Thursday, December 15, 2011

Titans Win Gunn Quad

Submitted by Christopher Horpel

On Saturday the Titans took on three teams in dual meet competition and went 3-0 on the day. Gunn defeated Lynbrook 77-3, 15th-ranked Salinas 72-12 and 7th-ranked Serra 51-21. Going undefeated for the Titans were Cadence Lee (106), James Perng and Michael Abramovich (113), Chris Jin (152), Stephen Martin (160), Aaron Davis (182), Sean Lydster (195), Harsha Mokkarala (220) and JJ Strnad (285).

This was Gunn’s first varsity competition for the season; next up the Titans take on Los Altos in their first home league dual meet on Friday, December 16 at 5:30 p.m. The following day they travel to James Lick High School in San Jose for the Lynn Dyche Classic wrestling tournament.

Complete Gunn Results:

Gunn beat Lynbrook 77-3
106 C Lee (G) won by forfeit
113 J Perng (G) won by forfeit
120 D Papp (G) p A Samudra (L) 5:35
126 E Cramer (G) p M Blackburn (L) 3:12
132 T Baharov (G) won by forfeit
138 J Jacoby (L) d M Mallari (G) 4-1
145 B Lee (G) p A Naylor (L) 1:55
152 C Jin (G) won by forfeit
160 S Martin (G) p Z Charif (L) 1:30
170 J Calderon (G) d J Eicher (L) 12-5
182 A Davis (G) won by forfeit
195 S Lydster (G) won by forfeit
220 H Mokkarala (G) p B Equivel (L) 3:37
285 JJ Strnad (G) won by forfeit

Gunn beat Salinas 72-12
106 C Lee (G) p A Martin (S) 3:05
113 J Perng (G) won by forfeit
120 D Papp (G) p L Graham (S) 3:27
126 E Cramer (G) won by forfeit
132 E Tinico (S) d T Baharov (G) 13-3
138 M Mallari (G) p G Vasquez (S) 1:18
145 B Lee (G) won by forfeit
152 C Jin (G) won by forfeit
160 S Martin (G) p A Olivas (S) 1:06
170 D Forzani (S) p J Calderon (G) 3:17
182 A Davis (G) p S Calander (S) 3:05
195 S Lydster (G) won by forfeit
220 H Mokkarala (G) won by forfeit
285 JJ Strnad (G) p R Timothy (S) 1:00

Gunn beat Serra 51-21
106 C Lee (G) won by forfeit
113 M Abramovich (G) p S Collison (S) 3:46
120 E Hernandez (S) d I Cramer (G) 8-3
126 A Larosa (S) d D Papp (G) 6-3
132 T Roberts (S) p E Cramer (G) 3:26
138 J DeLaRosa (S) d M Mallari (G) 5-1
145 U Molina (S) d B Lee (G) 9-5
152 C Jin (G) d P Becerra (S) 8-4
160 S Martin (G) p C George (S) 1:26
170 J Calderon (G) p J Millington (S) 2:48
182 A Davis (G) p M Ramos (S) 3:25
195 S Lydster (G) p R Parker (S) 1:25
220 H Mokkarala (G) inj def T Glauninger (S) 1:27
285 JJ Strnad (G) p J Beering (S) 1:14

Note: Gunn's 17 pins on the day puts their total up to 67 thus far in the early season. Gunn's "Pins for Pesos" fund-raiser is doing well! Great job Gunn Wrestling!

Chris Horpel
PE Teacher
Wrestling Coach
Gunn High School

Sports Update - December

Further accolades for Gunn sophomore Sarah Robinson. After lowering her PR by a stunning 1 minute and 16 seconds to win SCVAL, she then dropped another 20 seconds to win CCS. Sarah took 3rd place at state and followed that with a 4th place finish at the most prestigious race "Foot Locker West Regional". Robinson beat some of the fastest milers in the state
at the Foot Locker race, runners such as defending state champion Cami Chapus. Sarah's success is all the more remarkable considering that she's only a sophomore and soccer remains her main sport. Sarah qualified for
Cross country nationals but couldn't compete due to previous commitments to
the US national U-17 soccer team. Robinson was announced today the SJ Mercury X-Country runner of the year!!
Check out the article at

You have an opportunity to watch Gunn's premier girl's athlete showing her prowess on the soccer field - so come out and cheer for the Gunn team and show Sarah our appreciation!

Girl's Golf - Congratulations to Anna Zhou and Jaysee Sarathy, both of whom
made the first team in CCS. Of note, Anna is only a freshman!

Soccer Varsity Boys - started the season with a win over Fremont 3-0. Goals were scored by - David Koo (2 goals) and an own goal by Fremont. Ben Sampson assisted on 2 goals and Mario Victor Tapia on another.

Wrestling - The young Titan wrestling team started their 2011-12 campaign this weekend.
On Friday, Gunn sent five boys and one girl to the 45th Annual JV/Girls' Peninsula Invitational at Half Moon Bay High School. Gunn produced two champions in the boys' division and one in the girls' division for a 7th place in overall standings.
The results -
1st Place - Daniel Papp (126) 3-0, 2 pins, Derek Lai (145) 4-0, 4 pins, Jessica Sun 3-0, 3 pins 3rd Miko Mallari (138), 4-1, 4 pins, 4th James Perng 3-2, 4th Keshav Varma 3-2, 2 pins

On Saturday, 17 Titans traveled to Harbor High School in Santa Cruz and competed in the Harbor Frosh-Soph Invitational. Gunn produced 15 placers, 12 of whom were finalists including eight champions - more than ever before - which bodes well for the young Titan squad. The results are as follows:

1st Place - Cadence Lee (106) 3-0, 1 pin, Sean Ortiz (113) 3-0, 1 pin, Ian Cramer (120) 3-0, 2 pins, Tavor Baharav (132) 3-0, 3 pins, Stephen Martin (160) 3-0, 3 pins, Aaron Davis (182) 3-0, 2 pins, Sean Lydster (195) 3-0, 2 pins, and Sam Biondini (220) 3-0, 3 pins.
2nd Shelby Oyung (106) 2-1, 2nd Cedric Linares (152) 2-1, 2 pins, 2nd Kirill Demyanenko (182) 2-1, 1 pin, 2nd James Foy (195) 2-1, 1 pin, 3rd Michael Abramovich (106) 3-1
3rd Tommy Farley (160) 3-1, 2 pins, 4th Alex Dai (220) 2-2

Although just missing out on placing in the top four, James Stevens (145) and Wilson Horn (152) both added one pin each giving Gunn a total of 40 pins for the weekend. Several parents have pledged $10 per pin for the season in a fund-raising effort to improve Gunn's wrestling room, so the "Fall for Gunn" fund-raiser has begun with a bang! Congratulations Gunn Titans.

Girls Basketball - The Lady Titans took part in the Burlingame tournament last weekend, losing to Lowell in the semi-final, in a close game 45-43. Gunn bounced back to trounce Burlingame 66-17 to take 3rd place. Gunn is now 2-1 for the season. Top scorers were - Zoe Zwerling, Julia Maggioncalda, Claire Klausner, and Cat Perez.

SELPA 1 CAC parent education event – January

Submitted by Karen Mueller

Ipads used for Special Education Teaching, Therapy, and Communication

Mobile devices such as the iPod touch, iPad, and iPhone are the leading way of providing individuals with special needs lightweight, easy to use, and affordable communication options. They are also providing Speech and Language Pathologists a highly motivating, innovative way to elicit speech and language to a wide variety of clients in a therapy setting. Danielle Sampson will examine how the iPad can be used in a therapy room as well as a communication device. She will also examine a variety of applications designed for children with special needs.
Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012 - meeting is 7 to 9 pm. Hospitality begins at 6:45pm. Covington Elementary School Multi, 205 Covington, Los Altos 94024. (please note special day and time)
This parent education event is sponsored by the SELPA 1 CAC ( All of our events are free and open to anyone who feels they might benefit. No registration is necessary.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Gunn High School Choir's Winter Concert

Submitted by Sharon Dally

The Gunn Choir invites you to join us in celebrating the holiday season with a spectacular choral concert featuring the Gunn Concert Choir, Women's Choir, Treble Choir and Chamber Singers, under the direction of William Liberatore.

The choirs will be performing Angel's Voices, a collection of songs based on poems about angels by Canadian composer John Burge, Emma Lou Diemer's Gloria and Bernstein's Chichester Psalms with outstanding percussionists from Gunn's Wind Ensemble, and the Vivaldi Gloria with the award winning Gunn Chamber Orchestra.

Don't miss this exciting evening of choral masterpieces!

When: Wednesday, December 14th, 7:30 PM
Where: Spangenberg Theatre
Tickets: $7.00 Adults, $5.00 Students
Tickets available at the door, or at

The Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra’s 46th Season

submitted by Kim Nguyen

Second Concert, December 17,
Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Stanford University

Benjamin Simon, Music Director

The Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra will perform their second concert of the season on Saturday, December 17, celebrating two famous Viennese composers of the Classical and Romantic eras. The program features PACO talented alumna Dina Glendening-Keller performing Beethoven’s titanic Piano Concerto #5 (“Emperor”), coupled with his Coriolan Overture. The concert also presents Felix Mendelssohn’s brilliant Italian Symphony, which warmly and charmingly balances the stern beauty of Beethoven’s works. For this special program, the Sinfonia Orchestra and Senior PACO are combined to create our largest ensemble of the season. In addition, several movements from the great chamber music masterpieces will be performed by our most advanced players. The concert, to be conducted by PACO Music Director Benjamin Simon, will take place at 8:00 p.m. at Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Stanford University. Admission is free. For more information, call 650-856-3848 or visit

The following talented Gunn student musicians will be performing in our program:

Last name First Name Instrument Grade
Moalem Haleli Cello 11
Liang Yilin Cello 12
Munro Zachary violin 11
Woo Max Violin 10

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gunn Grad Night 2012 Scholarship Fund Fundraiser…

Did Cyber Monday pass you by? Shop Mixed Bag Designs online and support Gunn’s Grad Night 2012 Scholarship Fund! In one fell swoop, solve your Holiday shopping challenges with environmentally conscious gifts and provide critical scholarship funds for Gunn seniors that might otherwise miss Grad Night activities! Grocery bags, shopping bags, duffels, lunch boxes and the all important sandwich wraps, you name it! Shop here:

At the end of your order, enter school fundraiser ID# 82177 and the Gunn Grad Night 2012 Scholarship Fund will benefit from your order. Place your orders by December 12th to ensure Holiday delivery. Questions? Contact Diane Downend at

Monday, November 14, 2011

** TURKEY FEAST 2011**

Submitted by Kathryn Latour

Helpers and Donations Needed!!

Gunn’s annual Turkey Feast will be held on Thursday, Nov. 17th during lunch and we have begun recruiting food donations and volunteers. We need over 60 volunteers to assist on the day of the event and another 100 to donate food and money. We plan to feed 1400 people in 50 minutes so we need all of these volunteers! Please check the Jooners list for the way in which you can help at: This is one of Gunn's most popular events where we not only serve a delicious luncheon to the students and staff, but the proceeds are donated to a local charity. Each year we have donated nearly $5000 and several barrels of canned food to local food banks!

For families who are new to Gunn, here is how it works. The week of the Turkey Feast, Gunn students and staff may purchase their Feast ticket either by paying $5 or by bringing 3 cans of food plus $1. Please note: this is a change to the earlier announcement of 4 cans and $1. Posters will be up around school to help students remember their “lunch money.” Lunch includes turkey, dressing, gravy, salad, cranberry sauce, rolls and pie. This year lasagna and quiche will be available for vegetarians. Here is what we need donated:

1. 60 Turkeys, each weighing at least 14 lbs.
Turkeys should be cooked, carved, and delivered by 9:30am on 11/17. Turkeys can be cooked a day ahead, then carved and refrigerated. If you would like to donate a turkey and have no time to cook, consider purchasing a cooked turkey or turkey breasts at Draegers, Piazzas, JJ&F, or Safeway and then carve it yourself.

2. 200 Pies!

3. Quiche and Lasagna for vegetarians. (Quantities TBA.)

4. Volunteer hours on November 17th:
Food Prep -10:30am to 12:00pm
Set-up and serve – 12:30pm to 1:30pm 
Ticket Sales – 12:15pm to 1:30pm
Clean-up – 1:30pm to 3:00pm

5. Monetary donations are gladly accepted to help purchase salad, rolls, stuffing and gravy. Please make out your check to Gunn High School PTSA, write Turkey Feast on the memo line, and mail it to Donna Pioppi at 3920 El Cerrito Road, Palo Alto, CA 94306.

Please sign up quickly! We are in need of
more food items and volunteers! 

Turkey Questions: Kathryn Latour

Pie Questions: Andrea Miner 

Volunteers: Donna Pioppi

2nd Annual Crab Feed November 20th, Benefiting Gunn Basketball!

Submitted by Sheryl Humble

Join Us for Great Food and Fun, and Help Support
Gunn Boys and Girls Basketball

Our Boys and Girls Basketball teams are hosting the 2nd Annual Crab and Pasta Feed at the Gunn gym on Sunday, November 20th, starting at 5:30 pm. This was a wonderful event last year and we are happy to announce that The Fish Market will be providing the fabulous food again and the Varsity Boys and Girls teams will be providing the exceptional service with a smile! There will also be door prizes and fun surprises! Please reserve your spot now as space is limited. You can reserve your spot online by clicking here.

Cost: $40 per person, RSVP by November 14th. Please make checks payable to Gunn Basketball and send to Gunn, Attn: Coach Sarah Stapp, 780 Arastradero Rd. Palo Alto, CA 94306, or drop it off in her box in the Main Office at Gunn. Questions? Contact Coach Sarah Stapp

The Gunn Basketball Teams appreciate your support and they are looking forward to hosting you at this tasty and fun event.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sports Update

Submitted by Miriam Rotman

X-country -
SCVAL Division Championships - Gunn sophomore Sarah Robinson kept her
perfect season intact by winning her 4th race and becoming the No. 2
performer in school history while racing to victory in 17:32 at the
cross-country championships on Tuesday at Crystal Springs in Belmont.
Robinson should be favored for the CCS title and will have her teammates
there with her when the Titans go after a state berth at the section finals
on Nov. 12, also at Crystal Springs. The Lady Titans finished 2nd to
Mountain View and qualified to compete at CCS as a team. Kieran Gallagher,
Christine Prior, Melia Dunbar, and Eliana Ribbe put together a strong effort
and placed 9th - 20:04, 12th - 20:32, 19th - 21:02 , and 20th - 21:15,
respectively, to help the girls beat rival Palo Alto by just a few points.
With senior Andrew Prior clocking a personal best of 15:50, improving last
years time by over 20 seconds the Gunn boys' cross-country team also
finished second at the Championships. Peter Chen, Daniel Krigel and Michael
Underwood held nothing back and all had personal records finishing and
placing, 6th - 16:16, 12th - 16:36, and 15th - 16:47 respectively. Shaun Lee
returning from an injury helped round out the top five by placing 24th in a
time of 17:21. The Titans qualified for the Central Coast Section
championships, while finishing only eight points behind division champ Los

Water Polo
Girls - With senior Elizabeth Anderson pouring in nine goals, the Gunn
girls' water polo team capped an outstanding league season by romping to a
17-9 victory over defending champ and No. 2 seed Los Altos in the SCVAL De
Anza Division Tournament finals on Saturday night at Monta Vista High. "Nine
goals for Elizabeth, probably the most dominant performance I've ever seen
in a championship game," said Gunn teacher and coach Mark Hernandez, whose
top-seeded team improved to 20-6. Anderson, who scored 16 goals in the two
playoff victories, now has 131 goals this season. Her sister, Sophomore
Caroline Anderson added five goals, Senior Soumya Kannan -2 and senior Missy
Barr another goal for Gunn, which topped Los Altos twice after losing the
teams' first meeting in overtime. Elizabeth will be playing water polo at
Santa Clara U. next year joining her older sister Jennie. We wish the
Anderson sisters success!!

Boys - Gunn beat Monta Vista 9-6 in the first round of the SCVAL
championships and followed that with a tough loss to the #1 ranked team Los
Altos. In the following game for 3rd place, Gunn found itself down 10-12 to
cross town rival Palo Alto with 2 minutes of regulation left and came back
in breath taking fashion to win 15-14 and take 3rd at the Championships.
Sophomore Coby Wayne scored 2 goals to tie the game and send it into
overtime. In the first overtime, the Titans were also behind and scored
with 13 seconds remaining to send the game to sudden death. Then, in sudden
death overtime, Gunn freshman Ari Wayne scored the game winning goal and was
instantly mobbed by his teammates celebrating the hard fought victory.
Scoring - Senior Gavin Kerr 5 goals, the Wayne brothers (Ari and Coby) - 4
goals apiece. Senior Tyler Wilson - 2 goals, to cap off a fantastic and
historic win for the Gunn Titans!

Football - Senior night Gunn beats Fremont 44-6
This game against visiting Fremont represented the final time these Gunn
seniors would take the field and two of them, Skyler Larson with 3 amazing
catches and J.J. Strnad, who scored 4 touchdowns, made sure it was a winning
night for Gunn as they combined for seven touchdowns in Gunn's 44-6 win
making sure that their feats will be remembered on the football field. Other
seniors who left their mark include Robert Kato who recovered two turnovers
and had an interception in the second quarter, offensive lineman Malik Gill
and "huge" Keenan Venuti who stopped all running efforts by Fremont and
backs Abel Abraha and Nick De LA Paz.

Gunn Library Holiday Wishlist

Submitted by Meg Omainsky
This holiday season support Gunn Library and local Palo Alto independent bookstore, Books INC by making a purchase from the Gunn Library Holiday Wishlist!

Gunn Library has set a goal to bring in 1,000 new fiction and nonfiction titles. What better place to buy these books than at our local store, Books INC? Each title on the list is linked to the Books INC online store. Please consider giving the gift of reading to a Gunn student this holiday season. There are three simple steps.

Step 1- Visit the wishlist at or from the Gunn Library website
Step 2- Make a purchase online and have the book sent to Gunn Library
Step 3- Send an email to Cynthia Easton letting us know which title you have purchased (in order to avoid duplication) Cynthia Easton

You can also deliver a book or
cash donation in person if you would like. Checks can be made payable to Gunn High School and sent to the ATTN: library wishlist.
Thanks for continuing to support the efforts of Gunn Library.

Communicating with Your Teen

Submitted by Karen Johnston

Thursday, Dec 1, 7:30-9:30 pm, Gunn Library; Communicating with Your Teen: strategies for healthy communication during the teen age years.

Do you ever have difficulty talking to your teen? Simple comments escalate into unforeseen arguments? Or perhaps you feel shut out, that your child no longer confides in you? Please join us for an evening with Susan Stone Belton, BSE, who will present a workshop designed to give parents effective strategies for communicating with their teens. Get tips on how to keep the doors to communication wide open, how best to talk (and listen) to your teen, how to keep those channels healthy and strong.

This workshop is presented in collaboration with The Parents Place. Ms. Belton is a certified Special Education Teacher with over 40 years experience working with children and families. She has taught teenagers with emotional and behavioral problems, managed crisis hotlines for parents and teens, and is a proud mother herself. Sponsored by the PTSA

Thursday, November 3, 2011

SELPA 1 CAC November Parent Education Event

Submitted by Karen Mueller

Identifying and Supporting Learning Differences
This workshop by Beth Powell of the Reading Clinic will cover the warning signs of a child who is having difficulties with learning to read, understanding what is read, and developing as a writer. Ways to recognize and support weakness in these areas will be presented. The connections between reading and writing difficulties will also be discussed.
Wednesday, Nov 16, 2011 - meeting is 9 to 11 am. Hospitality begins at 8:45am. Covington Elementary School Multi, 205 Covington, Los Altos 94024. (please note special day and time)
This parent education event is sponsored by the SELPA 1 CAC ( ) All of our events are free and open to anyone who feels they might benefit. No registration is necessary.


Submitted by Kim Nguyen

Under the direction of PACO music director Benjamin Simon, PACO's Sinfonia Orchestra will present the first concert of the season on Sunday, November 13, 3:00PM at Cubberley Theatre in Palo Alto. The concert will feature PACO’s 2010 Concerto Competition Winners, violinist Angela Thé and violist Tessera Chin, performing Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat Major for Violin and Viola, K. 364. The program will also present baroque favorite Concerto Grosso, Op. 6 #1 in. and contemporary master Graham Fitkin’s drivingly postminimalist Servant for Strings (1998). Admission is free. For more information, contact Hans Hoffer at 650-856-3848 or

San Jose Youth Symphony (SJYS) Philharmonic Orchestra

Submitted by sean hartman

San Jose Youth Symphony (SJYS) Philharmonic Orchestra, under the artistic leadership of Maestro Yair Samet, presents its 60th Anniversary Season opening concert to be held on Saturday, December 3, 2011, at 2:30 pm at the California Theatre.

This concert will showcase outstanding musicians, including a featured solo by cellist, Iris Liu, the winner of the 2011 Philharmonic Young Artist Competition, proudly sponsored by the San Jose Symphony Foundation. The concert program will include works of Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Khachaturian, Gould, and Liszt.

Tchaikovsky - March Slave
Shostakovich - Cello Concerto No. 1
Iris Liu - Cello
Khachaturian - Masquerade Suite
Gould - Symphony No. 2
Liszt - Les Preludes


Submitted by Kathryn Latours

Helpers Wanted!!

Gunn's annual Turkey Feast will be held on Thursday, Nov. 17th during lunch
and we need to start recruiting food donations and volunteers now. This is
one of Gunn's most popular events where we not only serve a delicious
lunch to the students and staff, but the proceeds are donated to a local
charity. Each year we have donated nearly $2000 to the Ecumenical Hunger
Program in East Palo Alto!

In the past, we have needed over 60 volunteers to assist on the day of the
event and another 100 who donated food and money. The volunteers work in
conjunction with the Student Executive Council and Lisa Hall, our Student
Activities Director. We plan to feed 1400 people in 50 minutes so we need
all of these volunteers this year as well!

For families who are new to Gunn, here is how it works. The week of the
Turkey Feast, Gunn students and staff may purchase their Feast ticket either
by paying $5 or by bringing 4 cans of food plus $1. Posters will be up
around school to help students remember their "lunch money."
Lunch includes turkey, dressing, gravy, salad, cranberry sauce, rolls and
pie. This year lasagna and quiche will be available for vegetarians. Here is
what we need donated:

1. 60 Turkeys, each weighing at least 14 lbs.
Turkeys should be cooked, carved, and delivered by 9:30am on 11/17. Turkeys
can be cooked a day ahead, then carved and refrigerated. If you would like
to donate a turkey and have no time to cook, consider purchasing a cooked
turkey or turkey breasts at Draegers, Piazzas, JJ&F, or Safeway and then
carve it yourself.

2. 200 Pies!
3. Quiche and Lasagna for vegetarians. (Quantities TBA.)

4. Volunteer hours on November 17th:
Food Prep -10:30am to 12:00pm
Set-up and serve - 12:30pm to 1:30pm
Ticket Sales - 12:15pm to 1:30pm
Clean-up - 1:30pm to 3:00pm

5. Monetary donations are gladly accepted to help purchase salad, rolls,
stuffing and gravy

A Jooners link will be available by Monday, October 31, 2011 to sign up for
the above needs. Please sign up quickly! And thanks in advance for your

Turkey Questions: Kathryn Latours

Pie Questions: Andrea Miner

Volunteers: Donna Pioppi

Monday, October 24, 2011

Parent Ed: Miss Representation

Submitted by Karen Johnston
Weds, Nov 16,6:30--9 pm, Castilleja School Chapel: Miss Representation. The Gunn community, parents and teens, is cordially invited to a screening of Miss Representation, a searing documentary directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, actress, activist, and film-maker. Recently featured at the San Francisco International Film Festival, the film is an examination of Hollywood's exploitation of women, and the media's role in setting a physical/sexual standard for girls, as opposed to an intellectual standard. The film includes candid interviews with such people as Jane Fonda, Geena Davis, Condaleeza Rice, Margaret Cho and Nancy Pelosi, and also critically examines recent episodes of public prejudice against women (Hilary Clinton, Sarah Palin). The film is suitable for men and women, boys and girls, as the film is a powerful advocacy for a more balanced portrayal of women in the media. The film is not suitable for children under 14 years.

Refreshments will be served from 6:30-7 pm. The film will be shown at 7 pm in the Chapel in the main building at Castilleja School, 1310 Bryant St, Palo Alto. The event is free. The screeening will be followed by a panel discussion with local media and body image experts.

How to Manage School Refusal Behaviors

How to Manage School Refusal Behaviors (aka when ‘playing hooky’ becomes a serious situation)
by Christina Walker, Psy.D., Site Director at Menlo-Atherton High School

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 | 8:00-9:30am | ACS Corporate Office, 1717 Embarcadero Road, Suite 4000, Palo Alto, CA 94303

Wednesday, May 2, 2012 | 8:00-9:30am | ACS Corporate Office, 1717 Embarcadero Road, Suite 4000, Palo Alto, CA 94303

“I don’t want to go to school today.” Is there a parent who hasn’t heard this plaintive cry from a child or adolescent? Children and teenagers can and will miss school because of illness, or because of family issues. However, there are times when saying, “I don’t want to go to school today. I think I’m coming down with a Math test,” may be a more accurate reflection of a child or adolescent’s motivation for staying out of school. Children and adolescents can produce highly convincing, Oscar worthy performances replete with a hand to the forehead, holding one’s stomach, all while in a raspy voice describing a list of aches and pains that would prevent school attendance. Can you recall Shel Silverstein’s poem Sick? The intervention for the child’s long list of maladies keeping her from school was the prescription of ‘Saturday’, which can have amazingly miraculous effects on a plethora of aches and pains for children…as well as adults. Some researchers (Evans, 2000) have actually noted that it is part of typical development to refuse school at least once during the school career. However, the seemingly innocuous wish to stay home can quickly transform into a serious situation when a child refuses to go to school for extended periods of time. This pattern of behavior is termed School Refusal.
School Refusal behavior is seen as a continuum that includes youths who always miss school as well as those who rarely miss school but attend under duress. Hence, school refusal behavior is identified in youths aged 5-17 years who:
1. are entirely absent from school, and/or
2. attend school initially but leave during the course of the school day, and/or
3. go to school following crying, clinging, tantrums or other intense behavior problems, and/or
4. exhibit unusual distress during school days that leads to pleas for future absenteeism.
(Taken from
Children with school refusal may complain of physical symptoms shortly before it is time to leave for school or repeatedly ask to visit the school nurse. Common physical symptoms include headaches, stomachaches, nausea, or diarrhea. Mornings can be rushed for families, and it can be difficult for parents to intervene.
Children and teenagers can begin to manifest symptoms of school refusal at points of transition. We will often see school refusal when a child is starting a new school. It commonly takes place between the ages of five and six and between ten and eleven while entering middle and high school (Taken from September 28, 2011). The onset of school refusal symptoms usually is gradual. Symptoms may begin after a holiday or illness. Some children have trouble going back to school after weekends or vacations.

As a parent, when you realize that your child is refusing school they are communicating something highly important to you. They truly do not want to go to school and the distress is genuine. The motivations or reasons for refusing school can be difficult to determine. It may start out as difficulty with assignments, it may be peer problems, it may be anxiety; the reasons for school refusal behavior are as unique and varied as children and adolescents. School Refusal can be one of the most frustrating things to deal with as a parent. It is at those times that a parent experiences the tenacity of their child. The longer a child stays out of school, the more difficult it becomes to begin attending school. This is why prompt action on the part of the parent, and working with the school is important.
What can you do?
• Recognize the difference between playing hooky and school refusal; this can be a good time for a physical or a check-up to rule out any underlying medical issues
• Connect your child with a mental health counselor to begin to address the underlying reasons for refusing school; understanding the reasons behind the School Refusal can help with treatment, interventions and planning
• Seek support for yourself whether from a partner, a friend, family member or a mental health counselor because parental motivation is a key to success in situations of School Refusal
• Maintain your child and adolescent in school, even simply stepping foot on the campus is a good start
• Communicate with the appropriate school personnel, whether that is your child’s guidance counselor or administration
• Help your child to identify ‘safe’ people on the campus whom they can talk to and seek support
Adolescent Counseling Services is a community non-profit, which provides vital counseling services on eight secondary campuses at no charge to students and their families. To learn more about our services please visit the ACS website at or call Robyn Alagona, Site Director at Gunn (650) 849-7919. ACS relies on the generosity of com-munity members to continue offering individual, family, and group counseling to over 1,500 individuals annually. ACS provides critical interventions and mental health services, building a better future for tomorrow. If you are interested in helping to support our efforts, do not hesitate to call to make a donation. It goes a long way in helping teenagers find their way!

Breakfast with ACS!
Join us for breakfast and learn more about ACS programs, trends in child and teen mental and emotional health, and hear from our licensed clinical staff about how you can better communicate and interact with any teen in your life. These events are free, but space is limited. Please RSVP to with your name, address, phone number and the date you would like to attend.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 | 8:00-9:30am | ACS Corporate Office, 1717 Embarcadero Road, Suite 4000, Palo Alto, CA 94303

Wednesday, May 2, 2012 | 8:00-9:30am | ACS Corporate Office, 1717 Embarcadero Road, Suite 4000, Palo Alto, CA 94303

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What are the 41 Developmental Assets?/ Positive Family Communication

In 2009, the City of Palo Alto, PAUSD and many community partners established Project Safety Net (PSN) in response to the tragic teen suicide cluster. PSN works to develop and implement short and long-term plans in support of suicide prevention and the social and emotional health of youth and teens in Palo Alto. One of the first recommendations from PSN to the schools and the City, was to adopt the 41 Developmental Assets Framework. Developmental Assets are the positive values, relationships, skills and experiences that help young people thrive, such as Positive Family Communication, Caring School Climate and Community Values Youth. The more assets a child has the more likely that child will thrive. The fewer assets a child has, the more likely they are to get involved with risky behavior like violence and drug and alcohol use. Last October, 2010, our schools, with the support of Project Cornerstone, administered the Developmental Assets survey to over 4000 students in 5th, 7th, and 9th – 12th grades. The survey measures developmental assets levels as well as thriving indicators and risk behaviors. Our youth told us:
• almost half of elementary students don’t have adult role models
• more than half of middle school students don’t feel safe at home, at school or in their neighborhoods
• most high school students don’t feel valued or appreciated by adults in the community
56% of our middle and high school students report enough developmental assets to help them thrive. However, 44% don’t. As a community, we have work to do! Over the next several months, you will be seeing articles in your newsletters that highlight the “Asset of the Month”. The asset will be described and suggestions of how to build those assets in all our youth provided.

For more information, please go the following web pages:, If you would like to get involved, please contact us at

For full survey results of each school, go to:

Developmental Asset of the Month – October
Positive Family Communication

A conversation starts. Your child is upset. You’re tired. Pretty soon, the conversation heats into an argument. It ends with a door slam and silence.

Arguments. We’ve all had them with our children. Sometimes, particularly with our teen children, it may feel like most conversations end with slammed doors.

Though it can be challenging to develop the skills for being available for frequent, in depth conversations it is an important role we play in our children’s lives – from the time they learn to talk all the way into adulthood. What we have to do is create an atmosphere of communication – an open door.

The trick with open door communication is that we often don’t realize we create invisible closed doors around us. We get preoccupied and don’t pay enough attention. We’re exhausted and we nod off as our child is in mid-sentence. We jump to conclusions before our child finishes saying things. We assume the worst. We criticize our kids for what they tell us so they close the door the next time out of fear or resentment.

Sometimes there is no communication to begin with, and it’s hard to get your child to say what’s going on in her or his life.

Having an open door means having an open mind, an open attitude. It means listening to understand, not to advocate our position. It means being available when our children need us - and when they don’t. It means taking good care of ourselves so that when our children want to talk, we have open ears and an open heart.

Young people who experience positive family communication experience higher self-esteem, decreased substance use, less anxiety and depression, and greater school engagement. However, in Palo Alto, only 64% of 5th grade students, 52% of 7th grade students and 32% of 9th -12th grade students reported in the Developmental Assets 2010 survey that they have positive communication with their parents and are willing to seek advice from them.. To help promote this valuable asset, October is Positive Family Communication month in Palo Alto.

Establishing positive communication when children are young may help keep the channel open in adolescence. But no matter how old your children are, it’s never too late to start! The following questions can help your family. Encourage your child to answer these questions honestly:

• Ask caring questions such as: How did band practice go? How was the math test? Was the assembly fun?
• Ask your child’s advice or opinion about an important matter.
• If there is a problem at work and you come home upset, let your child know you are not angry with her or him.

The communication skills that young people develop in their families help set the pattern of how they’ll communicate for the rest their lives. Teaching your children to communicate effectively with friends, teachers, co-workers, parents, peers, and others is a lasting legacy that you can give to your children.

For positive family communication to occur, all family members must be comfortable sharing their needs, wishes, and concerns in an honest and trusting environment without fear of rejection.

This article was adapted from Project Cornerstone’s Asset-a-Month and Search Institute Newsletter.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pedal4Prizes update

Many of Gunn's freshmen bikers were pleasantly surprised to receive Rice
Krispy Treats on Friday morning (Oct 7) at our first monthly Pedal4Prizes
event of the school year. For those uninitiated, Pedal4Prizes, sponsored by
the PTSA, rewards all students who elect to bike to school that day. Of
course, the real rewards for choosing a biking commute are the positive
physical and mental effects from the exercise, and the reduction of car
exhaust in our environment. Our volunteers, Jeff Dean, Ruth Harris,
Christine Fawcett, Penny Ellson, Kathryn Latour, and Steve Hubbell counted
595 bikes, which means that even with the rain this week, around 1/3 of the
studentbody biked!

Speaking of bikes, we noticed that a shocking number of bikes were left
unlocked. Bikes can - and do - get stolen even at Gunn. Most bike thefts are
opportunistic, meaning that if a bike is unlocked, someone who hadn't
intended on stealing a bike will spontaneously decide to take it for a joy
ride then dump it somewhere. With the new bike racks, it is easier to use a
U-lock to secure the bike's frame to the rack, which is the safest way to
lock a bike. But, even a simple lock will deter most bike thefts. One of our
new P4P mottos is: "Your Bike: If you like it, lock it."

Plan on biking during the week of homecoming (Oct 24-28). We will be
raffling off homecoming game tickets at our next P4P event!

The P4P Team
Kathryn Latour & Steve Hubbell

Gizdich Ranch Pie Sale

Submitted by Susan Voll

**Sale extended until Oct. 14**

The Senior Grad Night Committee is kicking off one of its key fundraisers for Gunn’s Graduation Night Celebration! We are sellingGizdich Ranch Pies and we need your help. Most of your children will be attending Grad Night, and in order to keep ticket prices down, yet still have an incredible Grad Night for our students, we need to raise funds to augment ticket prices.

Please place your orders for Gizdich Ranch locally grown fruit pies from Watsonville: 
Ollalieberry, Apple, Pumpkin, Raspberry (Also Sugarless Apple available). Pies arrive frozen – you bake at home

Place orders by Friday, Oct. 14
PIES: $18 each, or buy 3 pies for $50, 4 or more pies are $16 each

Please ask your friends, co-workers, family, and neighbors to buy PIES. They are delicious!!
Buy an extra one and bake it for Gunn's Turkey Feast
Buy a pie and donate it to a special teacher or staff member
Bring one home and bake it for your own Thanksgiving dessert

For order forms and more information please go to:

All proceeds benefit Senior Class Graduation Activities.
Pie pick-up: Thurs. Nov. 3, 3:30 to 5:30 in front of the main office
Questions? contact Lisa Blanchette


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

SELPA 1 CAC October Parent Education Event

Submitted by Karen Mueller

Biochemical Treatments for Autistic Spectrum Disorders
Please join Dr. David Traver for a presentation on current biochemical treatments. There are many alternative approaches for ameliorating the symptoms of ASD. Come hear about different ways to think about how the mind-body functions and supplements and treatments that can help.
Saturday, Oct 22, 2011 - meeting is 2 to 4 pm. Hospitality begins at 1:45pm. Covington Elementary School Multi, 205 Covington, Los Altos 94024. (please note special day and time)
This parent education event is sponsored by the SELPA 1 CAC
All of our events are free and open to anyone who feels they might benefit. No registration is necessary.


Submitted by Kim Nguyen, Publicity Chair


The Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra will perform their first concert of the 2011-2012 season on Saturday, October 29. PACO’s season begins with tubist extraordinaire Forrest Byram performing an unconventional arrangement of Mozart’s delightful Horn Concerto #1. PACO proudly welcomes Mr. Byram, the principal tubist of the Monterey Symphony Orchestra, California Symphony Orchestra, Santa Cruz Symphony Orchestra and Modesto Symphony Orchestras. The program also presents Dvorak’s musical valentine to his beloved Bohemia, the famous Serenade for Strings, and the first of Handel’s twelve wonderful Opus 6 concerti grossi. Additional highlights of our concert feature the talented young musicians of the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra performing masterpieces from the chamber music repertory. The concert, to be conducted by PACO Music Director Benjamin Simon, will take place at 8:00 p.m. at Cubberley Theatre, 4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, CA. Admission is free. For information contact Hans Hoffer at 650-856-3848 or .

Sports Update

Submitted by Miriam Rotman
These past few days have been very busy on the sports front -

X-Country - the entire Gunn XC team traveled to Central Park (Santa Clara)
to compete against all their local rivals on a short and fast 2.3 mile
course. The Gunn girls ran very well and placed 3rd overall out of 14 teams.
Sarah Robinson once again ran to a strong victory winning the race in a time
of 13:41. The boys ran well as a group and placed 5th out of 14 teams with
Andrew Prior taking 2nd overall in a time of 11:35. Over 60 Gunn titans
participated in the event and the team atmosphere was great.

Last weekend the Gunn cross country team traveled to Angel's Camp,
California to compete in the Bret Harte Invitational. Catherine Kim and
Tanvi Dharap earned medals in the Frosh girl's race placing 13th and 15th
respectively. David Lee-Heidenreich also earned a medal by placing 7th in
the Frosh boys race. Andrew Bent, Thomas Rasmussen and Antonio Puglisi ran
well in the boy's sophomore race with Bent placing 2nd. In a surprisingly
similar fashion upstart Eliana Ribbe took 2nd place in the girl's sophomore
race. The Varsity boys and girls ran extremely well. Sarah Robinson ran to
an easy win in a time of 19:24. Christine Prior followed with a 9th place
finish in 21:35. The boys as a group were team champions. Andrew Prior
nearly won the boys race and was runner-up by only 2 seconds in 16:46. Peter
Chen, Michael Underwood, Shaun Yee, and Rishi Agarwal, rounded up the
varsity top five by placing 14th, 16th, 22nd, and 37th respectively.
Finally, Tommy Kidder, and Gabe Crane completed the varsity seven by placing
61st and 81st.

Football - Gunn rolled past The Harker School-San Jose 47-6 in the SCVAL El
Camino Division opener for both teams Friday night. Visiting Harker made its
first appearance in the SCVAL. The rude introduction came via superb
offensive line play from the Titans, a punishing ground game, speed at the
edges and a dominant defense.

JJ Strnad was unstoppable, racking up 169 yards and four touchdowns in just
eight carries. Marcus Moreno-Ramos added 79 yards and a TD on eight carries.
"We needed the win and we gained some confidence," Gunn coach Dan Navarro said. "The line did well. JJ is a big, strong kid who runs fast."

"Coach Navarro is turning it around," Harker coach Karriem Stinson said.
"Gunn is aggressive. They played McClymonds, Burlingame and Palo Alto, so
they're battle-tested."
Skyler Larson illustrated a dimension of the Titan ground game by taking an
end-around 35 yards on the first play from scrimmage. Strnad roared around
left end for 32 yards, then went over left guard from eight yards out for
the first score. Larson returned at punt 25 yards down to the Eagles'
11-yard line. After Gunn backed up five yards with a motion penalty, Strnad
scored the second TD on just one play, bolting over right guard from
16-yards away after just 2:17 of play. The Eagles could not bring down the
muscular 6-foot, 210-pound running back Strnad, nor contain his speed around the end or up the middle.

"The line did an unbelievable job blocking," Strnad said. "And our running
back, Marcus Moreno-Ramos, did an amazing job blocking, too. I had a lot of
big holes to run through."

The big men up front for Gunn included Keenan Venuti (6.6), Jeff Suri, Aryeh
Furman, Robert Kato, Malik Gil and Nabil Hamade.

On the first play of the 2nd period, Gunn quarterback Andre Guzman connected with Hamade. The Titan tight end overpowered one would-be tackler, picked up a beautiful downfield block from Scott Ziebelman, to run away for a 49-yard score.

Defensive back Sean Lydster was next to find the end zone for Gunn. "The
pass was tipped by JJ Strnad," Lydster said. "I went for the ball and I
caught it just above the ground. There were several good blocks and I ran
down the sideline and scored."

Lydster's 62-yard return put Gunn on top 27-0. Strnad salted the game away
with two more touchdowns later in the period, one from 35 yards and another
from 64 yards. At halftime, the scoreboard read 41-0 and the only question
was whether students at these two strong academic-oriented schools would
leave early to get in some last-minute studying for today's SAT testing.

Way to go Titans!!

Waterpolo - Paced by Michael Znidarsic's 4 goals, the Titans visited Monta
Vista this week and came away with their 3rd league win. Good team defense
as well as 2 goals each from Tyler Wilson and Coby Wayne contributed to the
win. Unfortunately the team also lost to Paly 12-10 this week but we wish
them success in their upcoming matches.

Volleyball - The lady Titans def. Monta Vista-Cupertino 25-22, 25-21, 18-25,
25-22. Julia Maggioncalda led the host Titans with 13 kills in the SCVAL De
Anza Division match. Earlier this week the Gunn team lost to los Altos in 3

Essay Contest for Juniors

"No society . . . can fail, in time, to explode if it is deprived of the arts of compromise, if it knows no way of muddling through. No good society can be unprincipled, and no viable society can be principle-ridden." Alexander M. Bickel (U.S. legal scholar, 1924 -1974)
What is the proper balance between conviction and compromise? Using examples from American history and current events, discuss the benefits, limits and dangers of compromise.
Essays will be judged on development of topic, supporting information, reasoning and writing skills, and originality. Source material and direct quotes should be acknowledged. Winning essays will be printed in League publications and on our website.
• Length: 600-800 words.
Due: October 26, 2011.
• Send essays to the League of Women Voters of Palo Alto:
• Submit your entry, double spaced, as a pdf or doc attachment
or text within the email. • Include your name and school.
First $500 Second $300 Third $200

Thursday, September 22, 2011

2011 Fall For Parents Only Seminars at Packard Children's Hospital

Staying Close While Standing Back
The Art of Parenting Our Teens While They Learn How to Navigate Life
Julie Metzger, RN
Monday, October 3, 7pm – 8:30pm
Auditorium, first floor Packard Children’s Hospital
Seminar Fee: $40

Mothers of Sons
The Joys and Challenges of Guiding Your Son through Adolescence
Robert Lehman, MD
Thursday, October 20, 7pm – 8:30pm
New location:
Auditorium, first floor Packard Children’s Hospital
Seminar Fee: $40

Dads of Daughters
The Joys and Challenges of Raising Teen Girls
Julie Metzger, RN
Wednesday, December 7
7pm – 8:30pm
Auditorium, first floor Packard Children’s Hospital
Seminar Fee: $40

Please join Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital for two evening presentations hosted by our physician specialists on the topics of pediatric sports injury and injury prevention & childhood food allergies and asthma.

Staying Healthy Through Four Seasons of Sports
Meghan Imrie, MD
Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery
Thursday, October 13
7pm - 8:30 pm
Freidenrich Auditorium, Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital

Pediatric Food Allergies - The Latest in Diagnosis, Treatment and Trials
Grace Yu, MD
Center for Asthma and Allergic Diseases
Thursday, November 17, 2011
7pm - 8:30 pm
Freidenrich Auditorium, Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital

For more information and to register visit (under “Parent Seminars and Discussions”) or call 650.724.4601.

Is it Sadness or Depression? - How to Tell the Difference.

Submitted by Roni Gillenson, LMFT Program Director ACS On Campus Counseling Program

How do we tell the difference between “within the range of normal” sadness and depression? First we need to start with the developmentally appropriate range of feeling for a teenager. To quote the medical encyclopedia, for normal teenagers we can expect “sensitivity and concern over body issues, excruciating comparisons between oneself and peers, acts of rebellion, conflict with parents, risk-taking behavior, increased risk for depression due to pressures and conflicts that may arise within families or in friendships. If adolescents appear to be isolated from peers, disinterested in school, or deteriorating in performance in school, work, or sports, psychological evaluation may be necessary.”

That was quite a mouthful, but, as you can see, there is quite a broad range of normal for teenagers. The issues come about in the gray areas. Someone who is exhibiting extreme behaviors is easy to identify. It is when we are unsure that it becomes more difficult. The major signs of depression are fatigue, heaviness, listlessness; loss of appetite; difficulty concentrating and completing tasks; feelings of shame, worthlessness, inadequacy and incompetence; lack of sleep; loss of interest in life; withdrawal from friends and family; engaging in self-destructive behavior; expressing desire to harm oneself.

Another factor is separating out sadness and depression. Sadness (or grief) is a natural response to loss and the symptoms may seem the same as depression. The major difference with depression is that the person feels that there is something wrong with themselves, “no one likes me, there is something wrong with me.” That usually doesn’t happen with simple grief.

Let me tell you about a teenager I am seeing in my private practice. She came in with most of the above symptoms – not eating, not sleeping, feeling as though no one liked her. In fact, she scored high on a depression scale I gave her. What became important for me over time is that she kept coming back each time to the fact that she was lonely. That was her predominant symptom. She said she was not suicidal. She made good use of therapy. At first she was quiet and said very little. However, as we continued to meet, she opened up more about her loneliness. I learned, though, that she overemphasized some things. Her perception is that she had no friends, but in conversation, she would name several people that she spoke to. But she said they were not really friends. Her perception of being lonely was important to listen to, because that is how she was operating, based on her perception. Therapy has helped her see things more realistically – that she actually has friends, but that she may have been misperceiving. She did not need to take anti-depressants as therapy was helping her to improve. Sometimes medication is necessary, but I always try to see if therapy will help alleviate the pain they feel first.

Sadness is a part of life, just as is grief over a loss. But when it becomes depression, it is time to take action.

If you find that your teen is having difficulty with sadness or depression, do not hesitate to have them contact an ACS counselor. Adolescent Counseling Services has therapists on your teen’s campus who are available to help. We also have access to outside resources to help parents to get through this difficult time.

Adolescent Counseling Services is a community non-profit, which provides vital counseling services on seven secondary campuses at no charge to students and their families. To learn more about our services please visit the ACS website at or call Robyn Alagona, Site Director at Gunn (650) 849-7919. ACS relies on the generosity of community members to continue offering individual, family, and group counseling to over 1,500 individuals annually. ACS provides critical interventions and mental health services, building a better future for tomorrow. If you are interested in helping to support our efforts, do not hesitate to call to make a donation. It goes a long way in helping teenagers find their way!

Breakfast with ACS!
Join us for breakfast and learn more about ACS programs, trends in child and teen mental and emotional health, and hear from our licensed clinical staff about how you can better communicate and interact with any teen in your life. These events are free, but space is limited. Please RSVP to with your name, address, phone number and the date you would like to attend.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 | 8:00-9:30am | ACS Corporate Office, 1717 Embarcadero Road, Suite 4000, Palo Alto, CA 94303

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 | 8:00-9:30am | ACS Corporate Office, 1717 Embarcadero Road, Suite 4000, Palo Alto, CA 94303

Wednesday, May 2, 2012 | 8:00-9:30am | ACS Corporate Office, 1717 Embarcadero Road, Suite 4000, Palo Alto, CA 94303

Friday, September 16, 2011

Gunn Staff Fashion Show

Submitted by Meg Omainsky

Gunn Staff Fashion Show

Mark your calendars for Tuesday afternoon, September 20th from 3:45-5:00 for the inaugural staff fashion show: Project GunnWay!

Why a fashion show? This zany event, with fashion categories such as "prom gone wrong," "dream jobs," and "famous dead folk," is actually a benefit to support student scholarships for the Gunn Foundation and the library advisory board.
We hope to develop a scholarship fund for a Gunn Senior who demonstrates exceptional leadership in promoting libraries for the public good. Come out and support the Gun staff as they channel their inner supermodels and work the Spangenberg runway!

Tickets are $5.00 and can be purchased at the Gunn Library, or at Spangenberg Theater on Sept. 20th.

All inquiries should be directed to Meg Omainsky, Gunn Librarian. Meg Omainsky

Friday, September 2, 2011

SELPA 1 CAC September Parent Education Event

Submitted by Karen Mueller

Strengths, Self-Esteem, and Self-Advocacy Ali Zidel Meyers, MSW, Director of Meyers Learning Center, will discuss how parents can nurture their children’s self-esteem, help them realize their strengths, and assist in building self-advocacy skills throughout their learning journeys. Among topics to be covered, Ali will discuss the many ways there are to “be smart”, specific techniques for enhancing self-esteem, and practical tools for self-advocacy.
Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011 - meeting is 9 to 11 am. Hospitality begins at 8:45am. Loyola Elementary School Multi, 770 Berry Ave, Los Altos, 94024. (please note special location)

This parent education event is sponsored by the SELPA 1 CAC ( All of our events are free and open to anyone who feels they might benefit. No registration is necessary.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Get SAT ready this summer with Gunn Library

Submitted by Cynthia Easton
Gunn Library subscribes to online test prep from Shmoop.

SAT and ACT Test Prep:
Review and practice for Reading, Writing and Math
Sentence completion
Passage comparisons
Writing essays and improving sentences and paragraphs
Numbers and operations
Algebra, Geometry, Statistics and Probability

AP Test Prep:
Explanations, examples and exercises
Practice problems
Review and drill questions
Full-length timed practice exams
Test-taking tips and strategies

How to access Shmoop:
From the Gunn Library website, Gunn Library Tumblr
Use the AP SAT Test Prep link at the top of the page.
Magic Word = titansrule (also found on InClass)
Create your own username and password

Thursday, June 2, 2011

PiE Update

With more parents and community members supporting us than ever before, including 545 Gunn families, Palo Alto Partners in Education (PiE) donated $3.4 million to Palo Alto Schools in late March. PiE, the education foundation that raises funds to staff school programs across the Palo Alto Unified School District, raises money centrally and allocates funds on a per student basis directly to all elementary, middle, and high schools in the district.
“The incredible generosity of PiE donors reflects our community’s commitment to providing an excellent education to our children,” said Kevin Skelly, PAUSD Superintendent. “This generosity couldn’t come at a better time, as uncertainties with state funding remain, making the partnership between parents, schools and our community even more important.”

What PiE has paid for this school year at Gunn High School
This current school year, Principal Katya Villalobos used over $347,000 donated by PiE last March to (a) pay for more counseling help for Gunn students, (b) offer a first time Introduction to Engineering Course and (c) pay for the technology mentors that help all teachers at Gunn use technology more effectively in the classrooms. She said: "At Gunn, PiE donations make continuing and new curriculum possible. Students are touched directly by PiE from class opportunity to college and career planning. Thank you for the continued support--PiE is a part of what makes Gunn a special place for teaching and learning."

What PiE will pay for next school year at Gunn High School
Of the $3.4 million raised from PAUSD parents and community between August 2010 and February 2011, $825,000 has been given to the principals at the two high schools and Gunn’s share (approximately $415,000) will be spent on the following programs for school year 2011-12: (a) to fund additional college and career counselors to better help students with their post-high school transitions; (b) to pay for additional student guidance to foster teacher-student connections and build student resilience and (c) to continue funding of career and technology electives such as engineering and biotechnology, which help prepare our students for an ever-changing world.

Gunn High School also awarded PiE funds for special projects next school year.
In addition to the foundation's grant to PAUSD, another $68,059 for 22 teacher grants to 19 school programs across the district was awarded for the fall 2010 teacher grant award, one of the largest amounts ever offered by PiE for teacher’s grants in a single round. Some of these funds will be used for teacher-directed programs at Gunn involving the robotics team, the music program [ during which students will learn music from African, South American and Asian cultures], and a new anti-stress program using yoga.

Your current Gunn PiE Team thanks you and introducing the new Gunn PiE Team
Belle Griffiths, Nancy Smith and Cherrill Spencer applaud the 545 Gunn families who donated to Partners in Education this year and trust that all Gunn families will respond even more generously this coming school year when our new Gunn PiE team seek your annual donation to PiE. Nancy Smith will be staying on to lead the team and she will be joined by Sonya Bradski, Asha Guha and Aarti Johri.

About Palo Alto Partners in Education (PiE):
Palo Alto Partners in Education (PiE) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) education foundation dedicated to supporting all Palo Alto public schools. We partner with parents, the Palo Alto Unified School District and the local community to raise funds to give all students in PAUSD the best education possible. Since PiE’s inception in 2004‐05, we have donated more than $15 million to Palo Alto Schools. For more information about PiE, please visit .

Friday, May 20, 2011

TEDxGunnHighSchool to Bring Together Students and Community

Media contact: Meg Omainsky

TEDxGunnHighSchool to Bring Together Students and Community
“Some of the best minds of our community will be on one stage. What more does one want?” ~Soham Tikekar, TEDxGunnHIghSchool event coordinator.

On Thursday, May 26th prominent members of the Palo Alto community will join together with teachers, parents and students from Henry M. Gunn High School to kick-off the inaugural event. The program will run in the school’s Little Theater from 8:00am to 5:00pm. Admission is free and a select number of seats are available to the community at . Throughout the day, student presenters are scheduled to speak on topics ranging from biology and Bach to making friends with natural disasters. These presentations will be interspersed with talks from a diverse group of speakers including tech pioneers, a Stanford Director, the Mayor of Palo Alto and an organic foods entrepreneur.

“Our event will ignite the flame you didn't know existed inside of you,” describes, Jessica Sun, a member of the student planning team. “Or at the very least involve some sort of combustive, poignant effect.”

TEDxGunnHighSchool, an independently organized TED event, began when PAUSD librarian, Meg Omainsky, applied for a TEDx license as a way to promote a culture of collaboration and idea sharing for students. Gunn High School strives to foster knowledge, creativity, integrity and personal excellence in its students. TEDxGunnHighSchool provides a platform for students to get inspired and encourages them to think big about their ideas, their future and their community. The TEDx platform also provides the opportunity to showcase the innovations and inspiring stories of the broad Palo Alto community.

Gunn High School student leaders and TEDx enthusiasts, Soham Tikekar, Jessica Sun, Takuto Sasajima, Yona Ran, and Sarah Dukes-Schlossberg have led the planning of this first time TEDx event for Henry M. Gunn High School .

The following innovators have been selected to present at TEDxGunnHighSchool:
Anastasia Vavilina and Jasmine Vahidsafa, Henry M. Gunn High School
Andrew Liu-Henry M. Gunn High School
Axel Clavier- International School of the Peninsula
Clint Wilkins -Director, Heroic Imagination Project
Derek Lee- Henry M. Gunn High School
Emmanuel Mayssat and Sierra Fan- One Million Lights
Gunjan Sinha- Chairman, Metric Stream
Hilda Huang- Palo Alto High School
John Bruggeman- Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Cadence Design Systems
Rachel Phelps- CEO, Mighty Mouth Foods
Shantanu Narayen- CEO, Adobe Systems
Sidney Espinosa- Mayor of Palo Alto
Takuto Sasajima, Henry M. Gunn High School
Theresa Diola- SF SMILES
Uwe Bergmann- Deputy Director of LCLS, Standford Linear Accelorator Laboratory
William Paris- Not In Our Town
Visit the TEDxGunnHighSchool website for detailed descriptions of each talk.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

About TED
TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 26 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. At TED, the world's leading thinkers and doers are asked to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Talks are then made available, free, at TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Benoit Mandelbrot, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Two major TED events are held each year: The TED Conference takes place every spring in Long Beach, California (along with a parallel conference, TEDActive, in Palm Springs), and TEDGlobal is held each summer in Edinburgh, Scotland.

TED’s media initiatives include , where new TEDTalks are posted daily; the new TED Conversations, enabling broad conversations among TED fans; and the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as the ability for any TEDTalk to be translated by volunteers worldwide.

TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world are given the opportunity to put their wishes into action; TEDx, which offers individuals or groups a way to host local, self-organized events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

For information about TED's upcoming conferences, visit

Follow TED on Twitter at , or on Facebook at

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Submitted by Kim Nguyen, Paco Publicity chair


Palo Alto native and rising classical star Teddy Abrams returns to PACO with Gerald Finzi’s delightful, and seldom-heard Bagatelles for Clarinet and String Orchestra. Edvard Grieg’s Holberg Suite and Mendelssohn's Octet are old friends too. Our program also features the world premiere of PACO’s sixth Youth-for-Youth commission, a brand new work for string orchestra by Elizabeth Ogonek, a student at USC’s Thornton School of Music, entitled Window Watchers in a City of Strangers. The concert, to be conducted by PACO Music Director Benjamin Simon will take place on
Saturday, June 4 at 8:00 p.m.
at Eagle Theater of Los Altos High School, 201 Almond Avenue, Los Altos.
Tickets: $5 - $15.

For more information call 650-856-3848 or visit

The Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra is delighted to inform you Gunn’s cellists Haleli Moalem, grade 11, and Nicky Hwang, grade 12, will be performing in our June 4 concert.

Visit for more details about the concert.

PACO's Debut Orchestra - Season's Final Concert

Submitted by Kim Nguyen, Paco Publicity chair

Rhosymedre~Prelude on a Welsh Hymn Tune--Ralph Vaughan Williams, arr. Arnold Foster
Theme from Schindler's List--John Williams, Jeremy Tamlico, violin soloist
String Quintet in B-Flat Major K. 174--Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Serenade for String Orchestra, op. 11--Dag Wiren
 Skylife--David Balakrishnan

Conductor Eugene Sor described the program as follows:

PACO's Debut Orchestra concludes its 2011-12 season on May 22 with a concert rich with variety. The effervescence of one of Mozart's early chamber works and Swedish composer Dag Wiren's Serenade, the beautiful and distinctly Welsh colors of Vaughan Williams, the somber Theme from Schindler's List with PACO Concerto Competition winner Jeremy Tamlico, and the hard-rock inspired Skylife by Turtle Island String Quartet violinist David Balakrishnan are all featured on this program. It will be presented by talented musicians between the ages of ten and fifteen, including Gunn’s 9th grade violinist, Iris Chen.

Concert venue: Cubberley Theatre, 4000 Middlefield Rd, Palo Alto
Date and time: Sunday, May 22, 2011 @ 3:00PM
Admission: Free

Contact: call 650-856-3848 or visit

Friday, May 6, 2011

Titan Boys Basketball Camp - Summer 2011

Session 1: Boys entering 4th-8th grades
Dates/Times: Session 1, June 13-June 16, 9:00AM-12:30PM
Session 2: Boys entering 9th and 10th grades
Dates/Times: Session 2, June 13-June 16, 1:00PM-4:30PM
Cost: $175 per camp
Link to Camp Registration or contact Chris Redfield for information.

Appreciating Our Teachers

Submitted by Katya Villalobos

Dear Parents and Guardians,

These past two mornings I was doing what I love best, visiting classrooms. I learned about the solubility constant, titration, role of presidential advisors, physics equations that would take me days to complete, the role of God in “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, genetically modified foods, schools during the Argentine dictatorship, prisms, Johnson and the Vietnam War, and much, much more.

It is serendipity that Staff Appreciation Week, Peer Observation, and Student Shadowing are all occurring simultaneously. Sometimes lost in the meetings and activities we do, and all the other responsibilities we have on campus and at home, is that we have the greatest job in the world--teaching and working with OUR students. If you have time come by and please read the comments from our students about their teachers in the Staff Lounge.

Thank you for ALL the work you do, it is much appreciated. See you at the Staff Appreciation Luncheon.

Here are some quotes I thought you might enjoy about teaching, because ALL of you are our partners:

He who opens a school door, closes a prison. ~Victor Hugo

If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn't want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher's job. ~Donald D. Quinn

None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody - a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns - bent down and helped us pick up our boots. ~Thurgood Marshall

Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~Author Unknown

“A true disciple shows his appreciation by reaching further than his teacher.”

“It should be recognized that the proper status of teachers and due public regard for the profession of teaching are of major importance.”
UNESCO (Art. 5 of 1996 Recommendation)

“Teach the children so that it will not be necessary to teach the adults.”
Abraham Lincoln

“Genius without education is like silver in the mine.”
Benjamin Franklin

“Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.”
H.G. Wells

“The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth.”
Dan Rather

"Teachers are rock stars." Katya Villalobos

Katya Villalobos

Congratulations to 2011-2013 Site Council Parent Representatives

Submitted by Rene Hart

Congratulations to the 2011-2013 Site Council Parent Representatives

Each year, two of the four parent representatives serving on Site Council come up for election. According to the revised Site Council bylaws, incumbent representatives can serve two consecutive terms (four years). Incumbent Linda Lingg opted to seek re-election. Newcomers Azeez Chollampat, Geoff Butner, Preeti Shrikhande, Shanthi Karamcheti, Monica Malamud and Becky Thomas put their names on the ballot in March. After a careful tally, Monica Malamud was newly elected and Linda Lingg was re-elected to assume the two open seats for the next two years. Geoff Butner will serve as alternate at the meetings when a parent cannot attend. They will join John Benza and Susan Thomas representing Gunn parents for 2010-2012.

INCUMBENT for 2011-2013: Linda Lingg , Parent of Joe Bennet, 12th grade and Chris Bennet, 10th grade
“I serve as the Chair for the Parent Reps and as Site Council-PTSA Liaison. Previously at Gunn, I have been PTSA Historian and participated in the Assessment Focus Group of Gunn’s accreditation process with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
I am committed to helping all of our children receive the best education we can give them taking into account their unique gifts, talents, interests, learning styles, maturity levels and post-secondary goals. Through Site Council, I continue to push for self-examination and open discussion of all aspects of Gunn’s culture, academics and administration and to keep communication with the school district and school board transparent and active.
In the past, I have had the honor to serve on Site Council at Barron Park Elementary School for one year and at Terman Middle School for four years with three as the Chair. Other relevant volunteer experiences include five PAUSD district committees, PTA executive board positions at Barron Park and Terman Middle schools, Barron Park Elementary representative on the All School’s Fund board (pre-PiE), and creation of a mentoring program for middle school girls interested in science and engineering in conjunction with St. Elizabeth Seton School and the AAUW.”

NEWLY ELECTED for 2011-2013: Monica Malamud, Parent of Nico Makowski (currently in 10th grade) and Kevin Makowski (who is an incoming 9th grader for 2011-2012).
“While my sons were at Escondido, I volunteered weekly in their classrooms and I was a member of the Site Council for two terms (2002-2006). At Jordan, I was the alternate representative to the Superintendent’s AAAG (Attendance Area Advisory Group) in 2006 and I was a member of the Site Council in 2008-2010, serving as co-chair in the last year. I served as president of SIPAPA in 2002-2003 and 2004-2005.
I have always worked in education. I have taught Computer Science courses and Spanish at different universities in Argentina, Michigan, Massachusetts and the Bay Area. Since 2000, I have been teaching Spanish full-time at a community college. In my current position, in addition to my primary role as an educator, I have occupied a number of leadership positions: Academic Senate Governing Council (7 years so far, currently Secretary), College Council (5 years, including two years as chair), Planning and Budget (4 years), Strategic Planning and Educational Master Plan Steering Committees (3 years), Faculty Union Executive Committee (6 years so far, currently in 3rd year as President). In addition to teaching college level full-time, I worked as a substitute teacher in PAUSD (I substituted from Kinder to high school).
In summary, my experience in education includes teaching kindergarten through college as well as representing parents and colleagues in governance and decision-making bodies. I am used to considering multiple points of view, competing interests and finite resources, and working together to accomplish successful outcomes. If I have the opportunity to serve on the Site Council, I believe that my broad experience in education and leadership roles will allow me to make a valuable contribution to Gunn’s community.“

For more information on Gunn's Site Council, contact Rene Hart, Gunn's Site Council Coordinator at 849-7932 or email to: Rene Hart

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Message From the Principal

Submitted by Katya Villalobos

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Wow, there are only eight weeks left in the school year--amazing. These weeks will be filled with many activities both curricular and extra-curricular. I wanted to point out a few things that are coming soon:

A) Principal's Cup Nomination--we are fortunate to have an incredible group of teachers at Gunn High School and it is now your opportunity to recognize and honor one of our very own for the 2010-2011 Principal's Cup. You probably need to put on your thinking caps, because you have many to choose from. On Gunn's website homepage, under both the "Student" and "Parent & Community" links, you will find the nomination form. Please read and review the form and turn it in by Friday, May 20 to the Main Office to either Ms. Elderon or Ms. Glover.

B) Advanced Placement Exams (APs) begin Monday, May 2 and continue through Friday, May 13. Please remind your student(s) to attend AP Pre-Registration next week;
If you are taking any AP Exams, please attend an AP Pre-administration Prep Session next week. The Sessions will be held in the Library nextTuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday during Lunch. During this session, we will assist you in filling out your AP Answer Sheet. This will allow you to begin your exam immediately after arriving at the test center for your first exam. If you don't attend one of the sessions, others will need to wait for you to bubble in your answer sheet before the test starts. See you there!

C) STAR Exams will be administered on Wednesday, May 11 and Thursday, May 12. Students need to report to their testing room by 8:00AM and will be dismissed at 12:35PM on both days. If your student(s) needs to complete STAR make-up that will occur in the afternoon of both days. Monday, May 9, Tuesday, May 10, and Friday, May 13 are regular days with the same rotation. Please remind your student to be on time.

Thank you and Go Titans!

Katya Villalobos

Monday, April 25, 2011

2010-2011 Principal's Cup

Submitted by Katya Villalobos

Dear Parents, Guardians, and Students:

We are fortunate to have an incredible group of teachers at Gunn High School and it is now your opportunity to recognize and honor one of our very own for the 2010-2011 Principal's Cup. You probably need to put on your thinking caps, because you have many to choose from.

On Gunn's homepage of the website under both the "Student" and "Parent & Community" links you will find the nomination form. Please read and review the form and turn it in by Friday, May 20 to the Main Office to either Ms. Elderon or Ms. Glover.

Go Titan Teachers!!

Katya Villalobos

Gunn High School Hosts California Music Educators Association Band Festival

Submitted by Duncan MacMillan

Todd Summers and Sandra Lewis, Gunn Instrumental Music Directors, along with their students hosted 30 high school and middle school bands on April 1-2 in Spangenberg Theater.

The bands performed a 25-minute set of music for an audience and three adjudicators who gave written and recorded comments. After their performance each band retired to the band room where they received a “new” piece of music, which they had to play after only a 2-minute introduction from their instructor. The fourth adjudicator judged that “sight-reading” performance. Each band received a rating in this non-competitive festival.

Gunn’s three bands performed and received great feedback and praise from the adjudicators for their outstanding performances:

• Freshman Concert Band received an over-all Superior Rating
• Symphonic Band received an over-all Excellent Rating
• Wind Ensemble received the highest honor, earning a Unanimous
 Superior Rating

Thank you to all of the Gunn Band & Orchestra Boosters who helped run a very successful food booth at the festival.

Taming the Tempestuous Sea

Submitted by Ruth-Anne Siegel
“Everyone is doing better than I am! They’re all so much smarter and the work is so easy for them. I feel like I can’t compete or that I need to take all advanced classes or even 5 APs!”

Taming the Tempestuous Sea

Students and Experts share stories and advice about successfully navigating and surviving the high expectations of the Gunn community featuring Denise Pope, Ph.D.

May 4, 2011
Gunn High School, Spangenberg Theater
7 - 9 pm

• Listen to Gunn students share their stories of academic peer pressure and the challenges of living in a high- achieving place like Palo Alto
• Learn coping strategies and tools to help your child from our expert panelists Denise Pope; Katya Villalobos, principal of Gunn High School, and child psychologist Lea Goldstein
• Get your questions answered! There will be a question and answer period during the program.

Due to the high level of education and success of our community, many of our children perceive that they just aren’t smart enough and can’t compete with other students who they think are smarter, harder workers and more talented.

How do we encourage a more realistic perspective, maintain appropriate academic support and reinforce common values for our kids? What can we do for the students who feel they are failing because they are not the super achievers? Due to feeling that they are inadequate, these “middle of the road” students often want to get off the track and stop striving.

Our Experts

Denise Pope, Ph.D. is a Senior Lecturer at the Stanford University School of Education and Co-Founder of Challenge Success, a research-based intervention that aims to reduce unhealthy pressure on youth and champions a broader vision of youth success. For the past eleven years, she has specialized in student engagement, curriculum studies, qualitative research methods, and service learning. Challenge Success is an expanded version of the SOS: Stressed-Out Students project that Dr. Pope founded and directed from 2003-2008. She lectures nationally on parenting techniques and pedagogical strategies to increase student health, engagement with learning, and integrity. Her book Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students was awarded Notable Book in Education by the American School Board Journal. Dr. Pope is a 3 time recipient of the Stanford University School of Education Outstanding Teacher and Mentor Award.

Katya Villalobos is currently the principal at Gunn High School. She first came to Palo Alto Unified in 1995 and began her teaching in US Government, Contemporary World History, and US History. She has served as an assistant principal at Palo Alto High School and as principal at Capuchino High School in San Bruno. Her background is in curriculum, instruction, and students services. Her greatest passion is to foster an environment where students can learn.

Lea Goldstein, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist with over twenty-five years experience working with adults, adolescents, and families. Dr. Goldstein specializes in working with teens and families with a focus on healthy adolescent development, transitions to adulthood, and substance abuse issues. She is the co-author of the book, titled “Drugs and Your Kid: How To Tell If Your Child Has a Drug/Alcohol Problem and What To Do About It”, with Peter Rogers, Ph.D., published by New Harbinger Publications. Dr. Goldstein currently maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Menlo Park, CA.

Contact R Ruth-Anne Siegel , or Sigrid Pinsky , for more information.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

GUNN Robotics news

Submitted by Lakshmi Sunder

GUNN Robotics news
Gunn robotics participated in the silicon valley FIRST regional. GRT 192 reached the semifinal and also won the Silicon Valley 2011 Autodesk Award for excellence in 3D Animation. This animation called "Bridging the Gap" was voted the best by peers. More than 160 teams submitted animations for the “Change Their World” challenge featuring the Autodesk “iiko” character.

About "Bridging the Gap ": Technology is pervasive in every aspect of modern society, completely transforming the way we live. However, it is sometimes criticized for being potentially harmful or divisive. We saw the opportunity to highlight technology’s powerful ability to build connections and form communities, even with a mechanism as "simple" as a bridge.

GRT 192's animation can be viewed at :

(Click on the Silicon Valley Regional)

2011 Health Fair

Submitted by Grace Yu

2011 Health Fair – Visited by More than 1300 students
The PTSA held a successful Health Fair on April 1st, Friday. From 9:00 am to 2:30 pm, students visited 31 booths hosted by agencies, healthcare professionals, and organizations involved in the health and wellbeing of youth. The PTSA would like to acknowledge the generosity and support of all who participated in this event.
The agencies and healthcare professionals (see below list) enabled the PTSA to host an edu-info day that covered extensive areas of health topics and fun activities for students. Local merchants and businesses also supported our event with a supply of snack bars, fresh fruits, and beverages, which the PTSA served to the students throughout the day. Parent volunteers, fair participants, and local businesses also donated raffle prizes to help attract student visits over lunch period. One of the participants, a Culinary Nutritionist, made 300 tasty and healthy wraps to be given out to students who visited at lunchtime.
Lastly, a special thank you should be expressed to the Health Fair’s chairpersons Julia Sharma and Leslie Fiedler and members of the core team for organizing a successful event.

Health Fair Participants

ACS Substance Abuse Program

Adolescent Counseling Services

Alto Sleep

American Cancer Society

American Red Cross

City of Palo Alto Office of Emergency Service

City of Palo Alto Police Department

Dairy Council California

Drug Enforcement Agency

El Camino Hospital

George Hernandez, Personal Trainer/Massage

Gunn @ Your Service

Ideal Health Chiropractic

Invisalign Teen

Joann Blessing-Moore, M.D.

Kaiser Permanente Community Health Liaison Educational Theatre Programs

Karla Oliveira, M.S., R.D/Culinary Nutritionist

Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Palo Alto Advanced Dentists

Palo Alto drug and Alcohol committee Collaborative

Palo Alto Family YMCA*

Zumba Dance Demontration

Palo Alto School District Nurse

Pat Simko, R.D. M.S./Dietitian

Palo Alto Medical Foundation

Planned Parenthood

Rashmi Saini, M.D

Sally A. Longyear, MPH, CIE/Ergonomist

Stanford Eating Disorders Research Program

Traditional Zheng Zi Tai Chi

Tai Chi Demonstration: Adam Sewell

Victor Froelicher, M.D., Cardiologist

Yoga Demonstration by Lorraine Davis

Local Support

Baja Fresh

De Martinis

Jumba Juice

Milk Pail Market *

Peet's Coffee & Tea (Charleston)


SunUp Design System*

Trader Joe’s

Whole Foods Market (Los Altos)

Yakult U.S.A. Inc.

Core Team

Julia Sharma (Chair)*

Leslie Fiedler (co-Chair)*

Homa Adnani

Norma Hesterman

Evon Ho

Shalini Kumar

Karla Oliveira

Pat Simko

JinPing Song

May To (Team Advisor)

Radhika Yarlagadda

Grace Yu


Vanessa Bernegge

Grace Downer

Anita Dubey

Chris Graham

Susan Graham

Gail Kingston

Debbie Mason

Lottie Price

Dawm Reboli

Matt Reboli

Rashmi Saini

* - Raffle donors