FFA’s annual Ag Day

You know spring is here when FFA hosts their annual Ag Day. Ag day is a day for all students to go outside, see animals and learn about different aspects of agriculture. This year Ag Day was held in front of the school.

This year wasn’t too different from the previous years. When you walked out to the area in front of the School House, there were tables lining the walls with different organizations and students ready to inform and entertain. The animals were in one corner and the John Deer was in the other. The classic vanilla ice cream booth was very popular; the line didn’t die down until the last 10 minutes of the period.

This year though, they did have some different animals. Besides the adorable dogs roaming around, this year they brought in a calf and snakes, along with the sheep, the goats, chickens, and roosters. The snakes were in a different area than the other animals. Everyone took turns showing off their bravery by holding them.

Some people said they would like to see demonstrations or skits at next year’s Ag Day event. They felt that the event is more like a fair, and there wasn’t much to do after they made 2 laps around to see the booths. Others were happy that they could use this time to see what they want, and have time to relax and socialize after.

The event lasted 2nd through 6th period. Some students went almost every hour, while others didn’t even get a chance to participate. But anyone who wants seemed to have a good time, even the teachers. It was nice to see that the teachers got to use that time as a break from their stress and relax. Hopefully, next year everyone will get a chance to go.

The first Fiesta Latina

Union Latina’s Fiesta Latina was held on Wednesday, May 1st, this year. With Ms. Nelson’s three classes, and the addition of Ms. Boe’s Spanish ⅚ class, there were a lot more student performers than ever. This year they tried to include more diverse dances, that represented more Hispanic cultures. This year’s dances included: Cumbia, Bachata, Folklorico, Flamenco, Salsa, Baile de Los Chinelos, and Merengue.

The name change of the performance, from Cinco de Mayo to Fiesta Latina, wasn’t the only change to the show this year. The decorations around the auditorium and stage were changed to be more inclusive to other cultures. The red, white and green theme used in past years no longer fits the purpose of the show. This year, the stage was decorated with the annual murals made in past years, with the newest addition sitting front and center on stage. The paintings were surrounded by colorful balloons and paper crafts such as flowers and papel picado. The hope was to show how the Hispanic culture encompasses more than just dancing and singing; art is also an important and valued aspect.

The performance started off with the Jazz Band playing. The music filled the auditorium as all the students and teachers took their seats. After everyone was seated the show began. Cesar Degollado, the Vice President of ULA, sang an amazing rendition of “Probablamente” by Cristian Nodal. Dance after dance, the students continued to surprise everyone with their well rehearsed choreography.

At 6:00PM, the performers and their guests were invited back to enjoy a meal, donated by El Pariente, a Mexican restaurant. Even though the food was thirty minutes late, everyone seemed to enjoy the food and company. Around seven thirty, the second show began. Parents, teachers and even students returned to watch the show. The night show had 3 extra performances then the one during 7th hour; a group of Aztec dancers, a traditional Peruvian dance, and more Chinelo performers joined the students.

At the end of the night, all the student performers seemed happy to participate. Some of the club members had participated all four years of their time in high school and were sad that it would be their last. Overall, it was a great show to kick off new name.

Students’ feelings towards snow tubing

The rescheduled snow tubing trip for March 14th was cancelled again. Due to the severe weather conditions and ice, Buck Hill was closed until the end of the week. Since we’re nearing the spring season, the organizers felt there wouldn’t be time to reschedule the field trip. When students asked about refunds, the counselors told them that refunds wouldn’t be given, but that the money paid for the trip would be credited to the Valleyfair trip, coming up.

Seeing as students were so upset about the previous cancellations, I decided I would be more interested to read about what people’s opinions were, instead of just mine.

I interviewed three different Highland Park seniors, and asked them a few questions about their feelings on the situation. And these were there responses:

What was your first thought after hearing the trip was going to be cancelled for the second time?

Student 1 (S1): “I was so mad. But I also kind of expected it.”

Student 2 (S2): “I didn’t really care to be honest. I was only going because my friends wanted me to go.”

Student 3 (S3): “I felt like the people organizing it didn’t care at all. Like they didn’t care that we were upset.”

Do you feel like the senior class council is to blame? If so, Why?

S1: “No, they can’t control the weather.”

S2: “No, because they wanted to go on the trip too.”

S3: “Sort of, they are supposed to fight for the seniors, and I just felt like they didn’t.”

What are you feelings towards the Valleyfair field trip coming up?

S1: “I think it will be a fun way to end the year.”

S2: “I’m excited, but I feel like it was weird how they assumed everyone wanted to go, so they just credited the money. I know people who were really mad about it.”

S3: “No, I’m not going. It’s going to get cancelled anyway.”

What are some field trips you guys think students would enjoy?

S1: “Snow tubing…”

S2: “I think we should all go bowling. Or swimming would be fun.”

S3: “We should all go to a group movie. That would be awesome.”

Everyone who wanted to go was a little upset by the cancellation, but graduation is coming up and seniors are most excited for that.

Benstock

Every year, Highland Park Senior High has an event called Benstock. The NHS organization oversees this event, and had auditions on February 11th, 13th, and 14th. Those who auditioned for this event, and passed to perform, must attend rehearsals on March 6th and 7th at 2:00 to 5:00.

March 8th is the day of performance, starting at 6:30, at Highland Park Senior High, in the auditorium.

Benstock is an event for people to come and watch people perform their talents. It is very similar to a talent show. If you have attended a Benstock during the past years, you know how fun and exciting it can be.

Invite your friends and come with $5-$10 to attend this event. Come to have a fun time, cheer on your friends and watch amazing performances from your upperclassmen, peers and friends.

If you didn’t know about auditions, or missed the dates, don’t worry, Benstock is held every year and will hold auditions around the same time each year. Pay attention to the posters on the walls in the hallways. These posters will inform you of where and when auditions are held.

Even if you or friends aren’t performing, you can still go and enjoy your time. In previous years they had people sing, dance, tell jokes, play their instruments, and even teachers performed as a band. Some of these performances you just can’t miss.

Setting up and creating this event is not very easy. If this type of work interests you, you can join the NHS. NHS stands for National Honors Society which is a national organization that recognizes academic excellence in students. The purpose for NHS is to promote leadership, help in volunteering, and create an amazing character out of everyone. Those who want to join NHS should strive to show reliability, honesty, sincerity, and are expected to be leaders.

The the first requirement to join NHS is to have a GPA of 3.75 after the first semester of your sophomore or junior year. You also must include an essay on how you have previously served for a project, or how there is a service project you want to do in the future. Other than these requirements you will also need three letters of recommendation.

Any other questions you have can be sent to either of the NHS faculty advisors: Stacy Hanson or Jody Rohweller-Kocur. To get their information, go onto the Highland website and go the the NHS page.

If you have no interest in joining the NHS but would like to be caught up with what they do, you can follow their Twitter or Facebook page.  

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 highlandparkprizm2020@gmail.com

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