2017 Senior Send Off

Last Friday was the annual Senior Send Off. All the classes were called down by floor.

When everyone was seated, Dr. Tucker spoke about how everyone should follow their dreams.

Ms. Rohweller-Kocur spoke about the teachers and staff who were retiring. Ms. Ship, the vice principal for juniors and seniors, Marvel, from the health start clinic, Sr. Rios, a Spanish immersion teacher, Ms. Sherrod, the personal finance teacher, and Ms. Harrison, the school nurse, are all retiring after this school year.

photo courtesy of Rose Patzner Wahlberg via Facebook

After saying goodbye to them, Ms. Rohweller-Kocur invited the senior student council representatives to address their class.

Next, Ms. Ship gave some inspirational advice.

Ms. Ships’ speech was followed by messages to the seniors from their siblings. While some were funny and meant as a joke, others were very sweet and full of emotion.

The last part of the assembly, before the seniors got to leave, was the senior slide show. The slide show contained pictures of the seniors throughout their lives as students.

When the slide show ended, the seniors were allowed to leave through the passage in the middle of the gym. The passage was lined with teachers saying good-bye to their former students.

The Senior Send Off is a great way to congratulate the seniors and celebrate the fact that the next chapter of their life is beginning.

 

New iPads

For the next school year, teachers and students will be given new iPads to use for school. The new iPads will have a different case, along with a keyboard. The case and keyboard are navy blue. The keyboard can be attached and detached easily. The keyboard does not have touch pads, but has everything else on it.

The reasons why the school decided to get these new iPads is because they have a three year lease on them, and have been planning to get new iPads for a while now. Also, the new iPads have 128 gigabytes whereas the old ones had just 16. With more gigabytes, it will be easier for students to use the iPads, and make movies for school projects. Another reason for the change, is because the old iPads would eventually break down, so keeping the old iPads wouldn’t be worth it. Plus, the new iPads are more durable to use.

The school hopes to pass out the iPads sooner next year. The paper for getting an iPad will still be online, so students and parents can access it. The plan for passing out the new iPads is to maybe pass them out even before school starts, so students could possibly come pick up their iPad in late August or early September.

Freshmen year

My freshman year was really fun and enjoyable. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be before I came to high school. Since I was new to Highland, there weren’t many people that I knew except for some freshman that came from my middle school, but I made friends throughout my freshman year.

High school isn’t really hard, unless you don’t do your work, study, etc. so, that’s some advice for the new upcoming freshmen. High school is fun, if you don’t make it boring and not fun. In my opinion, all of my classes were fun, both academic and non-academic. I was able to be in Beginning Drawing, Beginning Painting, and Newspaper, all of those elective classes were really fun, but I liked Beginning Drawing and Newspaper more. I was able to step out of my comfort zone and try something new, which was Newspaper and that was nice. I recommend students to join Newspaper, and try it because they might find it fun too.

Also, the club that I joined at Highland was ACC, which is known also as, Asian Culture Club. ACC was fun; I was able to participate in performances and the activities that they had planned.

I was also able to play on the Badminton team this year. Badminton was really fun, and the season went really well, there were many good players, everyone got along with each other, and we all worked really well with each other.

The best part of my freshman year was being able to try out the different elective classes that I had, and being part of ACC, and the Badminton team. Another best part of my freshman year was, being myself and being able to have fun in all the activities that I participated in.  

Overall, my freshman year was really fun. I have many fun and enjoyable moments in my freshman year. I hope to have an even better year, within the next year, and throughout my high school career.

Newspaper class

Newspaper class, which is held in Ms. Lingofelt’s room (2205), is looking for those of you who have an interest in being able to write about things like: school events (such as sports and school life), events that take place around the world, and even how to tips like things to make for holidays! If you want a place to be able to write about something that you want people in our school to know about, then Newspaper is the class for you.

In this class, every other week you are required to come up with an article pitch: something school appropriate and interesting (of course if you run out of ideas you can always ask the teacher for some ideas as well). The following week (the week when you don’t have a pitch due), on Friday, is when your actual article is due.

This class is very fun, and it comes with many opportunities, such as being able to do interviews – which means meeting new people, or even being able to get concert tickets. The opportunities are really endless.

So, if you have any interest at all, or if you are a person who loves to write, then this class is for you! Join this class for the next school year, and I promise you won’t regret it!

 

Are fidget spinners O.K. at Highland?

It seems like at least once a year a new craze will sweep across the youth of America. Whether it’s a new toy, dance, or app, it seems unavoidable. This year, a new trend has spun the world into a debate. What is this subject of mass dispute one might ask? You probably guessed it – the fidget spinner.

If you aren’t aware of what these little gadgets look like, just picture three exposed ball bearings surrounding a capped ball bearing in the middle, connected with plastic. (If that description didn’t help just look at the photograph below).

The creator of the fidget spinner, Catherine Hettinger, had the idea for the now very popular toy more than 20 years ago. When Catherine was in Israel she saw boys throwing rocks at law enforcement officials. This gave here the idea to create a way for kids to release their stress, and negative emotions, in an appropriate fashion. In 1997, she pitched the idea to Hasbro Toys, but was shot down. Despite this setback, she got a patent. Unfortunately for Catherine, she patented the idea back in 1997, and the patent expired just this year; meaning the rightful creator is getting no money or credit. It’s really unfortunate when you consider tens of millions of spinners have been sold within the last few months.

photo courtesy of Elliot Wall

So, what has people all worked up about these seemingly harmless toys? Well, a few things. For one, teachers absolutely despise them because they are just another distraction for a generation with more than enough distractions. So, like cell phones, teachers have started to confiscate all fidget spinners seen out during class. Some schools have went as far as to ban them completely from school grounds.

Another reason people don’t like the little toys are the fact that they are just annoying. People complain about the obnoxious buzzing noise they make. They also complain about the little kids running around wildly spinning.

One more reason people don’t like them is the are “just a fad.” Although it’s 100% true that fidget spinners are a fad, and a kind of dumb fad at that, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t enjoy it.

At Highland, it isn’t uncommon to see a kid with a spinner (one author of this article has three). So, is it O.K. to bring them to class? A few teachers were asked to give their opinion of fidget spinners:

Mrs. Corbett, the math teacher, was asked what she thought when she saw kids spinning in class: “I don’t care when I see them out in class but I don’t think they help with ADD or anything. More like a Tech Deck, just a toy to play with… oh and also the kids who use the app are ridiculous.”  

Agriculture and floral design teacher Ms. Wedger was also asked about fidget spinners in the classroom: “It doesn’t bother me. It really bothers me when kids start timing them [how long they spin] or having competitions. I think they can help a very specific group of people, only sometimes, but most kids don’t need them.”

Finally, Mr. Manthis, an English teacher, was asked about his feelings: “I understand their purpose and I don’t care if people are spinning alone. When kids start passing them back and forth is when it becomes distracting.”

We think that fidget spinners are harmless, but can become a nuisance when kids are buying light up, speaker versions and constantly spinning in class. Teachers seem to think the same thing. As long as you keep the spinner to yourself, make sure it’s quiet, and don’t have competitions, it seems like it’s fine to bring them to Highland.

Agriculture Day 2017

On May 12th, the Highland Park Senior High School Future For Agriculture (FFA) hosted their annual Ag Day. In the past, Ag Day has had many different types of farm animals, colleges in the Midwest, local farmers, and agriculture games and activities. Many of these activities are fun, educational, and rewarding for students and teachers. Every year, Highland has hosted other schools, and allowed for them to come up and visit Ag Day. Students from the elementary school, just down the road, came, as well as students from our middle school. 

This year, Ag Day had multiple types of animals roaming around including: shetland ponies, chickens, fish, many kinds of dogs, chicks, and a goat. The pony, goat, dogs, and fish were all able to be touched and played with.

At one booth, they had a pool of fish where kids could come up and see how many they could pick up. Besides being able to pick up the fish, the two students who ran the fish stand had trivia questions about Minnesota fish. 

The students who brought dogs just walked around with their dog and allowed students to come up and play with them. All of the animal booths not only let you play with the animals, but they were also very educational. They all had posters talking about environmental considerations, temperament, and food requirements. They also had trivia games where students could win candy or other prizes.

Other activities that Ag Day had were: face painting, stacking hay barrels, planting seeds, making flowers, and ice cream. The ice cream stand was by far the most popular; it had a long line all day, at one point they even ran out of ice cream. At the ice cream stand they would ask trivia questions, and in exchange you would get ice cream. The questions at this stand ranged from stuff about dairy, soy milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, all the way to what dairy is and where it comes from. 

Besides all the fun with animals for the little kids, Ag Day had a wide variety of colleges there. The colleges that attended Ag Day were: the University of Minnesota, the University of Minnesota: Crookston, and the University of Wisconsin: River Falls. The colleges were a chance for upperclassmen, and maybe even lowerclassmen, to learn about how they can make a difference in agriculture. The colleges explained different fields of study that revolved around agriculture, and they talked about their campuses, and tried to get your attention to go to their school. It was kind of like a mini college fair.

In the end, Ag Day was very successful, and stayed busy all day long.

The unfair valley

I usually go on field trips for one reason: getting out of class, and food. Since it’s May, as a Senior, I hardly have anything going on in my class. So, I went to Valleyfair to hang out with my friends, and eat food. I’ve never really been a fan of rides, so that might have been a huge factor in my experience.

Basically, going to Valleyfair was probably the worst decision I made in May.

Despite the strange weather pattern, I thought it was right to dress lightly. And I was right, as it was very warm and humid. And yet, I didn’t think to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, or even a hat. I was constantly looking for shade, as having very fair skin means I get burned easily.

Even if we did decide to go on rides, the lines were very long, and in mostly unshaded areas. The arcade was a ripoff, with heavily inflated prices, and as we were told by the staff themselves, paid out very little.

That seemed to be a recurring theme among the park – high prices. The “theme” of the park was capitalism, or at least, unchecked capitalism. I brought $48 with me, and used it all up on about 4 things. We had lunch at a little 50s-style burger joint place. It looked cool, but that was all – the cheapest meal, a cheeseburger and fries, was about $13, and didn’t even include a drink. The malt I ordered was $6, and didn’t even come in one of those retro cups! The fries were unsalted, and I had to cover them in salt, pepper, and ketchup to make them edible. The burger itself though, was okay.

Drinks were very expensive; the cheapest being $5, with no refill. Near the end of the day, I bought a soft pretzel, which was $7, and for an extra $1, got a small drop of cheese sauce. The pretzel was so salty that I was desperate enough to buy one of the $4 drinks from a vending machine. I was out of money by this point, but my good friend Alex let me borrow $4. The machine itself was finicky and took about ten minutes to buy a single drink.

So, when you become a senior, don’t come to the Unfair Valley, a testament of capitalism unchecked.

Boat Dance

Highland held their annual Boat Dance on May 19th, on a boat at Harriet Island. As there were many students attending the dance, it was suggested that students show up earlier to wait in line to get on the boat. To be able to get on the boat, students needed their student ID and ticket.

photo courtesy of Jennie Vang

From the outside, the boat was very long and big, having two sides connected together. One side of the boat was bigger and was known as the dance room. The other side was for karaoke. The boat had two levels; both levels had tables and chairs for people to sit on and hang out. On both sides of the boat, there was food, drinks, and candy, which you had to pay for, but water was offered for free.

The boat left around 7:40pm when everyone had boarded the boat. The boat then headed up the Mississippi River for about an hour and a half, and then headed back to the dock.

There were many students in the dance room. People in the dance room were all huddled and dancing near where the DJ was at. Everyone was dancing was jumping, yelling and screaming, to the songs, which made the room very humid.

There weren’t as many people in the karaoke room compared to the dance room. Everyone was allowed to sing whichever song they wanted to sing, as long as it was appropriate.

Also, for the students that didn’t sing or dance, most of them messed around and ran around the boat. Others just sat down with their friends and talked, some were on their phones checking social media, and others were on their phones playing a game.

As the dance came to an end, everyone went outside and waited until the boat stopped at the dock. We got back around 10:05pm. Everyone looked tired and cold due to the chilly wind. Some parents were already there waiting for their kids, while some students had to wait for their ride.

2017 Underclassmen Honors assembly

On Tuesday, May 23, Highland had its annual Honors assembly for underclassmen. The assembly was held to recognize the 9th, 10th and 11th grade students who had kept up good grades throughout the year. A student with a GPA of 3.3- 3.7 is considered an Honors student and a student with a GPA of 3.8 or higher is considered a High Honors student.

All the Honors students were directed to the field house to pick up their Honors certificate. Meanwhile students, parents, and principals gathered in the auditorium around 8:00 am. The orchestra here at Highland played, while people were being seated. By 8:30 the auditorium was almost completely full.

Freshmen

The assembly started with Dr. Tucker and Mr. Sager addressing parents and students about the importance of their education. Ruwayda Egal gave a speech before the Honors freshmen were called on stage to be recognized. Next the freshmen High Honors students were called to the stage.

Arianna Gonzalez gave a monologue about the importance of education and pushing yourself, and was followed by the sophomore Honors students being called on stage to be recognized. Then the sophomore High Honors students.

Henry

Juniors

Finally, Henry Vazquez gave a speech about the community that this year’s juniors have formed together. The junior Honors were called on stage followed by the junior High Honors.

After all the students were called on stage, Dr. Tucker said a few more words about the importance of education, then everyone went to the field house for cookies.

The seniors have a separate honors night in the auditorium on Wednesday, May 31, at 7:00 pm.

 

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.