M-A’s Pam Wimberly gets new accolades as she’s poised to begin her 50th teaching year
When the Menlo-Atherton High School bell rings on August 16 for the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, physical education teacher Pam Wimberly will be there — just as she’s been for the past 50 years!
She’ll be bringing with her yet another award. This Saturday, June 17, she is being inducted into the Hall of Fame by the California Coaches Association. She is already a member of M-A’s hall of fame.
It’s the kids that keep her going, she says. “I’m motivated by what has always motivated me, to instill in students the importance of physical fitness for the rest of their lives.”
Pam had recently graduated from Morgan State College, a historically-black school in Baltimore, when a gentleman by the name of John Bunting came calling. “He was traveling throughout the South to recruit African-Amercan teachers for the Sequoia High School District,” she recalls. “We talked in person on campus, and then I had a three-way call with him along with the chairman of the physical education department.
“I got the job and moved west in August of 1968. I had an aunt here but otherwise knew no one. My parents did encourage me; they’d passed through the Golden Gate during my dad’s Army career and felt California was a good place to be.”
While the San Francisco Bay Area has been her home ever since, she brought with her a born-on-the-East-Coast love of the Dodgers, for which she gets a fair amount of ribbing from her students. “It was the Dodgers who gave a black man the chance to play, and I got to see Jackie Robinson at Connie Mack Stadium [in Philadelphia] and that was that. I’ve been a Dodger fan ever since,” she says. “Whenever they’re in town, I sit right behind their dugout at AT&T with my daughter in her Giants garb right next to me.”
At M-A, Pam coached basketball for 42 years and softball for 15 years. She was also the Athletic Director for 24 years. We wondered if there was any special memory, special team. She paused before answering: “I had an outstanding group of young ladies when we won the second CCS basketball championship.”
Pam, who was named teacher of the year at M-A in 1986, considers herself “an educator first.” But that doesn’t diminish her love of sports. The senior softball team she coaches, Saints Express, competed today in the National Senior Games in Birmingham, winning one and losing one in the 65+ division. So yes, educator first but always competitor, too.
Photo by Irene Searles (c) 2017