84: Bea Alverno

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Bea grew up in the small foothill community of Sierra Madre, California, just a stone’s throw from the world-famous Wistaria Vine. She attended nursery school at Bethany Christian School, and learned how to swim at the Sierra Madre pool when she was just knee-high to a corn stalk. Kindergarten brought her to the coveted “round classroom” at Sierra Madre Elementary School where she took a special interest in the Japanese koi pond, chasing away the predatory birds. Bea herself was often chased on the playground by the girls & boys and teased with names like “brainless”, so it made her feel good to protect others from bullies. She earned a special badge of courage from her teacher and a great deal of satisfaction and pride from her good deed.

First through eighth grade at St. Rita’s enriched her brain, her body and her spirit. Bea studied hard every night and on many occasions, was still up when the rooster crowed. She practically wore out her Sierra Madre Library card! She played sports at school as well as in the Sierra Madre Girls’ Softball Association, where she was outstanding in left field, scaring up fly balls by the bushel baskets, with the fans yelling “can o’ corn, can o’ corn”! She also took a few acting classes at the Sierra Madre Playhouse and landed a supporting role in their young actors’ production of “The Wizard of Oz”.

Bea’s childhood years in Sierra Madre were filled with birthday parties at Nature Friends, annual Easter Egg Hunts in Memorial Park, holiday jams & jellies from E. Waldo Ward, and going to Mary’s Market in the Canyon to buy those little wax bottles filled with colored juices. With a great love for the outdoors, some of Bea’s favorite places to hike, draw or meditate have always been Bailey Canyon, the Mount Wilson Trail and the beautiful grounds at Mater Dolorosa. Even the Pioneer Cemetery holds a special place in Bea’s heart, as so many of her lifelong Sierra Madre friends now reside there.

After she attended a November open house at Alverno High School when she was in the 6th grade, Bea was the first to register for the following summer’s Middle School Conservatory for Girls. She had heard that at the conclusion of the class, the girls would get to spend the night in the historic Villa del Sol d’Oro which she had been conjuring up stories about in her head since she was little. Rumors suggested it was haunted but she was more interested in seeing if there were bats in the belfry. Bea bonded with her classmates that night in the Villa through slumber party games & snacks, lots of laughter and yes, a little fear, but she knew she had found her home for her high school years.

During her years at Alverno, Bea earned her Girl Scout Gold Award and had her original artwork on display at the Creative Arts Group as part of her AP Studio Art class. She was chosen to be a City Ambassador and rode on the Sierra Madre Rose Float on New Year’s Day, titled “Field of Dreams”. She tripled her required Christian Service hours and was a member of the local Rotary club’s Interact chapter.

Bea graduated from Alverno High School with the highest honors and was her class valedictorian. In her speech on that glorious day on the terrace, she shared with her classmates some of the challenges she had overcome, and how their strong sisterhood had been her sanctuary and motivating force. She expressed her gratitude to her Alverno teachers, coaches and staff for their dedication and support. In closing, she said that she was so blessed to have found a home at Alverno, where everyone is welcome and treated equally, even a scarecrow.

This scarecrow can be found at 200 N. Michillinda Ave., Sierra Madre, CA 91024

Looking for more scarecrows?  Find them on our online map or pick up a paper map and ballot at Creative Arts Group (108 N. Baldwin Ave., Sierra Madre, CA)