News in Review: February 2015

    This is the second installment of the News in Review series, in which the month’s news will be summarized. The news is split into two sections: “Stories you need to know,” which highlights the news that had a wider impact on the Palo Alto High School student body and Palo Alto community, and “Accomplishments and accolades,” which highlights news stories that had an impact on a smaller group but are still worthy of recognition.

    PicMonkey Collage

    A collage representing campus and local news stories of February 2015. Photos by (from left to right) Aidan Maese-Czeropski, Royce Wang, Reid Walters, Emma Chiu, Takaaki Sagawa, Alex Merkle-Raymond, Maya McNealis, George Lu and Gary Chen.

    Stories you need to know

    President Barack Obama visits Stanford, discusses cybersecurity

    President Barack Obama gives a keynote speech at the White House summit at Stanford University on . Photo by Aidan Maese-Czeropski.

    President Barack Obama gives a keynote speech at the White House summit at Stanford University on Feb. 13. Photo by Aidan Maese-Czeropski.

    After arriving at the San Francisco International Airport, President Barack Obama held a White House summit at Stanford University on Feb. 13 to spark a conversation with tech and business leaders about cybersecurity and consumer protection. Obama signed an executive order to encourage companies to improve the way they share threat information, and the speaking panels discussed ways to increase the cooperation between private and public sectors to deter cyber threats.

    Paly wraps up six year WASC cycle, announces self-study report results

    Culminating the end of a six year cycle, Palo Alto High School’s Western Association of Schools and Colleges team announced the results of its 500-page self-study report.The WASC team was comprised of administrators, parents and students who combined their efforts to evaluate the effectiveness of Paly’s current methods. The assessment produced three goals for the next WASC cycle: systems alignment, student engagement and innovation. This week, a WASC team will be visiting to evaluate Paly and assess the validity of its WASC report – so, don’t be too weirded out if you see someone you don’t know sitting in on your class. The WASC committee will later present its evaluations, which will determine how long of a cycle the next accreditation process will be.

    New PAUSD committee working to reduce achievement gap

    Palo Alto Unified School District’s new Minority Achievement and Talent Development Advisory Committee continues to convene in order to address the district’s achievement gap for students of color and lower socioeconomic standings. The committee consists of students, faculty, parents and other community members and is focused on identifying and eventually resolving key issues. The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. today at the PAUSD District Office Board Room.

    Former U.S. Secretary of Energy speaks on climate change

    Steven Chu begins his presentation by talking about the issue of climate change and how current energy consumption patterns are contributing to the problem. Photo by George Lu.

    Steven Chu begins his presentation by talking about the issue of climate change and how current energy consumption patterns are contributing to the problem. Photo by George Lu.

    Nobel laureate and former U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu discussed climate change in the Media Arts Center on Feb. 25 during his talk “Energy, Climate Change and a Path Forward.” Chu talked about subjects ranging from the impact of our current consumption of energy, to the importance of thinking about the future impact of environmentally harmful present human activities, to the shrinking timeframe to take mitigation action on climate change. This was the first presentation of the MAC booster-sponsored speaker series.

    Mayor gives State of Palo Alto Address

    City of Palo Alto Mayor Karen Holman gave her State of Palo Alto Address on Feb. 18 at the Mitchell Park Community Center. In the address, Holman highlighted three main goals: maintaining a balance of retail vs. technology business space in order to focus on the walkability of the city, encouraging youth to take action in things they are passionate about and giving youth a voice by creating a communication channel between them and the city through town hall-style meetings.

    City-wide discussion on school climate expands to include student body

    The Associated Student Body and the Paly administration invited students to voice their opinions on anything related to their experiences at Paly in an open student forum on Feb. 26. The open forum allowed students to speak directly with Principal Kim Diorio and PAUSD Superintendent Max McGee. Though the turnout totaled just around two dozen, students offered a number of ideas and suggestions to address ideas like the effectiveness of Advisory, the issue of laning and the lack of openness surrounding mental health and wellness.

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    ASB’s modifies Sadie Hawkins dance challenges gender roles and stereotypes, announces Prom theme

    ASB hosted an “all-inclusive” Sadie Hawkins dance on Feb. 20 for which all students, regardless of gender, were welcome to ask whomever they wanted to attend with them. At the dance, ASB announced the “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” Prom theme. Ticket sales begin on March 9 and end on April 10.

    Accomplishments and accolades

    Art in Unusual Places week exposes campus to student work

    Props to all those artists on campus for getting showcased during the last week of February’s “Arts in Unusual Places” events which brought out various student work in the traditional, digital and performing arts to the larger Paly community. The performances included artwork posted along buildings, glass-blown pieces hung from trees on the Quad, an a cappella performance outside the MAC and Paly band performances next to the math and history buildings and on the Quad, among others. The “Arts in Unusual Places” week culminated with an annual all-day photojournalism event in the Media Arts Center with award-winning photojournalist Ed Kashi.

    SciBowl team wins third at regionals

    Paly Science Bowl members (from left to right) sophomore Samarth Venkatasubramanian, junior Andrew Lee, senior Jasen Liu, senior Matthew Li and senior Gary Chen pose for a photo after placing third at regionals. Photo courtesy of Gary Chen.

    Paly Science Bowl members (from left to right) sophomore Samarth Venkatasubramanian, junior Andrew Lee, senior Jasen Liu, senior Matthew Li and senior Gary Chen pose for a photo after placing third at regionals. Photo courtesy of Gary Chen.

    Congrats to the Paly Science Bowl team for placing third at the regional competition. As the last SciBowl competition of the season, the team ended on a high note, especially for seniors Gary Chen, Matthew Li and Jasen Liu since it was their final SciBowl contest.

    Paly hosts second annual TEDx speaking series

    Shoutout to Paly’s TEDx Club for hosting a number of student, teacher and professional speakers throughout the school day on Feb. 9 for its second TEDx since the club’s founding. The presentations covered a variety of topics, such as the importance of scientific journalism, the stigma around introversion and the implementation of blended learning in classrooms.

    Second pearl milk tea shop opens downtown

    The numerous Pearl Milk Tea addicts rejoiced to hear that Gong Cha opened on Feb. 14 as the city’s second PMT shop. Though the store has received some mixed reviews, it provides Palo Altans with more options than just the ever-popular T4 and Castro favorites. Gong Cha is located at 439 Waverly St. and is open from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Paly fencers place first in Junior Olympics

    Congratulations are in order for Paly fencers senior Royce Wang and junior Julian Knodt, who won gold at this year’s Junior Olympics for the Cardinal Fencing junior men’s sabre team and the individual junior men’s foil division, respectively.

    Paly sports teams advanced to Central Coast Section competitions

    After strong regular seasons, all winter sports athletes should be recognized for their hard work and contributions to the Paly athletics program.

    Girls’ soccer defeated Menlo-Atherton High School by 1-0 on Feb. 28 and will advance to the semifinal round of CCS against Santa Teresa High School on March 4. Boys’ soccer won the first round of CCS but fell to Bellarmine in the quarterfinals on Feb. 28 by a score of 2-0.

    After going undefeated, the girls’ basketball team lost in the first round of CCS to St. Ignatius College Preparatory, which is ranked fifth in the nation, on Feb. 27 and will play Scotts Valley High School this Tuesday, according to Maxpreps. Boys’ basketball narrowly lost to Santa Teresa in the second round of CCS after a first-round bye, according to Maxpreps.

    Boys’ wrestling went to CCS, most notably with senior Chioke Bryant-Anderson placing fifth in his weight category and senior captain James Giaccia qualifying for the state competition after placing third in his weight division. Senior Alexa Austin and sophomore Sarah Aguilar both placed first in their respective weight divisions at CCS but ultimately lost in consolation rounds at the State Championships, according to Austin.

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