Things I Learned By Being A Hellgate Student (That PowerPoints Didn’t Teach Me)

Alexander Blaide, Editor

     The start of a new school year means the start of learning new things. While the teachers had their PowerPoints teaching you school policies and rules, there are certain things that they just can’t teach you in a presentation, you just have to learn them through being a Hellgate student. Thankfully, you’re reading the Hellgate Lance, the newspaper written by and for Hellgate students, so I’m here to tell you just a few of the things I learned by being a student.


One of the lead contaminated water fountains, bagged and shut off.
Photo Credit: Alexander Blaide

Let’s start with two things that might not be the most obvious: The vending machines and drinking fountains. By now, I’m sure that you’ve noticed specific drinking fountains that either have a plastic bag covering them or just don’t work. Well, sometime during the 2021-2022 school year, those drinking fountains were found to contain dangerous amounts of lead and were shut down and replaced with the water coolers at various spots around the school. All of the newer drinking fountains with water bottle fillers don’t have lead and are safe to drink from. A good rule of thumb is to avoid the fountains that look older than your parents.

The vending machine nearest to the lower gym is another machine that doesn’t work
Photo Credit: Alexander Blaide

     In a previous article, I wrote about the issues regarding the Hellgate vending machines, especially the ones you see at the far end of the Commons. They’re completely unreliable and don’t dispense any snacks, instead just taking your money outright. Calling the 1-800 number does nothing and it’s better to avoid the vending machines unless you think paying $1.75 for Skittles that you didn’t want is worth it.

     If you’re a student who is able to drive, you’ve noticed by now the complete and utter lack of student parking. In fact, the two parking lots are exclusively staff only. As Hellgate students, learning how to parallel park is super beneficial because for most of us, that’s our only option. There are those parking spaces in front of the school, by the bike racks, but I don’t recommend using them. The city Parking Commission is starting to crack down on those spaces and will ticket you. First a warning, and then $20 per ticket. Also, the streets around Hellgate are cleaned on the second Tuesday of specific months. There are signs that make those dates clear. On those specific days, do not park near the school. Parking a little further away from the school is far less of an inconvenience than having your car towed away. 

     Let’s talk about something outside of school: Taco Sano. Taco Sano runs a super amazing promotion where if you sign up for rewards on their website, on your birthday, you can get a free burrito. This is honored year round. The school could be on summer break and you can still get a delicious burrito for free from a fantastic local restaurant. 

One of the yellow lines spread around the school, keeping students on the first floor.
Photo Credit: Alexander Blaide

     Around the school, especially by the stairs, there are yellow lines on the floor and usually there will be an administrator there to watch them during lunch. Those lines are just to keep people on the first floor and out of specific areas during lunch because of the mess that can be left behind by students. They seem like a complete hindrance to your life, but when you have an open campus like Hellgate, there’s space out in the courtyard, a nearby park, and plenty of local coffee shops and restaurants to get lunch and eat, so they aren’t an issue you need to worry about.

     Lastly, as students of Hellgate or any high school, you’re gonna have issues with people. There might be people who were best friends with you in elementary school, but aren’t anymore. There might be people who were your enemies and still are your enemies. Guess what? It doesn’t matter. Five years from now, you will forget all the people you had issues with and will be moving on with your lives. Most of the time, people are too busy worrying about themselves to focus on what you do, so do whatever makes you happy. Also, sign up for activities and clubs. Being involved in things can encourage you to do and find things you never knew you’d love. A lot of my closest friends came as a result of me joining choir and theater. I never knew until then that I wanted to be an entertainer, so joining an activity can be one of the best things you can do.

     Hellgate High School is a fantastic environment for learning to be who you want to be. Sure, you’ll have your ups and downs, but they’re all part of the process.