In the latest column, news about a celebration for the Junior Museum and Zoo and renovated Rinconada Park, a Paly teacher's appearance on Jeopardy! and a recent abortion rights protest by a group of Palo Alto moms.
THIS CALLS FOR A CELEBRATION ... More than 500 people attended the city of Palo Alto's Party in the Park event on May 14, which marked the official grand openings of the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo and renovated Rinconada Park.
The day featured a ribbon-cutting attended by local leaders, including Palo Alto Mayor Pat Burt and City Manager Ed Shikada. Attendees enjoyed music, animals at the zoo, a new playground at the park and free ice cream.
Leading up to the party, the Junior Museum and Zoo posted photos that hinted at a new exhibit the beloved community institution unveiled at the event: the Voyage Solar System Mode, a free outdoor exhibit. "It features a 1 to 10-billion scale model of the Solar System in which all of the dimensions, including the size and distance of the planets, are created to scale," according to the city's Palo Alto Connect blog.
ON THE BRIGHT SIDE ... Locals watched with excitement as Palo Alto High School math teacher Daniel Nguyen recently competed on Jeopardy! Nguyen's smarts led him to a commendable three-day run last week.
He was outsmarted by his competitors during his first game on May 11 when it came to the categories of "Beastly Art" and "From Queens." He fought back by building his earnings up to $13,000, surpassing his competitors, heading into Final Jeopardy. None of the three contestants provided the correct answer when presented with the following clue: "It's an Italian word for 'mercy,' but also the name of a movie character who kills Stracci and Carlo." Appearing stumped, Nguyen decided to give his school a shoutout with the answer, "What is Sko Vikes," a reference to the locally known cheer that supports the Palo Alto High Vikings. His wager of $5,801 was enough to crown him the new champion and advance to the next game.
His knowledge continued to shine on May 12, when he nearly swept the category of four-syllable words. The bad luck typically associated with Friday the 13th may have played a role in his final game. While he was in the No. 1 position heading into Final Jeopardy, he was the sole player with the wrong answer when faced with the following clue on state names: "This state was named for a man born in Herrenhausen Palace in Hanover in 1683." Nguyen wrote down "What is New Hampshire?" but the correct answer was Georgia.
While his time on the show is now over, he told The Paly Voice this week that he appreciated the experience on a show that he's "loved" since he was a kid. "My favorite part of being on the show is definitely being able to share this experience with my family, friends and Paly community," he said.
PROM MOMS RALLY FOR ABORTION RIGHTS ... A group of Palo Alto moms, including school board member Jennifer DiBrienza, organized a rally outside of Town & Country Village shopping center on Saturday, May 14, supporting abortion rights. The event coincided with protests around the country that same day in the wake of a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that shows the justices are on the brink of overturning Roe vs. Wade.
The group stood at the corner of El Camino Real and Embarcadero Road, where they made their message known to passersby with posters, some of which read "Keep abortion safe, legal and accessible," "My body my choice" and "Let's focus on the 2 billion breathing children on this planet." Palo Alto's protest used the hashtag #prommoms4choice because it coincided with Palo Alto High School's prom on Saturday.
An earlier protest also favoring of abortion rights was held 11 a.m. that day at the same Palo Alto corner. Another one was held in downtown Mountain View. Both were part of nationwide "Bans Off Our Bodies" demonstrations organized by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Liberate Abortion Coalition and Women's March, among others.