Palo Alto

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Palo Alto
Intro about.jpg
Aerial View of Main Quad
Site Information
CollegeStanford University
LocationPalo Alto, California
Years of Operation1996-2016
Avg. Number of Students160
Courses Offered
Humanities Model United Nations and Advanced Geography | The Middle Ages | The Renaissance
WritingHeroes and Villains | Writing and Imagination | Writing Workshop: Where Art Meets Science | Elements of Drama
Computer ScienceIntroduction to Computing
MathData and Chance | Great Discoveries in Mathematics | Inductive and Deductive Reasoning | Math Sequence
ScienceDynamic Earth | The Physics of Engineering
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Palo Alto was a Baby CTY site set in the beautiful campus of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. The site filled on average 160 students. Its code was PAL.

Site Overview

Stanford opened in 1891 and is located in Palo Alto, California, in Silicon Valley. It has many notable alumni, including Reese Witherspoon, Tiger Woods, Herbert Hoover, Richard Sherman and the founders of Google: Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

Other camps are here too, the most notable of which are ID Tech and the Great Books summer program, which has orange lanyards.

While the architecture is nice, the facilities are not. There's bad food, the dorms are questionable, and the comforters that come in the linen packages reek of vinegar. Almost every outdoor surface is coated in bird poop. It takes a fair bit of walking past construction sites to get anywhere.

Roble Hall

CTY takes over the entire four-story building. The main floor has a theater, a game room, and some lounge areas. Boys are on floors 2 and 3, and girls are on the fourth floor. Members of halls sometimes compete with one another to see who can climb the stairs the fastest. Dances are either held in the movie theater or on the front lawn. Administrative offices are on the left wing of the building, on the first floor. About a 2-5 minute walk from Lagunita Court, the dining hall.

Lagunita Court

The dining hall. The green bell peppers are questionable - some are good and some are limp and don't taste anything like green bell peppers should. Bland pasta is always available, as are hamburgers and soup. Buns made with mushroom flour are available for those who are gluten-intolerant. There's also a freezer with popsicles or ice cream sandwiches that always gets raided. Both soda and flavored water can be found.

There's a fair amount of seating, both inside and outside, though it's difficult to get one hall or class all in the same area. There's a sort of backyard that's pretty nice with plenty of tables, and there are some picnic tables on the side of the building. Admins usually lord over them, even though there's a lot of bird poop and questionable stains on them.

ID Tech makes the lines long, so CTYers had to get their lanyards ready fast because the person who scanned them tended to get impatient after a while.

The Bookstore

The bookstore is three floors and offers an impressive array of books, technology, Stanford swag, and junk food. Books are not limited to college-level stuff, however; material suitable for toddlers, elementary schoolers, and young adults can easily be found. You can buy a Stanford study buddy, which is a stuffed tree with glasses and the creepiest smile on the planet. Getting one of these is probably counterproductive.

Papua New Guinea Sculpture Garden

You might have to walk through here to and from your classes. ID Tech often has Capture the Flag here, which makes crossing treacherous as they usually ignore you. Some CTY activities occur here during Mandatory Fun.

Levin Field

This is where most of Mandatory Fun and athletic activities occur, such as random field games (the likes of which include Sharks and Minnows). Mandatory Fun includes Capture the Flag with five teams, the Olympics (Athens vs. Sparta), and the Numbers Game. There's a basketball court, which serves as Jail during Capture the Flag. Basketball is occasionally played on it, but otherwise it's ignored.

The Lake

Contains no water and looks dead during the summer. RAs might point out the giant satellite dish in it. There's a dusty trail around the lake where joggers are often found. Some parts of Mandatory Fun may occur on the trail. It's also right across from the dining hall.


Most classrooms are in buildings around the Main Quad. Dynamic Planet is in a modern-looking building closer to Roble than the Renaissance class, which was likely in some sort of history building with a great water fountain. UNAG was in the theater in Roble Hall.

The Oval is used as a meet-up point for some classes in case of an emergency. Every morning, one of the instructors would make his students say this with him: "In the unlikely event that I am decapitated and Zach is rendered unconscious, bring his unresponsive body THERE *points to Oval* and await further. Adult. Assistance," Zach being the TA.

There's an interesting women's bathroom on the way to the Renaissance or Middle Ages classroom that's mostly underground and is clean. Almost no one seems to know of its existence.

Breaks can be almost anywhere as long as you don't make much noise. (The noise disturbs the people working in the surrounding buildings and will result in an irritating amount of shushing from your instructor and/or TA.) Any wooden benches or picnic tables on campus will have a large amount of bird poop and other suspicious substances on them. In one grassy area, there are pine needles, which some CTYers braid.

Student Life


Each weekday has two activity periods. Daily activities are available for one day, while weekly activities are available for one-week-blocks. Activities may include Silent Reading, Field Games (e.g. Sharks and Minnows) and Basketball. Mandatory Fun often takes place outside. 13.2 saw RAs implement Calvinball, derived from the "Calvin and Hobbes" comic strip. The game began as a regular Soccer (Association Football) game, however after each goal, the goalscorer announced a new rule which all players must follow. 16.1 saw Capture the Flag, Athens vs. Sparta Olympics, and the Numbers Game, among others.


Dances can take place either inside Roble or in front of it. The only canon is American Pie, and it is mandatory for all students to participate. The option to stay in another room to play board games or watch a movie is not offered, though students are allowed to sit off to the side and stare at their phones, draw, or read a book.


There are no traditions at PAL except for American Pie and some all-site activities traditional to YS CTY, such as the Numbers Game. The staff make their own inner circle during American Pie, but if the dance occurs in the Roble Theater, students might make two circles with the staff in the middle due to lack of space.