Gov. Newsom pays a surprise visit to Palo Alto High School

Gov. Gavin Newsom sits in a classroom at Palo Alto High School surrounded by journalism students on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019. Photo courtesy Paly journalism teacher Esther Wojcicki.

Daily Post Staff Writer

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s visit to Silicon Valley yesterday ended with a spontaneous trip to Palo Alto High School, where he spent two hours meeting with teacher Esther Wojcicki and taking questions from her journalism students.

Wojcicki said she had heard that Newsom was at a lunch event with the tech lobbying firm Silicon Valley Leadership Group, so she sent a message to his aides to see if he would stop by to discuss her ideas about how to improve education in California.

Wojcicki is publishing a book in May called “How to Raise Successful People: Simple Lessons for Radical Results,” which promotes a philosophy that she calls TRICK: Trust, Respect, Independence, Collaboration, Kindness.

The philosophy seeks to help kids develop more independence and self-worth.

“You can’t do that as long as you’re being told what to do all the time,” Wojcicki said.

While they were talking, Wojcicki asked Newsom if he would meet with 100 students on the Campanile newspaper and C Magazine, an arts and culture publication by the students.

Surprise visit

Paly sophomore Adora Zheng, a reporter for the Campanile, said it was a surprise when Newsom walked in the room. Wojcicki told the students that “someone” would be coming in around 2:30.
Superintendent Don Austin and Paly Principal Adam Paulson were both in attendance.

“It was a pretty incredible opportunity for somebody my age to get to directly communicate with someone as influential as Gavin Newsom,” Adora told the Post. “It was admirable that he would come in and take the time to speak to us.”

Adora, who is working on a story about Paly alumni who went into politics, said she asked Newsom about how he started his career after graduating from Santa Clara University, which he attended on a baseball scholarship. Another student asked him whether he was going to run for president — he said no.

Newsom spent around 40 minutes in all with the students, answering questions about his role as governor and, among other things, the recently scrapped high-speed rail project and how he handles his relationship with President Trump.

Other students asked Newsom about the achievement gap between students of different races and income levels, to which he responded that the gap starts well before kindergarten.

Parents need more help and education on what their children need between the ages of 0 to 5, and there needs to be more of an emphasis on preschool, Newsom said.

Humble and caring

Wojcicki said the event was “exceptional” because the students got to ask him questions.

“He had a good sense of humor, told good stories. He was humble, he was caring,” Wojcicki said. “He was very generous with his time and very patient with us.”


  1. The unsung hero(ine) in this story is…Esther Wojcicki..who had the presence of mind and the gumption to call Mr Newsom’s team and facilitate Mr Newsom’s visit and meeting with her students. Kudos go out to her!

    Would that there be more teachers like Ms Wojciki!

  2. Paly High, aka Stanford Prep is highly successful with their graduates going on to attend Stanford and other highly rated colleges like MIT and Harvard. Jeremy Lin is good example.

  3. What a joke! Esther Wojcicki helped frame a coverup for her colleagues and friends, particularly Kim Diorio, to try to help them save their jobs, while using students and a taxpayer financed student publication, all at the expense of a 14 year old student. Wow, she’s oh so great. That’s called abuse of power.

    Glad that the students got to meet the Governor…..

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