While Malibu High School may not be exactly like the one featured in the movie starring the antics of Jon Lovitz and Tia Carrere, the school has graduated 10 years of seniors-and the school’s first class celebrates its reunion Sept. 29.
By Melonie Magruder / Special to The Malibu Times
The city of Malibu celebrated its incorporation with a party on its 10th birthday in 2001, and again celebrated its 15th year of cityhood in March. Now, the first graduating class of Malibu High School will have its 10-year reunion celebration next month.
Originally a junior high school, Malibu High was expanded to include the high school in 1992. Its first 96 graduates walked the stage of the outdoor amphitheater in 1996.
Those grads have gone from sun-swept beaches and skipped morning classes when the surf’s up to careers in law, real estate and finance.
Ross Silver, senior class president in 1996, now lives in San Francisco and is organizing the festivities, scheduled for Sept. 29 at Duke’s Restaurant in Malibu. Silver said all contributing photos from alumni and staff of Malibu High will be used to create a souvenir program of the event.
“There were about 100 kids in my graduating class and we hope to have 50 to 60 of them at the reunion,” Silver said. “It’ll be great to see everyone again.”
When reminiscing on his high school years, Silver recalled that, even while it was a fledgling high school, Malibu High had noteworthy baseball, soccer and basketball teams.
“We had one of the best water polo teams in the state under Coach Mike Mulligan,” Silver said. “I hope he’ll be there.”
Silver said the teams’ achievements were all the more remarkable because “it was kind of hard to get everyone to practice when the waves were good.”
Those skipped practices led to ongoing water sports careers for some graduates. Mellisa McNulty, sophomore class student council member and one of the reunion organizers, reports that two or three of her class went on to pro surfing careers.
“Jimmy Gamboa turned pro a few years ago,” she said. “Unfortunately, he is going to miss the reunion because he is on a pro circuit tour right now.”
McNulty laughed when told that staff at Malibu High School didn’t have on hand too many details about alumni or the reunion.
“Well, we chose our own mascot back then [a shark] and our own school colors [teal, black and white],” she said. “I guess it makes sense that we are putting together the reunion ourselves.”
The reunion committee is hoping to see many of their old teachers attend the event.
One of Silver’s most memorable instructors was the school’s principal overseeing the graduation of 96 seniors: “Mike Matthews, my history teacher.”
Matthews later went on to serve as assistant superintendent of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.
“I’ll never forget Patricia Cairns,” Silver added to his list. “She was assistant principal and taught English and was just amazing. She was up for the National Teacher of the Year award when we were in junior high school. I remember that I wasn’t going to go to the trouble of taking her AP English class and she wouldn’t hear of it. She was so motivating. She was your brilliant teacher and friend and Mom at the same time.”
McNulty remembers her economics teacher: “Mr. [Andy] Meyer. He was so much fun. He had a way of making you learn about something without you feeling like it was forced or tedious. He’s coming to the reunion.”
Alumna Alexis Sherwin has been away from Malibu for seven years, studying law at Duke University, then Lewis and Clark Law School. She said she looks forward to seeing a couple of old teachers as well.
“I think that what made teachers like [chemistry teacher] Dr. D and [math teacher] Mr. Yee so good back then is that it was truly a joint effort to make the school succeed. They were innovative.”
When speaking of other students, however, the graduates’ comments become more sober.
“We lost one of our classmates, back in 2001. Some people might not even know,” Silver said.
Graduate Ori Greenberg was killed in a private plane crash, along with his girlfriend, on a weekend trip to visit family.
“Supposedly, he was going to ask her to marry him that weekend,” McNulty said. “We are working with his family and the Malibu Jewish Community Center to set up a memorial scholarship in his name.” Silver said Greenberg was headed into a career in the film industry, so any scholarship might be arts related.
As for Silver, he attended UC Santa Barbara and recently launched his own equity management company. And McNulty worked in modeling and now partners with her fiancé in a modeling and talent management firm.
“The real world is maybe not as fun as Malibu,” Silver said of life after high school. “You don’t have those great beaches and amazing waves. And you have to deal with real traffic. But you can always go back.”
Malibu High School 1996 graduates and teachers can find all the information for the reunion by visiting the Web site: www.malibuhighclassof96.com.
Event tickets are $75 and a full buffet as well as floating appetizers and music spun by DJ Frank Castro [Class of ’97] are included. Further information on the Ori Greenberg Scholarship fund can be obtained by emailing Silver at email@example.com