‘Matilda’: The musical shown by HPSH Theater

By: McKenna Nutter

Images taken from: Photos from
Facebook: Joel Chirhart

‘Matilda’ is about a little girl born into a nasty, unappreciative family. A genius girl, full of stories and a mind as wide as the sky, trapped in a horrible family and a horrible school, run by the nasty Ms. Trunchbull. Agatha Trunchbull, ex-hammer throwing champion, runs a school much like a prison, and depending who you ask, some place much worse.

The only sort of light that reaches the classroom is the teacher, Jenny Honey. A kind-hearted soul, just as trapped as Matilda, Ms. Honey has never been able to find the courage to fight for herself, but when a clever little girl comes to her classroom, Jenny may find a reason to stand up for herself, Matilda, and her students. 

This year, Highland Park Theater got the opportunity to share this story. Senior Briana Li-Heidkamp sung her heart out as Matilda and Junior Jaya Bird could not have done better in her role of Ms. Honey.

One of the funniest parts in the show goes to Ms. Trunchbull, and senior Cleo Foley had everyone rolling with laughter.

Our whole cast was full of so many students and every one of them are incredibly talented.  

This year has been a hard year, and in theater we had no exception. Without a full audience, it was harder to keep the spirit up in the auditorium, but between all of the hard work, the whole cast and crew were able to have fun.

We were thankfully able to have our performance recorded and have a showing for other students during advisory. 

Images taken from: Photos from
Facebook: Joel Chirhart

If you aren’t involved in theater, it’s hard to know how much goes into a performance. This year, we had actors and crew in everyday after school working hard on learning lines for a two hour show.

We had our director, Nancy Michael, there through it all.

It’s more than remembering words, and places to be. Actors were working incredibly hard on character, and seeing the story through the characters’ eyes, and learning music and choreography.

So many students worked hard for this show, and not even all of them took the stage.

A number of students worked backstage with sets and costumes.

The whole show was choreographed by two Highland Park students: senior Soren Chirhart and junior Quinn Dwyer.

Between families, and friends of HPSH Theater, we could never have pulled it off, and a huge thank you to Nancy Michael for being there everyday and working hard to give us something to look forward to everyday.

Highland Theater is a community, and even though we have seen so many people on the stage, it never ceases to amaze me how talented our students at Highland are. 

The benefits of learning a language

By: Joxery Mezen Camacho

At Highland, students must take two years worth of language credits. And many like to continue on for all four years.

But why should we be learning a second language? Just for fun? Or are there actual benefits besides being able to say you’re bilingual?

With that in mind, here are 6 benefits to learning a new language: 

  1. Improve Memory 

An experiment in the ‘Journal of Experimental Child Psychology’ found that learning another language improves your working memory. Learning a language takes effort from your brain, since you have to memorize a lot of new words and different pronunciations. This helps you get better at recalling information such as words, names, and facts. 

  1. Confidence in decision making

According to a research article in ‘Sage Journals’, if you think in a different language helps you make decisions because it reduces biases. This leads to less overthinking, making you able to make more decisions with confidence. 

  1. Helps improve your primary language 

When you learn a new language you’re introduced to more of the basics and specifics that languages are made up of — grammar, different tenses, and more that you don’t usually overthink since you’ve been talking for just about forever in your first language! This makes you more aware of these things in your primary language which decreases the chance of making mistakes. 

  1. Strengthens your mind 

Learning a new language is a great way to keep your brain working and growing! An article on Neurology.org states that learning a new language can reduce or delay Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss, and dementia. The brain keeps getting stronger because of the new neural pathways that are created as a result of learning a new language. 

  1. Improve focus and attention 

When you learn a new language you tend to get good at switching from your primary language and the one you’re learning. This improves your ability to refocus, as well as focus on switching between tasks. 

  1. Opens more opportunities

Knowing more than one language can open new doors for you. It can be a way to beef up your resume, making you a more unique candidate for a job. It can also open up a different place to travel to, to study abroad in, or to live! A new language can also lead to new relationships with other people because of a similar goal or ability. 

For more information visit: 

Homework stress and tips to help

By: McKenna Nutter

Research that was conducted at Stanford University, in 2013, found that high school students, who may be considered a part of ‘high achieving communities’, who spend more time on their homework, struggle with balancing their education with their social life and physical health. This lack of balance has caused many of these students stress. 

This study came to find that more than two hours of homework per night is not only overbearing, but it also is counterproductive. The students who participated in this study reported to be spending over three hours on homework, on average. 

When it came to stress, over 70% of the studied students reported they were often, or even always, stressed over schoolwork, and more than 99% claimed that homework was a stressor. More than 40% of students claimed they experienced three or more physical symptoms when asked if they ever experienced any headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss, and stomach problems, and 80% said they experienced at least one. 

Many students in this study, and even personally, felt forced and/or obligated, to choose homework and grades over the rest of their life. This could mean that any free time at home, time with my family, any social outings, and extracurricular activities were neglected because of homework. 

Some tips that can help with the stress of too much homework are:

  • Stick to a schedule: As a student, this has helped me a lot, with more than my homework. Just forcing myself to wake up at the same time everyday, get dress and do something like make my bed or pick up my room before school has helped me create good habits that I wouldn’t otherwise have.
  • Stay organized and check your agenda constantly: This is another important aspect to keeping stress down. A tool I use personally is a homework app. I enter my homework and the due dates into an app and check it off as complete when it is submitted. It also helps me when an adult also has access to my homework tracker to help me stay on task.
  • Communication: Communication with your teacher is ideal, it helps your teacher get to know you and it makes it easy to talk to them when you have questions. And as mentioned before, talking with an adult in your house is very helpful. Sit down for five minutes every night, or every couple nights, and discuss how homework is progressing and your upcoming assignments. I was very hesitant when I first started doing this, but it has given me a lot of motivation to get things done. 
  • Get a good night’s sleep. This one seems very obvious but it’s true. I’m sure everyone knows the importance of sleep, but as a high schooler myself, I cannot tell anyone how much easier school got when I started going to sleep at a decent time. If you were to do this, even on most nights, the difference is noticeable. 

There are many resources students can use to keep in contact with their teachers and many apps and websites to keep track of your schoolwork. The app I use personally is called ‘My Homework Student Planner’, and paper planners are another amazing way to stay up to date. I spend, at most, five minutes at the start of each day looking through Schoology for new assignments. 

SPPS reopens schools

SPPS will reopen schools starting Wednesday, April 14, for 6-12th graders. Those who decide to do in-person learning will be there for 4 1/2 hours from Monday through Thursday. Fridays will be distance learning days for all students.

Anyone who wanted to remain in virtual learning had to sign up by Thursday, March 11. If you didn’t sign up, you will be automatically enrolled in school for April 14th. Students will continue to learn with their current teachers whether they are attending in person or virtually. 

For those wishing to return to school, the following health and safety measures will take place on the school’s end:

  • Face coverings for students and staff are required 
  • Daily cleaning and disinfecting for door handles, switches, hand railings, desks, and bathrooms. 
  • Assigned seating during meals
  • Conducting a daily health screening
  • Students and staff must remain six feet apart 
  • Avoid sharing workspaces including phones and computers
  • Stay home if you are sick and notify your supervisor
  • Go home if you become ill at work and notify your supervisor

If a student or staff contracts COVID-19 or shows symptoms, the following response will be carried out:

  • The area where the student or staff member has been will be disinfected. For example the cleaning of bathrooms, hallways, drinking fountains, cafeterias, kitchens, and health offices. 
  • Areas that are touched frequently will be cleaned. That includes: the door handles, outside lockers, student desks/chairs, tables, bleachers, exercise equipment, handrails, pool deck, and more. 
  • The cafeteria will be disinfected, and the kitchen staff will disinfect the kitchen 

Personally, for now, I think we should stay home, even though I am eager to get back to school, right now is not the best time. These steps that have been taken to avoid the spread of COVID and for those who get COVID are good to take, but it’s simply not enough.

How will you know if the student that has COVID has not infected someone else and then that person brings it home to their families? And are the schools going to provide a COVID test for a student who gets infected?

For more information, please visit: spps.org/reopen and look for additional info.

What’s happening with HPSH theatre?

By: McKenna Nutter

Highland Park Senior High School definitely has its fair share of extracurricular activities. A wide range of sports for every season, awareness clubs, creativity outlets, and so many more. My personal involvement lies with the Highland Park Theatre Club. Each club and team all have their own sense of community, and theatre is no different.

The challenges that the year of 2020 has thrown at us all were hard to overcome, but we’ve been able to adapt for the safety of everyone. Unfortunately, these adaptations have left almost all of us stuck at home, and many after school activities have made plans for the rest of this year.

This last fall, Highland Theatre put together a number of student directed virtual shows. Auditions, rehearsals, meetings and tech was all done over Google Meet. The talented actors faced the challenges of portraying movement, emotion and a storyline all from the comfort of their own homes.

Each of the shows were all recorded, and are now almost all posted on the Highland Park Theatre YouTube channel at: HP Theatre. On the channel, you will find ‘The Curious Art of Critique’, ‘Please Have a Seat’, ‘The Maltese Falcon’, ‘Words, Words, Words’, and ‘Heritage’. 

As fall turned into winter, HPSH Theatre was ready to start their next set of productions and everyone prepared for the upcoming recordings:

  • ‘Twelfth Night’ directed by Nancy Michael
  • ‘4 A.M.’ directed by Soren Chirhart
  • ‘Murder in the Knife Room’ directed by Briana Heidkamp
  • ‘I Said Run’ directed by Rachel Dickinson
  • ‘The Virtual Support Group from Hell’ directed by Colin Ward
  • ‘The Discussion’ written by Anne Douma and directed by Anne Douma and Na’Riyah Johnson

With the opportunity for in-person learning starting April 14th, HPSH Theatre is hopeful to have a socially distanced live audience for a production of last year’s planned performance of the musical ‘Matilda,’ by Ronald Dahl. With fingers crossed, we are waiting to hear if a live audience will be approved in order to continue with plans for this fun musical.

Auditions for the musical should hopefully be taking place as early as the week of March 16th. Unfortunately, a live audience is required because of restrictions on recording this specific production. It is unknown what will take place if a live audience is unachievable, but we are hopeful we will not have to change plans. 

With new planned safety measures beyond the ones already being put in place, theatre is also planning to make use of outdoor areas, masks at all times, and being socially distanced both on and off stage. We are also being mindful of the spread through germs on objects, so cleaning and sanitizing will become a regular occurence.

 

‘The Plaid Line’

Hello,

Due to a number of circumstances, Newspaper class is at risk of being cancelled for 2nd semester. Unfortunately, this means that ‘The Plaid Line’ would no longer be putting out new content consistently, after the last batch of articles from 1st semester were published.

At this time, a week has been given to try to recruit students to the class.

If you are a student that has interest in being in Newspaper, or if you know anyone that may be interested, please contact your counselor ASAP to try to be added to the class (or tell the person you know to contact their counselor).

In the end, we hope that the class will be able to continue. We still feel that it is vitally important that students have a place to have their voice heard.

If the class is discontinued, we hope to be able to publish at large features periodically from a club model.

Thank you for your continued support and readership.

The effects of marijuana on teens

By Nora Doyle

Image taken from: ‘Scientific American’

Consuming marijuana has become more and more normalized in the teenager age group. It’s become more and more common in college, high school, and even middle school students.

Teens use it for multiple different reasons. It can be used in a party situation, or for fun, as a coping mechanism for different mental illnesses, or even just when they’re bored. These are all reasons that teens smoke weed according to Mentalhelp.net. Another major reason is peer pressure, and wanting to be accepted by other kids.

Teens tend to believe that smoking weed isn’t bad for you or has any negative effects on their bodies or brains. But in reality, according to the CDC, marijuana can have permanent effects on the developing brain.

The CDC says that frequent, or long-term, use of marijuana is often linked to students dropping out of school due to how it negatively affects learning abilities and paying attention. It causes difficulty in thinking and problem solving, and also affects the memory.

As for the effects on mental health, the CDC says that it increases the risk of mental health issues including depression and anxiety. Although marijuana is sometimes known for helping these issues, it makes it harder for the body to produce the chemicals and hormones that make you happy naturally. This is why teens become reliant on weed for their mental health, but it also has the opposite effect.

When it comes to long term physical effects, according to Teendrugabuseuse.gov, it truly affects the lungs and breathing ability. Smoke from marijuana can irritate the lungs and cause a chronic cough. Although, the possible worst symptom is that it can affect women’s ability to have a healthy baby. Excessive smoking of weed can decrease the male’s sperm found and delay ovulation in women so it makes it harder to get pregnant.

Despite what you may hear about marijuana, it is not good for a teen’s developing brain and body. Stay away from weed as much as possible and learn ways to avoid peer pressure.

You don’t need to smoke weed to fit in.

Why are teens smoking more now?

By: Heidy Ramirez

“Why are teens smoking more now?” is the question of the day.

A lot of them are smoking because of peer pressure or stress and it has not been good with the pandemic going on. They don’t really have anyone to turn to, so people turn to drugs.

2020 was no one‘s year. There was a riot, pandemic lockdown, and COVID.

The teens that start to smoke, mostly start before the age of 18 because of their friends, older siblings or they think they look cool. Another big reason they start is stress, because of everything in the world.

Right now, with the entire pandemic, and with the students not going to regular school, and parents not going to work, there is a lot of pressure at home because of school and work. So, there are a lot of arguments going on, and that creates people wanting to let out steam which is smoke, so they start smoking. 

There is a lot of pressure, and it mostly falls on the teens because we have to show leadership to these younger kids, but the parents don’t understand that it could be a little bit too much for us, so we turn our heads to smoking.

Some teens think that doing grown up stuff can make you grow, but that’s not what happens with smoking; they are smoking their life’s up. The teens are using vapes, juul’s and e-cigs now these days, and there are different flavors so you can choose the one you like and get hooked on it.

For more information, please visit:

Horrible Homework

By Nora Doyle and Olivia Miller

Image taken from: Study.com

Ugh homework!

It’s something every kid has to do if they want to succeed in school.

But why do we do it?

Most students think it’s pointless and adds to the daily stress of school. We have work in class everyday, about 6 hours a day, so why give us more at home? That’s supposed to be the space where we get to relax, eat, sleep, and do things we actually enjoy.

If you were to ask any student, they will most likely say homework hurts them more than it helps them. Maybe they are right, I mean, do we really need homework? What good does it do? Who even created the idea in the first place?

The question of who is to blame for the invention of homework is sort of a controversial question. According to ‘Market Business News’, many people argue that homework was invented by Italian educator Roberto Nevilis, in either 1095 or 1905. But, if both of these are looked into, neither are possible according to this site. This is because in the year 1095, there was no formal system of education in, and around, Europe. Even in the 1500s, education was given by private tutors.

It couldn’t have been invented in 1905 either, because 4 years before that, in 1901, the state of California passed an act to ban homework for any child studying below the 8th grade. The law was passed because during that period, homework was frowned upon by parents. They felt that homework interfered with a child’s time for house chores. Sweet times, right? Anyway, Mr. Nevilis couldn’t have been spreading the idea of homework when he couldn’t even do it himself.

So when did it truly start?

According to ‘Market Business News’, homework has historically existed in one form or another for simply just practicing at home. It could have been singing, poetry, playing an instrument, or reading the Bible. So, in a certain way, homework has always been a thing when it comes to education.

Homework is a very controversial topic when it comes to deciding whether or not it is beneficial to students. There have been many arguments and laws throughout the years surrounding homework. According to Study.com, in 1930, homework became frowned upon because it was declared as a form of child labor, which had recently become illegal.

Opinions vary among students, teachers, and parents. Coming from a non biased point of view, here are some pros and cons of homework that have been proven, or come from a variety of studies.

Pros: According to Goodschools.com, homework is beneficial to a student’s learning when it comes to developing study skills. “From time management and organisation to self-motivation and independent learning, homework teaches students a range of positive skills that they will carry with them throughout their academic and working lives. Home learning motivates students to take responsibility for their workload, while also encouraging the development of positive research practices.”

Another pro to giving students homework, according to Vittana.org, is that it, “Provides an indication of academic comprehension. Assigning learning tasks at home is a useful way for teachers to identify whether students are understanding the curriculum. Teachers can analyse gaps in comprehension or information through homework, making it easier for them to tailor their approach to each student’s needs. they can recognise students who need extra support in certain learning areas, while also identifying children who may benefit from more complex learning tasks.”

Cons: According to the American Psychological Association, a Duke University social psychologist, Harris Cooper says, “Too much homework can do more harm than good. Researchers have cited drawbacks, including boredom and burnout toward academic material, less time for family and extracurricular activities, lack of sleep and increased stress.” He believes in the 10 minute rule, which implies “That students should do no more than 10 minutes a night per grade level — from about 10 minutes in first grade up to a maximum of about two hours in high school. Both the National Education Association and National Parent Teacher Association support that limit.”

So, next time you complain about doing homework, consider the good that it does, but also keep in mind that too much homework can make you burnt out, so limit yourself, but get it done!

10 tips to help with time management during online school

By: Joxery Mezen Camacho

Online school has forced a great change on all students and staff at Highland. This can be a challenging experience for all of us because everything is so new. So, here are 10 tips to help you manage your time and stay focused during online school. 

1. Get up and move!

Getting up and doing a quick stretch in between classes will help you decrease back pain from sitting around all day. It can also give your mind a break from classes and can also help wake you up which will help you stay focused during class! 

2. Move to different areas when working on different things

If you stay in a single area during your classes and while you do your work, you could get tired faster from staying in one spot. In order to prevent this you can have a designated area to attend class and a different one to do your work. 

3. Simply start your assignments 

One of the hardest things to do is to complete your assignments. A way to help you complete them is by telling yourself you’ll work on it for at least 5 minutes, and chances are that after you get going you’ll want to continue. In the end, you’ll either have completed it or at least gotten farther than you were before.

4. Avoid Burnout 

It’s okay to take breaks! In fact you should take them! Breaks can help you take time for yourself and help you stay balanced which avoids burnout which can affect you negatively. 

5. Plan out your days

Having a plan helps you avoid wasting time on figuring out what you should do first. It also helps you stay on track and lowers stress because you know that you’ll have time to finish the rest of your work the next day. 

6. Write down due dates 

Writing down due dates can help you have a better idea of the bigger picture which can help you create your daily plan.

7. Focus on one task 

When working on a specific task try to avoid multitasking and social media. This will help you finish faster and not get distracted as easily.

8. Split up assignments 

If you split up an assignment into chunks it can be less overwhelming and easier to finish throughout the days you have time to work on it. It can reduce stress because you aren’t taking an entire project head on. 

9. Have mini deadlines 

Having mini deadlines can help you avoid procrastination and stay on track.

10. Reflect 

Reflecting on how your week went and deciding to experiment new things can always bring good things. This is because everyone is different, so it’s best to know what makes you comfortable.