A baker’s dozen of graduates participated in San Benito High School’s Adult Education commencement ceremony May 30 in the school library, recognizing adults who have worked throughout the year to complete their high school diploma credits.
Thirty-one Adult Ed students earned their diplomas in 2018 and 2019, according to staff.
SBHS Director of Educational Services Elaine Klauer offered opening remarks and graduate Salvador Vaca spoke about the pride he felt completing his diploma requirements and setting an example for his children.
SBHS Trustee John Corrigan, ELL Instructional Assistant Rafaela Espinoza and teacher Liz Pulcheon presented diplomas to the graduates.
The Adult Education Program begins the first Tuesday and Thursday after Labor Day each year, offering adults looking to complete their high school diploma credits an opportunity to earn up to 90 high school credits in various content areas, including English, Math, Social Science and elective courses.
This year’s graduates were: (2018) Juan Pablo Barroso Bribiescas, Alberto Colmenero, Leticia Flores, Sabrina Ippolito, and Neal Velez. (2019) Gregory Arispe, Lucia Armenta Ortega, Quixcia Hernandez Guzman, Flor Xiomara Orozco, Melanie Thomas, Salvador Vaca Jr., Michael Valderrama, and Nina Velez.
76 SBHS students graduate through AVID program
San Benito High School’s Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program recognized the first group of 76 students to matriculate through the program for four years.
The May 30 commencement was held in the packed school auditorium, featuring a processional of the graduates, a welcome address from students Julissa Soto and Shea Wolf, and addresses from SBHS District Superintendent Shawn Tennenbaum and Principal Adrian Ramirez.
Four AVID teachers worked with 395 students in all four grades this year, including nearly 80 seniors (most whom had been in AVID all four years), providing academic instruction and other support to prepare students for college eligibility.
The typical AVID student at SBHS has the potential and desire to attend a four-year college, average to high test scores, a 2.0 to 3.5 grade point average, appropriate classroom behavior, a good attendance record and work habits, and is willing to commit to studying and completing homework each night. Students must also meet one of the following criteria: be the first in their family to attend a college or university; be from a group historically underrepresented in four-year colleges, come from a low-income family, or have other special circumstances.
Similar to the school’s traditional commencement, which will take place on Friday, June 7, the AVID Commencement featured a salutatory address from student Dennys Lopez Vega and a valedictory speech by Joeven Los Banos.
Johnson retiring after 37-year career at SBHS
SBHS science teacher and coach Bill Johnson is retiring at the end of the 2018-19 school term, ending a 37-year tenure at his alma mater.
Johnson, who graduated from SBHS in 1969 and played football for the University of California, Berkeley, started working at SBHS in 1982 as a science teacher and football coach. Johnson had done both at Gavilan College prior to working two years in Sacramento for the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
He started teaching four different classes (biology, plant science, algebra and pre-algebra) in three different classes.
“They say you can do anything after your first year” teaching, Johnson said, noting that throughout the years he has taught physical education along with Genetics, Advanced Placement Biology and AP Environmental Science.
Johnson said he has “loved making connections” with his students, “sharing life lessons, the wonder of science — especially biology” and has “made some really good friends.”
He said he particularly has enjoyed the relationships he has forged through the years with the students he has coached.
At various times in his four decades on campus, Johnson has coached baseball, football, wrestling and boys’ and girls’ golf.
Johnson was the defensive coordinator for Carey Laine’s 1984 and 1985 Central Coast Section football championship teams and was the head coach for the squad that earned the three-peat in 1986. Last year, Johnson was inducted into the Baler Education Foundation Hall of Fame.
SBHS raises record $30k for the Matthews family
The San Benito High School Benefit Drive this year raised a record $30,000.04 for the family of Eddie Matthews, who in October 2018 was in an ATV accident that resulted in a traumatic brain injury.
Matthews has a wife, Brittany, and two children, ages 4 and 7. SBHS Associated Student Body students presented the check to the Matthews Family May 21 at the ASB Banquet.
The amount raised through school and community donations and fundraising events surpassed the previous record of $23,300, set last year.