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

Photo Credit: Sarah Hoover

These class years, recently added to the PAC patio by the Alumnia Association with the help of Principal Zito, go all the way back to 1952, making this year M-A's 60th anniversary.

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.