Mercedes Berglund, San Benito High School’s supervisor of security, became the first civilian to be honored with a Challenge Coin, was presented to her April 10 by Hollister Police Chief David Westrick.
Berglund was recognized at the the district’s Board of Trustees’ meeting for earning the letter of commendation from the Hollister Police Department.
In a commendation letter to Berglund, Capt. Carlos Reynoso, a 1987 San Benito graduate, told Berglund that her “professionalism and commitment to your school and the citizens of this community are exemplified in your work and your daily actions.”
“The Hollister Police Department is truly lucky to have someone of your caliber in a position to affect change and provide assistance,” he added.
As part of the commendation, former School Resource Officer Juan Guevara, who recently became the department’s gang officer, praised Berglund for her communication skills in assisting the police department in its partnership with the high school district.
He noted how she made sure that Guevara had the needed equipment—such as a campus radio, keys and transportation around campus—when he was on duty on campus and added that “it is my opinion that the school resource officer position would not have been as successful had Mercedes’ assistance not been present.”
Inaugural Parent University begins this month
Parent University, coordinated by San Benito High School 2003 alumna Lorena Villagómez, is open to all ninth- through 12th-grade students in San Benito County.
The program will begin this month with a number of inaugural events, including topics such as mental health first aid, post-secondary options for students and information about minimizing the opiod epidemic.
With funding from a Proposition 47 grant, Parent University supports students and parents in the San Benito High School District, the San Benito County Office of Education and the Aromas-San Juan Unified School District, addressing issues such as chronic truancy, family engagement and community partnerships.
Villagómez, who has a sociology degree from CSU Stanislaus and a master’s degree from San Jose State University, was a college advisor at San Jose State, supporting at-risk middle school and helping high school students prepare for college.
The first Parent University event, which focuses on mental health first aid, is scheduled from 6-8pm April 25 in the San Benito High School Library, 1220 Monterey St. On that Wednesday, a local therapist will help the public identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness.
Free childcare, and a light dinner, coffee and refreshments will be available.
A May 2 event will focus on post-secondary options for high school students, who will be able to explore the variety of options available to them after graduation, including college, the military, trades and certificates.
The May 9 event will focus on awareness and education surrounding the opiod epidemic affecting the San Benito community. Discussion will include how to identify signs, symptoms and resources.
All presentations will also be available in Spanish.
For more information, contact Villagómez by phone at (831) 637-5831, ext. 194 or [email protected]