Jack Smale | June 10, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - June 10, 2011

Jack Smale

'Take classes that work for you'

Having lived in Palo Alto his whole life, Palo Alto High School graduate Jack Smale looks forward to new surroundings this fall when he heads to Gonzaga University in Washington.

But a decade from now, he actually wouldn't mind being right back where he started.

Smale, a swimmer, water polo and baseball player, is considering a career in high school teaching and coaching.

At Paly, perhaps?

"That would be awesome, but we can only wish for so much," he said.

The ever-upbeat senior class president — part of Paly's baseball program for three years until this spring when he traded baseball for swimming — puts a positive spin on Paly baseball's recent CCS championship without him.

"I was actually really happy for them because they're all my friends and I've played baseball with them for I don't even know how many years," he said.

"They deserved it."

As a member of student government, Smale was involved in organizing Paly's Spirit Week, as well as the school's recent prom.

"Prom was amazing — we got a lot of great feedback from it," he said.

Students met early in the school year to develop their list of criteria for prom — a classy venue and better food and music were high on the list, he said.

The end result at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco "reflected the spirit of the school and what students wanted," he said.

What he'll most miss about high school are his friends, Smale said.

Least missed will be "Paly's competitiveness."

"I'm a competitive person, but there's a lot of pressure here to excel. Kids feel like they have to do the best they can, and sometimes that can really get to you.

"I've come across times of stress where it's been hard to focus on anything besides school, so it will be good to get away from that."

Smale's stress-management advice is, "Just take classes that are going to work for you.

"A lot of kids will take five APs just because that's what their parents or teachers say is going to get them into college. But when you take classes you don't enjoy, you're not going to do as well."

To a new student he would suggest: "Try new things.

"I met some of the nicest people through water polo, which I just went into freshman year and had no idea how it would turn out. Same with student government — I never saw myself getting into that, and it was just a blast."

—Chris Kenrick


There are no comments yet for this post

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


Registration now open

Sign up for the 33rd annual Palo Alto Weekly Moonlight Run and Walk. This family-friendly event which benefits local nonprofits serving kids and families will take place on Friday, Oct. 6 at the Palo Alto Baylands.

Register Here