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The Coat of Arms

The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

Jane Goodall Speaks to Menlo Community

Geoffrey Franc
Jane Goodall answers one of the student-submitted questions. “What do I miss about nature? Everything.”

Jane Goodall, a world-renowned primatologist and anthropologist best known for her groundbreaking observations on chimpanzees, spoke to the Menlo community on Tuesday, March 26. Goodall shared her life story and experiences in various scientific fields and then transitioned to answering questions submitted by students.

Many members of the Menlo community had a positive reaction to the assembly. “The video presentations were really wholesome and heartwarming,” freshman Chloe Lien said. “I thought it was really fun to see all the animals, and her speech also kept us all interested.”

Junior Kieran Pichai also said that he felt inspired by Goodall’s speech. “My key takeaway was that it’s up to our generation to continue the movement of animal conservation for the good of ourselves and the world,” he said.

Juniors cheer as Goodall wraps up her closing remarks. “To be able to hear about her experiences and how she impacted people first-hand was an incredible experience that I never thought I’d be able to have,” junior Luke Rodgers said. (Geoffrey Franc)

One Menlo junior, who prefers to remain anonymous, shared that they were unsure Goodall’s appearance was relevant to the entire Menlo community. However, they enjoyed being able to see Goodall in the flesh after growing up reading about her discoveries.

During the assembly, Goodall recounted her childhood spent dreaming of traveling to Africa, though her family did not have the financial means to do so. While her peers went to university, Goodall worked as a secretary, a profession that she found uninteresting. Goodall encouraged students to dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to everything they do, as skill in any profession can serve a purpose down the road. Although Goodall had no interest in being a secretary, she became proficient at it. Without those skills, Goodall explained, she never would have been given the opportunities and connections in the primatology field that she had.

“My favorite part [of the assembly] was pretty much her describing her entire journey of how she grew up from humble beginnings,” sophomore Cameron Rafati said. “It was really inspiring and motivating.”

Goodall waves as the audience sings “Happy Birthday” to her at the end of the assembly. She turns 90 on April 3, 2024. (Geoffrey Franc)

Goodall also encouraged students to set big goals and immerse themselves in literature. As a child, she said, she obsessed over both fiction and nonfiction books about the animals found in Africa. The nonfiction enabled her to gather extensive knowledge on animals found in Africa, which impressed future mentors, and the fiction sparked her passion for animal conservation. She was especially inspired by the stories of Dr. Doolittle and Tarzan. “What did Tarzan do?” she joked. “He married the wrong Jane.”

Goodall is considered the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees, as she spent 60 years studying them in what is now Tanzania after receiving her doctorate in ethology — the study of animal behavior. Particularly, she is famed for her 1960 discovery that chimpanzees construct and use tools just as humans do. Not only have her keen observations and passion for her field left an indelible mark on the scientific community, but she also remains a dedicated animal rights activist and conservationist.

Menlo alum Anjali Ranadive (‘10), the founder of the wolf conservation foundation Jaws and Paws, connected Goodall to Menlo. She shared that taking Environmental Science at Menlo first awakened her curiosity for environmentalism and animal welfare. “Menlo kind of always made us feel like we could do anything, right?” she said before introducing Goodall. “What I’ve learned from Dr. Goodall is that the only way to incite change is to have hope and be the change.”

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About the Contributors
Alyssa McAdams
Alyssa McAdams, Print Editor

Number of years in The Coat of Arms: 2

Favorite aspect of journalism: Layout days, because we get to listen to music and eat snacks and talk while we work together on print

Interests outside of school: Soccer, flag football, piano, and spending time with my dog

Class of 2025

Geoffrey Franc
Geoffrey Franc, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Number of years in The Coat of Arms: 3

Favorite aspect of journalism: Telling people's stories and learning about the world through them.

Interests outside of school: history, running, and Mock Trial

Class of 2025

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