News in Review: March 2015

Maddy Jones, Author

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This is the third 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.

march news in review

A collage representing campus and community news for March. Photos by Emma Chiu, Amy Leung, Jeanette Wong, William Zhou, Horace Meng, Vivian Wu, Anna Lu and Alex Merkle-Raymond.

Stories you need to know

Community support in response to student death

The Paly administration and Palo Alto community provided wide-ranging support options for students following the suicide of a student on March 9. Such action was taken on March 11 when service dogs were on campus and Unity Club created a safe zone during Lunch that week. One new support system introduced was the email communication system that allows students to email their concerns about themselves or their friends to [email protected]. Additionally, the smartphone application 7 Cups of Tea supports students by offering an anonymous community to offer emotional support. The Board of Education held an open forum on March 10 regarding academic climate and a meeting on March 24 to discuss student safety and health and a variety of counseling services. The discussion about students’ wellbeing continued with a teen forum at the Mitchell Park Library, which brought together teens and adult facilitators. On April 1, students were invited to attend a forum held in the Student Activities Office during lunch, which was attended by the school board and Superintendent Max McGee.

Buena Vista efforts continue with rally and support 

Community members spoke out this month to voice their opinion that the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park should stay open. The future of the park lies in limbo, with many trying to figure out how to preserve affordable housing units. A rally held on March 9 of roughly 250 people spoke out in support of keeping Buena Vista open. As the month continued, more efforts were made to support Buena Vista. For example, Sen. Jerry Hill and state Assemblyman Rich Gordon co-signed a letter to investigate potential funding sources to preserve Buena Vista. The fight to keep Buena Vista open will continue on into April, with a City Council hearing set.

March break madness

March featured some awkward scheduling, with an unofficial mid-March break for most students. With local holiday on Friday, March 13 and two days off on March 17 and 18 for those who did not take the CAHSEE, the situation created an almost-six-day weekend that was broken up by a school day on Monday. Controversy surrounded whether there would be a higher number of absences for that Monday.

March Career Month features range of speakers


Seventeen speakers presented during Career Month, covering a range of topics. Photo by Jeanette Wong.

March was Career Month, with the first two weeks featuring the annual speaker series. Unlike in past years, a student leadership team helped organize the event, which took four months to plan. Some speakers brought along supplementary items to their career talks, one of which was a Google driverless car.

Accomplishments and accolades

ASB holds elections

As the Paly campus was covered in Associated Student Body campaign posters throughout March, so were students’ newsfeeds. Voting for each grades’ President and Vice President and ASB’s President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer was held from March 25 to 27. The candidates’ speeches reached a larger audience this year through the broadcasting on InFocus and the town hall Q&A held on March 24. The Paly Voice’s own William Zhou, voted ASB Student Body President, also reached out by commenting on his personal experience of the benefits of being a part of an organization like ASB. Election results were announced on March 27.

SciOly wins at regionals, moves onto States

Paly’s Science Olympiad team placed first out of 25 teams at the Santa Clara Regional Science Olympiad competition on March 14. The team had been preparing for regionals since October. With this win, the team qualified to attend the State competition on April 18 in Turlock, Calif.


The Palo Alto High School Science Olympiad team members pose with their medals as they celebrate their win at the Santa Clara Regionals. Photo by Horace Meng.

Robotics wins Entrepreneurship Award at regional competition

Paly’s Robotics Team was surprised at the Central Valley Regionals competition earlier in March when they received the Entrepreneurship Award. The team’s 30-page business plan won them the award. Robotics’ last competition of the season will be at the Silicon Valley Regionals, which are held from April 1 to 4.

Debate competes at national qualifying tourney, wins National Championships

The speech and debate team continues to impress, winning the Western Novice National Championships for the third consecutive year. Freshman Tanay Krishna deserves a shoutout for winning the novice devision of the competition. In addition, four team members were selected to compete in the National Qualifying tournament at the end of March.

Spring musical “Drowsy Chaperone” was a hit

Paly theatre’s comical spring show, “The Drowsy Chaperone,” was a hit when it opened on March 6. The Paly Voice’s own Adele Bloch played the Drowsy Chaperone, who offered comic relief and played off the humorous cast. As its last major performance, the Theatre Department deserves a massive round of applause for its big finale.

Second annual Battle of the Bands held at Paly

The second annual Battle of the Bands competition was held on March 27 in the Haymarket Theatre. The event — which featured six Bay Area bands, including Paly student bands like Paper Islands and Koitus — helped raise funds for the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula’s art and music programs.

New program Global Glimpse plans study abroad summer trip


Juniors Rebecca Sunnerås Jonsson, Claire Krugler and Eli Craveiro Frankel set up a bake sale in downtown Palo Alto as a part of the Global Glimpse program. Global Glimpse attendees are expected to fundraise in preparation for their trips to Latin American countries. Photo courtesy of Minyoung Kim.

As a new program introduced this year, Paly’s Global Glimpse chapter began planning for a study abroad trip. Social studies teachers nominated students they thought would be good fits, and 20 were ultimately selected for the program, which entails experiencing life and engaging in a variety of community service activities in a rural community in Latin America this summer.

Theater students compete at statewide competition in Southern California

Six Paly theater students deserve a shoutout for participating in a 20-person group from various parts of California that performed “Hello! My Baby” in Southern California late in March. This statewide performance, a part of the 2015 California State Thespian Festival, required the students to audition last April and to spend three weekends in Los Angeles to rehearse for 14-hour days.

Youth Speaks Out art exhibit debuts

The fourth annual Youth Speaks Out art exhibition debuted on March 20 and will run until April 14. A variety of media is displayed, ranging from photography to painting to sculptures, all which are presented anonymously.


Gunn freshman Lily Liu plays the guzheng in the Palo Alto Art Center courtyard as attendees file into the gallery at the Youth Speaks Out gallery. Photo by Jeanette Wong.

Paly Choirs releases album

Paly Choirs fundraised to release its third full-length album throughout the month of March (the kickstarter is open through April!). Entitled “A Day in the Life,” the album includes a track of songs previously performed by Madrigal Choir, Concert Choir and select a cappella groups in concert.

InFocus attends Student Television Network convention

InFocus traveled down to Southern California at the end of the month to attend the Student Television Network convention for the first time. Students will compete there to show their ability to produce a variety of video types, which allows InFocus to try out their new equipment.