Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - June 11, 2010

Arjun Singh

Finding footing

One special teacher can make all the difference.

In hindsight, at least, that's what happened to Palo Alto High School graduating senior Arjun Singh, who said he found his footing through the school's journalism program and the encouragement of teacher Esther Wojcicki.

"It's a hands-on program that lets you figure out who you are, and for me that was kind of a turning point," Singh said. "It taught me responsibility, whipped me into shape a little bit."

Singh credits Wojcicki, his freshman English teacher, for encouraging him to join Paly's journalism program.

He poured his heart into it. For the past two years, Singh has written for and edited the school newspaper, The Campanile, which Wojcicki also advises.

"My dad always said he had special teachers in high school and I didn't really get that until this year, when I realized her influence," Singh said.

"Her classes are truth-seeking and rigorous, but kind of wacky and fun. She's been a really influential figure for me."

After spending the summer relaxing and teaching computer skills to seniors at Avenidas, Singh heads to Emerson College in Boston this fall. He plans on a double major in marketing and journalism.

"Ideally I'd like to really be a journalist, but with the industry being the way it is I also needed some sort of back-up plan, which is marketing," he said.

One thing Singh won't miss about Paly is "the incredibly competitive environment, where it drowns out getting an education versus just looking good to everyone else," he said.

"Basically, you can get lost at Paly so easily if you don't find some sort of footing.

"It's an almost cruelly competitive environment. A lot of people come out really well, but there are people who don't fare as well as everyone else.

"For kids who are late bloomers or just average, coming to Paly is a really hard experience because you're surrounded by smart, intelligent kids with smart, intelligent families backing them up."

Singh expects his life to be quite different from that of his parents, who are from India. For one thing, his dad went to a "regimented, English-style boarding school" that was nothing like Paly.

"One of the great things about Paly is that, to some degree, it encourages students to speak up about the problems they see and express it in a constructive way," he said.

As for his generation as a whole, Singh said: "We're a much more connected generation than our parents and that's going to let us lead a different life.

"And we're not scared of technology. We embrace change a little more, just because we're used to everything changing.

"We don't see change as scary. We see it as cool."

Comments

There are no comments yet for this post

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields