A glimpse into Gunn's past THROUGH OLD ORACLES compiled by Collin Jaeger, Grace williams and Joy Huang

—Some events stayed in the past—

dating game

From 1976 to 1979, the senior class held an annual “Dating Game” in Spangenberg Auditorium in the fall that brought together students from various schools including Paly, Cubberley and Los Altos. The game was based on the ABC TV show of the same name, which was popular then. It was divided into rounds during which four students would participate: three as bachelors or bachelorettes in a panel and one as an inquirer. If the three on the panel were girls, the inquirer would be a boy, and vice-versa. The inquirer would ask questions to the bachelors or bachelorettes to decide which one they would go out on a date with. They tried to come up with clever questions like, “If I were a piano, how would you play me?” and “If we were on Fantasy Island, what would we do?” After they picked a date, it was expected that the two kissed, as it would satisfy the audience. If one or both refused, the crowd would often taunt them into doing it.

Rent-A-Senior Day

In 1979, students were able to “buy” a senior for a day to act as their servant or slave at an event called “Rent-a-senior Day.” During this event, students bid on the senior participants. “The rules stated that the highest bidder obtained the services of one or more seniors for the following day, from 7:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. The owner, or “master,” had to provide all the props for their servants while the servants had to obey the owners’ commands (within reason).” Some of these tasks included dancing the hula on the library roof while wearing a hula skirt and coconut bra or doing push-ups in front of the school during a homecoming lunchtime game. The money raised from the event was put towards senior activities such as the homecoming float or graduation night.

Girls not allowed to wear pants

Until 1969, girls were not allowed to wear pants under the school’s dress code. As The Oracle at the time put it, it was an “oft-debated question” with many conflicting perspectives. Students created petitions and the Student Advisory Committee(SAC) urged the administration and the superintendent to change the dress code. The School Board eventually ruled in the SAC’s favor, but jeans were exceptions, and students continued to push for them to be allowed. The restrictiveness and perceivable bias of Gunn’s dress code against girls have also been called into question in more recent times. In 2013, one of The Oracle’s male staffers tested this by going against the dress code during homecoming week to see if he would be issued a dress code violation like some girls had been.

—Even though times have changed, some news events are still similar to today—

Smoking in Bathrooms

In 1979, the Student Executive Council prioritized the elimination of smoking in bathrooms. Now, the administration is concerned with the use of e-cigarettes in the bathrooms. According to the California Healthy Kids Survey 2016 report for the Palo Alto Unified School District, 15 percent of juniors have used electronic cigarettes or other vaping device.

Complaints about student voice

In 1979, The Oracle issued an article titled "Students must know" that discussed how the administration made decisions with lack of student input. In the past few years, the bell schedule changes also sparked conversations about student voice.


In 1971, the then music building at Gunn was severely vandalized. An editorial from The Oracle at the time claimed to understand the vandals’ intent. “Vandalizing a school, rather than theft, demonstrates a frustration with the educational system, and is an offspring of bored, unmotivated apathy,” the writer said. Gunn still faces occasional vandalism to this day, and expressing resentment towards the school is often believed to be the intent of it.

Photo by Sofia Sierra-Garcia

Bike theft

Today, bike theft is still an issue at Gunn. In 2011, bike locks were distributed on campus to reduce the number of thefts. In addition to bicycles, laptop computers are also commonly stolen.

Marijuana and alcohol usage

In 1976, The Oracle reported that “alcohol is becoming the drug of choice among [juniors and seniors].” In relation to today, 17 percent of 11th graders reported to have drank four or more alcoholic beverages in their lifetime, according to the California Healthy Kids Survey 2017-2018 report for Gunn.

In 2012, The Oracle featured an article on the prevalence of marijuana on campus. Students were using the drug as a stress-reliever and did not understand why consequences for using the drug were so severe. An article published in The Oracle in 1976 titled “The Big Marijuana Scare” focused on how companies promoted the negative effects of marijuana. Students did not believe that smoking marijuana was harmful and wanted hard evidence to back up these statements.


Created with images by moritz320 - "paper education journalism"

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