The risks of vaping

According to theTruth.com, despite all the anti smoking campaigns used 20 years ago, in 1998, 23% of teens still smoked cigarettes. Skip ahead to 2005, and teen usage of E-cig vaping devices has increased to 16%.

Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances that is easily accessible. Nicotine mimics an acetylcholine receptor in the brain, but also reduces the number of receptors that the brain produces. The long-term brain changes caused by continued nicotine use can result in addiction.

E-cigs were originally intended for people who wanted to quit smoking cigarettes but weren’t ready to quit nicotine cold turkey. Vaping has been proven to be harmful to people in the same ways as smoking cigarettes. They might not contain the chemicals found in tobacco, but they still contain cancer causing chemicals that affect your respiratory and circulatory systems.

These 5 shocking facts about vaping might make you think twice about picking up one of these hand held smoking devices.

Nicotine from vaping can damage blood vessels. 

Vaping for even 30 minutes a day with an e-cig containing nicotine, was proven to increase stiffness in the arteries while also increasing blood pressure.

The primary ingredient in vape liquid turns into formaldehyde, a known cause of cancer, when it’s heated.

When you vape, or inhale this vapor, you are willingly exposing yourself to cancer causing chemicals.

E-cigarette companies target youth in their advertising

The companies will purposefully target youth by including themes like rebellion, independence, and sex in their advertisements. Another way they target youth is by making the vape liquid in sweet or fruity flavors.

Every month, in the U.S., more than 100 children, less than 6 years old are poisoned from ingesting vaping liquid

The colorful packaging and sweet flavors of these liquids make young children want to eat it.

E-cigs and vapes have gone unregulated by federal authorities since the ’60s. 

For more than 50 years, e-cig and vape companies didn’t have to register their products, disclose ingredients, or get approval from the FDA before selling them. They weren’t officially regulated until August 2016.

For more information, please visit: https://www.thetruth.com

The first senior class field trip of 2018

On November 2, the class of 2019 had their first senior class field trip. The senior class field trips are planned by the senior class counsel. Usually, there are about three trips a year, and they are used to promote bonding within the graduating class. This year’s first field trip was to Grand Slam.

The field trip sounded fun, a day full of mini gulf and lazer tag, but that wasn’t the part some people were upset about.

The field trip was announced just several days before the field trip was to take place. People were upset by the short notice of the trip, and some people felt that the trip wasn’t advertised enough. Some people didn’t even know the trip was happening.

I asked a senior, in my math class, if she was excited about our first senior field trip of the year, and she looked at me with a very confused look. She told me, “I didn’t even know we had a senior field trip planned. When is it?” When I told her it was the upcoming Friday (given I had this conversation on Tuesday, the 30th of October), her confusion turned to irritation. “How are we supposed to find out anything when it’s all last minute?”

She was not the only one feeling this way. When the whole field trip was announced, students only had a couple of days to get the slip and return it back to the counselor’s office before the deadline.

Even though I do see where all the frustration came from, I think we should’ve cut the council some slack. According to one of the council members, the trip was more difficult to plan than anticipated. They were trying to find other places to have the field trip, but all those places didn’t work out.

Our next field trip will be during the winter and is probably going to involve a lot of snow. With all the constructive critisism they recived, I believe the senior class council will try to communicate dates and events more efficiently.

Give to the Max Day 2018

Give to The Max Day (GTTMD) is a day across Minnesota where people are encouraged to donate to non-profits and schools all over MN.

This year, Give to The Max Day is on November 15th.

GTTMD was first started in 2009. When Give MN, a group dedicated to making Minnesota a better place to live, launched in 2009, GTTMD was an idea they came up with to promote their launch. In the first 24 hours of their first GTTMD they raised $14 million dollars. Ever since then, GTTMD had been an annual tradition.

People interested in donating can visit GiveMN.org.  They can search for the non-profit of their choice, or look for different causes to find a non-profit or school doing work they want to support. The minimum donation amount is $10.

The site is up and available for organizations and donors to use all year long, but on November 15th, Give to the Max Day, people are encouraged to make their annual donation to help their favorite non-profits or schools win prizes. The 24-hour giving period also serves to raise awareness of the benefits of charity and raise the spirit of community giving.

One way you, or your family, can support Highland Park Senior High, is to look up “Highland Park Senior High School” on GiveMN.org and donate directly to Highland.

Another way for students to donate, is through the school directly. Here at Highland, the PTSA is trying to get students involved in GTTMD by hosting a fundraiser in all first period classes. Students are encouraged to donate money, and whichever class donates the most by Monday, November 20th, will receive bagels the following Monday.

On November 15th, to help remind people about the event, people are encouraged to wear the color green.

If you or anyone you know is interested in participating, visit the GiveMN website to make a donation.

 

 

Homecoming: Pepfest, Dance and Tailgating

At the end of September, we had our annual homecoming week. All week students were encouraged to dress up and participate in our themed spirt week and all the events planned for that weekend.

On Friday, we had our Pepfest and Homecoming Dance. This year’s Pepfest had a lot of different things. Ms. Headwall and Ms. Rohweller were in charge, like every year, and they did a great job. Towards the end of 6th hour, students started pouring into the gym. The band played as people were getting settled and they filled the whole gym with their music. All the capitans came out to talk about their clubs/sports and invited everyone out to upcoming events/games.

This year, there were a lot of candidates who ran for Homecoming Royalty. After everyone was paraded out, and the winners were announced for each class, we had presentations by the dance team, the cheerleaders and the soccer teams. All of the dances were very different from each other, and from anything else I’ve personally seen at previous Pepfests. Everyone seemed happy, excited and full of school spirit.

Friday night, from 7PM-10PM, was the Homecoming Dance. The field house was full of students all dressed up hoping to have a good night. At the tables, where you could check in bags and jackets, they sold refreshments, like water, soda, and candy. As you walked into the gym, where the dance was held, all you could hear was people off key singing along to the songs. Everyone was huddled together in a 20 x 20 foot area near the DJ’s table. Outside of a few problems, everyone one seemed to be enjoying their night, until they turned the lights on and told everyone it was time to go home.


The morning following the dance, we had pre game tailgating in the link area near the school house. Even though it was freezing outside, there we around 15 different booths selling everything from food to t-shirts. Some of the more popular foods to buy were: the ACC’s egg rolls, Union Latinas pupusas and horchata, and Cane’s, sold by the girls basketball booth. Black Student Union held a bake sale, while student council sold Highland Park t-shirts and sweaters. Everyone walked around eating and taking pictures in the photo booth while people played music on bluetooth speakers.

Ms. Headwall ran around taking pictures of everyone and everything, making sure not to miss documenting anything important. Even the man who plays the bag pipes at the games went to participate in the pre game activities. No one seemed to really mind the cold, and just looked like they were enjoying their time. Around noon, everyone started leaving the link area and made their way down to the field to show support at the football game. This year’s homecoming was a lot of fun, and everyone seemed to have a lot of school spirit. Hopefully, next year will be even better.

Marijuana and legalization

Image taken from: https://www.google.com/search?q=weed+legalization+mn&safe=strict&source=lnms&tbm= isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwidte-65-zdAhWGw4MKHb-BC8gQ_AUIDygC&biw=1200&bih=591#imgrc= bt7B3ocs9LjdlM:

 

No matter who you are, you probably have an opinion on the debate about whether or not marijuana should be legalized. According to The Pew Research Center, support for recreational marijuana use, and for legalization, has nearly doubled to 61% of Americans since 2000, when support was at 31%. As more and more states start to legalize marijuana, we need to get informed and start deciding what would be best for our state of Minnesota.

What is Marijuana?

Marijuana is defined as the dried flowers and leaves of a cannabis plant. It puts you in a state of “high” by mimicking a brain chemical and latching on to your neuro transmitters, which alters the way your brain sends messages to your body.

Arguments against marijuana

  • People with pre-existing marijuana problems will have easier access to the drug
  • The industry will market too heavily to younger targets
  • It has been proven to contribute to long, and short, term memory loss
  • There isn’t a productive way to enforce driving limits like there is with alcohol
  • Indoor marijuana farms could use up a lot of resources, and outdoor farms could have a harmful impact on wildlife

Arguments for marijuana

  • The majority of the public favors legalization
  • Legalization could create new jobs and revenue
  • Marijuana has medical benefits such as reducing the size of cancerous tumors, lowering anxiety and depression, and it can reduce the chance of seizures
  • Studies have shown it is less toxic then alcohol, which is a legal substance
  • Legalization could reduce legal costs, including police enforcement and jail expenses

At HPSH, I asked 10 adults and 10 students if they were in favor of legalizing marijuana or against it. 5 out of the 10 adults were in favor of legalization, while 7 out of the 10 teens felt marijuana should be legalized for medical and recreational use.

There are good arguments for both sides, for and against, but before any decisions should be made, there needs to  be more research done. If marijuana is to be legalized, the pros should outweigh the cons.

2017 Senior Send Off

Last Friday was the annual Senior Send Off. All the classes were called down by floor.

When everyone was seated, Dr. Tucker spoke about how everyone should follow their dreams.

Ms. Rohweller-Kocur spoke about the teachers and staff who were retiring. Ms. Ship, the vice principal for juniors and seniors, Marvel, from the health start clinic, Sr. Rios, a Spanish immersion teacher, Ms. Sherrod, the personal finance teacher, and Ms. Harrison, the school nurse, are all retiring after this school year.

photo courtesy of Rose Patzner Wahlberg via Facebook

After saying goodbye to them, Ms. Rohweller-Kocur invited the senior student council representatives to address their class.

Next, Ms. Ship gave some inspirational advice.

Ms. Ships’ speech was followed by messages to the seniors from their siblings. While some were funny and meant as a joke, others were very sweet and full of emotion.

The last part of the assembly, before the seniors got to leave, was the senior slide show. The slide show contained pictures of the seniors throughout their lives as students.

When the slide show ended, the seniors were allowed to leave through the passage in the middle of the gym. The passage was lined with teachers saying good-bye to their former students.

The Senior Send Off is a great way to congratulate the seniors and celebrate the fact that the next chapter of their life is beginning.

 

2017 Underclassmen Honors assembly

On Tuesday, May 23, Highland had its annual Honors assembly for underclassmen. The assembly was held to recognize the 9th, 10th and 11th grade students who had kept up good grades throughout the year. A student with a GPA of 3.3- 3.7 is considered an Honors student and a student with a GPA of 3.8 or higher is considered a High Honors student.

All the Honors students were directed to the field house to pick up their Honors certificate. Meanwhile students, parents, and principals gathered in the auditorium around 8:00 am. The orchestra here at Highland played, while people were being seated. By 8:30 the auditorium was almost completely full.

Freshmen

The assembly started with Dr. Tucker and Mr. Sager addressing parents and students about the importance of their education. Ruwayda Egal gave a speech before the Honors freshmen were called on stage to be recognized. Next the freshmen High Honors students were called to the stage.

Arianna Gonzalez gave a monologue about the importance of education and pushing yourself, and was followed by the sophomore Honors students being called on stage to be recognized. Then the sophomore High Honors students.

Henry

Juniors

Finally, Henry Vazquez gave a speech about the community that this year’s juniors have formed together. The junior Honors were called on stage followed by the junior High Honors.

After all the students were called on stage, Dr. Tucker said a few more words about the importance of education, then everyone went to the field house for cookies.

The seniors have a separate honors night in the auditorium on Wednesday, May 31, at 7:00 pm.

 

Cinco de Mayo performance 2017

On Thursday, May 4th, Highland had its annual Cinco de Mayo performance.

photo courtesy of Señora Romero

The day performance took place during 7th hour and most classes got to go down to the auditorium to watch it. Outside the auditorium there were paintings reflecting the Latino culture. The stage was decorated with red, green and white balloons and a 3D flower backdrop. Pinatas hung from the balcony and banners the 1862, Battle of Puebla painted on them were displayed across the walls. On the stage a Mariachi played while students, parents and teachers found their seats. The performance started shortly after everyone was seated.

This year was a little different than last year. This year’s dances included Bachata, Traditional Aztec dancing and El Baile de Los Viejitos. There was also a special performances by Sra. Nelsons first and fifth hour Spanish Immersion classes. Her first hour danced Cumbia and her fifth hour danced Merengue. The Folklorico dancers had the Mariachi play live during their performance and it was a surprise to everyone.

All performances and dancers looked amazing and well rehearsed, and even though the bell rang during the last performance, it was a very well put together performance.

photo courtesy of Señora Romero

Before the night performance, families were invited into the field house for dinner. Everyone who showed up seemed to enjoy the meal.

The night performance went in the same order as the day version. The night show did not have a live Mariachi performance, but it did included more Aztec dancers and drummers than the day show. Overall, the performance was the same except the Folklorico dancers actually got to finish without the interruption of the 2 o’clock bell.

In my opinion, with more dances and the stage being decorated very nicely, this years Cinco de Mayo performance was my favorite so far.

photo courtesy of Señora Romero

Cinco De Mayo 2017

On May 4th, Highland is going to have its Cinco de Mayo celebration and performance.

Last year’s performance included dances like, Bachata, Cumbia, Duranguense, traditional Aztec dances, and several Folklorico dances, most of which were choreographed by students.

I asked Sunthany, a junior at Highland, her thoughts on last year’s Cinco performance and she said, “I liked how the whole stage was decorated to fit the occasion.” She also said, “I liked how they brought in dancers other than the students.”

I also talked to Jennifer, another junior, and she said, “In my opinion, some of the dances were a little too long. They were good but they kinda went on for a long time.”

Xitlaly, a freshman, was also asked about the performance and said “I’m glad that Highland takes out time to celebrate different cultures. And I’ve heard that the performance is good. I’m glad all 7th hours get to go.”

The performance, and celebration, is put on by Union Latina, an after school group here at Highland, to celebrate the Mexican Army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. This year, the dances were choreographed mostly by the students, and the art and decorations were made here at Highland.

This year’s performance is going to be in the auditorium during 7th hour on Thursday, May 4th, and all classes were invited to attend. A second performance will take place after school at 7:00 pm. There will be a dinner held before the performance, at 6:00 pm, in the cafeteria.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools

In the end, there were two candidates for superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools, after one of the final three candidates withdrew himself from consideration.

Undated courtesy photo, circa March 2017, of the three finalists announced March 23, 2017 to lead St. Paul Public Schools as superintendent. The candidates are, from left; Joe Gothard, superintendent of the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage school district, Cheryl Logan, chief academic support officer for Philadelphia public schools, and Orlando Ramos, regional superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools. (Courtesy of St. Paul Public Schools)

The superintendent is like the CEO of the district. The superintendent’s job is to put into place the school board’s visions by making daily decisions about: educational programs, budget spending, staff, and schools. The superintendent hires and manages the staff and principals of the district.

The first superintendent candidate was Joseph Gothard. Dr. Gothard went to Edgewood Collage and has a Bachelors degree in Biology Education, a Masters degree in Educational Administration, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership. He used to be a principal, and assistant superintendent, in Madison, Wisconsin. He has most recently been the superintendent for the Burnsvill-Eagan-Apple Vally school district.

The second candidate was Cheryl Logan. Dr. Logan has a Bachelors of Science degree, a Masters degree of Educational Leadership, and a Doctorate in Education Policy – from the University of Pennsylvania. She has served as Principal at Parkdale High School in Riverdale, Maryland; principal at Gorman Crossing Elementary School in Laurel, Maryland; and also as assistant superintendent of Schools in the school district of Philadelphia. She has most recently been the chief academic support officer for the Philadelphia school district.

The position of superintendent was said to have a $238,000 salary.

On April 11th, the SPPS school board chose Dr. Joseph Gothard to be the new superintendent of SPPS district. The board said they chose Gothard over Logan because of “[ Dr. Gothard’s] strong leadership experience and knowledge of education in Minnesota.” The board also said ” We were impressed by his public engagement in developing the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District’s strategic ‘Vision One91’ plan. Dr. Gothard is also skilled at bringing people together for a unified vision for a district, and understands racial equity and its impact on student learning.”

The school board and Dr. Gothard are still negotiating the terms of his contract. They hope to have everything finalized by May 1st of this year.

Additional information can be found at: http://www.twincities.com/2017/03/23/who-will-be-st-pauls-next-schools-superintendent-three-finalists-to-be-named/