Importance of the school counselors

I’m sure everyone has seen the counselor’s officer banner hanging in the hallway on the first floor. But why is it important to provide counselors at school? What are the benefits? Here are several reasons to consider when wondering about the importance of school counselors. 

Academic success. Counselors can help students who may be struggling with certain classes or have lower grades. They can provide advice or even connect you to teachers to help solve problems that are the most challenging. Not only that, but if you want to switch out of a class and change your schedule, the counselors are able to figure it out with you. Over time, they want to make sure you are earning credits towards graduation and building your high school transcript and GPA. 

Well being of the students. Although counselors are provided to help with academics and choosing a career path, they also are present for personal issues that may be interfering with school. If this is ever the case, you can schedule a one-on-one conference with your counselor to help get guidance or advice on something that may be occurring outside of school. They also provide an individual focus to students who may be struggling from mental health or are just overwhelmed and stressed about something at school or home. 

Future success. Lastly, counselors work with students to help determine what the future might look like. Especially for upperclassmen, they can help with scheduling, transcripts, and college applications. Most importantly, they want to make sure that all students are ready for the college and/or career path ahead of them.  

In the end, counselors do many important things for the school and the students in it. They provide a support system for students who may be struggling and offer solutions to help them. 

Thoughts on Personal Project

Personal Project was due just a week ago. Even though the project was a way for you to do something based on your interest, and it was supposed to be exciting, I think the Personal Project was just a waste of time. I don’t see the point of writing a paper and doing a process journal of what you accomplished. It just had a lot of stress, so there wasn’t really a point in doing it.  

Not everyone shared my opinion about Personal Project. Here are some opinions from others and why they thought it was a good thing:

“I think it’s really good for students to make a project about things they like versus being forced to do essays on certain topics in school. It gives us the opportunity to explore our own interests.”

“I think it’s a great way to explore things we like and a good way to be productive. I trained my dog which was helpful for him and my family. I do think the project felt more like a chore than being fun. This was mostly because of the paper which was really long and repetitive questions. But overall a good exploration of my teaching skills.”

“I got to spend time learning something new. Gain new skills. And also getting time to reflect on my process.”

“The Personal Project definitely helped me explore something I was interested in, it should be worth more. I didn’t feel motivated to do it.

“Well, I think the Personal Project is a great way to be creative. I think it’s great we can decide on what we want our project to be, I also think that it’s a great way to show others what we’re most interested in and show the process of it.”

“Although I have heard some of my peers say they feel that there is no purpose to the Personal Project, I disagree. I feel like the Personal Project can be used to enhance interests that we already have. For example, I have always been fascinated by pianists and how they are able to memorize so many keys. The Personal Project motivated me to make my first step to playing a song. Overall, I think the Personal Project had a purpose.”

“I think it was ok, not really exciting.”

While there were people who saw value in the Personal Project, others shared my thought on it being pointless. Some said the following:

 “I think it’s a waste of time.”

“I think it’s dumb.”

“It was a waste of time, to be honest.”

“I kinda don’t see the point. I didn’t think that it was needed and it doesn’t make a difference if a school makes you do it or not.”

“It’s a pass or fail. It’s not terrible because of how flexible it is but it is dumb.”

“I feel like it’s okay but useless at the same time because we as students express ourselves through our work already so we shouldn’t have to do a whole project to express ourselves.”

“It was a waste of time and there’s no point in doing it because it’s supposed to be something we enjoy doing but end up hating.”

“I think the Personal Project was a waste of time. There wasn’t really a point in doing it. I didn’t really see the purpose of writing a whole paper about it and explaining how it’s personal to me. I wish it was a different assignment than writing a whole essay about a dumb project.”

“I think it’s mostly unnecessary because it is worth no points so students don’t have a lot of motivation to do it unless it’s something they like. Even then though, most people don’t like to journal the whole process or write a paper and that ruins the motivation.”

So overall, there were mixed reviews and thoughts about the Personal Project. It’s done though now, and so we can move on.

Yoga for the young

Yoga is a physical activity that calms the body and the mind. Many people use it for different reasons like flexibility building, strength building, and anxiety reduction. Studies have shown that yoga is a great stress reliever. In 2012 a survey went out to a group of people that practiced yoga and 86% of the surveys said it helped reduce stress. 

Young people from ages as young as 5, all the way up to 18, in America, are required to go to school. As each year goes by it gets more and more stressful with classes getting harder and stricter. High schoolers are constantly complaining about stress and the workload piling up each day. Balancing home life, sports, clubs, programs, and homework is certainly hard on students. If young people started to take yoga how would the stress and anxiety levels decrease? 

In the article, “Yoga for the Young” by India Currents, a high school student started doing yoga at age 5. It taught her discipline, focus, and she lives almost stress and anxiety free as she breathes in and out calmly. It is stated that because she’s calmer and knows discipline, it helps her with getting good grades.

Many believe that yoga is only done by adults, but it can also have a great impact on teens and children if they learn to focus on focusing on their inhales and exhales. According to WebMD, studies show that yoga can work certain areas that will help students, and those areas are involved in thinking clearly, decision-making, memory enhancing, and regulating emotions. 

Schools don’t have many classes teaching yoga but at Highland Park Senior High, Kathleen Kramer teaches a class called Stress Management. In class they practice mindfulness, relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, improving flexibility, and improving strength.

Ms. Kramer has seen many changes in her emotional, mental, and physical state before and after she started teaching the class. As a teacher, Ms. Kramer has seen improvements in her behavior at work saying, “I feel more calm after leaving this class. When I go to move on to teach my next class I feel that I am able to handle curveballs that are thrown at me daily.”

Many of her students also started seeing changes in themselves like Conor Gregg Escalante. Conor enjoys having this class in the middle of the day because it allows him to reset and regain his energy for the rest of the day. He has seen himself become more open minded after taking this class, improving his focus and engagement in class, and he’s been more open and flexible in his relationships.

From both the teacher and student perspective, there was great improvement in many areas. Yoga is a highly recommended activity that is proved to increase strength, flexibility, and decrease stress and anxiety. If youth all around the world were to practice this activity, it would impact them positively.

Eating in class

We have all been in that position where you have to run out the door in the morning to make it to school on time. But, if you don’t have time to eat breakfast, or choose not to, it may leave you rather hungry during class. Depending on the time, lunch might still be a class or two away. That’s why many students have turned to snacking during class. Should you be able to eat in class? Is this a habit with negative effects?

According to experiments and studies, we should have the ability to eat in class. It is important that we don’t have big distractions in class, but an empty stomach can completely change your focus. Instead of learning, all you’ll consider in how much longer till lunch.  

Through research, it has been proven that a student who has not eaten, is less likely to succeed than a student who has eaten. This research helps to support why it is important that students can eat in class, because hunger can be a distraction that only keeps you counting down the minutes instead of paying attention to what you are doing in class. 

That being said, what snack is the best to have to get you to lunch? The best snack is one that isn’t messy, isn’t candy, and isn’t loud. This makes the least amount of distractions for you and the people around you. So, pretzels are one good option. 

Lastly, what do students think about eating in class? Well, I asked a couple of students and they all seemed to agree that eating in class should be allowed. One explained that everyone should be allowed to eat when they feel it is necessary to eat, and another student described how early lunch affected how hungry they feel at the end of the school day.

But does eating in class distract them? They say no. One student explained how eating in class doesn’t make them fidget or look at their phone. They also described a pattern they developed of grabbing their snack and writing notes in a cohesive system. 

If you do eat in class, please be sure not to leave behind any trash or crumbs. No teacher wants to pick up wrappers or residue from the floor or desks. Also, if you leave behind a bunch of garbage it may deter the teachers from allowing you, and all the other students, to eat in class. 

Why do students procrastinate?

Why do students procrastinate? Students often procrastinate when homework or a specific project is not due immediately, if it is not important, or if it is difficult. Other causes of procrastination are no motivation, low self confidence, or not understanding the concept in school.

Procrastination could affect not only students’ grades but also their health. If a student procrastinates on a big project, it is clear that they will not put a lot of effort into it, and this might cause them to get a bad grade on it. Or, if a student procrastinates on studying for an important test because they didn’t know how to study for it or do it, they might do poorly on the test and get a bad grade.

Procrastination usually tends to affect college and high school students because of the fact they have more homework, projects, and work loads.

For example, a student at HPSH has 7 classes, with work assigned in each. With having more than one class to pay attention to, the student who procrastinates, then waits until the last minute to do their work, and receives lower grades than their classmates who didn’t procrastinate.

Procrastination can be avoided with helpful tips to guide people. Making a schedule and actually sticking to it will help because you can see how your day plays out smoothly once you have a solid schedule. Buying a planner to write down homework and deadlines will help. Also, setting reminders on your device will be just as helpful.

A couple of other things can help can include creating a dedicated study place, breaking the homework and projects into smaller tasks, eating healthy, and getting lots of sleep. 

Procrastination may seem very hard to stop doing but with routinely following these tips, you’ll gradually stop being a procrastinator in no time. 

Sheridan Story service trip

By: Vivian S

If you are as obsessed with staying up to date with the school announcements as I am, or you look at the posters hung up all around the building, you may be well aware that on Wednesday, February 19th, there will be a service trip to the Sheridan Story.

The Sheridan Story is an organization dedicated to helping defeat child hunger and food insecurity. They work with schools and communities to help children get the food they will need, especially for weekends and breaks.

Not only do they provide food, but they try to make sure it’s healthy, consulting with dieticians from Allina Health and Saint Paul Public Schools.

And Highland Park Senior High is going to head over and help them! The field trip will be from 9:30AM to 12:00PM on February 19th. There are only 100 spots though, so the trip is already full.

If you still want to volunteer, you can sign up to volunteer on the Sheridan Story website.

While I always appreciate service opportunities just because, if you are part of a club or program (*cough* National Honor Society *cough*) that requires service hours, this would also be a good place to get some in. 

To find out more about the Sheridan Story or donate to them go to: https://www.thesheridanstory.org.

The proceeds of the school’s Bid Out, February 10th-18th, will also be going to the Sheridan Story. Bring money to your 2nd period class, the 10 classes that raise the most money will be going to ComedySportz, an improv comedy show.

CCRC

By: Vivian S

Right beside the counselors office in our fair school lies the humble College and Career Resource Center. If you go to Highland, you may know of it, considering it sends out an email and updates Schoology every two weeks with its newsletter. But exactly what services does the CCRC offer?

The CCRC newsletter includes information about: summer camps and programs you can sign up for, ACT tests and resources to prepare for the test, and events hosted by colleges. The newsletter also has information about volunteer opportunities and job opportunities, with a few requirements and details for each. Finally, a list of scholarships, requirements, deadlines, and the amount of the scholarship can also be found in the newsletter. 

Walking into the CCRC, I could already see that it had many tables for students to work at. It had a few computers and a laptop cart, along with a printer that costs 5 cents per page. There was a small shelf with ACT prep books that could be checked out, and students were sitting, doing work, and talking to Ms. Baheriy about scholarships. I was honestly surprised by how busy the CCRC was, with people constantly handing papers in to Ms. Baheriy.

Ms. Baheriy graciously agreed to sit down and tell me what the CCRC does.

The CCRC is a place for students to prepare for colleges and careers, and get help planning those. Students come in to discuss and work on college and job applications, and career planning. Ms. Baheriy described her help as providing students with guidance and sharing all the options they have.

She also had some tips for students, saying that we should all start planning early instead of later. To start preparing for college, during the fall, there are many college visits, so researching colleges then would be helpful. She also encouraged students to look at the CCRC newsletter.

For applying to scholarships, she told me that most scholarships aren’t based off of what college you go to, but that many don’t open up until senior year.

The CCRC is open at any hour so students can have a place to work. If Ms. Baheriy isn’t available, students can make an appointment with her. But remember, the CCRC is not a place to hang out and eat lunch.

For more information, here is the CCRC’s website https://www.spps.org/Page/8150.

PRIZM

PRIZM is a magazine that displays the artwork created by the students at Highland Park. The staff advisor of PRIZM is Nancy Michael. 

PRIZM has been a group that has been created and recreated many times by the students at our school. There have also been other groups created that are similar to PRIZM but were put under a different name.

What is the purpose of PRIZM?

PRIZM gives the students at Highland an opportunity to be creative and create something that they like. It also allows them to show off their own hard work with the people of the Highland Park High School community. 

What can you submit?

You can submit anything that you consider to be artwork!

Things such as:

  • Writing pieces
  • Drawings
  • Paintings 
  • Sculptures
  • Photography
  • Pottery

How can you submit your artwork?

You can submit your artwork by sending it to the PRIZM email. This year that email is: Highlandparkprizm2020@gmail.com. If you have any questions, or issues with your artwork, you can email PRIZM as well. 

You can submit your artwork with any name that you’d like. You can also submit it anonymously and your artwork will be the only thing presented in the PRIZM magazine. 

When can you submit?

Now! The PRIZM email is ready and open to accept the fresh new pieces of artwork from all the students at Highland!

Want to be a member of PRIZM?

If you would like to be a part of PRIZM you can simply email the advisor Nancy Michael at: nancy.michael@spps.org

As a member of PRIZM you will be able to be considered a real publisher which sounds pretty cool on college resumes! 

PRIZM meetings usually occur in the auditorium or in the field house area. Meeting times vary, but there usually are at least two meetings a month. At meetings you help come up with ideas to promote PRIZM, ideas for fundraisers, and you get to decide what is accepted into the PRIZM magazine/book. 

Read Brave

By: Vivian S

Are you looking for a new book to read, despite the fact that you never get around to reading anything, and your pile of recommendations is growing in the corner of your house, and you can’t motivate yourself to read them? So am I!

The Saint Paul Public Libraries are once again doing their yearly Read Brave program. Read Brave is a city-wide program where everyone is encouraged to read the same one or two books to learn about an issue facing our world.

The issue this year is climate justice. The main book is The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline, with a non-fiction option Climate Justice by Mary Robinson.

The Marrow Thieves is a dystopian young-adult novel, taking place in a future in which climate change has destroyed the whole world, and people no longer have the ability to dream. Indigenous people are the only ones still able to dream, and are hunted for it. The story follows Frenchie, who is on the run.

Climate Justice is about the impact climate change has on ordinary people, and their struggles to survive and find sustainable solutions.

I have not read these books, so most of that information came from their summaries (which aren’t always representative of what the book will be about).

At the end of the program, the Read Brave author, who this year is Cherie Dimaline, will visit Saint Paul and talk about the book. Dimaline will be coming March 11th through the 13th.

The book club will be reading The Marrow Thieves for their February meeting, and already have copies, so if you are interested, visit Ms. Rahman. The environmental club will be reading Climate Justice.

Read Brave is one of the biggest programs sponsored by the Saint Paul libraries, and an amazing opportunity to read a new perspective and meet an author. I, for one, will be taking advantage of this program.

Mr. Zeitchick’s Thrift Store

Mr. Zeitchick is a teacher at Highland Park Senior High. He teaches an elective called Current Events, another one called African American Studies, and a class called Sociology. He also teaches an all senior class called U.S. Government.

Mr. Zeitchick is also well known for formally being the head coach for both track & field and the football team.

Students speak highly of Mr. Zeitchick for his kindness and realistic thinking. He is a very relatable teacher and is always there for students for whatever support they may need. 

One of the many things Mr. Zeitchick has done for the Highland Park community is create a thrift store for the people of this community. It is a new up and running idea he has. He calls it “Mr. Zeitchick’s Thrift Store.” It consists of a collection of winter clothes that range from all sizes for anyone to try. 

The store started in the back room of Mr. Zeitchick’s classroom where it is an open area. He filled it with mainly winter coats to help students stay warm in Minnesota’s harsh winter weather. He emailed and asked teachers, faculty, and parents for donations. The clothes are 100% donated, and 100% free to students. With all the donations, the thrift store now holds a variety of winter coats, sweatshirts, hats, gloves, shoes, boots, scarves, and snow pants. With the growing amount of clothes, the store is now in his back room and outer walls of his classroom. 

I asked Mr. Zeitchick what the purpose of this store was and his response was, “We live in Minnesota and everybody deserves a winter coat.” He is exactly right. 

Mr. Zeitchick has many hopes for this non-profit thrift store. One simple goal of his is for people to get what they need from the store. He wishes that everyone who wants/needs something from the thrift store feels comfortable to get it. The store is open 8:30-4:30 for anyone and everyone. At this time, Mr. Zeitchick has shut down the thrift store for this season.

Mr. Zeitchick says he sees the store expanding beyond winter clothing and going through the whole year. He’s hopeful that students who care about the cause will step up and take over and help grow it.

Mr. Zeitchick wishes to make the store more well known to students. He has flyers all around the school to help make the store known. He encourages students to tell their friends about it and help spread the word. 

Another thing I asked Mr. Zeitchick was what are three words he would use to describe the thrift store. He said, “Community, Helpful, Rewording.” These words are the best way to describe this store. It brings the Highland Park community together to help a good cause. It is rewarding for both the receiver of the clothing and the one donating the clothing. Donating to Mr. Zeitchick’s store is a simple good deed that anyone can do.