Meet Paly’s juggling club

Madison Abbassi, Senior Staff Writer

Three years ago, Jeremy Yun set a New Year’s resolution: he wanted to learn how to juggle. Today, as a senior at Palo Alto High School, he leads the juggling club, where students across all grades gather on the quad to practice new tricks together.

Juggling Club President Jeremy Yun demonstrates his current favorite juggling trick, the four-ball mills mess. “Competitive juggling is very technical, but there are other more performance-based forms,” Yun said. Many of the club members also practice skills beyond traditional ball-tossing, ranging from batons to poi balls. (Photo: Madison Abbassi)

According to Yun, Paly’s Juggling Club comes from about a decade of tradition, beginning with former Activities Director Matt Hall.

“Mr. Hall used to run the juggling club before he left, so I think however long he has been at PAUSD is how long the juggling club has been around,” Yun said.

According to his LinkedIn page, Mr. Hall started at Paly in 2011. Although Hall is currently teaching Japanese at Gunn High School, he has maintained his connection to Paly juggling by hosting an annual Game of Throws event on campus, typically in January.

“It was cancelled the past two years because of COVID,” Yun said. “I went the year before COVID and it was really cool, there were hundreds of people from all over the country and some crazy good pro jugglers even flew internationally to come. Mr. Hall attends a bunch of juggling conventions all around the world so he knows a lot of people.”

Yun said the Paly Juggling Club is open to beginners, and he encourages new jugglers to stay consistent.

“If you spent 20 minutes a day for one week, you could learn to juggle three balls,” Yun said. “You’ve just got to convince yourself to pick it up when you drop it.”

Senior Meya Gao said she joined the club at the beginning of her sophomore year.

“Jeremy recommended me to try it out, and because I’d never done it before, I figured it didn’t hurt to try,” Gao said. “I still consider myself a beginner, but I really enjoy the club atmosphere. I guess I just enjoy the fact that we hang out on the quad on sunny days. People walk by, and some are interested, some come in and want to learn.”

Senior Arnav Singhal said he was also inspired to learn how to juggle by Yun, the club president.

“I saw Jeremy learn to juggle in P.E. in ninth grade, and it was very inspiring because he was really bad and now he’s really good,” Singhal said. “It’s awesome to see him juggle. So in senior year, when we were in-person, I was like, ‘I’ll join juggling club.'”

Singhal’s number one piece of advice to other beginners? “Laugh at yourself so that it becomes more fun.”

Sophomore Jacob Winefeld said he came into Juggling Club with the goal of learning from other members and sharing his own knowledge.

“I knew how to juggle at a very basic level before COVID, but I really improved once I joined the club and started doing it more,” Winefeld said.

The club’s reach extends beyond just students — History and Social Science teacher Austin Davis said he has been able to reconnect with his own childhood interest in juggling after becoming the club’s advisor.

“I did a little bit of it [juggling] in middle school, but I couldn’t do it very well,” Davis said. “I definitely got started again with the club here at Paly.”

Davis said he strongly encourages students to join Juggling Club.

“It’s a great way to meet new people, you can tell there are lots of different social groups here,” Davis said. “It’s also the perfect brain break from studying. Sometimes I’ll be grading a bit, and like, ‘You know, I’m going to go juggle a bit,’ it’s a good de-stressor.”

For all students who are interested in joining, the Juggling Club meets every Friday at lunch on the quad in front of the Student Center.