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.


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.



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/

Conservando energia – Conserving energy

El consumo de energía es un problema todavía creciendo alrededor del mundo. En el año 2013, Estados Unidos utilizó más de 924.442 mil toneladas de carbón. Quemando tanto carbon libera a toneladas de Dioxido de Carbono al atmosfera. Todas esas gasses estan contribuyendo al problema de Calentamiento Global, que va a afectar a todos. La problema es que nadie piensa sobre el dano que estan causando, cuando dejan luces prendidas toda la noche o la puerta de la refrigeradora abierta por 15 minutos, tratando de pensar en lo que quieres comer.

Todos en el mundo estan afectados por los efectos de usar tanto carbon. Ademas que nosotros como la populacion humana siendo afectado por ella, las personas quien viven cerca de las plantas donde queman el carbon viven con muchas problemas ambientales. Ellos viven con la posibilidad de lluvia acida, problemas de respiracion por los particulos pequenos flotando por el aire y tambien Smog.

Hay muchas cosas pequenos que puedes hacer para ahorrar energía. Una manera es secar tus platos y tu ropa afuera en el aire cuando puedes envez de usar una secadora. Puedes substituir tus focos viejos con focos de LED que ahorran energía. Debes usar agua fria envez de agua caliente en tu lavadora de ropa. Puedes plantar arboles de sombra para evitar el calentamiento natural de tu casa en el verano. También asegurarse que todas las luces innecesarios están apagados. Estas cosas aparecen pequenos pero puden hacer una diferencia grande.

Nosotros como un sociedad moderna, todavia podemos hacer algo para conservar energia y ayudar a nuestra planeta.

For those who cannot read Spanish:

Energy consumption is a problem still growing around the world. In the year 2013, the United States used more than 924,442 tons of coal. Burning that much carbon releases tons of Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere. All those gasses are contributing to Global Warming, which is going to affect everyone. The problem is that no one thinks about the damage they are causing: when they leave lights on all night, or when they have the door of the refrigerator open for 15 minutes, trying to think of what they want to eat.

Everyone in the world is affected by the effects of burning so much coal. In addition to us, as the human population, being affected by it, the people who live near the plants where they burn the carbon live with many environmental problems. They live with the possibility of acid rain, breathing problems caused by small particles floating in the air, and also Smog.

There are many small things you can do to save energy. One way is to air dry your dishes and your clothes when you can, instead using a dishwasher or an electric dryer. You can replace your old light bulbs with energy-saving LED bulbs. Also, you could use cold water instead of hot water in your washing machine. You can plant shade trees to avoid the natural heating of your house in the summer, and you can make sure that all unnecessary lights are off. These things appear small, but they can make a big difference.

We, as a modern society, can still do something to conserve energy and help our planet.


Winter Pep Fest 2017

On Thursday, February 24th, we had our Winter Pep Fest. Everyone piled on to the bleachers wearing their class colors while the HP Jazz Band played. When everyone was seated, the upperclassmen began chanting “Go home freshmen,” which has turned into a pep fest tradition.

The Pep Fest began with Highland’s clubs and sports teams making announcements. The Nordic Ski team told everyone about their success at their recent meets. Both the boys and girls teams have had really great seasons. Also, Spanish Speaking Debate announced that they are beginning their season, and if you speak Spanish, you are welcome to join. The Basketball teams, boys and girls, also had really good seasons.

After the announcements, the gymnastics team put on a performance. When the music started, the gymnasts began flipping, jumping and running across the gym. Their routine combined with their music was very upbeat and exciting.

Then the basketball teams had a shoot off. It was girls against boys, and even though they were very close, the boys took the win. The teams exited the court and some of the boys on the basketball team had a dunking contest. Everyone cheered really loud after almost every try. All of them were really good and it was very entertaining to watch.

The dance team also gave a performance at the Pep Fest. This time, their music was strictly instrumental, and aside one of the girls repeatedly hitting other girls on accident, it was a good performance.

The Pep Fest ended with a performance by the cheerleaders. They did their traditional dance with their pompoms and everyone was cheering. Like the Fall Pep Fest, the cheerleaders made a routine in collaboration with some of the basketball players, which in my opinion was also very good. The performance as a whole was a good way too end the Pep Fest.

The Winter Pep Fest was our last school-wide assembly until the Senior Send off in the beginning of June.


Winter pepfest and spirit week

This year Highland is going to have its winter pep fest on February 24th. Every school year Highland has a pep fest to celebrate the school, and to get everyone into the school spirit heading into the second half of the school year.

Typically, the school has spirit week, which is the week leading up to the pep fest. Spirit week is a themed week, where each day you dress differently. This year, the students got to give input and vote on which themes they wanted for spirit week. Spirit week starts on Tuesday, Feb. 21st, with the following themes:


  • Tuesday is Pajama Day
  • Wednesday is Decades Day
  • Thursday is Flannel Day
  • Friday is Class Color Day.

( Freshmen class is Yellow, Sophomore class is Green, Junior class is Blue, Senior class is Red)

The pep fest will be held during 7th hour, and the whole school will be there. This pep fest is going to focus on the things that students at Highland are involved with during and after school. The HPSH band will play some songs. Several teams will have presentations. School clubs and activities leaders will make announcements as will sports team captains.

“It will be similar to other pep assemblies, but there are a few surprises to come,” said Ms. Hedwall, when asked about the upcoming pep fest.

Highland has a spirit week and pep fest twice a year, where students and staff are able to show school spirit and enjoy the week that celebrates all of us as a school.