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Exchange students adapt to American life

posted Mar 21, 2020, 6:05 AM by Andrew Tichy

By: Ashna Oray

This year at the Moorhead High School, we have many foreign exchange students. Two of which are Antonia Am Orde and Esther Padi. Am Orde is from Berlin, Germany and Padi is from Ghana, Africa. Both had teachers that informed and motivated them to do something like this. Some previous foreign exchange students in Germany also talked to Am Orde about it and she found it interesting. The only thing that was holding them back was the fact that they had to repeat a grade when they get back to their home country. 

Something that made Padi regret coming here was the food. She did not like it at first but now she doesn’t mind it. Another thing that is a little shocking to Padi is how little people actually know about where she’s from. “Some people don’t know about Africa. They just think of it as the back continent and poverty,” she said. On the other hand, Am Orde feels the people are different, because here they are more nice and friendly. “Random people will say “hi” or compliment you,” said Am Orde. 

Being a foreign exchange student isn’t easy. You have to leave your family and friends for several months. “The hardest part is probably being away from everything you know and being without anyone that knows you. Even if you’re with people, you haven’t known them for very long,” said Am Orde.  

Padi agreed, saying that leaving everything behind and starting over again is tough. 

Another factor that makes it hard for them is making friends. A reason for Padi is because she is shy. Another reason they both had similar responses to was that you can meet people and be aqantainces but they don’t actually want to be your friend. “They just want to because you’re a foreign exchange student,” said Am Orde. 

Padi is ready to go home. She misses her family and the hot atmosphere. But Am Orde is not quite ready. “Not yet. I will probably in the end but it hasn’t been long enough,” said Am Orde. An overall look on being a foreign exchange student is how different it is from what they’re used to. Also having an idea of what it will be like then actually getting to see and experience it is a cool thing. Something Padi said about that was “If you over expect, you get disappointed.” 


More than a schedule change

posted Mar 21, 2020, 5:59 AM by Andrew Tichy

By: Grant Gervais

Picture an office in the heart of Moorhead High School where the lights are dim, fidget toys cover a central coffee table, and a cloud of essential oils fill the room. It’s a very calming area. This is the effect MHS Counselor Maret Kashmark tries to achieve. Out of college, Kashmark landed a counseling job at Mahnomen and Naytahwaush, which led to Thomas Edison Elementary, George Washington Elementary, Robert Asp Elementary, and finally, Moorhead High School. Kashmark is now a senior counselor for Moorhead Area Public Schools, with a total of five years at MHS alone. Kashmark has 25 years, more than half of her life, dedicated to counseling. Kashmark is by all definitions, an expert at the job.

On a day to day basis, Kashmark, along with all of the other counselors at MHS, has to deal with a seemingly endless supply of schedule changes. This type of work has its perks, but the reason Kashmark enjoys her job most is because she gets to help students in need with their own personal grievances. The myriad of issues include anything from, social media issues, to abusive home lives. The most prevalent of the latter is mental health issues. 

Thinking back to Kashmark’s table, it was filled with fidget toys. These are one of the many tools she uses to reach kids with anxiety. In a position where she can’t prescribe any medicine or diagnose any disorders, Kashmark has to get creative. Her tool box includes fidget toys, breathing techniques, journals, and even something as simple as being there to listen. Kashmark makes the day-to-day struggles of anxiety and depression just a little bit easier. She estimates more than 50% of the senior class has needed her assistance with personal issues at some point.

From a student’s perspective, Mrs. Kashmark has been here for them since kindergarten. In the ever changing climate of K-12 schooling, Kashmark has been a rock of stability for many students floating down the rapids of high school. She’s an expert at her job, and she can always do something to help. From the senior class to Mrs. Kashmark, we thank her for her continued support. She truly is a great example of Moorhead’s “tradition of excellence.”


Choir Dept. welcomes student teacher

posted Mar 21, 2020, 5:58 AM by Andrew Tichy

By: Mara Lysne

Originally from Andover, MN, and senior at Concordia College, Amber Kavie is currently the choir department’s student teacher. 

“I love that everyone can sing. You don't need an instrument or lessons to be in choir” said Kavie. She has brought her positivity and energy into the choir room, and all the students enjoy having her teach. 

Kavie has been student teaching with Katherine Brekke, the choir teacher, since September. Kavie started off the year working with the choir just by warming them up, then slowly started to teach more and more. Currently she is teaching full units and leading the choir for whole class periods at a time. Along with learning about teaching during her stay at Moorhead High, Kavie has enjoyed getting to know the students. 

“I like that she's passionate about what she's doing,” said Ashna Oray, a sophomore at Moorhead High, and a student in the choir department.

Kavie has not always dreamed of being a choir teacher. During high school she wanted to be a doctor because of how much she loved to work with people, but changed her mind when she realized that she couldn't live without music in her life. 

“I want to use music as an education tool and to help students feel empowered and valued,” said Kavie. Now she plans to teach music, ideally a High School choir, but said she would be happy teaching any level of music because that's what makes her happy.

Teaching definitely has its ups and downs, and Kavie has been experiencing both of them. Her favorite part about teaching is getting to know the students and learning about their passions. However, there are difficult moments too. 

“It can be hard implementing your own ideas in someone else's classroom because your goals as a student teacher are based off of your cooperating teacher’s goals,” She expressed that teaching is so much more exhausting than she expected, but so worth it. 

“Teaching is so so so hard, but so worth it. It's easy to get down about the hard stuff, but seeing your students succeed makes it all worth it,” she said. Kavie has impacted the choir department, and helped the students grow so much.


Tastes of Moorhead High

posted Mar 21, 2020, 5:56 AM by Andrew Tichy

By: Fartun Hassan 

Take a look in room 203 of Moorhead High, and your senses will thank you. Dishes from Germany, China, France, Italy, Turkey, Mexico as well as South America greet you. Students interact with one another in the less than traditional classroom of six mini kitchens, making two native dishes per week from all the countries mentioned and beyond. 

Mrs. Adams, who’s been with the school since 2006, has since taught the course. Mrs. Adams isn’t the only foods teacher at MHS, though she along with three other teachers handle the other family and consumer science (FCS) classes within the school. Those classes, including the basic foods course, also include the international, advanced and nutritional courses as well.

Those looking to go into the culinary world or just have an interest in food can find great opportunities for improvement within the courses offered here at MHS. In fact, the basic course has been offered here at Moorhead since the school’s opening all the way back in 1967. Overall, the course, taken by many students through the years which can now only be classified as tradition is described as by Mrs. Adam’s “a great opportunity to have fun with classmates while experiencing hands-on learning.”

Leader of the Club: Nichols sets example for future Spuds

posted Nov 3, 2019, 9:22 AM by Andrew Tichy   [ updated Nov 3, 2019, 9:23 AM ]

Jordan Nichols (left) participates in fundraising event for Fill the Dome.
Photo: Ashna Oray | The Spud

By: Ashna Oray
Features Reporter

As a ninth grader, current senior Jordan Nichols didn't realize the impact older students would have on her. Now, four years later, she is trying to be the same influence for new high schoolers. Ever since her freshman year, Nichols has been participating in school clubs. She started off with Student Council and Key Club. 

Nichols started off as just a member of these clubs, but now she has a bigger role as the co-president of Student Council and the Secretary of Girl-up (which is a new club initiated by MHS senior Juli Hanson). Since Nichols started participating in clubs so early, she witnessed older students who were passionate about the goal of each club. 

“These people have inspired me to be involved in and support the well-being of the school,” said Nichols. Throughout her years at MHS, she shared that she has seen and experienced both things that she had enjoyed and didn’t enjoy. 

Something Nichols does enjoy is planning school events. “It’s a fun and great way for me to help improve our school,” said Nichols. She likes to be enthusiastic about school events because she wants to make the most of her time being a high schooler. Nichols enjoys being in all these clubs because they are a great way to get involved in your school, community, and it’s a good way to meet new people which she takes delight in. 

Nichols’ only goal that she hopes to achieve from being in multiple clubs is to make a positive impact on the school atmosphere. She wants to help students who attend Moorhead High now, and also set up a future for them so they have a good high school experience.  Her opinions and others’ opinions have inspired her to be able to serve and improve the functions, events, and atmosphere of Moorhead High School.


Spanish teacher excited to return to the classroom

posted Oct 13, 2019, 2:15 PM by Andrew Tichy

By: Brooke Storbakken
Features Reporter

Back in 2018 Senora Uphus found out she was pregnant and decided to take a break from school after the 2017-2018 term was over. She figured it would be hard to find a daycare for infant twins so she wanted to take a year break to watch the girls and settle in. Before they knew about the pregnancy and the term had ended for the school year, Uphus had been teaching at Moorhead High School for six years; and before that, she was in her home town of Grafton, North Dakota for four years.

At first, it was a little weird to not be at school, especially since my first day home with the twins was the first day of school.  I felt like I was missing out on everything at school but then I was so busy with the girls that I didn't think about school all the time after the first few weeks,” she said. 

While she was gone she spent all her time taking care of her twin daughters while her husband was at work for the day. She was able to bring her girls on walks every day and bring them to one of her friends who had also recently given birth. Usually, they would also go to the park where the girls loved to swing. She also brought her girls to Target when it was too cold for them to go on walks.

“Some days I missed teaching and some days I didn't. Most of the time I loved being home with the girls but some days were really challenging,” Uphus said. “It's not easy to get out of the house with twins, especially in the winter, so then I really missed the interaction with students. I am extremely grateful that I had the chance to stay home for the year though. I loved the time I had with the girls and am so thankful that I was able to watch them grow during their first year.” 

The break made a big impact on Uphus whether it was her whole lifestyle or just the year she was gone. She said she missed her students from last year and was quickly shown how stressful but rewarding it was to be a stay at home mom. Uphus never thought she would do anything other than teach after she found her love for teaching but she's extremely grateful she got the time she did with her girls.

To prepare for coming back to school she had to make sure to prep her class and make sure everything was how she wanted it to be before school started. Coming back to school has been a struggle for Uphus, trying to fit everything into her schedule with limited time but she is very happy to be back and teaching in room 116.


MHS welcomes new Art Teacher

posted Oct 13, 2019, 2:03 PM by Andrew Tichy

By: Nina Abdulaziz
Features Reporter

Moorhead High School’s newest art teacher, Joel Korynta, had his first day at Moorhead just like the rest of us. Korynta first taught in Bellevue, Washington for seven years before he moved back to Fargo in 2015. After moving back to Fargo, Korynta taught kindergarten through 5th grade at Legacy Elementary in West Fargo. He’s taught high school and elementary art classes including, digital photography and art and design. Korynta’s interest in art and teaching art began when he was just a kid. He drew cartoons and athletes from a variety of sports. He got many compliments from friends and family and continued to draw, improving his skills to become an art teacher. His favorite part about teaching art would be seeing his students go to the next level with their art and designs. “I love to help students get the confidence that they’re good at something, that they can do the rest of their life.” Korynta says. 

     After teaching in Fargo for four years, Korynta decided to move to Moorhead. Korynta liked what Moorhead public schools offered, such as the spanish immersion classes at Ellen Hopins. He enrolled his son in Ellen Hopkins and applied for an art teaching job at Moorhead High. He’s been wanting to get back into teaching high school for a while and Moorhead seemed like a good school. Teaching in Moorhead has been going great for Korynta.“It’s a really great school, really good community, lots of diverse kids, great art team!” Korynta says.


Long-term sub making lasting impact

posted Apr 29, 2019, 12:43 PM by Andrew Tichy

By: Isaac Leiseth

Mr. Smith is a long term sub currently working for Mrs. Hanson in the Math department. Mrs. Hanson (and therefore Mr. Smith) teaches advanced algebra and geometry. I personally have him in geometry, and I will talk a little bit about my experience with him later, but first I have some stuff from my interview with him. Teaching has always been part of who Mr. Smith is, and in his own words: “I've always enjoyed helping others learn. My mother operated an in-home child care facility while I was growing up. I helped her with the younger children, and helped with the preschool lessons. As I grew older, I noticed I really enjoyed helping other people when they were confused or struggling with an assignment. People told me I was good at explaining stuff, I guess I just ran with it.” Math, however, was a later interest. Again using Mr. Smith’s own words: “I was never an excellent math student. In the time I was raised, there was a large emphasis on memorization of times tables and other memorization stuff. I never thought I was good at math, because i wasn't too good at memorizing that stuff. It was when I started learning the basics of algebra that I really started to understand and enjoy math. It was like a puzzle, to find the value of the variable. I read a cool quote recently... Albert Einstein's uncle Jakob taught him how to do algebra. Uncle Jakob described algebra as ‘a merry science’. He said algebra could be compared to hunting a little animal. You didn't know the name of the animal, so you called it ‘x’. Then when you finally caught the animal you gave it the correct name”.

Teaching math is certainly where Mr. Smith’s skills lie, as he has taken over the job of an esteemed math teacher and continued to support the same students almost as well as Mrs. Hanson did herself. I asked him where he planned to go for here with his teaching, and his answer was very simple; “Teach, I suppose. I don't think I'm going to revolutionize the education system or anything like that. I certainly needs work, but I just want to help people learn math.” I also asked him about some favorites, specifically his favorite thing about teaching math and his favorite branch of math. To the first question he responded that his favorite part of teaching math at MHS is that “Most of the students seem to actually want to know how to do these things.” His favorite math branch was a little harder for him to answer, though he did mention combinatorics, which was a term that I had to look up.

I personally have Mr. Smith as a math teacher, and I think he is great. He has a passion that I rarely see in teachers in general, especially math teachers. While Mrs. Hanson may well be better at teaching math to all levels of comprehension, Mr. Smith has an infectious drive that, frankly, has renewed my interest in math just from me being around him. It’s followed up by conversations too: some of my favorite conversations at school this year have been with Mr. Smith, talking about everything from angles to 4+ dimensional objects to angles in 4+ dimensions. I think Mr. Smith is something special, and I’m incredibly excited to see if he continues to teach at Moorhead High. If he does, I definitely hope to have him again.


Born to teach: Ms Dunn nearing education milestone

posted Apr 29, 2019, 12:40 PM by Andrew Tichy

By: Ian Creech

Michelle Dunn is a ninth grade World History/AP Human Geography teacher has been teaching for over 24 years. With such a wealth of experience, it’s only natural for her to be a very effective teacher. After interviewing her, it was clear that her passion towards teaching was genuine, and perhaps that is where her skill in teaching comes from.

Michelle Dunn has always wanted to be a teacher. She cannot remember a time in her life where she did not want to be a teacher. “I have always wanted to be a teacher.  My mom was a 7th grade geography teacher at Agassiz Middle School and my dad was an Agriculture Economics teacher at NDSU so I always was surrounded by teachers. I have always enjoyed working with others and teaching others passions I have and I like making connections, which education offers all of these,” said Dunn. It is interesting that Dunn ended up following in her mother’s footsteps, also teaching Geography, but at a bit of a higher level. Because she had so much experience with teaching from her parents two jobs, it makes sense for her to be interested in a teaching career ever since she was a young girl.

Aside from wanting to be a teacher ever since she was young, it seems that she has absolutely no intention of ever switching jobs. “I believe my only career will be a teacher.  I like being in the classroom and making direct contact and engagement with students.  This career brings me so much joy that I couldn't see myself doing anything else,” said Dunn,“What is great about teaching is doing something I am passionate and love every single day.  I love coming to school and being in the classroom with students. I love the energy and laughter I get with working with others and this job keeps me young and happy.” It’s clear that Dunn’s passion for teaching is very likely what makes her such an effective instructor.

Michelle Dunn is a very skilled teacher. Being around teachers for her whole life and then having 24 years of teaching experience up her belt make her a very effective mentor. It is pretty obvious that Moorhead High School is lucky to have her teaching here.


Beloved counselor, mentor to retire after nearly three decades at MHS

posted Feb 24, 2019, 1:43 PM by Andrew Tichy

By: Isaac Leiseth

If you have gone to Moorhead High within the last 29 years, chances are that you’ve heard the name Toni Bach at least once. Toni is a school counselor at MHS and has worked here for 29 years, along with another four years of school counseling experience elsewhere and another seven years of teaching experience. She will be retiring at the end of this year, 2019, and spending some well deserved time to herself. In honor of her retirement I interviewed Toni to hear about what teaching at MHS has been like for her, and what she has learned from it. One of the first things I asked her was what inspired her to be a school counselor, and she stated that it was “something that I didn’t really have when I was a student,” and that she also did it because of a desire to do more than just teach. I asked her about favorite memories and what she’ll miss when she leaves Moorhead. She said that a lot of her favorite memories involve her therapy dog, Rosco, who she had with her for ten years, and that a lot of her funny memories involved technology not working. She told about a point when all the teachers had a master key, and there was essentially a laser tripwire that you had to step over to deactivate the alarm system, or it would set off the alarm and call the police. Long story short, a number of times someone would step in just the wrong spot or wear a long jacket and set it off by accident. I asked her what she thought the greatest value of education is, and her response was very simple; “Education, and knowledge, is power. [it’s] power to adapt to change.”


As our interview continued, Toni continued to show her wisdom and love for MHS and its students and teachers, which inspired me to ask a series of final questions, all of which involved advice. First I asked her what she thought was most important for MHS moving forward, to which she replied “I see a need to be more understanding of other cultures,” along with security and decreasing the student-teacher and student-counselor ratios. According to the American Counselor Association, schools should aim for a ratio of 250 students for every counselor, while MHS sits at around 400:1. It is worth noting that this is better than the national average, which is 491:1. In addition, Toni stated that it’s hard to learn when you have “30 kids in one class.” The second piece of advice that I asked for was for current middle schoolers who will be moving to MHS next year, or years after that. Toni stated that coming to the high school is a big step up, and it requires a positive attitude. In addition, she stated “With great power comes great responsibility, but you’ll also have great opportunities.” This seems to be the common advice for future freshmen, which I once heard summed up by a fellow student as “My best advice for being a successful freshman at the high school is don’t be a freshman.” I then asked for advice for current students like myself, to which she stated, find what makes you “feel alive” and pursue it. Finally, I asked her if she had any advice for teachers. Her response was to keep a positive attitude and to focus on relationships. She stated that everyone has different strengths, and you can’t know these strengths without forming a relationship with the students.


Toni Bach has been a staple of the MHS education system for so long, and she’ll be sorely missed when she is gone. We at MHS wish Toni the best of luck moving forward.


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