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.

Boat Dance

Highland held their annual Boat Dance on May 19th, on a boat at Harriet Island. As there were many students attending the dance, it was suggested that students show up earlier to wait in line to get on the boat. To be able to get on the boat, students needed their student ID and ticket.

photo courtesy of Jennie Vang

From the outside, the boat was very long and big, having two sides connected together. One side of the boat was bigger and was known as the dance room. The other side was for karaoke. The boat had two levels; both levels had tables and chairs for people to sit on and hang out. On both sides of the boat, there was food, drinks, and candy, which you had to pay for, but water was offered for free.

The boat left around 7:40pm when everyone had boarded the boat. The boat then headed up the Mississippi River for about an hour and a half, and then headed back to the dock.

There were many students in the dance room. People in the dance room were all huddled and dancing near where the DJ was at. Everyone was dancing was jumping, yelling and screaming, to the songs, which made the room very humid.

There weren’t as many people in the karaoke room compared to the dance room. Everyone was allowed to sing whichever song they wanted to sing, as long as it was appropriate.

Also, for the students that didn’t sing or dance, most of them messed around and ran around the boat. Others just sat down with their friends and talked, some were on their phones checking social media, and others were on their phones playing a game.

As the dance came to an end, everyone went outside and waited until the boat stopped at the dock. We got back around 10:05pm. Everyone looked tired and cold due to the chilly wind. Some parents were already there waiting for their kids, while some students had to wait for their ride.

Badminton season

This year’s Highland badminton team had a great season. It was a very fun and wonderful season. My friend and I were able to join the badminton team this year. The coaches for this year’s season were: Mrs. Kramer and Mr. Chapman. We decided to interview one of our coaches, Mrs. Kramer, about how she thought season went.

Mrs. Kramer thought this year’s badminton season was a great season. We had a great and awesome team that showed a lot of commitment and potential. The varsity team were very competitive this year, having 3 seniors with a lot of varsity experience, and who also brought a lot of leadership. The varsity doubles team was very young, and worked very hard to get better and where they wanted to be at.

photo courtesy of Quincy Yangh

Coach Karmer continued to talk about the junior varsity team, which had their struggles with the conference tournament at Como High School, but played very well. We had a good team with the junior varsity; it was very fun to coach them. Even though they had struggled in the conference, they continued to come to practice and practiced very well. We had lost to many schools, but also won against many schools with close scores.

We then asked Mrs. Kramer what she thinks we did well and was proud of this year, and also what she hopes to see for next year. Mrs. Kramer said the best part of this year was that we all got along very well. The girls showed a lot of commitment even with busy schedules, and they made badminton their first priority.

Mrs. Kramer said she was most proud of how well the team got along with each other and had fun while learning a lot and teaching each other different skills and strategies. This was very special to them as coaches, and they were proud of what the girls brought to the team this year.

Something Mrs. Kramer hopes for the next year is that the girls will continue to play badminton even when the season is over. She would like to see them get better and improve more. Mrs. Kramer said she sees a bright future for the girls and what they’ll bring to the team the next year.

Ordway Honors Concert

The Ordway Honors Concert is a district wide opportunity for students, from various SPPS schools, to perform at the Ordway Center and show off their talents. The performances include: choir, band, and orchestra. For students to be able to participate, they had to audition at their school and be accepted.

photo courtesy of Mira Altobell Resendez

I interviewed a friend who participated in the concert. She said there were 3 rehearsals – 2 of which were at Central, and 1 at the Ordway. Each rehearsal was about 4 hours long, but the piece she played was about 20-25 minutes long. She said that the students worked with professional conductors, which was really exciting for her.

Her favorite part about participating was getting to play challenging pieces. It gave her a reason to practice more and get better. What she didn’t enjoy most was that she missed a lot of school days, which made her fall behind in class a bit.

Overall, she said performing at the Ordway was great and exciting; she got to meet and work with new people. It is a great experience to work with people across SPPS. She said she would recommend auditioning to people who are dedicated to music, and are willing to put the time into practicing. She said she would do it again if she was given the chance.



Spanish Immersion social studies teacher

There are many Spanish Immersion teachers here at Highland, and one of them is Elizabeth Feinstein. Ms. Feinstein is the social studies teacher for the Spanish Immersion program; she teaches 9th grade World History and 10th grade Human Geography. This year is currently her second year teaching at Highland.

Ms. Feinstein started teaching because she likes people and likes being around people a lot. Her favorite thing about teaching is that she gets to see a lot of people everyday.

What she doesn’t enjoy so much, about teaching, is that teaching can be a lot of work and stressful.

I then asked her what she liked most about Highland, to which she replied that she really liked the level of school spirit. She doesn’t have anything she dislikes about Highland.

Some of her hobbies outside of school is doing any outdoor activities, and watching T.V. She likes being outside and doing activities outside of the home.

Personal Project Showcase

On March 23rd, Highland held their Personal Project Showcase, the showcase is where students get a chance to show others what they did for their Personal Project. The showcase was held in the field house. There were many long tables with each person’s name in alphabetical order. Students could bring anything they wanted to show.

I went around to talk to some of my friends who did the project. One of my friends said that she started the project just about two or three months ago, then did the rest of the work two weeks before it was due. She composed a song on her own, she chose to do this because music is really important to her. She stated, honestly, that she hated the project, and hated that she was forced to do the project, and then came the due date which made everything worse.

I asked her that if she had a chance to redo her project would she take that chance, to which she replied that she would redo her project if she was given another chance at it.

I also talked to others who did the personal project. They stated that the Personal Project was given to them early, so they had the whole summer to do it, or plan things out. But with the assignment given early, they felt they didn’t receive good guidance on what was to be expected until the meetings with their advisors.

After talking to people that completed the project, I went to talk to some Freshman on their thoughts about the project. One of them said that they thought the project was cool, interesting, and it was very fun to see everyone’s projects. Another one said they were scared of the project, and wanted to wait before doing the project. Most of them didn’t have ideas yet for their projects, but it’s something that has been on their mind for a while.

The project went well for everyone: people had boards and videos of what they did. The showcase had many people and a lot of other students came to look at the projects. Overall, the showcase was fun and Sophomores are glad the project has ended.


Chemistry teachers

There are two Chemistry teachers at Highland; they are Allison Noah and Natalie Strauss. In an effort to get to know these teachers better, I first interviewed Ms. Noah, then Ms. Strauss.

Allison Noah has been teaching at Highland for about 5 years. Her favorite part about Highland is the students. What she doesn’t like so much is that in some rooms, the temperature is too hot, and in others, it’s too cold. Ms. Noah’s favorite part of teaching is getting to know her students well. Her least favorite part is doing all the extra paperwork that doesn’t involve teaching students.

How Ms. Noah became a Chemistry teacher is a long, but wonderful, story. She got her degree in criminal justice but did not use it much. Ms. Noah also led back country trips that were far from cities.

On the back country trips she led, Ms. Noah found that she taught, the youth she led, a lot. She taught people how to pack for a trip, methods to plan, and how to cook. Eventually, she realized that she loved the teaching part of her trips, so she decided to become a high school teacher.

Some of her hobbies are: cross country skiing, reading, mountain climbing, hikes, walks, and cooking. Ms. Noah doesn’t have any more plans for her future yet; she just wants to continue on teaching.

Our other Chemistry teacher is Natalie Strauss. Ms. Strauss has been teaching for 3 years now. Her favorite part of Highland is that there is a lot of diversity; no students are the same as another. What she doesn’t like so much, is watching the students be under a ton of pressure, especially when the students want to do well; it adds even more pressure onto them.

What Ms. Strauss enjoys about teaching is watching struggling students be able to understand the material, or to be able to get out of their struggles. What she doesn’t enjoy, so much, is having to do all the extra paperwork that isn’t related to how a student is learning.

Ms. Strauss actually went to college for Chemistry, but her plan was to be a physical therapist. Her parents were in the teaching field, and she realized she did not want to be in the same field as her parents. As she focused more in school, she came to the realization that she did not want to go to medical school and become a physical therapist. From then on, she started her year-long student program at Highland, and found that teaching worked well for her life-style.

Some of her hobbies include: swimming (coaches swimming as a job), reading, playing with her dog, hanging out with her husband, and camping. Like Ms. Noah, she doesn’t have any other plans for her future; she just wants to be able to teach at Highland.

These are our two Chemistry teachers at Highland. Hope you have learned something new about them.

Personal Project

This school year’s Personal Project due date has passed, those who missed it can no longer turn it in. The Personal Project is for Sophomores, but information was given out during the spring of their Freshman year. The students are given a packet with what the project required from the students. The packet also had ideas or topics the students could possibly be interested in.

What is the Personal Project? The project is an IB-MYP project with the expectation that all students take on the project and create something unique and personal to them. The motive is to get students motivated about doing things that interest them.

Each student has their own Personal Project advisor who can help them deicide a topic, guide them with their paper, and answer questions students may have about the project. Throughout the student’s Sophomore year, they will meet their advisor at least 3 times to talk about the progress of their project.

The project has requirements to be completed. Students who decide to complete the project are required to physically turn in their paper along with five journal entries and five pictures of proof. The paper is where students write about their process of learning about their topic. The paper is then graded using the criteria on the packet.

img_8443Some ideas people choose for their project are: Learning a new instrument, joining the dance team, learning a new skill, or building their own computer. Many of the ideas are personal to the student and is something they would like to learn more of.