Hundreds of Palo Alto High School alumni, students and families turned out Sunday, March 16, for a farewell celebration of the 85-year-old gym, which will be demolished later this year to make way for a new athletic center.
In a 90-minute ceremony, sports highlights as well as pranks and fantastic decorations for school dances were recalled by Paly alumni from the past 50 years. Retired coach Clem Wiser, who led the boys basketball program from 1956 to 1991, received a standing ovation.
Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, class of '70, told a story about nearly flunking P.E. Special video and audio messages came in from NBA point guard Jeremy Lin, class of '06, and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, class of '67.
Past and future will be celebrated at a free, public farewell to the Palo Alto High School gym on Sunday, March 16. Guests will be able to admire a dark green, 1931 Model A car and a 2014 white Tesla; record an oral history with the Palo Alto Historical Association; and study architectural renderings of the new sports complex that will replace the existing gyms.
Other historical items, including a school desk, a typewriter, a milkshake machine and a Bob's Big Boy statue, also will be on display.
Music representing eight decades will play on the sound system as free tours of the campus are offered. Paly sports gear will be for sale.
Ada's Café will sell lemonade, water, popcorn, green sugar cookies and other yet-to-be-determined items.
Festivities will begin at 12:30 p.m. A formal program, emceed by ESPN announcer and Paly alum Dave Feldman, will begin at 2:30. The program includes a video highlighting significant points in the gym's history, including a Jeremy Lin "hello," Paly athletes, teachers and politicians.
Coordinator Jane Gee, a Paly parent, said organizers have raised $6,100 and hope to raise another $5,000 to cover costs of the event. Tax-deductible donations, payable to Palo Alto High School Athletics, should be sent to the attention of Lisa Stone, Farewell Paly Gym, 50 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto, CA 94301.
Donations arriving before the print deadline will be acknowledged in the program.
Co-sponsors of the gym farewell are Palo Alto High School, Paly Sports Boosters, the Palo Alto Unified School District, the Paly Alumni Association and the Palo Alto Weekly.
— Palo Alto Weekly Staff