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Gunn High School, Palo Alto, CA


“It became a very stressful environment,” Levine said. “I don’t know if you knew about the suicides.”

Over a period of several months in 2009, the year Levine graduated, five Gunn students jumped in front of a commuter train at the same Palo Alto crossing. One girl died a few days before graduating, Levine told me, having got into her first-choice college. A number of other attempts were stopped by a guard who was posted at the spot. Levine described the culture of a school and a community in which great expectations are placed on people at a young age: “I felt it. When you’re fourteen or thirteen, you realize that you’re expected to go to a good school. And then the Silicon Valley pressure, you feel this at Stanford, too. You get in as a freshman, and you’re expected to start a fifty-million-dollar company. And I know a lot of people who are, I would argue, in not great mental states.” —George Packer, "Change the World", The New Yorker, 27 May 2013

Palo Alto, CA

Founding Date:

1854 (2012)

Official Website:


NameOccupationBirthDeathKnown for
Stephan Jenkins
27-Sep-1964   Lead singer, Third Eye Blind
Zoe Lofgren
21-Dec-1947   Congresswoman, California 16th
Shemar Moore
20-Apr-1970   The Young and the Restless
George Packer
1960   The Assassins' Gate

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