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Paly Centennial Committee organizes celebratory program


Hosting a reenactment of its current campus’ opening 100 years ago, the Paly Centennial Committee is putting together an event that will mimic how students, staff and community members marched from the old Paly campus at 850 Webster St. to the current Paly site in 1918.

Following the march, a celebratory program called the Centennial Celebration will proceed in the Performing Arts Center.

The Centennial Celebration will feature a variety of performances, including the Palo Alto Festival Choir and the world premier of a song composed by Grammy-award winning Christopher Tin, a ‘94 Paly graduate. The event will open with the Paly band and close with birthday cake to celebrate the school’s 100th year.

In addition to a variety of performances, a multitude of prominent dignitaries who are Paly alumni will attend including Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, State Assemblyman Marc Berman and Joe Simitian, State Sen. Jerry Hill and City Council member Karen Holman.

The Oct. 7 march will go from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and the centennial performance will follow from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.. Attendees should meet at 850 Webster St. before the march starts.

Paly librarian Rachel Kellerman encourages all community members to attend.

“[I’m most excited about] the mix of Paly ‘then and now,’ as the interaction between the older alumni and current students helps to build a stronger Paly community [both] now and in the future.”

Rachel Kellerman

According to Kellerman, the idea for the march originated with the Palo Alto Historical Association.

The event is intended to celebrate the opening of Paly’s current campus on Embarcadero Road, a crucial landmark in Palo Alto history.

The Centennial Committee has been working with the Palo Alto Historical Association to organize and plan this event since last year, Kellermine said.

Furthermore, several notable Paly pioneers will be recognized for their pivotal impact at the high school.

Mary Gordon, a long-time Palo Alto landscape architect and designer, will be honored for her years of dedication and volunteer service to preserve the Paly campus with a brass plaque.

It will be placed in the garden in front of the Tower Building according the Centennial Program’s recognitions sheet.

Additionally, Anna Probst Zschokke, one of Palo Alto’s first citizens, will be recognized with a commemorative plaque outlining her vital role as the founder of Palo Alto schools and Paly in particular.

The plaque will serve to educate the community and campus visitors about her story as a pioneer and risk taker in initiating an innovative school system in an era when these roles were not typically occupied by women.

The celebrations will be continuing throughout the school year with this event here, this event now, and this event.

Both events are free. The general admission tickets for the Centennial performance are available at Palo Alto High School Theatre program’s website.

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