinks. There are also booths where people can sell stuff such as: movies, clothes, toys, medicine, jewelry, and more. Other than that, there are performances. The performances are usually dance groups, and singers, and there is also a Miss Hmong Minnesota Pageant every year.

Aside from performances, there is also ball toss area where most people hang out. Ball tossing is a game where the two (or more) players toss a ball back and forth. Usually a guy, who sees a girl he is interested in, will ask the girl to a ball toss game. During the game they guy will try to get to know the girl more, and hopes that she will be interested back.

picture courtesy of Timothy Lor

This year, I was able to go with some of my school friends. We stayed for a few hours: watching performances, eating food, and just hanging out around the ball toss area. It was a great time, and many funny things happened. I asked two of my friends (via text) about Hmong New Year. I asked: “How they felt about Hmong New Year?”, “What’s the experience like?”, and “What’s their most memorable memory?”

Timothy: “Hmong New Year has a feeling of excitement ready to be explored. There are many different variety of things, it is very impressive and fascinating. My experience at Hmong New Year felt very short as I had to leave early. Since I went with my friends from school and saw old friends from elementary, it was like walking into smiling faces with loud music. The most memorable moment from Hmong New Year was when a Hmong Chinese lady was singing. It was very graceful and pleasant hearing people cheer for other people, singing from all sorts of different ages, and seeing people that are not Hmong being there.”

Elizabeth: “Hmong New Year was alright for me, I liked it because I went with my friends, it’s better going with friends than going alone or with family because you’re more free. The experience was fun but tiring because we had walked around a lot. The most memorable memory for me was the food, they had really good food there.”




Every year, Freshmen are asked to be Shadow Hosts for upcoming Freshmen. Shadow visits are for 8th graders to see, and visit, a high school they are interested in, so it’s almost like a college visit. Shadows can shadow a Shadow Host for the entire day, joining in their classes.

Shadow Hosts are Freshmen who sign up to be a host. Their job is to show their Shadow the school, like where the gym and cafeteria is located. The Shadow Host allows the Shadow to follow their class schedule. Shadow Hosts also have to try their best to answer any questions the Shadow has, and make them feel comfortable.

If a student wants to be a Shadow, they have to call the school and make an appointment to shadow. Shadowing for Highland Park Senior High is open from November 28th to February 23rd of next year. To sign up to be a Shadow Host, students will have to talk to their counselor for an application.


History Day

image taken from:

History Day work has just started this month. With each new year, there is a new theme. This year’s theme is “Conflict and Compromise in History.” Last year’s theme was “Taking A Stand.”

The competition day will be on February 1st, and the rules will be the same as last year. History Day is usually for Freshmen, in Accelerated History class, but students in 11th grade, U.S. History, also have to participate.

The competition is usually held in the cafeteria where students’ projects will be judged at least twice by two different judges. After that, teachers will decide which students make it to the regionals competition, which is held at a different location.

At regionals, students will have the choice to redo their project, or to add improvements to it. They will also be judged twice by different judges. The judges then will decide who makes it to the State competition.

Let’s hope this year goes well for all students who choose to participate in National History Day!

New staff

This year Highland has a number f new staff members. I was able to contact two of the new staff members and asked them questions to get to know them better.

image taken from the official Highland Park Senior High website

The first staff member I was able to talk to is Xue Xiong. Ms. Xue has been teaching for five years; this year is her first year at Highland. She is an ELL teacher, and she co-teaches in an English 10 class, teaches a push-in Algebra 2 class, and also is designated as a 1.5 Social Studies teacher. Before teaching at Highland, Ms. Xiong taught at Hiawatha Leadership Academy, a charter school in South Minneapolis.

When it comes to teaching, what Ms. Xiong enjoys most is connecting with the students, and creating lesson plans for her students to understand and access content. This year is her first year of teaching in high school. Something she doesn’t enjoy so much is grading, but she says she understands the importance of tracking where each of her students is at. Ms. Xiong’s hobbies outside of school include: reading, spending time with her family, and taking naps.

image taken from the official Highland Park Senior High website

The second new staff member I contacted is Joel Gullickson. Mr. Gullickson has been teaching for 20 years now. He teaches Woodwork and Product Design. Before teaching at Highland, Mr. Gullickson taught at Frunze School in Kazakhstan for 2 years, Harding High school for 20 years, International School Moshi in Tanzania for 2 years, and Lakeview South High School for 1 year.

When it comes to teaching for Mr. Gullickson, what he enjoys most is working with the students and writing curriculum. Something he doesn’t enjoy so much is grading. Mr. Gullickson’s hobbies outside of school include: music and film. He also is a beekeeper.


Pep Fest

Pep Fest was held on October 6th, and took place in the gym.  Classes were called down by floors starting with the third and moving down. Students were to go to the side of the gym where their grade was and sit there for the entire time during the Pep Fest.

photo courtesy of Asiah Atiq

At the beginning of the Pep Fest, there were people from student council making accouncements. From the announcements, they moved onto the homecoming royalties. They started with the Freshmen pairs and then continued with the Sophomores, Juniors, and then Seniors.

The pair in each year, who got the most votes, won. Emmy Tawah and Mario Delgado Shellenberger won for the Freshman, Fernando Rivera and Cesar Ramirez-Ponce won for the Sophomores, Alex Moreno and Michelle Bourassa won for the Juniors, and The Plaid Line’s own,  Dejra Bishop and Asiah Atiq won for the Seniors. They were given sashes to wear, and some of the student council kids took their pictures. After the homecoming royalites, each fall sport was announced, captains talked about how the season went, and announced if they had any upcoming matches.

After other announcements were made, three seniors performed a dance. After they performed, the dance team came up and also performed a dance. After the dance team performed, the cheer leaders had their dance, closing the pep fest.


New Chinese teacher in 2017-18

This year, Highland Park Senior High has a new Chinese teacher, Ju-Chang Wang. Mrs. Wang teaches Chinese levels 2, 3, and Chinese Immersion 9. She is also a teacher for Study Hall. Mrs. Wang has been teaching for 19 years – she taught for 9 years in Taiwan as an elementary school teacher, and she has been teaching for the past 10 years in the Twin Cities area.

Before coming to Highland, Mrs. Wang taught at Central High School, and Forest Lake Area High School. Mrs. Wang enjoys teaching Chinese very much because teaching Chinese allows her to be creative and innovative to make learning Chinese fun.

Mrs. Wang also said that she loves working with students. She believes that everyone needs someone to believe in them so they can also believe in themselves. She says it feels great when she can be that person for young people.

Mrs. Wang is excited about this year, and she has no doubt that this year is going to be great. “I have awesome students and the best team working towards our common goals – to serve our students and strengthen the Chinese language program at Highland Park Senior High School.”

New iPads

For the next school year, teachers and students will be given new iPads to use for school. The new iPads will have a different case, along with a keyboard. The case and keyboard are navy blue. The keyboard can be attached and detached easily. The keyboard does not have touch pads, but has everything else on it.

The reasons why the school decided to get these new iPads is because they have a three year lease on them, and have been planning to get new iPads for a while now. Also, the new iPads have 128 gigabytes whereas the old ones had just 16. With more gigabytes, it will be easier for students to use the iPads, and make movies for school projects. Another reason for the change, is because the old iPads would eventually break down, so keeping the old iPads wouldn’t be worth it. Plus, the new iPads are more durable to use.

The school hopes to pass out the iPads sooner next year. The paper for getting an iPad will still be online, so students and parents can access it. The plan for passing out the new iPads is to maybe pass them out even before school starts, so students could possibly come pick up their iPad in late August or early September.