Students, volunteers prepare floats for final rally

Leena Hussein and Arati Periyannan

Junior Sarabeth Huang finishes outlining the evil minion on the junior class’s version of Gru’s spaceship. According to junior Charlie Wang, the junior class turn-out for float building was underwhelming this year. “I do feel like we don’t have as many people showing up as we did last year,” junior Charlie Wang said. “But we have a clearer structure and design of our float.” (Photo: Annelise Balentine)

During the last day of float building, students and parent volunteers from Palo Alto High School are finishing last-minute preparations for the final Spirit Week rally, at 2:40 p.m. Friday on the football field.

Students have been preparing their class floats since Saturday, each class creating a unique design to complement their class themes. The freshmen theme this year is “Lorax,” sophomores are “Stranger Things,” juniors are “Minions,” and seniors are “Alice in Wonderland.”

According to junior Zora Wakelee, the junior class faced a last-minute glue shortage in their final float preparations. 

“We had to get the old wood glue container and mix the drinking water into it in order to stick the decorations on the float, and it’s not really working, which is frustrating on the last day,” Wakelee said. 

Despite some unexpected challenges for the junior class, Associated Student Body sophomore president Julian Hong said the organization and efficiency of the sophomore class created a smooth building process.

“I’ve led my team planning since June, or July so we’ve been leading up to this rally,” Hong said. “This year we’re a lot more experienced, and I think it’s been a great process. We’re just making mostly aesthetic adjustments now. We’re going to paint our tiles all fresh colors and finish hanging up our LED signs.”

ASB senior senator Cindy Wang echoed this, saying that weekend preparation and a bigger turnout put the senior class in a good position to close out this week.

“We got a lot done over the weekend,” Wang said. “Last year we put everything together last minute, but this year, it [the float] looks really good on the last day. We have a very spirited group of people working and a lot of volunteers who are so nice and we love having them help us through this process.” 

Sophomore Natalie Neumann finalizes the door to the ice cream parlor on the sophomore’s “Stranger Things”-inspired float Thursday night at Palo Alto High School. According to Associated Student Body Social Commissioner Kennedy Do, the sophomore class tried to come up with a unique design for this year’s float. “I really like our design because it’s double-sided with one side being upside down and then one side being an ice cream parlor which is in the show,” Do said. (Photo: Annelise Balentine)

Perry Mix, a parent volunteer and artist, said the innovation shown throughout float building has been impressive.

“It’s fun seeing the creativity the kids have,” Mix said. “They are so bright, and they come up with such fabulous ideas. I really love seeing what they’ve done.”

Mix said she is excited to see the final product at tomorrow’s rally after the students finish their final touches tonight.

“Looks like they still have some things to do,” Mix said. “I can’t believe it will all be done tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to seeing the floats and seeing that they somehow figured out how to get it all done in the time they had allotted.” 

According to Hong, the float building tradition is a unique aspect of Paly’s Spirit Week festivities. 

“I think it [float building] really sets us apart from other schools,” Hong said. “I know other schools, like Gunn, has air bands. I’ve never met a school that has float building at such a large scale. I think a large part of it has to do with our robotics program, and people that come up from it to help us, so credit to them because this is a great tradition.”

Junior Charlie Wang said he is excited to see students’ teamwork this week finally pay off.

“I’m excited to see everyone’s dances and the floats all together,” Wang said. “A lot of people have been working on these floats for a long time, and it’ll be cool to see people’s efforts. This is a great community-building activity, not just in my own grade, but between other grades as well. You get to work together with people that you usually don’t get to talk to, and I think that’s a great opportunity.” 

Students will not have Advisory or Study Hall tomorrow. Instead, classes will end at 2:30 p.m. with the final rally taking place from 2:40 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. 

The rally will consist of the presentation of class floats and class spirit dances followed by the homecoming football game against Homestead High School at 7 p.m. at home.