It is quite evident that Palo Alto High School is the frontrunner for many facets of academia, from top public school education to sophisticated technology to superior athletics. As we sit in the realm of constant change and venture into the future, not only do our educational and technological surroundings improve, but our social lives change every day. The cost of maintaining an active social life often comes at a steep price, as coping with factors such as balancing daily tasks and stress has proven challenging for many. However, if both students and staff could enjoy once again the green and white lawn chairs that used to populate Paly’s Quad, everyone would benefit as Paly’s outdoor environment would change for the good.
Former Principal Phil Winston originally instituted lawn chairs on campus two years ago in order to change the social culture of the Quad. After Winston’s first attempt at providing students with extra comfort, most of the chairs were either broken or stolen within a few weeks. On the contrary, upon a second try instigating the program in January 2013 with 100 more chairs, we noticed that the more durable chairs lasted until the end of the year. After two trials, Paly has proven that the student body can handle the privilege additional seating, thereby reaffirming the idea of replenishing the stock of lawn chairs.
Given the two “failed” attempts at maintaining lawn chairs for the long run, one may believe that they were essentially a waste of otherwise “surplus” Associated Student Body (ASB) funds. However, this move put forth by Winston and ASB allows Paly to continue improving by offering lawn chairs and other ergonomic seating as a means of outdoor campus seating. In addition, the lawn chairs led to an affinity on the Quad only seen previously during special events.
The lack of lawn chairs and other outdoor ergonomic seating shows a clear digression from the advancement that our school as a whole strives for. Within the classroom, the math department has explored options for new desks; many of which attach a more ergonomic chair to its structure. From an extended classroom perspective, a set of lawn chairs provide teachers with the option to allow their students to work outdoors rather than being cooped up in uncomfortable desks inside a classroom. If Paly brought back lawn chairs, classroom and teaching culture could change for the better, as the option of outdoor learning would give access to a new medium in which teachers could positively expand the learning environment and strive to be revolutionize the classroom of the future.
For those who are overly conscious about clean clothes, lawn chairs provide a dry, comfortable place to sit for those who wish to enjoy the Quad. In combination with other social benefits, the ability to sit on the quad in comfort with minimal risk poses great benefits to Paly’s overall school culture. Lawn chairs may not seem cheap, but they remain much more affordable than any other outdoor seating option that is compatible with the quad. Previously, Paly purchased lawn chairs for around $20 apiece, but these costs can be significantly reduced, as many home improvement stores sell the “Adirondack” chair for less, and negotiable manufacturer’s discounts would make the chairs even more affordable.
In the long run, if students and staff were given new lawn chairs to use on the quad, the benefits of lawn chairs would outweigh the cost of purchasing and they will turn into a prized investment that may eventually define outdoor school cultures around the nation.