12 questions | May 31, 2019 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - May 31, 2019

12 questions

What is your favorite memory from high school?

SP: Playing football against Lynbrook (High School) when I was a sophomore.

GO: My junior year, there was a class camping trip where three of my friends and I decided to wash our hair in a sink to give others more time to shower because they were more picky about that.

DT: Rivalry week! It's a super fun week of building, decorating, plotting and bonding with my class as seniors and juniors compete to outdo each other.

LS: My comedy lit final, a SNL skit.

Which class do you think prepared you most for life after high school?

SP: Living Skills and Economics.

GO: Senior College Prep, where we focused on college apps, financial aid and college life. Because of it's different content, the class helped me learn more about things beyond school.

DT: African American Women Writers. I was able to explore the ways that African American women authors represent and disrupt ideas of racial identity, femininity, masculinity, community and sexuality. And Artificial Intelligence. I have always been fascinated by how the world is being transformed by advances in technology; I am now inspired to be directly involved with the next set of breakthrough applications.

LS: Journalism (C Magazine). I learned how to manage my time, coordinate with advertisers, interviewees, printers and overall learned to be a leader beyond the classroom.

Most embarrassing moment?

SP: When I slipped and fell in the quad in front of my crush at the time.

GO: My freshman year, someone kicked a soccer ball straight to my face during soccer practice and my glasses broke.

DT: During golf senior night last semester at our last mach of the season, a lot of faculty and parents had come out to watch. I messed up spectacularly on the last hole in front of everyone.

LS: When my dog escaped my classroom at school twice, and (Assistant Principal Jerry) Berkson almost killed me.

What song defines your senior year?

SP: "Struggle" by Migos

GO: "Magic Shop" by BTS because the song shows how the ups and downs of life can lead to a better circumstance, especially because of the people who surround you.

DT: "Back Home" by Andy Grammer

LS: "Walking on a Dream" by Empire of the Sun

What is more important to you: a good night's sleep or a good grade on a test?

SP: A good night's sleep.

GO: Sleep is more important because it helps with good grades on tests, which is one of the reasons why I do my homework in the morning instead of in the afternoon.

DT: I wish I could say a good night's sleep.

LS: Sleep!

What advice do you have for incoming freshmen?

SP: Have fun.

GO: Experiment with the high school experience because high school is still that chance between college/life beyond school and middle school to figure out what methods of living comfortably work for you.

DT: (Don't feel) pressured to join everything and be a part of everything.

LS: Never get caught up in what you think you should be doing. Taking actions you believe in will lead you where you should be.

What do you see as the most defining social issue of your generation?

SP: Economic backgrounds, as in the separation between the poor and the rich.

GO: Immigration because it has an impact not only in the U.S. but also around the world. Ever since I can remember, immigration has always been a concern in the U.S., but, recently, the impacts of how immigrants are treated are shown to affect the relationship between countries as well.

DT: The struggle for gender parity in pay and career growth in the workforce. It will soon be on my generation to tackle the issue.

LS: The stigmatization of mental illness and its effect on gun violence.

What was your take on the college-admissions bribery scandal?

SP: Bribery isn't the way to go.

GO: I was not very surprised when the issue surfaced because there are many ways in which students of a higher socioeconomic class get an advantage in the college admissions process, but this way is illegal and involved a couple of well-known celebrities.

DT: It was super disappointing but not surprising. I think it speaks to the obsession we have with brand-name schools. Paying your kid's way into college is despicable not only because it takes spots away from actual deserving kids but also because it sends the message to your own that they're not good enough.

LS: Unfortunately, I was completely unsurprised. The college process has always been somewhat reliant on privilege and power, and I was somewhat glad public attention was called to it, but I think much more attention should be focused on leveling the playing field as a whole, not focusing on certain instances of extreme bribery.

Would students be more productive if cell phones were banned during school hours?

SP: Students would not be able to work without their phones with them.

GO: I do not think it would make students more productive because, without their phones, students can get more anxious about what is happening in their phones and may feel the need to check their phone despite the rules.

DT: I'm not sure — cell phones can definitely be distracting, but I also think that we've figured out how to incorporate them into our school life in a productive way, whether that's using them for study music, class group texts, etc.

LS: No, I have found that for the most part teachers have cell phones under control, and if anything, they provide laughter and connection among students during our long block periods when we have breaks.

If you could nominate one person for president in 2020, who would it be?

SP: Me.

GO: (Even though he is not a U.S. citizen), I would nominate Kim Namjoon because he recognizes the gaps between people whether it be because of a language barrier or age and addresses them through music with his korean pop band, BTS.

DT: (U.S. Senator and presidential candidate) Kamala Harris.

LS: My mom.

Finish this sentence: "In 10 years, I'm going to be..."

SP: A father, a hard-working husband, role model and a NFL football player.

GO: Proud of what I have accomplished regardless of what it is.

DT: Hitting my stride in my chosen profession after successfully navigating my first few years in the real world.

LS: Trying to run my own magazine and visiting many national parks.


4 people like this
Posted by sunnypa
a resident of Gunn High School
on May 30, 2019 at 10:41 am

sunnypa is a registered user.

Go Solomone!! I've been a big fan since that epic game and last minute play. You are an awesome player and have a bright future ahead, just like all the other students highlighted. We have an impressive and talented group of kids in our Palo Alto schools!

4 people like this
Posted by keithbromberg
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 30, 2019 at 2:09 pm

keithbromberg is a registered user.

Thank you Elena,
You have told these stories beautifully and demonstrate what our kids might achieve with great support in our schools.

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