Activities at Maybeck


Maybeck students engage in a broad range of activities, and show great independence and initiative in doing so. While students can pursue almost any interest they choose to promote, they can also take part in the regularly scheduled activities listed below. Finally, each year two students are elected by their peers as representatives to the Rules Committee.


Extracurricular Activities


Clubs are established and maintained by the students themselves. While staff members can offer guidance and serve as mentors, students decide what clubs are important to them, and what they want to devote their time to creating.

Current clubs include: Asian Student Union, Black Student Union, MEChA, Baking Club, Gay-Straight Alliance, Unique Movies Club, Basketball, Jewish Women Writers, Amnesty International, Student Activities Committee. Jewish/Muslim/Christian Club.

Past clubs have included: Animal Rights, Gardening, Literary Magazine, Play-Reading, Shakespeare and Pie, Student Newspaper, Soccer.

Beginning of the Year Retreat

We begin the year with a six-day program that permits students and teachers to become acquainted in a relatively short time. Our usual destination is the San Jose City Tuolumne Camp near Yosemite. We sleep in platform cabins with cots and have use of the camp lodge, kitchen, and dining hall. The camp has electricity and showers, and is a comfortable site for our retreat. 

Classes and activities are held on a theme related to the summer reading, ushering everyone into the school’s academic spirit. Teachers give presentations and show films; students take part in workshops and discuss the summer reading, the films, and other topics. At the end of the program students write a response to the summer reading. Students also learn about being a part of the Maybeck community by taking on camp duties: under staff supervision, they prepare our meals and clean up the kitchen after them. 

There is plenty of time for recreation: ping-pong, hiking, swimming, ball games, reading, resting. The whole school also takes a day-long hike in Yosemite.

Student Activities Committee

The Student Activities Committee (SAC) meets weekly to organize events for the school. It is a primary venue for students to become involved with the school community and promote activities that interest them. Two days each year are reserved for activities planned by SAC.

In the past few years we have gone to the beach in the Marin Headlands; to Tilden Park where the whole school spent a day playing volleyball, frisbee, soccer and having fun; to Caesar Chavez Park at the Berkeley Marina; we have visited the Oakland Zoo; the Exploratorium/Palace of Fine Arts (a Bernard Maybeck designed building) in San Francisco; held a scavenger hunt around the UC Berkeley campus followed by a film festival; and held a harvest/Halloween festival. SAC also plans the Secret Santa gift exchange, the prom, and several theme days as well as Bernard’s (the student store) with proceeds being deposited in the scholarship fund. SAC has the opportunity to make proposals to the staff as to changes in school policy. Recent proposals have included a revised student cell phone and homework policies.


Maybeck’s Yearbook is student-produced under the guidance of a staff supervisor. Students take photographs over the course of the year and meet to plan and lay out the yearbook. The project is coordinated by a team of core editors, who take part in a spring class focused on design and production. Anyone can work on the yearbook: the school seeks contributors and photographers from all grade levels, as we aim to produce a yearbook that reflects all of the facets of Maybeck.



Bike Trips

Bicycle enthusiasts—experienced and novice alike—can join the Bike Trips and ride to our beginning- and end-of-the-year camp sites. Students set out three days before the school-wide trips begin and ride about 150 miles, camping each night along the way and enjoying opportunities to swim and relax. A support vehicle carries food, camping supplies, and the occasional weary student. In the fall, the trip starts in Danville, CA and winds through the windmill-covered hills of the Altamont Pass and into the Central Valley. After crossing the blisteringly hot plains of the Central Valley, students ride uphill into the Sierra foothills. The will-testing climb up Priest Grade gives the students a wonderful feeling of accomplishment as they ascend 2000 feet in 4 1/2 miles. The destination point is 150 miles away at the City of San Jose Family Camp, just outside of Yosemite National Park. In the spring students will ride up the coast and through wine country on their way to Lake Mendocino, near Ukiah.

Full Moon Camping

Each year, the school sponsors optional Full Moon Camping Trips, which take place over the course of weekends at local regional parks. A group of interested students, staff, and parents go on backpacking trips in parks such as Emigrant Wilderness, Big Sur, and Point Reyes. A recent trip included the Skyline to Sea trail through the Santa Cruz mountains, where we were treated to beautiful waterfalls flowing through old-growth redwoods, and even a mountain lion! Beginning hikers are welcome, and the only fees are for food and campground expenses.

End of the Year Retreat

We end the year with a four-day camping trip at various camping sites throughout Northern California. Students are expected to bring tents, sleeping bags, and backpacks, and are expected to help with cooking, cleaning, and activities that occur during the trip. These activities include, hiking, swimming, workshops, night events, skits, and community building. We reflect on the year that has been, we say goodbye to the Seniors and all departing Staff, and we look forward to the upcoming year.

Just as we do at the beginning of the year camping trip, many Students and Staff bicycle to the camp grounds, stopping at various locations along the way. The bike trip usually takes two or three nights.


Special Programs

Special Programs allow students to explore areas of interest in depth and outside of the structure of our usual academic schedule. They also foster a sense of community among students, who spend an extended period of time together pursuing a common goal. Our travel programs expose students first-hand to other cultures. 

Special Programs are a required part of our curriculum. They are worth 5 units and are graded P/NP. A catalog of program descriptions is published before the winter break. In the interest of fairness, we use a lottery system to place students in programs of their choice. 

Expenses for special programs are in addition to tuition. Because we want all students to have the opportunity to travel, we offer financial aid for travel Special Programs in the form of Jeremy Harrison Scholarships. These scholarships, which are endowed by the family of a former student in his memory, are available to students in their third or fourth year at Maybeck who are on reduced tuition and have not participated in a travel program.