Power Moves: A community of early risers and walkers


A group of students and staff amble down the Viking Stadium track as part of Power Moves. Senior Madelyn Castro said she enjoys attending Power Moves to meet new people while spending time outside. “It [walking] feels really nice because I’ve been able to communicate with different people that I’ve never met before and it just makes you feel good,” Castro said. “You get a little bit of exercise to start off the week. It’s a good way to get energy to get through the week, especially on Mondays with the busy [school] schedule.” (Photo: Kristine Lin)

Kristine Lin, Managing Editor

While others are slowly waking up to Monday mornings, a group of students and staff is already up and moving on the track at Palo Alto High School’s Ray Field, ready to greet the day. “Power Moves,” a close-knit club founded by English teacher Lucy Filppu, was created to strengthen bonds within the Paly community while exercising, Filppu said.

Rain or shine, the group consisting of 10-15 members stays dedicated to meeting every Monday morning at 8 a.m. to walk around the track. According to Filppu, she was inspired to start Power Moves at the beginning of the school year as a way to exercise and spend time with the Paly community before the start of the week.

“I wanted to start Power Moves as a way to have a low-stress community with movement,” Filppu said. “My initial thought for this group was that a lot of us are not in sports. We’re not using the resources that Paly spends so much money on, but this track should be open to everyone.”

Filppu said she hopes to encourage appreciation for the school resources and campus through her group.

“I feel free, and I also feel more grateful to Paly because this is a very pretty campus,” Filppu said. “It’s peaceful, and we’re lucky to have this space. I don’t think I would appreciate it as much if I wasn’t out here.”

According to Filppu, after a member comes for at least two mornings, they are rewarded with a hat for their commitment.

“I give out the caps for Power Moves because I want people to see that we’re together,” Filppu said. “We’re moving. We’re caring about our health.”

Filppu said she hoped to make Power Moves more informal and unofficial than other school programs.

“We [Power Moves] purposely didn’t want to make it a big, formal club with bylaws,” Filppu said. “We wanted it to be not like everything else that gets overly complicated. If people want to join – great. If they don’t, hopefully you’ll find your movement somewhere else. But for those who come out, this is a hearty bunch.”

According to Paly art teacher Sue La Fetra, she appreciates getting to know students more casually while walking on the track.

“It’s cool to just be able to walk with them [students] as people rather than as a sort of student-teacher relationship, and talk about what we’re going through,” La Fetra said. “We’ve had an increase in the amount of students walking with us and it’s just a way of connecting with people on a more casual level.”

Junior Austin Mei had a similar experience, finding the morning walks beneficial to his mental health.

“It’s fun and refreshing, especially on Monday morning,” Mei said. “Since Monday is such a long day with 7 classes, it gives me something to look forward to at the beginning of the day to talk to people while walking on the track.”