To help improve his English skills, Niklas Oldeen, an exchange student from Sweden, signed up for Brainerd High School's newspaper class this semester.
Oldeen's dedication to the class and the improvements he made in his writing skills earned him this week's dedication as Fine Arts Student of the Week.
Brainerd High School is Oldeen's first experience as an exchange student. However, it is not his first time in America. He traveled to New York three years ago.
Oldeen joined Fifth Street Journal because he finds writing interesting. He also wanted to improve his English skills, which he has.
Oldeen is the newspaper's sports editor. He edits stories, as well as writes sports copy. He also writes a few editorials.
"I like writing editorials the most," said Oldeen. "It is a way of expressing my own opinion. It also feels pretty cool when people come up to you and tell you they agree with what you wrote."
So far, Oldeen has written editorials on what it is like to be an exchange student; whether President George Bush is doing a good job as president and whether he tried hard enough to avoid war; and whether America should eliminate the penny.
"I think they (pennies) are annoying," he said. "It wouldn't be a bad thing. You could round the change up or down.
"Some students were trying to tell me the value of a penny, but it did not convince me."
Oldeen said at times he felt stressed when doing Fifth Street Journal assignments because of the deadlines. But after awhile he said meeting the deadlines became easier because he knew what story to write and how to write it.
Art focus: Fifth Street Journal
Art activities: None
Favorite subjects: Triathlon, television productions and Fifth Street Journal
Most memorable fine arts achievement: None
Artist most admired: Mark Knopfler
Favorite movie: "Dumb and Dumber"
Favorite TV program: "That '70s Show"
Favorite song: "Fortunate Son"
Parents: Kerstin and Ole Oldeen of Gvle, Sweden, and his host family is Mark and Cathy Gray of Brainerd
One of the skills Oldeen has a hard time with is his grammar. He said no matter if a story is in draft or final form there is always something wrong. He said students have three deadlines for a story that are two days apart.
After high school, Oldeen would like to go to college to major in engineering. He would like to work in the field of media technology. He may consider a career in writing, but said he is more interested in signs and technology.
Planning a career in engineering is one reason why Oldeen decided to become an exchange student. He said knowing a second language is a benefit in the field. At this time, Oldeen is not sure if where he will attend college.
Oldeen does not plan to fly back home to Gvle, Sweden, until July. He wants to do some traveling. When he arrives home he then will have to attend one more school year before he graduates.
Oldeen said his experience so far at BHS has been good. He said the best part about America is having sports a part of high school. He said it more convenient with practices after school. In Sweden sports are not affiliated with the schools.
When Oldeen first arrived to Brainerd he said the culture was pretty much the same as in Sweden. He said the main difference between the two countries is most students in Brainerd drive their vehicles to school and in Sweden the students either walk, bike or take the bus to school.
"Students here take the car everywhere," he said. "In Sweden you have to be 18 to get a driver's license."
Oldeen said one of his well liked foods he tried in Brainerd that he had never eaten before were corn dogs. He noticed America has a lot of deep fried food.
Ashley Magnuson, senior, Symphonic Band: Magnuson has been a member of Symphonic Band for three years. She received a superior rating at the solo and ensemble contest.
Heidi Johnson, senior, A Cappella Choir: Johnson has been a member of A Cappella Choir where she has been the soprano section leader. She received a superior rating at the solo and ensemble contest, has been in the All-Conference Choir and is a Windfall member.
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