ASB successfully revives Matchomatics

Payton Anderson and Celina Lee

Then-freshmen class president Julian Hong helps distribute Valgrams outside the 500s building to students as part of last year’s annual Love Week. Social Commissioner Ines Legrand said Palo Alto High School’s Associate Student Body is glad the administration was able to approve Matchomatics, an event that was previously canceled because of student safety concerns. “We [ASB] have changed the survey system to require student identification,” Legrand said. “Students can complete personalized questionnaires to be matched with others based on shared interests.” (Photo: Sofie Zalatimo)

Following administrative approval to bring back Matchomatics during a meeting on Tuesday, Palo Alto High School’s Associated Student Body will reinstate the event as part of the annual Love Week activities.

Matchomatics, coordinated by ASB, is one of several events that are part of Love Week, a larger Valentine’s Day tradition at Paly. Students complete a simple questionnaire regarding their basic interests to be matched with peers of similar interests. 

According to sophomore class president Julian Hong, Matchomatics was removed from the ASB event list last year as a result of some students abusing the information provided to them by the survey results, Hong said. 

“There was unwanted attention to some students that were matched,” Hong said. “So there was worry of potential harassment as a result of Matchomatics.” 

Student Board Representative Johannah Seah said ASB altered the event this year by asking students to provide a source of self-identification before completing the survey, which will be collected by ASB. This information can then be used to contact students who may misuse the information provided by Matchomatics.   

“Matchomatics is a company for ASB and they run the whole thing for us,” Seah said. “Their only concerns were about collecting student emails and a few questions we had to change as well as making sure students do one response for themselves and provide their student ID.” 

ASB social commissioner Ines Legrand said there will be nine required questions per participant and 10 custom questions, further ensuring that each questionnaire is personal. ASB is looking forward to the return of Matchomatics because of the potential bonds it creates between Paly community members, Legrand said. 

“The appeal of Matchomatics is getting to know new people and just having a fun questionnaire and bonding with the community,” Legrand said. “A big part of Love Week is Valgrams, but those cost money and Matchomatics is free, so it can include a lot more students.” 

Although Paly has gone without this festivity for a year, Henry M. Gunn High School has continued with the event for more than a decade. 

“This is [Gunn’s] 11th year of doing Matchomatics,” said Gunn ASB special events coordinator Ruth Jaquette. “It has become somewhat of a big tradition here.”  

Jaquette said Gunn has not had any issues with the event for as long as it has been a tradition, and she said she believes ASB works to actively avoid giving students information that could make others feel uncomfortable. 

“We have the ability to alter the form and review the list of names,” Jaquette said. “Also, to avoid issues we check the form before we publish it too.” 

According to Jaquette, Gunn ASB is aware of the issues Paly has had with the event in the past but is happy to hear it is being brought back with appropriate changes.

“Matchomatics has the potential to connect people that may have never met on their own, so the survey is really about finding people with similar interests — which I think is really cool,” Jaquette said.

The Matchomatics surveys will be available online Monday through Friday at Paly, with the matches set to be distributed by Feb. 13.