As Berkeley questioned existing values and mores, challenged the dominant paradigm, and raged against the machine in the 1960s and 1970s, we explored alternative education with alternative learning and teaching styles.
A. S. Neil’s Summerhill was widely read and his free-range approach to education was the golden standard of the counterculture. Berkeley High opened the Community High School as a Very Alternative school within the school. Co-ops popped up, there was the Blue Fairlyland Nursery School, and the Early Learning Center, Kilimanjaro, and Odyssey.
And there was the Maybeck High School.
In 1972, Renaissance Man of the Ages Stan Cardinet and a small group of teachers from Saint Elizabeth’s High School in Oakland (where he had been teaching) started Maybeck with 17 students. They met each morning at the campanile, wandered, and found a place to learn.
They moved into shared quarters at the Trinity United Methodist Church on Bancroft, which also housed the Free Clinic and various services for the homeless. Maybeck is now in shared quarters at St. John’s Presbyterian Church on College. It is as alternative as ever.
At both campuses, the school administration has encouraged student mural painting. In fact, murals painted by Cardinet himself still grace the walls of both campuses.
Here are most of the others. Some have been painted over – art is not eternal – over the years. But check out the creativity here!
Check out the hot air pineapple. The pineapple is the Maybeck High School mascot. Of course.
Here Trevor Cralle poses next to the rendering of him. Trevor was our guide. For many years he was director of admissions. He now teaches outdoor/physical education. He leads wonderful trips.
He wrote one of the greatest slang dictionaries ever – Surfin’ary. He observes there that surfer slang terms of general approval are the same terms that one would use to describe a good breakfast cereal. We’ve been friends for almost 25 years.
If the murals were not sufficiently creative, there are also student-made tiles.
Doesn’t this just cheer you up? It cheers me just to know that Berkeley still cherishes and nurtures creativity, with alternative learning and alternative teaching – and these excellent murals. Of dear old Berkeley!
It is tempting sometimes to dismiss some of the things that we tried in the 60s and 70s and just hippie crap. Maybe a little bit of it was, but buried in there were wonderful ideas and efforts. A friend went to a “hippie school” for several years. It was a good thing. They were good years.
I showed my friend the draft post. He has been busy preparing a slide show about his trip to Detroit. He plans to have a few friends over for tea and slides. And a coffee cake from Virginia Bakery – CLOSING – OH NO!
What does he think of the murals at Maybeck?
“Freedom, not license.”
“That’s the motto of Summerhill school.”
Good, what about the post?