Category Archives: School Life

Plaid Line winter break hiatus

Since we are a school newspaper, we will be on winter break from December 19-January 2. We will not be releasing any new content during that time, but we hope that you may have the opportunity to check out some of our work from previous years.

We would like to thank all of our readers at the end of this calendar year, as you have helped to provide us with an ever growing audience!

Everything I’ve learned about high school (from a Senior)

By: Grace Blumer-Lamotte

High school can be very intimidating. Stepping foot into the school on your first day as a freshman can be overwhelming and stressful. Here are some tips, coming from a Senior in high school. 

The first tip I would give is to STAY ON TOP OF YOUR SCHOOL WORK! This may seem silly to many but this is what I think is the most important tip of them all. Falling behind will get you nowhere. If you stay ahead you allow yourself time to yourself to do things you enjoy. It also allows you to get ahead in most of your classes, especially if the assignments are posted days or weeks in advance. 

Another important tip I have is staying organized. I know many high school students that struggle with falling behind and the main reason is that they are not organized. I have had a planner ever since middle school. I know planners do not work for everyone, but they work for some students. Writing all of the assignments due that week in my planner, and color coordinating the formatives and summative assignments, actually gave me a breath of fresh air in a busy week. It also helped me stay organized and on top of when my assignments were due.

There are many different ways to organize your planner. The way that I found that best suited me was writing out all of my classes that I had that week on each day, e.g. English, History, etc. Next, I would pick a specific color for formative assignments and a different color for summative assignments. I would write out all of the assignments, in the correct color code, due that week.

Finally, after every single one of my classes, I would write down next to the subject what I needed to complete before the next class, e.g. finish the worksheet, and complete the notes. I never knew that doing this during my freshman year would lead me to great success in my organization. I still use a planner and my color coordination method to this day. This healthy habit will follow me through college as well.

Adding on to the tips, another one that impacted me was joining clubs and sports after school. This is where I ended up finding most of my friends that still are with me my senior year. Yes, friends will come and go but the friends I made from sports never went, they stayed.

My freshman year I was super scared, I was starting high school with almost no friends/not knowing anyone. I thought I would try out for the volleyball team and I ended up making a team. I made amazing connections with every single one of the girls on the team, both freshman and older students. I stuck with volleyball all four years of high school and I have never been happier with my decision. I had the opportunity to grow up with these girls and spend most of my time with them.

If you are not a sports person, I would highly recommend joining a club or the theater program at Highland Park Senior High, or really any high school. Joining a club or program of some sort will help guide you through the ups and downs that high school gives you.

Another tip I would give is to go to those sports games. I understand that you might have a lot of homework, but try to finish it before you go. The high school sports games are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to really connect with your classmates and cheer on your school teams. I remember going to every single “musket” game all four years of high school. The energy, joy, and excitement can’t compare to deciding not to go. You only get to have four years of high school, enjoy it while you can.

I do regret one thing from high school. I regret not putting my full effort into every single class that I took during my freshman, sophomore, and junior year. This can have a great impact on applying to colleges and your GPA. 

Overall, one of my most important tips is to stay on top of your school work, stay organized, join clubs/sports/programs, and go to those sports games.

The one retake policy is pretty dumb, and here’s why

By: Abisola Dosunmu

First of all, where’s the motivation for this? Who thought this rule up? Because that puts way too much pressure on high school students, especially in accelerated classes. I get trying to prepare students for college, but I think the one retake thing per quarter is a little harsh. 

Second of all, what do educators hope to accomplish with this rule? I think I can understand the reason behind it. Maybe they think that if students are more stressed to perform well on the test, they’ll perform better. I think that more stress, even though some students perform better under pressure, isn’t necessarily what works well for all students. Is more stress really what students need? Most students don’t really need that extra pressure. 

You have to account for all students when it comes to making these rules. I wrote in the last paragraph that some students cope well under pressure and absorb the material better and therefore, won’t have as much trouble test taking. But other students suffer from test anxiety, and with the one retake policy, feel more pressure to score high, which is pretty disastrous for them. 

I think one of the biggest reasons for this rule is that in college, you’re not really allowed to retake tests like you would in high school. But in real life, you’re allowed to retake important tests. Imagine how many people wouldn’t have their driver’s license if they were only allowed to retake it once. 

Retaking tests benefits educators too! Retaking shows the spots they need to reteach a little more, and work on with students.

I think there should be a compromise. Instead of one retake in every class per quarter, two makes more sense. Also, If students retake the test more, they will absorb the information better and won’t immediately forget about it after the test is over.

For more information, please visit:

ACT vs SAT: Why do we take them? Are they necessary?

By: Maya Breininger

The infamous ACT/SAT exams date back to 1959, and have been used to summarize a student’s academic ability. The question is: Is this an accurate measurement of a student’s capabilities, or is it a grueling task that we just assign to high school students?

A study done in New York City addresses the high levels of chronic stress high school students face daily. It tells us how mentally damaging the repetitive cycle of school can be for young students, and about how the system is fit to teach students who all learn the same way. The cycle of learning a topic, memorizing it, and writing down the information on a test is the daily stressful learning system that students endure every day.

Although there are many studies done suggesting that this is the most efficient and effective way to reach large audiences of children, there are opposing studies that express how vital it is to have interactive assignments that immerse the kids in the material.

Now, what does this have to do with the ACT/SAT exams?

Well, first you have to ask yourself a few of questions – What are the contents of the exam? Are the pages of multiple choice questions of topics that were briefly discussed during class time the best way to assess a student’s academic value? Are the “core class” sections of the test – made to prepare you for very specific and non-diverse career paths – truly reaching into a student’s brain and obtaining its full potential?

Disregarding the repetitive nature of the test, along with the questionable measurement of educational properties, the way that these test scores are used can be very harmful for individuals.

Now, anyone can argue that the tests are used by many colleges and universities as tools to filter their applications, but is it accurate? Can it harm the individual?

SAT scores – according to the website Collegeboard.org – are used to make decisions about admissions, by comparing students based off of their scores. This indirectly states that a 3 hour exam can accurately capture the knowledge of an entire student. By using the same sections and decisions, colleges assess who can make it through applications.

Consider these components the next time that you have a conversation about the SAT scores, or form an opinion of a person for refusing to take them. Besides the fact that your score could deter your dream college from your application, it’s also a good idea to survey the contents of the SAT, and find out if it’s worth an entire year of stress to young high school students who might not even all learn the same way.

Now that you’ve read this article, can you confidently state that SAT and ACT exams are an accurate assessment of student knowledge? Should a decision made in 1959 about the rules of education affect how colleges view your application information?

The way I see it, it’s not an accurate assessment of the whole student, and there are lots of better ways for colleges to determine if a student is a good fit for their school.

For more information, please check out these websites:

What is spirit week? And how was it for HPSH?

By: Domingo Basso

Image taken from: https://www.westonschools.org/middle
/blog/2021/03/22/spirit-week-3-22-3-26/spirit-week/

So, our school, Highland Park Senior High, has this thing called spirit week at certain points in the year.

Actually, first allow me to explain to you what exactly this “spirit week” is. Spirit week is a time of year for schools to be a little more festive and have some fun with some little event or spin on the norm every day of the week. Such as: wearing all white clothes to school one day or wearing pajamas. Spirit weeks usually last… well one week (hence the name) and are usually active before an event at said school.

Another thing to note is that most high schools have their spirit week on the week of homecoming ,and ends with a pep rally on the Friday of that week, followed by the homecoming dance later that night. 

In Highland Park Senior High’s case, spirit week had the following events each day: Monday was pajama + stuffed animal day, Tuesday was Twin day, Wednesday was Cultural pride day, Thursday was class color day, and finally, Friday was RED OUT day. 

The whole concept of spirit week was first really put into use in the year of 1952. The first spirit week was known as “Friendship Week” at Palo Alto High School and later on in the 1960s it was renamed to what we know it as today: “Spirit Week”

Finally, to close off this article, let’s see the opinions of some students around Homecoming Spirit Week of 2022.

I interviewed four students and this is what they all said: 

The first student said: “Mid.” And after having this person elaborate a little more they proceeded to say that it wasn’t all that good because “There wasn’t a no backpack day,” and “it was so bad that I can’t even remember any of the themes from that week” (By the way this same person didn’t know what the theme of most of the days even were).

The second student said :“Kinda boring,” and after making this student also elaborate more, via the use of a very friendly message including their address and a picture of their immediate family, they proceeded to say that it was because “None of the daily events were all that interesting or engaging.”

And the third student had this to say about spirit week: “It was alright, Friday was cool because of the pep fest but some of the other days barely anyone participated in spirit week.”

Finally, the fourth student said: “Yah I like spirit week.” Not much to say there they simply found spirit week enjoyable.

Overall, I’d say spirit week was alright. Last year was better though, because the events were more interesting.

 For more information, please visit:

The pros and cons of students being allowed to use personal devices in school

By: Abisola Dosunmu

Image taken from:

Should the use of interpersonal devices—like phones—-be allowed in schools? I feel like that’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves at one time or another. Maybe not in that exact wording—but, well, you know what I mean.

In our modern world, life thrives on the use of digital technology.  We can use digital devices to communicate with our friends, family, literally anybody. There are around 7.753 billion people on this earth. With a few key types and a click of a button we can easily communicate with them. Maybe we’ve gotten desensitized to that, especially with the younger generation, but let me remind you, a hundred years ago, this would have been impossible to even think about. Now, it’s our reality. That’s pretty amazing.

So, what does ranting about the use of modern technology have to do with my topic? Well, cell phones have many uses besides the opportunity of being socially connected. They can be used for organization, note taking, access to educational apps, and new and unique learning opportunities tailored to each student’s needs. There’s really no one size fits all for everyone, especially when it comes to learning. 

Now, we have a whole labyrinth of information on the internet waiting to be discovered, with new takes on information and data from people all around the world. The ability to discover new perspectives and the opportunity to expand students’ minds and stray from the dusty old textbooks and worksheets.  Isn’t that what learning is about? Why not take advantage of that?

But, I also understand how cell phones can easily be misused in a learning environment. From distractions and cheating, to bullying, the use of cell phones can have a very negative impact on students’ daily lives. It all comes down to trust. When executed the right way, it can be a fresh and a helpful new way to develop new ways of learning.

I’m not saying I prefer this one way or another. Each point has its advantages and drawbacks. I mean, distance learning was done on devices. Some students thrived on it, some people didn’t. That’s fine. 

Instead of policing and trafficking use of all personal devices, recognize that some people can handle their devices responsibly and some genuinely need it (emergencies, to notify a guardian, personal problems, rescheduling something, etc.), while some people may have trouble focusing on learning with it.  That’s okay, because everyone learns differently and has different challenges. 

How can we achieve that? Well, there’s really no fair way to make it a rule one way or another. Despite what I just wrote, you can’t really allow one student to be on their phone and ban the other student from using it. What you can do is teach students to be responsible with their personal devices, to be respectful when using it, to be responsible with sharing content, and realizing when it’s time to put it away.  I know it might not seem like it, but it’s just another life lesson you need to teach in school.

So, what do you think? Should we encourage personal digital devices in school settings or completely veer away from it?

For more information, please visit:

Was the homecoming dance playlist good?

By: Gabe Kleiber

Image from: Aedon Everson-McDermott

Highland’s homecoming dance was a few Fridays ago, and one obvious challenge for any school dance is accommodating for the various age groups and genre preferences that come with having a school with hundreds of students.

But how well was this done?

To answer this question, I asked students what they liked and disliked about the song selection, and to rate it on a scale of 1 to 10.

One student said, “I really liked that they had some Spanish songs in there, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the rap ones.”

This brings up another huge issue for picking songs; the language barrier. Knowing and understanding the words to songs is often a big factor of whether or not you like them. There is no real option but to play songs in multiple languages, which they did, and it seemed to go over pretty well with everyone.

Another student said, “I liked that there was a variety of songs. My favorite was the dance pop songs, especially the classics like ‘I got a feeling’. I didn’t dislike many songs they played and they switched up the style a lot, so I will give it a 8/10.”

The last person I talked to said this, “I was expecting more slow music, but a lot of it was energetic and exciting. Even though they played a lot of music that I didn’t like, a lot of people seemed to enjoy every song they played. It wasn’t kids music either, it was the kind of music people our age actually listen too. I especially liked the hip hop ones like ‘Love Sosa’ and ‘Pop Out’. Overall they played something for everyone and did a nice job balancing different tastes. 7.5/10.”

I completely agree with this last one. It seems like overall there was a nice variety of music for all different genre preferences. Even if you aren’t a fan of pop music, they never played more than one or two without changing it up and playing something different. This made it so everything felt unique and everyone could dance to a song they liked often no matter what kind of music they liked.

They really did a good job with the balancing. I didn’t talk to anyone that didn’t enjoy at least 5 different songs they played, and there wasn’t a single song that any of them strongly disliked. Obviously, there were songs they were less fond of, but to keep everyone happy you have to play things that some people don’t like as much.

Overall, I am impressed they were able to keep so many people with different tastes happy, so I will give the playlist a 8.5/10.

Differences between college and high school

By: Addison Strack

The transition from high school to college is a big one, and there are some major differences between the two that will be talked about in this article.

One of the first major differences between high school and college is that throughout high school, you rely on your counselors and teachers to organize your schedule.

Once you get to college though, you will have to create your own schedule. You will have to arrange your classes to fit your agenda, and organize your schedule according to other things going on in your life.

Another difference between high school and college is the amount of time you spend in classes. In high school you will have back to back classes for around six hours a day, Monday through Friday.

Once you get to college you’ll only spend around twelve to sixteen hours in class each week, and usually you’ll have breaks in between classes. Some days you may only have one class, depending on how you create your schedule.

The workload and testing in college is also a lot different than in high school. In high school, your teachers will assign you homework, and remind you of when the homework is due. There will usually be tests that cover smaller amounts of material, where you will have to recall and understand information that you have been taught. If you are absent during a test, there are usually make-up tests available as well.

In college, you may not be assigned homework, but you will have a substantial amount of notes and studying to do outside of class. You will have to use what you have learned in your lessons, and apply it to different situations on the tests, which will usually cover larger amounts of materials. Since these tests cover larger amounts of material, they will be more infrequent. There usually aren’t make-up tests either.

One final major difference between college and high school is the financial part of it. You can go to high school for free, and most of the textbooks you need will be provided for you by the school.

Once you get to college, if you live on campus, you will have to pay for housing and dining, and you will also have to buy your own textbooks. Some colleges require computers as well.

The bottom line is that once you get to college, you will have a lot more freedom, but with that freedom comes more responsibilities. You will have to learn how to manage your time and money, and how to stay organized, all while balancing your school and social life.

If you would like to read more about the differences between high school and college, please use the links below:

Clubs and activities: The who, what, when, and where of HPSH extracurriculars

By: Jo Knorr & Erin Moore

Image taken from: HPSH BSU Instagram page (@hp_bsu)

Jo and I have talked to many friends and wondered ourselves about getting involved at Highland. When we looked for more information, we realized there were so many different places to learn more, but most information was spread out. Thus, we decided to write this article so there could be one place to find almost everything you need to know about clubs at HPSH.

Adoptee Club
Adoptee Club is a place for adopted children, and their siblings, to come together and discuss their unique experiences and perspectives. This club met for the first time this year on October 12th, at 7:45. They meet in room 2204. (Ms. Kallestad’s room.)

African Students Association
HPSH African Students Association is a club for African students at Highland to play games, talk, and learn about African culture. However, this club is not exclusively for African students, according to their interview in HP News. ASA meets from 3:15-4:15 every Thursday after school in the CCRC.

Asian Culture Club
The Asian Culture Club is open to everyone—People of Asian descent, friends, and those just looking to learn! Club meetings are held every other Friday from 3:00-4:15, starting September 30th. Meeting location is room 3210; snacks are provided.

Black Student Union
Black Student Union (otherwise known as BSU) is a club focused on diversity, cultural awareness, and support within the Black community. The Black Student Union holds meetings every Wednesday in room 1204 between 3:15 and 4:00.

Book Club
Book Club is, well, what it says on the posters. At the beginning of each month, books are voted on, and the winning book (YA, usually tying into a social issue of some kind) will be read throughout the course of the month. This month’s book is I Hunt Killers, by Barry Lyga. Meetings are held in the library; the next one will be Tuesday, October 25.

Climate Justice Club
Climate Justice Club focuses on educating students about climate change, making an impact in our community to improve the environment, and fighting for a healthier Earth. Their meetings are held at 7:45am in room 2314. CJC meetings will be the first and third Tuesday of each month.

Debate

Contrary to popular belief, debate is a sport—the art and science of speech and civil argument. Debaters are given evidence for two sides of an issue, and it is up to them to fit things together and think up rebuttals on the fly to their opponent’s remarks. If you debate all throughout high school, Augsburg University might even offer you a scholarship! Debate meets on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3:15 to 4:30. It’s held in 2220, Mr. Hayes’ room.

Girls Alliance Association
Girls Alliance Association, or GALA, is a girls empowerment group set on providing a supportive community for the girls of HPSH that educates and advocates for important women’s issues such as health and inequality. GALA meets in room 2203, on the second and fourth Fridays of every month, at 3:15.

Gender Sexuality Alliance
The Gender-Sexuality Alliance is a club for those in the LGBTQ+ community, allies, and those questioning their gender, sexuality or romantic orientation. Individuals come together for support, conversation, and a place to discuss the ins and outs of being in the community. Meetings are in room 2208 every Wednesday after school.

The Good Club
The Good Club meets every other Wednesday from 7:45-8:10am in room 2208. The Good Club describes themselves on their Instagram account as “a club who strives to help our community and world by learning and taking action. It’s a good way to meet new people, get involved in the community, and get service hours!” Their next meeting is on October 26th at the usual time.

HOSA
Otherwise known as the Highland chapter of the Healthcare Occupational Students of America, HOSA is a club for those who want to go into the medical services in the future. It offers lectures from real medical professionals, first-aid lessons, and an introduction to many tools and terms you’ll be using in the professional world. It meets next on October 20th, at 7:30. Meetings are conducted in the nurse’s office.

Jewish Culture Club
Jewish Culture Club is for Jewish and non-Jewish students alike to learn more about Jewish culture. Meetings are every other Thursday at 3:10pm in room 2202. In their first meeting, they had snacks, made cards for Rosh Hashanah, and introduced themselves. If you’re interested in learning more about Judaism, be sure to check it out.

Knit and Crochet Club
Knit and Crochet Club is a club for anybody who wants a quiet space to knit, crochet, and make friends. From beginners to experts, everyone is welcomed! Meetings are after school on Mondays, in room 1215

Model UN
Model UN is a club where students, by roleplaying a delegate from a particular nation, can simulate the functions of the real United Nations in miniature. This will help students develop their research skills, comprehend international relations, flex their problem-solving muscles, and understand the complex issues that affect our globe. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Ms. Rise, in 2201.

Muslim Student Association
The Muslim Student Association is a club by, and for, students who are practitioners of Islam; those who want to learn are also welcomed. The club holds prayer services and celebrates holy days together. Club meetings are every Monday, from 3:15 to 4:15. They are held in room 1204.

Robotics
Robotics is a club for technologically and STEM-minded students to get together and build a robot! Participants will then compete in competitions that can even go up to the national level. In the first half of the year, meetings will be held on Tuesdays. In the latter half—once the season picks up—meetings will be Tuesdays and Thursdays. They meet in the wood shop.

Science Club
Science Club meets in room 2305 at 7:45 every other Wednesday (their first meeting was on September 21st). Science Club is for learning more about various aspects of science and discussing it with others also interested in it. Members of the science club also write for The Nucleus, a science journal. Want to check out The Nucleus? Their website is: thehighlandnucleus.weebly.com.

Student Council
Student Council is open to anyone, and is for those interested in helping the school community and being part of decision making for school events. For example, in the first meeting of student council, they voted and decided on the spirit week themes and the homecoming dance theme, and in the second meeting they sorted grade shirts and held signups for handing out shirts, the pep rally how-to video, and selling homecoming tickets. They meet around once a month, and will hold their next meeting on November 1st at 3:10 in room 2214 (Ms. Becker’s room).

Theatre Club
Highland’s Theatre Club is for students interested in performing or helping with the various productions put on by HPSH throughout the course of this year. Currently, the plays ‘Clue’ and ‘The Children’s Hour’ are in rehearsals, performing in early winter of 2022. To join Theatre Club for tech crew, or later performances, contact Ms. Nancy. Later in the year, Theatre Club will have winter one acts, a spring musical (‘Addams Family’), and a spring play, all of which require zero experience for auditioning.

For more information, be sure to check out HP News, club fliers in the hallways, club social media accounts, and listen to the announcements in advisory! If we missed any clubs, the previously mentioned sources would also be great places to find information on those.

The Manga section at Highland High School

By: Maya Breininger

Suppose you’re a student at Highland High School, a school building under the Saint Paul Public School system, and your main interests and hobbies consist of reading manga, graphic novels, and picture books. 

There are many available systems that make the libraries enjoyable and accessible to the students. Systems such as the book return policy, different librarians working to make sure that students enjoy their experience, and so on. 

The librarian working at Highland, a wonderful librarian working to keep our school library system working continually for students.

She works very well with the school, trying her hardest to give the students satisfactory and organized books to their liking. Even though she often pulls through with very satisfactory layouts, the materials and resources given to her are very limited. 

The library receives very little funding from the school district, and has a very limited amount of Title 1 funding. The money it does receive is from a combination of district library services, and Parent Student Teacher grants, or PTSA grants. Even though these resources are available, the librarian expressed how it is not enough to get the school to the recommended amount of books for students across the district.

Some of the main problems the librarian encounters are books often being taken without being checked out, some books never being returned, and some being returned in worse quality than initially rented out. She’s a team of one – basically, drastically understaffed – and often finds it hard to balance her home life with school, considering the limited amount of staff.

Although she faces these many challenges, she acknowledges that the Manga section is the most popular section in the library and tries her hardest to make the best decisions on which manga’s to bring for the students.

As we take a closer look and indulge ourselves in the manga section of the library, you find a wide variety of selections that would satisfy any anime watcher or manga fanatic.

As you can see in the picture below, it’s a very popular and wide section of books that are rented out quite frequently. From a personal perspective, it’s very admirable how organized and clean the Manga section is, despite being handled by many teenage students every day.

Now one may wonder, how can this section be expanded? Does it have enough options? Will the books be accurately displayed within their genres, as well as book titles and descriptions?

The answer is; Yes. The books are all carefully placed and fruitfully organized, and with the money from the school, they have bought and put together a wonderful collection for many students to enjoy. 

A few things to note: Always be mindful of returning your books punctually and in respectable quality, so as to keep the Manga section enjoyable for all who visit. It’s a cool, calm and collected little corner of the library that is kept in wonderful quality by our Librarian Ms. Rahman. It’s a small space that can be used to read your newly purchased books, or that you can recover from your stressful day. 

With all hands in unison, working on growing and improving our library, we can accurately and truthfully say that the Manga section, as well as the whole of our library, is aptly and kindly taken care of. 

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