Charles L. Biedenbach
My university course was classical, intended to be preparatory for one of the professions. In so far as I gave the subject serious thought, my inclinations were toward law, or teaching. I became so thoroughly interested in college journalism, however, that after graduation and naturally tried the larger field in San Francisco.
For seven months I served on the editorial staff of the Call. Clearer insight into the less agreeable side of newspaper work, reinforced by the advice of older newspaper men and university professors, finally decided to take up teaching.
Upon the recommendation of the University, I was elected principal of the schools of San Luis Obispo, where I've remained from January, 1887, to June, 1889. On April 2, 1887, I was married to Miss Lulu Colby, of class of 1888, U.C. In June, 1889, we returned to Berkeley and in September, 1890, moved into our home at 2526 College Avenue, which we occupied for thirty years. Here we reared our family, consisting of four daughters and one son, giving them also a university education. The daughters are all married.
After returning to Berkeley, I was principal of Peralta School, Oakland, teacher of History and English in Alameda High School, and teacher of Mathematics in Oakland High School for varying periods of time of to July, 1901, when I became principal of McKinley School, Berkeley. This was a grammar school at the time, but was converted into junior high school in January, 1910, probably the first school of this type in the United States.
In July, 1912, I was transferred to the principalship of the Berkeley High School, the position which I am still holding. The school now has 2,400 students, 107 teachers and administrative officials, eleven buildings, and occupies four city blocks, about 18 acres of land, in the heart of Berkeley.
Throughout my teaching career I have kept in touch with outside life, a policy which I feel helps one to do his special job to better advantage. I have been interested in civic affairs, and am a member of the Chamber of Commerce and at this time am president of Rotary Club. I belonged to the First Congressional Church and am a Past Master of the Durant Lodge of Masons. I have been President of the California Teachers' Association and of the California High School Teachers' Association, and during the past twelve years have been Secretary-Treasurer of the State Council of the California Interscholastic Federation. I am also President of the Alameda County Board of Education, a position which I have held during the last 25 years.
I have had abundant opportunity to fulfill the obligations laid upon us when we graduated, namely, to uphold the highest ideals of good citizenship, and hope that I have not failed. During all these years my wife was my constant companion, tender, faithful, and true. My heart is still so full of grief that I cannot state what she meant to me. I wonder if I ever can. She died December 3, 1925.
Berkeley High School, Berkeley.