Palo Alto teens to hold first all-city dance Friday

Inclusive social aims to help offset high-school rivalries, pressure

Palo Alto's youth are hosting the first all-high-schools social of its kind, Ignite, Friday from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Lucie Stern Community Center.

Organizers say they hope conversation and joviality will help to triumph over interscholastic rivalry at the event.

"This is an event where teenagers get to get together as teenagers, instead of as teenagers from competing schools," said Gunn High School junior Elsa Chu, a member of the city's Teen Advisory Board.

The event -- planned for Palo Alto high school students by both the board and the city's Youth Council -- will offer a game room, a lounge, live music and recreation and dancing to a DJ's music. Food will be provided.

SATs and college-admission decisions make March an especially stressful month for Palo Alto students from Gunn, Palo Alto High, Castilleja and other schools, Chu said, and Ignite may be well-earned respite.

"It's a hard month for a lot of teenagers," she said.

Organizers have planned and promoted Ignite via school announcements and social networking sites. They hope to attract at least 500 students.

The event is the result of recommendations from the 2010 Youth Forum, in which students stated they wanted to have the opportunity to attend more activities. It is sponsored by the city's Youth Collaborative, a coalition of nonprofits, city staff, business leaders, school officials, public safety officers, community members and youth. It was planned with the input of 400 surveys distributed by the two Palo Alto youth-leadership organizations.

"It's really an effort by the community to respond to Palo Alto's youth," said Jessica Lewis, a recreation coordinator for the city.

Tickets are $5 in advance and $10 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at Lucie Stern, 1305 Middlefield Road, and Cubberley Community Center, 4000 Middlefield Road. ID is required to purchase a ticket, organizers said.

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 3, 2011 at 10:06 am

This is a wonderful idea and I hope it goes well.

My Paly student had no idea about it when I mentioned it at home.

Like this comment
Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of University South
on Mar 3, 2011 at 10:29 am

Ditto. I think it's a great idea, but, at least at Paly, the word has not gone out. And having a parent hear about it first and tell the kid, as is happening, is not a way to make an event cool. The kids need to get it out on Facebook in a bigger way.

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Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 3, 2011 at 10:57 am

When I was growing up in So.Cal, we had one of these "all-school" dance events monthly and it was big...packed everytime and loads of fun.

If they make a point to schedule it consistently, monthly (or even more frequently) I am confident it will succeed and be not only loads of fun, but a great way to broaden friendships, horizons, and offer fun stress release for these kids who carry so much stress with them these days!

Like this comment
Posted by K
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 3, 2011 at 10:59 am

How fun!! I wish my class had done that. Back in my day 95-ish. We just had JLS, no Jordan yet. So Paly and Gunn students all knew each other from middle school, so a combined dance would have been so much fun.

Like this comment
Posted by BaaBaaRaa
a resident of another community
on Mar 3, 2011 at 11:05 am

This is SUCH a great idea! I remember being a teen growing up around here in the 60s and how I so wanted something like this. It was deadsville most of the time...

Teens are bursting to get out and discover, to dance, to meet other teens, to have fun. They need a safe place where they can meet new folks.... where they can try on new selves.

Like this comment
Posted by RakingJill
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 3, 2011 at 11:38 am

We used to have these all the time in the early 80's when Paly and Gunn were more like sister schools and not cross-town rivals. Watch the hyperbole there!

Like this comment
Posted by mom
a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 3, 2011 at 1:57 pm

It is a great idea! There is a reason we haven't seen many of these dances, though... These types of events are very hard to supervise and monitor.

I have heard kids talking about how there will be no breathalizers at this dance. I'm not sure if this is true but I hope the people putting it on are prepared for these sorts of issues.

Like this comment
Posted by mutti
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 3, 2011 at 4:20 pm

I think there was a Gunn/Paly dance about 10 years ago. I had one student at each school for 2 years, so kept up with what was going on. But my kids never wanted to go to the school dances because too many people were drunk. I hope it's improved in the last 10 years. They definitely need the breathalizers.

Like this comment
Posted by Tim Beer
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 3, 2011 at 5:43 pm

The Tri-School Formal used to be an annual event when I was in high school. "Tri-School?" you ask? Cubberley wasn't a community center back then. (Yes, I'm old). Glad to see the kids reviving this tradition, even if they are short one school.

Like this comment
Posted by drunk kids
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 3, 2011 at 9:29 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 4, 2011 at 9:07 am

This dance doesn't seem to be on many kids radar - they are pretty unaware of it. I hope its a success, because its a great idea!

Like this comment
Posted by KB
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Mar 4, 2011 at 10:20 am

Thank you to all students and adults who worked hard to plan this great event!!

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 4, 2011 at 12:09 pm

There is defintely a "wait and see" element to this dance. If it is even a moderate success, it will be better attended next time.

There is a wariness amongst those who do not like Paly dances because of the perceived ideas of who goes and what happens. Some kids will not go because they don't like the atmosphere even though they loved the middle school dances.

This is something new and there is an excitement, but if it does not work it may just be because it is the first one. I hope it goes well, but whatever happens, I hope that there will be more and that the word will go round that these are fun events.

Like this comment
Posted by ex cubite
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 4, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Yes, back in the day we had the tri-schools. It was run joinlty by the schools and it was tons of fun. They were formals and we held them off site usually at the Cabana

Like this comment
Posted by Dances
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 4, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Hope papd is nearby during and after the dance. After all, there were some issues with the last teen dance at Illusions.

Like this comment
Posted by Paul Losch
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 4, 2011 at 8:29 pm

My 23yo son, a 2005 PALY grad, is among the chaperones, safety considertations are definitely part of the program, and I think it's great that some young adults close in age are part of the duty, it is very different than when parents and older adults are chapersones.

Like this comment
Posted by Annie
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 5, 2011 at 9:01 am

My kids went last night and had a great time. I hope this will be repeated.

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Posted by Andrew
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Mar 5, 2011 at 11:02 am

This is very inaccurate.

In 08, Paly's first sadies in a while was open to Gunn students in an attempt to make it for both High Schools.

And Since the summer after 08, "Klub Ice" was partially formed for this exact purpose, to gather people from all high schools. Since it was summer and the student Government hadn't been successful at organizing such a dance yet, it was a group of students outside of the school who hosted the event.

This is by far not the first of it's kind and such, "all school" events have been going on continuously for the past couple years.

I know as I was part of the team that made Paly's Sadies open to both, and I was a promoter for the original Club Illusions teen dances.

Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 5, 2011 at 6:03 pm


Thanks for letting us know that your kids had a great time.

I would love to find out more about the evening, how many kids, were they mainly freshman and sophomores, more or less even from both schools, etc.

Is there going to be another?

Like this comment
Posted by Student
a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 22, 2012 at 7:57 pm

This event is being held for its second year, at Lucie Stern Community Center, on March 31, 2012. We plan to make it much bigger and more inclusive than last year!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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