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3)$!45"-!.&!*)!)$6!7*0$5"*&) “This year we have a really strong group of theater people. I really wanted to stretch their ability,” Hatzenbeller said. The student directors’ responsibilities include giving input on charMichael Cork | staff writer acters’ entrances, setting and other enior Jane Lindemann sits in theatrical elements. “It’s really different being the authe back of the theater watching the scene, then calls it to a thoritative figure and calling all the stop. “I can’t hear you!” she yells, shots,” Lindemann said. While Hatzenbeller has the final and asks her peers to start over and say, she works to form agreements project their voices. This year, Lindemann, as well on the direction of the play with the as juniors Sam Vinitsky and Elana students. “Both the students and I throw Vlodaver are taking on the unique opportunity to direct plays during out ideas and apply them. But for the most part, they have taken control,” the Winter One Acts. Lindemann will direct “The Hatzenbeller said. Senior Alec LamDeath of the Old bert appreciates the Man” a 25-minute benefits of having play surrounding a '()$!<!/15"friends critique his dead man and how work. he comes back to life =(=#1">(%#0!!(>'!(?",( “Personally I like when his family says /*)63 having constructive goodbye. =(=#$)>(@)'A(BC( criticism, and the Juniors Vinitsky )'2(BD(),(EFGH(/+A(( student directors give and Vlodaver will di<4'2)6(@)'A(BI(),(JFGH( /+A you more direct adrect the plays “John vice on your acting,” Turner Davis,” a short =(=#$0$>(?42-,$0-4+ Lambert said. about a homeless boy =(?&6!'(5#>!KD( While Hatzenin the 1930s, and “A 3,42!',3()'2(3!'-$03L( beller believes stuYoung Lady of PropKE()24*,3 dent directing reerty,” a play about an lieves some of her abandoned girl, reresponsibilities, it spectively. For Lindenmann, she believes gives the actors more freedom. “It’s definitely more stressful for this opportunity gives her a chance the directors,” Hatzenbeller said. to gain valuable theater skills. “Student directing helps me un- “They need to find a fine balance, derstand what directors do, and how but this lets them flourish theatrito create dynamics and symbolisms cally.” After this weekend, the “Josh in writing a play,” Lindemann said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted Turner Davis” show will be performed as part of a competition Jan. to do.” While individual students have 27 with 12 other schools throughdirected One Acts in the past, this is out the metro area. Though Park has not placed well the first year where multiple students in competitions in recent years, Linhave been given the position. Jodi Hatzenbeller, the director of demann hopes this year they will be the Winter One Acts, said she felt successful. “I think student directors really her students were talented enough to take on a greater role in the direction give us an edge in the competition,” Lindenmann said. of the play.

he high school is looking to revamp its programs due to funds from the Investing in Innovation (i3) grant. Nine staff members are heading research of important school topics including majority, non-traditional and independent populations, college and career readiness, community partnerships, scheduling, socioemotional support and technology.! Research will pinpoint school strengths *+,-.!<!*)/& D! =#1">!N$40( and weaknesses. 6!)0L(KI(+-**-$'( Some students have -G(.0)', discussed ideas in class while the Jan. 13 town D! E$"!F)B&8B$7>! ?(3401!6(&-**( hall meeting provided :!()1)-*):*!($'( an outlet for commu3*/3"#$$*3A$0.( nity members. i3 coor4',-*(@)'A(JH( 5$0()'6(-'/4,A( dinator Justin Barbeau said this is crucial. D! %&)"15">( "$$02-'),$0( “One of our @43,-'(M)0:!)4( strengths is research5$0(+$0!( ers are in direct con-'5$0+),-$'A tact with the demographic they are researching, which isn’t usually the case,” he said. Teacher and research group leader Kate Bispala aims to utilize a variety of resources. “We want to look at programs from across the country, and from Canada and Europe to see all of our options,” she said. Tentatively the research phase will end in early February. There will be a follow-up town hall meeting in mid-March for input on the eight design plans, which will then be merged into one.

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ue to budgetary constraints, freshmen students are required to have a study hall in their schedule either first or second semester. Principal Rob Metz said if freshmen are taking two full-year electives then they can continue the courses both semesters. The policy is in effect this school year. Freshman Josh Scal said he understands the reasoning behind the decision. “If you have to cut spending then having study halls is not a bad way to do it, it allows students to be productive with their time. If I had to take a study hall I would not be hugely disappointed,” Scal said. Students in other grades will have limited abilities to change classes. Metz said teacher preference and working around sports were leading reasons students requested changes, but theses changes can no longer be made. “My hope is that students will understand the reason we can’t make changes,” Metz said. “Right now classes are set, and if we start making individual changes they will become unbalanced.” Metz is also looking into creating a fourth lunch period due to a lack of seating in the lunchroom that could go into effect for second semester.


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he dates for former junior Michael Swanson’s court trials have been set in both Kossuth and Humboldt counties. Swanson will be tried for first degree murder and robbery in Humboldt County Feb. 16 for the murder of Shelia Myers and will be tried in Kossuth County March 1 for the murder of Vicky Bowman-Hall of Algona. In an arraignment filed Dec. 20 in Kossuth County and Dec. 28 in Humboldt County Swanson pled not guilty. He is currently being held in Kossuth County jail on $1 million bail.

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istory day participants continuing to regionals March 24 include the following from AP European history; For live performance: sophomores Shelbi Hayenga and Michaela Shapiro, freshman Dana Councilman and sophomore Richard Shmikler. For individual exhibit: freshman Janet Holmes and sophomores Caroline Ahlgrim and Amelia Shankwitz. For group exhibit: sophomores Allisa Newman and Sarah Webb, Jonathan Diffley and Taylor Miles, and Kathyrn Ostrom, Emma Walker and Sophie Olson. For individual documentary: sophomores Dylan Scott, Thaine Heller, and Augusta Weide. For group documentary: sophomores Kayla Goldfarb and Danielle Appleman, William Morrow and Sarah Silbert, and Hannah Hein and Gillian McCuistion. For individual website: sophomore Joseph Thelen and senior Soufiane Laouad. From group website: sophomores Hannah Broderson and Hayley Sperling, Zack Gilbert-Burke and Oren Shapiro, and Adam Griff and Logan Cormier. From U.S. History; for Individual exhibit: juniors Emily Goldstein, Dahlia Stone and Heidi Burgeson. For group exhibit: sophomores Alex Bowback and Hemraj Nimnauth, Rebecca Lian and Alecia Nori, Jacquelynn Arndt and Mariah Munkelwitz. For website: junior Marie Cato, sophomores John Delke and Joey Shaw, Zoltan Perkins, Jaylin Ashley and Ahmed Ismail. For paper: sophomore Brianna Knight-Fischer.

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ew social studies teacher Sarah Lindenberg and English teacher Kristina Erickson are the new advisers for Student Council, replacing Christine Morales after she left her teaching position. Lindenberg and Erickson began before winter break and plan on advising for the remainder of the year. "The student leadership this year is really solid so I want to be there to support them and give them the opportunity to continue to develop,” Lindenberg said. “I would like to get a vast amount of the student population involved in school activities as well."

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arking passes for third quarter will be sold in the student office for $45 beginning Jan. 24.

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hand,” Griffin said. “Most of my teachers say I just can’t have it on my head.” This is the chronic problem the administration faces with enforcing any policy: consistency. Both math teacher Jamie Schnack and PolRobbie Seltzer-Schultz | features editor lock emphasize the need for consistent enforceccording to new school policies, technol- ment among staff members and Schnack alogy has a place in the hallways, as long as ready notes improvements. “I know there’s not 100 percent consisit’s not in students’ hands during class. Assistant principal Clarence Pollock said tency among the staff, but it’s getting better,” grade level coordinator’s tracking of tardy stu- Schnack said. The problem with “chrondents with iPads has proven ic offenders” extends from the effective at getting more stuhallways into the classroom dents to class, though he outO/$7&'9::9#&76"& as well and Schnack said he lines room for improvement. $)@?:"&(/:"$=&%7N$&+$& still faces some continual re“We still need to work on $)@?:"&+$&76+7= sistance to the new policies groups of students not gethalfway into the school year. ting to class on time – the Clarence Pollock | assistant “There are some students chronic offenders who take principal that flat out refuse to give up their time and don’t have a their cell phone,” he said. “I legitimate reason,” he said. don’t know if the administraThe increased hallway monitoring accompanies new policies imple- tion can do anything beyond what they’re domented at the beginning of the school year for ing.” Although the student office does not keep confiscating hats and phones. As of September, if students comply with a track of phone and hat confiscations, many stuteacher they will get their hat or phone back dents have noticed an increase administration at the end of the day. If they resist, a parent enforcement. “Last year the weren’t as hard on enforcing or guardian may pick up the item in the office the hat policy,” Griffin said. after two days. As expected, students aren’t generally happy Sophomore De’Shawn Griffin said he was unconvinced of the effectiveness of the new hat with the increased confiscations but Pollock repolicy when his hat was confiscated in the hall- mains clear on how the can avoid discipline. “Just follow the simple rules. It’s as simple way. “That’s not fair because I had it in my as that,” Pollock said.

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s the train reroute plan goes forward, recent findings increase the probability of diverting the trains from the high school. Safety in the Park, a St. Louis Park-based neighborhood organization, hired engineering consultants who found the controversial Kenilworth Corridor reroute plan near Lake Calhoun to be a reasonable solution. A previous study on the Kenilworth plan, which contained false information as verified by commissioner Gail Dorfman, has been corrected and sent to City Council. Safety in the Park also estimates the reroute on the MN&S tracks, which currently run near the high school, will cost an approximate $100 million. Jami LaPray, co-chair of Safety in the

“The county should be able Park, opposes the to implement trains by the MN&S track plan and 56"!&+&7(+)!&<9"$& school because in harsh ecofinds the study pro+(9/!*&+&;/(D"-&)7& nomic times, anything we can gressive. $9/!*$&:)I"&!+):$&9!&+& do to help is crucial,” Graf “Finding this in;6+:I&89+(*L&+&:9/*-& said. formation brings (the ?)"(;)!<&$9/!*= Despite disputed effects county) a step closer to Jami LaPray | Safety in the Park on the high school, junior making the (reroute) Co-Chair Meghan Klatt thinks student decision,” LaPray said. input should be considered. “It helps us realize “I wish the county would have more how expensive it is, and that it’s time to reconsideration about student ideas,” Klatt evaluate.” Safety issues include traffic congestion said. “They need to stop now and hear our on Dakota Avenue, a blind intersection for voices.” Students can participate in the discussion the locomotive engineer at Library Lane, a curve in the tracks and an incline near the by attending City Council meetings or emailhigh school, which increases the likelihood ing Safety in the Park for more information. The county hopes to have the rudimenof derailment or accidents. Students disagree on the degree to which tary reroute plans completed by May. A City Council study session will be at the MN&S route will affect the high school. Freshman Jason Graf acknowledges the 6:30 p.m. Jan. 19 in City Hall to continue discussion on new findings. importance the routes’ economic benefits.


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hile large fitness centers may provide the maximum equipment in the maximum space, some students prefer a space to workout with friends. The Park Weight Room, located in the B1 hall-

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way, provides an inexpensive and accessible alternative for athletes and other students. Though it does not have the full facilities of a health club, the weight room serves as a place for students to train together. “Weight training is much more affordable than other health clubs, and I get to be with people I know while working out,” junior Ben Taylor said. Coach Jessica Gust, who runs the program after school, believes it’s the most easily available option for students looking for a place to workout. “I think $150 for a whole year of training is a

much better deal,” Gust said. “You could pay that much for a month at a health club.” Gust said the weight room averages about 30 students a week, but the number increases during the summer months and between sport seasons. Senior Derrick Keller agrees the weight room is a great deal for students hoping to improve their fitness quickly because of the personal training they receive “You work harder in the weight room because Gust is pushing you ahead with your planned pro- +,'-').)G-3"*' gram,” he said. I$:-)$F

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he Sabes JCC offers a community-based option for teens looking for a larger exercise facility. “I like the Sabes JCC because it has a nice community, and its not too big,” sophomore Bessie Bulman said. “I’ve been going there since I was really young so I know a lot of people who go there.” The center also offers a “Whole Health” plan, which allows recently unemployed members and their teens to use the facilities after making a small donation.

A Fitness provides a less expensive alter native for students looking for a large scale exercise facility. At $9.95 a week, LA Fitness has similar offers to other clubs, with free fitness evaluations for new members. Senior Jessica Bigrindavyi said she finds LA Fitness’s lower pricing more attractive than committing to a flat-rate membership at another club. “I go to LA Fitness because it’s close to my house, and it’s a little cheaper than Lifetime Fitness,” Bigrindavyi said.

long with offering the most equipment and the largest facilities, Lifetime Fitness’s “Teen-Flex Plan” allows students to pay $10 per month during the school year to gain access to the club only during major school breaks. For the same membership rate students can continue to use the club during the summer months. “I like Lifetime Fitness because it is huge and they have racquetball courts,” sophomore Henry Klaverkamp said.

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’m not a holiday person. I would even call myself a bit of a Grinch. I hate holiday music radio stations and despise seeing Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving. Though I didn’t walk around humming “Jingle Bells,” I found the holidays more bearable this year because I had someone with whom to spend family gatherings, my 31-year-old cousin, Paul. Paul was diagnosed with Down Syndrome shortly after he was born. He is “lower functioning” on the Down’s spectrum and has very limited communication and motor skills, but finds some ways to communicate through murmurs and other noises. I’ve become closer to Paul over the last year because he stays with my family one night $%&'()#'%*&-& a week and one ./$+01 weekend a month to give his par2& &3%4%5/.& ents a break from 6%"+$+#785& the 24-7 care they *%5"0$/+9:$.9& otherwise pro0:*/8#:/80& vide him. 0:%&;%"* Paul is the 2& <:$9&=$55& best companion. 6">%&0:%& He calls me down +%?0&:/5$@";& to dinner yell9%"9/+&6/*%& %+A/;"B5%& ing “Selsee,” his best pronuncia2& C%"D:&/80&0/& tion of my name. 0:/9%&=:/& 6";&7%%5& And when I stub @$9D/++%D0%@ my toe for what seems like the fifth time that day, I can’t help but laugh as he howls next to me. Now when I walk into my aunt’s house for the holidays, I hear “Selsee” and get excited for the day of craziness. If we need a break from an awkward or tense moment, Paul and I start drawing or playing games together. Though it’s too late to make the recent holidays more enjoyable, making an effort to foster relationships through the year may make the next holiday season better. Get to know people other than the cousin who is closest to your age or your “cool aunt.” That way, at the next family gathering you will have someone with whom to survive the day. Even if you’re close with most of your relatives, the new year is a great time to start getting to know people outside of those you see on a regular basis. In school, make an effort to connect with some of the students who are often disconnected from the rest of the student body. When the special education students deliver materials to your class, say “hi” and thank them. If you’re in a language class, greet them in that language. They may not be able to verbally respond, but I’m sure they appreciate it. And teachers, don’t feel obligated to rush to grab the materials before the students come in. Allow them to enter your classroom and interact with your students. Creating these new relationships has benefits for all of us. It may even turn a self-professed Grinch into a jolly holiday enthusiast.

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G:;&@$@&;/8&@%D$@%&0/&A/$+&@%B"0%1 Honestly, I have no idea. I was 11 and in sixth grade when I joined the team. My sister was one of the captains and she thought I would be good at it, so I debated at a tournament and loved it. H/=&68D:&/7&"&0$6%&D/66$06%+0&$9&@%B"0%1 It varies from person to person, but for me personally, it’s actually a really big commitment. I’m constantly traveling across the country for tournaments, mostly in the Midwest, so weekends are pretty busy. Also, I do a lot of research and topic preparation during the week, so it adds on to the daily workload. G:"0&$9&0:%&@%B"0%&0%"6&5$>%1 It’s actually weird for me since the team has changed so much since I started debating when I was so young. A lot of my friends good friends have graduated. The team this year isn’t that big, probably nine kids. Our team and Hopkins are a combined team, so it’s much bigger when we’re all together. The team itself has a great bond, we travel so much together that we get to know each other really well. 3/&;/8&I&+@&;/8*9%57&89$+#&@%B"0%&0"D0$D9&/809$@%&/7&@%B"0%1 I argue with my dad a lot using my “debate voice.” I’m probably a lot better at arguing because of debate, since debate is pretty helpful in making other people sound dumb and poking holes in whatever they might say. My family probably gets annoyed with me for that. 6%,',#/&EB*"*&L"5"@

3/& ;/8& %4%*& #%0& +%*4/89& B%7/*%& @%B"0$+#1& ,7& 9/J& :/=& @/& ;/8& @%"5&=$0:&$01 I get nervous a lot actually. I just listen to music or distract myself with something. Generally, my friends are there and they are a great distraction. Sometimes, I take a little walk to calm down. G:"0&7"6/89&.%*9/+&=/85@&;/8&6/90&="+0&0/&@%B"0%1 I think debating Sarah Palin would be pretty fun. She makes herself sound hilarious without intending to and her TV show is funny, in a weird sort of way.

!"#"$%&'"() !"*+#"$,) !"#$%&'() *#'%) +%',-".) "/($) 0%"./1%)%#")'"1/&#(0)'0),"'20-2#)3'(4)554 G:"0&:"9&B%%+&;/8*&7"4/*$0%&0/.$D&0/&@%B"0%1 This year my favorite topic is actually the one we are doing right now. The topic is if juveniles charged with violent felonies should be tried as adults in federal courts. Overall, my favorite topic was whether or not felons should be allowed to vote. I like topics where there are good arguments on both sides because that makes you care about it.

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hile some people think students only volunteer through National Honors Society and community service classes, two students have started their own club to help students seek volunteer opportunities. The new volunteer group “helping everybody reach out” (h.e.r.o.) is assisting students find volunteer jobs in the community. Junior Jessica Beugen, one of the founders of the group, said the opportunity to volunteer will appeal to a lot of students. Junior Emily Goldstein is the other founder. “We have only just started but I really think this is something that kids will be interested in being involved with,” Beugen said. “Right now we are trying to plan a visit to STEP to assist in the local effort.” H.e.r.o. meets once a month with staff adviser David Becker.

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he student business marketing club DECA is preparing for its regional competition, in which the group has done well in the past. Last year DECA sent several competitors to the state level competition. DECA president senior Lizzy Westgard said she believes this year’s group of students have the potential to advance further in competition. “We have sent a couple to state every year, but I think this year we could have a couple reach nationals,” Westgard said. The competition will take place Jan. 30 and Jan. 31.

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ollowing the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last April people throughout the nation donated time and resources to clean up the worst oil spill in American history. Penny Wars, a student organized fundraiser, is continuing the effort to restore the gulf through competitive fundraising. The unconventional approach to fundraising places students and their respective grade levels in a competition to raise the most pennies. Senior Elizabeth Kremer, who is among the students who have organized the fundraiser, said the unique style of the fundraiser will contribute to its success. “It is something new that we thought everybody would really get involved in,” Kremer said. The winning grade will be announced next week.


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espite what many would like to believe, discrimination is still a prominent issue in American society. According to new student group The Inside Look, discrimination based on race, ethnicity and sexual orientation continues to be a problem in the classroom. The Inside Look aims to address and stop discrimination in schools by discussing and brainstorming on the issues and solutions involving social abuse. Other outside groups such as Project Footsteps, formerly Project Legos, an organization focused on empowering students with the means and direction to be leaders and create a better learning environment, have supported The Inside Look and assisted in its activities. Chief Executive Officer of Project Footsteps Kyle Rucker said he has been very impressed with the work accomplished by The Inside Look and feels they have made a lot of progress this year. “The kids have really taken ownership of the process,” Rucker said. “They have really taken the reigns on the project and it has #$%&(<( been awesome to see the work being =&1-% done.” ),0$:! Junior Jada Wisdorf has been a L#*.#(*$+( member of The Inside Look since ),0*0:!MNO2 the beginning of this school year and ;56"%#*:(P+5#! said she finds the variety of topics adG&B6#' dressed to be crucial to the advancement of equality in schools. ),&-:( I%&*#.%!5#*! “We started out with talking *)(B&(()8.(! about racism, and it was really in8.!(8B)$5! teresting to see the different views on *)(B')F).$%)8. it,” Wisdorf said.

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!"#$%& "'()*+& $*',*#%%-& !"#$%&'( )##'*'%+*( ,-.( /01%( 23&4%"( %5+1678*( '#( 9%9:%"*( ';%( 79+#"'68&%( #<( &##+%"6'7#8(68=(+6'7%8&%(>;%8(6=="%**78?(*'3=%8'*(6:#3'(+"#:1%9*(>7';(=7@%"*7'0(78(';%(*&;##1(A68B(CB Beyond talking about discrimination issues, The Inside Look members have taken a new approach to informing the student body. As part of the group’s events, they have held several talk show style meetings in which they bring guests on to establish their viewpoints on particular topics. The group hopes the activity will establish their viewpoints and efforts against social abuse in a student friendly media format. Additionally, students who are not a part of The Inside Look are encouraged to attend the talk shows and ask questions and state their own opinions. Senior and The Inside Look member Nha Nguyen found the approach to be intriguing.

“It creates a fun and more hands-on form of discussion,” Nguyen said. “It is nice not to just have the same thing every meeting.” Although group members like junior Kandis Caston are encouraged by the efforts of upperclassmen, she said the group needs more participation from younger students in order to continue to grow and bring in more of the school community. “We are really hoping to see some of the freshmen to start coming to meetings,” Caston said. “Because most of our members are juniors and seniors we need younger kids to step up.”

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he environment sent out an SOS, and Roots & Shoots responded. The new student-run environmental group has taken up the mantle of improving St. Louis Park’s surroundings and spreading awareness, replacing the longtime club Save Our Sur@0%%0(;402%#$(<(-&.)8' roundings (SOS). “Our main goal in Roots & Shoots is to make our community a better place, and in doing so hopefully >,&$0()0%-(<(-&.)8' making the world better,” junior and club co-founder Shane West said. Roots & Shoots was originally founded in 1991 by environmentalist and humanitarian Dr. Jane Goodall. It’s now a global program, with tens of thousands of young people in more than 100 countries participating. West and junior Jesse Abelson run Park’s program with staff adviser Jeremy Riehle. Roots & Shoots replaced SOS because of a lack of membership, and encourages participants to affect their communities in a positive way through environmental advocacy. “(Roots & Shoots) is about doing things that are environmentally sound and helpful, that will increase environmental activism and awareness,” Riehle said. This summer, Roots & Shoots cleaned

up 50 pounds of trash at #$%&(<(=&1-% pond near ),0$:!;7&'(*$+(! A b e l s o n ’s Q#"8'#!(B7885 house as their ),0*0:!<R!/S1 first official group project. ;56"%0*:!T#'#F+! “We poG)#75# tentially ),&-:!I%&*#.%! saved [waste] *)(B&((!9$+(! from getting %8!7#5A!%7#! in the Missis#.?)'8.F#.%!$.*! sippi River, (B7#*&5#!A'8-#B%( and it made the lake better for the animals,” Abelson said. Another project involved collecting food in Abelson’s neighborhood Nov. 27 to donate to STEP. The club raised more than 530 pounds of food and an additional 50 pounds of clothing. “We were really successful, and this will really help people in need,” Abelson said. “We’re just lucky people contributed so much.” Roots & Shoots also hopes to start movie nights during the weekdays at the high school, where students can pay $12 to watch a movie concerning the environment. The group meets every Thursday morning before school in Room L8 1/2 in the basement. Abelson and West encourage all students to join and help the environment. Interested students can attend one of the meetings before school or talk to one of the members for information. “We could use more vibrant and active environmental clubs,” Riehle said. “I would really like to see more people interested in environmental concerns.”


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ake, ice cream, Mom’s homemade macaroni and cheese, chicken noodle soup are all foods that make many people happier when eaten, but how these foods increase a person’s mood is not always clear. “Many people associate certain foods with happy times, like the holidays, and so when they eat those foods they are reminded of the good times and are happier,” nutritionist Karen Marschel said. “This is the same for ‘comfort foods,’ usually carbohydrate-loaded foods that make people happy because they give them comfort.” Marschel said this kind of emotional eating is a reason why foods make people happy. According to Associate Professor of Psychology at St. Olaf University Deborah Anderson, foods rich in omega-3 and other fatty acids such as most fish have antidepressant qualities.

Foods with folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, such as leafy green vegetables and berries also regulate the mood and can impact happiness. “Overall, eating a healthy diet affects our mood and risk of depression,” Marschel said. “Eating more of a balanced, minimally processed type of diet can help us fight many health problems, depression included.” Scientifically, the nutrients in food can change the chemical composition of the brain and influence a person’s mood. “Eating pretzels always makes me really happy,” junior Ryan Nichols said. “It’s kind of impulse eating, whenever I see them I just eat them and it puts me in a better mood.” Whether eating mashed potatoes for the comfort or salmon for the nutrients, food is an important factor in our mood.

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armen Avendaño, mental health professional at Life Balance Therapy in Wayzata, said open communication at home is the key to strong relationships with family members. “You have to be assertive of the things that you want, as well as being a good listener and in tune of what your family needs from you,” Avendaño said. “The more positive your relationship with your family is, the happier you are because you see the world with more optimism.” Junior Tyrika Douglas said she enjoys maintaining supportive and positive relationships with her siblings. “My brothers make me happiest in life. They understand me more than most people do,” Douglas said. “We’re all kind of the same and they make me laugh.” While siblings bring happiness to some, healthy relationships with parents can as well.

Freshman Quynh-vy Do said she values her mother as an important part of her life. “I admire my mom the most. She’s always there and she takes care of me,” Do said. “I can go to her for a lot of things I can’t go to my friends for.” Junior Lydia Schaub, a foreign exchange student from Germany, said she enjoys time spent with her exchange family in the United States. “I have a good relationship with my exchange family. We get along pretty well,” she said. “It doesn’t really feel like an unknown family.” Schaub said her relationship with he family at home, however, brings her the most comfort. “You don’t need to act like someone you aren’t around your family. When I am around my family, they always make me feel very happy and comfortable,” Schaub said.

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ome people like pop music, others like heavy metal, but whether it is upbeat or calming, music can often bring people joy. Music has been shown to affect the levels of various hormones in the body including cortisol, testosterone and oxytocin in addition to activating the release of endorphins. According to a 2009 research project led by Dr. Joydeep Bhattacharya at Goldsmiths, University of London, listening to music can cause changes in brain activation patterns not normally under conscious control, potentially resulting in a mood change. When people listen to music or play an instrument, it can have an effect on their happiness.

“When I listen to rap music it puts me in a good mood,” freshman Daren Martin said. “I like the lyrics and beat of the songs and I sometimes listen to it after I’ve had a bad day,” he said. The arts in general can be an important factor in happiness, according to a study by National Geographic writer Dan Buettner. In another study, associate professor of psychology at St. Olaf Deborah Anderson said the study found people in places where the arts are very strong and where people were involved in the arts were generally happier.

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t’s not just spirituality that makes people happier. A study published in the December issue of the American Sociological Review, conducted by Harvard University professor Robert D. Putnam, and Chaeyoon Lim, assistant sociology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, suggested congregants’ satisfaction with their lives can be attributed to their relationships with other people and a sense of community. Putnam and Lim interviewed more than 3,100 Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and other non-Christian congregants. Lim said being part of a religious community brings people happiness. “Church friends may be special because you meet a group of close friends who share your faith regularly and participate in activities that are deeply meaningful to themselves. Friendship in church gives you a strong sense of belonging to community,” Lim said.

Religious communities often act as support networks for students. Senior Molly Anderson, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said she values the relationships she has established at church. “It’s like family there. It’s uplifting to know that my church community supports me on a daily basis,” Anderson said. While some students find life satisfaction in religious communities outside of school, others find happiness in sharing other spiritual beliefs with peers. Sophomore Zack Gilbert-Burke said he has experienced this sense of community within his Jewish community with the recent death of an uncle. “The entire community supported our family. At his funeral, the chapel was overflowing and for Shiva, a Jewish tradition, for a week straight people came to our house to support us,” GilbertBurke said.

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hough running on a treadmill is not always a person’s first choice activity to boost his or her mood, exercising can be a happiness enhancer. Exercise both improves mood as well as reduces stress, which can yield positive long-term benefits and lead to happiness. Exercise releases endorphins, allowing physically active people to feel happier and less anxious. Deborah Anderson, an associate professor of psychology at St. Olaf University, said endorphins are natural substances produced in the body that can decrease pain and raise happiness.

“Exercise is a way to produce more endorphins and thus increase feelings of happiness and pleasure. Running especially precipitates the release of endorphins, producing a ‘runner’s high’ that you often hear about,” she said. In addition to mimicking the effects of antidepressants on the brain, exercising can result in a feeling of accomplishment and pride for reaching fitness goals or improving physical appearance. “When you exercise, you know you’re helping your body and contributing to your health,” sophomore Caroline Ahlgrim said. “Plus, you’re giving your mind a break and spurring a pause in hectic or stressful day.”

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n the final week of rehearsals for the Winter One Acts, sophomore Abby Jacobson sits outside the auditorium surrounded by a group of theater friends, planning where to get food for dinner. “The energy of my friends makes me feel supported on a daily basis. They each make up pieces of who I am, and it’s nice to feel their comfort,” Jacobson said. “I know if I’m having a bad day, I can meet with them and their presence instantly grounds me.” Carmen Avendaño, a mental health professional at Life Balance Therapy in Wayzata, said student desire for happiness through friendship. “One of the key components of happiness is positive relationships with others, especially significant others,” Avendaño said. “Positive thoughts will come out of positive relationships and this will help you feel safe, loved and happier,” she said.

In addition to friendships at school, relationships with teachers can also make school more enjoyable. Sophomore Tenzin Kunsang said he finds it satisfying to maintain open communication with adults at school. “I like sharing personal things with teachers I can trust,” Kunsang said. “I find help about what not to do, what to do and how to take care of myself whenever I need it.” When students feel connected to the people in their classrooms, they seem to appreciate school more. Sophomore Tina Johnson, who started at Park this year, said she found happiness in the friendliness of the high school community. “Making new friends at Park has made me the happiest I’ve been in a long time. People here are so accepting and not fake. You can be yourself and people won’t hate you for it,” Johnson said.

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sources | Framingham Heart Study 1971-2003, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2006, Emmons & McCullough study 2003, Harris Poll 2010. Information compiled by Abi Tupa.


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he ultimate dividing line for coaches is drawn between fear and love – those set on making every practice enjoyable versus those who sacrifice a degree of fun to achieve success. My basketball coach is an example of one who uses a sense of terror to motivate the team. His favorite phrase is “Get on the line,” instructing us to prepare to run sprints. If we forget to put on our practice jersey – get on the line. If we have too many girls on the court for a drill – get on the line. If we show any sign of happiness, whether it be a smirk or a chuckle – “You know what? Just get on the line.” He does allow a certain degree of joy. But because the threat of suicides (aka ladders, killers, line drills) always lingers, the girls’ basketball team works harder, smarter and keeps its focus better than any other team I have been a part of. Fear can be motivating and beneficial to a ,)-&./#&)*'4' team, even if you .#/516 die a little inside when you hear 7' !"*'$#&1' the condemning &-88*&&,-9' 1*%$&'"%:*' phrase. %'0*;+**'#,' But in order ,*%+'/5:#9:*0 for terror to be ef7' <*%+' fective, it needs to /$.+#:*&' permeate all as=#+3' pects of the sport, *1"/8'%50' even beyond prac.*+,#+$%58* tice. 7' !*++#+'/&' Each game %'-5/,>/5;' the varsity squad ,#+8*',#+' shoots baskets 1*%$& during halftime of the JV game. Our second game of the season, because we were focusing on team bonding in the locker room rather than preparing (something for which we for sure would have to “get on the line” for had our coach seen), we missed halftime. None of us knew where the time went, but when we peered into the gym the JV game had resumed. And we freaked out. Too afraid to enter the gym for fear of our coach, we huddled in the hallway for 10 minutes attempting to piece together a reasonable excuse so we could avoid his anticipated wrath. We all stared wide-eyed and terrified at him as he came into the hallway and asked, “You all ready for our pre-game chat?” There was no reprimand or punishment, but the fear shut us up, got us focused, made us play harder than usual and brought us closer together. Often, the fear instilled by a coach is a major source of team camaraderie. Possessing a common enemy is one of the most unifying factors among a group of people. And in the end, the unity of a team is more important that a doting relationship with a coach. So even though your stomach drops when you forget your practice jersey, or you’re too afraid to show your coach your teeth in case he asks you “Why are you smiling? You think football is fun?” realize that fear is not always bad. As long as you don’t dwell in the terror, it can be motivating and unifying. Success is something to celebrate, but hey, you might have to sacrifice something on the way.

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J#-5;'1%9*51'0+/:*&';/+9&K'H%&3*1H%99 is a key part of basketball,” Abdel-Kaleeq said. 8,/0#6,*/0D1#/C$,6#2-11#-C#1,'&-6# “You“Conditioning can’t play the game if you can’t run up and down the court. Beyond that, it’s really learning how to play together as a team. D6-+?<$&-'#C6-0#2/1$#1,/1-' We lost 75 percent of our scoring from last season so other people Ben Kahn | copy editor

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t seems like the young are growing up fast. With only two seniors on the team, the girls’ basketball team has had to make adjustments. With a record of 4-7, coach HaKeem Abdel-Kaleeq said he remains optimistic and claims the entire team has embraced the opportunity and youth. “The great thing about (our team) is the entire team’s maturity level,” he said. “You’re not saying, ‘Oh we only have two seniors.’ The entire team is very mature. We’re very focused. It’s not like we’re pushing juniors or pushing sophomores; it’s pushing all of our players to step up and improve individually and as a team.” With fewer upperclassmen and fewer players in general, the team has had to adjust, pulling up underclassmen to play on the junior varsity team. The varsity and junior varsity team also practice together now. With fewer experienced players, Abdel-Kaleeq emphasizes conditioning as a key focus for the team this year in order to improve players’ stamina on the court.

need to learn to step up and play.” Junior Megan Sawatzky said she has also noticed the increased emphasis in conditioning but said the team works on certain skills. “We’ve been working on conditioning a lot, because with so few players we have to be able to run a lot,” Sawatzky said. “Since we’re a shorter team we’re also working on post play skills and getting good position down low.” Despite the team’s sub-.500 record to start the season, AbdelKaleeq expects the team members to continue to make progress with their hard work, as their current total of four wins is only two fewer than their total of six from last season. “I expect our team to compete and work hard every single game. And to get better,” he said. The team’s next game is tonight at home against conference foe Robbinsdale Cooper. “We’ve been on a little bit of a losing streak,” Sawatzky said. “We’ve lost some conference games we should have won. They’ve improved a lot so we’ve got to play our game.”

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a step in the right direction for students tied to video games. “These games just give them another avenue to get up and get some exercise,” Berchem said. Freshman Moriah Ziman said she feels virtual Sam Vinitsky | staff writer sports are a fun way to get exercise. “You don’t sit on the couch and play, you ideo games are getting more than teens’ have to get up and get engaged in playing,” Zithumbs moving. From the new Xbox Kinect to the Wii, teens man said. “But you don’t have to move your whole are playing more movement-based video games. These games provide health benefits, according body,” she said. Although these video games provide some of to a 2009 Mayo Clinic study. However, not all the physical benefits of sports, they lack some elemovement-based games are sports games. ments of real team sports. They can include many Berchem said loyalty, fighting, shooting, action and #8%,1,#./0,1#.&*,# sportsmanship and time dancing games that incorporate )1$?+,'$15#/'-$%,6# management are social movement as well. /*,'?,#$-#.,$#?D#/'+# skills virtual sports video Amy Berchem, health and .,$#1-0,#,;,6<&1, games don’t teach that real physical education teacher, said sports can. movement-based games are a Amy Berchem | health and physical Ziman said she also bestep in the right direction. education teacher lieves virtual sports lack “These games are getting kids, adults and the elderly off the couch,” some aspects of real sports. “Even though you’re getting exercise, you’re Berchem said. “They’re getting up, they’re moving, they’re getting their heart rate up, and they’re still being stimulated by a screen,” Ziman said. “When you play real sports, you can interact getting exercise.” Microsoft came out with the Kinect motion with others.” However, Berchem said she sees students sensor for the Xbox 360 Nov. 4, a webcam that allows players’ to become part of the game. The learning rules of some sports faster because of Nintendo Wii, released four years ago, was the these games. “Before Wii came out, kids didn’t know how first system to allow players to interact with to score tennis. Now it’s easy for them because of games through motion. According to Berchem, advances in video Wii,” Berchem said. “They’re learning other skills and ideas and games like these allow students who don’t get exercise regularly to work out with the help of concepts from those games,” she said. Berchem said she thinks video games are movvideo games. Berchem said she believes virtual sports are ing in the right direction.

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he year has been a balancing act for the girls’ gymnastics team members as they welcome a new coach. With the addition of Josiah Cree as the team’s spotter, the gymnasts have been able to expand their skills and started the season 3-1. Cree joined the team in order to help the gymnasts stay safe while attempting to advance their skills. Sophomore Sarah Silbert said s-he was much more comfortable while practicing her routines with Cree. “It has been really nice having a spotter on the team,” Silbert said. “I do not feel D%4.+5,E,IJ quite as nervous when I am trying someK% -"J9'%L"B'% thing for the first time.” M3?+8'%NN)OP% Cree said he also has enjoyed working "Q6Q%R"3Q% with the team, finding the girls to be some NS%"8%-"J9'% of the hardest workers he has coached. L"B'%T+/$% “I have been a spotter for six years and !,$449 these girls have been one of my favorite K% U)OP%JQ6Q% groups I have worked with,” Cree said. R"3Q%VP%"8% While Cree’s addition has helped, the !8Q%D38$43<% team has also had to utilize many younger athletes as three of the five varsity spots graduated last year. Head coach Gretchen Vandeputte believes the team has potential to continue their goal from last season. “Right now rebuilding is key,” Vandeputte said. “We have a lot of promising girls, on both varsity and junior varsity. We can score above 120 in a meet, but we need all the girls to give 100 percent.” Senior captain Rachel Waldorf said she feels with the proper amount of motivation the team will continue its success. “Since we are a very close group, I feel like we will push each other to do our best,” Waldorf said. “Right now we are just trying to get everyone to have the same positive work ethic.” Along with the other coaches, Vandeputte noticed the team’s knowledge of gymnastics is now more diverse.

#$%)%*#+,%-,."/0'1%203+4# &'%())%!5+66+3/ #$*+,-.-,/%0,1)2(),13.44.+56 I started when I was four years old. I went to Foss swim school and then I went to Mach 3 fliers swim club. I started swimming seriously around 11 or 12 because that’s when I hit the stage where I was one of the better swimmers in state. That’s also when I was starting to dream of the Olympics.

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A*24,=*2'B,!"#$%&'($&$')*+,-.$/0'1"&2%&,/'*'3.,1'$#'4"&'5"*,' &%.0$#"'$#'04"',""0'*6*$#/0'74$/*6%'8*9"/':*#;'<; “Having the most coaches we have ever had is great, and it has allowed the girls to get a better understanding on what they need to work on,” Vandeputte said. The varsity team is off to a strong start. Much of this early success can be attributed to the lack of injuries when compared to past seasons.

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#$2),.1,/%0(,728%(.)*,)$.+5,29%0),)$*, 13.44.+5,1*21%+6 The team aspect, it’s great hanging out with all the guys and talking to them. I definitely love sprint races, that is definitely my passion, and that’s what I want to take to the Olympics. :%, /%0, $28*, 2+/, 4*+)%(1, 3$%, .4; '2<)*-,/%0(,'*(7%(42+<*6 Definitely my club coach, Tim Daly. He swam for the University of Minnesota and set the record on the freestyle time. He is pretty much like a second father to me. I have known him so long. #$2),.1,/%0(,728%(.)*,13.44.+5,4*4; %(/6 That’s a hard question. Probably when I set my very first pool record in the 100 at a home meet. The time was 49.16, and I was leading off the 4x1 relay. That was the happiest moment of my high school swimming career.

Brandon Klugman | staff writer

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lthough they compete in sub-zero temperatures, the Nordic skiers are off to a hot start this winter. After four conference meets, in which the boys’ team finished as high as third and the girls’ finished as high as second, the team members remain optimistic about the season. The girls’ team has won five conference titles in a row, and will look to add another at the conference championship meet Jan. 28 at Baker Park Reserve in Maple Plain, Minn. The outcome of this meet is the sole factor in determining the final conference standings. Senior captain Katelyn Palmatier said this will likely benefit the team because it gives less experienced skiers time to develop before competing for the title. “We aren’t as deep as we’ve been in some years so we have difficulty winning the early season meets. By skiing together we can all become faster and win the meet that counts,” she said. Coach Erik Hendrickson said he is satisfied with the format as well. “Skiing is always about doing your best on that one day. It’s the same thing as the Olympics or the World Championships,” he said. Senior captain Bridget Adelmann said she is confident in the team’s ability to perform well at the conference meet. “I think that we’re in a pretty good position to win,” she said. “We didn’t win any conference races last year until (the conference championships), and we’re already having better performances than we did last year.” For the boys’ team, Irondale is the team to beat as it has won three conference races so far. “Because Irondale seems unbeatable, our goals are reset for second place, and we’re OK with that,” junior Ben Verhasselt said. In order to prepare for the conference championship race, the team is placing an emphasis on being in top physical condition. “Right now it’s all about training for us,” Verhasselt said. “We need to make sure we’re in the best shape possible for the conference and section races.”

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#$2),.1,/%0(,5%2=,7%(,)$.1,1*21%+6 First off, I changed my technique to see if I get faster, and I hope to get that muscle memorization to improve my times. By the end of the season I hope to make it to state and place well. #$2),5%2=,-%,/%0,$28*,7%(,/%0(,13.4; 4.+5,<2(**(6 My goal is to make the Olympic team, which is all I’ve ever wanted to do. I’ve dreamed about that since I was a little kid. >%3,<2+,/%0,2<$.*8*,)$2),5%2=6 I keep up my training over the summer to train for regionals. It goes state, regionals, junior nationals, nationals then Olympic trials. I’ve gone to regionals and I’m really close to qualifying for junior nationals. #$2), .1, /%0(, '(*7*((*-, 13.44.+5, 1)(%?*6 Freestyle for sure. I would have to say I’m an all around sprinter. My off stroke is butterfly, and I hope I can make some appearances for that and break some pool records. @(*,/%0,'=2++.+5,%+,13.44.+5,.+,<%=; =*5*6 For sure. My main goal for college is to get a scholarship. It doesn’t need to be a full ride, I just want to make some money out of it. I also really want to go to a D1 swim school.

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"++,-.$/)0%1%2#0''%,32(,#'%',4562 St. Louis Park Senior High School 6425 West 33rd Street St. Louis Park, MN 55426 7*#5!)'#$'<6#7(#| Kelsey Reid A+$+B#$B'7*#5!)'| Katie Caron <!",'7*#5!)% | Scott Foltz, Ben Kahn & Charlie Shapiro *7%#B$'7*#5!)%'| Sendrea Best & Taylor Delaney "6!5!'7*#5!)% | Paris Delaney & Alex Kersten $79%'7*#5!)'| Elena Potek 67+=56'7*#5!)%'| Sonia Robiner & Emma Vitale (7+5/)7%''7*#5!)' | Robbie Seltzer-Schultz #$C*7"56'7*#5!)'| Nico Johnson %"!)5%'7*#5!) | Abby Bongaarts !"#$#!$%'7*#5!) | Josh Crandell 7$57)5+#$A7$5'7*#5!) | Mara Olson 97;'7*#5!)'| Marcus Eeman %5+(( | Spencer Butler, Michael Cork, Sam Dawson, Sofia Gonzalez, Katie Johns, Brandon Klugman, Cali Nguyen, Abrar Salad, Hannah Sieff, Michael Tuschman, Abi Tupa, Sam Vinitsky, Duha Vang, Elana Vlodaver ;/%#$7%%'A+$+B7)'| Art Elmer ")#$<#"+='| Robert Metz

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hile many fitness clubs in St. Louis Park and the surrounding area provide a way for students to take their health into their own hands, not everyone is fortunate enough to have this opportunity. The cost of membership to such clubs can be expensive. But instead of being lazy, we should actively seek out other opportunities, which could include taking advantage of existing resources at school or creating new ones. The programs available at the school are cheaper than membership at a fitness club. The strength and conditioning program costs $150. As another alternative, students can also participate in or create their own groups to stay in shape. One group recently started a running club, which is free of cost and is open to anyone during the winter. Interested students should contact senior Tali Shapiro and sophomore Maddie Peterson. Anyone can take advantage of this idea by starting athletic clubs or by simply making a habit of working out with friends. While we can take more initiative to be active outside of school without paying large fitness club or athletics fees, more options should be available during school. Mandatory physical education ends af-

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ter sophomore year and electives like team sports can tend to involve some of the “tough athletic guys.” This may intimidate others from joining. The school should offer other options for exercise during the school day for those who are less competitive but interested in these classes.

These additional classes would provide a good opportunity for students to be active during the school day, and would also be free aside from staffing costs. Whether it’s taking advantage of available options or creating new ones, finding new ways to be active should be a priority.

")#$57) | American Color +*D#%7) | Lori Keekley "/;=#<+5#!$'"!=#<#7% The Echo is the official studentproduced newspaper of St. Louis Park Senior High School. It is published triweekly for the school’s students, staff and community. The Echo has been established as an open forum for student expression. The Echo will not be reviewed by school administrators prior to distribution, and the adviser will not act as a censor. Content represents views of the student staff and not school officials. The Echo will work to avoid bias and/or favoritism. We will strive to make our coverage and content meaningful and interesting to all our readers. We will make every effort to avoid printing libel, obscenities, innuendo and material that threatens to disrupt the learning process or is an invasion of privacy. We will avoid electronic manipulation that alters the truth of a photograph. Staff editorials represent the opinion of the editorial board arrived at by discussion and will not be bylined. Bylined articles are the opinion of the individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo staff or administration as a whole. The Echo welcomes reader input. Letters to the editor and suggestions may be e-mailed to slpecho@gmail.com or submitted in room C275. Letters must be signed and should be no longer than 250 words. E-mailed letters must be verified prior to publication. We will not necessarily publish all letters received and reserve the right to edit for length and clarity. Anonymous letters wherein the Echo does not know the identity of the writer will not be printed. Advertisements will be sought from local businesses. We maintain the right to reject any ads we believe to be false, misleading, inappropriate or harmful. The Echo does not necessarily endorse the products or services offered in these advertisements. NSPA All-American and Hall of Fame member; 2010 NSPA National Pacemaker winner, 2007 Pacemaker Award Finalist; JEM All-State; CSPA Gold Medalist; 2006 Gold Crown Winner.

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bracelets, the junior high is now also officially open to the bracelets. Assistant principal Jason Boll said while he’s noticed an increase in the number of students wearing the bracelets recently, the bracelets aren’t causing a significant classroom disruption. Schools should encourage students to be chariKelsey Reid | editor in chief table. By saying they don’t think students can handle illybandz are not the only recent jewelry trend “mature” topics like breast cancer, administrations are ending valuable and educational conversations. to be challenged by school administrations. Students should be allowed to have open discusThe American Civil Liberties Union of sions about topics that concern Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit against them, whether they are brought up a Philadelphia suburb middle school 12.3%=%+$82' through bracelets, T-shirts or casual Dec. 6 on behalf of two students who conversations. were suspended and banned from Pennsylvania school administraschool functions for refusing to take off I' J)7+%5'<+$<7)'#%' tors said the bracelets use “vulgar bracelets with the message, “I ! Boo567'A!%5'<!AA!$' and profane” language banned unbies!” benefitting breast cancer educa<+/%7'!('*7+56'(!)' 9!A7$'/$*7)'13 der the school’s dress code policy. tion efforts targeted toward teens. I' K+$<7)'#%'!(57$' They also cited incidents of inapSome students choose to express A!)7'+BB)7%%#D7-' propriate comments about breasts what issues they care about through =7%%')7%"!$%#D7' made by the students’ male classclothing and accessories. Along with 5!'5)7+5A7$5'+$*' mates. If anything, these comments the “I ! Boobies!” bracelets, some stu*757<57*'=+57)'#$' should have shown the school how dents wear “Legalize Gay!” T-shirts ,!/$B7)'"+5#7$5% supporting the repeal of California’s I' LFM'"7)<7$5'!(';)7+%5' a forum for mature conversation needed to be established. Instead, Proposition 8 banning gay marriage. <+$<7)'<+%7%'!<</)' #$'9!A7$'/$*7)'13' by banning the bracelets, school Assistant principal Clarence Pollock administrators left students to consaid the school is OK with students source | The Cancer tinue acting immature and uninwearing the bracelets, “Legalize Gay!” Network formed. T-shirts and other clothing articles supIf schools are committed to actporting causes as long as they don’t viing as places of modern education, olate the dress code policy or represent they must allow students to have conversations about themes of alcohol, drugs or other illegal substances. After a semester with no formal policy about the current issues and express their opinions openly.

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L"+M-)(@+N'H1+O'-).@+ earning doesn’t come from filling in a bubble. )&9"?'?+?1$)41'$+ Education should be about ?1*.@*$@?+H"$+ teaching students to become 1'?1).AB+*4*@'&)4+ well-rounded humans. Instead, 9$"A$'??+*.@+1'*4-'$+ high school students have become K#*()I+4*1)".?D statistics due to graduation requirements and standardized tests pushing teens into a frenzy of stress. The problem starts in elementary schools, where children are forced to give up their childhood to keep =-'+,%=+>+1'?1+ up with the demands of school, says ).4(#@'?+*+0$)1).A+ Nancy Kalish, co-author of “The Case 1'?1B+&"$'+$'*@).A+ Against Homework: How Homework Is Hurting Our Children and What 9*??*A'?+*.@+ We Can Do About It.” 'C9*.@?+&*1-+ The requirements for high school ?'41)".D graduates have drastically changed since the establishment of standardized testing. Basic knowledge may have been satisfactory in the past, but graduates now need superior technology, literacy and life skills EF*4'+1"+1-'+ in order to keep up with national ="9G+'.4"#$*A'?+ and global demands. According 4"&9'1)1)".+H"$+ to the study Results that Matter: I+.*.4)*(+*??)?1*.4'+ 21st Century Skills and High J'10''.+?4-""(?+ School Reform, conducted by the Partnership for ).+.''@+0-"+&''1+ 21st Century Skills, .*1)".*(+$'K#)$'&'.1?D about 55 per-

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Nico Johnson | in-depth editor

cent of college freshmen lack the preparation for the coursework, and almost 40 percent of high school graduates feel unprepared for the workforce. Teachers are forced to narrow the scope of their curriculum, cheating students of opportunities. Their creativity and love for learning is often destroyed as they are increasingly pressured by limiting requirements and compete with others. The stress endured by teens sometimes results in burnout. Students can experience insomnia, depression, illness or suicidal thoughts. Though the United States is falling behind in education, it’s clear we can’t increase the pressure upon students. Instead, seniors should be allowed to choose courses fitting their interests. After receiving three years of basic education, seniors would be able to take less competitive classes with an emphasis on their passions. The government and colleges should place less emphasis on standardized testing. Students should be in a balanced environment supportive of education, not just achievement. The answer is clear, and it’s not going to be found in your test booklet.

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hen it comes to testing in school, there’s no multiple choice. Standardized testing remains the most useful tool in assessing the progress of students. State tests such as the MCAs are what have provided schools with graduation guidelines. Through extensive studies, the ACT organization came up with the “Core Curriculum,” which suggests four years of English and three years of math, science and social studies. It was found that high school students who follow through with the core average about 22 points on the ACT. Those who did not meet the core straggle behind with an average of about 19.5 points. While the purpose of the ACT is to indicate whether students will find themselves equipped for college, other tests look to find holes in education so schools can shift focuses. The standardized tests states require in high school make sure students get a well-rounded education, akin to a liberal arts program. The competition such tests promote closely models the chal-

lenges students face in their professional lives. Having a multi-faceted education by the time one enters college or the work-force is a must. In the professional world, a range of skills remains more attractive than a single one. Other than simply following the core guidelines, taking higher-level classes within a subject is also vital. It is understandable if a class is too rigorous for a student, but a lot of this also falls in the lap of school systems. In Park, minority students comprise a startlingly small percentage of those taking more academically challenging courses. The emphasis placed on more difficult classes needs to happen sooner, starting in junior high or earlier. Standardized tests are shot down too quickly as unfair or poor representations of a student’s knowledge. Without such tests, knowing what needs improvement becomes more of a guessing game. And the penalty for guessing in this case could mean the sacrificing a successful professional life.

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he prefix homo means “the same,” but homosexuals are treated anything but the same when it comes to law enforcement and discipline. According to a Dec. 6 study by Yale University researchers, gay, lesbian and bisexual teens received more severe punishment in schools and in courts than straight peers

who committed similar offenses. The experiment followed more than 15,000 teens for a seven-year period, with 13 percent of males and 17 percent of females identifying as homosexual. During the course of the study, the gay teens were up to three times more likely to be punished than heterosexuals who performed the same crimes. The study found no clear reason behind the unfair treatment of homosexual youth, and there seems to be no plausible explanation except for pure bigotry and prejudice. This inequality is even more unacceptable considering gay teens actually engage in less violence than straight teens, accord-

GLBTQ students are ing to the study. It just encountering discrimiso happens when they ?/#667'().*(7)2( nation and bigotry on do misbehave or com$.,6%/$=$.1()%$(1#%$$( a daily basis. We can’t mit crimes, schools and 1+=$'(=6%$(7+;$74(16( let this be the case at law enforcement penal>3.+'#(LMN"O(1$$.'( Park. ize them harder and more 1#).(#$1$%6'$P3)7(1$$.' Therefore, it’s our often. duty as students to Discrimination such Source | New York Times ensure people of all as this shows just how sexual orientations important it is to support (including transgender GLBTQ teens, or at very and questioning, which were not followed least, not victimize or bully them. If gay teens are up against bigotry in in the study) are accepted and feel secure at courts of law, they should at least be able school. We are a school that prides itself on to feel safe at school and in the classroom. diversity, but there’s no point if those minorYet in many high schools across the country, ities aren’t treated with full respect.

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pon entering the Somali Village Market, also known as the 24-Mall, the pleasant atmosphere is apparent. Colorful rugs, dresses and scarves fill the racks of many small stores, and vendors sell items such as jewelry and perfume. Around the mall, restaurants also serve traditional food like sambusa, a popular pastry. Despite the multitude of goods to purchase, sophomore Mohamed Abdi said time spent at the mall is for socializing as well as for shopping. “At regular malls people come to shop and go to movies. At (the Somali Village Market) people come to talk, eat and hang out. It’s where they talk about old times in Somalia, and what’s happening in Somalia,” he said. Ahmed Jama, who works at the Hijaz smoothie shop in the mall, also emphasized the social aspect of the mall. “It serves more the social needs than anything material,” he said. “It offers a place for people to come together.”

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any ethnic markets offer glimpses into one specific culture. The Midtown Global Market on the other hand, contains shops and restaurants representing regions from around the world, including the Middle East, Scandinavia and the Caribbean. Sophomore Hannah Brodersen said she appreciates the variety at the market. “The amount of different countries that are represented is really surprising for what I’m used to,” she said. Market coordinator Kimberly Hanna said she encourages customers to venture outside their comfort zone when visiting the market. “If people are willing to try new things, they can definitely experience the cultures for the first time or in a different way,” she said. In addition to ethnic shops like the Hmong Handicrafts store, the market is home to a variety of cultural grocers like Cosecha Imports, which features meats from Latin America.

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hile not everyone got to vacation in a foreign country over winter break, Mercado Central offers the chance to experience parts of Latino culture right here in the Twin Cities. “It’s like going to a different country in a way because it’s kind of like a Spanish immersion shopping experience,” manager Becky George said. “It’s very similar to the markets in Mexico and other Latin countries.” The market consists of 48 family-owned Latino businesses selling items from food and piñatas to religious jewelry. Sophomore Joana Romero said she especially likes a candy store at the market. “It has more spicy candy and there’s more things to choose from,” she said. George said one of the market’s main attractions is the food, which includes options ranging from empanadas to traditional Mexican breads. Mercado Central also hosts celebrations throughout the year for holidays such as Dia de los Muertos. 85%0%3#D&5$*>&'*?@A*+

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The Irish alternative rock band The Script releases its new album “Science and Faith.” Popular singles of the album include “For the First Time” and “Nothing.” “Science and Faith” will be The Script’s second album, following their 2008 debut album “The Script,” which quickly rose to number one in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

/(+0&31&4&5670&32 The Minneapolis Institute of Art celebrates photography in its upcoming event “Facing the Lens: Portraits of Photographers.” Interactive activities include the opportunity to create your own photogram, take home your own colorful pinhole camera or listen to the local band Jelloslave. The event is free and takes place in the Harrison Photography Gallery 365 from 6-9 p.m.

/(+0&38&4&9*,0&: The St. Paul Winter Carnival celebrates the city’s history and promotes community pride with events including parades, ice and snow sculptures and a giant snow slide. The festival is the nation’s oldest and largest winter fair, averaging more than 350,000 visitors each year. See www.winter-carnival.com for specific events, times and pricing.

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Issue 6  

Issue 6 of the Award Winning the Echo!