Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

RIP Miriam Malabicky: Doing the Math and Magic for 34 Years


 The St. Brendan School (SBS) family mourned the loss of their beloved “Miss Malabicky” this week. The following is a reprint of an article by writer Julie Prendiville Roux about Miriam Malabicky that appeared in Summer 2014 issue of the St Brendan School Alumni Newsletter.

“When I retired, I felt like Cinderella,” says Miriam Malabicky. “All my dreams had come true.” From 1979 to 2011, Ms. Malabicky served as teacher, mentor, muse, disciplinarian, and self-appointed chief cheerleader of our community.

Today, from her bayside home in Marina Del Rey, the former 8th Grade homeroom and Middle School Math teacher spends her time, as she says, “delighting in the wonders of God’s creations. I have the time to be with friends and family.” That image is a far cry from the Ms. Malabicky of SBS. When she wasn’t demanding the very best of her Math students, she was shaping the minds and spirits of each 8th Grade student—not to mention all the little ones coming up.

Ms. Malabicky’s programs and enthusiastic zest touched every child, and continue to thrive today. Big Buddies, where older students are paired with a younger student for the school year to share special activities throughout the school calendar, sets St. Brendan apart from other school experiences. The double-file line of 8th graders walking their young counterparts from St. Brendan Church to school after every First Friday Mass is a heartwarming sight in the middle of bustling Los Angeles.

“It’s every bit as good for the 8th Graders as it is for the 1st Graders,” says Ms. Malabicky.

The all-school talent show, featuring up to 40 acts, is an annual highlight for the school. Each Spring, Ms. Malabicky ran auditions with strict parameters and deadlines, concretely showing students a valuable lesson in working toward a goal—in this case, a performance. She clearly loved the creativity and fun that sprang from students as young as Kindergartners.

Student Council activities, with weekly all-school assemblies to prepare and so many other events, took untold hours of the teacher’s time. She laughs, “The Student Council was so good for our school, and the only problem was that the kids wanted to do more and more, but they didn’t want to give anything up!” (Neither did Ms. Malabicky, one gets the feeling.)

That she ran all these extras in addition to her regular duties never fazed her. “I think we have the best celebrations at St. Brendan School,” she says. “I love drama and in the early days, I began doing plays at Christmas. And people would say to me, ‘How do you get 13-year-old boys to put rouge on their face and march like soldiers?’ Well, even the kids who were shy loved to dress up for the drama.” Toward the end of her time at SBS, Ms. Malabicky handed the reins of Student Council and the talent show to the very capable SBS teacher Michelle East. Kelly Rielly took over 8th Grade, helping to usher in new programs in Middle School.

In all her years—over three decades—she has been a first-hand witness to change. Her tenure lasted through three Principals and four Pastors. “In those first years, parents never came around,” she remembers.. “Then, by the time the Sisters of St. Joseph started, and Sr. Marta Ann joined us, the parents started to become involved and we saw what a difference that made. After all, parents are the primary educators.”

Ms. Malabicky, who came to St.Brendan after a brief stint in a different Archdiocesan school, had her first taste of teaching in childhood.

She laughs, “I would gather my brothers and sisters and the kids in the neighborhood to play school, and they would say, ‘You were fun at recess, but you were too strict with phonics!’” How many St. Brendan graduates through the years would appreciate that assessment? Ms. Malabicky is equal parts taskmaster and whimsical, creative artist, and she gifted both to all she touched on a daily basis, year after year. Today, in her retirement, she continues her love of the school. She says, “Every day when I pray, I include my SBS students.”

– – – –

Miriam Malabicky died of cancer. There will be a Memorial Mass for her at St. Brendan Church on Sunday, October 5, at 5pm.

Miriam Malabicky St Brendan School
Miriam Malabicky (far right) stands with her Eighth Grade class in early 2008.


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  1. I knew Miss Miriam when she taught at St. Anthanasius back in the day.(early 70’s) She was loved by all. She was a total asset to the school as she took pride in the student. She will always be remember in my life as well as to hundreds or even thousands that had the pleasure to know her. I am 57 now and I know without a doubt that she will be missed. RIP my friend and thanks for the great memories.


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