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San Benito
April 18, 2024

SBHS names first community Baler STRONG recipients

San Benito High School has expanded its recognition of people who exhibit the Baler STRONG core values to include the community, with the first round of honors presented recently.

Local coffee company Java Express, which operates two drive-through kiosks in Hollister, San Benito County Chief Administrative Officer Ray Espinosa, and Debbie Ruiz of Community Solutions were each given a Community Baler STRONG award by SBHS Vice Principal Diana Herbst.

The STRONG acronym stands for Scholarship, Teamwork, Reflection, Opportunity, Nurture and Growth, representing the core values of San Benito High School. The school also presents awards to students and staff members who exemplify these ideals.

“We are broadening our reach to recognize individuals, businesses or agencies that support our efforts and thank them for a meaningful contribution,” said SBHS Superintendent Dr. Shawn Tennenbaum. “We are building a culture that’s thankful so we can create a healthier and more mindful culture.”

Java Express was recognized for providing Baler Life Skills students with work opportunities. Through a community-based instruction class, the students gain valuable work skills at businesses like Java while interacting with the community. The company’s donation helped the program start the Baler STRONG Coffee Company, which provides students with practical skills and work experience.

Espinosa was honored for his positive and productive support of the district on a myriad of items, including the recently-completed River Parkway and Nash Road closure projects.

Ruiz and Community Solutions were lauded for professionally and compassionately guiding students and their families through the healing process following sexual assault, human trafficking and domestic violence. Ruiz’s role in providing social and emotional support has helped students overcome some of life’s most difficult situations.