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The Paly Voice

The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

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Tuesday Tunes: The iconic Bungarden

final bungarden
Advanced Placement United States History teacher John Bungarden holds a Yoda doll while in his classroom. In addition to playing music before an APUSH test, Bungarden will occasionally place the doll in front of the classroom while students are working. “It’s not just the song,” Bungarden said. “We’ve got Yoda. We had the Ball of Knowledge but it broke and I haven’t been able to find a replacement for it.” Photo by Adrienne Kwok.

Play the song “Don’t Worry Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin to a former Advanced Placement United States History student, and chances are that they will remember the tune — and the test that went along with it.

This week, The Paly Voice sat down with history teacher John Bungarden and asked him to compile a list of his top 10 favorite songs, and most importantly, to explain why he plays music before his students tests.

Ever since his first year of APUSH teaching at Paly, Bungarden has played songs before tests in an attempt to make his students happier.

“Its intent is to have them smile, and some students do,” Bungarden said. “’One is ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’, because when students come in to take the test, some are nervous.”

The tradition has stayed constant throughout his 15 teaching years at Paly and is still going strong.

“I’ve been told that Ms. [Melinda] Mattes will play that song just to see who the former AP US History students are because they’ll flinch,” Bungarden said.

“Don’t Worry Be Happy” is the primary tune played before tests until the final, an annual occasion marked by a special song.

“On the last test I use a different song because it’s the last test of the year,” he said. “We get used to listening to ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ and then coming in for the course final, we use something different.”

Bungarden personally enjoys listening to his favorite type of music, classic rock.

“It was high school when I started paying attention to folk and folk rock,” he said.

Included in his top ten list are songs of other genres as well, including those by Simon and Garfunkel and Louis Armstrong.

Like a Rolling Stone — Bob Dylan
Won’t Get Fooled Again — The Who
Don’t Worry Be Happy — Bobby McFerrin – “That would be the shout out to APUSH students.”
Miserere — Andrea Bocelli
What A Wonderful World — Louis Armstrong
You Can’t Always Get What You Want — The Rolling Stones
Circle Game — Joni Mitchell
The Boxer — Simon and Garfunkel
Moon River — Andy Williams
Take Five — Dave Brubeck

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Adrienne Kwok, Author

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