palo alto high school's arts and culture magazine

Encapsulating our History

November 3, 2017

In the winter of 1918, eager students of Palo Alto High School marched through town towards their new school. The students stood in awe of the bright performing arts theatre with its Spanish style roof and arched arcades; something still in place today.

Upon arriving, Paly students buried a time capsule on school grounds. At least that has been the legend passed down from the Zschokke’s, the family that donated the land on which Paly currently sits.

Time capsules are often made to show future generations what life was like in the past. A Paly time capsule that was buried one hundred years ago could reveal what student life was like in 1918. What was important to people back then? What were people’s worries? What were the current trends? What did students do for fun? How much homework did students have?

According to Arne Lim, a Paly alum and the math instructional lead, “The legend that got passed through the Zschokke family was that there was a sundial [on campus] and perhaps there is a connection between [the] sundial and [the] time capsule,” Lim said. “The problem is we don’t know where the sundial was.”

“This [the celebrations] could be a huge deal where a lot of students could be involved,”

      -Arne Lim

If this time capsule exists, the planning committee behind Paly’s centennial celebrations thinks that it would be a great idea to open it to kick off the festivities next fall. Another idea is a self-guided tour through the significant campus spots.

“This [the centennial] could be a huge deal where a lot of students could be involved,” Lim said.

The goal of the centennial festivities is to remind the Paly community of the campus’ rich history. Finding the time capsule would give us a glimpse into Paly’s past and leaves us with the question: if we were to make a time capsule that would be opened one hundred years from now, what would we put into it to reflect life at Paly today?


What do you think is inside of the time capsule?

“Maybe objects like Paly clothing. Something that would have captured what happened in that time. Also maybe [Paly] publications”

          -Alyssa Leong (11th grade)

“Maybe there would be old trophies and parts of the old buildings that are significant to Paly’s history in its old and new location.”

   -Leila Khan (10th grade)

“I think there could possibly be some really cool photos, and maybe some pieces written by students. There could also be some sort of student handbook”

Emma Staiger (12th grade)

C mag’s Time Capsule:

1) iPhone 7: An essential for any teenager wishing to stay connected to the outside world.

2) Polaroid camera: Another throwback item allowing us to capture moments of life in a retro way.    

3 ) Birkenstocks: This 80s comeback provides stylish comfort.

4) Fidget spinner: It’s the new Silly Bandz.

5) Hydro Flask: Let’s be real; hydration never goes out of style.

Photo by Ryan Gwyn

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