MR. CLAY BEALE by Kirk Silsbee (’73)
In 1957, Boston-reared Clay Beale heard that California needed teachers. He came west with his wife Sabrina and considered Beverly Hills High. He found that the kids had too much money and privilege, and remembered an opening at a new school in a place called Inglewood. At age 90 (in 2010), Clay looked back on his 15 MHS years as “a wonderful time.” Anyone who passed through his classroom on the quad had a singular class experience. Beale was a singular teacher. He made every kid, no matter how hardened, feel important. “I tried to give everyone their space,” Clay offers, “and let them follow their passions.” Dave Hill (’69) said Beale was Principal’s Boyd’s son Ramon Boyd’s (’61) favorite teacher. Mr. Boyd was surprised because Ramon didn’t have Beale as a teacher. “You’re right,” Ramon replied, “but I spend lunch with him and his lunch group every day.” That large contingent met for years. Clay’s prodigy included “Eugene” Robert Ryan (’62), whose subject matter centered on bullfighting. He also became a bullfighter. Craig Reardon (’70), renowned special effects engineer, and interior designer Stephen Shadley (’64) are two more of Beale’s successes. But not all of his students had an interest in art. During the tumultuous years (he left MHS in ’71), Beale acted as a calming influence on the campus, defusing many a tense situation. He gave respect, and unfailingly received it in return. His teaching philosophy? “You have to give someone hope,” Beale stressed. “And that’s what I’ve done with my life.”
Craig Reardon (’70) describes Mr. Beale.
We were honored and proud that Mr. Beale attended the July 19th, 2008 Mane Event and was voted favorite teacher spanning three decades, the 50’s, the 60’s and the 70’s.