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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Many spots on campus are named after former staff and community members: Do you know them all?

Zack Zhang
A map of SHS with the sites mentioned in the story labeled.

Walking onto the campus for the first time, new Falcons may notice a lot of notable landmarks.

 These include Hyde Park, a peaceful spot near the upperfield that stands out with its well-maintained grass and vibrant flowers; Benny Pierce Field,  named after legendary football coach who passed away at age 89 in February; or McAfee Performing Center, named after the family that made the final large donation to make its construction possible. 

All of these are just examples of dozens of other sites and rooms on campus that have been named by the school board to commemorate the work certain staff or community members have done for the school and students. 

Whether you’re a freshman or graduating senior, keep an eye out for the following landmarks next time you step on campus. 

Hyde Park honors beloved retired assistant principal 

Hyde Park, located on the west side of campus, is an easy-to-spot place that also provides shade during hot summer days.

Located across the upper field and next to the physical education and sports trainer offices, Hyde Park honors former assistant principal Karen Hyde, who served from 1974 to 2013 before retiring. 

“An amazing and deeply beloved staff member, Hyde could be seen involved in all activities, big or small, around the school,” MAP 9 teacher and newspaper adviser Michael Tyler said. 

According to Tyler, Hyde eventually earned a reputation from the students as the “force of life” of the school. Wherever she went, students and staff alike could feel her positive energy and passion. 

The dedication on the Hyde Park copper placard reads: “In recognition for her tireless commitment to help students to grow and for her faithful tending of Saratoga High School.”

According to a Falcon article in 2011, Hyde’s office was the “center of much of the school’s activities,” such as ASB and leadership classes, and was “a warm, welcoming environment” for students to relax or work. 

After her retirement from high school, Hyde remains very active in her community. Currently, she runs a college counseling service called Hyde Consults, where she draws on her prior experience in education to give advice to local students. 

Trimble Conference Room named after founding principal 

The Trimble Conference Room in the administration building hosts meetings for both formal and informal occasions.

Located next to principal Greg Louie’s office, the Trimble conference room is the largest formal conference room on campus, named after the school’s founding principal, Vernon Trimble. Trimble began his tenure in 1959 and was a legendary figure. He left a significant impact regarding the establishment and further thriving of Saratoga high we see today. 

As the principal of a brand-new school, Trimble had to take on several responsibilities and make important decisions whose consequences would last decades. Among those tasks were building a strong staff and administration, overseeing campus construction, choosing the school’s mascot and creating school traditions.

According to a Falcon story from 2021, Trimble held a role as a “father figure” at the school, and he was a strong supporter of academics and integrity, but less so in “creativity, innovation and teaching styles.” He, being a kind and avuncular leader, set the tone for the Saratoga community as an academic school.

“He treated everyone with respect and got it in return,” former history teacher Hugh Roberts said in an interview with The Falcon in 2021. “[Principal Trimble] kept everyone’s spirits up and made everyone feel more like we were creating a small community by dealing with problems together.”

Trimble passed away in 1982 at the age of 70.

Thermond drama center commemorates key parent 

Drama program students relax in the Thermond Drama Center.

Located to the right of the cafeteria, the Thermond Drama Center was renamed from the Little Theater in 2011 to honor former drama teacher Sarah Thermond’s mother, Cathie Thermond, and her contributions to the drama program as a parent volunteer. 

When Sarah Thermond, now the drama teacher at Palo Alto High School, was still a student here as a part of  the Class of 2007, her mother helped create costumes, paint sets and help with other miscellaneous work. Cathie Thermond was always a vital part of getting shows ready for production. Sarah Thermond returned to the school as the drama director from 2012 to 2020 and her mother remained active in helping productions. 

Today, the setup inside the TDC remains very similar since it was first constructed. Students in the drama program use the space to relax or up on plays like those showcased in the New Works Festival.

Ray Goni Fitness Center renamed after former P.E. teacher and football coach

The Ray Goni weight room is open for all students, and all P.E. classes are held there.

Coach Ray Goni was a longtime P.E. teacher and multi-sports coach who passed away from cardiac arrest due to a lung tumor in 1999. Goni came to the school in 1968 as a P.E. and history teacher but soon started coaching for girls’ soccer and boys’ football, baseball and wrestling. As an assistant head coach and coordinator of the football team for 31 years until his death in 1999, he helped lead the team to five CCS championships.

According to a Falcon story from 2018, the high school honored Goni with a memorial service, where about 1,100 people from the community came to hear Goni’s loved ones sharing stories about what Goni had done for them and the community.

In 2014, the school renamed the weight room after Goni in remembrance and hung his name on the wall during renovations

English Palace a pun to honor influential English teacher

The English Palace is for staff only and is currently located on the second floor in the robotics quad.

The English Palace is located adjacent to the MAP Annex and the robotics quad. The cluster of buildings was named after longtime English teacher Genevieve Palace, one of the earliest English teachers who taught here from 1969 to 2000. Tyler said that, during Palace’s time teaching in the high school, she brought smiles to everyone and was loved by all of her students. 

After her retirement, the English department honored Palace with a pun by naming their meeting office the English Palace. The meeting room has moved a few times because of construction, but no matter where it is, its name continues the Palace’s teaching legacy.

Through the school’s over 60 years of history, these esteemed teachers, principals or dedicated coaches all left a significant mark on the school’s development, and their memories will forever be remembered in these landmarks around campus. 

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