How to give good presentations

Presentations are an unavoidable part of high school. Whether you enjoy giving them, or find them the worst assignment on earth, you probably want a good grade on them. Here are some ways to make your presentations better:

Making the presentation:

  1. Frame your story: Make sure you’re including every side to your story before presenting our ideas or facts. It’s nice for the viewer to understand all sides of a topic before you move on to our specific idea. This is the research portion of the assignment.
  2. Plan your delivery: how will you deliver this presentation? Will it be bold and direct, as if you’re trying to persuade someone, or is it just stating the facts, in which you should try to refrain from just listing.
  3. Choose your multimedia: what platform will you use to deliver your presentation? You can choose a documentary, slides, etc. Make it colorful and entertaining to grab the attention of the audience.
  4. Put it together: practice your speaker notes, and make the final edits and cuts. If you had all your research on a Google Doc spend this last portion of time transferring it to a more entertaining presentation source and finish making it look like you want it to.

During the presentation:

  • Speaker Notes: Organize the PowerPoint/information in an order that makes sense. If you are presenting a topic that many people are unfamiliar with, this is key. The audience most likely does not have as deep an understanding on the topic, so formatting will best prevent confusion and know what you will say before hand to avoid confusion.
  • Background. If you are presenting a complicated topic, adding a slide with background, or speaking about this extra information, will help your audience gain better understanding. Even if this isn’t required by a rubric, it is important and could assist in getting an “A.”
  • At the end of the presentation, review information. By reviewing the information you spoke about at the end of the presentation, you give the audience members a chance to ask questions and reflect. This also frames the bigger picture of your topic.
  • Ask if there are any questions, and be prepared to answer them. This means you may need to do extra research on your topic in order to ensure you can answer these questions. Asking for questions assists the audience in getting the most out of your presentation.
  • Add images. Incorporating visual aids into your presentation will bring it together and add another perspective of the topic. Not all audience members respond to listening or reading.
  • Speak up. Projecting and enunciating while speaking makes your presentation more engaging. Nobody wants to watch a student mumbling words off of a notecard!
  • Incorporate the audience. Ask questions or play a quick game with the audience to keep them engaged. This brings your presentation to another level. The teacher grading your presentation is often impressed if you are able to teach the class.
  • Don’t chew gum/eat. Although this often goes unspoken, it’s important not to be eating a snack, chewing gum, or drinking from a water bottle during your presentation. This lowers the professionality of your presentation and can get annoying.
  • Don’t read directly off of a notecard or iPad. This is not as engaging to the audience and does not display your knowledge on the topic well. Instead, use a notecard/iPad as a quick reminder of what you will say. A good way to prevent the temptation to read off of a notecard/iPad is to only include bullet points. This way, you are forced to elaborate on the topic.

Hopefully, by following these simple instructions you are able to put together a wonderful presentation!

Nothing can beat nerves but it only means you care. Now you have done everything you can to prepare and you’ll nail the presentation so good luck!

Impacts on teens through social media.

By Delaney Sis and Na’Riyah Johnson

Woman with negative surprised face looking something in smartphone. Sad teenager with mobile phone, scared of threatening, mobile abuse. Front view of a sad teen checking phone sitting on the floor in the living room at home with a dark background. Image taken from:

Today, so many teens are using social media everyday. According to the West Virginia Teachers Association website, the average teenager spends about 9 hours a day on social media/technology. Even if you are using it in increments, the amount of time adds up over time. 

Social media has both positive and negative impacts on people. There are a few more negative impacts instead of positive ones (for a more detailed list, please visit the Independent’s website). Many people believe even if they don’t have a phone, or they don’t have social media, they are still exposed to technology and the media.

Teenagers who use social media can use it to cyber bully other teenagers. Teenagers believe that if you are doing it through the phone, then teenagers won’t have to tell them face to face. Cyber bullying can get so bad, to where the one who is being bullied doesn’t know what to do, that they turn to hurting themselves; some even to the point of wanting to not live anymore. The bully doesn’t realize what they have done until it’s too late.

Teenagers who use social media can gain low self-esteem. You may be wondering: How does social media make you gain low self-esteem? Well, when you compare your pictures to others, you start to feel self doubt. Sure, many people have self doubt, but constantly scrolling through you social media feed isn’t healthy.

Aside from teenagers gaining low self-esteem, they can also gain a feeling of depression. If you don’t know what depression is, according to WebMD, it is a disorder that leads to many different emotions. Having depression can affect the immune system. 

Teens need to talk more with others. Talking to others is a key thing to expand who you are as a individual. Communication with others can also start to get harder because of how long time has been spent on social media, or just our devices in general.

Social media can also affect how your see you body. Looking through someone’s feed can only make things worse if you already see you body as poor, which could lead to unsafe diets. An unsafe diet can also lead to malnutrition. Malnutrition leads to an imbalance in the lack of nutritions in the body. Malnutrition affects 45% of children, which is about 3.1 million children each year. Those are just numbers from children who are under the age of 5. For more information on the effets of malnutrition, please visit:

ACT rescheduled

On February 20, the Juniors expected to come to school to take their dredded ACT. Some students had been preparing all year, and were more than ready to take their test; others will never be ready. The day before the ACT, the SPPS school district declared a snow day, cancelling school and rescheduling the ACT.

Most students were overjoyed by the news of not having to sit through the four hour test just yet. While others felt that it just prolonged their anxiety about the whole testing situation.

The ACT was rescheduled for March 12, almost a month after the original date.

I asked three different Juniors how they were feeling about the ACT, and they all had different responses:

Liliana said she was “Ready for the test to be over with,” and “She just wanted to take it already.”

Cristina said she felt like “The rescheduling just extended peoples anxiety about the test.”

Brandon was the only one I asked who was “Relieved that we (Juniors) got the extra time to prepare.”

Even though they all had different opinions, they all shared one same comment, that they were nervous.

Before the ACT try to:

  • Eat a good breakfast
  • Get 8 hours of sleep
  • Look over practice problems
  • And relax

Hopefully, they will be able to calm their nerves before march 12, and do amazing on their ACT’s. Good luck juniors!

Govie Leadership Summit

The Govie Leadership Summit was Friday, March 1, at Johnson Senior High. With 20 sessions and over 37 presenters, this year’s summit focused on three categories: social justice and racial equity, developing your leadership style, and building healthy communities.

The summit began with an amazing and hilarious improv show by a group called Blackout Improv. After the breakout sessions, we discussed in small groups the strengths, challenges, and opportunities of our schools and student voice. At the end of the day, Mayor Carter spoke and challenged us to make Saint Paul a better place.

Highland’s own Dare 2 Be Real group presented on “Stereotype Promises vs. Stereotype Threat.” They covered different types of stereotypes and how to combat the problems they raise. D2BR believes this is important, because stereotypes are everywhere, even at schools, where everyone should be treated equal and fairly. For example, teachers may look at an Asian kid, see the smart Asian stereotype, and offer them more help, whereas they perceive another kid as less smart. Teachers may do this without even knowing. This affects the students in the support they receive and their self-esteem. When a minority is faced with a stereotype threat, it is harder for them to succeed and puts more pressure on them.

My first session was “Boss Up,” led by Talea Plata. We began by describing ourselves in the future, beyond just jobs, but also hobbies, how we look, and so on. Then we had a conversation on self-love, the little ways in which we can do it, and why it is important.

My second session, “No One Can Say It Like You Can” empowered us to speak our personal truths. Presenter Annie Humphrey performed songs about their own personal truths. Annie told us not to let others stifle our voice, to not judge others, and to not let our lives be ruled by fear.

My third session, “Screen Scholar — Rethinking How We Watch and Read Stories” led by Tri Vo, was about why diversity in media matters. We started with looking at the basics of storytelling: background, characters, plot, and production value. Then we talked about how we need to have diversity because representation is power. We see people in media and expect others to be like them. We need to be able to see ourselves in media. We can’t not think about representation, because so much of our lives revolves around media.

The summit was enjoyable, and I can only see it getting better and better over time.

Scotapalooza 2019

Every year, Highland Park Senior High School hosts a musical event called “Scotapalooza.” It took place on January 27th, 2019, which was right before the 4 days off of school. This event featured many different bands that performed. This year, the line-up for music was: both the middle and high school jazz bands, the Highland Tour band, and other small ensembles including a rock band and the “Ben Jossi Combo.”

The event took place at the North Garden Theater, which had plenty of space for the bands and seating for guests.

Scotapalooza also had a wide range of drinks and snacks to attract guests. This included a full bar, and a food station with pretzels and cookies. This part of the event itself helped raise $247 for Highland’s music program.

Overall, Highland raised $4,213 in revenue for Highland’s music program. A lot of it came from donated gift cards, same-day purchased tickets, and from food and beverage sales.

In the past, the money raised has gone to purchasing a new drum set which the band needed for jazz band. This year, the money raised will go towards purchasing new instruments, sheet music, and more needed musical items.

Scotapalooza is a great event that brings everyone at Highland together with multiples genres of student music. It also helps the Highland community by supporting high school music programs.

Snow tubing 2019 cancelled and rescheduled

Every winter, the senior class plans a field trip to go snow tubing. This year, it was planned for February 7th, but things didn’t go according to plan.

Seniors showed up on Thursday with all their layers of clothing ready to go. The field trip cancelation was announced to everybody half-way through first hour. Due to a snow storm, SPPS high schools got an early release at 1:30pm. Some people were worried that if the seniors went on the field trip, the road conditions would get bad on the way back and the busses wouldn’t make it back by 1:30pm for students to ride the bus home.

By that time, students had already found out about the cancellation and were very upset. I remember seeing a swarm of upperclassmen around the counseling office during passing time after first hour. Some seniors decided to leave after 1st hour. They were upset because most students didn’t bring their school work because they didn’t think they would need it.

The field trip has been rescheduled for March 14th and everyone seems excited to still be going…given that we don’t have ANOTHER snow storm.

Spirit week at HPSH

HPSH’s spirit week is here – February 19 to 22. During spirit week, students are encouraged to dress up based on the allotted schedule, and are expected to attend the pep fest.

The pep fest will occur Friday, February 22, 7th period (1:12-2:00) in the main gym. Your 7th period teacher should bring you down when the time is right, there will also be an announcement over the loud speakers to notify the teachers when to come down (we are assuming they are calling down by floors). Please do not bring your backpack (or any bag) to the gym. You can leave it in your (locked) 7th period teacher’s classroom or locker.

Because students and staff did not go to school Monday due to Presidents’ Day, there will be four dress up days. Tuesday is “dress like a teacher day.” For Tuesday, you could dress like your favorite teacher using wigs, clothing, hats, and/or shoes.

Wednesday is pajama day, so make sure to wear your favorite onesie or most comfortable sweatpants.

Thursday is jersey day. On Thursday you can wear any jersey, or sports apparel you own, to represent your favorite sports team.

Friday is class colors day, where students wear the colored t-shirt that coordinates with their grade. (freshmen wear yellow, sophomores wear green, juniors wear blue, and seniors wear red.)

Also, please be mindful that you are not mocking anyone during this week by dressing up like them (A.K.A on Tuesday, teacher look alike day). Please keep all your outfits school appropriate and all outfits MUST show your face at all times. Remember to have fun at the pep fest, but also be respectful to everyone who is performing.    

When we asked HPSH students what they thought of spirit week, many said that they appreciated the opportunity and thought it was fun. However, “It’s not really as fun as it would be if everyone participated,” one student explained. Many students agreed with this. Some even admitted to not taking part; “Spirit week is really fun…but I usually don’t participate.”

Because of the lack of participants in spirit week, not all students dress up. “Sometimes you’re just worried that other people won’t do it, and even if you wanted to, you chicken out,” one person told us. “You’re worried others will think it’s weird.”

Spirit week is much more fun if everyone does it! Show your school spirit by dressing up with everyone else.

Driver’s Ed

By: Vivian

Driver education is coming to Highland! This session will run from May 6 to 21, 2:10-5:10 pm every day. The class fee is $330. To register, there are forms in the main office. Sign up quickly because there is limited class space. To sign up for the class, you must be 15 years old by the last day of class.

If you are 15-17 and want to drive, then you are required to take the 30 hour course to be able to get your permit. If you are 18, you don’t have to take the 30 hour course, but you still can if you want to. After you complete the class, you will have to take a knowledge test to get your permit.

The $330 fee includes 6 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction, not just the 30 hours of class. After you complete the class, you will have 18 months to do your behind-the-wheel instruction.

If you miss more than 3 hours (one class period) of the 30 hour course, you will be unenrolled from the course and will not receive credit. If you miss up to 3 hours, you can make up for the missed class time, but you will need to do it within the quarter. If you are unenrolled or decide to cancel, you will receive a refund minus a $50 fee. Once the course has ended you can’t get any more refunds.

You are expected to show proper behavior in the classroom, and the use of cell phones in class is prohibited.

To take the road test to get your driver’s license, you have to be 16, have had your permit for at least 6 months, and have completed the supervised driving log, which requires 50 hours of driving time with at least 15 hours driving after dark, if your guardians choose to take a supplemental class, then you only have to do 40 hours of driving.

Driver Education Office – Central High School | 275 N. Lexington Pkwy., St. Paul, MN 55104
651-744-5094 | Office Hours: Mon-Fri, 9:00a – 3:00p

Highland Park Showcase

On Thursday, January 17th, Highland Park put on their annual Showcase from 6-8pm. Middle schoolers from Highland Park Middle, Capital Hill, and other St. Paul middle schools attended the showcase.

During the showcase, tours were held for the middle school students, and their parents, directed by students in the Year Book club. Throughout the night, 3 different tours took place, popcorn and cookies were served in the gym, and all of Highlands Park’s extracurricular activities we’re presented around the gym including: sports, math team, robotics club, Black Student Union, Asian Culture club, and more.

Highland’s Showcase is a great way to get to know about the activities and clubs available at the school. There are a variety of programs to join, and there is something for everyone with 42 different clubs which include:

      • Archery Club
      • Animae Club
      • African Student Association
      • Asian Cultural Club
      • Black Student Union
      • Book Club
      • Chess Club
      • Chinese Club
      • Choir/Vocal Music
      • Debate Team
      • Environmental Club
      • FFA Club
      • Film Club
      • Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA)
      • Genius Squad
      • Girl Unity
      • High School Democrats of American
      • Highland Park Senior High activities
      • Highland Passports Student Travel Opportunities
      • Instrumental Music
      • Junior Class
      • Knitting Club
      • Kpop Club
      • Link Crew
      • Math Team
      • Model United Nation
      • Mountain Biking
      • National Honor Society
      • Plaid Line School Newspaper
      • Prizm Literary Magazine
      • Robotics Team
      • Science Club
      • Senior Class
      • Spanish Speaking Debate
      • Speech Team
      • Student Council
      • The Conspiracy Theory CluB
      • Thespian Society
      • Union Latina
      • Yearbook
      • Youth Alive
      • Youth in Government.

Highland Park does an amazing job of including everyone one; no one is left out or discriminated against. Clubs promoted at our school promote more students to become involved in their school community and to enjoy their high school experience.

Highland Park’s Showcase this year had a turn out of about 70 different families, a little less than what Highland has had in the past.

I talked to Mr. O’Connell, a math teacher, as well as math coach on the Highland Park math team about this year’s Showcase. I asked him how he felt about this years turn out, and he responded, “I expected more students, there was about 60 families that showed up.” I further asked him if he thought the low turn out would mean fewer freshmen next year. Mr. O’Connell’s response was, “Of course I have no doubt that we won’t have a lot of kids, but we are just going to have to see what next year brings.”

Senior meeting

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


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

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

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

Cap And Gown

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

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

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

Senior Field Trip

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

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

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