Senior meeting

On January 10th, We had our second senior class meeting. It was basically a meeting where we talked about making sure we are on track to graduate and also about graduation. You could feel the excitement in the room as we are going into our second semester of our last year in high school. We talked about three main things: keeping grades up, senior field trip, and cap and gowns.


Seniors have been in high school for about 3 years now and are familiar with keeping grades up in order to pass a class and go on to the next grade.

Well, when senior year hits, students tend to think that there isn’t much effort needed in order to graduate, which is false.

In the meeting, counselors talked about how students tend to take it easy and not care as much and end up failing a class which prohibits them from being able to graduate. We should still care about our grades because of that, but also because colleges are still going to be looking at our grades even after they have accepted us. It is important that we seniors take this advice and do it.

Cap And Gown

The second half of the senior meeting involved making sure you fit your cap and gown perfectly. Making sure you look your best during graduation day is key when it comes to walking down that stage with your diploma in hand.

The seniors were given a short link, to type on their phones, which opened up a site, which basically got them ready for ordering their cap and gowns. On this website, the seniors had to type out their personal information like their name and email, and they had to put down their weight, and height.

An important reminder went out to the people wearing heels… “If you plan on wearing heels, you need to add on an inch or more when writing down your height.”

Senior Field Trip

The seniors were also given permission slips to the next senior field trip, which will happen on February 7th, on a Thursday. The field trip starts at 9:15am and goes to 1:00pm. The fee is $18 which covers a bus ride, and two hours of SNOW TUBING.

This field trip was planned by the senior class council, and the rest of the student class voted on it.

Permission slips are due back by Tuesday, January 29th, to Ms. Zepeda in the counseling office. Any questions, please talk to Ms. Esso.


New electives

By: Vivian S

Next semester, there are two new electives coming to Highland!

There is Beginning Dance, which will be during period 6. You will learn: the social, performing, and traditional forms of some basic dances; a bit of the history of dance; information about viewing and choreographing a dance or performance; and the parts of performance.

The teacher is Mr. Keefe. Whether or not you have experience, this class is open to you. To sign up, go to the Google Doc, or visit your counselor while you still can.

The other elective is Social Justice Theatre, during period 7, where you’ll have conversations about privilege, equity, justice, identity, etc. in order to create pieces with spoken word, music, improvisation, and storytelling. There is no experience needed to be a part of this class.

The teacher is Ms. Michael. Do you want to learn how to use your voice to spark the change you want in the world? This class is for you. Sign up by going to the Google Doc, or visiting your counselor.

In interviewing Ms. Michael, she said that she believes theatre provides an opportunity to explore our world. In the class, you will be digging into your own identity, how the world sees you and how you see yourself, who you want to be and what you can change. She looks forward to getting to know everyone. She thinks that students will enjoy conversations that will happen, and seeing how theatre can change the world. She believes Highland does need this class, as there are so many loud people promoting hate out there, students need a chance to share how this impacts them, and raise their voices as well.

The ultimate deadline for signing up for these classes is the start of quarter 3.

These electives were made because students expressed an interest in them.

If you can’t sign up for these classes, don’t worry, there are other opportunities for similar activities. There is an Intro to Theatre class 6th period and there’s a DP dance class 7th period. You can also join the Urban Dance Club.

If you’re interested in either of these electives, sign up now!

Acceptance season

It’s that exciting time of the year, that goes on until spring, where seniors are getting there acceptance letters from college.

It is exciting, and overwhelming, to hear back from the colleges that you have been thinking about since the minute you entered high school, and have been working towards for the past four years. It can get nerve racking waiting to hear back, and sometimes it can be news that you weren’t expecting, but don’t let this stop you from believeing that you won’t get into the school you want.

When applying to college, it all begins with the excitment of being able to think about all the possibilities for you out there, to learn how to be independent and really start the earning process for your future goals. But, it can sometimes result in feeling crushed once you have realized that you haven’t been accepted into the school of your dreams. Don’t let this get to you, it can have a toll, but that just means that there is a better option out there for you.

At the end of the day, acceptance season can be really exciting but scary. It’s just making sure you know that even if it’s bad news, you won’t let it rain on you, because an acceptance letter will be coming sooner or later.

Image taken from:

2019 school start times

Throughout the different grade levels you have been through, you have most likely been through a lot of different start times and ending times for school.

In elementary school, it started a lot later, meaning you would get out later as well. But for middle school and high school, you would start a lot earlier and end earlier.

As of fall, 2019 though, SPPS has decided to change the start time for high, and middle, schools to 8:30 a.m. because of studies that have shown that teens wake up later naturally.

In these studies, it basically showed that students were having trouble with sleep schedules because typically, they would sleep later. I know that with me being a senior, I can say that I struggle with waking up early because I either can’t sleep at a reasonable time or else I am up doing homework. I know that a lot of students do this too. This can just have students not be able to focus in class and feel sleepy all day. With this later start, students will get the chance to sleep in a little longer.

So, you maybe thinking, “Would that cause after school activities to run later?” and yes, it would, because of the later ending time.

But at the end of the day, students are getting the chance to sleep longer, which will hopefully increase a better performance in school. Students will feel more energized and ready to learn. At the end of the day, this change will hopefully see an improvement in students.

Library Read Down

By: Vivian S

‘Tis the season of giving, and right now, our library is giving us a huge deal! Kicking off this month, December, you can go to the library during lunch, study hall, or after school to read down your fines. For every 15 minutes you read, $2 will be taken off your fines.

To participate, go to the library and check in at the desk. You will be given a slip of paper. On it, write down your start time and your end time, and then turn it in at the front desk at the end.

The read down does not extend to fines you have for equipment, such as iPads.

This is the second year of the read down here. Last year, students only received $1 for every 15 minutes. Not a lot of kids took advantage of this event last year, and we are hoping more will choose to this year.

Another way to read down your fines is during English class. If you have free choice reading time in your English class, you can go up to your teacher and ask them for the slip of paper so you can read down your fines! You hand in the slip of paper with your times on it to the teacher at the end of class.

Other libraries also offer programs like this. Some only offer it for particular months or days. At the Ramsey County Library, you can come in on the first Saturday of every month to read down your fines, for every 15 minutes you will get $1.

The read down is an incredible way to promote reading while allowing students to reduce or eliminate their fines.

I urge everyone to take advantage of this offer to read down any fines they might have.

How to apply to colleges on CommonApp

Are you stressed about applying to college, or you just don’t know to? Here is some information on how to apply through CommonApp. To get to the the website, use this link:

If you’re a senior in high school, you can connect your Naviance account with CommonApp. To do this, you log into Naviance and CommonApp. Once you’re on Naviance, click on the “Colleges I’m applying to.” There should be a red tab across the screen that says, “Connect to CommonApp.” With the connection betweein Naviance and CommonApp, it’ll make applying easier.

Once you have gotten your account ready and logged in, there will be five different gray tabs across the top of the page. Click on the one that says, “Common App.” There will be information that you need to fill out, and they are really easy, simple steps.

Some questions may require you to get information from your counselor if you don’t have them yourself. For example, they ask for your ACT or other test scores. You can either put them in yourself or have your counselor email it to the college you’re applying for.

Once you have completed each section, there will be a green check mark by the section name marking that you have completed it. At the end of filling out your information, they will give you an option to write your college essay or upload it from google docs, depending on which is easier for you. Some colleges may or may not require an essay to be written, but having one available is always good.

After doing everything on the “Common App” tab, you can go on the “College Search” tab and start looking for colleges. If you find one that you want to apply to, or are interested in, you can add it to your college list. Adding it to your college list will make the school name appear on the “My Colleges” tab.

Clicking on the college will take you to the application form, and there you will put in the information that is needed. Applying should be easy now, and if you missed any part of the application to the college, they will send you an email informing you which part is missing.

The fall deadline for rolling admission, for the 2019 school year, is on 7/28/19, and the spring deadline is on 1/02/19, so if you’re still applying, be sure to apply before the deadlines.


What to do if you are failing

Everybody has been at that point where they have been in a class where they weren’r doing so well. It can be a discouraging, and can really put you down. I know that I have been in a position like this before, and it sucks. Here are some tips that helped me get through my struggles, and helped me pass a class with a decent grade.

Participate in class. I know that everyone has experieced that moment when a teacher has called on you and you didn’t know the answer. You can avoid all that if you just participate. That can be in a number of different ways. I know it can be very tempting to talk with your friends or use your phone, but keeping away those distractions will help you stay more focused. Taking notes and focusing on the teacher is already showing that you are participating and this will also help you stay focused and on top of what you are learning.

Always take notes. Sometimes, it can be a hassle writing down everything the teacher is writing down, and it can take up a lot of time, and taking a picture seems easier, but it is proven that writing down those notes will help you understand the material better. I know that when I take notes, going back and looking at what I wrote is a lot better than a slide show. You can make it fun by adding color to your notes so it’s more appealing to you when looking back at them.

Always study! I know that studying can be boring but studying is a really helpful tool. Without practicing what you are learning, you won’t be able to know the material as well as someone who did study. Instead of looking at a page full of notes, you can create flashcards to help you understand it more. You can even study with a friend as long as you know you guys won’t distract each other.

Talk to your teacher. Talking with your teacher will help you figure out what you need to do in order to pass at the end of the day. They are the ones that will help you the most in making sure you get the materials you need to pass the class. Talking with them will help you figure out what your next step will be.

National History Day

National History Day (NHD) is a contest that is held annually in which students research a historical topic pertaining to a yearly theme. It’s sponsored by a non-profit education organization based in College Park, Maryland. National History Day, orignated in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1974. It started off as local contest, then expanded quickly throughout Ohio and into the Midwestern states. It then became a national program in 1980, with millions of students participating in History Day. Others, like parents or volunteers, support the program by being contest judges, workshop presenters, mentors, and advisers to students and teachers. This year, the National History Day theme is Triumph & Tradegy in History.

Triumph is: a victory or notable success like:

  • What is being overcome?
  • What were the goals and objectives?

Tradegy is: a disastrous event like:

  • What was impacted?
  • What was harmed?
  • Was it the tragedy man made or Natural?

An example of a topic that fits this year’s theme, would be: the triangle shirt waist factory fire. It was a tradegy that lead to a triumph. Another area that would produce multiple possible topics would be slavery as it was one event, but it has multiple connections to the theme. Lastly, the sinking of the Titanic could lead to a possible topic as it was a triumph that lead to a tradegy.

To get started on History Day, here are a few tips

Step one: Choose a topic

  • Learn about this year’s history theme
  • Choose a topic that interests you and connects with the History Day theme.

Step two: Research the topic:

  • You are required to provide primary and secondary sources. A primary source is something that was created during the event and a secondary source is something created after the events.
  • Start researching Online and do a bibliography of the sources you find to keep track of them.

Step Three: Choose a history day category

  • Documenary (10 minutes long)
  • Performances (10 minutes)
  • Website (1, 200 Addition)
  • Paper (1,500 or 2,500 words)
  • Exhibit (500 words)

Step four: Work on project

  • Set time aside so you can work on your History Day project.
  • If you’re working with a partner make sure you get together outside out school to work on your project.
  • Practice what you’re going to say, so you can be ready to talk about your project.

Step five: Competitions

  • School-level competition – January 31, 2019, at Highland Park High School, St. Paul, in the cafeteria.
  • Regional Competition – March 9, 2019, at Johnson Highschool, St. Paul.
  • State Competition – University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.
  • National Competition – University  of Maryland, College Park, MD.

For more information, please visit these websites:

How to improve your second quarter

There’s always room for improvement! Here are three ways to help you do better in the second quarter of the school year!

Get Organized

Just a folder or two can drastically improve how you organize things if you normally just shove things in your bag without looking. Organizing has proven to help increase productivity, and it decreases stress and unhappiness.

Not organizing often means you forget assignments, and study less. So try to get more organized if you need to be!

Designate Time For Homework 

I’m sure everyone reading this has gone home after school, intending to do homework, but first you want to watch a YouTube video or Netflix. Then you’re no longer in the mood, or you’ve forgotten. Maybe designate an hour to two of your day specially for homework. That way you won’t forget, and you’ll actually do it.

Self Care 

Taking care of yourself is the most important thing. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, and keeping up your hygiene. If you need a small break for mental or physical health, that’s always alright. You can’t do well in school, if you’re not well yourself.

Have a good quarter two!

The first senior class field trip of 2018

On November 2, the class of 2019 had their first senior class field trip. The senior class field trips are planned by the senior class counsel. Usually, there are about three trips a year, and they are used to promote bonding within the graduating class. This year’s first field trip was to Grand Slam.

The field trip sounded fun, a day full of mini gulf and lazer tag, but that wasn’t the part some people were upset about.

The field trip was announced just several days before the field trip was to take place. People were upset by the short notice of the trip, and some people felt that the trip wasn’t advertised enough. Some people didn’t even know the trip was happening.

I asked a senior, in my math class, if she was excited about our first senior field trip of the year, and she looked at me with a very confused look. She told me, “I didn’t even know we had a senior field trip planned. When is it?” When I told her it was the upcoming Friday (given I had this conversation on Tuesday, the 30th of October), her confusion turned to irritation. “How are we supposed to find out anything when it’s all last minute?”

She was not the only one feeling this way. When the whole field trip was announced, students only had a couple of days to get the slip and return it back to the counselor’s office before the deadline.

Even though I do see where all the frustration came from, I think we should’ve cut the council some slack. According to one of the council members, the trip was more difficult to plan than anticipated. They were trying to find other places to have the field trip, but all those places didn’t work out.

Our next field trip will be during the winter and is probably going to involve a lot of snow. With all the constructive critisism they recived, I believe the senior class council will try to communicate dates and events more efficiently.