Category Archives: Getting To Know/History

Oromo people

By: Yumna Abajebel

The Oromo people are a native ethnic group from a region in Ethiopia called Oromia. They speak the language Oromo and are the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia. The majority of the people are Muslim and the other half is either Waaqeffannaa or Christians. Waaqeffannaa is an ethnic religion, they believe in Waaqa Gurr’ach. Which means ‘the black god’, meaning that their god is dark and mysterious and you cannot reach or see him.

The Oromo people also use a democratic system of governance. How it works is every eight nights, the Oromo people choose nine leaders that will remain in power for the next eight years.

The Oromo people are divided into two branches called Borana Oromo and Barento Oromo. Oromia contains 22 zones with different tribes.

The most common ones are Arsi zones and Bale zones. The Arsi zone is made up of 25 smaller cities and is bordered on the south by the Bale Zone. The Bale zone also contains 13 smaller cities within.

Oromo people are known for their coffee, food and dances. Their coffee comes from a city called Jimma. Their most popular and delicious food is the injera platter with cooked collard greens, red and yellow lentils, and spicy stew called doro wat.

The Oromo people are a unique and special ethnic group that is underrated and overlooked.

Tarot cards

By: Maya Breininger

Tarot cards, (pronounced tare-oh) are a way of mediating with your spiritual side, and connecting with what the universe is trying to tell you. They are a method of translating between your internal desires and the world, they give you advice, and they’re a fun way to connect with yourself.

Tarot cards originate from the early 1430s in Italy, and it is custom for them to be given to you as gifts. It contains five suits; Swords, Cups, Sticks, Wands, Major Arcana and Minor Arcana. Each suit represents a different law of spirituality, and depending on how you set up your cards, each one can mean different things.

When picking your cards, the spiritual pull to them is the most important thing to consider. You can visit your local mall with a Witch healing store inside, or a small business associated with witchcraft. The location is irrelevant; you can just as easily purchase them online. As long as you feel a sort of connection to the cards you pick, you have picked the right cards.

Seeing as the cards are generally tools of guiding you through your life, there are different set-ups that will tell you different things about your life. For example, a Celtic Cross spread will allow you to identify your present life, your current problems, and what obstacles lay in your way.

There are card spreads that will reveal your past, your present, your love life, your problems and your ambitions. You can also create your own spreads, and once you’re comfortable with your cards you can use them as you like.

Tarot cards are part of many different spiritual rituals, and if you are a person who is trying to achieve the witch healing lifestyle, I definitely recommend you start by purchasing your own pack of tarot cards.

The secret behind “Where’s Waldo’s” success

By: Caden Kipfmueller

“Where’s Waldo?”

This question has plagued many of mankind’s greatest scientific and philosophical minds for generations.

“Where’s Waldo?” is the name of a series of timeless children’s puzzle books created by Londoner Martin Handford in the late 1980s. Originally called “Where’s Wally?”, Handford’s books were a global success, finding their way to libraries, schools, and homes around the world. Where’s Waldo was known for its intricate drawings, charm, and, of course, Waldo’s signature red and white striped outfit and glasses.

Waldo is set apart from his puzzle book competitors because of author Martin Handford’s unique, extensively detailed illustrations. He takes up to 8 weeks to finish each drawing, and he describes them as “full of both activity and entertainment.” Handford also fills his pictures with visual puns and other Easter eggs. Each drawing feels alive and rich with life, which makes it all the more exciting to search through exhaustively. Even if you can’t find Waldo, you’re bound to find plenty of secrets that will keep you occupied.

The reason why “Where’s Waldo?” was so successful around the globe was the series’ accessibility. While it was translated into 26 different languages, reading wasn’t necessary to understand that the point of “Where’s Waldo?” was to find Waldo. Martin Handford made that abundantly clear with his illustrations, as he believed that Waldo should be shared with all.

The final reason behind Waldo’s success lies in the elusive, bespectacled man for which the series is named. Waldo’s character design is so unique that he is instantly recognizable. Even his silhouette can be pointed out by the casual viewer, and he is drawn to be friendly and non-confrontational. Waldo’s character design undoubtedly contributes to the success of the series, as it is easily marketable. In addition to the standard line of books, two TV shows have been made about him (one in 1991 and one in 2019), as well as a video game for the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System).

Where’s Waldo remains an incredibly successful franchise to this day, finding popularity even in the modern age. The question still remains, however:

“Where’s Waldo?”

The Arab Spring

By: Biftu Osmon

The Arab Spring was a series of protests and revolutions that spread throughout Northern African countries as well as Middle Eastern countries.

It all began in Tunisia when an unemployed man selling goods was stopped by police because he didn’t have a license for selling things and instead of getting a fine, they stole his goods and didn’t return them.

He filed for harassment but they refused to listen to him. This drove him to protest by setting himself on fire. Less than a week later the whole country was protesting against the government because of the realization of how poorly the working class was treated.

This spread on social media quickly and inspired other nearby countries, whose government was corrupt, to protest against them as well. “The Arab Spring is kind of a perfect model for how people are going to use technology to act collectively in their own interest in the future. There’s never been a revolution that was coordinated by social media to the degree that the Arab Spring was.”

Tunisia and Syria are similar in terms of the Arab Spring in numerous ways. Both countries had corrupt governments which didn’t provide them basic human necessities, as well as not serving the citizens justice where it was needed, which was one of the main reasons why both countries began to protest.

Both countries also began their revolutions with peaceful protests and due to the circumstances of their situation, even citizens who steered clear of politics came to the streets to protest which was a sign of unity among the countries. The number of protests that sparked across the entirety of both countries was a shockingly large amount, showing what’s possible when citizens unite under one cause.

Although both Syria and Tunisia had several similarities in terms of the Arab spring, there were also a good amount of differences. One of the biggest differences is the fact that Syria’s peaceful protests escalated into a civil war but Tunisia’s protests didn’t. The government’s response to the protests were also different.

Syria’s government responded to the protests with weapons and violence even though the protests were all peaceful. Tunisia on the other hand had successful protests and the government responded in a more orderly fashion. “I believe democracy will succeed in Tunisia, but I also believe that it will succeed in the other Arab Spring countries.”

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Hello Kitty peace treaty

By: Violet Hirman & Ren King

Image taken from: https://pacifichistoricpark

During World War II, many war atrocities occurred between the United States and Japan, those of which killed thousands of innocent citizens on both sides. Despite this, Japan is now an indispensable ally to the United States, strengthening the security of the economy, human rights, and trade relations between both countries. How did the two go from mortal enemies to close allies? The short answer: Hello Kitty.

First, a little background. During the Second World War, Japan and the United States were on opposite sides. Their specific relationship was tense, to say the least, but the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941 solidified the animosity between them.

As the war ramped up and the German Nazis were defeated, Japan refused to back down. By this time, the US had been finalizing their plans for nuclear weapons, and decided to end the war and exact revenge simultaneously. But in doing so, they flattened two cities in Japan full of innocent people. During the dates of August 6th and August 9th of 1945, Hiroshima and Nagasaki became dust.

But how did the relationship between these two recover from this bloodshed?

It actually happened only a few years after; during the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union. Japan and the US were no longer enemies, but instead had something in common: they did not want communism to enter their countries.

They formed an alliance, but this didn’t stop the remaining fear from WWII to plague the citizens of both nations. The question is, how did the two governments resolve this issue? How could they possibly erase years of history from their hands?

A uniting force was implemented: consumerism.

The Hello Kitty brand was launched on storefronts in America in hopes to have Americans associate Japan with the cute cat while also making the Japanese feel like they had something in common with Americans. It also helped that at the time Hello Kitty was launched, foreign countries were “trendy”.

The first Hello Kitty store in America was opened on the coast of San Francisco, California and quickly expanded across the shoreline as it gained popularity. Soon, a store was opened in Pearl Harbor with exclusive merchandise from Japan to advertise to tourists the new friendship between the two countries.

While originally marketed towards young girls, as the brand spread, they found that there was a large audience of adults as well. As the 90’s approached, the popularity of Hello Kitty declined in Japan, yet increased almost tenfold internationally. The faster the consumers of other countries picked up, the more Japan became a hot tourist spot just for this brand, especially so with Americans. As a result, Japan became Hello-Kitty-centered.

In 2010, the New York Times called Hello Kitty a “global marketing phenomenon”, and it has not stopped speeding up since. Today, you can find almost every kind of Hello Kitty attraction in Japan, and over 100 thousand Americans travel to Japan with no hesitancy despite the relatively-recent war.

The brand, now “Sanrio” has expanded from just Hello Kitty. There are many different characters to appeal to more people, including Keroppi, My Melody, Kuromi, Badtz Maru, Pochacco, Cinnamoroll, Tuxedo Sam, and Chococat. There are hundreds if not thousands of Sanrio-themed buildings, amusement parks, stores, and more over the world at this moment. Most of the biggest being in Japan and the United States.

The two countries have come a very long way since the Second World War, and although not very well known, a lot of this is due to the genius marketing project called Hello Kitty.

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Remembering the US Army’s failed digital camouflage pattern

By: Hoaseng Thao

You may remember the US Army’s digital camo pattern known as the Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP), which, despite its name, was not a camo pattern that could be universally used anywhere. Despite the camouflage being ineffective anywhere around the globe, unless it was a modern urban environment, or your grandmother’s couch, it was able to remain in service from 2004-2019 before it was replaced by the more universal camouflage pattern known as the Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP).

In the year 2004, The US Army announced the adoption of this brand new digital camo pattern the Universal Camouflage Pattern, which had a sparklingly resemblance to the US Marine Corps’ own digital camouflage pattern known as MARPAT (Marine Pattern), which was actually a copy of the Canadian military’s own digital camouflage pattern known as CADPAT.

US Army soldier wearing UCP camo pattern while holding a German G36 Rifle. Image taken from:
marksmanship _competition

The reasoning behind the UCP’s adoption was to eliminate the need of having two separate camouflage patterns for desert and woodland environments. Before the adoption of the UCP, members of the US Army were wearing the famous M81 Woodland Camouflage Pattern for woodland environments, and for desert environments they wore the Desert Battle Dress Uniform (DBCU). To make a good universal camouflage, you would have to have it blend in both desert and woodland environments, but the UCP on the other hand, had a weird color palette of gray and greenish colors that did not blend in any environment the US army was currently fighting in.

The UCP saw combat in many wars but are most commonly associated with the 2003 Iraq War and the Afghanistan War (2001-2021), but something that may surprise you is that the camo saw service in many other nations such as: India, Serbia, and Malaysia.

In the year 2010, some US army soldiers were given the opportunity to wear a different camo pattern known as Multicam by the Crye Precision Company. The reasoning for this was because the US army wanted to replace the UCP for a better alternative. By 2015, they would announce the Operational Camo Pattern (OCP) to replace the old and ineffective UCP camouflage pattern.

The infamous grandma couch photo. Image taken from: eberry-uniforms/

Despite the ineffectiveness of UCP, it remained as an icon of American soldiers serving in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as the infamous photo of the “Grandma Couch”.

For more information about the UCP camo pattern, please visit this website:

The importance of nature

By: Tasha Cudinski

Nature is all around us. There are 66 state parks in Minnesota and many other natural areas that are open for visitors. Even though we have all of this natural space it is rarely taken advantage of, instead choosing to spend time in cities made of concrete.

Studies have shown that there are massive benefits to people who spend time outside with others. According to several studies on visitors to parks, spending time outside can actually boost your immune system by doing things such as lowering your blood pressure and increasing the amount of white blood cells in your body.

There have also been studies that indicate that spending time outdoors can help with your mental health, such as one study which showed time in nature to help decrease symptoms of PTSD in military veterans by 21%. There is not much understanding about how nature is capable of this, but one theory is that this happens because of the awe that nature inspires in those that observe it.

Nature is a wonderful resource but it also has a long and dark history of racial violence and segregation. For a very long time minorities were kept out of the picture when it came to natural spaces. For the people who come from a background of racial bias and discrimination, nature is not associated with the same thoughts and feelings that it may be for white people. In many instances nature is associated with the idea of violence and even lynchings. Because of this there are significantly fewer people of color who visit outdoor areas.

Nature has been shown to be beneficial to people’s health and if you have the opportunity to, try and spend some time outside with people you care about. It will not only help you make some happy memories, but it will also help boost your physical and mental health.

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Influential women in sports

By: Isabelle Baidoo and Greta Johnson

Over the years, women in sports have been constantly underestimated. So, for women’s history month we wanted to talk about 2 influential women who were dominant in their respective sports. We chose Megan Rapinoe who plays soccer on the US Women’s National Team and Mikaela Shiffrin, who is a successful alpine racer.

Mikaela Shiffrin

At the age of 15, Mikaela started racing on the World Cup circuit. She was the youngest ski racer in American history to compete on the FIS circuit. This came after she had been skiing for most of her life, and had also attended Burke Mountain Academy, which is a ski racing academy in Vermont.

Just a few weeks after her 16th birthday, Mikeala won her first World Cup race. It was only her first season racing the circuit.

After 2 more seasons of competing in the World Cup she went to her first Olympics and ended up winning a gold medal in slalom making her the youngest slalom gold medal winner in American history.

After 13 seasons racing in the World Cup, Mikeala has 88 wins combined. That makes her the most decorated racer in the world at only 28. She’s been to 3 Olympics, has 3 Olympic medals, and is the most successful racer in American history.

Sadly, in February of 2020, Mikeala’s father Jeff unexpectedly passed. He suffered a severe head injury in the family’s home in Colorado. He was 65. This devastated the Shiffrin family.

“My family is heartbroken beyond comprehension about the unexpected passing of my kindhearted, loving, caring, patient, wonderful father. Our mountains, our ocean our sunrise, our heart, our soul, our everything. He taught us so many valuable lessons,” Shiffrin tweeted. “But above everything else, he taught us the golden rule: Be nice, think first. This is something I will carry with me forever. He was the firm foundation of our family and we miss him terribly.”

Soon after his death, Mikaela and her family started the Jeff Shiffren Athlete Resiliency Fund to help US Ski Team athletes through the COVID-19 pandemic, and honor Jeff Shiffren’s legacy of kindness.

After a couple hard seasons, and a very rough 2022 Olympic Games, Mikaela is back on top. This season she broke the record for the most ski racing wins ever which was previously held by Ingemar Stenmark for 34 years.

Mikaela is one of the most influential ski racers of our time; she broke barriers and overcame many setbacks and influenced a new generation of female skiers today.

Megan Rapinoe

Image taken from: https://useast2-www.securly.
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Megan Rapinoe is a professional American soccer player. Since 2006, she has played winger and midfield for the United States Women’s National Team. Before she played nationally, she played for the Portland Pilots, during her college career, from 2005-2008. Rapinoe also currently plays for the OL Reign, a professional soccer team based in Seattle, Washington.

Throughout her career she has numerous accomplishments in soccer. Rapinoe is a three time Olympic Champion. In the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games she won bronze, in the 2016 Rio games she took the team to 5th place, and finally, in 2012 of the London games she won gold.

Throughout her 197 national appearances, she has scored a total of 63 goals making her the 10th highest goal scorer on the Women’s National Team.

Rapinoe is also a strong activist for the LGBTQ community. She is the latest openly LGBTQ American to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom in July 2022.

She was among 17 others to receive this honor, she was the first soccer player to get this award, and was one of only six female athletes.

She is an advocate for many LGBTQ organizations such as the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and Athlete Ally.

She’s received awards for her contributions to the LGBTQ community as well. For example, in 2013, she was awarded the Board of Directors Award from the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. Then in 2020 she was one of ‘Time Magazine’s’ 100 Most Influential People.

Women in sports are frequently overlooked and pushed aside. Whether it be that they are underpaid, get less TV footage than male athletes, or receive less sponsorships than their male counterparts. These women are idols to many young girls, and they are extremely crucial to the future of the sports. Representation is important in sports because it shows the next generation of athletes that their dreams are possible.

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The evolution of Bigfoot

By: Nagad Omar

The Bigfoot legend first hit newspapers in 1958 when Andrew Gonzali wrote what was supposed to be a funny article on hikers in California finding unusually large footprint tracks in the snow.

Although it was not supposed to be taken seriously, the article startled the Pacific Northwest which gave Bigfoot his name: Bigfoot. Readers became very fascinated with the idea of Bigfoot; although, this isn’t the first time everyone has heard about the legend. Native American nations have records of Bigfoot 10 years before Gonzalis’ article. They gave him the name Sasquatch.

As the years passed, Bigfoot’s reputation grew and continued to change; he became known as an environmentalist and was used for commercials on keeping our forests clean in the 80s, but as sightings grew Bigfoot came back as this big scary creature.

As Americans continue to push into untouched forests the legend of Bigfoot grows.

One sighting of Bigfoot was when one night in the backroads of Oregon police got a call about a massive hairy creature running across the highway yelling in agony. At first police thought they were being pranked, but as over 20 calls came, police went out to investigate, but by the time they came the creature had already ran back into the forest.

Bigfoot has now come back to be the environmental justice staple he once was because of the lack of recent sightings. He sort’ve lost this scary, unknown demeanor he had 20 years ago. We haven’t had a real investigated Bigfoot sighting in almost 10 years, so it’s expected that the persona of Bigfoot will change.

So, as the legend of Bigfoot lives on, the speculations will continue, and maybe we’ll get some hardcore evidence. But as of right now, Bigfoot is just a fairytale myth.

HBCU Colleges

By: Maya Breininger

As a junior, it is time to invest in possible colleges that will allow me to carry out my career.

As a black student, one thing hindering my educational experience has been the constant surrounding of students who don’t look like me. By the deduction that being immersed in similar cultures to my own would improve my academics, the colleges that I now apply to are mainly HBCU colleges.

First, in order to understand what HBCUs are, you must understand their history. People of color constantly deal with oppression and acts of judgment. Their communities, which are supposed to be uplifting and accepting, are cruel and derogatory. Their work environments, which are supposed to be creative and inclusive, barely meet the bare minimum of kindness, and the stigma still exists. HBCUs, or Historically Black Colleges and Universities, are safe harbors and communities where its members uplift and support each other.

HBCU colleges are forgiving with their grade acceptance, and turn those with low GPA scores into succeeding students of the world; ready to take hold of their education. They have many different categories of HBCUs, and they are spread all throughout the United States. The schools all offer different programs, they have multi-meaningful backgrounds, and they are built on the belief that everyone deserves a fair shot at genuine education.

After the deaths of both George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the application of African American students in HBCUs spiked. As the world seemed a divided place full of harm towards African Americans, they found peace of mind in HBCU colleges. There are many successful graduates from HBCUs, such as Kamala Harris, Oprah Winfrey, Wendy Robinson and many more.

HBCUs offer a kind space with a loving community of high-paced, go-getter students who know how to support each other. For this reason, I have chosen that the college I apply to will be a Historically Black College or University. And hopefully, this will inspire many other teens to do the same.

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