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Foundation donates funds for Media Arts furniture, equipment

Published March 25, 2014

The Brin-Wojcicki Foundation is providing funds for auxiliary furniture and equipment to be used in the new Palo Alto High School Media Arts Center, which is set to open in August 2014, according to The Campanile adviser Esther Wojcicki.

The Campanile adviser Esther Wojcicki and free-speech icon Mary Beth Tinker shake hands at a press conference during lunch today in front of the Palo Alto High School Media Arts Center, which is scheduled to open August 2014. The Brin-Wojcicki Foundation, established by Wojcicki’s daughter Anne Wojcicki and her husband Sergey Brin, donated $81,500 to support the building. Tinker is on a Student Press Law Center-sponsored tour across the nation. Photo by Lizzie Chun.

The Campanile adviser Esther Wojcicki and free-speech icon Mary Beth Tinker shake hands at a press conference during lunch today in front of the Palo Alto High School Media Arts Center, which is scheduled to open August 2014. The Brin-Wojcicki Foundation, established by Wojcicki’s daughter Anne Wojcicki and her husband Sergey Brin, donated $81,500 to support the building. Tinker is on a Student Press Law Center-sponsored tour across the nation. Photo by Lizzie Chun.

Wojcicki made the announcement at a press conference during lunch today. The Brin-Wojcicki Foundation is led by Wojcicki’s daughter, 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki, and her husband, Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

The Media Arts Boosters had previously raised $108,370 to support the construction project, but the Brin-Wojcicki Foundation’s donation has brought the total to $189,870, according to the boosters.

The foundation will help fund extras in the building’s courtyard, classrooms, computer lab, banquet supplies, kitchen, atrium, journalism library and broadcast bay, according to the press release. The Palo Alto Unified School District financed the construction of the Media Arts Center, and outfitted its spaces with furniture and technology, using funds from Measure A and a $2.7 million Career-Technical-Education grant from the State of California.

Paly parent Debbie Crouch, who heads the Media Arts Boosters with parent Carol Chalmers, presented Wojcicki with flowers in appreciation for the donation.

“We’d like to thank you [Wojcicki] and your family for your incredible generosity and for your dedication to Paly,” Crouch said. “It’s unbelievable, so thank you.”

The announcement was made to honor free-speech advocate Mary Beth Tinker, who visited Paly as a part of her Student Press Law Center-sponsored Tinker tour with SPLC attorney Mike Hiestand.

Tinker, who attended the lunchtime press conference that announced the Wojcicki-Brin donation, noted the importance of free-speech for students and conveyed her appreciation for Paly’s journalism program.

“We’re very happy to be traveling around the country, talking to students, talking to teachers, encouraging you to use your rights and to make a better world,” Tinker said. “Stand up for the things that you care about, for the issues that affect you. So many students have no say in their schools… so I’m very heartened to see that you have a voice and that you have this wonderful media arts center, and it’s really a look into the future of where we can go.”

Tinker and Hiestand also spoke today to a Beginning Journalism class during fourth period and later to more than 400 students during Tutorial at the Haymarket Theater.

Donations are still needed to support field trips, summer camp and convention scholarships, guest speakers and the building’s grand opening celebration, according to the press release. Donations can be made through the Paly WebStore.


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