Zuckerberg speaks to Belle Haven grads


By Chris Kenrick

Embarcadero Media

Families of approximately 75 eighth-graders graduating from the K-8 Belle Haven School in Menlo Park got a surprise Wednesday when Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg showed up as the commencement speaker.

Mr. Zuckerberg told students achieving their goals would not be easy but would take hard work -- and that surrounding themselves with good friends would be important.

"It was very emotional," said a school staff member. "The kids were very surprised and excited he was there."

The celebrity visit had been a complete secret tightly held by Belle Haven Principal Maria Ibarra.

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Jun 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm

My response to this is pretty cynical: he's playing up to Menlo since his new offices are there and he's playing down his egregious privacy violations and snarky marketing decisions. He's really not the best example for young people. Maybe he can teach them how to butcher their own meat!

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Posted by wondering
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jun 9, 2011 at 1:14 pm

How did the audience refrain from hysterical laughter when he advised them to surround themselves with good friends?

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Posted by WP
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Heights
on Jun 9, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Nice guy or not, Zuckerberg's been the driving force behind a revolutionary company. If he's following up on his big donation to schools in NJ (Newark?) with a personal appearance to support a school with a lot of at risk kids, good for him.

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Jun 9, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Wondering, I thought the same thing. But given their ages, they probably haven't yet seen the film ;-) Smart marketing move - if any of those kids didn't have a FB page, they likely do now.

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Posted by mickie winkler
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 9, 2011 at 3:45 pm

I see Zuckerberg's appearance as a phenomenally good omen for the influence that Face Book could have on Belle Haven, the schools and the children. Zuckerberg and his cohorts and almost ALL his employees are young--and not jaded as some commenters here. If they focus on the area, good things will happen. YES! Mickie Winkler

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Posted by Marcy Magatelli
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 9, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Amen, Mickie! It's so easy to be an armchair critic, I'll bet the people who bash M.Z. could no more build a business that successful than they could have caught that long pass, some football player missed, who they say "must be an idiot, to have missed that"!

My point will also probably be lost on them, because they probably don't own a home or business, but I would like to make it clear to others who might think it's fun to bash Mr. Zukerberg, that his company will spend enough money in Menlo Park to be a big boon, for every one of us, in one way or another, and even if it was not, it is just plain RUDE to be saying things like that, of a new person in our community...come on, Menlo Park can act better than that!

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Jun 9, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Zuckerberg, given how he's treated FB users, as well as the competition, deserves much criticism. That isn't to say that FB isn't good for Menlo financially or in other ways. He, like many other famous local business leaders, has a lot to learn and has made public mistakes that deserve to be criticized. It's part of what tempers, matures and shapes a business leader. He should welcome criticism, as it would show maturity. Frankly, the way he's treated FB users & the competition is way more rude than our criticisms.

Really, you have high hopes that he'll help the youth of Belle Haven? Well, Mark, please - consider yourself challenged. Let's see you write some checks for the beleagured schools in *this* area. Hey, how about being a sponsor for One East Palo Alto's Summer Employment Program for youth?

Personally, I have no interest in running a company, nor do I worship tech like so many in this area. My success in the tech world, as it has been for many - including him - was based on luck and timing, not just hard work and skill. I am successful in my profession and have been a business owner. Being an armchair critic suits me just fine, but I know what I'm talking about when I criticize him. Perhaps, with the passage of time, good advisors and some maturation, he'll evolve into a wise, better-rounded leader. I'm not holding my breath because he's young and these things take time. I look forward to more accurate critiquing of him in the future!

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Posted by Realist101
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 10, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Geez.... lighten up people... these are K-8 children we are talking about... why does everything have to be construed as political and negative??? If he didn't do something like this then he would be accused for not caring about the community... Facebook moving into the Belle Haven... and Mark Zuckerberg visiting it's main school couldn't be more exciting. It's sad that so many people are quick to find the negative reasoning in things and not the positive.... that's a sure way to die a mean old b@$7@rd... go for a walk, ride your bike, hug your kids, or SOMETHING.... just lighten up already...

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Posted by Local
a resident of another community
on Jun 10, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Seems to me the first few posters were pretty funny and then the people who took it all so seriously and have a deep desire to please Mark jumped on board.

As for more exciting? Let's see...that's pretty easy...Justin Bieber, Beyonce, Chris Owusu, David Gonzalez, Oprah, J Lo, Daschel Butler, Isabel Allende, Naomi Mulitauaopele, Katy Perry, Shemar Moore, EPA Chief Davis, Lady Gaga, Brian Wilson, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, the Obama kids, M-A alum like Bob Melvin & Stevie Nicks, Tia Maria Torres, Rafael Marquez, Pitbull, Jesse Jackson, Ralph Aceves, EPA Mayor Carlos Romero, in a pinch...

Like this comment
Posted by jk
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jun 12, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Geez, give the guy a break! He was willing to spend the time & according to the article the kids were excited. Since we can't be inside his head--maybe--just maybe--he was just sincerely trying to do a good thing. FB coming to MP is a good thing for the City--espcially after the loss of tax revenue from Sun's move.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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