M-A’s 60th Anniversary: A Renewed Spirit

Sarah Hoover

Sarah Hoover

Alumni, admin, and teachers alike commemorated M-A’s 60th Anniversary by attending a celebratory gathering this past Saturday.

The event was open to all members of the community and included a performance by members of M-A’s Advanced Jazz Band, a barbeque, an alumni water polo game, and a tour of the school.

The Menlo-Atherton Alumni Association, headed by Bob Beckstrom, planned the event. The organization also used the opportunity to fundraise for the school by selling bricks to add to the alumni wall on the PAC patio.

Beckstrom, also a member of the class of 1960, says that he is proud of his school’s progress since his own graduation, exclaiming, “I don’t know why someone wouldn’t be so anxious to go here.”

He praises current principal Matthew Zito for his work on M-A’s new facilities, and is grateful for his help in renewing the tradition of putting the class numbers along the side of the school.

Beckstrom also notes that although the “new facilities are wonderful…[Menlo-Atherton has] always had high standards and it’s always been known as a college-prep school, and I think it’s still maintaining that legacy of being one of the top schools in the area… The amount of kids graduating each year and going on to college proves that.”

Former principal Dave Theis also applauded M-A’s new facilities, acknowledging that “physical appearance [has] improved dramatically,” and calling the school “an academic treasure that has continued to provide countless students with a wonderful academic opportunity.”

Math teacher Gregg Whitnah, who has been working at M-A for nearly twenty years, agrees that cutting edge facilities are one of M-A’s strongest suits. “It’s really positive to have a better track field, and gym, and library, and the PAC center.”

There has also been “a change in atmosphere” according to Whitnah, who says that “when I came here it was pretty much a school out of control,” but is glad to see that “students are more serious now.”

His main concern for M-A’s future lies with the strict teaching policies, such as the white board objectives. “When I was teacher here at first, teachers pretty much could use their own style. I still believe that teachers do best if they have a lot of freedom to choose the way they want to teach.”

However, M-A has remained, as Dave Theis put it, “an academic treasure” through it all for the past 60 years.

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10 Responses to “M-A’s 60th Anniversary: A Renewed Spirit”

  1. Annalise Deal on October 17th, 2012 6:43 pm

    Great story Sarah! Do you know if Bob Beckstrom the husband of Mrs. Beckstrom, the Laurel music teacher? If so thats so cool that he went to M-A 60 years ago and still lives here!

    shoover Reply:

    Yes, he is her husband! In addition, all three of his children and his son are M-A alum, so he’s pretty connected to M-A happenings!

  2. jrafael on October 18th, 2012 2:30 pm

    wow this is great Sara! I didn’t know MA was only 60 years old, i thought it was a lot older. Its also nice to know that some teacher have been working at MA for such a long time!

  3. rgordan on October 18th, 2012 7:04 pm

    It’s interesting to look at the changes M-A has gone through in the last 60 years. It makes me wonder what it’ll be like 60 years in the future.

  4. shenze on October 18th, 2012 10:03 pm

    It is interesting to hear how much the school has improved through the eyes of an alumn. I also like how you included the difference in atmosphere at the school since the start. Great article!

  5. David Schmitt on October 19th, 2012 5:27 pm

    The range of interviews here is interesting: not only getting the alumni, but also a veteran teacher who may have taught many of them

  6. greid on October 19th, 2012 6:17 pm

    It’s crazy that the school has changed so much in 60 years! I wonder what it will be like in another 60.

  7. cwoods on October 19th, 2012 9:19 pm

    It would be pretty weird going around a school like that when you havent been there in so long. it would be cool to see what some of the alumni thought about the changes.

  8. Sabiha Viswanathan on October 21st, 2012 9:11 pm

    Its amazing to see that M-A has already reached it’s 60th year anniversary. I worked with Bob Beckstrom last year on an article, and its great to hear about the history of our school!

  9. Virsies on October 23rd, 2012 4:59 pm

    It’s really cool to hear about M-A’s past and how it’s changed in sixty years! I’ve heard lots of interesting stories about what it was like in the past and I can’t imagine how the alumni must feel since the school is so different than before. M-A has so much history. I’ve heard that the PAC used to be the J-Building back during the civil rights movement and that there used to be parades during spirit week!