Highland Park clubs

By Natalie Braga, Alivia Arredondo, and Piper Gallivan

Highland Park Senior High offers a variety of super great clubs for ALL to join! We have interviewed the leaders of every club to find out what each club has to offer. Highland students have a wide range of interests, but there is a club out there for everyone. Here is what we found out about all the different clubs!

Anime Club
First on the list is Anime Club, lead by Ms. Lynn. Anime Club meets once a week in Room 159, and is open to everyone who has an interest in anime and wants to learn more about it (no drawing skills required). You will get to watch and draw anime, as well as learn (and taste test) things from different food celebrations. This club is an opportunity to get you in touch with another culture, and interact and bond with people with similar interests. Ms. Lynn, who has been at Highland for 15 years, highly encourages you to stop by!

Book Club
Do you miss the pressure free reading experience? Are you tired of teachers telling what to read and how to read? Then come join Book Club! They are a super fun, low key club, and they meet about once every 6 weeks to discuss a book and eat snacks. Ms. Rahman is the leader of the club and she invites everyone to come to the library to discuss books and have a good time. Most of the books read in Book Club are meant to really relate to teens and make for easy connections and understandings to the characters. Book Club also offers many exiting visits to see authors, and a chance to get your very own free book signed. Another great thing about Book Club is they are a part of Read Brave. Read Brave is a program where students and parents read the same book, so parents understand the the realities and challenges teenagers face. For more information on Read Brave go to: http://www.sppl.org/readbrave

Book Club is a really great place for students to unwind and get lost in their book without the added stress of taking notes, analyzing, reading to a certain point, etc. so come join Book Club!

Conspiracy Theory Club
Was the moon landing fake? Is Tupac still alive? What really happened to Princess Diana? If these questions intrigue you, you should check out the Conspiracy Theory Club! They meet every other Thursday in Ms. Shomion’s Room to explore alternative ideas and theories. Each meeting also includes great snacks, including the iconic mystery juice. It is a great way to meet others in a fun and respectful environment, while also expanding your knowledge on the world (and what may be beyond it). Meetings are low commitment and guaranteed to always be fun!

Ms. Becker invites anyone and everyone to join debate, held in her classroom, Room 2214. The debate team meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 4-5:30 to learn about each year’s new debate topic. This year’s topic is education, which will be the focus of many discussions in the club. With a partner, you are able to compete against other schools at tournaments held about every other week on Fridays and Saturdays. Debaters tend to do better in history and English, and are often offered college scholarships for their hard work. It is an opportunity to travel to other schools and universities, develop a deep understanding of the yearly topic, and make new friends.

Calling all Future Farmers of America, or just anyone interested in agriculture, Ms. Wedger would love to have you in FFA! Meetings start at the end of September, are monthly, and last a half hour to 45 minutes. This club offers many different career development events, and the opportunity for many different field trips to explore those careers. These events are connected to different contests you can do, in which you compete regionally against Central Minnesota, and possibly State after that! FFA is a great opportunity to get involved at Highland, not to mention the fact that it looks good on a college resume. You can choose to be as involved as you want, while building up your leadership skills, and connecting with people you might not usually connect with. Ms. Wedger encourages you to ask her about any questions you may have!

Seniors, Kat Vento and Zoe Challenger are the co-presidents of Film Club, with Ms. Becker supervising. It is is held in her room (2214) every Monday. The Film Club works on making their own films, while also having the added benefit of popcorn each meeting. It is a great opportunity for students to express themselves through moving images, and also allows members to meet artistic individuals like themselves. There is no competing and it is purely for fun, while also being low commitment. The film club is open to everyone, is very open minded to all ideas that come in, and would love to have anyone interested to join!

Gender Equality Club
Anyone interested in making Highland Park an even more safe and inclusive place for all should check out the Gender Equality Club! Ms. Rise hosts the meetings once a week in her room: 2201. In the meetings there is not only usually food, but also a chance to be apart of discussions about how to make everyone feel included at school, and how to raise awareness about current events involving gender issues in society. Ms. Rise encourages you to join because gender equity is something that affects everyone and is also a pressing and interesting topic in the current times. The GEC also does fun leadership activities and crafts, such as bracelets for special needs kids. Stop by Ms. Rise’s room with questions!

Global Affairs Club
Global Affairs Club (formerly known as Model UN), is a great club to join for anyone who wants to learn about the real UN, discuss foreign policy and current events, and new this year participate a program called Great Discussions. It helps you grasp concepts, and enter the world of Global Citizenship. There are many opportunities for travel and attending conferences with other schools. It looks great on resumes, and colleges love it. There is a lot of flexibility in joining this club; you can meet once a month or join once a week. What people don’t always realize is that anyone can join, regardless of prior knowledge, and underclassmen are especially welcome!! Co-Presidents Archer Gallivan and Sarah Lind-MacMillan invite anyone to join in Ms.Rise’s (2201) room on Thursdays after school!!

Indian Culture Club
A brand new club this year that wants you to be a part of it is the Indian Culture Club! They meet twice a month in Mr. Berndt’s room (2306) and offer delicious Indian snacks! In this club you will be able to learn about and appreciate the Indian culture more, while also meeting new people who are also interested in the culture. They also plan on doing fun activities such as a tailgating booth at homecoming. ICC hopes to help you gain appreciation for a culture that is represented both at Highland and in St. Paul, and would love you come and check it out!

Math Team
Interested in improving your math skills and showing off your knowledge to others? Check out the Math Team, with meetings held twice a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 2:15 to 3:30, in Mr O’Connell’s room! Though the club only runs from October to March, it is a great opportunity to make friends, learn math you won’t in class, and gain more confidence in your skills! The math team competes in the St. Paul League and prepares for the meets during the meetings, as well as other fun activities. This is a calm and flexible club that is happy to have anyone join.

Mountain Biking
Are you ready to pump iron biking style?! Join Mountain Biking Club!
Mountain Biking Club is a super fun interactive sport for anyone (no riding experience necessary). They meet 2-3 times a week down in Hidden Falls and they compete against other schools in races. So if you’re looking for a low commitment, fun sport, where you get to explore new biking trails, make new friends, get in shape, and learn new skills, Mountain Biking Club is the place for you! For more information go to: http://wiki.hpmtb.org/Highland+Park+Composite+Mountain+Biking

Science Club
Does exploring deeper into fun science topics sound interesting to you? Join Henry Vasquez and the rest of the Science Club once a month every third Wednesday (excluding September, which will be on the 27th) in Ms. Connelly’s room! Each meeting will have a theme and experiment to go with it, as well as having snacks provided. While participation is not necessary, members are highly encouraged to get involved with Science Fair, where you could compete at regional, state, and even national levels! Science Fair has many scholarship opportunities and members of the Science Club get free admission to register. Science Club also goes on science related field trips such as to the Science Museum and a tour of the U of M’s biomedical department. This club is low commitment, looks great on resumes, and welcomes you to join!

Student Council
Want to make a difference in this school and use your leadership skills? If so, Student Council is the perfect place for you! If you make your way up to executive board, you will meet once a week, or if you are on full house, it is the first Monday of each month, all in room 3211. They work to provide a fun experience for the whole school, by planning dances, tailgating, homecoming week, the senior send off, and many service opportunities, among many other things. Anyone should join who wants good experience planning, working with others, dealing with other’s opinions, and getting involved in school. On top of all of that, it looks great on a resume! Mrs. Rohweller-Kocur, Mrs. Hedwall and the StuCo executive board would love to invite anyone to try out!

Union Latina invites everyone to join them in their festivities throughout the year! They learn about Latin culture, learn to dance, and plan events for the student body. Some events they put on are tailgating, Dia de los Muertos, culture day, and Cinco de Mayo. It is a great way to learn about culture, learn to dance, as well as build community and build culture. Anyone can join, regardless of race or if you speak Spanish!

Youth in Government
Youth in Government is an amazing opportunity for anyone who wants to get to meet new people, learn how a government works (specifically legislative), and have their voice be heard. Many of the meeting are to prepare for a conference held in February. YIG clubs from all over the state meet in downtown Minneapolis, or the State Capital for upperclassmen, to share their ideas and work with each other. It is a great way to gain knowledge, and work with new people, plus they have great snacks. They meet at 2:20 on Thursdays in room 2201.

Highland Park Senior high offers a variety of clubs for a variety of people. We hope this article helped you find a club you’re interested in! Although we did not get the chance to interview some of the clubs such as Archery, ACC, Black Student Union, Chinese, Chess, Genius Squad, Prism, Speech, Spanish Debate, and Youth Alive we highly encourage trying them out and learning more about them by going to: https://www.spps.org/site/Default.aspx?PageType=1&SiteID=38&ChannelID=182&DirectoryType=6 for more information on all the clubs.

Agriculture Day 2017

On May 12th, the Highland Park Senior High School Future For Agriculture (FFA) hosted their annual Ag Day. In the past, Ag Day has had many different types of farm animals, colleges in the Midwest, local farmers, and agriculture games and activities. Many of these activities are fun, educational, and rewarding for students and teachers. Every year, Highland has hosted other schools, and allowed for them to come up and visit Ag Day. Students from the elementary school, just down the road, came, as well as students from our middle school. 

This year, Ag Day had multiple types of animals roaming around including: shetland ponies, chickens, fish, many kinds of dogs, chicks, and a goat. The pony, goat, dogs, and fish were all able to be touched and played with.

At one booth, they had a pool of fish where kids could come up and see how many they could pick up. Besides being able to pick up the fish, the two students who ran the fish stand had trivia questions about Minnesota fish. 

The students who brought dogs just walked around with their dog and allowed students to come up and play with them. All of the animal booths not only let you play with the animals, but they were also very educational. They all had posters talking about environmental considerations, temperament, and food requirements. They also had trivia games where students could win candy or other prizes.

Other activities that Ag Day had were: face painting, stacking hay barrels, planting seeds, making flowers, and ice cream. The ice cream stand was by far the most popular; it had a long line all day, at one point they even ran out of ice cream. At the ice cream stand they would ask trivia questions, and in exchange you would get ice cream. The questions at this stand ranged from stuff about dairy, soy milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, all the way to what dairy is and where it comes from. 

Besides all the fun with animals for the little kids, Ag Day had a wide variety of colleges there. The colleges that attended Ag Day were: the University of Minnesota, the University of Minnesota: Crookston, and the University of Wisconsin: River Falls. The colleges were a chance for upperclassmen, and maybe even lowerclassmen, to learn about how they can make a difference in agriculture. The colleges explained different fields of study that revolved around agriculture, and they talked about their campuses, and tried to get your attention to go to their school. It was kind of like a mini college fair.

In the end, Ag Day was very successful, and stayed busy all day long.

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.








HPHS Robotics

This weekend, the Highland Park robotics team are hopping on a bus and going to Duluth to compete in the 2017 First Robotics Steamworks Competition. This competition will determine if the team will move on to the worldwide competition in St. Louis later this year.

For those of you who don’t know, First Robotics competitions work like this: every year First Robotics creates a challenge, this year it’s “Steamworks,” they lay out a field of play for the robots to traverse, and complete unique challenges in order to earn points, to eventually win the match. One challenge this year was to make your robot climb a rope onto an “airship.” Another was to make the robot throw wiffle balls into a boiler in order to “power” the airship.

When the match starts, the first 15 seconds are called “the autonomous period.” This is where the robots do pre-programmed tasks and deliver pre-loaded game pieces. After the 15 seconds expire, the team’s drivers take over for the last 2 minutes, and 15 seconds, of the match. In this time, teams might try to defend an objective, or complete some of their own. The team’s drivers have to be some of the most talented people on the team as one crucial mistake could mean the end for your team’s season.

Behind the scenes are the build team, the business team, and the programming team. During the six-week long build season, the build team comes together to actually turn their designs into reality. This job takes skill, and the ability to work with your hands. During the hectic build season they must work hard to assemble a robot that can physically accomplish all the methods of winning. According to freshman Alexander “Zuperman17” Busch, the hardest part of being on the build team is managing your time properly in order to finish everything with time to spare. “I mostly like the snacks,” He said jokingly.

The business team works with local businesses in order to get sponsorships, and to manage the team’s finances. One member of the business team, Greta Shore, says robotics helped her follow her passion for science, engineering, and technology. “It helped me develop relationships with upperclassmen,” she said with a “dab.”

In contrast to the large rosters of the build team and business team, the programming team is much smaller with only two members. One member of the programming team, Alexis, said, “Robotics is challenging, but fun, and very rewarding!”

Overall, robotics isn’t about the competition, according to the FRC (First Robotics Competition), it’s about the cooperation, or working with other teams, and with your team, to accomplish goals. That’s what really makes robotics special; it’s the “varsity sport of the mind.” It’s extremely different than many other sports because two teams can win the match. Robotics combines the precision of an athlete, the smarts of mathlete, and the determination of a boxer.

For all of you who want to join an after school activity, but don’t know what to join, the robotics team always welcomes you.

Debate en español

Highland es una escuela muy diversa. Tenemos un programa de inmersión en español, varios actividades después de la escuela relacionado a diferente culturas y mucho más. Uno de los actividades incluye debate en español.

b074682Debate en espanol es exactamente igual como el debate en inglés pero en español. La maestra o la “coach” del debate es la Sra. Boe. Ella ha hecho el dabete por al menos 3 años. Ella y alguien de Augsburg College se reúnen para planificar como va ser la temporada cada año. Hablan sobre cuando serán las prácticas, y cuando sean los turneos y otros detalles.

Muchos estudiantes piensan que es difícil el debate. Piensan que va ser como otra clase, tienen que buscar toda su información, escribir más y todo eso. Pero la realidad es que la Sra. Boe te imprime un paquete lleno con toda la información que vas a nececstar. Es mucho más fácil de lo que piensan!

Durante las reuniones/prácticas vamos a leer el paquete que nos imprimió, hacer mimi y prácticas de debates, y otros juegos para poder mejorar nuestro español y la manera que hablamos ( nivel, velocidad, etc.).

Los torneos todavía están en por determinar, pero van a comenzar entre marzo y mayo. El equipo se reune casa jueves en el salon 1211 (salon de frances) de 2:15 hasta la 3:30. Puedes venir a las reuniones aunque no sepas inglés!


For those unable to speak Spanish:

Highland is a very diverse school. We have a Spanish immersion program, several after-school activities related to different cultures, and more. One of the activities includes debate in Spanish.

Debate in Spanish is exactly the same as debate in English, but in Spanish. The teacher, or the coach, of the debate Spanish team is Sra. Boe. She has been doing debate for the last 3 years. She, and someone from Augsburg College, comes together to plan how the season will be every year. They talk about when the practices will be, when the tournaments will be, and other details.

Many students think debate is difficult. They think it’s going to be like another class, that they have to find all the information, write more, and all that. But the reality is that Sra. Boe prints a packet full of all the information you need. It is much easier than you think!

During the meetings/practices we will read the packet that Sra. Boe printed, have mini and practice debates, and play other games to improve our Spanish and the way we speak (level, speed, etc.)

The tournaments are still to be determined, but will be starting between March and May. The team meets every Thursday in Room 1211 (French Room) from 2:15 to 3:30. You can come to meetings even if you do not know English!

Highland Park Showcase: 2017

Showcase is an open house for students from other schools to come see Highland. If any students were interested in Highland, this open house gives them an opportunity to come and learn more about Highland, its staff, classes, offerings, and The IB program in a more in depth way.

This year’s showcase was on Thursday, January 11th, 2017 from 6:00- 8:00 pm. Anybody was welcome to come, and the turn out wasn’t bad. The first level of the auditorium was almost full with around 200 -300 people there to get to know about Highland.


photo courtesy of Ms. Hedwall

A variety of after school clubs and activities had boards at the showcase to advertise themselves. Some of the activities and clubs represented included: Robotics, ULA, Newspaper, Yearbook, FFA, Link Crew, Math Team, Chess Club and Anime Club.

During the showcase, the Highland Park Jazz Band preformed. They played 3 different songs during the showcase drawing in a crowd. The Jazz Band has been practicing since late September or early October and they sounded really good.

A lot of people interested in Highland went to the Showcase on Thursday. Hopefully they left with a lot more information about Highland, and a better feel overall of the schools atmosphere.


photo courtesy of Ms. Hedwall


Vikings Stadium fundraiser for HP

This year, students have an opportunity to fundraise for their club by working at the new Minnesota Vikings stadium. The representatives of the new U.S. Bank Vikings Stadium came to our school and offered an opportunity to any sports team, club, or travel group, that needed help fundraising, by allowing the groups a opportunity to volunteer, to work a variety of jobs during a game at the Vikings Stadium.

Some of these jobs involved managing a dessert cart for a suite in the stadium. This meant that you and a group of people would take a big cart of many desserts and go to one of the suites assigned to your group, and offer those desserts to anyone who was interested.

Then, the other job in the stadium is being a runner. This is when a select few are chosen to help bring food supplies, items, and materials to many places around the stadium that request those things during a game.

img_2327Parents are also allowed to volunteer, and work a game as well, as when a single person works one game they raise $100 for themselves to put towards their group of choice. 

It’s a pretty cool experience to work in a place like the stadium because it gives you a chance to see the new interior from the inside, and when your group is on a break, you get to see some of the game from an entrance to the field.

When you work depends on when the Minnesota Vikings face another football team at U.S. Bank stadium, and sometimes, there will be other special events that you can volunteer to work at as well, like a monster truck rally, or a monster supercross, etc.

I have worked 2 games this season so far and I have raised over $200 for a couple of clubs and groups that all work together to help fundraise. I think this is a great way to help raise money for your group while working at the new U.S. Bank stadium.

A.C.C. plans for Hmong New Year

Every year, Highland Park Senior High’s after school club Asian Culture Club (A.C.C.) has a tradition of showcasing Hmong New Year. The club creates performances to inform the audience about what Hmong New Year is like, and gives views of what Hmong culture is like overall. The whole showcase is mostly run by students. This year, the club is taking a new turn on what they usually do.

The positions for Hmong New Year is the same as every other year: there will be diffeimg_6916rent emcees to inform what performance is up next, there will be a fashion show displaying different types of Hmong clothes that students own, there will be a song sung by a student in Hmong, and there will be a  traditional Hmong dance that will be performed by girls.

The new turn that A.C.C. is taking this year, is doing a play. Stepping out of their comfort zones, A.C.C. has decided to make a play informing the audience of why, and how, Hmong New Year is celebrated in a new and unique way.

A.C.C. has been preparing for Hmong New Year for a couple of months now. Groups are separated into doing their own thing for preparing. Dancers will go to dance practices and rehearsals. The decoration crew decorates the auditorium and makes flyers. The fashion show crew and tech crew have meetings to figure out how they will perform. Actors and actresses will figure out the script for the play. Each board member is in charged of each different group.

The showcase will be in the auditorium on November 17th, during 6th hour. If students want to watch the performance, they should inform their 6th hour teacher about the performance. Otherwise, anyone else is invited to go and support A.C.C. with their Hmong New Year showcase.

Club de libros


photo courtesy of Ms. Rahman

Bookclub? Qué es eso? Es cuando un grupo de amigos leen el mismo libro, se reúnen y hablan del libro. Por ejemplo hablan sobre de que les gusto, que no les gusto, etc. Nosotros tenemos este club and highland senior high!

Personalmente yo he estado en este club desde mi primer año aquí. El club de libros en highland básicamente trabaja así, solamente hay algunas diferencias, o ventajas de las que yo ya he mencionado.

La primera diferencia es que tenemos un líder, Ms. Rahman, ella es muy agradable. Ella es la que ordena nuestros libros. Cuando los ordena ella nos manda un correo electronico, avisandonos cual libro es y organiza la siguiente reunión. Ella le pregunta a todos los días que todos podemos ir a la junta, o la mayoria que puede asistir, para planear la siguiente reunión.

Cuando llega el libro, ella nos manda otro correo electrónico diciéndonos que vayamos a recoger el libro. Cuando llega el dia reunirse, Ms. Rahman ordena pizza! Una ventaja. Podemos hablar sobre el libro y comer al mismo tiempo.

Nos da unas semanas para que podamos leer el libro con calma, entonces no se tienen que preocupar en terminar el libro, porque solamente es para diversión.

Si quieren unirse al club, las reuniones son de las 2:15 a las 3:45, una hora y media, en la biblioteca. Solamente tienen que preguntarle a quien sea que esté detrás del mostrador, “Como puedo unirme al club de libros?”

If you don’t know how to speak Spanish, here is the English version:

Bookclub? What is that? It is when a group of friends read the same book, meet, and talk about the book. For example, they talk about what they like, what they do not like, etc. We have this club at Highland Senior High!

Personally, I have been a part of this club since my first year here. The book club at Highland basically works well, and there are only a few differences, or advantages from what I’ve already mentioned.

The first difference is that we have a leader, Ms. Rahman, who is very nice. She orders our books. When she orders the books, she sends us an email, letting us know which book is next, and then she organizes the next meeting. She asks for a day we can all attend, or most can attend, to plan the next meeting.

When she gets the book, she sends us another email telling us to go to pick up the book. Finally,  when the day comes for the meeting, Ms. Rahman orders pizza (which is an advantage)! We can talk about the book and eat at the same time.

She always gives us a few weeks, from when we get the book, to when she schedules the meeting, so we can read the book slowly, then not have to worry about finishing the book, because it’s just for fun.

If you want to join the club, meetings are from 2:15 to 3:45, for half an hour in the library. You only have to ask whoever is behind the counter, “Can I join the book club?”

Tailgating 2016

I am writing this article from the shadow of the schoolhouse. The smells of FFA’s grill, and school spirit fill the air. I am currently eating one of their cheeseburgers, supporting my school. The burger I would rate 4.0/4.0, having a perfect GPA.

In front of me is a booth for the HiWay Credit Union, supporting the Highland community by sponsoring the Photo booth. They are giving away candy, and I pick up a vanilla Tootsie Roll. Next to the candy table is the Photo booth. As I am here alone, I do not go in, but I have seen many groups of students enter.

img_0013Next, is some kids playing Highland Hopsotch, and the Thespian Society’s homemade cupcakes. While I think of myself as an adept persuader, I could not get one for free. I had a delicious vanilla cupcake.

Then there is the BSU booth, raising money for BLM. On its left is the Hockey booth, which kindly gave me some free garlic bread. They are here to support the Highland sports teams.

Next, is FFA, which stands for Future Farmers of America. Ms. Wedger says that you may still join, and the club educates its members about agriculture. Then is the Science Club, which is doing a raffle for some cool socks.

img_0014Now, for the most crowded booth, Model UN. They are selling coffee and doughnuts holes. They have meetings every Thursday. On its left is the Highland Park Dance Team. They dance at social events like this.

And now is the NHS booth, offering face painting. It was a big success, they say.

Next, was Student Council, selling spirit wear and candy. Then there is the GSA booth selling “walking LGBTacos.”

Then, there’s the “pretty cool” Anime Club. Next to it is Asian Culture Club, selling egg rolls. And then there’s Union Latina, selling tamales fast. And lastly, there is the Spanish Immersion booth, selling shirts to support it.

This was my first time going to an event such as this, and I must say, it was fun eating food. Some of it was free! I am surprised by my ability of persuasion.

Anyway, from what I can tell the tailgating was a huge success!