All posts by MiaDoa

The process of MEPS

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What is MEPS?

MEPS is the Military Entrance Processing Station. MEPS is a two day long process; the first day is when you’ll have to take the ASVAB test and the second day is where you go through a physical examination to see if you’re physically fit for the military.

What is the ASVAB?

ASVAB stands for Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. It is a multiple choice test that everyone must take when trying to join any branch of the military. The ASVAB is timed, meaning that for each section of the test you take, there will be a timer and time limit for that section. The time limit varies each section, so maybe the science section will have a time limit of 15 minutes, and the math might have a time limit of 20 minutes. Overall, the test should be around 2-3 hours long.

What happens after the ASVAB test?

After taking the ASVAB, the person in charge will tell you your scores and give you a sheet to look at and sign then put all the documents into a folder specifically for you. After the first day, you are required to sleep overnight at a hotel that has a program with the MEPS. The reason for this is that people working for MEPS want to make sure that everyone wakes up on time, and gets to the Department of Defense at the same time, so that there won’t be any inconveniences. The required time to wake up is at 4:30am, as the process will take up the whole day. Depending on how many people are also joining on the same day as you, you might have a roommate or you might not.

What is the physical examination like?

Once you get to the Department of Defense, you have to sign in using your social security number and your fingerprint. During the examination, you’ll have to take: a urine test, eyesight test, hearing test and a blood draw. After you do all of the required tests, you will be put into a room with people of the same gender, and in there you’ll have to do some physical activities to make sure your arms and legs are working fine. Some examples are: flapping yours arm, touching each of your fingers with your thumb, and doing the duck walk. Once you finish, you’ll meet individually with the doctor.


Once you finish with the physical examination, you’ll meet up with a counselor from your branch and go over your paperwork. After that, you meet with another counselor working at MEPS to go over your papers and make sure everything you have on your files is real. Once you go through all of these steps, it’s time for you to swear in and make an oath. Swearing in will take about 15-20 minutes, then after that, you’re done at MEPS and officially a part of whichever branch of the military you’ve applied for.

Senior year

As senior year is coming to an end, I decided to ask some of my friends how they feel about their last year of high school. My senior year felt like it went by fast and slow at the same time. Whenever I feel that the year has been really slow, I come to the realization that it is already May and we are so close to finishing. Here are some of my friend’s responses on how their senior year went.

Photo by Saulkdi Yangh

Bao Xiong: I feel very stressed out because ever since September I had to start right away on my scholarships and college essays and college applications. I feel like all I did was work and no rest, but that may have partly been because I had a job and I am involved in many clubs and activities. I also feel like high school went by so slow but at the same time so fast. It really did feel like just yesterday when I was a freshman walking around the hallways of my new school.

Theresa Thao: For me, senior year wasn’t great at all. I had so much on my plate that needed to get done at a certain time that just put me in so much stress. I just feel like the year was such a mess like I couldn’t enjoy the good parts of senior year, even that felt stressful.

Dayna Baty: It was all right; got stressed many times here and there but it just felt like every other year. Although it felt like every other year, I feel relaxed knowing that I’ll be done soon. I don’t have a full 7th-hour schedule so that was really nice; I get to sleep in more then come to school. I’m also working this year so sometimes deadlines are very hard to meet and that gives me a lot of stress and anxiety but I pull through eventually.

Timothy Lor: I felt like I missed so many school days and like I just felt like I didn’t really do my best. Like I kept thinking that it’s my last year, so I relaxed a bit and just slacked for a while but eventually, I was able to motivate myself. I just feel like, I could’ve done a lot of assignments or projects better instead of slacking.

These are their responses, some had good experiences and others not so much. Senior year can either be really exciting or stressful or even both. As the year comes close to an end, most of the seniors that I talked to have stated that they feel more stressed about the end of the year.

Some seniors replied that they become more stressed towards the end of the year due to wanting to end things on a perfect note. They want to be able to end their senior year well, with good passing grades, and hopefully have nothing that will hold them back.

How some freshmen view their first year of high school

The year is coming to an end quickly; there are only a few months left until summer break. The year went by with many snow days and now it is finally Spring. Some people might now feel ready for the year to end, and others are just waiting for the months to go by.

With just a few months left, I decided to interview some freshmen on how they feel about their first year in high school. Here are some responses from freshmen students.

Freshman 1: Overall, I’m not a fan of high school, or this year in general. I don’t like it at all, it’s really hard and we get a lot of homework. With the homework and assignments, I went through a lot of work and stress this year. In general, I feel like I’m not fitting in at all. Other than that though, I really like the teachers here and I love the sports team.

Freshman 2: I feel like this year started out rough and hard, but once I got used to it, I kind of adapted to the environment. With assignments that are due earlier, you just start doing them earlier to make it to the due date. I got to meet a lot of people this year, I made many new friends and joined different clubs. I also got to meet other people of different grades, which is nice. I really like how the year was challenging for me, I feel like it’s pushing me to be a better and more organized person. I feel like I’m improving a lot and advancing as I’m learning new things.

Freshman 3: There’s really not that much I can say about this year, but it’s good and I like it a lot. I really like the clubs and sports that we have here, I also like the people here, they’re all really friendly.

Freshman 4: Overall, the year has been pretty good, I feel like we were given a lot of assignments but after all those assignments, it’s pretty fun. Nothing in general really stood out to me, but I really like the people I hang out with.

Freshman 5: I came in thinking that I could do many things. I thought it was gonna be easy but it was challenging. I took all advanced classes, and I thought I would do good, but it went just okay for me. It’s really not that you would expect.

These students all had similar and different points of view on their first year of high school. Hopefully, their next years of high school will get better for them, and they keep on challenging themselves.

Where students are buying their prom dresses

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Prom is just around the corner, and many students are trying to find the perfect prom dress to wear. I went around asking people where they are thinking of buying their dresses. Of course, some students are planning on ordering their dress and then just getting it tailored if the dress turns out to be a different size.

If you are planning to go to a store, and try out some dresses, here are some of the common places that students are looking at: David’s Bridal, Von Maur, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Raffine Bridal & Formal Wear. There are many more stores out there that sell beautiful dresses, but the ones listed are the most commonly mentioned.

For online shoppers, some students suggest: Fashion Nova, TOBI, Lulus, and Ericdress. There are many more shops online, and the ones mentioned earlier also do have websites if you would rather purchase online.

Students are also roaming around the Mall of America, and Rosedale Shopping Center for dresses.

Here are some students comments on buying prom dresses!

Elizabeth Vang: I actually already bought mine. I ordered mine from Fashion Nova. Overall, it fit me well but it was a bit longer and since I’m really short; I’m just planning to tailor it. But yea, the dress fit perfectly and I’m not stressing over a prom dress because I bought mine early!

Julissa Martinez: I haven’t bought a dress yet but I have been looking for one. I checked out some of the stores already and there were many that I really liked but I couldn’t make a decision on which one I like best so I’m just still looking around. Macy’s had some really pretty dresses.

Ava Courneya: I haven’t actually looked for a dress yet but I have heard about all those stores mentioned earlier. For me, I prefer to buy a dress at a store so I can try on the dress physically, but since so many of my friends are ordering their dresses online, I might just try that this year.

Hopefully, students who are still trying to find the perfect prom dress are able to find the one they’re looking for. Prom is an exciting part of a high schooler’s life, so hopefully all the dresses they choose to buy turn out perfect!

‘Frozen 2’ trailer

Frozen 2’s trailer has officially been released, and many people are hyped up and excited for the movie. The movie is planned to be released on November 22nd, of this year. There were many aspects within the trailer that captured people’s attention.

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One of the aspects was the beginning scene, with the waves. Everyone is shocked about how the waves looked so real, even the whole setting of the shore looks real.

Another aspect is that none of the characters speak. The whole trailer was just full of action and movement. Along with that, there seems to be two new faces in the trailer that brings even more excitement.

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People have also noticed that during the end of the trailer, where the title, Frozen 2, shows up, it is not exactly fully frozen. There are leaves flying through and the bottom part of the title which seems to be melted. Many people have come up with theories on what might be happening, but no one really knows yet.

Since the trailer to Frozen 2 has caused an uproar of excitement, I decided to ask some of my friends, who had, and hadn’t watched, Frozen 1, their opinions of trailer.

Robbie Garcia: They didn’t even talk in the trailer, I don’t think Frozen 2 has anything to do with Frozen 1 because they didn’t even say anything; it’s just all action. I’m really looking forward to the sisterhood bond and the powers. What captured my attention in the trailer was the beginning scene with the waves. The way they animated it was just amazing, it looked so real.

Tovi Yangh: It’s different from the first trailer; it’s a bit more serious and suspenseful with the second trailer. I feel like the suspense makes Frozen 2 even more exciting than when Frozen 1 was announced. Along with that, we can see that Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff are going on an adventure that might or might not be in Arendale.

Xeng Thao: I went to watch Frozen 1 in theatres so I’m planning to watch Frozen 2 in theatres too. When I watched the trailer to Frozen 2, I felt like I had to do more research on theories of Frozen because it’s very different. I would’ve preferred if the characters actually talked in the trailer or showed a snippet of any songs they’re planning for.

Chai Her: I should probably try to watch Frozen 1 before Frozen 2. After watching the trailer to Frozen 2, I had no idea what was happening, and have no idea what to expect. The trailer fascinated me. I’m hoping that when I do decide to watch Frozen 1, it’ll be as good as everyone says.

Mahmoud Ahmed: I’ve only heard a few of the songs, but watching the movie never came into my mind. The trailer for Frozen 2 did make me want to watch Frozen 1 so I could tell what to expect. I think that the trailer was really well done, especially with the water in the beginning.

Thomas Nguyen: The trailer made the whole movie stand out even if it’s not out yet. I hope I’ll like the Olaf character as much as other people do. I want to be able to feel the same excitement others are feeling for Frozen 2.

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If you still haven’t watched the trailer, you can watch it using this link:



Minnesota weather

There has been fridge weather in the Midwest, specifically in Minnesota, during the past month. The wind chill temperature in the Midwest has reached around -30. The negative weather began around the week of January 28 and extended through February 1. The arctic cold has resulted in many with no homes to freeze to death in Chicago. According to NBC Chicago, 19 people have died in the blistering cold, many of whom were homeless.

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There were closings of hundreds of schools across districts for days across the Midwest. Here in Minnesota, governor Tim Walz is not going to penalize school districts in the state by adding more school days to compensate for the school days lost, the week of January 28, during the fridge below zero temperatures. The cold broke records in many cities and states that week. According to Fox 9 News, it became the lowest temperatures recorded in Minnesota since 1994.

Although the governor of Minnesota decided to not add school days at the end of the school year, I asked some students around how they felt about school days being added. It has been a big topic for quite a while, especially since a few years ago, more school days were added at the end of the school year due to having too many snow days.

Tovi Yangh: Honestly I would rather have schools added at the end of the year if it is needed. I’d rather go to school when it’s warm than suffer in the cold walking to school or having to carry my jacket around because it’s too cold. Other than that, I don’t really mind with whatever that happens. If school days are added then I’ll go since I have to.

Emily St. Clair: I would hate it if school days were added. I don’t want to go to school in the summer especially since we don’t have air conditioner. No one would want to show up and be surrounded by a lot of students when it’s hot.

Vahue Thao: I think that adding days would be unfair because it wasn’t really our fault that we had snow days. Also, I think that kids won’t show up because maybe their families have already made plans for it already.

Dayna Baty: Honestly, it doesn’t really affect me but I think that school days shouldn’t be added no matter how many snow days there are. Personally, I’ve used those snow days to catch up on school work and I think they’re really helpful with just catching up on school.

I also interviewed many others who had the same views. Overall, students want their summer break to start early with no school days added. Many others also have stated that they are thankful that SPPS is doing a better job at calling snow days and early releases than they did a few years back.

Hopefully, next winter will be less dangerous, not just for students, but for everyone else.

Basics about the FAFSA

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Need help with your FAFSA and don’t know where to start? You can complete your FAFSA by printing out the PDF version, or do it directly online with their website:

With filling out your FAFSA, you will need to provide the following information:

  • Social Security number
  • Tax information from 2-3 years ago
  • Records of all income
  • Records of any untaxed income (child support, interest incomes, pensions)
  • Records of your checking and savings account balances, or other assets
  • Your drivers license if you own one
  • List of each school you did or are going to apply to

If you are a student being claimed as a dependent, your parent’s information will also be needed, even if they aren’t assisting you in paying. To be considered a dependent, you must be under 24 years of age, attending an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program, unmarried with no children or dependents of your own.

For being considered an independent, you must be 24 years of age or older, attending a masters or doctorate degree program, married or separated but not divorced, if you have children or dependents of your own, if you’re a veteran in the US army or is currently serving, and if you’re an emancipated minor.

For online applications, you’ll just enter your basic information that they ask of you. Have all of the files you need with you so you can just quickly look at them and not have to waste time searching for them. After you fill in what they ask you to, your parents will also have to fill in their information if/as needed.

After filling out all the required information, you can then put in the list of schools you are applying to, or are interested in. Each school has a code, and you can find the code for the school online.

If you don’t plan to finish your FAFSA in one go, you can make a temporary password to log in later when continuing the application.

FAFSA deadline for this year will be on June 30th, if your lastest academic year is 2018-2019.

For more information, you can visit:

Get to know: New assistant principal and long-time social studies teacher

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This year, Highland Park has a new assistant principal for grades 11th and 12th. This is Abdisalam Adam’s first year as being an assistant principal. Before becoming an assistant principal, Mr. Adam was an administrative intern. He was also an ELL teacher for over twenty years.

I asked Mr. Adam what he found to be easiest about his job as an assistant principal. What he found to be easy is being able to meet people of different backgrounds. There are many students, staffs, and families from diverse backgrounds, and with his love of getting to know different languages and cultures, he finds it easiest to connect with people. Mr. Adam says that he feels like the whole world is here.

I also asked him what he found to be the hardest part of being an assistant principal. Mr. Adam says the most difficult part of his job is that so many things are happening all at the same time, to which he has to constantly be ready for action at any time.

What Mr. Adam enjoys the most, is being able to greet students and staff in the morning as they start the day.

Out of school, Mr. Adam likes to volunteer for organizations to help people in need.

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Along with Mr. Adam, I also interviewed David Zeitchick, or commonly known as Mr. Z. Mr. Z has been teaching for 20 years. He first started out as an aid, and continued for 7 years before becoming a teacher.

Mr. Z says he does not recall why he started teaching or how he got into it, it sort of just happened.

Mr. Z teaches Sociology, African American Studies, Current Events, and US Government.

He’s been at Highland for the last 22 years, making him the second longest serving teacher here.

Outside of school, Mr. Z enjoys coaching, hanging out with his dog, working out, and just doing anything with his family.



How to apply to colleges on CommonApp

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Are you stressed about applying to college, or you just don’t know to? Here is some information on how to apply through CommonApp. To get to the the website, use this link:

If you’re a senior in high school, you can connect your Naviance account with CommonApp. To do this, you log into Naviance and CommonApp. Once you’re on Naviance, click on the “Colleges I’m applying to.” There should be a red tab across the screen that says, “Connect to CommonApp.” With the connection betweein Naviance and CommonApp, it’ll make applying easier.

Once you have gotten your account ready and logged in, there will be five different gray tabs across the top of the page. Click on the one that says, “Common App.” There will be information that you need to fill out, and they are really easy, simple steps.

Some questions may require you to get information from your counselor if you don’t have them yourself. For example, they ask for your ACT or other test scores. You can either put them in yourself or have your counselor email it to the college you’re applying for.

Once you have completed each section, there will be a green check mark by the section name marking that you have completed it. At the end of filling out your information, they will give you an option to write your college essay or upload it from google docs, depending on which is easier for you. Some colleges may or may not require an essay to be written, but having one available is always good.

After doing everything on the “Common App” tab, you can go on the “College Search” tab and start looking for colleges. If you find one that you want to apply to, or are interested in, you can add it to your college list. Adding it to your college list will make the school name appear on the “My Colleges” tab.

Clicking on the college will take you to the application form, and there you will put in the information that is needed. Applying should be easy now, and if you missed any part of the application to the college, they will send you an email informing you which part is missing.

The fall deadline for rolling admission, for the 2019 school year, is on 7/28/19, and the spring deadline is on 1/02/19, so if you’re still applying, be sure to apply before the deadlines.


Cross country to state

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This year the Cross Country boys team made it to the State Championship, along with Molly Moening, Delia Johnson, and Caroline Hammer Harding from the girl’s team.

The boys team placed 2nd at the 4AA Section Championship, qualifying them for the State Championship. Oliver Paleen placed 3rd, with Calvin Boone coming in 4th, and Connor Gregg Escalante in 5th.

The last time the Highland boys team qualified for the State Championship as a whole team, was back in 1973.

Freshmen Molly Moening, on the girls team, won the Section Chapmionship, placing with a school record of 17 minutes, and 52 seconds. Along with Molly Moening, middle schooler, Delia Johnson placed in 4th, with a time of 18 minutes and 49 seconds, and junior, Caroline Hammer Harding, placed 12th, with a time of 19 minutes and 48 seconds.

The final results for the State Championship was: Molly Moening placing in 9th place, Oliver Paleen in 10th place, Delia Johnson in 35th place, and Connor Gregg Escalante missing the state honors by two places. Overall, the boys team finished 10th.

The teams did really well this year, qualifying for the State Championship. They trained really hard, running all around town, as practice right after school. Along with that, they also worked on some injury prevention exercises, and spent time in the weight room.

Hopefully, next year’s season will also be great.