Celebrating 100 Years of Oakland Technical High School
Michael Grbich ’50
Growing up, I lived near Mosswood Park, so Tech was my neighborhood school. It wasn’t the safest area at the time but as long as you didn’t draw attention to yourself, it was fine. I wasn’t terrified to be at Tech but I was careful. It was such a big school to get around. I started out as college prep but I wasn’t motivated and didn’t care about going to college, nor was I encouraged to go. I did end up going several years later and became a teacher.
At Tech, I just wasn’t motivated for classes, other than Art. I didn’t play sports at Tech because my family was too poor to buy the uniform. We just didn’t have money for that. But I am proud to say that I didn’t need that, I survived in spite of not having any of those things.
Nowadays when I drive by the school, it looks like a university. I take great pride in the school and am proud of my grandson, Semo, who goes there. I love when I pick up my grandson at school, I see kids of all different races and backgrounds walking together. I love the diversity at Tech and it gives me hope that we can all learn to get along together.
When I registered my son, I ran into Coach Sherman who I used to run around Lake Merritt with but I hadn’t seen him for 40 years. I still run in Oakland, mostly in the hills.
My advice to Tech students today is that this is your ticket to ride. Try to get good grades and learn the skills you’ll need to make it in the world. The payoff for your hard work is later one. Even for me, as a “non-student,” I’m proud I got my high school degree.