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.

 

 

Interview of Ms. Boruff

By: Vivian S

Ms. Boruff is a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) here at Highland, and I recently decided to interview her.
Ms. Boruff chose to become a SLP because she has an aunt who’s an SLP. Her mom also took the course in college and now is an SLP. They both encouraged her to try it out.

For her job, Ms. Boruff helps students that have difficulties with communicating in any way. She helps people find their voice and gain confidence. This includes: students with a stutter, students with a difficulty in producing speech sounds, students with a cognitive difficulty in producing language, nonverbal students, and hard of hearing students (though no HoH students right now). She helps students with social skills as well.

Some of the things she loves about Highland are the students she gets to work with, the staff, and the number of opportunities students get at Highland. She doesn’t like how early she has to get up in the morning though.

Some of her favorite activities are cooking, skiing, biking, running, and hiking. In the past, she has coached track, and right now she is helping coach the Nordic Ski Team. She helps the varsity coach and is the main coach for the A Squad. She teaches students the fundamentals of skiing and prepares them for competitive racing.

Ms. Boruff used to work in the early childhood inclusion program (children 3-5 years old), and with children from birth to three years old. With the 0-3 year olds, she helped children with a wide range of disabilities that put them at risk for speech difficulties in the future. With the 3-5 year olds she did intense speech therapy groups.

This is her 8th year at Highland and she is looking forward to it.

From Boilers to bears: In the shoes of a school custodian

Ask a custodian at Highland Park, and they will tell you about the legendary bears that were chased out of Battle Creek. In truth, they’ve had encounters at Highland with birds, bats, and squirrels. Against the odds, they worked to trap a bat, who nearly set off a motion sensor and triggered the police. Ask them what happens when a squirrel gets caught in the fieldhouse. Or what about the time that they helped newly hatched ducks escape the courtyard?

However, the life a custodian extends far beyond rodents and other small animals. Consider the time they spend on the roof, navigating the ventilation system. The real danger is cleaning and draining the pool. “The chemicals we use to clean the pools can be dangerous.” One custodian told me. Alongside maintaining the pool, the custodians spend time cleaning and maintaining the boilers: which has potential to be very hazardous. The boilers are hot and challenging to clean because of that.

Chasing off animals and cleaning the boilers is only a small piece in the giant operation of maintaining Highland Park. The custodians also sweep, vacuum, wipe down glass, clean the bathrooms, take out the trash, and take part in the security–only a few of the many things they do. Even with the predicaments custodians face daily, they told me that, “The staff and students at Highland Park make our job easier.”

Meet the new staff at Highland Park

By: Claire Ramadan, Maddie Baggenstoss, and Daniela Fernandez

This year at Highland Park Senior High we are welcoming many new staff members! In this article we have included interviews from some of the new staff so we can get to know them better.

Image courtesy of Ms. Baheiry

Ms. Baheiry is a new counselor here at HPSH. For her undergrad she went to the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. For her masters degree she went to the University of Wisconsin. Fun Fact – Ms. Baheiry is from right here in Saint Paul, Minnesota! She loves being a school counselor because she gets to help students overcome obstacles and achieve their goals. “[It’s] been really exciting to see what aspirations they have for the future, and just how driven they are, and just how focused they are in school.” Her favorite part of her job is the relationships she builds with the students; getting to meet them freshman year and seeing all that they accomplish in their four years of high school. In her spare time, Ms. Baheiry enjoys playing volleyball, traveling, trying new restaurants, and spending time with her family.

Image courtesy of Ms. Collins-Renaulus

Ms. Collins-Renaulus works in special education at HPSH. She attended Xavier College as well as the University of Saint Thomas, deciding to become a teacher because she wanted to have a rewarding profession. She has three children, enjoys traveling, dancing, working out, and reading in her free time. “There’s a lot of strong school spirit (at HPSH) which is really cool, and they connect the teachers in that school spirit.” Ms. Collins-Renaulus says, “People are really connected here.”

Image courtesy of Daniela Fernandez

Ms. Chan is a Chinese teacher here at HPSH. She went to Pennsylvania State University, and got her masters and PhD in Language and Literacy Education Program in Curriculum and Instructions. She decided to become a teacher because “My parents were both teachers. I see their devotion to the students and would like to follow their steps! I love teaching Chinese. I teach not only Chinese language, but also share Chinese cultures and Chinese history. It is always great to see students being motivated to continue learn in the college!” When asked what her favorite part about teaching was “The best parts of teaching a foreign language is to see students enjoy learning and getting motivated to see another world,” Ms. Chan replied. Lastly, we asked her about how HPSH is different from other schools she’s previously worked at, and this is what she had to say, “I feel HPSH school students are fortunate in a positive learning, loving and caring school environment. Teachers work very hard as a team providing students not only academic knowledge, but also to the connection to the real lives.”

Fun facts about dolphins

Dolphins live in all oceans, and even in some important rivers, and dolphins have been on earth for 15 million years.

There are different foods for different dolphins, like the large ones eat marine mammals like seals or sea lions, and sometimes turtles, and the smaller ones eat fish like herring, cod or mackerel, squid, and other cephalopods. How much dolphins eat depends on how much they weigh. An average dolphin weighs 200-250 kg and will eat between 10 kg to 25 kg of fish every day.

Their are nearly 40 different types of dolphins swimming in the waters of the world, and dolphins are known for their playful behavior. They are highly intelligent, and they are as smart as apes.

A dolphin calf nurses for up to two years, and calves stay with their mothers from three to eight years.

Because dolphins are mammals, they need to come to the surface of the water to breathe, and unlike land mammals that breathe and eat through their mouths, dolphins have separate holes for each task. Dolphins can hold their breath underwater for eight to ten minutes, but some can hold their breath for 15 minutes. Dolphins breathe through their blowhole, which is actually covered when they go under water.

Dolphins have few natural enemies, and humans are their main threat. Pollution, fishing, and hunting are some other threats.

The largest dolphin species is the orca, or the killer whale. Male orcas grow to about 25 feet in length and weigh about 19,000 pounds.

The most a dolphin can live for is 40 years, and for the orca, it is 70-80 years. Dolphins cannot fully go into deep sleep because they need to breathe, and their brains are half asleep.

The name of the female dolphin is ‘’Delphinidae’’ and they are the most important dolphins.

For more information, please visit: http://www2.padi.com/blog/2013/09/04/10-fascinating-dolphin-facts/

Hiway Federal Credit Union

Near the end of the 2016 school year, Highland Park created a partnership with Hiway Federal Credit Union, and built a branch inside the school. Now, some people mistake a credit union for a bank, as they both have members and handle money. A credit union is different from a normal bank though, because:

Not – for – profit > Credit unions are nonprofit financial cooperatives, whose earnings are paid back to members in the form of higher saving rates and lower loan rates.

Member owned > At credit unions, depositors are called members. Each member is an IMG_4253 (Edited)owner of the credit union. Since credit union members are owners, each member, regardless of how much money they have on deposit, has one vote in electing board members. Members can also run for election to the board.

Better rates & Fewer fees > Credit unions focus on consumer loans and member savings, as well as services needed by the membership. Fees, such as overdraft and nonsufficient funds (NSF) fees and ATM fees, tend to be lower at credit unions than banks. Membership requires a deposit of as little as $5, and most do not require a minimum daily balance to avoid fees.

There are many banks and credit unions spread throughout Saint Paul and Minneapolis. IMG_4251Students and teachers of Highland ask many questions like: What do the students do? Why should I join Hiway? How do I become a member? — If you’d like to learn more, stop by the Scots branch during lunch and chat with one of our students, or Hiway associates.

New staff

This year Highland has a number f new staff members. I was able to contact two of the new staff members and asked them questions to get to know them better.

image taken from the official Highland Park Senior High website

The first staff member I was able to talk to is Xue Xiong. Ms. Xue has been teaching for five years; this year is her first year at Highland. She is an ELL teacher, and she co-teaches in an English 10 class, teaches a push-in Algebra 2 class, and also is designated as a 1.5 Social Studies teacher. Before teaching at Highland, Ms. Xiong taught at Hiawatha Leadership Academy, a charter school in South Minneapolis.

When it comes to teaching, what Ms. Xiong enjoys most is connecting with the students, and creating lesson plans for her students to understand and access content. This year is her first year of teaching in high school. Something she doesn’t enjoy so much is grading, but she says she understands the importance of tracking where each of her students is at. Ms. Xiong’s hobbies outside of school include: reading, spending time with her family, and taking naps.

image taken from the official Highland Park Senior High website

The second new staff member I contacted is Joel Gullickson. Mr. Gullickson has been teaching for 20 years now. He teaches Woodwork and Product Design. Before teaching at Highland, Mr. Gullickson taught at Frunze School in Kazakhstan for 2 years, Harding High school for 20 years, International School Moshi in Tanzania for 2 years, and Lakeview South High School for 1 year.

When it comes to teaching for Mr. Gullickson, what he enjoys most is working with the students and writing curriculum. Something he doesn’t enjoy so much is grading. Mr. Gullickson’s hobbies outside of school include: music and film. He also is a beekeeper.