Tag Archives: Berkeley High School

Berkeley High suicide victim’s family mourns

Michael Babe Hamilton. Courtesy: Family photo
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The family of the young man who died of an apparent suicide at Berkeley High School on Monday told Berkeleyside this week they were not sure how he had ended up there, and said he had been struggling in recent years with drug addiction.

Authorities identified the 21-year-old as Michael B. Hamilton, whose last known address was in Placerville. Police said Hamilton’s family is based in Oregon.

Hamilton’s mother, Erma, shared a photograph of her son with Berkeleyside on Thursday.

She said his family in Oregon is struggling with his death, and isn’t sure why he chose Berkeley High as the place to end his life.

She said he had been dealing with drug addiction over the past few years, adding, “He had an extremely hard hand of life. He was my shining star filled with some darkness!” … Continue reading »

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Update: Man who committed suicide at BHS identified

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UPDATE, Feb. 18, 3:55 p.m.: Berkeley Police say the young man who committed suicide on the Berkeley High campus was 21-year-old Michael B. Hamilton. There is nothing to suggest that the death wasn’t a suicide, said Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats. Hamilton does not appear to be have connection to BHS, she added. Hamilton’s family, who are in Oregon, have been notified of the death. Hamilton’s last address was in Placerville.

ORIGINAL STORY: A man was found dead on the Berkeley High School campus on Monday, Feb. 17, when the school was closed for Presidents Day holiday.

Berkeley police said they responded to a report of a possible suicide at Berkeley High at approximately 2:14 p.m. on Monday.

BPD and the Berkeley Fire Department responded to the scene. A male, who appeared to be in his early 20s was discovered and it appeared he had hanged himself, according to a statement released by BPD at around 8:30 p.m. Monday. … Continue reading »

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40 years after death, school installs life-saving AEDs

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This time of year is always hard for the Berkeley High class of 1974 boys basketball team.

“A Valentine’s day doesn’t go by without me thinking about those 15 guys I played with,” said Kenny Walter, former guard.

Forty years ago in February, 17-year-old Greg Brown, the leading scorer on the team, died from sudden cardiac arrest in the middle of a game.

It was in honor of Brown — and the installation of seven automated external defibrillators (AEDs) at Berkeley High that might have been able to save the athlete’s life — that members of the ’74 team gathered together on the court once again, during the varsity boys victorious Feb. 7 game against San Leandro High. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s Lazarus, football player, to Cal State Fresno

The Berkeley High BHS signing ceremony for Michael Lazarus took place earlier this week. Photo: Mark Coplan/BUSD
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Berkeley High School celebrated National Letter of Intent Signing Day 2014 on Wednesday with a signing ceremony for Berkeley High football player Michael Lazarus. Lazarus was awarded an athletic scholarship at a Division I university, California State University, Fresno.

The young man’s mother, Neesa Lazarus, is also part of the Berkeley Unified School District family, working at John Muir Elementary School and Berkeley High as an American Sign Language interpreter, said Mark Coplan, school district spokesman. … Continue reading »

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Holocaust survivor Dora Sorell visits Berkeley High School

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Dora Sorell, a Holocaust survivor, spoke to more than 400 students at Berkeley High School on Thursday.

Berkeley High teacher/librarian Ellie Goldstein-Erickson facilitated two assemblies with the 90+-year-old Sorell, who has visited the school before. She said she comes back because, “It is important that young people know what happened so long ago, and those who already know should not forget. I worry about that.” … Continue reading »

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4 BHS students awarded Division 1 athletic scholarships

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Four Berkeley High student athletes have been awarded athletic scholarships at Division I universities, and, on Friday Nov. 15, they gathered with their friends and family at the Berkeley High library for their official signing ceremony.

The students, who are also all stars in the classroom, are Noah Bremer who is headed to the University of Washington to play baseball, Desire Finnie who will attend the University of the Pacific and play basketball, Lena Mayer who will play softball for UC Santa Barbara, and Naomi Overstreet who will go to Virginia Commonwealth University to play volleyball. … Continue reading »

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City closes school pool after kids show serious symptoms

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The City of Berkeley shut down the swimming pool at Berkeley High School on Wednesday saying the level of chemicals in the water significantly exceeded normal operating conditions. The decision came on the heels of concerns expressed by parents that students on the water polo team were displaying alarming symptoms, including burning eyes, bleached hair, and, in some cases, the disappearance of body hair.

On Tuesday, several parents of water polo players delivered a letter to the principal describing the problems their children were experiencing and asking for something to be done. The city came in the next day to test the pool, according to Mark Coplan, public information officer for Berkeley Unified School District.

A meeting about the situation was held in the office of BHS Principal Pasquale Scuderi on Thursday, and the school’s water polo coach, Bill Gaebler, reported on its outcome to the water polo parents by email that evening. Gaebler revealed the results of the water testing which showed that an “exponentially high” pH level 0f 8.5 had been caused by a defective CO2 tank. He outlined the steps that the school would be taking to address the problem. … Continue reading »

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School pride on display at Berkeley High reunion

Photo: Mark Coplan/BUSD
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It was hard to get a word in edgewise Saturday at the second annual Berkeley High All-Class reunion. Graduates who hadn’t seen one another for years, locals who had never left, and even some Berkeley natives who hadn’t even gone to the high school, gabbed, ate and danced under a bright blue sky.

The grassy field of San Pablo Park was crowded with people of all ages. Vendors sold comfort food like fried chicken and ice cream. A hair salon offered to do braids. And organizations with more serious agendas, like WriterCoach Connection and the Berkeley Community Fund, set up tables to distribute information. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Police: Gas station hold-ups, vandalism, more

Examples of the vandalism at the Grove St. mural. Photos: BPD
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Earlier this year, the Berkeley Police Department relaunched its monthly newsletter to inform the community about notable arrests and incidents, as well as crime prevention tips and safety resources. Along with beat maps and police contacts for each neighborhood, the newsletter highlights arrests and open cases in Berkeley from the prior month. The seventh edition of the newsletter came out in August. Scroll down for highlights.

Help from the community

Since January, there have been seven cases of vandalism to the mural at the Young Adult Project’s Grove Street Recreation Center at 1730 Oregon St. Six of the seven occasions of vandalism occurred over the weekend. Police ask anyone with information to call the Property Crimes Unit at 510-981-5737.

The city is offering a $15,000 reward in exchange for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for a fatal hit-and-run on July 15. The incident occurred at 5:10 a.m. on the University Avenue overpass, and resulted in the death of Berkeley resident John Patrick Miller, 46 years old. Police ask anyone with information about the case to call the Traffic Bureau at 510-981-5980, or the non-emergency line at 510-981-5900. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley High grad wins fellowship for work in East Africa

Max Perel-Slater Tanzania
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In 2006, a group of Berkeley High School biology students stood in a classroom and presented projects on infectious diseases around the world. As they listened to each other talk about different countries, they became inspired to do more and, with the help of a BHS teacher from Shirati, Tanzania, they traveled there the following summer to make an impact on a community plagued by AIDS and other illnesses.

Since then, one of those students has gone back again and again, and eventually started a nonprofit to promote waterborne disease prevention. Last month, he won a $10,000 fellowship to help him continue his project.

“Definitely this project came out of that Berkeley High School trip,” said Max Perel-Slater, co-founder of the Maji Safi Group and 2007 Berkeley High graduate. … Continue reading »

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BHS construction back on track after asbestos discovery

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Despite delays at the beginning of the school year caused by the discovery of an unexpected type of asbestos, the Berkeley High School South of Bancroft Project is back on schedule, according to Principal Pasquale Scuderi.

The ongoing construction project on the southern end of campus has so far involved installing a stadium on the east side of the athletic field, which has new bleachers standing over a sports facility building with locker rooms, team meeting areas, coaches’ offices and a weight room. A decrepit set of bleachers on the west side of the field has been torn down, as has the seismically-unfit Old Gym to make way for a new academic building along Milvia Street.

Currently underway is the construction of the new academic building, which has yet to be named, and the installation of new visitors’ bleachers on the west side of the field. The latter should be ready when school resumes in the fall. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley school recycling gets back on track

A third-grade monitor at Oxford Elementary helps a classmate figure out what gets composted and what goes into the trash. Photo: Green Schools Initiative
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Berkeley schools are making a renewed commitment to recycling and composting after efforts slacked off over the past five years.

This year, a local non-profit, Green Schools Initiative, has worked with eight Berkeley schools, revitalizing recycling and composting programs. Green Schools was just awarded a grant for next year, so it can work with another eight schools in the fall.

According to Deborah Moore, executive director of Green Schools Initiative, recycling and composting are not only good for reducing landfill and greenhouse gases – they can also reduce the district’s spending.

“The Berkeley school district has potential to be saving $50,000 a year out of about $350,000 spent on trash pickup,” Moore said.  … Continue reading »

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Janet Huseby, Berkeley High’s top cheerleader, steps down

BPEF4 - Janet Huseby
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For more than a decade, Janet Huseby has been Berkeley High School’s “point person,” according to Principal Pasquale Scuderi.

After contributing her hard work to BHS for 23 years, and serving as outreach and volunteer coordinator for the past nine years, Huseby is preparing to pass on the torch. She will stay on as a college essay reader, continuing the work she started when she first came to Berkeley High.

“I sort of feel like it’s time to shake things up a little bit,” she said in an interview with Berkeleyside on Thursday.

Huseby began lending a hand at BHS when her oldest child entered high school in 1990. She became particularly involved in College and Career Center (CCC), and used her professional writing skills to help students endure the grueling process of writing college application essays. … Continue reading »

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