Como Park High School
AP government, economics classes go to Washington
Twenty-two Como Park High seniors currently studying AP government and AP macroeconomics spent a week in March in Washington D.C. participating in the national Close Up program, an initiative that promotes civics education and involvement in our democracy with the capital city serving as a real-time classroom.
The students visited iconic national monuments, memorials and museums. Highlights included the Smithsonian, the Supreme Court Historical Society, Library of Congress, U.S. Capitol, Arlington National Cemetery, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial and unique Washington neighborhoods.
Como students met with Minnesota’s U.S. Sens. Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar. They met with Klobuchar was in the Capitol outside the Democratic leadership office near the Senate Chamber. Klobuchar also showed the students the ornately decorated President’s Room.
Sitting in the House Gallery, Como students got a firsthand look at the American political system of government in action. Students watched as the U.S. House of Representatives debated the H.R. 1 bill, legislation that supports strengthening voter access and reducing the influence of big money in politics.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi spoke for 15 minutes, which was captivating for the students who have studied her role.
Brings politics to life
Throughout the week, Como students and their peers from across the country broke into groups and discussed policy with peers from across the nation in workshop groups. The Close Up closing banquet of 160 students featured six student speakers, including Como senior Jamie Cohen, including Como senior Jamie Cohen, who delivered a reflective and motivating speech that received much applause.
The annual trip to Washington, D.C., for Como AP government students is made possible through student- and school-sponsored fundraising activities, with generous scholarship support from Como area booster organizations and some generous St. Anthony Park residents.
The League of Women Voters recently awarded fellowships to Como seniors Theo Lucy, Lexie Harris and Pa Nhia Vang. The students were chosen based on their competitive applications, which exhibited a strong interest in promoting political participation, working to register voters and issue advocacy.
The fellows are developing an advocacy project this spring with the goal of bringing attention to an issue in their community, and meeting with elected officials to address concerns and encourage action. The fellows will also coordinate this year’s voter registration efforts at Como.
The League of Women Voters is non-partisan organization which works on raising public awareness on vital public issues.
Eight 11th-grade U.S. history students have moved on from district and regional victories and are headed to the Minnesota State History Day competition. The following students advanced from their respective categories at the St. Paul Regional History Day and will present their work at the University of Minnesota on May 4:
Group Website Category: Maisee Her, Rose Say and Ly Xiong for the Immigration Act of 1924; Noelia Marin Leal and MaiChue Xiong for Women’s Suffrage in New Zealand; Way Htoo and Shar Too for WAVES, the women’s branch of the U.S. Naval Reserve.
Individual Documentary Category: Lisa Saechao qualified for state with her short film on “The Hmong Genocide.”
Two other Como students earned honorable mention at the regional contest for their entries in the Individual Website category: Eethan Lee for the My Lai Massacre, and Jorge Pliego for Warren Robinett’s “Easter Egg” video-game insertion.
Urban Regional Econ challenge
Two teams from AP economics classes participated in the Urban Regional Econ Challenge at the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis in March. The Como team of Aiyana Aeikens, Naddi Jillo, Khyri Lueben and Antero Sivula placed second in the overall competition, narrowly falling to Richfield in the Quiz Bowl Final.
Academy of Finance (AOF) sophomore Kalid Ali was selected to participate in the University of Wisconsin Business School’s Business Emerging Leaders (BEL) summer program. The program, at the U of W Madison campus, is designed for promising students with strong academic credentials and demonstrated leadership skills.
BEL program students who are admitted to UW-Madison and complete a business major are granted a full-tuition, four-year scholarship.
Como Apps club
Como’s Apps Club has been meeting weekly after school to develop a digital app to help deaf teens communicate with their peers without feeling uncomfortable.The Apps Club will present its app, including business and marketing plans, at the Minneapolis Convention Center on May 11.
Como Choir students recently participated in the Minnesota State High School League Vocal Solo and Ensemble Contest at North St. Paul High School. Soloists who earned Excellent ratings include Maisee Her, Mai Lao Lee and Michael Yang.
The Chamber Singers received a Superior rating. Several Como vocalists were also evaluated as Superior, including James Baker, Chloe Hollister-Lapointe, Willow Hollister-Lapointe, Areya Khue, Koob Lee, Chandani Lor, Gemma Pham, Htakee Saw, Rose Say, Aspen Schucker, Lila Seeba, Lee Tuggle and Kevin Yang. Senior Marco Tabacman received Best in Site, the highest honor.
A talented cast and crew performed “The Unusual Suspects” in the Como Auditorium March 14 and 15. The play, written by Samara Siskind, is a comedy set in a high school revolving around a caper that unites some unlikely students. Como English teacher Allison Hartzell directed the adaptation.
The cast included Amira Boler, Lila Seeba, Lily Rogers, Toby Sax, Wyatt Hanson, Roan Buck, Ava Vitali, JoAnn Lane, Alicia Banks, Emilie Pagel, Cece Godfrey and John Dugan.
—Eric Erickson is a social studies teacher at Como Park High School.
Photo caption: Como High School students participating in the national Close Up program in Washington, D.C., met with their U.S. senators. The Como group is pictured here with presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar in the U.S. Capitol.
(photo courtesy of Sen. Klobuchar’s office)