Facts/advice on vaping

Vaping is very popular among teenagers in the United States and many other countries around the world. According to NPR, 5.3 million people are addicted to vaping. Teens who vape are way more likely to smoke cigarettes. 44,000 students who smoke took a survey and 37% who vape are seniors in 2018. The director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse said that teens need to understand the consequences.

Vaping is known to be less harmful than smoking but it is still bad for people. Vaping causes people to get addicted to nicotine or drugs. Regular cigarettes have 7,000 chemical toxins in them but with e-cigarettes it is unknown. Vaping causes lung injuries and death according to the CDC because 60 people have died from it.  

Why do teens still vape when the media says that it’s bad? Teens believe vaping is better than smoking regular cigarettes. They also think it’s easier to vape because you don’t need a lighter. Teenagers like vaping because it doesn’t smell at all and younger people don’t like the smell of cigarettes. They also like vaping because of the flavorings. Teenagers mainly vape because they want to fit in with their friends and they don’t want to feel left out. 

How should teens avoid vaping? Teens should be informed about vaping at a younger age so that they are informed about it. If their parents or teachers explain to them at a younger age about the consequences, teens will have a strong hate towards it as they get older and they won’t want to vape. Teens should be aware about peer pressure because teens pressure each other to fit in. 

If a teen is vaping, what are ways that they can quit and avoid it forever?

The first thing they should do is to read about the consequences so it can scare them from vaping again.

The second thing they should do is to reach out for help whether it is professional help or a friend. They can help you forget about vaping so that you’re not addicted. They should do something else that they enjoy so that they don’t have to think about it at all.

The third thing they should do is to get rid of all their vaping equipment. Having them around will cause you to become more tempted about it and quitting will be harder for you. If you have friends that vape, stay away from them. If they vape around you, you will definitely vape with them.

Also, they should do something else that they enjoy so that they don’t have to think about it at all. These will help teens who need guidance and want to avoid vaping forever. 

These things will hopefully help teens who need guidance and want to avoid vaping forever. 

Getting to know Ms. Vashisti

Rashmi Vashisht is a new member of the Highland Park Senior High School staff; she is the assistant principal for 10th graders. Since she’s new to Highland, I thought it would be a good idea to ask her a few questions about herself to get to know our new assistant principal. 

  •  What high school did you attend?

“I attended a high school in India.” 

  • Where did you grow up?

“I grew up in India.”

  • What is your favorite color and why?

“My favorite color is green,” she said. “It’s because the color green gives liveliness, it gives you feeling of good, and it set a very interesting mood.”

  • What do you do for fun?

“I like to travel, dance, walk, and hike.” 

  • How would describe yourself?

“I would say I am a people person and more of a relationship person. I would also describe myself as a person who likes to spend time with family and friends, and I am always eager to learn new things.” 

  • Where is the most interesting place you have been? 

“A place in India, Kashmir, it’s a beautiful valley, a city known for lakes and garden.” 

  • What’s your proudest accomplishment?

Her proudest accomplishment is being a mom of two boys and her job. 

  • If you could live anywhere in the world where would you pick and why?

“I would go with India,” she said. “It’s because I grew up there and all my family ties are there. If I could retire, I would in India.” 

  • What was your first job?

Her first job was at a high school tutoring math kids.

Volunteering at Regions Hospital

In order to volunteer at Regions Hospital you must be at least 15 years old and must sign up at: https://www.volgistics.com/ex/portal.dll/ap?AP=991565722

Once you sign up you will need to make time for an interview. For the interview you will need to have a signed parent consent form, evidence of a screening for tuberculosis (available at the hospital), and your immunization history. During the interview, you will be asked many of the questions that were on the form you first submitted. 

After the interview you will need to complete an orientation electronically and then have a medical screening which they offer at the hospital for free. 

Your first shift will be a training with a team member from the department that you will be volunteering in. After that you must volunteer once a week, but you can definitely volunteer more!

There are 7 different departments that you can volunteer in if you are under 18:

The Bright Corner Gift Shop: You will be able to greet people, help at the register, and help stock and price things. (Shifts are available any day of the week)

The Breast Health Care Center: You must be female in order to volunteer here. You will be able to greet and guide patients to different areas, and help staff with charts and clerical work. (Shifts are only available during weekdays)

Guest Services: You will be at the informational desks helping with directions for transports and escorts throughout the building. (Shifts are available any day of the week)

Materials Services Courier: You will distribute different materials throughout the hospital. (Shifts are only available during weekdays)

Music Volunteers: You will need to be an intermediate/advanced player. You will play music for the guests and patients in the auditorium. (Shifts are available any day of the week)

Overlook Café and Deli: You will be able to help the culinary staff prepare food and bake cookies, and help clean the area. (Shifts are available any day of the week)

Physical Therapy – Inpatient and Transitional Care: You will be able to help transport patients and help the physical staff with other tasks they may need help with. (Shifts are available any day of the week)

Volunteering at the Regions Hospital will be a good experience, especially if you’re interested in the medical field! 

Start of snowmen

A Minnesotan winter is upon us. You know what that means, hot chocolate, snowball fights, and of course lots of snowmen. When the snow finally sticks it’s what kids like to do. All you have to do is grab some rocks and a few sticks and you’re set.

Building snowman spread as a trend, it was a fun idea to do in the snow. But do you ever think who’s idea was it that started the creation of the snowman? 

If we want to go way back, we can go all the way back to 1380. In 1380, Bob Eckstein uncovered the snowman in his book, History of the Snowman. Eckstein believes however that the first “man of snow” was discovered in the medieval Book of Hours from 1380. It is the earliest known depiction of what a snowman could be. In that book is the first illustration of a snowman.

Some 473 years later, in 1853, a woman by the name of Mary Dillwyn took the first photograph of a snowman. It’s now in the collections of the National Library of Wales.

When they were discovered, snowmen became a phenomenon in the Middle Ages. Snowman used to be made with much thought and skill. They were used to express thoughts and ideas. Snow was free art supplies that fell from the clouds. It became a popular activity and people became famous for sculpting snowmen.

In 1494, a 19-year-old Michelangelo, was asked to sculpt snowman for the ruler of Florence, Italy in the backyard of his mansion.

In the 16th century, there was a snowman festival called the Miracle of 1511. It’s where Belgians filled land with over 100 snowman doing various acts. They were made as a political cartoon which was used to comment on the bad class system of their current era.

Later, in 1870, the French National Guard wanted to make a monument for their independence. With the leadership of Alexandre Falguiere, the men built a 9-foot tall snow women. After it melted it became a national symbol.

The snowman has a long history. Now, instead of them being used as political statements, they are used for child’s play where children like to get out in the snow and make a happy snowman for fun. 

Top Five weirdest phobias

1) Monophobia

To start this list, I’ll begin with one of the most modern phobias that affects a lot of us teens. Monophobia consists of feelings of anxiety towards not having cell service, not having one’s phone charged, having no credit on one’s phone or misplacing it. It is believed that over 50 percent of cell phone users are affected by monophobia.

2) Ablutophobia

Ablutophobia is the persistent fear of cleaning, washing or bathing and occurs more in children and women than men. It is not a very common phobia.

3) Arachibutyrophobia

Now this I have to say…is a very, very, weird phobia. Arachibutyrophobia the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth. As with all other phobias, the symptoms of arachibutyrophobia involve panic, dread, terror, anxiety, rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath when the peanut butter is wedged on the roof of the consumer’s mouth.

4) Didaskaleinophobia

Image taken from: https://www.scusd.edu

While a fun little reason to skip class, didaskaleinophobia is actually a legitimate fear of going to school. Commonly known as a “school phobia,” the fear is more prevalent in younger students (ages 7 to 11), and is believed to stem from anxiety triggered by being separated from their parents. It can also be the result of bullying.

5) Heliophobia

The last fear on this list is also a little reference to Howie from the movie Benchwarmers and that is the fear of sunlight. A rare but unfortunate condition. Not only does going out in the sun instigate severe feelings of anxiety and panic in sufferers, but those suffering from heliophobia may also experience fear of bright lights. Most often, the fear or condition is associated with an anxiety about the perceived dangers of the sun.

Black Friday

By: Vivian S

As the great day of destroying and devouring a turkey approached, so did another holiday that I feared much more. Black Friday is came on November 29th. 

I remember as a child hating Black Friday, when my mom would drag me around the overcrowded stores for hours. I still do hold a distaste for it, but it also intrigues me. 

Why do we have a holiday for a day that is just stores selling all their items on sale? The day after Christmas isn’t a public holiday of this much renown. So why does Black Friday exist?

My research for this immediately became complicated with all the different origin stories I was inundated with.

I first found a History.com article that listed 4 different origins of Black Friday, though only one was listed as the “true” beginning of the holiday. The holiday apparently comes from Philadelphia, “Black Friday” being a term the police would use to describe the chaos of the day after Thanksgiving, when everyone would go out shopping in advance of the Army-Navy football game. None of the cops were allowed to take the day off, they would have to work extended shifts, and shoplifters would take this opportunity to do as shoplifters do. 

The term eventually spread, and retailers found a way to spin it in a positive light for them with all the sales.

However, the term Black Friday wasn’t even used in the beginning to describe the holiday. Instead, it was first used to describe the collapse of the gold market in the 1800s because two stock-brokers tried to make themselves rich and it didn’t work. 

The article listed other stories of how Black Friday originated, but says the one I repeated above was the correct one.

Yet, that still didn’t answer to me why Black Friday is such a popular holiday.

Wikipedia says that Black Friday marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, and that many employees are given the day off as part of Thanksgiving, which could be reasons for its popularity.

In the end, I don’t think the endurance of Black Friday will ever make sense to me, and I will just have to live with it, and the shopping my mom will drag me around for.

Volunteering at the Minnesota Children’s Museum

 


The Minnesota Children’s Museum (MCM) is all about learning through the act of play. As a Play Team volunteer at the MCM, one must interact with children and find their inner playful side. 

In order to be a MCM Play Team volunteer, one must be in 9th – 12th grade. 

MCM Play Team volunteers must volunteer for, usually, a four hour shift. Shifts are available from:

Friday, 5pm-8pm

Saturday, 8:45am-12:45pm

Saturday, 12pm-4:30pm

Saturday, 3:45pm-8pm

Sunday, 8:45am-12:45pm

Sunday, 12pm-4:30pm

These are the shifts that are available during the school year. Each volunteer must complete a minimum of 10 shifts before the end of the school year. These 10 shifts may be scattered throughout the school year, but one of the 10 shifts must be on a “Target Free Sunday.” 

“Target Free Sunday” occurs once a month and it is when the museum allows visitors to go in for free. Typically, these days get very busy and one’s normal responsibilities change, along with the schedule.

A regular schedule at the museum starts off with “Daily Development” which is supposed to warm you up for the museum floor. At “Daily Development,” volunteers get to interact with other volunteers and play games, as well as finding the deeper meaning to those games. 

After “Daily Development,” everyone gets their schedules and are ready to go onto the floor. 

Schedules consist of around 6 different shifts, and each shift lasts 30 minutes. During a shift you go to an area in the museum and interact with children to help them learn through play. 

Around 15 minutes before the end, all the volunteers head to the volunteer area and end with “Reflection.” “Reflection” is very similar to “Daily Development,” but it’s at the end instead of the beginning. At “Reflection,” volunteers reflect on how their day was and how they could better improve as volunteers. 

Being a volunteer at the MCM allows you to play, learn, and teach alongside other teens and children. 

If you would like to become a volunteer at the Minnesota Children’s Museum email: 

volunteers@mcm.org

Ballet Folklorico

image taken from: tps://www.anmbf.org/

Ballet Folklórico is one of the many ways to express Mexican culture. Ballet Folklórico is a dance that represents all of the regions in Mexico; therefore, it has many different types of dances, clothing, and music within the category. 

These dances were practiced and performed as early as the 17th century and started to become more popular in the 18th century, after the War of Independence. 

The most popular and widely known type of Folklorico is the Folklorico dances of Jalisco. A traditional Folklorico Jalisco dress is made of a fabric called poplin. The colors of the dresses are strong such as red, Mexican pink, and yellow. The shirt part of the dress has sleeves that go up to the elbow. Both the skirt and the dress are decorated with ribbons that match the dress. 

The men wear a typical charro suit which is made up of long tight pants with decorations on the sides. Along with the pants there is a matching jacket and silk tie. They also wear a wide-brimmed hat, or sombrero, with the outfit. 

All Folklorico dances consist of a lot of movement of the whole body. There is a lot of footwork, legwork, use of the torso, and armwork. In many dances the ladies use their skirts with coordination and elegance to produce beautiful waves of color emanating from their dresses.

Others, such as the style of Gerruero, use other forms to get the people’s attention besides using their skirts. Guerrero dances consist of both males and females using a pañuelo (handkerchief) while they dance, moving it in an infinity symbol like motion.

In many other dances such as those from Nayarit and Colima, the men use machetes while they dance, producing a loud noise and a great reaction from their audiences. 

There are many groups all around the world that teach the wonders of Ballet Folklorico that usually focus on all the different types of dances from all the regions in Mexico. Joining a group allows one to connect with their Mexican culture or learn of Mexican culture, and this makes learning Ballet Folklorico all the more fun. 

Autism. You’re perfect.

By:  Bao Nguyen

“Am I really autistic?” I asked in the kitchen.

“Yes.” My sister responded.

“Don’t worry too much about it, you only have little traits of Autism. You’re perfect.”

Months later, my mind came back to a conversation I used to have with my sister.

Autism.

You’re perfect.

At first, I was skeptical about that. But after a month of researching about Autism, I finally began to understand why I faced struggles in the past. Now, I’m ready to share my feelings about my experiences.

I was about to accept that I’m different, but that was until I came across some article that talked about the giftedness of Autism. I’ve heard a lot (or too much) of how autistic people have had shared their experiences; gifted with barely any social skills. I’m born with struggles. There are other autistic people that are not so gifted; yet they have decent social skills with at least some sensory issues. I’m born with no sensory problems. I wasn’t trying to compare myself to other autistic  people; I learned that Autism is a spectrum. I personally felt as If god accidentally gave me a wrong version of Autism; I knew god predicted that I’m too powerful to fit in this world, so god decided to create me with struggles instead.

It feels wrong for me to decide to write this. But let me tell you, these are all feelings I have right now;

Worthless. Hopeless. Hurtful. Jealous. Talent-less. Rejection. Excluded. Pity. Chafed. Huffed. Crippled. Anguish.

Not so much jolly myself.

Born with struggles.

God chose that because I’m too powerful to fit in this world.

Still feels sorrow for me to write this.

Autism.

You’re perfect.

Who am I? Do I have any purposes in life? Why do I feel as if I’m different from most people?

In this not-so-seamless world, most people I see are normal. Regardless, the struggles I’m born with have nearly obstructed me. I may have talents, but no matter how much talent I have, it never fulfills the talent itself. I am smart, but my learning difficulties have invalidated my intelligence. I’m gifted, or barely. I have good social skills, but a lot of anxiety brewing in my body every time I’m supposed to meet new people (even worse, meeting teenagers or at an age below what I’ve not met yet) and worry that they’ll exclude me for being different. I’m friendly, but my brain is sometimes vague on words, so that I might end up being rude for saying defective things by accident. I’m human after all, but why does my autistic brain think that all humans look like a pet sometimes?

That’s not to say that my autism defines me. All of my struggles in science, history, math, and health in classes I’ve taken. Now the only talent that I’m left with; Writing stories.

I remember my teacher gave an assignment to students to write our story for Halloween. I did, and my teacher enjoyed mine. If you want, I’ll write the same story that I’ve written in the past, although my original story has lost, I remember the story almost entirely.

Who knows what will I write after I die? Will I still write in somewhere that is beyond this world? I don’t know, and will never be able to.

As long as I keep expanding my English skills, and share my stories with my families and other people, maybe someday people will call me a gifted writer.

Autism.

You’re perfect.

 

Bao is a junior at HPSH. He likes to read books and do things on his computer (sometimes games). He is eager to gain knowledge and learn new skills. He likes to write stories, although he’s still on a journey of studying the structure of English. Favorite classes: piano and career classes.

Get to know: New assistant principal and long-time social studies teacher

This year, Highland Park has a new assistant principal for grades 11th and 12th. This is Abdisalam Adam’s first year as being an assistant principal. Before becoming an assistant principal, Mr. Adam was an administrative intern. He was also an ELL teacher for over twenty years.

I asked Mr. Adam what he found to be easiest about his job as an assistant principal. What he found to be easy is being able to meet people of different backgrounds. There are many students, staffs, and families from diverse backgrounds, and with his love of getting to know different languages and cultures, he finds it easiest to connect with people. Mr. Adam says that he feels like the whole world is here.

I also asked him what he found to be the hardest part of being an assistant principal. Mr. Adam says the most difficult part of his job is that so many things are happening all at the same time, to which he has to constantly be ready for action at any time.

What Mr. Adam enjoys the most, is being able to greet students and staff in the morning as they start the day.

Out of school, Mr. Adam likes to volunteer for organizations to help people in need.

Along with Mr. Adam, I also interviewed David Zeitchick, or commonly known as Mr. Z. Mr. Z has been teaching for 20 years. He first started out as an aid, and continued for 7 years before becoming a teacher.

Mr. Z says he does not recall why he started teaching or how he got into it, it sort of just happened.

Mr. Z teaches Sociology, African American Studies, Current Events, and US Government.

He’s been at Highland for the last 22 years, making him the second longest serving teacher here.

Outside of school, Mr. Z enjoys coaching, hanging out with his dog, working out, and just doing anything with his family.