Pep Fest

Pep Fest was held on October 6th, and took place in the gym.  Classes were called down by floors starting with the third and moving down. Students were to go to the side of the gym where their grade was and sit there for the entire time during the Pep Fest.

photo courtesy of Asiah Atiq

At the beginning of the Pep Fest, there were people from student council making accouncements. From the announcements, they moved onto the homecoming royalties. They started with the Freshmen pairs and then continued with the Sophomores, Juniors, and then Seniors.

The pair in each year, who got the most votes, won. Emmy Tawah and Mario Delgado Shellenberger won for the Freshman, Fernando Rivera and Cesar Ramirez-Ponce won for the Sophomores, Alex Moreno and Michelle Bourassa won for the Juniors, and The Plaid Line’s own,  Dejra Bishop and Asiah Atiq won for the Seniors. They were given sashes to wear, and some of the student council kids took their pictures. After the homecoming royalites, each fall sport was announced, captains talked about how the season went, and announced if they had any upcoming matches.

After other announcements were made, three seniors performed a dance. After they performed, the dance team came up and also performed a dance. After the dance team performed, the cheer leaders had their dance, closing the pep fest.

 

Highland Park Senior High School Homecoming Dance

The Highland Park Homecoming Dance is a tradition at our school, and it happens every year. Some people go to the Homecoming Dance to be have fun and enjoy the music, and others think it is a good place to meet new people and hangout with friends.

I also took time to specifically ask some of the freshman what they think about the dance, and how they feel about it. Some of them told me that they were hoping to meet some cute guys and talk to people they don’t talk to doing school hours, and also to get to know more people.

Picture of the author at the dance

I also interviewed some of the seniors, and I asked them how they felt about this being their last Homecoming Dance at Highland, and what will they miss about it. Some of them told me that they will miss their friends, and the fun. They also told me that they are so ready to leave the school because they were tired of seeing the same faces every year, spending money for the same things, and that they were glad that this was their last year so they will meet new people and see new things.

I also got to ask some juniors, who were going to the Homecoming Dance for the first time, about why they never go, and they told me that they went this year because they wanted to know how it looked.

 

Racism

How do you define racism?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary states that racism is:

“A belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.”

While Dictionary.com says:

“A belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.”

Or simply,

“Hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.”

Racism has always been a hot topic, but it is just as important today than in past years. With the recent activities in politics, minorities have experienced heavy waves of racism. There’s a wide range of examples of this starting with the ban on immigrants coming into the country, building a wall on the Mexico and U.S border, and the standoff that happened between Minorities/People of Color and Neo-Nazis. Everyone can confirm that racism has risen due to the presidency of Donald Trump.

When racism occurs, there will always be people who want to state their opinions, but we want you to ask yourself this: When does your opinion on a topic become racism? When can one say something racist without getting the heat of the flame? This isn’t only applicable to our community, but also our school. We personally want to talk about our students and racism.

At Highland Park Senior High, we have experienced racism. We have overheard comments based on our race and have wondered if others have experienced the same. With this being our Senior year, we wanted to check in on our Seniors. We wanted to see if they felt safe throughout their high school careers. We wrote out a poll that asked them the following questions:

  • What race are you?
  • Have you experienced racism at school?
  • Do you feel safe at school?
  • Do you feel you were treated differently because of your race? Explain your answer.
  • Do you feel you were treated lesser by your peers because of your skin color?
  • Has anyone expressed racist ideologies in school? If yes, what was said?
  • Has anyone made you feel uncomfortable when it came to the topic of racial issues? What was said?

Survey says…

With the results, this is what we can conclude. According to the surveys, we interviewed 14 Asians, 12 Hispanics/Mexicans/Latinos, 26 Caucasians/White and 34 African Americans for a total of 86 students.

We are going to focus on the results of the most important questions asked. So let’s start with the big question, “Have you experienced racism at school.” A total of 34 students said they have experienced racism. Many of these answers were from our minority students. When asked if their race plays a part of them being treated differently, 36 students answered yes.

There was one Caucasian student who addressed their white privilege which was surprising to us. Not a lot of Caucasians are open to addressing that they have white privilege.

When we asked the students what racist ideologies were being said, we got a variety of answers. “Police brutality victims deserve it,” “immigrants should not be let into the country,” and “the end of DACA would be great,” are just a few things that were said.

Our most important question is do these students feel safe. 13 students said they felt unsafe at school. Even though it’s not a big number, it still means something.

What can be said?

With all of these results, we didn’t know what type of conclusion we wanted. We made this article to determine what four years at Highland looked like, racism-wise. We did this for us to personally get a feel about the school and racism.

From many of the surveys, when there was a problem, it mentioned the same person/problem. That leads us to wonder “Why is it that the same thing is causing others to feel unsafe and discriminated no matter their race.”

Another thing that we were able to determine was that everyone believes they will be safer by avoiding the situation. No one wants to state what’s specifically on their mind. We personally can’t blame them.

It’s as if there is an elephant in the room that if addressed will remove the feeling of “comfort” in school. This is an elephant that lived in our class for four years. For our senior year, it’s hard to determine if the elephant will be camping in the said room until we graduate, or if it will go packing.

Budgeting and saving with HIWAY

When you set a goal, accomplishing it is easier said than done. Setting a financial goal can be a bit complicated. Whether you’re saving for college, a car, or even something for yourself, it takes a lot of discipline and determination to reach your financial goal when it may seem impossible. Saving money also starts with being financially stable, and knowing how to balance out your income.

MoneyJar.jpg

photo courtesy of HiWay Federal

Say you have a job and you get paid each week, or every two weeks. If you are trying to save money, but need some cash on hand, it’s up to you to decide how much you are willing to put away each time you are paid. It can be hard not having a lot of money to spend, and there have been some cases where people start to take money from their savings and spend it. I will admit, I am one of those people who has a hard time figuring out how much to save, or what to save, or anything concerning money.

People have different financial goals which they feel is a good investment to benefit themselves. As you grow up, you many have different things to start saving for like: college, or a car, or a home, or anything that you think is important to acquire with a good plan.

There are several ways that you can start to save money and grow financially. First thing is to start saving at least something, even if it’s a small amount. If you put $5 away in savings every week, that can grow and bring you closer to your savings goal. Second thing is to develop a strategy for your income. For example, if you are associated with both a bank and a credit union, it may help you to put some of your money at each place. It can help you to grow a habit of not touching your money as you save.

Handling money is a stressful skill that takes time for people to develop as they grow up. When it comes to saving money, no one’s perfect. But you can start by setting a goal and giving yourself an action plan towards achieving it in the future.

If you want to start saving money or have questions about other financial topics, stop by Hiway’s Scots Branch. We can help!

Should school start later? High school students weigh in

The St. Paul Public School district is planning a controversial vote on November 15 to change school start times for most high school students from 7:30 AM to 8:30 AM, for the 2018-2019 school year, according to the Pioneer Press. Changing school start times for the district has been discussed for years and the vote has been pushed back several times.

The SPPS district supporters of later start times for high school students cite studies that claim later sleep patterns, prevalent among high school students, have a biological basis. This results in 69% of high school students not getting 8 hours of sleep a night, when they should be getting at least 9. They contend also that later school start times do not affect when high school students fall asleep (according to the SPPS website page on the topic). Also on their website, they claim that an 8:30 AM start time is better academically, causing more students to score “proficient” on MCA math tests.

Those against later start times explain that implementing them will be costly and ineffective. According to the Pioneer Press, adding the necessary additional bus routes will cost the district at least 2 million dollars per year, and Metro Transit cannot afford to help without money from the state. They also protest that high school students will get home too late, especially if they are enrolled in extracurricular activities. The district admits that if school start times are changed, high school students who take care of siblings in elementary school may be unable to, as most elementary school start times would move from 8:30 AM to 7:30 AM, causing their school days to end earlier than high school students’.

But, how do high school students feel about later start times? Their opinions are often overlooked in this discussion. Below are interviews of four 9th grade students who gave their opinions on the topic.

Miranda Bade

I want the start times to stay the same. I’m involved in sports after school and it is nice to get home early. If the start times change to 8:30 AM I would get home later. This makes it hard to do go to practice and get all of my homework done. Getting off of school earlier makes it so I have more time after school to do things and to get stuff done.

Peter McHie

Personally, I think it would be a great decision to change the start times to 8:30 AM. I, for one have a difficult time waking up so early, and because of this I feel like it might be impacting my performance at school, even if it’s only a little. Also, my general demeanor/attitude towards school in general is infuenced by the early start time as I often feel very sad/angry in the mornings. I’m sure that having extra time to sleep would change that. Other students probably feel the same as I do.

Celia Morris

I don’t want start times to change because of after school activities. I play volleyball in the fall and track in the spring. If start time was to go later I would come home from my sports at 5:30 PM and on game nights I might get home as late as 10:30-11:00 PM, with lots of homework left to do. This might leave me to going to bed around 1 AM or 2 AM.

Ryder Hefferan

I would vote against changing the time, because I personally feel comfortable with waking up that early to go to school and I love having as much free time as I do after school. But, I do understand that some people would sacrifice free time for more hours of sleep.

Tailgating 2017

Before most of our home football games, staff and students gather up for tailgating. Homecoming is no different. Clubs will gather outside the schoolhouse and sell food and/or other things for their clubs needs. This year’s tailgating is tomorrow, October 7th from 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM followed by the football game against St. Croix Lutheran High School at 1:00 PM.  

There will be a variety of food there to purchase from clubs like Union Latina, Asian Culture Club, and many more clubs. In the past, ULA has sold tamales and aguas frescas (horchata, jamaica, etc) and ACC has sold egg rolls. Many other clubs will be selling other drinks, types of food and snacks like walking tacos and cookies. There is also clubs selling Highland gear and doing face paint.

This year we’ll be selling shirts, temporary tattoos, and a front page photo!

The Plaid Line shirts, $8 HOMECOMING SPECIAL!!

Temporary tattoos, 50 cents each!

Front page photo, $1

Tailgating is always a blast! Make sure to stop by at our table, get your picture, tattoo and shirt! If you take any pictures make sure to tweet it to us @hpshplaidline!

 

Transition from summer to school

The hardest part of Summer is when it comes to an end. That transition you have to make to get ready for a new school year must be hard for a lot of people. Having to start changing your sleep schedule is a struggle, because you know you got used to sleeping late at night, and waking up late in the afternoon. Having to be excited to see your friends you haven’t seen all summer but that slowly starts to fade into sadness when assignments get thrown at you left to right, and all you want do is zone out during the school day and come home only wanting to complain about how much you dislike school. But hey, who hasn’t? After awhile you get used to it, you may not like it, but after doing it for so many weeks you look at it like eh, whatever.

Students need to be assured that it’s acceptable to be nervous going into a new school year, not expecting your classes to be that hard is something most students expect the first weeks of school. Not having the same classes or lunch as your friends could be hard on some students. And they might end up thinking that the fun part of school is not possible anymore.

But we are here to give you some tips on how to make the beginning of a school year go nice and smoothly.

  • First get your sleeping schedule in check. Start by sleeping early the last week of summer. To get you used to it.
  • Second if your friends are not in the same class as you, make some new friends, we know it’ll be hard but hey, at least you tried and you might make a couple new friends.
  • Last, but not least, make sure you have fun with the new school year, don’t stress yourself too much; you don’t want to do that for the 10 months you’re in school (that would be no fun).

Hope these tips will help you feel more at “home” this school year!

New Chinese teacher in 2017-18

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

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

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

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

Highland Park clubs

By Natalie Braga, Alivia Arredondo, and Piper Gallivan

EXTRA EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT!
Highland Park Senior High offers a variety of super great clubs for ALL to join! We have interviewed the leaders of every club to find out what each club has to offer. Highland students have a wide range of interests, but there is a club out there for everyone. Here is what we found out about all the different clubs!

Anime Club
First on the list is Anime Club, lead by Ms. Lynn. Anime Club meets once a week in Room 159, and is open to everyone who has an interest in anime and wants to learn more about it (no drawing skills required). You will get to watch and draw anime, as well as learn (and taste test) things from different food celebrations. This club is an opportunity to get you in touch with another culture, and interact and bond with people with similar interests. Ms. Lynn, who has been at Highland for 15 years, highly encourages you to stop by!

Book Club
Do you miss the pressure free reading experience? Are you tired of teachers telling what to read and how to read? Then come join Book Club! They are a super fun, low key club, and they meet about once every 6 weeks to discuss a book and eat snacks. Ms. Rahman is the leader of the club and she invites everyone to come to the library to discuss books and have a good time. Most of the books read in Book Club are meant to really relate to teens and make for easy connections and understandings to the characters. Book Club also offers many exiting visits to see authors, and a chance to get your very own free book signed. Another great thing about Book Club is they are a part of Read Brave. Read Brave is a program where students and parents read the same book, so parents understand the the realities and challenges teenagers face. For more information on Read Brave go to: http://www.sppl.org/readbrave

Book Club is a really great place for students to unwind and get lost in their book without the added stress of taking notes, analyzing, reading to a certain point, etc. so come join Book Club!

Conspiracy Theory Club
Was the moon landing fake? Is Tupac still alive? What really happened to Princess Diana? If these questions intrigue you, you should check out the Conspiracy Theory Club! They meet every other Thursday in Ms. Shomion’s Room to explore alternative ideas and theories. Each meeting also includes great snacks, including the iconic mystery juice. It is a great way to meet others in a fun and respectful environment, while also expanding your knowledge on the world (and what may be beyond it). Meetings are low commitment and guaranteed to always be fun!

Debate
Ms. Becker invites anyone and everyone to join debate, held in her classroom, Room 2214. The debate team meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 4-5:30 to learn about each year’s new debate topic. This year’s topic is education, which will be the focus of many discussions in the club. With a partner, you are able to compete against other schools at tournaments held about every other week on Fridays and Saturdays. Debaters tend to do better in history and English, and are often offered college scholarships for their hard work. It is an opportunity to travel to other schools and universities, develop a deep understanding of the yearly topic, and make new friends.

FFA
Calling all Future Farmers of America, or just anyone interested in agriculture, Ms. Wedger would love to have you in FFA! Meetings start at the end of September, are monthly, and last a half hour to 45 minutes. This club offers many different career development events, and the opportunity for many different field trips to explore those careers. These events are connected to different contests you can do, in which you compete regionally against Central Minnesota, and possibly State after that! FFA is a great opportunity to get involved at Highland, not to mention the fact that it looks good on a college resume. You can choose to be as involved as you want, while building up your leadership skills, and connecting with people you might not usually connect with. Ms. Wedger encourages you to ask her about any questions you may have!

Film
Seniors, Kat Vento and Zoe Challenger are the co-presidents of Film Club, with Ms. Becker supervising. It is is held in her room (2214) every Monday. The Film Club works on making their own films, while also having the added benefit of popcorn each meeting. It is a great opportunity for students to express themselves through moving images, and also allows members to meet artistic individuals like themselves. There is no competing and it is purely for fun, while also being low commitment. The film club is open to everyone, is very open minded to all ideas that come in, and would love to have anyone interested to join!

Gender Equality Club
Anyone interested in making Highland Park an even more safe and inclusive place for all should check out the Gender Equality Club! Ms. Rise hosts the meetings once a week in her room: 2201. In the meetings there is not only usually food, but also a chance to be apart of discussions about how to make everyone feel included at school, and how to raise awareness about current events involving gender issues in society. Ms. Rise encourages you to join because gender equity is something that affects everyone and is also a pressing and interesting topic in the current times. The GEC also does fun leadership activities and crafts, such as bracelets for special needs kids. Stop by Ms. Rise’s room with questions!

Global Affairs Club
Global Affairs Club (formerly known as Model UN), is a great club to join for anyone who wants to learn about the real UN, discuss foreign policy and current events, and new this year participate a program called Great Discussions. It helps you grasp concepts, and enter the world of Global Citizenship. There are many opportunities for travel and attending conferences with other schools. It looks great on resumes, and colleges love it. There is a lot of flexibility in joining this club; you can meet once a month or join once a week. What people don’t always realize is that anyone can join, regardless of prior knowledge, and underclassmen are especially welcome!! Co-Presidents Archer Gallivan and Sarah Lind-MacMillan invite anyone to join in Ms.Rise’s (2201) room on Thursdays after school!!

Indian Culture Club
A brand new club this year that wants you to be a part of it is the Indian Culture Club! They meet twice a month in Mr. Berndt’s room (2306) and offer delicious Indian snacks! In this club you will be able to learn about and appreciate the Indian culture more, while also meeting new people who are also interested in the culture. They also plan on doing fun activities such as a tailgating booth at homecoming. ICC hopes to help you gain appreciation for a culture that is represented both at Highland and in St. Paul, and would love you come and check it out!

Math Team
Interested in improving your math skills and showing off your knowledge to others? Check out the Math Team, with meetings held twice a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 2:15 to 3:30, in Mr O’Connell’s room! Though the club only runs from October to March, it is a great opportunity to make friends, learn math you won’t in class, and gain more confidence in your skills! The math team competes in the St. Paul League and prepares for the meets during the meetings, as well as other fun activities. This is a calm and flexible club that is happy to have anyone join.

Mountain Biking
Are you ready to pump iron biking style?! Join Mountain Biking Club!
Mountain Biking Club is a super fun interactive sport for anyone (no riding experience necessary). They meet 2-3 times a week down in Hidden Falls and they compete against other schools in races. So if you’re looking for a low commitment, fun sport, where you get to explore new biking trails, make new friends, get in shape, and learn new skills, Mountain Biking Club is the place for you! For more information go to: http://wiki.hpmtb.org/Highland+Park+Composite+Mountain+Biking

Science Club
Does exploring deeper into fun science topics sound interesting to you? Join Henry Vasquez and the rest of the Science Club once a month every third Wednesday (excluding September, which will be on the 27th) in Ms. Connelly’s room! Each meeting will have a theme and experiment to go with it, as well as having snacks provided. While participation is not necessary, members are highly encouraged to get involved with Science Fair, where you could compete at regional, state, and even national levels! Science Fair has many scholarship opportunities and members of the Science Club get free admission to register. Science Club also goes on science related field trips such as to the Science Museum and a tour of the U of M’s biomedical department. This club is low commitment, looks great on resumes, and welcomes you to join!

Student Council
Want to make a difference in this school and use your leadership skills? If so, Student Council is the perfect place for you! If you make your way up to executive board, you will meet once a week, or if you are on full house, it is the first Monday of each month, all in room 3211. They work to provide a fun experience for the whole school, by planning dances, tailgating, homecoming week, the senior send off, and many service opportunities, among many other things. Anyone should join who wants good experience planning, working with others, dealing with other’s opinions, and getting involved in school. On top of all of that, it looks great on a resume! Mrs. Rohweller-Kocur, Mrs. Hedwall and the StuCo executive board would love to invite anyone to try out!

ULA
Union Latina invites everyone to join them in their festivities throughout the year! They learn about Latin culture, learn to dance, and plan events for the student body. Some events they put on are tailgating, Dia de los Muertos, culture day, and Cinco de Mayo. It is a great way to learn about culture, learn to dance, as well as build community and build culture. Anyone can join, regardless of race or if you speak Spanish!

Youth in Government
Youth in Government is an amazing opportunity for anyone who wants to get to meet new people, learn how a government works (specifically legislative), and have their voice be heard. Many of the meeting are to prepare for a conference held in February. YIG clubs from all over the state meet in downtown Minneapolis, or the State Capital for upperclassmen, to share their ideas and work with each other. It is a great way to gain knowledge, and work with new people, plus they have great snacks. They meet at 2:20 on Thursdays in room 2201.

Highland Park Senior high offers a variety of clubs for a variety of people. We hope this article helped you find a club you’re interested in! Although we did not get the chance to interview some of the clubs such as Archery, ACC, Black Student Union, Chinese, Chess, Genius Squad, Prism, Speech, Spanish Debate, and Youth Alive we highly encourage trying them out and learning more about them by going to: https://www.spps.org/site/Default.aspx?PageType=1&SiteID=38&ChannelID=182&DirectoryType=6 for more information on all the clubs.

Spirit Week 2017

The first months of school are always the most fun. You get to see all of your friends, favorite teachers, the football games, and homecoming! Here at Highland, we have a Spirit Week every year, leading up to our pep fest. Homecoming pepfest consists of performances by the Dance Team, Cheerleaders, and others. The homecoming royalty will also be announced, and the captains of fall sports/clubs will introduce themselves and talk briefly.

This year, Spirit Week is from Monday, October 2nd, until Friday, October 6th. This year’s spirit days are as followed:


Monday – PJ Day

Tuesday – Superhero Day

Wednesday – Jersey Day

Thursday – Class Color Day

Friday – Red out

We asked some of the students about how they felt about the spirit days that are coming up, and here is what they had to say:

“I think that the spirit days this year are very overdone and that maybe next time they should think about doing something fun and something that hasn’t really been done before, something that makes us stand out.”

“I get that they are very limited on their choices for spirit days, but maybe if they could really try and get in one day that hasn’t been done before, things could change.”

“I actually really like the last two days, Class Color Day and Red Out. I believe that Red Out really unites us and makes everyone feel as if they really belong. As for the other days, they are very unoriginal and I hope that they try and come up with something fun and new.”

“I actually don’t really care for Spirit Week. I don’t think we should be so patriotic to a school we’re only spending 4 years of our lives in.”

“They should really do different themes; it’s so boring. The only thing that should stay the same is Class Color day and Red Out.”

“They could tailor it more to what the current students of Highland want. For example, no one wants to do Superhero Day.”

“I’m tired of always doing the same thing every year. HP is very unoriginal but yet again, coming up with good ideas that the student body might actually do is hard.”

With that being said, we also asked students what suggestions they had for future spirit days. Most of the common suggestions/themes we got back were, Tacky Tourist, Celeb Day and Opposite Day. Some of the other suggestions we got were:

  • Cartoon Day
  • Disney Day
  • Twin/Group Day
  • Opposite Day
  • Pride Day
  • Scottish Day
  • Tie Dye Day

We also asked students how they felt about having Class Color Day on Thursday. Many students agreed that we should do Class Color Day on Friday because we’re already split up by class, and we already have the separate class t-shirts. Though many people also agree with the idea of doing Class Color Day on Friday. There are others who absolutely love the idea of doing a Red Out instead, because they feel it is something that unifies all of us, and brings us together as a school so that nobody feels left out.

“I don’t think that it should take t-shirts to make us feel whole, or to unify us. I feel as if we should already feel that way, that everyone should know that no matter what color we are wearing, whether it be our class color or not. We are a school and we stick together and are a whole no matter what.”