Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Highland Secondary School

Highland Secondary School

Highland Secondary School
310 Governor’s Road



Principal: J. Langsner
Vice-Principal: G. Woodcroft
Pulse Page coordinator: P. Haygarth

For forty years Highland Secondary School has been celebrating academic excellence.Our mission statement is: Highland fosters a safe, positive learning environment while maintaining academic excellence and opportunities for personal growth.

Built originally as an occupational and technology magnet for students in Dundas and Flamborough, Highland has evolved into a fully comprehensive secondary school that is able to provide a balanced program for all students.

The four A’s of Highland are: academics, arts, athletics and altruism. Over seventy percent of our graduating students pursue post-secondary education. Forty percent of our graduating class were Ontario Scholars.

We are one of the top ranked schools in the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board for credit accumulation, EQAO success, scholarships and awards. However, our real success is making our school a family. With 880 students we are small enough to know all our students, and large enough to offer a diverse curricular program. Our caring and supportive staff provides support and encouragement both in the classroom and in the many extra-curricular clubs and activities. We are a small school with a big heart.

The Best and Worst Products
Adam Miller, Grade 9

Best Products

1. Microsoft word. This is a fantastic product. It allows for quick, simple essays, and provides a spell check function. This program is wonderful for me, as my handwriting is awful, and it allows the people reading my work to understand it. The spell check function is simply wonderful for people with poor spelling. Thus, Microsoft word is easily the most useful computer program I know of.

2. The book. I understand that this topic is rather vague, but I am having difficulty narrowing it down. I enjoy most books, even though I prefer fiction the most. Books allow an easy, simple transfer of information over a short period of time. They are fun to read, and are very useful for learning new things.

3. The hamburger. The hamburger is one of the best tasting (albeit unhealthy) foods in the world. It combines tender meat (if well made) and a crispy bun (if well made) with rich sauces and flavours (if well made. I see a pattern here). However, it is a challenge to find a hamburger which is not affected by the evils of fast food. As a result, good hamburgers have become an endangered species, much like the gray wolf, and sanity.

Worst Products

1. The iPod. This is a demonic tool created in order to avoid the social scandal known only as talking? Since when did speaking face to face become taboo? The answer is simple: since the invention of the cell phone and iPod. (See the next entry for my rant about the cell phone). The iPod encourages anti-socialism, being solitary, and even hurts your ears. All of that sound going into your ears at point-blank range will inevitably cause damage, maybe even permanently. Also, the portability of the music makes sure that you will never have to stoop so low as to talk to someone.

2. The cell phone. The cell phone is nearly as bad as the iPod. (Though not quite) The whole idea of text messaging someone while standing two feet away is downright staggering. Even text messaging from far away is silly: talking over the phone provides a lot more room for emotion than seeing text appear on a screen. I blame the companies which create these small, portable engines of destruction for the fall of western society. Why else has the teenage population devolved from smart, sophisticated people to semi-barbarians, intent only on swearing and trying to look "cool"?

3. The carrot. This final product will not have a long rant attached to it. I merely dislike it due to its disgusting taste and unappetizing texture. I cannot eat a carrot without shuddering, and it is an effort not to retch in disgust. The carrot is quite likely my least favourite food, or at least one of them.

Kyle Fisher: Precision Percussion
Danielle Klassen, Grade 12

Dundas band, The Dirty Nil, has acquired a local fan base as their emerging talent gains recognition.18 year old Kyle Fisher, one of two band members, plays percussion. "I'm the base of the equation," he said about his role in the band. As drummer, he keeps the pace of a song and a steady rhythm.

Fisher's passion for making music was sparked in the grade seven school band. "I played the saxophone. One day another percussionist was needed, so I migrated to the back," recalls Fisher. Once on percussion, Fisher was instantly attracted to the drums.

After getting his first drum set at age 14, Fisher enrolled in some lessons at the Waterdown School of Music. There he learned some essential fundamentals of the instrument.

Apart from his love for music, Fisher's interest in playing for a rock band was triggered somewhat by an underlying desire for attention. "I've always been second to everyone. I wanted to be noticed," admits Fisher.

In the junior years of high school, Fisher and fellow band member Luke Bentham played with other acquaintances who have since gone off to create other bands, leaving Fisher and Bentham to form their own project.

With Bentham on lead guitar and vocals, and Fisher on drums, the duo became an established band, The Dirty Nil. "Dirty refer to our grungy sound, and Nil as in zero, because compared to other bands we have so few members," explains Fisher.

As Bentham and Fisher grew closer their band was able to evolve into what it is now. "We've learned each other's breaking points." Bentham writes all the words to the music, and together they perfect the alternative-pop sound. The band released a self-titled EP in June 2008 featuring 6 of their most popular songs.

Their appearances at "Casbah", a popular Hamilton concert venue, and playing at various Coffee Houses have given their band a strong fan base.

The band has become acquainted with many other local bands as well as many influential people on the underground music scene. Their reputation has attracted the attention of Ric Taylor from CFMU, McMaster's campus radio. Taylor has interviewed the band on air many times and included them in his column for the View, a Hamilton newspaper.

Kyle Fisher has high hopes for the band's future, "We've been told by a lot of people we could do really well," he said. A follow-up album to their EP is set to be released in the summer of 2009.

Julia Lord: A Little Basketball Wonder
Rianka Singh, Grade 12


It was 11 years ago when Julia Lord picked up her first basketball. At the tender age of 6, Lord learned how to bounce and shoot the ball, after some coaching from her older brother Thomas Lord.

Today, Julia is the starting point guard on the Highland Hawks Senior Girls basketball team. Lord, who stands at only 5'1, much shorter than the average player in the league, is the charge that powers her team.

Lord had a very successful season this year. She led the team to multiple victories against various teams in the Hamilton school board. Recently, she was awarded most valuable player at the White Oaks Invitational Tournament in Oakville.

Lord's accomplishments can be much attributed to her dedication to the sport of basketball. Lord trains regularly, making her one of the most agile players on the court. Her ability to move quickly on the court makes up for her lack of size and provides her with a certain edge over her competitors.

Lord is a feisty player who is constantly aggressive and stops at nothing to get the ball in her hands. It is this fighting attitude that earned her the name "Mighty Mouse", coined by head coach of the Highland team, Keith Gould.

As the team readied for the playoffs, the pressure for high performance play from Lord mounted. However, despite her natural talent and enthusiasm, the season ended too short for Julia.

"Julia is a great player. She is a leader on the team and we used her in every game," Coach Gould stated about the necessity for Lord to bring her A-game.

After high school, Lord hopes to continue playing basketball. Her goal is to play on a varsity team in university. However, if this does not work out, she will without a doubt play the sport for fun.

"I have grown up playing basketball, and I am not ready to give it up yet," Julia responded, when asked about her plans on continuing to play.

Julia Lord is an extraordinary basketball player and an elite point guard in the city. Her spunk on the court results in a copious amount of success bringing a great deal of pride to Highland Secondary School's athletic department.

Penelope: A Movie Review
Chelsea Cowan, Grade 12

Every heart melts when a good story with romance, intrigue and true love come together on the big screen. Penelope, originally a novel written by Leslie Caven, is captured perfectly in this film. It is a blend of genres, including comedy, romance and drama. Thus, it has something for everyone, including men, women, and even children. It is truly a family film.

Christina Ricci, as Penelope, portrays a vulnerable yet strong woman. The storyline is set with the premise of this twenty-something year old woman who is born with a family curse that would affect the rest of her life. She was born with ears and a nose of a pig! However, the curse can be broken if she marries a 'blueblood'. Penelope's mother now goes on a quest to find her the perfect match. Penelope goes through many trials to realize what's truly important in life. James McAvoy plays Johnny Martin, the perfect love interest on screen. Both characters are different and the same in many ways. You long to see them together throughout the film.

Many issues are dealt with in this film; the main topic is to love yourself for who you are. I recommend seeing this film to any teenage girls; the underlying message makes it well worth it. This refreshing film stands apart from all the other movies that are pumped out and mean nothing. Penelope is most definitely one in a million.

What makes this film so intriguing is the fine line between reality and fantasy. The talented director, Mark Palansky, did an excellent job on the film. The viewer will be captivated by the storyline. Everything from the camera angles, lighting and bright colours will mesmerize the audience and make each scene that much more inviting and magical.

Penelope becomes hidden from society. Her parents don't want the wrong attention and decide to hide her in their home. She spends most of her life in her very creatively designed loft upstairs. The loft shows many of Penelope's hobbies and interesting clothing. Many of these elements develop the character even more.

The innocence of Penelope brings a fondness to the character. The lack of knowledge and socialization contribute to her naivety. However, at the same time she can be a very strong and wise woman. All these factors make her enduring and relatable.

The wide varieties of characters make the plot more dynamic. We witness the collaboration of all sorts of people, including the friendly bartender, or the mysterious and comforting Annie, (Reese Witherspoon), who befriends Penelope. All these people come into Penelope's path to self discovery.

Often, Penelope feels unloved and unwanted. Desperate moments with potential suitors result in one heartbreak after another. All lead to the adventure she needs to take in order to assume control of her life. She feels desperately that she needs to escape the life she fears she will always have. The plot shows that a hopeless state is not as hopeless as it may look, which leaves the audience with the lesson that there is always hope that lies around the corner.

It is easy to associate this film with Beauty and the Beast. However, instead of the man being the beast and the woman falling in love with him, this time the man falls in love with the woman and loves her for who she is despite her outer flaws. Her mother constantly reminds her that she is not her nose; however, she lacks loving Penelope for who she is. Penelope eventually does learn to love herself for who she is, inside and out, which is the lesson we can all learn.

There is nothing bad to say about this film. It is a movie that is great for a date, mother daughter outing or even for a family. The variety of genres will certainly reach a wide audience. If you love magical fantasies and romances like Bridget Jones’s Diary, where true love is always found no matter what you look like, this film is for you!

Nicole Weisensee, Grade 11

I once had a best friend named Heidi. We had grown up together and I was as welcome in her house as I was in my own. We created so many memories together, memories which haunt me now. But there's one specific night which keeps coming back to me. It reminds me of the one thing I keep trying to forget. We were at her house, lying on her bedroom floor, talking until the first rays of the morning began shining over the trees.

"We'll go to England, sit in a café and write!"

"Shopping too. We have to go shopping in London."

"Of course," I smiled at her from my spot on the floor. "We'll do everything, and we'll do it together. Always have, always will."

Heidi yawned as she propped herself up with her elbows. Looking over at me, she said, "Ally, what would I do without you?"

"You'd die." I said seriously, getting up to hug her.

Never had I wondered what I would do without her. And now she's gone. It's not even that she's moved away. She's gone to a place from which she can never come back, and there's nothing I can do to save her this time. There are no words that I can say to her, no hugs I can give. All our plans were swept away in a moment. In the end, death was stronger than life as it stole her away from me. All I have left now are the haunting memories of a girl who once was, and the friend I once had.

Sari Morris, Grade 12

As I walked through those gates I could finally see,
The person I was meant to be.
A future so bright it could light up the sky,
And I almost let it all pass me by.
I was scared of the future and what it would hold,
And dealing with the responsibilities of getting old.
But you can’t freeze time and stay a kid forever,
So have fun with all of life’s endeavors.
I am now ready to be all I can be,
And discover the different sides of me.

Art Gallery


Jessie Sawyers, Grade 12


Abbie Fisher, Grade 11


Aaron Aylward, Grade 12


Alex Witherspoon, Grade 11

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