Union Latina: Fiesta Latina

Union Latina is a Latino culture club here at Highland. The group’s goal is to create a community at Highland where people can feel comfortable learning about the Latino culture and can celebrate it. Two of their main presentations are: “Dia De Los Muertos” (Late October- Early November) and “The Cinco de Mayo Performance.” Practice for the performance, at the beginning of May, started the second week of January.

This year, Union Latina made a change to their annual performance. The performance was previously referred to as “The Cinco de Mayo Performance,” but the club decided to change the name. The decision was made after the club had received feedback that the name didn’t fully capture what it was trying to portray. “Cinco de Mayo” refers to the Mexican holiday, but not all the dances and acts originated in Mexico, so it was decided that the name no longer fit the occasion. The club had a vote and the new name for the performance is “Fiesta Latina.” It will still take place in the beginning of May. The performance is used as a day to celebrate Latino culture and heritage while involving the whole school.

Another change made to the performance is that one of Ms. Boe’s classes will be performing a dance, along with Ms. Nelson’s classes. This gave students, outside of the immersion program, an opportunity to be able to participate in the cultural event. When I went in to visit Ms. Boe’s class on Friday, a few of the students didn’t seem too excited to be there, but others were very enthusiastic and excited about the whole situation.

All of the classes that are participating in the performance have practice every Friday in their classrooms. The other groups have practice for 1 hour on Wednesday’s during the ULA meetings. With only three and a half months left before may, we should wish them good luck!

Prizm Literary Magazine

By: Vivian S

Did you know that Highland has its own literary magazine? The Prizm Literary Magazine is coming back! There was a small meeting on December 18th, 2018, with a few people expressing their interest in the Prizm and setting a time for the first meeting, which was tentatively set for January 8th.

According to Ms. Nancy, the Prizm is a literary and arts magazine created for and by the students. The Prizm editors are student volunteers. They will be seeking out submissions from fellow students. When it is put together and printed, the editors will make it available for sale.

Anyone can submit a piece for the magazine. Right now, there is no word or page count. The group is planning to decide on these details at the first meeting. After the first meeting, submissions will begin to be accepted. You can put your submissions in the boxes that are in every English teacher’s room, or you can submit them to the staff advisor, Ms. Nancy, at: nancy.michael@spps.org.

The Prizm will accept stories, poems, personal essays, paintings, drawings, photos, and photos of artwork such as sculptures.

Ms. Nancy, the advisor, chose to be in charge of this club after Dr. Tucker asked her to consider it. She thought that it would be a fun experience. She hopes that there will be many submissions, that the magazine will look good on college applications, and that it will help people get to know one another better.

Remember to watch out for prompts and themes the club is planning to send out to get your creative juices flowing!

Debate Season and how Debate helped me

JV and Varsity with Coach Malik

This year Highland’s debate season was very good; 3 of the divisions won this year at the Minnesota UDL Championship.

There are four divisions in debate: Rookie, Novice, Junior Varsity, and Varsity. Rookies are if the debater has just begun to debate and is usually a new debater who has no prior experience before. Novice is someone who had experiences before of debating, but is still new to the debate world. Junior Varsity and Varsity are the top division in debate and usually have at least 3-4+ experience, but even if a person does not have 3-4+ experience, they can easily move up a division if they are able compete at a JV or Varsity level.

One of the things that being in debate had helped me, as a debater, is that it has allows me to work on public speaking. In a round, you have to be able to state your impact and why the judge should vote for your side to win. Public speaking is something that no one can avoid, and being in debate has allow me to be able to work on my stutterings and has helped me be more confident in my speech. It also helps with presentation skills, such as how I present myself to my audiences and gain their attention onto me.

Rookie team

Another thing that debate helps with is being a more critical thinker. It allows a person to be able to construct their own argument while being able to question the opponents’ views and impacts. The duo partner would have to work together to construct points that will eventually lead to their main statement of their impact. It helps you to think outside the box and be able to identify loopholes in the opponents’ arguments. Also, debating really helps one to be able to keep their emotions in check, and to stay calm as debates do get really heated sometimes.

Coach Malik

Overall, for me, debate was a great experience and has helped me learn a lot of new things and experience new things. Another thing that debate helped me with more is with  speed reading. Speed reading is very useful when you have a lot of evidence but are under a time limit to be able make a point with it.

The debate team is a very close group and is made up of debaters who have had more experiences that are always there to help with questions and teach new debaters about debating. The coaches are always helpful and willing to help out with the packet. Though debate season had ended for now, debaters cannot wait for the next debate season and hope that next year all divisions will get win at the Minnesota UDL Championship!

Link Crew freshman night

What’s new with Link Crew?

Link Crew is doing something a little different for December’s freshman fun night. Instead of Link Crew teacher advisors creating the Link Crew events, the student Link Leaders are taking on the role.

Freshman nights are events planned by the Link Crew organization for freshman. They consist of activites like: scavenger hunts, movie nights, game nights, and more. Link Crew events are supposed to help freshman meet new students in their grade, build new life long friendships, and learn useful strategies to help them through high school.

Link Crew is a great program which I would recommend to any junior or senior who wants to make a change in their environment.

This program supports the transition of middle schoolers to the high school world. Coming into high school is a big change and for anyone and it can be stressful, scary, and confusing. Link Crew is there to alleviate those scary and stressful feelings and make high school into something exciting and memorable.

As a Link Crew leader you have to be sympathetic and understand not all freshman come from the same background. Some kids come from broken homes, abusive environments, or low economic opportunities. Link Crew is a positive environment that can get kids away from that. Being in Link Crew is a way to make change and help kids that may need it.

As a current Link Crew leader, creating our own freshman night is new and really exciting. My partner Sami, a senior, and I are planning on doing a bowling night. What’s a better way to build friendships than that?

Our goal is to connect our freshman group with another one so freshman are able to hang out with some of their school friends who might not be in our group. I am really excited about December and happy to see where this hard planning takes us.

 

What’s Girl Unity at Highland?

Recap of last school years Girl Unity

Back for another year at Highland Park is the official group, Girl Unity started by Natalie Mendoza and Selah Jacoway. Last year was the first year of Girl Unity and coming in as a brand new club the support was heart warming and inspirational. Girl Unity created a positive image for themselves which is what we strived for. We were very happy with the sucesss of creating a new club. The impact on the community was not as significant as we hoped for it to be, but we have to realize success comes in time and patience.

How was Girl Unity started?

Girl Unity was started by Natalie Mendoza and Selah Jacoway towards the middle of our 10th and 11th grade year. We were both facing many girl to girl issues in our after school sports and daily school activities; from drama, fights, cyber bullying, bad communication, and no sense of respect for one another as females. This was a negative affect on our mood, achievement of games, practices, and school work; something had to be done immediately. After expressing our thoughts and concerns we set out to start a club that would combat many of these issues.

Highland is not a bad school, and neither are the students but whenever too many girls share a small space conflicts are at times destined to arise. We made a proposal that was presented to Mr. Sager, our vice principal, he was impressed with our ideas. We where sent to Mrs. Hanson, a secretary for the principal, we agreed on a time and place to host Girl Unity, all we needed was to advertise; the movement was in motion.

We had almost 6 sessions of Girl Unity, in our first year, and in those meetings we had good discussions. We addressed the topic of the exploitation of women, color and skin division, women’s roles in society, and how to handle situations and conflicts in a healthy way. Overall, the club was a positive experience and I am excited to do it again.

Girl Unity today

Girl Unity’s first session was on Thursday, September 20, at 2:15-3:15. Natalie could not take on the club with me so I have the opportunity to lead the club this year independently. We had a turn out of 10 girls, of all grades, from 9th-12th grade. The Girls are focused and interested in the club. I am excited for the success and the impact it brings to Highland this year and in the future.

Agriculture day

Agriculture day, or Ag day, is a celebration showing animals we eat, and plants we grow. Everything farmers do, and their hard work and labor, is also shown and celebrated.

This was the 8th annual Ag day celebration at HPSH. There were chickens, pigs, ponies, and a bunny that was really big.

The lady that had the really big bunny said that she also competes in contests where there are prizes for the biggest animal and biggest crops they grow. During those gatherings they learn different tips and tricks on how to grow their crops so they can be more healthy.

While we were at Ag day we saw tractors, hay bales, and many stations that taught you how to do things related to agriculture. All the animals were with their caretakers, who would tell you about the animal while you were petting it.

Ag day is important because it educates kids on a topic that most won’t go out and look for information on their own. They do it in a way that is fun and interests us so it doesn’t feel like we’re being taught.

Some agriculture facts according to agday.org:

  • Minnesota has 74,542 farms, on 26 million acres of land
  • The agriculture business makes $75 billion dollars a year for Minnesota, with soybeans, corn, and wheat being the most commonly exported crops out of Minnesota
  • We have 188 farmers markets
  • The agriculture business looks like it will keep going strong in Minnesota.
  • Ag day’s purpose is to educate people on how food and fibers are made, “Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products” and “Acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food and fiber industry”

Some priorities of Ag day are: to “Involve the agricultural public relations community in support of National Agriculture Day, inform trade and general media about National Agriculture Day, provide information to increase awareness, and support and encourage programs and activities in observance of National Agriculture Day by organizations, companies and individuals”.

For more information, please visit: https://www.agday.org/about

Valleyfair day

As the school year comes to an end, Highland has been celebrating by hosting many events to close the year for its students, and especially for its senior class. This includes events like Prom, Boat Dance, AG Day, and finally, Valleyfair!

Valleyfair Day is a trip to the amusement park in Shakopee, Minnesota for Highland’s graduating class. This field trip isn’t for every grade, only seniors are invited and encouraged to attend to put a cap on all the memories they’ve made the past four years at Highland Park. This is one last field trip for the class to share together, to celebrate all the hard work they’ve put in together as a class, and to enjoy one last trip with each other.

Valleyfair offers activities for everyone who attends! They offer rides for those who do enjoy the thrills of giant, fast roller coasters, and offer different activities ranging for those who are on the more calm and collected side of things.

Valleyfair has arcade games, water rides, wave pools, roller coasters, food, and many more fun activities around the park. There are several dozen different events for every student in the graduating class of 2018. The bus for the field trip left at 9 am on Friday, May 25th!

Dare 2 Be Real

Dare 2 Be Real (D2BR) is a student-led anti-racist leadership organization. Dare 2 Be Real focuses on preventing racism in Saint Paul Public Schools. According to the SPPS website, the purpose of D2BR is to:

  • Identify and affirm students who are especially effective at navigating culturally or racially diverse settings and foster the growth of interracial allies
  • Develop and support a team of intercultural/interracial student leaders who will seek to eliminate systemic, cultural, and individual racism in their school and community
  • Empower young people as racial equity leaders with opportunities to facilitate discussion and engage in collaborative inquiry and cross-cultural learning experiences
  • Help students develop and understand their individual and collective racial identity

The program includes a wide variety of students who have the same motives. These leaders work on the relationships between staff and the students.

Participants have the choice to figure out how they want to help. The group is open to any and all ideas to solve in-school problems. Dare 2 Be Real is led by Ms. McGraw. D2BR at Highland is planned to start next school year. They want to make sure everyone of any race is able to take part in this program. Highland wants to build a strong team of leaders who want to help better the school environment. Join Dare 2 Be Real to help develop Highland into a safe, positive environment.

ThreeSixty Journalism

image taken from: ttp://threesixtyjournalism.org/summercamps

ThreeSixty Journalism has a summer camp for grades 9-11, but there are some exceptions for seniors. ThreeSixty summer camp has a 2 week session and a 3 week session, depending on which session you would prefer to take. The summer camp is based on writing; the first week is focused on learning how to write college essays, and then they help you with writing in general, mostly focusing on non-fiction stories.

They have a website where, if you’re interested, you can apply online; it’s an easy and fast application process. You just need some information about how you’re doing in school at the moment. There will be helpful directions and guides that will help you with signing up. For students who get free or reduced lunch, you may qualify for a scholarship to help pay for the camp, but others will have to pay tuition. The application deadline is May 21st, and each session starts on a different date.

There are four different sessions you can take.

  • Option 1 is 1 week long, and it starts on July 9th through July 13th.
  • Option 2 is 2 weeks long, and it starts on June 18th through June 29th. The first week, they teach you to write college essays and second week, you go into journalism.
  • Option 3 is 3 weeks long, and it starts on June 18th through June 29th, but then adds an additional week: July 9th to July 13th.
  • Option 4 is 2 weeks long, and it starts on June 25th through June 29th, and continues on July 9th through the 13th.

You get to write every day of the camp, which will improve your writing, and they also give out scholarships if you’re looking for any. So, if you’re interested in writing, give it a shot!

Do you want to join College Possible?

Overview Of College Possible
College Possible is a non profit organization that helps to make college success possible for students with low income backgrounds. With the support of College Possible, 98% of College Possible students earned college admission, and the students also graduate from college over four times more, in general. The application process starts your sophomore year, but College Possible officially begins the fall of your junior year. College Possible stays with you until you get your college degree.

What does it provide?
College Possible helps students explore the world of college options that are available to them through college visits to campuses, and a college fair. College Possible provides 4 ACT and SAT test preps, throughout your junior year, and scores have historically increased by over 20%.

College Possible guides students through the college admission process, and they provide help through the application process.

College Possible also helps to make college more affordable, by guiding students through the financial process, by helping students with finding scholarship opportunities, and by supporting them with their financial aid in college.

They offer guidance about the transition from high school to college, which includes a summer bridge workshop. It also provides support into college until you get your degree.

How does College Possible start officially ?
Each student is paired with a College Possible coach, who is caring, supportive, and knowledgeable, each year until graduation.

College Possible officially begins in the fall of your junior year. Students are required to attend after school sessions two times per week. In these sessions, students learn about, and complete the steps and paths to college, with the support of your coach and other College Possible participants. The after school sessions last until the end of your senior year.

High school seniors attend a Summer Bridge workshop, where they receive support to make sure that they are prepared to go to college.

During college, the participants are paired with a coach who will connect with them throughout the years to provide information, resources, and support so they can remain on the path to college graduation.

Who can participate College Possible?
In order to join College Possible, you need to commit to full participation, meaning that you have to come to all of the meetings after school and have regular contact with your coach. Also, you need to be available for some weekend events.

You need to qualify as low income, meaning your parent or guardian has to be qualified as low income.

You need to have a GPA of 2.0 or higher because grades are important.

You need to show an interest in attending a 4-year college or university.

Also, there is no citizen requirement whatsoever.

Meeting these criteria is necessary for you to join College Possible.

How do you apply for College Possible?
First, you fill out your basic Student Information sheet which is the white sheet, and can be found in the CCRC.

After that part is filled out, then you get a colorful packet which includes:

  • 2 Teacher Recommendations
  • Parent or Guardian Information
  • Permission for Information
  • Media Consent

Lastly, you will have to have a 10 minute interview.

If you have questions or concerns, feel free to visit the CCRC and talk to Marta or Tiffany.