Adult school celebrates 100 years


LIVELY CELEBRATION — the Palo Alto Adult School celebrates 100 years of offering opportunities in community, languages, and family programs. “I care deeply about these programs,” said Shana Segal, a Palo Alto Unified School District school board candidate. “So I’m here to support that.” Photo: Felicia Buchholz

The Palo Alto Adult School celebrated its 100-year anniversary at the Palo Alto High School Centennial Plaza on Sept 11.

 The centennial celebration serves the purpose of honoring all past and present adult students, as well as the dedicated instructors and staff that have enabled the school to serve Palo Alto for 102 years. 

It is a celebration for families and adults who are currently and who might be interested in taking classes at the school in the future; the three signature course options being English as a Second Language– dating back to the beginning of the adult school in the 1920s, Preschool Family Program and Community Education classes. They offer a variety of classes, ranging from Career training to Woodworking to Citizenship courses.

“Before, I was just a housewife, took care of the kids, took care of the husband…. I want something to force me up every morning, rather than sit at home and watch TV.”

Kit Low, mother

Some classes are offered for free, but they are mostly offered for around 45$, for three weeks, or for 222$ for 12 weeks. Looking back at the years of 1954 and further, classes ran from free to 4.00$ for Commercial Pilots Ground School, to courses in Shorthand and Typewriting for 2.00$ per quarter. They all take place at Paly, and depending on the course they are held around 6-9 pm. 

“Now I completely have time to look through it all,” said Kit Low, who is interested in potentially taking classes here with her daughter. “Before, I was just a housewife, took care of the kids, took care of the husband…. I want something to force me up every morning, rather than sit at home and watch TV.” 

This adult school was originally established not only because of the push to work with immigrants coming into the country for language and citizenship, but also for jobs and opportunities, and most of all, it creates communities. Over the years, the school has taken three directions in community courses, such as music, video and world languages. 

“It’s a place to come and hang out with other people that have similar interests,” Principal Tom Keating said.

Just like high schoolers might get together at a coffee shop or at the library, these adult students can come together and take the knitting class. Everyone gets to work on projects and keep learning. 

“You get to offer what you really care about,” Keating said. “That’s why I want to be a part of this; I care about it.”