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