Years in the making, Gunn High unveils new marquee | January 13, 2023 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - January 13, 2023

Years in the making, Gunn High unveils new marquee

Classes of 2020 and 2021, PTSA, school and district collaborate to fund the project

by Zoe Morgan

When Gunn High School unveiled a new marquee at the front of the campus this week, it marked the successful resolution of a years-long process to get a functioning sign at the school.

Wendy Stratton recalled seeing that the old sign was already broken when she took over as the principal at Gunn in the fall of 2020. Getting a replacement turned out to be a lengthy endeavor, with funding questions, bureaucratic delays and pandemic supply chain issues impacting the process.

Stratton joined teachers, staff, administrators, Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) members and a student on Tuesday, Jan. 10, to formally cut the ribbon on the new marquee.

With Gunn less visible from the road than schools like Palo Alto High, Stratton said she views the marquee as particularly impactful in allowing the community to learn more about events occurring on the campus.

"The marquee for me represents a doorway to the rest of the world to see what's happening at this amazing school," Stratton told the Weekly.

Funding the marquee's installation was a collaborative effort. The graduating classes of 2020 and 2021 donated about $14,000, with the PTSA contributing an additional $7,000. The school picked up the rest of the roughly $29,000 tab. The school district then paid the nearly $10,000 cost to remove the old sign and install the new one.

The fact that the two graduating classes most impacted by the pandemic came together to fund the sign was meaningful to Kimberly Eng Lee, who led Gunn's PTSA in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years.

"It was particularly poignant because they actually didn't have a graduation that year at all," Lee said of the class of 2020. "They didn't walk. They didn't have any ceremony whatsoever."

There is interest in adding signage indicating the contributions of the two graduating classes, Lee said.

Junior Smriti Kallahalla, whose mom is on the PTSA, volunteered to cut the ribbon with Stratton and told the Weekly that she thinks the marquee will increase school pride and help people be more aware of what's going on at the campus.

"I think it's really cool," Kallahalla said. "I think it adds to the Titan spirit."

Email Staff Writer Zoe Morgan at [email protected]


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2023 at 4:39 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

I looked up the word marquee in the dictionary to find out the definition. I was familiar with it being used as a canopy outside a theater with advertising for the show and to shelter those arriving and waiting for the theater to open from the rain or the sun.

I was unfamiliar with the usage for an electronic sign outside a school. Web Link

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 13, 2023 at 11:41 am

Anonymous is a registered user.

- from a Gunn grad from some years ago…

Posted by BP Parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 15, 2023 at 12:34 am

BP Parent is a registered user.

The new electronic sign is way too low to the ground. Passing cars block half of it. Also, there is a metal sign next to it that also obstructs your view. No thought or planning was involved in its design and placement.

Also, the text is very small and hard to read.

Very disappointing after 2 years of waiting to replace the old one.

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