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Statue of Monroe Clark (Bookie)

Our school is named for a local hero, Monroe Clark. His nickname was "Bookie" because he had a love of reading books. Clark overcame crippling polio as a child to become a successful businessman and one of the city's most heartening boosters of sports and education..

Clark was a lifelong resident of City Heights here in San Diego, leaving only to study at the prestigious University of Southern California in Los Angeles (USC). He graduated from USC in 1947, returning home where he became a successful insurance man and booster of Hoover High and area schools. He attended Wilson Middle and Hoover High schools, graduating in 1943.

"He instilled optimism and spirit in everyone he touched," added Steven B. Sample, USC's president. The university mascot is a Trojan and its school colors are maroon and gold just like Monroe Clark Middle!

Clark was afflicted with polio at age 7 before there was a cure that became widely available, but friends say he never let himself become consumed with his disability.

He was a huge sports fan. He once drove from San Diego, California, to Eugene, Oregon, to Seattle, Washington, to South Bend, Indiana, to catch consecutive USC Trojan football games.

His legacy however was his tireless work as a supporter for education. Hoover High named its science building after Clark.

He was a fixture on the Hoover high school campus for many years spending several hours each day tutoring at-risk students because he loved to help others.. After school, he would often drive kids to sports events. He also announced the high school basketball and baseball games.

Clark often provided financial aid to promising students to help them pay for college, and brought many friends and associates with him to help tutor students.

"He was the Pied Piper of hope, a person who comes along once in every two or three generations," said Lynn Naibert, a district counselor at Hoover. "His was a nonthreatening, steady force, and kids pick up on that."

Clark died in 1994 at age 69. When a new middle school was being planned, officials read through a long list of names for the new school, including naming it for Mahatma Gandhi, who led the fight for India's independence and non-violent protest. But local residents lobbied that it was only fitting to name a San Diego school after a San Diegan who made a real difference, and so Monroe Clark Middle School was built in 1998 and named after him. A statue of Monroe "Bookie" Clark can be seen in the school's library.
Statue of Monroe Clark (Bookie)

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