Agra Culture restaurant review

By Natalie Braga, Piper Gallivan, Alivia Arredondo

Agra Culture is a new restaurant in Highland Park (721 Cleveland Avenue) that offers healthy and delicious food for everyone. Our experience there was positive, comfortable, and filling!

This restaurant has a very fresh and exciting feel to it. The colors were all either white or black, giving it a clean and vibrant look. The whole front wall was windows which allowed lots of natural lighting. The whole experience is a perfect mix of fast food and fine dining. It is an order at the counter system, so when you walk in you are immediately greeted by friendly employees ready to take your order. You can take as much time as needed because there are menus to take near the door. After ordering, they give you a table number and about 10 to 15 minutes later a waiter will bring your food. There is a wide variety of options for seating: you can choose between 2 types of booths, tables, and where to sit. If you want to feel even closer to nature, you can sit near a wall of leafy green vines. This restaurant has a very “LA lifestyle” vibe, which adds a fun, new, and unique addition to Highland Village.

The customer service was also very pleasing. When you walk in the door and start to order your food, the workers there all seem to be happy and seem like they genuinely want to be there. They greet you with a smile as they welcome you to the restaurant and politely ask for your order. This really helps the cozy, and nice, feeling of the restaurant. When you are ordering, the workers there are very patient with you, and also, if you’re not sure what to get, they will gladly give you suggestions on what they think is good. Once you get your food and are seated, they will come up once or twice during the meal to make sure everything is going well, or if they see you are done with something they will politely take the empty plate away.

Take a look at the menu and it is clear that this restaurant focuses on healthy and nutritious ingredients to create delicious dishes. One major positive with the menu is the inclusiveness for all diets with the use of helpful icons informing customers if a dish is vegan, gluten free, etc. Though the prices may be slightly higher than your average restaurant nearby, the quality and freshness is clear when you get your plate. They offer breakfast options all day, alongside their usual salads, sandwiches, and trademark Agra Bowls.  Between the  three of us, we ordered three separate dishes, one smoothie, and pita bread and hummus. Each was unique and tasty in their own way, and here are our reviews.

The Chicken Harissa sandwich was quite a delight. The avocado really helped balance out the flavor of the red onion and the chicken. The chicken itself was a well proportioned, perfectly done chicken breast that was grilled (having the chicken crispy was also an option), and it had just the perfect amount of flavor.

Then came the smoothie which was very refreshing. The flavor of the fruit was very noticeable and it went well with the smoothie being cold. There was a variety of choices for smoothies and we highly recommend trying one.

Pita bread and hummus was our side dish and we thought it was really tasty. However, the portion of hummus to pita bread was a little off. It was still really good though. The bold flavor of the hummus was very well complimented with the bread, and it was a great kickoff to the meal.

The Mediterranean Bowl is from the breakfast selection and would be perfect for breakfast, lunch, or brunch! It was filled with scrambled eggs, spinach, tomatoes, and olives. You have the choice of adding quinoa, brown rice, or whole wheat toast on the side. I added a pinch of salt after my first few bites to enhance the flavors a bit more. The portion size seemed pretty small at first, just because we are used to huge American portion sizes, but it was actually very filling. The taste was very good and left me feeling very refreshed and healthy.

Lastly, the Stir Fry Bowl seemed to be a perfect balance of rice, vegetables, and protein, and was also dairy free, which was something we were looking for. It came with cilantro brown rice, organic peppers, onion, Thai sauce, and chicken (which could also be swapped for tofu). When it arrived, it looked wonderful with many different colors, textures, and flavors on the plate. Though it looked a little small at first, it also was very filling and satisfying by the end.

Overall, Agra Culture is a fun new restaurant for those who want tasty food that won’t make you feel guilty afterwards. We give it 4.5 out of 5, and recommend trying it out!

Highland Park winter sports

By Alivia Arredondo, Piper Gallivan, and Natalie Braga

Winter sports season is here! Here are some of the great sports you can join this winter to get even more involved with Highland and make our school proud!

Boys Hockey
Join hockey! They practice every Monday-Friday from 5-7pm. It’s a great way to get fit fast. There are two teams JV, and varsity, and no experience is required to join! All players need to do to join is pay the $100 fee and provide their own equipment. Hockey offers the opportunity to get closer to one another with super fun dinners for the team and at least 2 games a week. So if you’re looking for a high commitment fun sport join hockey!

Wrestling
Do you want to work on your strength and defense skills? Join wrestling, where you can practice five days a week from 2:30-4:30pm to train for meets, matches, and tournaments against other schools. You can either be on the junior varsity or varsity, however, if you miss 3 practices, you will not be able to wrestle in the meets. Shoes and head gear are expected, as well as the $45 sports fee. Wrestling may be hard, however, it is extremely fun and is welcome to all!

Girls Basketball
Want to be a true baller? Join the girls basketball team! The team practices Monday-Friday 2:15-4:15pm and Saturday 8:30-10am. It’s a great way to challenge yourself and meet new people! There are usually 3 teams you can join, varsity, JV, and C squad, and no experience is required. This sport doesn’t require much besides the regular sports fees to play a winter sport, and other than that, the only thing that you need to provide are basketball shoes. There are games once a week, so come join the girls basketball team for a great time and great exercise!

Boys Swim
Calling all boy swimmers! Join the boys swim team. Boys swim team practices everyday Monday-Friday 3:30-6pm and Saturdays 8-11am. It’s a great way to meet a bunch of really cool boys. You can either make JV or varsity and you’re guaranteed a spot on the team as long as you can swim 50 meters without stopping. To join the team you have to have all your physicals up to date as well as paying the fee, which is $45, to join. Suits for races also cost an additional $45 (roughly). You, yourself, would need to provide a practice suit (that is not your race suit), goggles, and a towel. Boys swim team competes in dual meets weekly and have remained conference champs for many years. Although it is a high commitment sport, it’s a great way to meet a bunch of really fun goofy guys and make great friends. The coaches are all very qualified and make things even more fun, so don’t forget to join the team!

Gymnastics
If you want a medium to high commitment sport where you can get fit, learn fun skills, and make new friends, join gymnastics! Practices are every weekday 2:30-4:30pm, and meets will be on Wednesdays at 6pm. You can compete in routines on all four events (bars, beam, vault, floor) against other SPPS and Minneapolis schools, all while being cheered on by your teammates. No prior experience is necessary, and all you will need is athletic clothes or gymnastics wear if you have it. Even if gymnastics is not the sport for you, it is very interesting to watch, so come down to watch the team at one of the Highland meets!

Girls Hockey
Interested in the full Minnesotan experience? Join girls hockey! There you will face an incredibly fulfilling experience with a very tight group of girls. Currently, they only have a varsity team, and by playing for 2 years you’ll automatically letter. You don’t need any experience to join, but you’ll need to be able to complete certain skills to play. Some equipment can be provided for you if ask, but most things will need to be provided by the athlete. You’ll need a stick, helmet, skates, chest pad, elbow pads, hockey socks, shin pads, and breezers. You’ll become close with a lot of girls by doing things like bowling, and staying in a hotel with them at the annual out of town tournament. It’s a pretty high commitment sport, practice is everyday from 3:30 to 5:10pm Monday through Friday. They have at least one game during the weekend. If you have interest, it is $100 to join, and talk to Mr. Auran.

Alpine Ski
Alpine Ski is calling all athletes new and old to join their team! You will have the opportunity to meet lots of new people because it is combined with many SPPS schools. You will need race skis, boots, poles, goggles, and a helmet, which can be found for cheap at ski swaps! The team tries to practice at least 2-3 times per week at Afton Alps, where they also compete against other teams in races. You will be able to make either JV or varsity, for either boys or girls, if you play for Highland. The commitment level is what you make it, but they encourage everyone to come as much as they can. Talk to Mr. Auran if you want to join!!

Dance Team
Dance Team is a great opportunity for everyone who wants to improve their dancing skills, while also bonding with the fun people with similar interests. Practices are Monday-Friday 2:15-4:15pm, and they mainly focus on kick and jazz types of dance. The team competes against other AA dance teams in the area at day long competitions that you can invite your friends and family to. While you are expected to come to the practices and competitions, the team understands that school, health, and family comes first. Dance team includes everyone no matter how much experience you have, and welcomes everyone to join!

Nordic Ski
Nordic Skiing is a great opportunity to make the most out of our beautiful Minnesota winters! You can join with zero experience and are guaranteed to make either varsity, JV, or A or B squad. Practice for JV and varsity takes place 5-6 days a week and A and B squad practices 4-5 times a week. All teams try to race either classic or freestyle once a week, depending on snow conditions. It’s a pretty high commitment sport; you have to show up everyday ready to do your best. You will meet, and get to know many great people, and partake in fun activities with your team. Every year you will have the opportunity to go to MapleLag Ski Resort, something every Nordic skier holds close to them all year. It is $120 to join, plus extra if you want to rent materials from the school. Anyone who wants great exercise while drinking lots of hot chocolate should talk to Mr. Auran soon!

Boys Basketball
Want to be a baller? Join boys basketball! They practice Monday-Friday 2:30-4:30pm and Saturdays from 12-2:30pm. No experience is required, and tryouts are held to place you on either C-squad, JV or varsity. Games are super fun and there are at least 2 a week. To join, make sure to pay the $45 fee and make sure you can provide your own basketball shoes! Basketball is a great way to be a part of a team with a bunch of cool guys, and teaches you about responsibility. This is a high commitment sport that will get you in shape, and it’s a great way to make new friends.

Special Thanks to Lizzy Symmons, Cameron Pittman, Olivia Johnson, Calvin Boone, Abby Johnson, Cathie Carlson, Will Altman, Axel Lang, Holly Kampa, and Maggie Blomgren for the interviews!

Volunteer opportunities for high schoolers in the Twin Cities

Volunteering is a great way to help out in your community, earn volunteer hours, boost your resume, and gain new experiences. There are many different opportunities right here in the Twin Cities that can suit your different interests, and here are some of our favorites.

Animal Humane Society
Calling all animal lovers! The Animal Humane Society (115 Beulah Ln, St. Paul, MN) is a great way to spend your time by helping out at the shelter by doing various tasks. You may be bathing a dog one day, and helping a customer adopt a rabbit the next. If you’re into animals and want to help them stay happy and healthy, then this may be the place for you. If you are 16 or older and physically capable of handling animals, check it out at https://www.animalhumanesociety.org/volunteer.

Science Museum
Volunteering at the Science Museum of Minnesota (120 W Kellogg Blvd, St Paul, MN) is a great opportunity for all people who love to learn all about STEM and help others! Volunteers do all types of things including preparing a fossil, helping direct families, and answering questions about an exhibit you can learn all about. You also get many benefits such as free omnitheater films, free museum admission, free parking during volunteer shifts, a discount on the museum store, and more! If you’re 16 or older and willing to dedicate 4 hours a week or 4 hours every other weekend, apply at https://www.smm.org/volunteer

Literacy Program
The Literacy Program offers a great, easy way to volunteer. Volunteer opportunities are available Monday – Thursday from 4pm-6pm. This program offers the opportunity to work with children from grades k-3 with lessons on reading, writing and fun activities to help them in their everyday lives. Volunteers would be assisting staff members with teaching the lessons, on using vowels, blending spelling, language structure, reading fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Head on over to 690 Jackson Street St. Paul, MN 55130 for a great fun way to help out the community! For more information about this program visit https://www.volunteermatch.org/search/opp2789513.jsp

Feed My Starving Children
If you haven’t heard of Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) come out from under  the rock you’re living under. FMSC is a great, fun, easy way to make a big impact of the lives of many children. Volunteering is super simple and fun. You can bring your friends, family coworkers, anyone! Volunteers pack a specially made meal pack that suits the needs of the world’s neediest children. FMSC is also a great way for groups of people to bond and do some good for the world. For more information go to https://www.fmsc.org

Friends of the Mississippi
Friends of the Mississippi (FMR) is an organization based in St. Paul that works to protect and restore the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities region. They work in and around the river to combat things trying to disrupt the life and natural beauty surrounding our river. The Mississippi is something so close to home, that many of use take granted of in our everyday lives. Volunteering here is an amazing way to show your appreciation for the natural resource that we are very lucky to have right here in St. Paul. There are a lot of hands on opportunities to work with FMR, and can work for everyone. An easy way to volunteer is with their over 60 organized clean-ups throughout April and November. If you participate in 4 or more events you get SuperVolunteer status with a free T-Shirt and access to many events! You can also organize a group of 20 or more and complete your own event. They have a special program for students so we can complete our volunteer hours. For more information on how do get involved, click here: https://fmr.org/serve-river-participate-fmr-events

Children’s Hospital
Volunteering at the Children’s Hospital is an amaizng way to help people that need it the most. When you volunteer, you won’t be doing the tasks you might think of at a hospital; you’ll be helping to make the kid’s lives a little bit better. Volunteers help young children do what they’d be doing in school, like math or reading, and planning activities for them to enjoy. You’ll also do things like read to and play with the siblings of patients, to make their time their more enjoyable. For more information go here https://www.childrensmn.org/support-childrens/volunteer/

There are so many ways to help out all around the Twin Cities, and we hope you found something that inspires you to go out and try!

Highland Park clubs

By Natalie Braga, Alivia Arredondo, and Piper Gallivan

EXTRA EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT!
Highland Park Senior High offers a variety of super great clubs for ALL to join! We have interviewed the leaders of every club to find out what each club has to offer. Highland students have a wide range of interests, but there is a club out there for everyone. Here is what we found out about all the different clubs!

Anime Club
First on the list is Anime Club, lead by Ms. Lynn. Anime Club meets once a week in Room 159, and is open to everyone who has an interest in anime and wants to learn more about it (no drawing skills required). You will get to watch and draw anime, as well as learn (and taste test) things from different food celebrations. This club is an opportunity to get you in touch with another culture, and interact and bond with people with similar interests. Ms. Lynn, who has been at Highland for 15 years, highly encourages you to stop by!

Book Club
Do you miss the pressure free reading experience? Are you tired of teachers telling what to read and how to read? Then come join Book Club! They are a super fun, low key club, and they meet about once every 6 weeks to discuss a book and eat snacks. Ms. Rahman is the leader of the club and she invites everyone to come to the library to discuss books and have a good time. Most of the books read in Book Club are meant to really relate to teens and make for easy connections and understandings to the characters. Book Club also offers many exiting visits to see authors, and a chance to get your very own free book signed. Another great thing about Book Club is they are a part of Read Brave. Read Brave is a program where students and parents read the same book, so parents understand the the realities and challenges teenagers face. For more information on Read Brave go to: http://www.sppl.org/readbrave

Book Club is a really great place for students to unwind and get lost in their book without the added stress of taking notes, analyzing, reading to a certain point, etc. so come join Book Club!

Conspiracy Theory Club
Was the moon landing fake? Is Tupac still alive? What really happened to Princess Diana? If these questions intrigue you, you should check out the Conspiracy Theory Club! They meet every other Thursday in Ms. Shomion’s Room to explore alternative ideas and theories. Each meeting also includes great snacks, including the iconic mystery juice. It is a great way to meet others in a fun and respectful environment, while also expanding your knowledge on the world (and what may be beyond it). Meetings are low commitment and guaranteed to always be fun!

Debate
Ms. Becker invites anyone and everyone to join debate, held in her classroom, Room 2214. The debate team meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 4-5:30 to learn about each year’s new debate topic. This year’s topic is education, which will be the focus of many discussions in the club. With a partner, you are able to compete against other schools at tournaments held about every other week on Fridays and Saturdays. Debaters tend to do better in history and English, and are often offered college scholarships for their hard work. It is an opportunity to travel to other schools and universities, develop a deep understanding of the yearly topic, and make new friends.

FFA
Calling all Future Farmers of America, or just anyone interested in agriculture, Ms. Wedger would love to have you in FFA! Meetings start at the end of September, are monthly, and last a half hour to 45 minutes. This club offers many different career development events, and the opportunity for many different field trips to explore those careers. These events are connected to different contests you can do, in which you compete regionally against Central Minnesota, and possibly State after that! FFA is a great opportunity to get involved at Highland, not to mention the fact that it looks good on a college resume. You can choose to be as involved as you want, while building up your leadership skills, and connecting with people you might not usually connect with. Ms. Wedger encourages you to ask her about any questions you may have!

Film
Seniors, Kat Vento and Zoe Challenger are the co-presidents of Film Club, with Ms. Becker supervising. It is is held in her room (2214) every Monday. The Film Club works on making their own films, while also having the added benefit of popcorn each meeting. It is a great opportunity for students to express themselves through moving images, and also allows members to meet artistic individuals like themselves. There is no competing and it is purely for fun, while also being low commitment. The film club is open to everyone, is very open minded to all ideas that come in, and would love to have anyone interested to join!

Gender Equality Club
Anyone interested in making Highland Park an even more safe and inclusive place for all should check out the Gender Equality Club! Ms. Rise hosts the meetings once a week in her room: 2201. In the meetings there is not only usually food, but also a chance to be apart of discussions about how to make everyone feel included at school, and how to raise awareness about current events involving gender issues in society. Ms. Rise encourages you to join because gender equity is something that affects everyone and is also a pressing and interesting topic in the current times. The GEC also does fun leadership activities and crafts, such as bracelets for special needs kids. Stop by Ms. Rise’s room with questions!

Global Affairs Club
Global Affairs Club (formerly known as Model UN), is a great club to join for anyone who wants to learn about the real UN, discuss foreign policy and current events, and new this year participate a program called Great Discussions. It helps you grasp concepts, and enter the world of Global Citizenship. There are many opportunities for travel and attending conferences with other schools. It looks great on resumes, and colleges love it. There is a lot of flexibility in joining this club; you can meet once a month or join once a week. What people don’t always realize is that anyone can join, regardless of prior knowledge, and underclassmen are especially welcome!! Co-Presidents Archer Gallivan and Sarah Lind-MacMillan invite anyone to join in Ms.Rise’s (2201) room on Thursdays after school!!

Indian Culture Club
A brand new club this year that wants you to be a part of it is the Indian Culture Club! They meet twice a month in Mr. Berndt’s room (2306) and offer delicious Indian snacks! In this club you will be able to learn about and appreciate the Indian culture more, while also meeting new people who are also interested in the culture. They also plan on doing fun activities such as a tailgating booth at homecoming. ICC hopes to help you gain appreciation for a culture that is represented both at Highland and in St. Paul, and would love you come and check it out!

Math Team
Interested in improving your math skills and showing off your knowledge to others? Check out the Math Team, with meetings held twice a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 2:15 to 3:30, in Mr O’Connell’s room! Though the club only runs from October to March, it is a great opportunity to make friends, learn math you won’t in class, and gain more confidence in your skills! The math team competes in the St. Paul League and prepares for the meets during the meetings, as well as other fun activities. This is a calm and flexible club that is happy to have anyone join.

Mountain Biking
Are you ready to pump iron biking style?! Join Mountain Biking Club!
Mountain Biking Club is a super fun interactive sport for anyone (no riding experience necessary). They meet 2-3 times a week down in Hidden Falls and they compete against other schools in races. So if you’re looking for a low commitment, fun sport, where you get to explore new biking trails, make new friends, get in shape, and learn new skills, Mountain Biking Club is the place for you! For more information go to: http://wiki.hpmtb.org/Highland+Park+Composite+Mountain+Biking

Science Club
Does exploring deeper into fun science topics sound interesting to you? Join Henry Vasquez and the rest of the Science Club once a month every third Wednesday (excluding September, which will be on the 27th) in Ms. Connelly’s room! Each meeting will have a theme and experiment to go with it, as well as having snacks provided. While participation is not necessary, members are highly encouraged to get involved with Science Fair, where you could compete at regional, state, and even national levels! Science Fair has many scholarship opportunities and members of the Science Club get free admission to register. Science Club also goes on science related field trips such as to the Science Museum and a tour of the U of M’s biomedical department. This club is low commitment, looks great on resumes, and welcomes you to join!

Student Council
Want to make a difference in this school and use your leadership skills? If so, Student Council is the perfect place for you! If you make your way up to executive board, you will meet once a week, or if you are on full house, it is the first Monday of each month, all in room 3211. They work to provide a fun experience for the whole school, by planning dances, tailgating, homecoming week, the senior send off, and many service opportunities, among many other things. Anyone should join who wants good experience planning, working with others, dealing with other’s opinions, and getting involved in school. On top of all of that, it looks great on a resume! Mrs. Rohweller-Kocur, Mrs. Hedwall and the StuCo executive board would love to invite anyone to try out!

ULA
Union Latina invites everyone to join them in their festivities throughout the year! They learn about Latin culture, learn to dance, and plan events for the student body. Some events they put on are tailgating, Dia de los Muertos, culture day, and Cinco de Mayo. It is a great way to learn about culture, learn to dance, as well as build community and build culture. Anyone can join, regardless of race or if you speak Spanish!

Youth in Government
Youth in Government is an amazing opportunity for anyone who wants to get to meet new people, learn how a government works (specifically legislative), and have their voice be heard. Many of the meeting are to prepare for a conference held in February. YIG clubs from all over the state meet in downtown Minneapolis, or the State Capital for upperclassmen, to share their ideas and work with each other. It is a great way to gain knowledge, and work with new people, plus they have great snacks. They meet at 2:20 on Thursdays in room 2201.

Highland Park Senior high offers a variety of clubs for a variety of people. We hope this article helped you find a club you’re interested in! Although we did not get the chance to interview some of the clubs such as Archery, ACC, Black Student Union, Chinese, Chess, Genius Squad, Prism, Speech, Spanish Debate, and Youth Alive we highly encourage trying them out and learning more about them by going to: https://www.spps.org/site/Default.aspx?PageType=1&SiteID=38&ChannelID=182&DirectoryType=6 for more information on all the clubs.