Grand Old Days

If you didn’t go to Grand Old Days this year in St. Paul, you missed out. The festival this year was held on Saturday, June 4th, and it lasted all day long. Grand Old Days is a fun filled exciting day that runs up and down Grand Ave all day. The day is full of fun activities like bouncy houses, slides, and fun little mini games like bags or home run derby.

There is also a lot of different kinds of foods available. The food is served via food stands and is cooked right in front of you, so it is always new and fresh. The foods they serve include all your typical festival foods like corn dogs, hamburgers, and hot dogs, but there are also some different foods that in my opinion taste better. The options don’t stop at food though, and there are many drinks like Jamba Juice, lemonade, soda, and this year I even saw drinks served in whole coconuts.

Grand Old Days is a place to go if you want to go and have a good time with your friends and family or by yourself.

Once you have eaten and walked around, and enjoyed what there is to see, you can have a little rest and wait for the parade. The parade is a fantastic parade that includes small and big businesses and organizations, shops on Grand, and of course candy. The parade is never disappointing and always very interesting to see what floats they make to use in the parade. This year there was a wide variety of floats in the parade ranging from small flashy and colorful floats to huge floats packed to the brim with people throwing out candy.

Grand Old Days, as an overall activity, is a great family friendly fun event where you enjoy every second that you are there. I know that I had fun at Grand Old Days and I’m confident that if I asked people that went they would say the same.

Another thing that is very cool at Grand Old Days is the amount of local businesses that have been given space and booths at the event. Many events now are just overrun by big companies and businesses, but at Grand Old Days, and in most of St. Paul, they encourage and support small businesses and local stores or companies.

On the Grand Old Days webpage, they have a whole section devoted to local businesses, and at the event they have two whole blocks set aside for local businesses. I think that this is a very cool thing that they are doing because, like I said before, most events are overrun by big companies and businesses, but I feel that new ideas do need to be expressed and I’ve found that most small and local businesses have very unique and new ideas. Now this isn’t to say that every small business does, but it is more common. This is why I enjoy Grand Old Days as much as I do, because they give everyone a chance to express themselves and share what they have to offer.

Cinco de Mayo performance 2017

On Thursday, May 4th, Highland had its annual Cinco de Mayo performance.

photo courtesy of Señora Romero

The day performance took place during 7th hour and most classes got to go down to the auditorium to watch it. Outside the auditorium there were paintings reflecting the Latino culture. The stage was decorated with red, green and white balloons and a 3D flower backdrop. Pinatas hung from the balcony and banners the 1862, Battle of Puebla painted on them were displayed across the walls. On the stage a Mariachi played while students, parents and teachers found their seats. The performance started shortly after everyone was seated.

This year was a little different than last year. This year’s dances included Bachata, Traditional Aztec dancing and El Baile de Los Viejitos. There was also a special performances by Sra. Nelsons first and fifth hour Spanish Immersion classes. Her first hour danced Cumbia and her fifth hour danced Merengue. The Folklorico dancers had the Mariachi play live during their performance and it was a surprise to everyone.

All performances and dancers looked amazing and well rehearsed, and even though the bell rang during the last performance, it was a very well put together performance.

photo courtesy of Señora Romero

Before the night performance, families were invited into the field house for dinner. Everyone who showed up seemed to enjoy the meal.

The night performance went in the same order as the day version. The night show did not have a live Mariachi performance, but it did included more Aztec dancers and drummers than the day show. Overall, the performance was the same except the Folklorico dancers actually got to finish without the interruption of the 2 o’clock bell.

In my opinion, with more dances and the stage being decorated very nicely, this years Cinco de Mayo performance was my favorite so far.

photo courtesy of Señora Romero

Fyre Festival scam

Many millennials were excited a couple of weekends ago about the new music festival deemed the next Coachella or Lollapalooza. The first ever Fyre Festival had its kick off and went to absolute shambles.

The Fyre Festival was advertised as a “luxurious music event with many A-list artists” but none of those artists showed up. The festival organizers, Ja Rule and Billy McFarland, were trying their best to make this an amazing event, but things didn’t go to plan. Even the employees don’t know if they are going to get paid. Billy McFarland said, “Just keep working ’til Friday, and we’ll let you know Friday.”

This isn’t the first time one of Billy Mcfarland’s entrepreneurial ideas has gone bad. In August, of 2013, McFarland launched his new black card, Magnises. The black card was geared, and advertised, towards Millennials. It stated it could “unlock your city,” as it included many luxury benefits such as member only concerts from various artists and top seats for certain sport events. The black card was launched originally only in New York City, but then expanded to San Francisco and Washington D.C. Many customers started complaining about the card though. One customer, according to Bussinessinsider.com, stated that they would send the same exact email for every problem, but it was more like a fill in the blanks.

In the end, the Fyre Festival was supposed to be a luxury music event with the average ticket being $12,500. Ja Rule and Billy McFarland, the Fyre Festival founders, stated they will try again next year, offering free tickets for those who paid this year. For now though, they are facing up to 100 million dollars in lawsuits for false advertisement and not paying employees.

The History of Cinco de mayo

Cinco de mayo, or the fifth of May, is coming up and many people don’t know the history of this day; many actually confuse this date for Mexico’s independence day which is actually on September 16, many months away from when Cinco is celebrated.

Everything started during the French-Mexican War (1861-1867) when Benito Juárez was elected as Mexico’s new president. Throughout this war, Mexico was in deep debt and the new president had to stop all payments to the European governments, which created problems with France, Britain, and Spain. After Benito Juárez stopped sending them money, the European governments sent naval forces to Mexico. They demanded a repayment from the president. Britain and Spain made an agreement with Juárez, soon after their naval deployment, and they both withdrew their forces. France however, took the chance to try and overrun the Mexican territory. Not long after, 6,000 French troops were sent to Puebla de Los Angeles.

After hearing about the plan that the French government had, Juárez gathered 2,000 men to go fight in Puebla. They went and prepared for the French to come and start an assault.

On May 5th, 1862, The French attacked. The battled didn’t last long; over 500 French soldiers were killed and only fewer than 100 Mexican soldiers. The French retreated, and after that day, May 5th represented a huge victory for the Mexican government.

Cinco de Mayo is mostly only celebrated in Puebla, where the battle took place, but some other countries also take part in the celebration. For many Mexicans though, the fifth of May is like any other day. In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is seen as a celebration of Mexican culture and its heritage. It’s celebrated with parades, parties, traditional Mexican foods, and huge festivals.


So, go out and see all of the cool and colorful festivals and parades with some loved ones and never forget the history of Cinco de Mayo.

Prom 2017

This year for prom, like previous years, the prom committee will be selling tickets for those who want to go. All tickets will be handled, and sold, in Ms. Becker’s room – 2214.

Each week, the price of the tickets will go up by $10, so we encourage you to buy your tickets as soon as possible to spend less. The first batch of tickets will have the starting price of $35, and can be purchased at the following times:

  • Wednesday, April 19, at 2:05 PM
  • Thursday, April 20, at 2:05 PM
  • Friday, April 21, at 7:00-7:15 AM, during 2nd lunch, and at 2:05 PM

Monday, April 24 – Friday, April 28, the price of tickets will be increased to $45. The tickets will be sold at:

  • Monday, April 24 – Thursday, April 27, at 2:05 PM
  • Friday, April 28, at at 7:00-7:15 AM, during 2nd lunch, and at 2:05 PM

The week that will be different is the week of prom. The tickets will be avalible for $55 on:

  • Monday, May 1, at 2:05 PM
  • Tuesday, May 2, at 7:00 – 7:15 AM, during 2nd lunch, and at 2:05 PM

Make sure to remember to buy your tickets as soon as possible! Not only will this help you, but it will help us, the prom committee, as well.

PROM RULES:
– Anyone age 21 and above may not attend prom.
– If you are bringing anyone that does not attend our school, then you will have to go to Ms. Becker to get a permission form. This form will have to be submitted by May 2.
– Unapproved guests will be turned away, even if they have a paid ticket.

*All attendees must have a photo ID to enter prom.

American Red Cross blood drive

The American Red Cross (ARC) is an organization which focuses on providing emergency and disaster relief to families. The ARC has services in 4 different areas: comfort and communication for military service and their families, collecting blood donations, educational programs, and international relief programs.

One of the most well known, and highly needed services, the Red Cross offers, is the process of collecting blood. According to the ARC, about every two seconds someone in the US needs blood, and the most needed type of blood is O negative. O negative is important because if there is no time to test for a person’s blood type, O negative will work with any blood. Many cancer patients will need a blood transfusion frequently – sometimes every day. The average blood transfusion is 3 pints, and every donor will give about 1 pint of blood, but the average car accident victim can use up to 100 pints of blood.  

The process of donating blood is a very safe process. The nurse drawing blood uses a sterile needle, which is only used once, then discarded. Blood donation has four steps to it.

  • The first step is registration
  • The second step includes having the doctors/nurses get a medical history and do a mini physical
  • Third, you donate
  • Fourth, afterwards you receive refreshments

The actual time it takes someone to donate their blood is 10-12 minutes, but the whole process can take up to an 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Highland Park Senior High hosted the Red Cross on March 17th. Highland had 50 people show up – giving a total of 41 pints. Many of the students at Highland were very anxious and scared. One student, Michaela Malone (11) said, “I’m very nervous to give blood because I’m afraid of needles.” Later she said, “I’m scared that I will faint, but I’m excited that I will be helping a person in need.”

As I talked to other students the word was the same, Lane Fry (11) mentioned, “I feel like I’m gonna die. I wanted to donate my blood because it’s St. Patrick’s Day, and I thought many people might need blood tonight. I also just wanted to do something good for myself.”

Many of Highland’s students also volunteered to help run the event. Highland students did most of the stuff that kept things running smoothly so the nurses could focus on collecting blood. I asked Jilly Wortman (11) what she did to help out. Jilly replied with, “I signed people in, gave information to donors, supplied water for people, and I also comforted people while they were donating blood.”

Will Pribula (12) was donating not only for the good of other people but for himself. As I asked him how he was feeling before the donation he said, “I’m really bored and kind of wanna get this over with. It’s not what I thought. I imagined that I would come donate blood and leave but instead I’ve been sitting for an hour, getting bored and the music selection is poor, but at least I’m getting out of class.” His reactions after we’re surprisingly different as he said, “It was very relaxing and I feel great about donating today.”

Neesha Moore (11) felt the same after the donation process as she told me “It was a blast! I encourage everyone to do it. It was a weird feeling of happiness, dizziness, and relaxation. I feel like I should be giggling, but that’s probably due to the amount of blood loss.”

Día sin inmigrantes

b806420“Día sin inmigrantes” fue el jueves 16 de febrero de 2016. Los Estados Unidos se unieron para protestar. Aquí en Minnesota, tuvimos una marcha que comenzó en el Consulado Mexicano (797 7th St E 55106) pasado centro de la ciudad, todo el camino a la capital. Durante la marcha hacia la capital hubo muchas paradas para ver a los bailarines aztecas. Cerca de 300 personas marchaban, y había más gente allí.

Muchos grandes restaurantes y tiendas estaban cerrados, tales como:

  • El Burrito Mercado
  • Boca Chica Restaurant & Taco House
  • El Nuevo Rodeo
  • La Loma Tamales
  • Las Mojarras
  • Panaderia San Miguel
  • Los Ocampo
  • Taqueria Los Paisanos
  • Los Gallos (las 15 localidades)
  • Salón de Belleza Avandaros

Estos eran sólo algunos de los lugares populares que estaban cerrados, pero había muchas más empresas que estaban cerradas. Mi papá cerró su negocio, J.P Auto Body pero no asistió a la protesta conmigo. En la capital, los bailarines aztecas continuaron actuando y gritando “Un pueblo unido, jamás será vencido”, “Si se puede” y muchas cosas más, Dirigido principalmente a Donald Trump.

Como alguien que tiene inmigrantes en su familia y en su grupo de amigos, esta protesta fue muy importante para mí. Ver el apoyo de no sólo mi carrera, pero muchos más fue increíble. Esperemos que esta protesta trajo a todos más cerca y que trajo más conciencia de cómo los inmigrantes afectan no sólo la economía, sino todo lo demás.

 

For those unable to read Spanish:

“Day Without Immigrants” was on Thursday, February 16th, 2017. The United States joined together to protest against President Trump and his immigration statements. Here in Minnesota, we had a march that started at the Mexican Consulate ( 797 7th St E 55106 ), went past downtown, all the way to The Capital. During the march towards the capital, there were many stops to watch the Aztec dancers. About 300 people were marching, and there were more people there.

Many big restaurants and stores were closed, such as:

  • El Burrito Mercado
  • Boca Chica Restaurant and Taco House
  • El Nuevo Rodeo
  • La Loma Tamales
  • Las Mojarras
  • Panaderia San Miguel
  • Los Ocampo
  • Taqueria Los Paisanos
  • Los Gallos (all 15 locations)  
  • Avandaros Beauty Salon

These were just some of the popular places that were closed, but there were many more businesses that were closed. My dad closed his business, J.P Auto Body, but did not attend the protest with me. While in the capital, the Aztec dancers continued to perform and to yell “Un pueblo unido, jamás será vencido” ( a nation united, will never be defeated), “Si se puede” (yes we can) and many more things, mainly directed at Donald Trump.

As someone that has immigrants in their family and in their friend group, this protest was very important to me. Seeing the support from not only my race, but many more was amazing. Hopefully, this protest brought everyone closer, and it brought more awareness to how immigrants affect not only the economy but everything else.

 

A Day Without Immigrants

Thursday, February 16, 2017, was known as “A Day Without Immigrants.” Immigrants around the U.S. stayed home from work, and school, on Thursday, to demonstrate how important they are to America’s economy. In an act of solidarity, many businesses also closed for the day. The boycott was primarily directed at the Trump administration’s efforts to build a wall along the Mexican border, increase deportations, and ban travel from a number of Middle Eastern countries.

The protest affected many aspects of life, but A Day Without Immigrants mainly affected the restaurant industry. The restaurant industry was heavily impacted because it offers the most jobs to new immigrants in the U.S. It offers jobs such as cooks, servers, and dishwashers.

Since the end of 2007, the number of foreign-born employees in the U.S. has jumped by nearly 3.1 million to 25.9 million; they account for 56 percent of the increase in the U.S. workforce, according to the Labor Department. In the restaurant industry, there are 12 million immigrants employed, and in cities such as New York and Chicago, they account for more than 70% of the restaurant workforce. Another industry that felt the impact of the protests was construction.

A large portion of the protesters are having to deal with the consequences of President Trump, when a majority of them didn’t even have the right to vote, while other protesters didn’t even vote for him. There is no nation-wide number stating how many people stayed home from school or work, but many student absences were not excused, and some people who skipped work lost a day’s pay or perhaps even their jobs. Even with these consequences, organizers and participants argued the cause was worth it.

Here in St. Paul, the marches started in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood. A couple hundred people gathered at the corner of East Seventh and Hope streets near the offices of the Mexican Consulate in St. Paul. The march traveled down East Seventh street past the Asian grocery store, an Ethiopian church, an Italian pizzeria, and a Mediterranean grill. By noon, the streets of St. Paul had protester groups that were two or three blocks long. The march eventually made its way to the Capitol building. The total number of protesters in the Twin Cities reached nearly 200 people, of all types, who boycotted work and school. There was also a handful of restaurant chains the closed in solidarity to the protest.

Tuesday’s Cruz-Sanders Obamacare debate

The Two Senators mid debate

image taken from: Masslive.com

Last Tuesday, February 7th, Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) faced off in a debate about the future of healthcare in America. More specifically, the pair sparred about the Affordable Care Act (often known as Obamacare) and whether or not it should be replaced by a new healthcare bill or not. Cruz took a pretty hardline stance against Obamacare, claiming that while healthcare was desirable, the ACA failed to provide it effectively. Meanwhile, Sanders took a more moderate stance, agreeing that the policy was flawed, but he wants to improve it rather than repeal it entirely.

The debate was a town hall style, meaning that instead of the moderators asking questions, they were delivered by the crowd. However, the questions were almost certainly pre-approved, so in practice there isn’t a very large difference.

In addition, a fair number of questions seemed like clear plants for one side or the other. For example, Sanders was told by a small business owner that Obamacare was limiting the expansion of her business, while Cruz faced questions from a woman who said her life was saved by the policy. Both handled the questions well, though Sanders often came off as somewhat patronizing towards the audience.

Because of Sander’s position on the issue, the two initially found themselves in some agreement. For example, they both thought that insurance companies were too powerful, but they had radically different solutions. Cruz wanted to increase competition by allowing insurance sales across state borders (in addition to other measures), while Sanders felt more government input was necessary. However, Sanders was less able to defend his position, and instead faltered under questions about the actual effectiveness of government input. Meanwhile, Cruz seemed to argue his case much better, and was able to come off as far more credible.

After the senator’s initial agreement, the debate went somewhat downhill. While the issues were definitely still discussed, the debate devolved a lot, to the point where the two debaters spent almost two minutes arguing about the relative merits of Vermont and Texas as states. To be fair, the moderators were able to keep the debate on track, (even connecting the state argument into the issues) and it was certainly more productive than any of the presidential debates. The last major point of the debate was Sanders talking about his own healthcare plan, something that Cruz demonstrated was financially unfeasible.

By the end of the debate, it seemed clear that Cruz had won pretty decisively. While no polling is currently available on who the voters think won the debate, Cruz was far more put together and well spoken, while Sanders was more discombobulated and often knocked off balance by Cruz. Both Senators still made reasonable and well thought out points, however, so it’s hard to say it was a complete route. Anyway, who won is more of a moot point, as neither candidate is up for election anytime soon. The more important thing is the discussion that was had.

CU Day at the capitol

On January 31st, I attended an all-day event called: Credit Union Day at the Capitol.

This event saw all of the credit unions, in Minnesota, coming together to meet with different legislators, of Saint Paul, to talk about how their credit union is making an impact on their community. They also talked about how they are most important when assisting their community members with financial troubles.

As a student from Highland Park, I was invited by HIWAY Federal Credit Union to participate in this event so that I could learn more about how a credit union can make an impact on society.  They also wanted me to better understand the work that is involved with promoting a credit union.

img_4251The Minnesota credit union network contains more than 20 credit unions, all consisting of one important rule, which is to help their members learn more about savings and assist them with any concerns about their financial position. I met with two legislators: Dave Pinto and Dan Schoen. I talked to them about my involvement with HIWAY, and about having a branch inside Highland Park, which influenced many students to become a student member with HIWAY. This school year, we have had at least 8 students become members, and we still have people joining today.

img_2401Another thing I found very exciting is the CEO of HIWAY – Dave Boden, took me on a tour of the capitol building, for my first time visiting the place. He told me that the legislators of Saint Paul look upon the credit union network of Minnesota, and see how they want to help their members and educate them about the benefits and qualities of savings.

Just before the event, I also got to sit in on a press conference for a program called: “WINcentive savings” where they talked about how learning to save and being knowledgeable of your finances can make a difference in the future.

Working for a credit union, inside a high school, is a grand opportunity to promote HIWAY amongst students and teachers who are interested in learning more about this type of business and its purpose. It also provides the chance to be part of an outreach, to be involved with a different crowd that wants to start being well-educated on the qualities of a credit union, and to actually become a member of the credit union.