Category Archives: Southwest News

Southwest’s Upcoming Renovations

So, you’ve probably heard about the renovations that Southwest High School and many other buildings are doing in the near future. They’ve been thinking about this remodel for at least 5 years and now it’s finally starting to appear on the horizon.



Why are they even doing this, you ask. A lot of programs are making changes in this area.  And it’s not just construction. They’re also working on academic improvement (especially in the early childhood department), and community development.

But the focus for Zone 3 (that’s us!) is to make more space. Southwest Minneapolis is getting more populated. There will be about 400 more kids coming and if we don’t do these renovations soon, it’s going to be a tight squeeze.


What’s Being Done

If you’re a student and you are an underclassman, you’ll be happy to know that air conditioning will be included in the renovation. Many were complaining this September about the extreme heat in the school. Dr. Smith says that there will be air conditioning in the auditorium by this April or May. That means we can’t miss school because of the heat anymore! The person that’s funding all of that air is the same guy who put in our new stadium lights.

There will be a new lunchroom, kitchen, main offices, a hallway leading through the current kitchen, and taking up the space of those old places is many more classrooms. As you may have heard, the link is being removed and in its place, we’ll be expanding it forward, backward, and skyward. In its place will be the new lunchroom, kitchen, and offices. So our new way of getting to the east building is on either side of the lunchroom. What is currently the lunchroom will be (possibly) a new dance studio, along with other classrooms. There will also be other new classrooms on the second floor of the link! And the old offices might be the new College and Career Center. And did I mention we’re getting a new main door? Instead of the little link door, we’ll have a big, glass, main door. Exciting, right?

And *infomercial voice* that’s not all! There will also be changes involving schooling, classes, and even the time. That’s right, we’re all about to lose half an hour of sleep because Southwest’s new starting time is going to be 8:00am. The board is also discussing having a block schedule for upperclassmen – where people can have one class for several hours, but not every day (similar to college class schedules). This will all be decided by March so people can start signing up!



For years, the school board has been saving up bonds for this project. The entire thing will end up costing somewhere around $500 million! It sounds like a lot for a couple new classrooms and a decked out hallway, but with the bucket-load of new kids coming in the next few years, it will (hopefully) be worth it.




If you’re like me, you might be thinking about how this project will last for a good 3-4 years. You could be asking yourself “What are we doing in the meantime?” Your answer is that nothing changes. Sure, we’ll have plenty of noisy days, and of course we’ll have to make temporary routes to the east building, but it’ll all be worth it in the end, right? And what about those community ed classes in the summer? Though the construction might get distracting, the school has already started moving most of the classes to the east building to have them out of the way.



All of this planning and all of these flowcharts that the Minneapolis Public Schools Board of Education are making are very general. This entire project will not be finished until about 2016 or 2017. They’re hoping to start taking down the link this September, but who knows what problems the weather will bring us? They may have to push removing the link until March. All of the information I got from Dr. Smith is relative. Our staff and ATS&R (the company doing the drawings for this) are still in the drawing stages of  this enormous project. Each time they have a meeting the image of our new school gets clearer and clearer.

Ground Floor Renovation Plans
Ground Floor Renovation Plans
Upper Floor Renovation Plans
Upper Floor Renovation Plans

On the Go with Car2Go

by Maddie N.

So, you’re driving down a street in Minneapolis, and suddenly you see a cute little white and blue smart car. You think nothing of it. But then you see another, and another.  You take a closer look and see a little logo on it: Car2Go. That’s right: if you can drive, you have now discovered an exciting new way to get around in Minneapolis.

What is this Car2Go?

They are electric-running smart cars parked throughout the city, from Downtown to here in Linden Hills. At just $0.38 a minute, you can go anywhere and end your trip anywhere in the city.

How does it work?

First, you get a member card by signing up online. Then you find a Car2Go, scan your member card on the windshield to open it, enter your pin on the screen, and drive. That simple. You can either happen upon a Car2Go, or you can reserve one near you 30 minutes in advance online or with the Car2Go app to save time. You can also use the app to find one near you.


You must park it within Minneapolis, and it must be parked at on-street areas, rather than in a driveway or other private properties. There is no penalty for driving outside of Minneapolis, but you have to come back to the “home area.” One nice feature is the stopover. Say you’re making a quick trip to the grocery store; you get a Car2Go, get to the grocery store, and lock the car, insuring it will be there when you get back. With the stopover, you can “stop” anywhere, without worrying about parking regulations. But you’re still paying by the minute, so make your stopover quick!


If you plan on taking a longer time or going to further places, it will end up costing you more. And, true to the smart car’s style, there is only room for two.

The Car2Go is mostly designed for a one-way trip. While this can be nice, it means if you don’t want to spend more money on a stopover, you have to find another Car2Go or other transportation to go back.

You also might find yourself abusing its convenience. Many reviews talk about how users took 5 minute trips in the Car2Go that they could’ve done by walking.

The Car2Go is only in five other cities in the U.S, so it is still a modern and experimental idea. It’s just another new, convenient way for us to get around these big cities.

Winning the Lottery Survey

What would you do if you won the lottery; if you came across a huge amount of money?

Would you save it up or splurge on whatever your heart desired? Here are some answers from Southwest students:

Freshman Virginia Culhane simply answered that she would save up for college. Freshman Athen Schooler said he would save it for college, a house, and a car; then give the rest to charity. Both of these freshman had their education in mind, a smart choice. Sophomore Mya Johnson replied with “Do you know how much merch you can buy with that?” An anonymous junior said he would give 10% to the Philippines; open a Thai cuisine restaurant; invest in a Korean farm; and give 2% to  friend. I asked him if he would save any for college and he replied, “I wouldn’t need to go to college with that much money.” Senior Victoria Mackin replied that she would probably shop, and meet some famous people. When asked who she’d choose to meet, she said Foster the People, The Who, and One Direction. Senior Kimberly Vice immediately answered that she’d leave this country to go to Japan and give the rest to her mom. An anonymous senior replied, “I honestly don’t know”.

It would truly be difficult deciding what to do with a whole lot of money, but these students would all seem to invest in something worthwhile to them. So, what would you do if you won the lottery?

Junior girl lunch group showing off class pride.

The Secret Spirit Day

Junior girl lunch group showing off class pride.
Junior girl lunch group showing off class pride.

Homecoming is the first big event of the year for Southwest.  To get the students excited about this event and to show school spirit, students dress up in the week leading up to the homecoming dance.  While the themes for each day change every year, there are two days that have remained the same for most of Southwest’s history: Laker Day and Class Color Day.  Friday’s Laker Day is a day to showcase your school pride, while Thursday’s Class Color Day is a day to show off your class pride. Each class, freshman, sophomores, juniors and seniors, is assigned a color and dress accordingly to show pride in their graduating year. Seniors will come to school in bright red tutus and juniors follow with blue hair ribbons. Sophomores show off with green sweaters, just happy to no longer be a freshman. While some brave freshman will walk out the door in orange t-shirts.  Another part of class color day is marking.  Students will bring markers corresponding with their class color to school and mark students in the grades below them. The biggest targets are the underclassmen who accidentally wore an upperclassman color.

In recent years, the subject of Thursday’s spirit day has become controversial.  The school administrators believe that class color day leads to freshman hazing and bullying.  They want the freshman to feel comfortable and welcome at Southwest and believe that class color day can have the opposite effect. In efforts to remove bullying from the school, class color day has been removed from spirit week.  This removal was not seen lightly in the students’ eyes who began to create the secret spirit day.  Days like CLASSy Day for last years spirit week were put on the schedule for Thursday. This year the name was changed to Twin Day in an attempt to hide the spirit day’s true meaning even further. Though no amount of hiding could fool the students.  Come Thursday morning, the school was a sea of red and blue with small specks of green and orange hidden about it.

I, myself, have no problem with Class Color Day being apart of spirit week.  I think it is fun to dress with your class and maybe secretly leave a blue mark on the freshman who wore the wrong color.  I believe that Class Color Day has the potential to be an enjoyable part of spirit week and serve as a reality check to some high and mighty freshmen. No matter what, Thursday will always be known as Class Color Day and will continue to be apart of Southwest’s spirit week.

New school water fountain

A Fresh Drink

New school water fountain
New school water fountain

This summer, our school had five new water fountains put in. Many students have noticed them around school without realizing where they came from. Those five water fountains were actually the work of the Southwest High School’s Green Team. The Green Team started on the project last year to get new water fountains at Southwest. Some of the water fountains at Southwest are the same ones that the head of the Green Team, Mr.Neiman had when he went to school here roughly 50 years ago.

However, that wasn’t the only reason that the school needed new water fountains. The water fountains that the Green Team installed have water dispensers for water bottles that help to eliminate the waste of plastic water bottles. Every plastic water bottle takes a third of a cup of oil to produce. As of now, Southwest has saved thousands of water bottles which means thousands of cups of oil.

The water fountains were not paid for by the school, though. The Green Team worked hard to get the water fountains installed. They started by finding the best place to get water fountains from. One company offered them a deal of one free water fountain when they bought at least one water fountain independently. They immediately took the offer, but the water fountains cost about $1000 apiece. To raise the funds for the water fountains, they did things such as apply for grants in the community and do fundraising activities. The Team even got a Girl Scout Troop to donate some of their cookie money to the cause.

Through hard work and perseverance, the Green Team ended up raising over $4,000, which enabled them to buy four new water fountains for the school along with the one free one. So far, the new fountains have been a great success and everyone at Southwest has come to really appreciate the nice, cold water.

Senior Organizes Separate Winter Formal in Defiance to New Dance Policy

Rejecting Southwest High School’s new grinding policy, senior Max Horn (17) coordinated an alternative winter formal called “Snowballz” February 1st with the help of a few friends. This idea was widely supported by the student body, as Horn sold nearly 400 tickets in one week, while student council’s winter formal sold half that number.

“What really motivated us to host Snowballz was how the students were feeling; we were hearing complaints all around school.  Hearing what those students had to say made us feel that someone needed to step in and make a dance that included everyone and every form of dancing, grinding or not,” explained Horn.  News of the party traveled quickly; in addition to Southwest, students from nearby schools South, Washburn, DeLaSalle, Edina, and Holy Angels purchased tickets.

Before long, school administration began noticing students eagerly handing over cash in the halls, since tickets were sold mostly on campus ground. Even though Snowballz was not plannes by any official Southwest organization, the event became closely affiliated with the school, raising the concern of parents and staff regarding Southwest’s reputation.

Principal Dr. Smith stressed his disapproval on the topic on his blog, “Two consenting adults in the privacy of their own choosing can do as they choose.  Sexual movements with some clothes on may not be sex in some definition…I think the behavior can be very degrading to both female and male.  In movements described as lap dancing or dirty dancing, the same actions would not be permitted on one’s leg by his or her favorite pet… Rubbing one’s private parts in public is not acceptable either by another or self.”

Organizing Snowballz was no easy feat, as venue after venue mysteriously canceled Horn’s event. On his principal’s blog, Southwest Catch the Wave, Dr. Smith posted under “Which Dance is Your Child Attending” on Sunday January 27, 2013: “So, as it should be, it is up to the families to decide the venues for their children… There is no problem with students and/or their families having parties and socials at any time.”

Determined to host the dance he promised, Horn found a last-minute venue at Safari Restaurant and Hall, a Somali restaurant on Lake Street. A few days after the party, the problem with the venues was eventually identified. “Although [Dr. Smith] said that it’s up to the families, he called the two previous venues and had them cancel the event, so it really wasn’t up to the families…We didn’t know it was him at first, but then he admitted it to [a student],” revealed Horn.

The main concern regarding grinding that most schools emphasize is that students may feel “pressured” into this type of dance. Because “everyone is doing it”, teenagers possibly sense the same peer pressure to grind as they would in a situation involving drinking. “People think grinding is this really inappropriate thing, but really what is going to happen to you—get pregnant? I doubt it. Besides, a guy will ask you to dance, and you can say no. He’s not going to just come up and start humping you,” commented an anonymous student.

Horn also considered safety reasons in addition to grinding as a factor of Dr. Smith’s dissatisfaction with the alternative dance. “The concerns he had about safety were none to worry about—we had over eight adults surrounding the dance floor including two police officers, two security guards, three bouncers, and the owner of the venue. But what really made this work was that every student that attended the dance was sober and respectful to the adults that were in attendance,” reassured Horn.

While deemed inappropriate by school faculty, perhaps the option of two different dances was the best solution for Southwest’s new dance policy. Students were able to make a decision about which dance to attend, and nobody was judged based on which one they chose.

“Expecting teenagers not to grind is unrealistic. Dance for our generation has changed,” commented sophomore Abby Eckhart. “Getting physically close to somebody is just more appealing than jumping up and down like 5th graders.”

Acknowledging the majority of the student body’s disappointment in the new grinding rule and the efforts of individuals like Max Horn to change it, Student Council may need to take the policy into reconsideration.

The majority of Snowballz’s profit was donated to Hallie Brown, a brave student fighting cancer.

A New Seventh Hour: Yay or Nay?

By Miriam Palmer and Mariah Hickman

YAY: by Miriam Palmer

It’s not so bad. One of the best parts is that there are now ten times the options for scheduling and completing our credits. No more online gym or health, there is now a whole new 48 minute hour where we can complete those credits, (or possibly goof off, whichever you choose). And I may sound like a nerd, or a teacher’s pet, but there are more chances to learn and grow as a person with this new system. We can take the new Anatomy class, or the AP Euro class, or even try out for the choir and do something we always wished we could but never got around to.

But really, what am I doing blabbing on and on about credits and different classes? Lets get to what most students really care about: friends. Plain and simple, we all want at least 1-2 friends in each class, though closer to 5 is more appreciated. Adding another hour to the day can lead to more classes with your friends, and an all over more pleasant day. I am in no way saying this should be an all social hour with no work involved, I’m just saying having friends in your classes makes the 7 hour day more tolerable and fun.

So the seven hour day: it may actually be a blessing in disguise. We are now able to take more classes and hang out with our friends as the day flies by. Yes, I do realize we will still moan and groan, because we are teenagers, and need something to complain about. But does it have to be about the seven hour day? I don’t think so, but you may want to think long and hard about it before the next complaint about the 48 minute classes comes out of your mouth.

NAY: by Mariah Hickman

Even though being able to have an extra hour added to our school day seems more convenient, it also adds more problems, and stress onto students everyday work load. It also creates a rushed atmosphere within the school itself.
Now that the seven period day has taken effect, not only are classes shorter, but passing time is as well. Students are being rushed to class, teachers are being rushed to teach and again students are being rushed to complete their everyday class tasks.
Another problem that comes along with the seven period day is the work load. Seven classes can be extremely difficult to keep up with. Especially during mid-terms. As dedicated students of Southwest, we’ll rise to the challenge. But we just ask that in return teachers show a little compassion toward.
But now my only question is, what happens to the kid who doesn’t finish his test? Or the teacher who wasn’t able to complete her lesson in full? Or even to me? The girl who struggles in science, but doesn’t have those extra 12 minutes to understand more? All I’m saying is its just the quantity of your classes. It’s the quality.