Hiway Federal Credit Union

Near the end of the 2016 school year, Highland Park created a partnership with Hiway Federal Credit Union, and built a branch inside the school. Now, some people mistake a credit union for a bank, as they both have members and handle money. A credit union is different from a normal bank though, because:

Not – for – profit > Credit unions are nonprofit financial cooperatives, whose earnings are paid back to members in the form of higher saving rates and lower loan rates.

Member owned > At credit unions, depositors are called members. Each member is an IMG_4253 (Edited)owner of the credit union. Since credit union members are owners, each member, regardless of how much money they have on deposit, has one vote in electing board members. Members can also run for election to the board.

Better rates & Fewer fees > Credit unions focus on consumer loans and member savings, as well as services needed by the membership. Fees, such as overdraft and nonsufficient funds (NSF) fees and ATM fees, tend to be lower at credit unions than banks. Membership requires a deposit of as little as $5, and most do not require a minimum daily balance to avoid fees.

There are many banks and credit unions spread throughout Saint Paul and Minneapolis. IMG_4251Students and teachers of Highland ask many questions like: What do the students do? Why should I join Hiway? How do I become a member? — If you’d like to learn more, stop by the Scots branch during lunch and chat with one of our students, or Hiway associates.

Budgeting and saving with HIWAY

When you set a goal, accomplishing it is easier said than done. Setting a financial goal can be a bit complicated. Whether you’re saving for college, a car, or even something for yourself, it takes a lot of discipline and determination to reach your financial goal when it may seem impossible. Saving money also starts with being financially stable, and knowing how to balance out your income.


photo courtesy of HiWay Federal

Say you have a job and you get paid each week, or every two weeks. If you are trying to save money, but need some cash on hand, it’s up to you to decide how much you are willing to put away each time you are paid. It can be hard not having a lot of money to spend, and there have been some cases where people start to take money from their savings and spend it. I will admit, I am one of those people who has a hard time figuring out how much to save, or what to save, or anything concerning money.

People have different financial goals which they feel is a good investment to benefit themselves. As you grow up, you many have different things to start saving for like: college, or a car, or a home, or anything that you think is important to acquire with a good plan.

There are several ways that you can start to save money and grow financially. First thing is to start saving at least something, even if it’s a small amount. If you put $5 away in savings every week, that can grow and bring you closer to your savings goal. Second thing is to develop a strategy for your income. For example, if you are associated with both a bank and a credit union, it may help you to put some of your money at each place. It can help you to grow a habit of not touching your money as you save.

Handling money is a stressful skill that takes time for people to develop as they grow up. When it comes to saving money, no one’s perfect. But you can start by setting a goal and giving yourself an action plan towards achieving it in the future.

If you want to start saving money or have questions about other financial topics, stop by Hiway’s Scots Branch. We can help!

Tahji Brown – Watermelon

Senior student, Tahji Brown, recently made an album called: Watermelon – which is made up of all original songs he created and produced himself. He is an artist, and he likes to sing and make music, specifically rap/hip-hop songs. He also features other students on some of his songs as a way of having them express their creativity by singing.

FullSizeRenderTahji has a variety of songs on Watermelon that almost everyone can listen and dance to, because they’re fun. My two favorite songs from the album are “Bad Apologies” and “Fortune Cookie” (feat. Nehali Van Der Leeuw). Some of his songs have very peculiar names that I didn’t understand at first, but when I asked Tahji what is the inspiration behind each song he said: “Every song on this album has a different story and they all relate to me.” The songs of the album Watermelon is Tahji’s fun way of showing how much he loves watermelon.

I’m not a fan of hip-hop/rap music but Tahji Brown makes his music in a way that people of all ages could enjoy. Last year he made an album called: The New Cool – and he sold photo 1over 86 copies to students at Highland. He is still currently selling copies of Watermelon and everyone says they love to hear the music he creates. I always want to support any local artist in my community, especially in Highland Park.

Tahji Brown is a creative singer that produces fun music in hopes of making people feel happy and excited. If you’d like to hear a few of his songs, check out his YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBiYEPM0basnm0RqIEpq6Cg

France and Spain trip: 2017

This past spring break, a group of 30 Highland Park students (myself included) participated in the France and Spain trip, of 2017, led by Mr. Currie and Ms. Boe. It was a very exciting opportunity for world travel, and for students to practice their knowledge of another language like French or Spanish.

We visited four locations in total: Paris and Provence in France, then Barcelona and Costa Dorada in Spain. The students had free time at some points to walk around, visit some shops, and try some of the local food.


Photo courtesy of Mr. Currie

Our first major city was Paris; we visited the Louvre Museum and saw the “Mona Lisa” painting by Leonardo Da Vinci. We also got to tour the city by bus, and see all its famous landmarks like: the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Elysées, Notre-Dame Cathedral, and Montmartre.

We then traveled to Provence where we visited the Palais de papes, Nimes Amphitheater, and the Pont du Gard.

Once we finished with France, it was on to Spain. Our first city was Barcelona, and there we saw Gaudi’s Sagrada Família, Montjuïc Hill, and the Columbus Monument. We then visited Park Güell, which is also land founded and made by Gaudi.


Photo courtesy of Ms. Boe

Our final destination was Costa Dorada. On the way, we visited a town called Sitges, and got our first glimpse of the coast of Spain. The next day, in Costa Dorada, we spent the whole day on the beach just relaxing after a lot of walking and sightseeing. This was my favorite day because it was nice to just sit on the beach, under the sun, and reflect on all that I had seen in the past week.

“Th1rteen R3asons Why” Series Review


Jay Asher’s book: Thirteen Reasons Why, is about a girl named Hannah Baker who committed suicide and had made a set of 13 tapes containing reasons as to why she killed herself. The main character: Clay Jensen, receives these tapes and listens to each one because he is one of the reasons, along with many other people who made an impact on Hanna’s life.

This book was turned into a Netflix series just last month, and I was anxious to watch it because I had read the book in my health class and wanted to see how they would portray the book. Each episode was like listening to one of the tapes, only with action and drama to be seen.

The characters were spot on, the stories were made well, and the whole series really kept me engaged on what would happen next

The difference between the book and the series is we follow more of Clay’s life and what he goes through while listening to these tapes in the series; where as in the book we listen mostly to Hannah and the tapes while following Clay’s actions from time to time. They also changed an important point in the book, and that is Hannah’s death, but just like with movies, they need to change a few things in order to really draw the crowd and make it seem interesting.

An important topic to learn from either the book or the series is the seriousness of suicide, or depression, or anxiety, etc. According to Medical News Today – Suicide is one of the top 10 leading causes of death, and most of those deaths are teens and young adults. Thirteen Reasons Why shows you all about the warning signs of suicide and how it could be prevented.

If you would like to know more about these signs and/or depression, visit your school guidance counselor for more information.


CU Day at the capitol

On January 31st, I attended an all-day event called: Credit Union Day at the Capitol.

This event saw all of the credit unions, in Minnesota, coming together to meet with different legislators, of Saint Paul, to talk about how their credit union is making an impact on their community. They also talked about how they are most important when assisting their community members with financial troubles.

As a student from Highland Park, I was invited by HIWAY Federal Credit Union to participate in this event so that I could learn more about how a credit union can make an impact on society.  They also wanted me to better understand the work that is involved with promoting a credit union.

img_4251The Minnesota credit union network contains more than 20 credit unions, all consisting of one important rule, which is to help their members learn more about savings and assist them with any concerns about their financial position. I met with two legislators: Dave Pinto and Dan Schoen. I talked to them about my involvement with HIWAY, and about having a branch inside Highland Park, which influenced many students to become a student member with HIWAY. This school year, we have had at least 8 students become members, and we still have people joining today.

img_2401Another thing I found very exciting is the CEO of HIWAY – Dave Boden, took me on a tour of the capitol building, for my first time visiting the place. He told me that the legislators of Saint Paul look upon the credit union network of Minnesota, and see how they want to help their members and educate them about the benefits and qualities of savings.

Just before the event, I also got to sit in on a press conference for a program called: “WINcentive savings” where they talked about how learning to save and being knowledgeable of your finances can make a difference in the future.

Working for a credit union, inside a high school, is a grand opportunity to promote HIWAY amongst students and teachers who are interested in learning more about this type of business and its purpose. It also provides the chance to be part of an outreach, to be involved with a different crowd that wants to start being well-educated on the qualities of a credit union, and to actually become a member of the credit union.

Vikings Stadium fundraiser for HP

This year, students have an opportunity to fundraise for their club by working at the new Minnesota Vikings stadium. The representatives of the new U.S. Bank Vikings Stadium came to our school and offered an opportunity to any sports team, club, or travel group, that needed help fundraising, by allowing the groups a opportunity to volunteer, to work a variety of jobs during a game at the Vikings Stadium.

Some of these jobs involved managing a dessert cart for a suite in the stadium. This meant that you and a group of people would take a big cart of many desserts and go to one of the suites assigned to your group, and offer those desserts to anyone who was interested.

Then, the other job in the stadium is being a runner. This is when a select few are chosen to help bring food supplies, items, and materials to many places around the stadium that request those things during a game.

img_2327Parents are also allowed to volunteer, and work a game as well, as when a single person works one game they raise $100 for themselves to put towards their group of choice. 

It’s a pretty cool experience to work in a place like the stadium because it gives you a chance to see the new interior from the inside, and when your group is on a break, you get to see some of the game from an entrance to the field.

When you work depends on when the Minnesota Vikings face another football team at U.S. Bank stadium, and sometimes, there will be other special events that you can volunteer to work at as well, like a monster truck rally, or a monster supercross, etc.

I have worked 2 games this season so far and I have raised over $200 for a couple of clubs and groups that all work together to help fundraise. I think this is a great way to help raise money for your group while working at the new U.S. Bank stadium.

Highland Park Senior High School Student & Staff Experience

Ever since freshman year, I have learned many things about Highland Park Senior High and have met lots of teachers who work hard to provide the right education for all students of the school.

Highland Park Senior High has grown into a bigger and broader place for students of different ethnicities and cultures to come and be a part of a student body where you meet new people and experience all sorts of new things.

There are many teachers in the school that have been around for quite some time, and all of them work with the students to help them in any way be successful and confident in school.

I talked to one teacher who has been at Highland Park Senior High for nearly a decade

Kathryn Menke:

I am a teacher here at HPSH – I currently teach Health but have also taught Human Geo, World History and Health Careers. I have been teaching at HPSH approximately 10 years. I appreciate the community here at HPSH.  I admire the dedication, commitment, hard work, and willingness by staff, students, families, and administration to work together to create a strong, successful, and supportive environment here at HPSH for all.”



Students of Highland Park Senior High are very polite and friendly when meeting others, and lots of people meet mostly through the various clubs and activities Highland Park has to offer to its students. One thing that people suggest when in high school is to get involved

, and meet new people. For me, I have done just that because I have met lots of teachers who I get along with very well outside of class, and friends who I met during my freshman and sophomore year. I’ve been getting involved with many new things since freshman year like archery club, and FFA, and Robotics, etc.

As a junior, I have experienced many things at Highland Park Senior High, and I still have a lot to do before senior year, but I am glad to have been involved in lots of clubs and activities throughout my time so far in high school.

A different path for students

As a student grows closer and closer to their senior year of high school, they will have the responsibility of thinking about their future – what they think needs to happen and what would their personal benefit be in doing so? There are some students who think college is absolutely the next step for them after graduating high school, but every student does.

Sometimes, there will be students who have a different mindset about what to do once they have graduated high school. People might not think to go to college because they don’t know what they’re career choice is, even in their senior year of high school.

In any case, there are many different reasons as to why a student does not go on the same path that others follow for the successful future that they have thought about ever since being in high school. Some common reasons that students don’t go to college:

  • Taking a year-off of school: Maybe there are some students who still want to go to college, but just not immediately following their high school graduation. They might consider just taking a year or less off to just relax and do whatever they chose, because they want to get everything such as maturity, a job, or their personal life in order before they go into something even bigger than high school.
  • Struggling to meet the tuition: Some students, even though they’re grades and GPA are good and strong, can’t go to college because of the cost of tuition, either for a private college or public university. The price for some colleges may change each year but as an estimate, a high school graduate who would like to attend college may be looking at tuition costs up to $12,00 a year (in state).
  • Knowing they want to do something else: There will be students who just don’t want to go to college in general, reason or no reason. One important thing to keep in mind is that it isn’t just people who may have bad grades, or such, that don’t go to college. In some cases, there will be a grade A student who has another option in their life to still expand in their field of interest without experiencing the college life. Sometimes, there will be something else that comes along close to graduation that you might have an interest in, and that you could learn a lot from, even though you are not learning from a college classroom.

Don’t feel sorry for the students who don’t follow the path to college, they still have options available to them. Here are some options as to what students not attending college could look into and be intrigued by:

  • Try to help out your community in any way possible. Anything that could better promote your strong and independent place of peace and respect for others that support one another when they need it most.
  • If college is not the place you decide to go, look for an apprenticeship or an internship than can help teach you more about your career choice (if you have decided). The better knowledge you have about your interest, the more you can expand on it and show what you know by presenting your knowledge and skill to the world in any way possible.

Seniors in college: Looking back and moving forward

College: for many this is the next big step in their life after senior year. There’s applying for college, applying for scholarships, then graduation comes right around the corner. Students are ready to move on into something even bigger and better than high school.

Every year, Saint Paul Public Schools have new students joining their student body to learn and grow as they prepare for the next step in their lives, which may include college.

High school in general is a whole new experience in a teen’s education. You have the opportunity to join lots of clubs, make new friendships throughout your school years, and learn intriguing skills from many of your teachers in high school. When you get to your senior year, it’s both exciting and scary because you’ve come so far and now you’re almost about to leave something so special that you can never repeat.

I wanted to ask a Senior this year about their thoughts on being where they are and thinking about where they are going. Sam B is a Senior, graduating this year, 2017.

“I’m happy and scared to be a Senior, but I’m also glad it’s my last year of high school.

I do feel, as a Senior, I have a responsibility to guide the underclassmen and help them get to where I am now.

I’m not sure what I plan to do when I’ve graduated, maybe either biology or film, but I do want to study at the U of M.

I’m excited for Senior year because of graduation, our class field trips, and you don’t have to take so many classes, and of course, PROM!

The advice I have for the underclassmen is: Do your homework on time, don’t be nervous all the time, have some fun, and make LOTS of friends.”

Some Seniors have different opinions about their year, and that is common, but sometimes their thoughts about high school change once they reach college.

I connected with a Highland Park Senior who graduated just last year to see his point of view about where he is now.  

James Farnsworth
: is a Highland Park High School graduate of 2016. He was involved with Youth in Government and was a member of various other clubs and activities, including The Plaid Line. unnamed

“College is a big transition for an only child! I am settling into dorm life. I’m getting familiar with the campus of my college. I take four classes which are not so difficult so my schedule balances out nicely.

I go to the University of Minnesota Twin-Cities. I’m enrolled in the College of Liberal Arts but I’m still undecided on a major.

Two of the classes that I take are Oceanography, and Analysis of Argument.  

You must be independent, motivated, and able to encounter different situations and use a variety of problem-solving skills. There are a lot of things that you do on your own in college.

I went off to college because it was pretty much the expected path to take after high school for me. There was never really another thought of what I’d do. I wanted to be certain and positive about moving onto the next stage in my life.”

Students want to do their very best in school so they can keep moving onto something even bigger in the future. Each student has a different path they take in their education depending on what they are interested in doing for their career choice. One thing that students highly suggest to do while in high school is PSEO: Post Secondary Enrollment Options.



PSEO is a program that allows 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students to earn both high school and college credit while still in high school. Many students from Highland Park say that doing this program now in high school will really help you with basic level colleges classes that you would normally start when you have graduated and moved on to college. For more information, visit the PSEO section on Highland Park webpage: http://highlandsr.spps.org/domain/2785

High school is very exciting and interesting. You don’t know what you might get involved with in your four years of school. Then, before you know it, you’ll start to think about college: What do you want to do? Where do you want to go? How soon can I start to apply? The one thing to always keep in mind is what is going to be best for you.