Class of '15 profiles: Taking the roads less traveled

Graduating seniors dare to follow diverse paths

It takes courage to walk to the beat of your own drum at any point in life, but perhaps particularly so during high school.

Every member of the senior classes at Palo Alto's public and private high schools deserves recognition and celebration for the accomplishments, big and small, that propelled them to graduation.

In seeking to represent the diverse personalities of the class of 2015, the Weekly sought out and found five students from Palo Alto High, Gunn High, Eastside College Preparatory School and Castilleja School who represent courage to choose a different path, both during and after high school, inside and outside of the classroom.

Some of these students were suggested to the Weekly by school administrators, teachers or fellow students for their alternative decisions and achievements; one assumed a visible leadership role in the community this year as Gunn's representative to the Board of Education.

These five students' courage comes in many different forms -- taking a gap year, deciding to defer college to take care of one's mental health, speaking out for one's beliefs and on behalf of others.

Their paths to graduation were all different but share one common thread: a willingness to walk to the beat of their own drum.

Taken together, these students represent a sense of optimism about the future for Palo Alto students and their definitions of success. They show that accomplishment is not necessarily bound to good grades or college admission but to hard work, passion, selflessness and creativity.


Nick Beeson

Jocelyn Higuera

Katerina Pavlidis

Austin Traver

Rose Weinmann

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10 people like this
Posted by loving parent
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 4, 2015 at 11:34 am

A wonderful idea to interview students from the community who have independently designed plans that "break from the mold". Thank you PA Weekly for highlighting these awesome students. In Palo Alto having the courage to be your own person deserves attention. Many communities exercise diverse options as the norm. Let's hope you are enabling more students and families to be follow their own paths to happiness and purpose.

Like this comment
Posted by sea reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 4, 2015 at 3:42 pm

Beautiful photos and future memories of summer of 2015

Congratulations to students, parents and grand parents!

They look so healthy and smart!

Charm of being 17-18 years olds!

1 person likes this
Posted by thank you
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 4, 2015 at 3:53 pm

As the parent of a bright, athletic and socially comfortable, but very low-achieving Paly student, I appreciate reading about Palo Alto students who are not the typical high achievers heading off to prestigious colleges. It gives me hope that my child will some day find another path.

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Short story writers wanted!

The 33rd Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult (15-17) and Teen (12-14) categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 29. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

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