|Bay Window: Paly High: Between Classes: Press Release
"BAY WINDOW" GOES BEHIND THE SCENES AT PALO ALTO HIGH FOR A CANDID LOOK INSIDE HIGH SCHOOL LIFE
KQED Series Follows Students in the South Bay as They Talk about the Social and Economic Pressures that are Shaping Their Emerging Identities
San Francisco, CA, April 11, 2000How are students coping with high school life in the new millennium? How has teenage life changed in the past two decades? How has living in the heart of Silicon Valley impacted the lives of high school students? BAY WINDOW, the local series from KQED TV9 that provides a Bay Area perspective on national issues, often in conjunction with national PBS programs, turns its lens toward Palo Alto High School to answer these questions in Paly High: Between Classes. Paly High, the school's nickname, documents life in a contemporary high school, where the students have captured the zeitgeist: mastering new technologies and running their own dotcoms. Evelyn Cisneros is the series host of BAY WINDOW, which is funded by The James Irvine Foundation with additional support from the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation.
The students at Palo Alto High Schoolwhich received funding last year to convert to a digital high schooldiscuss the cliques, the music, the clothes, and the extracurricular activities that they and their peers use to distinguish and define themselves. Are the pressures for success at an all-time high, especially surrounded by the economic boom of Silicon Valley? BAY WINDOW producer and filmmaker Jona Frank records a diverse group of thoughtful, energetic students in black and white film, capturing them at different locales across the campus. Paly High: Between Classes airs on Wednesday, April 19, 2000, at 8:30 p.m. and repeats Sunday, April 23, at 6 p.m.
"Bay Area viewers needand wantto see how the next generation of leaders are coping with their teenage years. Paly High will create a forum for renewed dialogue and help cultivate new relationships between young and old," said Peter Calabrese, vice president of television production. "In light of last year's Columbine tragedy, we need to be on the pulse of student life and how our kids are living. This episode of BAY WINDOW will help fill in the gaps."
"The film is about what happens in between the structured time of school," notes producer Jona Frank. "Different students pointed out to me that a skater might be partnered with a jock in science class, but they would not eat lunch together. Lunch time, after school time, social time is when people form their own cliques. This is the time that most interests me because it is the in-between time that reflects people's personalities and their search for identity."
Frank first approached filming Paly High: Between Classes by learning the topography of Palo Alto High School. She quickly discovered that certain areas of the campus "belonged" to specific student cliques. Once familiar with the terrain, she went on to interview dozens of students from the groups who felt comfortable in front of the camera. Among the students profiled are:
Hugh, 18, senior. Hugh has attained "senior privilege," which means he does not have to live in Palo Alto to attend school at Paly High this year. His parents divorced during his junior year and neither of them stayed in Palo Alto. He did not want to change schools, so he decided to commute. He leaves his house every day at 5:30 a.m., takes the Muni downtown, and then catches Cal Train to Palo Alto. Hugh is African American, a good student, attractive and well liked. He identifies with the hip-hop crowd.
Elana, 15, sophomore. Elena is a free spirit who listens to folk music and dresses like a hippie. She describes herself as a "super-extrovert, open-minded, opinionated, bisexual diva from hell." She hangs out with the theater people and the "deck people." The "deck" is in the center of the campus, and it is the central meeting place for people who wear oversized clothes, dye their hair and are against all things preppie.
Ruth, 17, junior. Ruth is the epitome image of a popular girl: active in school, a great student, attractive and always well dressed. She hangs out at the "benches" with the other popular kids. She thinks that most people think she is a bitch because she is successful and has only received one "B" in her life. It is all about the future for Ruth: high school is just a temporary stop before she moves on to Harvard.
Aaron, 18, senior. Aaron is on the robotics team at Paly High. He has long black hair and braces. He spends all his time in the tech lab. Aaron loves to solve programming problems and collects and recycles old computers. Aaron escorts KQED TV9ís cameras into the tech lab, where we meet other members of the robotics team, watch the robot in action, and glimpse the future of Silicon Valley. Aaron and the robotics team spend all of their free time in the lab; they even have sleeping bags there for really late nights.
Ilya, 18, senior. He is complex, bright and he's a loner. He has a lot of hair. Hair that grows straight up and is seldom combed. Ilya does not care about his appearance. He does not care about status. He freely admits he is weird, different and nerdy. He speaks five languages and is developing his own language called Scigrok. He is president of a club at school called Entropy Enhancement, a group that meets once week to play complicated games they've devised like Knightmare Chess.
For more information about BAY WINDOW and Paly High: Between Classes, go to KQED's Web site at kqed.org/baywindow.
BAY WINDOW is an eclectic series that complements national public television broadcasts with Bay Area perspectives. Formats range from live talk shows to documentaries and from cultural performances to two-minute shorts. The first season of BAY WINDOW included programs following landmark and moving public television presentations, such as Africans in America, Not For Ourselves Alone and An American Love Story.
Paly High: Between Classes precedes the national broadcast of the KQED presentation Saving Our Schools from Hate and Violence (airing on KQED Sunday, April 23, at 6:30 p.m.), hosted by youth counselor and humorist Michael Pritchard.
BAY WINDOW was created by Peter Calabrese. "Paly High: Between Classes" producer/filmmaker is Jona Frank. Series producer is Robin Epstein. Executive producer is Sue Ellen McCann. Major funding for BAY WINDOW is provided by The James Irvine Foundation with additional support from the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation.
KQED, Inc., operates KQED TV9, the nationís most-watched public television station; KQED 88.5 FM, one of the most listened-to public radio stations in the nation; and the KQED Education Network, which brings the impact of KQED to thousands of teachers, students, parents and media professionals through workshops, seminars and the Internet.