All posts by Zoe Greiner

Gemini, true crime, uhhhhh UHuHUuh....yah

St. Paul and Minneapolis summer ideas

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School officially ends on June 8th, just a few short weeks away. That means sun, freedom, and a lot more downtime. As a student without a job at the moment, trying to make plans while still conserving my bank account can be hard. Everything seems to cost just a little more money than I have, but the thought of spending three months in my bedroom is depressing. Thankfully, St. Paul offers many free or cheap activities and resources for high school students. Here are some of those things:

The Metro Transit Student Summer Pass

Metro Transit is providing $29 student passes for kids of all grades. If an outgoing senior (graduating class of 2018) wants to purchase one, they must have been enrolled in a participating school in 2018. The student pass can be used June 1st through September 4th, from 5am to 10pm. Metro Transit partnered with Second Harvest Heartland to provide free meals for children and teens 18 and under. Below is the link to free meal locations throughout Hennepin and Ramsey county. These student passes have been available for purchase since May 16th. You can buy them online here or at your school. Below are the participating schools.

Ramsey County Free Meals

Hennepin County Free Meals

Details and Participating Schools

Summer Camps

Star Tribune has supplied a lengthy list of summer camps in the metro area, and throughout Minnesota, available to kids and teens. It is comprehensive and provides information such as the camp description, the price(s), the length, date and type (overnight, half-day, full-day), the organization, and the location and phone number. From an all girls basketball and volleyball camp, to a French immersion for 4 – 18 year olds, and a crash course on how to run a business, there is an abundance of summer camps and programs for any interest at any age. The collection includes camps that are free, camps with sliding fees, and higher end programs. Go to this link to explore your options for the summer of 2018!

Parks and Nature

According to there are 53 parks and nature reserves in the metro area, along with 40 trails, and 8 special recreation features. In Ramsey County parks, you can access activities such as archery, bird watching, boating and fish, and swimming, and even golf. Click here to access the Parks and Recreation page, and get a comprehensive list of activities, parks, and their locations.

If you are more interested in Hennepin County, then click here for parks, and here for Events and Activities.

If you are interested in the surrounding areas click here. Get out there and enjoy all the wonderful things our state parks have to offer!

Swimming and Aquatic Centers

The St. Paul/Minneapolis area offers multiple aquatic enters and public beaches. The prices vary on location and size of swimming party.

Great River is located on Lexington Parkway, across from the Lexington-Hamline Community School. It has a 25 lap pool, a kids activity swimming pool, swimming lessons, water aerobics, and sailing lessons. You can also go here for lifeguard training. However, Great River will be closed July 4th through September 3rd.

Como is located on Wynne Avenue, close to Hamline University. It includes a zipline, a lazy river, an aquatic climbing wall, a kids pool, a lap pool, diving platforms and more. It also provides swimming lessons and water aerobics. It is open June 9th through September 3rd.

Highland Park is located on Edgecumbe Road, close to the Golf House. It offers a two-story water slide, lap swim pool, children’s splash pad, diving boards, aquatic climbing wall, party rentals, concessions, swimming lessons and more. It is open June 9th through September 3rd.

Phalen Beach is located close to Johnson Senior High School. It is on a Phalen Lake and is free admission. It offers a new splash pad, sand volleyball (bring your own net), a real sand beach, locker rooms, watercraft rentals, sailing, swimming, and kayak lessons. This is a participating location for Second Harvest Heartland and their free meals program. Below are the links for each aquatic center.

Great River


Highland Park

Phalen Beach

Click here for more fun summer activities around the St. Paul/ Minneapolis area! Have fun and stay safe!


How to prepare for big changes

It is finally May and the school year is almost over. Prom has come and past, and for IB students, tests are underway. The weather is getting warmer, the Earth is becoming less of a tundra and more of an inhabitable area, and you can actually sit outside when you are eating Nelson’s Ice Cream. The end of a school year also means a new beginning for many of us students. Whether you are moving into a dorm 2 states away, attending a college here in St. Paul, or getting a new job this summer, big changes are headed this way. As you move to this new frontier of your life, reminding yourself of certain things could make or break you.

    1. Even new roads have bumps. As St. Paulites coming out of a harsh winter, I think we can appreciate this saying. Regardless of what new path you choose, there will most likely be hardships along the way. They could be miniscule or incredibly large, but preparing yourself for scary, stressful situations will always be vital.
    2. Ask for help when you need it. Although “adulting” can feel really good, it can also be really hard. And asking for help from people who have been doing it longer is totally acceptable and okay. You can learn something from  everyone.
    3. Evaluate your needs, wants, and morals. As you move forward in your life, it is important to focus on who you are currently and who you want to be. By asking yourself what you want and what you value, you can not only better understand yourself right now, but also what you want your future self to look like. The period of time leading up to a big change in your life can be nerve wracking, but if you handle yourself correctly, it can also be extremely enlightening.
    4. Make a plan. Whether you are schedule oriented, or like to go with the flow, setting realistic deadlines for yourself can boost your drive to achieve goals. Without setting goals (and deadlines), it is hard to reach said goals.
    5. Have fun and stay motivated. No one said a new frontier couldn’t be fun. You can only have these new experiences once in your life, and life will move on before you know it. Grasp this life firmly by the horns and take control of your future. There are many things on this Earth that you cannot change. Your future is not one of them. Keep chugging along, and know that everything will all be worth it in the end.

The passage of life won’t slow down for anyone. Yesterday’s future is here, and tomorrow is less than a day away. There is a huge world out there for you to explore and appreciate. Go out and do it.





Surviving the Personal Project presentation

Hey sophomores! You survived the Personal Project paper! Good for you! But now we have to tackle the Personal Project presentation. This article is all about my list of tips and tricks to survive the second part of the Middle Year’s Program (MYP) Personal Project.

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The Personal Project, that all sophomores are highly encouraged to complete, is all about MYP’s key goals and focal points as a program. These are: identities and relationships, orientation in space and time, personal and cultural expression, scientific and technical innovation, globalization and sustainability, and fairness and development. The Personal Project could include any number of combinations of these ideas. The biggest goal of MYP is to make students, who are in the program, better and more rounded learners. When students know how to learn, they can better achieve their educational goals.

The definition of the Personal Project, according to the official IB website, is:

“The MYP personal project is a student-centred and age-appropriate practical exploration in which students consolidate their learning throughout the programme. This long-term project is designed as an independent learning experience of approximately 25 hours. The personal project formally assesses students’ ATL skills for self-management, research, communication, critical and creative thinking, and collaboration.”

Step Number One: Understanding your project
This one should be fairly straightforward, considering you already turned in your project paper. In my opinion, the paper takes the most time; it involves explaining everything you did and why you did it. The presentation is just that; the presenting of the accumulation of your work.

Step Number Two: Make a plan for your project
In order to make this presentation, you have to figure out how you’re going to present what you learned. For some, this is extremely easy. Some people made a movie and all they need to do is show people that. Other people had more conceptual projects, where they did something instead of making something. Presenting this could be through a Power Point that includes pictures from your experiences, or a poster with other types of visuals. The flexibility given when deciding topics is also given when creating presentations.

Step Number Three: Make your project
Make a list of materials you might need in order to make this presentation. The more materials you have, the easier it will be to assemble. Giving yourself as much times as you might need will also help. Taking advice and feedback from your peers is another way to ensure you are doing your best work. And of course, there are always your teachers and MYP coordinators that are endlessly helpful resources.

Step Number Four: Present your project
You will be presenting your project to your peers this spring. It will take place in the Field House, with every sophomore who completed a personal project paper. Students from the middle school, and from the 9th grade classes, will all come see your presentation and give you feedback.

If you have further questions, feel free to contact Mrs. Bonk, the MYP coordinator, Ms. Sabo, the Personal Project co-ordinator, or any other staff member.


2018 Winter One Acts

Romance, danger and…Dungeons and Dragons? These were some of the topics covered in Highland Park Thespian Society’s 2018 Winter One Acts.

image courtesy of Gabby Tselos

One Acts are typically written and directed by students, and last 20 to 30 minutes. They only have one act; hence the name One Acts. This year 5 shows were put on. They were as follows;
Check Please! – written and directed by Clare Brownlee (11)
The Understudy– written and directed by Soren Eversoll (11)
Roll for Initiative – written and directed by Helen Feng (12)
Tracks – written by Peter Tarsi and directed by Eddie Lopez (10) and Leah Callanan (11)
This is a Test – written by Stephen Gregg directed by Ben Smith (11)

Tickets were six dollars for students and eight dollars for adults. Refreshments and concessions were sold directly outside of the auditorium doors.

The show opened with The Understudy, which was Eversol’s debut with acting and writing. It centers around a cast and play, which seems almost like an Inception type of thing. The one act was a comedy with a dramatic setting. The play involves jealousy, guns, and a dead guy lying on the floor. I enjoyed it thoroughly and would’ve liked to see it again.

Second to show was Tracks. The dynamic duo that is Lopez and Callanan took this comedy and played it as a drama. This worked out surprisingly well. The main storyline is about how people wind up on the same train platform, coming to the conclusion that they’re all dead. Now they have to figure out if the train they are to get on is going up or down.

Third in show was This is a Test, a true testament to a high schooler’s nightmare. In this play, a group of students are taking a test, with one student in particular stressing majorly. Once they sit down to do the task, they find it to be the most difficult exam of their life. One section is in Chinese! It was comical and relatable all the way through. Smith definitely directed well.

Roll for Initiative came fourth. It had a mix of geekiness and romance that was charming. While those who live for D and D will love the set up and chit chat among characters, others can enjoy the relationships between the characters. Feng did a wonderful job at meshing the two worlds together and almost made me want to find a D and D group to join!

Check Please! is a comical story about a girl (Zoe Challanger, grade 12) trying to find love through bad Tinder dates. It is set in a local coffee shop, and the dates seem to keep getting worse as the weeks go on. Her waitress (Amelia Stensrud, grade 10), becomes a close ally, and it ends with a surprising and heartwarming twist. Director Clare Brownlee (grade 11) does a fantastic job in her debut as a director and playwright.

What was to come last was a show by Mason Blumer-Lamotte about a suicide prevention hotline and its callers. Unfortunately, due to conflicting opinions, it had to be cut.

All in all, the 2018 One Acts were a success! Highland Park Senior High thanks all those wonderful thespians who brought these fantastic one acts to life!


Christmas movies to watch

It is finally December. I don’t know about you, but the minute November 1st started, I began listening to Christmas music and stringing up lights. I love Christmas. In my opinion, there is no better holiday. And what goes best with Christmas? Christmas movies! There is a long list of films that people around the world enjoy; almost too many to ever see. But here are some of my all time favorites:

1. Elf (2003)

Elf is a story about a grown man raised as an elf in Santa’s workshop. When he finds out the truth about his background, he travels to New York City to find his real family.

Elf is Will Ferrell at his best. He is lovably innocent and captures how many feel about Christmas at heart. While it is PG, there are plenty of adult jokes snuck into the script that make this movie enjoyable for all ages. As with any christmas movie, this film goes best with friends, family, and a whole lot of laughs.

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2. Love Actually (2003)

Love Actually is an intermingling of stories surrounding Christmas time. As you watch the film, you begin to find the distinct story lines. It is all about how people find love during the holiday seasons. It is rated R, so be sure to ask your parents before watching this and there are quite a few scenes you may have to close your eyes during. However, the overall message of the film is that love surrounds us no matter where we are, and to embrace it. This is absolutely one of the best Christmas movies ever made.

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3. A Christmas Carol (1984)

There have been plenty of different versions of A Christmas Carol made in history. This one, however, is my personal favorite. It encompasses the joyful, yet also sorrowful, spirit of Ebenezer Scrooge. I remember watching this with my grandmother and being eternally freaked out yet also intrigued and in love. It is a wonderful movie to pass on through the generations and learn lessons from.

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4. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

There is a live action and cartoon version of this movie. Both are good, but Jim Carrey’s ability to live out the Grinch to the fullest has me watching this movie every year. His unscripted and crazy nature keeps you on your toes, all while he plays out the infamous story of a Christmas hating Who. I have endlessly enjoyed this film and the cinematography and makeup is unbeatable.

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5. Meet Me in St Louis (1944)

This is the ultimate Christmas movie from the past. The classic song “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” comes from this movie. Judy Garland shines as a wonderful older sister and a teenager who falls in love. While the entire movie isn’t centered around Christmas, the climax takes place on Christmas Day. I make a point to watch this every Christmas with my sisters, and it never gets old.

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Now go out there and get your movie-watching marathon on.

Tips for helping you feel better in the cold season

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”
It’s also the time of the year when people seem to get sick more often than not.
Being sick sucks. This is a universal feeling that everyone can relate to. You don’t want to spend two days puking your guts out or being so dehydrated that you start to hallucinate. And you definitely don’t want to go Googling your symptoms only to be told by WebMD that you’re dying. So, whether you just have a bad case of the sniffles, or you can’t keep even water down, here are some ways to help yourself feel better.

1. Drink water, please, for the love of god!
No matter what is wrong with you, water will help you feel better. Drinking fluids will help flush out toxins and in general help you.
2. Get rest!
Sleep allows your body to regenerate and heal. If you’re tired, sleeping is ultimately what your body needs.
3. Listen to your body!
Your body knows what’s wrong. It will likely give you subtle hints on how to help.
4. Binge watch your favorite Netflix show or pick a movie marathon to while away the hours.
5. Cuddles
Whether it be with your pet, or a beloved stuffed animal, make sure you pull someone close (that can’t catch your cold!)

Now, go out have a great holiday season, hopefully, without any illness.

2017 Give to the Max

Give to the Max Day 2017
Are you interested in helping your local public school? Want to help publicly funded organizations in Minnesota? Participate in Give to the Max Day on November 16th!
Give to the Max Day is a state-wide fundraising effort for schools and nonprofit organizations. The fundraising takes place from the 1st to the 15th of November.

Here at Highland Park, PTSA runs GTTM Day. All the money raised goes towards spring sports and clubs, as well as teachers. There is no set amount to donate; each family gives what they can afford. Last year we raised 1,200 dollars. Some teachers that have benefitted include:
Joel Matuzak
Tim Lang
Brad Morning
Susan Linn
Natalie Strauss
Andrew Dirks
Matt McKinney (LINK)
Lauren Bolopue
Melissa Matuzak
Paul Johnson (Coach of track)

If you are interested in supporting Give to the Max, there are many ways you can donate money.
1. Drop off a check
2. Go online to HPSH webpage and click red donate button in upper right hand corner
3. Go to the Give to the Max page (link included at the bottom)

Please help out our wonderful high school and support our fun and important clubs, groups, sports, and teachers! A celebration will take place on November 16th to congratulate all those who donated and award prizes and look at the leaderboards.

Halloween movie reviews

by: Zoe Greiner and Montana Pelletier

Movies reviewed:
Hocus Pocus (1993), Halloweentown (1998), Twitches (2005), The Shining (1980), Scream (1996), The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Hocus Pocus (1993)
Rating: PG
Stars: 5/5
Actors: Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Thora Birch, Vinessa Shaw, Omri Katz, Sean Murray, Doug Jones
Thoughts: An utter classic. It brings me back to the Halloweens of my childhood, when I sat in my living room in the absolute dark, eating myself into a coma. It has many silly moments and silly characters, but has a serious theme that all kids with siblings can connect to. There are also a few adultish references that still make me laugh now.
You can find it on freeform.go for free with commercials

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Halloweentown (1998)
Rating: G
Stars: 3.5/5
Actors: Debbie Reynolds, Kimberly J. Brown, Judith Hoag, Joey Zimmerman, Emily Roeske, Phillip Van Dyke
Thoughts: In complete Disney Channel fashion, this movie starts out with an angsty teenager and a cool grandmother. There was sibling rivalry and the plot was predictable. I will always find joy in a fantasy-esque Disney movie that grasps a teenage dream of being extraordinary. However, the acting is subpar and reminds me of every bad Disney show ever. So, overall, it’s great if you want to relive the glory days, but watching it again is seriously questionable.
You can find it on iTunes, Amazon Video, YouTube, and Google Play for 3 to 6 dollars.

Twitches (2005)
Rating: PG
Stars: 3/5
Actors: Tia Mowry, Tamera Mowry, Kristen Wilson, Patrick Fabian, Jennifer Robertson, Pat Kelly
Thoughts: Wowza. Another bad Disney film that I loved as a child. Somehow, the acting isn’t as important, as the story itself, when watching kids movies. The storyline in itself could be fascinating, but the fact that it feels like a soap opera ruins it. The twins, Tia and Tamera, haven’t done a lot now, and it’s kind of understandable because only kids want to watch that acting.
You can find it on iTunes, Amazon Video, YouTube, and Google Play.

The Shining (1980)
Rating: R
Stars: 4.5/5
Actors: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers, Joe Turkel, Barry Nelson
Thoughts: The Shining is a classic that has few faults. This is a great combination of jump scares and thrilling mind games. As the movie continues, you start to be driven crazy, just like main character. It’s a fully immersive storyline that draws you in immediately. If you are into oldies, then you’ll love this.

Scream (1996)
Rating: R
Stars: 3/5
Actors: Drew Barrymore, Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Skeet Ulrich, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Jamie Kennedy, Liev Schreiber
Thoughts: Although bloody, this movie is undeniably funny. The mix of betrayal, gore, and mystery, combined with witty and quick jokes make this perfect for Halloween. However, it is difficult to get attached to the characters which stops this movie from trapping your attention like it wants to.

The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Rating: R
Stars: 2.5/5
Actors: Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, Michael C. Williams
Thoughts: From this movie came the Paranormal Activity style of horror films. Handheld camera, first person POV, and completely relatable characters. Because this movie was the first of its kind, it wasn’t executed wonderfully. The idea behind never really seeing the witch, and leaving a mind boggling amount of questions with you, is admirable, but stopped you from enjoying yourself completely. If you consider yourself a movie-hipster, watch this. But don’t expect to get very scared.

Stay hungry Highland

The New Vending Machine

Two weeks ago, the epitome of the American high school experience graced the hallway leading to the field house. What was rolled through our big glass doors was a carb packed, caffeine bursting, money gobbler that blew the minds of the poor students who got the first few glimpses. Since the vending machines arrival, all kinds of people have had thoroughly mixed reviews, and Highland Park as a whole has been somewhat shaken.

What The Students Think

When asked if they knew about the new vending machine, one student responded

“H*** yeah.”

This same student  responded the same way 4 more times when prompted with questions like “Do you like the new vending machine?” “Do you like what’s in the new vending machine?” and “Do you want the vending machine to be on all the time?”

Many people responded in similar ways. They loved the new addition, but wished it would be more accessible during school hours. They think students should be able to snack during the day, especially with the lunch hours being so early. Many wished that there should be more “unhealthy options,” i.e. regular chips, pop, and candy, while a few said it should stay where it is in terms of food. The school’s favorite snacks include the hot cheetos, and the Pop Tarts.

Someone requested I mention the fact that we need to fill it more frequently, and another requested one on each floor. Overall, students are ecstatic about a new, tasty way to spend pocket money on school grounds.

What Teachers Think

The general consensus from the teachers is that they are okay with the vending machine, as long as the food stays relatively healthy, and it is not turned on during school hours. On the first day of our marvelous new machinery, many students were late to class due to the wonder and overuse. They were happy, however, that students who are here extremely early get the chance to eat. They also thought that it was good that we get funding for the school. If the current rules are kept in place, then some support it continuing in the future.

What Dr. Tucker Thinks

Dr. Tucker made the decision to install the lovely food dispenser, so clearly he is in support of it.  After getting a call from a vending company that often supplies schools, he decided that Highland Park should accept a vending machine into the building. This is all, of course, according to district rules about the type of food being sold. All revenues go towards the school. This is a fantastic system because we get the food and the money. Keep buying the snacks and we as a school will keep benefiting from it.

Stay Hungry Highland