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.