News in Review: January 2015

Maddy Jones, Author

This is the first installment of the News in Review series, in which the month’s news will be summarized. The news is split into two sections based on its level of impact on the Palo Alto High School student body and Palo Alto community.

PicMonkey Collage
A collage summing up the various news stories of January. Top-left: Photo by Alex Merkle-Raymond. Lower-left: Photo by George Lu. Top-center: Photo courtesy of Palo Alto High School ASB. Center-center: Photo by George Lu. Lower-center: Photo by Hannah Nguyen. Top-right: Photo courtesy of Claire Liu. Lower-right: Photo by Ana Caklovic.

Stories you need to know

Community responds to Gunn death

On Jan. 24, a Gunn high school senior died by suicide, which prompted many community discussions throughout Palo Alto. At Paly, the administration and teachers focused on supporting the students. These discussions of suicide and mental health often led to conversations on student stress. Spearheaded by a Gunn sophomore and former teacher, the Save the 2,008 campaign made its voice heard at recent school board meetings, advocating for creating a less stressful academic environment. At the Jan. 28 school board meeting, an unusually large number of Gunn students came to express their opinions and reactions to the recent heartbreaking news. They advocated that changes need to reach beyond academic stress and that Gunn is not the only one at fault. The Paly Associated Student Body also promoted intradistrict unity at its Movie Night in the MAC by providing special deals to Gunn students and Paly students who attended with their friends from Gunn.

Community pushes to keep Buena Vista Mobile Home Park open

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian teamed up with Dave Cortese, board of supervisors president, to propose that the county uses $8 million from a Stanford University housing fund in an attempt to prevent the mobile park from closing. The mobile park is near Gunn High School, and redevelopment plans that would force the current residents to leave have been discussed for the past couple of years. This community push is significant in the tone it sets that Palo Alto cares about these residents and that those of the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park are valued.

BC Calculus students to represent the nation in international math contest

A team of four Paly juniors in BC Calculus were chosen to be one of the two representative teams for the United States at the International Mathematical Modeling Competition in April after competing at a national contest in November. Juniors Eric Foster, Andrew Lee, Kathryn Li and Allison Zhang received the top score in the nation for their 33 page-long solution to a mathematical application problem on which they spent 36 hours. Math Department Instructional Supervisor Radu Toma, who served as the team’s adviser, explained in a press release that these students “have the stamina, determination and courage it takes to tackle and solve serious, real-life problems using sophisticated mathematical modeling” and that “their splendid performance is also a tribute to all the teachers who inspired and guided them over the years, opening their eyes to the beauty of mathematics.”

Point B: Teen Poetry Jam provides platform for expression

Junior Molly Kraus performs an original response to the phrase “daddy issues,” a concept she thinks “our culture likes to hypersexualize.” The audience became emotional after her touching poem. Photo by Ana Caklovic.
Junior Molly Kraus performs an original response to the phrase “daddy issues,” a concept she thinks “our culture likes to hypersexualize.” The audience became emotional after her touching poem. Photo by Ana Caklovic.

The Teen Arts Council hosted its first ever Teen Poetry Jam on Jan. 16 in the Palo Alto Children’s Theatre. Founded by Paly sophomores Claire Eberhart and Teddie Stewart, the event aimed to be a place for teens to express themselves through poetry. Students were given access to the event, entitled Point B: Teen Poetry Jam, which filled an absence of a place to express and share a love for poetry that was noted by Eberhart and Stewart. With the hope of continuing with future Poetry Jams later this year, students will be offered more opportunities to express themselves.

Prom to be held at San Francisco City Hall on April 18

With ASB’s Winter Rally announcement of this year’s Prom location of San Francisco City Hall, the “prama” and “promposals” can officially begin. The high-ceilinged, Beauty and the Beast-esque central rotunda combined with three wings will provide for ample dancing room throughout the night (some advice: bring a pair of comfy shoes. Unlike Cinderella, not all of us can dance the night away in glass slippers). ASB has got you covered once all that dancing gets you hungry by serving buffet-style food with tables available to eat at. The Prom theme will be announced during February’s Sadie Hawkins dance.

Communications elective: Newest addition to English elective course selection

The new “Communication and Leadership” English elective, taught by English teacher Lucy Filppu, will allow students to learn about business and communication through literature and lessons on rhetoric. The class will be offered for the first time during the 2015-16 school year, so for all you interested sophomores and juniors, make sure to check it out when selecting next year’s courses.

Accolades and accomplishments

Student recognized at State Capitol, discusses school climate

Congratulations are in order for Associated Student Body President and Campanile Editor in Chief Claire Liu for being recognized at the State Capitol for her leadership and getting to discuss school climate with other finalists on Jan. 14. Being selected as the first alternate for the U.S. Senate Youth Program required a nomination from Paly, so props to Liu for standing out for her hard work and leadership skills.

Students beat staff at annual Winter Rally basketball game

During the second week of second semester, ASB hosted the annual student-staff basketball game during the Winter Rally in the Big Gym. Shoutout to the senior team for the big W, beating the staff 15-8.

Inaugural ComedySportz match

The six members of Paly’s Improv Troupe deserve a standing ovation for participating in Paly’s first ever ComedySportz event on Jan. 23. The six members were split into two teams and competed for audience laughter while being refereed by a professional representative from the ComedySportz organization. Props also to their hope to compete in future ComedySportz events.

Robotics Team gears up for March competition

Paly's Robotics Team plans on finishing up its robot this week. For the next two weeks of build season, the team work on testing the robot out. Photo by Lizzie Chun.
Paly’s Robotics Team plans on finishing up its robot this week. For the next two weeks of build season, the team will work on testing the robot out. Photo by Lizzie Chun.

Kudos to the Paly Robotics Team for getting ready to finish up its robot this week. The team is currently preparing for competition in March, creating a robot that can stack recycling totes on top of each other and dispose of litter into a garbage container.

Paly alumni offer advice about college

We’d like to applaud Paly’s College and Career Center efforts to connect current students with recent grads at a “Listen and Learn” event during Tutorial on Jan. 13 to talk about college application process and college life. The Q&A and breakout sessions let us gain insight into the difference in course expectations between high school and college and advice on how to have a smooth transition into college life.

Teen programs financed by donation from Bryant St. Garage Fund

Thanks go out to the City of Paly Alto sponsored Bryant Street Garage Fund, which offered to fund Palo Alto Unified School District teen programs. In the informal meeting held on Jan. 21, it was explained that the fund offers mini-grants of up to $1,000 per year to influential student-run programs that benefit the community, other teens or a cause.

Sushirrito opens downtown, combines sushi and burritos 

Shoutout to the new downtown restaurant Sushirrito for providing Palo Altans with the best of both worlds. Sushirrito opened in downtown Palo Alto on Jan. 17, offering a variety of sushi rolls in burrito form. Sushirrito, located at 448 University Ave, is open every day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.