Mewah Mountain – The Former School of TUHSD

Matthew Friend

In the modern era of the Tamalpais Union High School District, there exists five schools -Redwood, Tam, Drake, San Andreas, and Tamiscal.  Until 1994 however, there was one more – Mewah Mountain.

Mewah Mountain Continuation School, founded in 1980, was a similar school to the San Andreas of today.  According to the California Department of Education, continuation schools exist for students who are at risk of not graduating, or may need a more flexible schedule.  The curriculum and scheduling is much more flexible than a tradition high school as well.

In 1994, San Andreas Opportunity School, and Mewah Mountain Continuation School, merged to create what still exists today as San Andreas Continuation School.

The reasons for the merge remain unclear. Meade said he believed the merge was a result of budget cuts.  Russell Hill, who taught there for a couple years prior to the merge, said that San Andreas had become more like a continuation school than the opportunity school it was founded as by that time, and the district figured they might as well join the two similar schools.

According to Bud Meade, who taught art at San Andreas for 15 years after the merge, Mewah was located where San Andreas is now located on William Avenue prior to the merge.  San Andreas, which had originally been at what is now the Tamiscal building on Doherty Drive, closed its doors and reopened as a Continuation school at the William location in 1984.

According to Meade, the merge was not initially smooth due to the differences between the two school’s student bodies.

“Pru Star, who was one of the teachers at Mewah, [would say] ‘Well, we always looked at it as we got all the hotrodders and fighters, and that you guys got all the hippies and dope smokers and mellow hippie types at San Andreas,’” Meade said.  “And there was a little bit of a problem for the first two years when we got together, because it was kind of true that those guys were into hot cars and drinking, while our guys were into getting high and just hanging out, playing music and stuff like that at San Andreas.”

Meade said that these differences began to disintegrate after two years, because by then all the students from the old era had graduated.

When the two schools were consolidated into one, keeping the name San Andreas over Mewah Mountain was no coincidence.  According to Meade, the new staff was comprised of four teachers from San Andreas and three from Mewah, and when the vote came down to what to name the school, majority won out.