Visiting Palo Alto High as a West Student

Sorosh Jamshidy

On September 17th, the journalism class of West High School took a trip to Palo Alto High School to attend their Journalism Media Center Event. Upon arrival, we saw the clear differences between the two schools’ videography, photography, teacher availability, and many other subjects. But the lack of diversity, ideas, and enthusiasm was very clear in their production.

To comprehend what happens at the school in terms of production, we attended 3 forty-five-minute classes where the teachers and advisors introduced us to their methods of production in videography and photography. Palo Alto’s number one asset was their equipment, which was reliable, modern, and up to date. Every computer lab was filled with Macs, which are known for their high performance, and the teachers being filled with their very own high-end equipment to teach with. The studio for their broadcast comes second to National TV Studios. This was all very impressive until we were shown their production with such availabilities.

It was clear that the students had a lack of interest, energy, and sense of responsibility for the job. Comparing the two schools, I believe that West High School’s students have better ideas and are natural in front of the camera. During the second session, one of the teachers had been explaining to us about leadership and team chemistry. Team sessions were held twice a week to play games and capture moments. After, the team’s producer stated, “We procrastinate a lot, and we usually try to get everything done in 2 days or so.” This shows that a lot of potential and time is wasted to build chemistry throughout the whole school year.

During our last session about planning out and scheduling, Palo Alto teachers issued that their single most difficult problem they face is having diversity among students. According to the advisors, most of the student at Palo Alto high school come from a white or Asian background and it is difficult to explore different cultures of the world. At West High School, diversity is not a problem, the problem is funding. Most of our funding comes from funding and small donations. Palo Alto funding comes from “a loving community of parents.”