Many students at Palo Alto High School are impatiently waiting for the opening of the Media Arts Center, which was originally scheduled to open at the beginning of this year, but is now planned to be completed in Jan. 2014. Juniors Claire Priestley and Eliza Ackroyd were encouraged by journalism teacher Paul Kandell to create a club to design the interior of the new building.
Throughout the year, the Media Arts Center Interior Design Club will meet to fundraise and plan how art will be displayed in the building. Priestley and Ackroyd are looking for different forms of art, including photos, paintings, sculptures and glass art.
“We really want people to express themselves,” Priestly said. “I think that’s what the building is for.”
In order to decide which art to put in the building, the Media Arts Center Interior Design Club will organize a contest where students will submit various pieces of art. Priestly will ask a member of the community to judge the art and prizes will be awarded to the winners. This is a friendly contest that will encourage students to get involved in the design of the building in order to create an environment in which students will feel comfortable expressing themselves.
Poetry Slam Club
Although students may have studied poetry in class, not many have had a chance to explore many types of poetry and recite it in front of their peers.
Freshman Yasmine Kamgar, who is passionate about poetry, decided to create the Poetry Slam Club in order for students to have the opportunity to perform and be critiqued by their peers. In addition, students in the Poetry Slam Club will also present the work of famous poets.
“I love poetry and I think that it’s a great way of expressing yourself through an artistic outlet,” Kamgar said.
Kamgar hopes that through her club, inexperienced as well as advanced poets will find a warm and encouraging environment to share their talents.
Acts of Random Kindness Club
The Acts of Random Kindness (ARK) Club originated from an idea that the Christian Club had last year to devote a week to treating others with kindness. Senior Bryant Vergara, president of the ARK club, was inspired by this idea and decided to create a club focused on performing kind deeds for other students.
“At Paly, we have kids who struggle with depression, inadequacy and just simple stress because of the competitive environment,” Vergara said. “ARK wants to help lift up these people, remind them they’re important and wonderful human beings that deserve to smile.”
By organizing activities, Vergara and other club members will help students balance the competitive and stressful aspects of school with enjoyment in order to make Paly a “more loving place,” according to Vergara.
Junior Andrew Lu, president of the TEDx club, decided to create a club to organize TEDx talks at Paly that will take place on Feb. 24, 2014. Throughout the day, there will be several speakers during class periods, as well as at lunch and after school.
Planning TEDx talks is an overwhelming amount of work, so Lu and his peers began working last year and over the summer. The club will meet regularly during the year to find speakers, plan the event and publicize the TEDx talks.
According to Lu, he is looking for Paly students and graduates, Stanford students and faculty as well as many more speakers who will talk about the future of their specialty.
“We are aiming for some pretty famous people as well some people who should be brought out into the spotlight,” Lu said.
Although he has not found speakers yet, Lu is confident that the event will be a success.
“We’re pretty hopeful that we’re going to get some good speakers this year,” Lu said.
One of Lu’s goals is that the TEDx talks will inspire students to look into new career paths and opportunities. Furthermore, if the event is successful, Lu hopes it will become a Paly tradition.
Yoga and Buddhism Club
Much like the Acts of Random Kindness Club, the purpose of the Yoga and Buddhism Club is to make Paly a more relaxed and stress-free environment. The club will meet twice a month: the first meeting will be a discussion that will address issues that students face at Paly and teach people how they can apply Buddhist principles to their everyday lives, and the second meeting will hold yoga classes in the dance studio.
Junior Emma Chiu, president of the Yoga and Buddhism Club, initiated the club because she saw an unhealthy amount of stress in the Paly environment and wanted to take action to help students directly.
“Paly has a great deal of academic pressure and social expectations, and I feel that many of us can relate to a lot of the things people are going through,” Chiu said. “Coming together once a month can help us address these issues and learn how to succeed in our environment while maintaining our health and wellness.”
Chiu hopes that by leading discussions and organizing a yoga class, she will improve “the general wellness and happiness of students.”
Gender Equality Club
Seniors Lande Watson and Kelly Patterson created the Gender Equality Club in order to discuss issues regarding sexual inequality in the Palo Alto community. The club will meet every week to raise awareness about gender discrimination.
“Inequality, especially based on sex, is an issue that affects all of us, and it’s important that we start talking about what we can do to end it,” Watson said.
Watson’s primary goal is to expand the club and reach out to students to inform them on what they can do to help make Paly a more equal environment. Watson believes that everyone should take part in the club because gender inequality is an important issue in our community.