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.

 

New Chinese teacher in 2017-18

This year, Highland Park Senior High has a new Chinese teacher, Ju-Chang Wang. Mrs. Wang teaches Chinese levels 2, 3, and Chinese Immersion 9. She is also a teacher for Study Hall. Mrs. Wang has been teaching for 19 years – she taught for 9 years in Taiwan as an elementary school teacher, and she has been teaching for the past 10 years in the Twin Cities area.

Before coming to Highland, Mrs. Wang taught at Central High School, and Forest Lake Area High School. Mrs. Wang enjoys teaching Chinese very much because teaching Chinese allows her to be creative and innovative to make learning Chinese fun.

Mrs. Wang also said that she loves working with students. She believes that everyone needs someone to believe in them so they can also believe in themselves. She says it feels great when she can be that person for young people.

Mrs. Wang is excited about this year, and she has no doubt that this year is going to be great. “I have awesome students and the best team working towards our common goals – to serve our students and strengthen the Chinese language program at Highland Park Senior High School.”

Retiring teachers

With the end of the year approaching, and summer just around the corner, many people are considering vacation. Some are considering a permanent vacation, or retirement. At Highland Park Senior High School, the people retiring from their jobs here are: Ms. Sherrod, the personal finance management teacher; Mr. Rios, a Spanish teacher; Ms. Harrison, the school nurse; and Ms. Ship, an assistant principal. They have all dedicated their valuable time and skills to teach kids and/or better the school, which is a very noble and nice thing to do. They will soon be leaving Highland Park to start a new chapter of their life, retired from their teaching jobs away from the school. This new chapter of retirement will begin on June 13th when school ends for staff, and will continue throughout the rest of their lives.

I interviewed a student who has one of these teachers and asked them how they felt about their teacher retiring. This student wanted to be kept anonymous for privacy reasons and when asked the question they said that, “I am sad to see them go, but happy for them.”

I’ve only met with a few of these teachers briefly, but I understand how and why they feel this way. I had a teacher of mine in middle school retire and I felt the same way. When I asked the student to explain a little more why they felt that way they did, they said, “I’m sad that I won’t have them next year, but at the same time happy for them to retire.” I see, and know where they are coming from, and completely agree with what they are saying.

I also asked this student how they felt about new teachers for next year, even though we both have no clue who or what to expect. They said, “I’m anxious to see what kind of person they are, and I’m also excited to know who it is at the same time.” I am also interested/excited to see who the new teachers are because maybe I will have them next year, or the year after. I hope that the new teachers will be just as good as the retiring teachers, which won’t be an easy thing to do.

At the end of the day, I’m just happy to have a teacher that enjoys their job and enjoys helping people. These teachers who are retiring have checked both of these boxes during their time at Highland Park Senior High School, and will be missed dearly for their hard work and dedication to this school. I wish them a happy retirement and give them thanks for all they have done to better our school and community.

Spanish Immersion social studies teacher

There are many Spanish Immersion teachers here at Highland, and one of them is Elizabeth Feinstein. Ms. Feinstein is the social studies teacher for the Spanish Immersion program; she teaches 9th grade World History and 10th grade Human Geography. This year is currently her second year teaching at Highland.

Ms. Feinstein started teaching because she likes people and likes being around people a lot. Her favorite thing about teaching is that she gets to see a lot of people everyday.

What she doesn’t enjoy so much, about teaching, is that teaching can be a lot of work and stressful.

I then asked her what she liked most about Highland, to which she replied that she really liked the level of school spirit. She doesn’t have anything she dislikes about Highland.

Some of her hobbies outside of school is doing any outdoor activities, and watching T.V. She likes being outside and doing activities outside of the home.

Great news at Highland

On Friday, March 24th, there was a college fair here at Highland. In the morning two students, Mason Corhouse and Vanessa De La Vega Meza, were presented with scholarships (Dease Scholarship ) to the University of St. Thomas, from a St. Thomas representative.

The Dease Scholarship Program was created by St. Thomas’ 14th President, Dennis Dease. He initiated this program to increase access to a St. Thomas education for students historically underrepresented at the school. These (full-tuition) scholarship are generally awarded to students of color, first generation students, and graduates from urban high schools.

I was able to ask our lucky winners some questions about the scholarship, and how they felt. This is what Vanessa had to say:

photo courtesy of Vanessa

Q: What did you have to do in order to apply for this scholarship?

A: Well in order to apply to the scholarship I first had to be accepted to St. Thomas. Then I had to fill out an application, and write some essays!

Q: Why did you pick St. Thomas?

A: The reason I decided to go to St. Thomas is because it really is such a wonderful school. I have family members who went to St. Thomas and they have always spoken about St. Thomas in such a good manner! I also had a ton of people tell me that it was an excellent school. So I did some research and I was actually excited about this school. I then did a campus visit, as well as an overnight visit and I was thrilled. As I visited the school I noticed a lot of things that I loved about St. Thomas! But the way that St. Thomas treats their students truly got me. They treat their students like actual people, rather than just a number.

Q: Do you know your major? If so, what is it and why did you pick it?

A: The major that I would like to pursue is Civil Engineering. The reason behind this is because I have always been interested by the structures of buildings and bridges and such. At one point I thought I wanted to be an architect, but I realized that just wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to be a part of the math behind the building, and to be a part of the safety of the building. It was then that I found civil engineering, which incorporates everything that I desired to be in my future.

Q: How do you feel knowing that you were chosen out of the 300 applicants?

A: It feels crazy to think that I was chosen out of 300 applicants! Even thinking of it today I am still astounded to think that I was chosen. It really does feel like I am living in a dream!

Q: Fun fact about yourself? 

A: Hmmm I can’t really think of a fun fact.

 

photo courtesy of Mason

Here is what Mason had to say:

Q: What did you have to do in order to apply for this scholarship?

A: To apply for the Dease scholarship, I had to be an accepted student, fill out a scholarship application with information about myself, and complete 2 essays. I don’t recall if letters of recommendation were required though.

Q: Why did you pick St.Thomas?

A: I chose The University of St. Thomas because it is a beautiful school with great programs and educational opportunities.

Q: Do you know your major? If so, what is it and why did you pick it?

A:  The major I am seeking is Actuarial Science, and I am seeking this major because it is very rigorous and requires a lot of mathematics which I enjoy.

Q: How do you feel knowing that you were chosen out of 300 applicants?

A: I am very proud that I was selected for the Dease scholarship; it is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Q: Fun fact about yourself?

A: A fun fact about me is that I can bench my own weight.
Mason and Vanessa both have an incredible things ahead for them. Make sure to congratulate them when you them!