Arts and Lifestyle

Getting to Know the Big Man on Campus

We all know Mr. Healy as our Head of School, but very few of us know about his experiences a hula dancer and high school student. Junior Eva Herr's profile hi lights the little known facts about Mr. Healy. Photo courtesy of Pete Zivkov.  

By Eva Herr

Many of us know Mr. Healy as our tall headmaster who sometimes speaks at assemblies or on occasion cracks some jokes in front of the school. However, his past as a hula dancer, his favorite Sodexo dish and his secret pet peeves are all things we may be unaware of.

Healy’s current career in academia began with a internship at a school in Pebble Beach, Monterey. “I had one class, lived in the dorm, coached three sports, and I took it and I had a blast, I was having fun and making money, I couldn’t believe people were paying me to do what I was doing,” Healy said. Even though this internship was what excited Healy’s interest in academia, he was familiar with a academic lifestyle as his Dad who was a school headmaster. “I watched a lifestyle… and I liked what I saw…. [my dad] could get ahead without hurting anybody, he didn’t have to compete to win, he always seemed like he had interesting challenges that he was working on which was sort of intriguing,” Healy said.

Once he decided to follow his love for teaching and academics Healy fell in love with the job for its many nuances that make it fascinating to him. “No day is the same… there are so many interesting challenges to this job that I just never knew… so much of school is about supporting people it just ends up being fascinating,” Healy said. For Healy, his love for the job boils down to one thing: his hope in students. “The whole reason to do the job is faith that you guys are going to do something good with the education… it’s about positioning you for a life is going to be well-lived and hope you’ll give back in ways that will contribute to a better world… it gets me out of bed in the morning and it makes it exciting to do what I do,” Healy said.

When asked for an unknown fact about himself Healy replied that throughout middle school and high school he danced hula. “I was this 6’8’’ 180 pound really pale hula dancer guy and I totally stood out… looking back on it I am glad there were no videos or anything posted online because that would not have been a pretty sight,” Healy said.

High school was not only a time that Healy’s hula career flourished, but he also struggled with certain academic classes which he feels allows him empathize with students at Menlo. “There were a couple classes in my high school that I struggled mightily… [and] I actually think that has really been helpful to sort of understand what is it like to struggle… and all the accompanying feelings like am I not good enough am I not trying hard enough. And at a place like Menlo… I think really is an easy to feel slightly incompetent and less than,” Healy said.

High school was also a time that Healy formed lasting friendships, friends he says he still cherishes to this day. “My closest friends in the world are my high school buddies hands down. We can be separated for 10 years and when we get together it’s like we were never apart… there’s a capacity to be vulnerable with them which is sort of a relief because a lot of life you have to be guarded or keep something private,” Healy said.

This camaraderie is something he also recognizes in sports teams in high school. “I would go to a Menlo boys or girls basketball game 100 times out of a 100 over going to a warriors game… those guys care so much more than Steph and Draymond because they are doing it for each other and for the love of the game,” Healy said. He also says that if he “won the lottery” and could work without worrying about time or money he would be a high school coach. “I think the teaching and learning that happens in [sports]... is applied learning and the feedback is instant. I think sports is one of the last few places… where you can really sort of fail and then pick yourself up and learn how to move forward,” Healy said.

Just like everyone Mr. Healy also has pet peeves that upset him without much logical explanation. “When I find myself getting angry it’s around selfish or what I perceive to be a lack of loyalty. I think you should be loyal to the things that matter in your life,” Healy said.

Even though you may not realize it, Mr. Healy eats at the cafeteria just like every Menlo student. When asked what his favorite Sodexo dish is he said that the barbecue burgers were a favorite mostly due to the fun outdoor environment they are accompanied by. “I really like the barbecue burgers and maybe it’s just because the environment [because] it’s always when we are on the quad and it’s the start of the end of the year which tend to be when people are in the best moods so maybe it’s the atmosphere more than it is actually the burger itself,” Healy said.

With all of Healy’s experience as a headmaster, Menlo stands out to him because of the sincerely happy atmosphere he feels encompasses Menlo’s community. “People [at Menlo] are so unbelievably happy… compared to other schools. It is a joyful place… I saw that the first day I was on this campus,” Healy said.

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