Below is an interactive college map that details the college(s) that Palo Alto High School faculty members attended. This map will be updated as more information is made available.
As Palo Alto High School seniors prepare to say goodbye to Paly, each student embarks on his or her respective journey around the world, whether it be to a different college or country. Amidst the end-of-the-year celebrations, it’s easy to forget that each of our teachers made similar decisions not long ago. The Paly Voice gathered data from Paly faculty members to mark where each of them attended college.
The faculty members, who have experienced these same transitional phases while attending different alma maters, are in a strong position to share words of wisdom with students who are exploring or venturing into the next step of their lives.
College adviser Sandra Cernobori, who transferred from a community college to a public university after two years, advocates for students to consider all types of post-high school paths.
“College isn’t for everyone,” Cernobori said. “I think taking a gap year can be wonderful for many students and an opportunity to take a break to relax and recharge.”
English teacher Melissa Laptalo, who attended a public university, advises students to be flexible with the major at their chosen college.
“Stay open-minded about what you’re pursuing in terms of your major,” Laptalo said. “What people came into college thinking that they were interested in shifted, especially given the different classes that they took for their general education.”
After having a positive experience at the College of San Mateo, Cernobori recommends a community college pathway, despite the stigma around many community colleges.
“I think there’s a stigma that somehow it [community college] is less rigorous or interesting, or not a real college,” Cernobori said. “I think that it is what you make of it and that it can be a very enriching experience.”
Principal secretary Carolyn Benfield believes that in the end, it is one’s character that will define the person, not the college he or she attended.
“I think that there comes a time in your life when your identity is not wrapped up in where you went to college,” Benfield said. “When you’re 18, that’s a huge part of who you think you are. What people are going to care about is how interesting you are, how kind you are, how fun you are to be with, and someday, what kind of parent you are.”