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Gunn grads celebrate diversity, being in the moment

Original post made on Jun 1, 2017

For the Class of 2017, Gunn High School has been at times transformative and nerve-racking, inspiring and trying but above all else, a place to connect and grow with others, student speakers told their peers at graduation on Wednesday evening.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, May 31, 2017, 11:50 PM

Comments (10)

Posted by Resident
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jun 1, 2017 at 11:11 am

"Since 2015, Gunn seniors have adhered to a new tradition of decorating their graduation caps with non-college related images"

Umm, translated - against the wishes of almost all students and many parents, Principal Herrmann forbade decorating caps with college images on penalty of being banned from graduation.

Meanwhile, at Paly, they still have the option, most kids choose to do so, and what do you know, nobody cares.

Dr. Herrmann did some good things, but her heavy hand in "establishing new traditions" will not be missed.


Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 1, 2017 at 11:36 am

Congratulations, Class of 2017! I wish you the best.

As for the content of the speeches...

I've never understood the phrase that implores others to "celebrate diversity." It doesn't make any sense. Why not celebrate "unity" despite diversity? Why not celebrate the rights of individuals to adhere to their own cultural, religious or racial/ethnic norms?

Diversity is little more than a state of being. This doesn't mean that it is good, bad or anything in-between. There are many different components and aspects that make up our "diverse" cultures. A certain aspect of one culture might not appreciated by a certain aspect of another. Yet, words like "diversity" and "multicultural" are often spoken as though they are some sort of magic thing that we must embrace and rally behind.

I'd much rather hear terms like "unity," "solidarity" or the good, old-fashioned "E pluribus unum" ("out of many, one"). I'd rather celebrate the things that we all hold as good -- such as individual and collective liberty -- no matter our backgrounds.

I apologize if I digressed from the well-wishing of these bright young students. It just always puzzles me when I hear calls to "celebrate diversity" as though this is some sort of new mantra for America.

I never heard this phrase in Mexico. I never heard such calls when I studied abroad in Europe during my post-graduate education. I think that it is vital to respect, acknowledge and protect our differences (as long as they aren't in violation of the law, human rights or the concept of liberty). I just think that the term "celebrate" is overused and misunderstood.


Posted by Gary
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 1, 2017 at 11:57 am

Resident -
While it's nice for Harvard and Stanford bound students to brag about their accomplishments, why is it necessary that that be done in such a public forum as graduation? How about looking at it from the perspective of the student who ends up doing a year or two at Foothill? Nothing to be ashamed of there, but having to walk among others during graduation that are proclaiming their superior achievements (or superior financing) is not the right image we need in PA. There's enough peer pressure as is (and all of us are aware of what that can help contribute to), so one final dig at graduation should be avoided. Kudos to Herrmann to be brave enough to eliminate a tradition that adds nothing but certainly can create an uncomfortable feeling in some (or worse).


Posted by Resident
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jun 1, 2017 at 12:48 pm

@Gary - There's no shame in Foothill, a year off, or, heaven forbid, getting a job! Only the twisted logic of passive aggressive competitiveness make people feel that a classmate's success somehow diminishes their own. Anyway, at Paly graduation, no one seemed to give a fig, just about every cap was decorated, most with colleges, but others with other things, and the kids literally could have cared less. Hopefully the parents can manage to do them same, and Gunn can restore a tradition of putting whatever the heck you want on your grad cap.


Posted by Gary
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 1, 2017 at 1:29 pm

Unless you polled each student and his/her parents appearing at these graduations, there is no way you can know who is giving a fig about what. The likelihood of more than a handful feeling "left out" of this display of educational pride is greater than any good this false sense of bravado creates. I also find it ironic during these days of major controversy at Paly that it is being looked at as the flag-bearer by which Gunn should be making its decisions. Dr. Herrmann made the appropriate decision on this one.


Posted by Harambe
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jun 1, 2017 at 1:56 pm

Gary, there was a poll done on Facebook, and we students voted overwhelmingly to allow us the right to decorate our caps freely. Of course it was taken down by admin shortly after.


Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 1, 2017 at 2:31 pm

The entrepreneurially minded would sell their cap-space to the highest bidder.

"You know you are in Palo Alto when ... "


Posted by Disunity
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jun 1, 2017 at 3:07 pm

What we actually have at Gunn is a large group of diverse people who mostly don't want to intermingle, some being absolutely exclusionary and elitist.

I don't think that is anything to celebrate. The diversity here, in most cases, forbids any kind of unity.

Gunn has been about who is superior and who is to be looked down on for at least the last four years.


Posted by Resident
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jun 1, 2017 at 4:40 pm

@Disunity - I'm sure you are right, but by and large, that is high school everywhere. 'Twas always thus.

@Gary - the student gave you all the answer you need, unless you are saying a fun tradition for the vast majority should be quashed because a very small number don't enjoy it. In that case, we'll need to quash every tradition, unless they get that 100% stamp of approval you are looking for. I'd prefer traditions that make a good majority happy, and the others can just shrug it off. Like I said, Dr. Herrmann did some good things, but this wasn't one, and hopefully the next principal will listen to the student voice a little better.

Congrats to the grads!


Posted by Sea Seelam Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 1, 2017 at 8:49 pm

Congratulations Graduating Seniors at GUNN!

You are amazing. You are ready to take on the world and do amazing studies in college and more.

Congratulations parents/siblings/family/friends/mentors!


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