2013: Semester in review
by Kate Marinkovich and Becca Raffel
Published December 19, 2013
The fall semester of 2013-2014 is coming to a close, and before we move on into the new year, The Paly Voice would like to ask you to reflect upon these past five months. We want to remember the tradition and the change, and what these mean to Palo Alto High School. Before moving on into the new year, we present our lovely audience with this semester in a comprehensive review.
The fall sports teams saw many monumental moments this semester:
The first ever girls’ golf team won the Central Coast Section playoffs and advanced to the California State Championships, where it took fourth place.
The boys’ water polo team (24-6, 10-2) secured a 13-12 nail-biting victory over crosstown rival Gunn High School after losing to them the previous three times. This victory ended Gunn’s season and advanced the Vikings to the CCS finals, where they fell to Bellarmine Preparatory.
The girls’ tennis team also had an impressive season, advancing to the CCS semifinals before falling to Monta Vista High School.
The volleyball team (25-11, 8-4) took second place in CCS and advanced to the Northern California semifinals, only to fall to the the eventual state champions.
The football team (6-6, 4-3) also made it to the CCS playoffs, where it lost in the second round to St. Francis High School.
Long-time football head coach Earl Hansen announced his plans to retire as head football coach and athletic director at the end of the school year.
This semester also marked to the last seasons of fall and winter sports to be played in the Big Gym, which will be torn down and replaced by a new gym this spring .
The Associated Student Body brought many changes to the 2013 Spirit Week, including a new scoring system, a brunch rally and several new activities at the rallies. However, despite positive changes in the system tensions between classes ran high throughout the week. Food fights and physical altercations disrupted class scores and school harmony. In the end, Spirit Week ended on a positive note with a senior win and a Homecoming Dance that had the highest attendance of any Paly dance in the last seven years.
Principal Kim Diorio wraps up her first semester as principal. A streaking incident on the first day of school marked her entrance with a memorable event. She sent a letter home regarding the incident, and involved the Palo Alto Police Department in her statements.
Assistant principal Vicki Kim also joined the front office for the first time this semester.
Diorio implemented a new attendance policy early this semester. As of last year, Saturday school was no longer a consequence for unexcused absences, but due to an excessive amount of chronic truants, Diorio re-implemented Saturday School. Other notable changes to the attendance policy included an increased window to call in to clear absences and an auto-dialer phone call that called students’ homes twice, instead of once, to alert families of a child’s absence.
Also significant this semester, the School Board voted to change the current calendar schedule to one less popular among Paly students. The Paly Voice released an editorial agreeing with the majority of Paly students, urging the School Board to keep the current calendar.
The Western Association of Schools and Colleges, a process that occurs every six years, went under way this year at Paly. It prompts students and administrators to discuss any problems or ideas that can be addressed on campus.
Construction continued to be prevalent around Paly campus this fall.
The new media arts building is rapidly under way, with speculation that it could be functioning by mid-spring.
The historic 86-year-old Big Gym is set to be torn down this spring, which will move Paly sports to off-campus locations in addition to relocating physical education and dance classes on campus. Amidst the construction, the pool will be out of order as well.
A new two-story classroom building will feature 27 classrooms to be used by the math and social science departments when it opens in 2014. Other plans include the construction of a new performing arts center, although this building will not open for a couple of years.
Multiple factors played into this semester of student life, including entertainment on the Quad, changes at Town and Country, and a popular new course.
This semester the Quad transformed from a lawn to a stage, showcasing everything from EVENT to various kinds of performances. It began with Homecoming: this year ASB held a “best asking competition,” which prompted extravagant and hilarious public askings to occur throughout the month of October. To round out the month, student activities director Matt Hall personally funded and hosted a best halloween costume contest. Appropriately named H2C2 (Hall’s Halloween Costume Contest), the competition awarded “caish” prizes to winners of three categories: best individual costume, best group costume and best teacher costume. Next up was EVENT, a fantasy football league in which a group of Paly seniors joined together on the Quad to take part in often humiliating public activities. Last, but certainly not least, Paly Rocks ended the semester with a successful performance on the Quad.
This semester brought yet another new restaurant to Town and Country: Gott’s Burgers. The venue was welcomed positively by Paly students, and continues to be a popular lunch spot.
Among one of the new classes this semester is Comedy Lit, an engaging course full of laughs and parodies that begins with old Greek humor studies and moves along to Shakespeare and eventually modern American humor studies. To conclude the first semester ever of the class, students will perform their own stand-up comedy routines.
And we can’t forget about the queen herself, Miley Cyrus. She kicked off this semester with a provocative VMA performance that produced varied reactions from the student body, and has continued this trend throughout the rest of the year. The influence of pop culture on the adolescent population is significant, and her influence was the most powerful of all; she was named one of the 10 most fascinating people of 2013 by Barbara Walters. We may be divided in opinion, some of us love her provocative attitudes and find her to be a fantastic source of entertainment while others find her behavior repulsively inappropriate, but we can all agree that her presence was strong all semester long.
All in all, it has been an exciting semester here at Paly. Going into the new year, we hope you will embrace the change and excitement that began this semester, as well as make new changes and mark new milestones.
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