Hollister resident Natalie Miranda Juarez, a long-familiar face at Gavilan College, is this month celebrating her retirement following a 42-year career at the college. She started working while still a Gavilan College student, and in the intervening decades has worked in several different departments, most recently at the college’s satellite site in Hollister’s Briggs Building.
“I feel like I’m ready,” said Juarez. “It feels very natural to make this transition at this point. I didn’t count the seconds and minutes and days.” She is keeping her plans fairly loose for the moment, hoping to work on her family tree, “purge closets,” and devote time to family and friends. “Cathy Scattini (another Hollister resident who retired from Gavilan College last year) is waiting for me!”
Juarez’s family includes Benito, her husband of 35 years; daughters Andrea, Daniela and Alisa; a dog, Sadie; and her siblings.
According to her supervisor, Hollister Site Director Judy Rodriguez, “Natalie brought with her a positive upbeat attitude that students were attracted to right away. Our motto in Hollister is ‘Service with a Smile’ and Natalie stands up to that above and beyond”
Born and raised in Hollister, and a graduate of San Benito High School, Juarez was hired at Gavilan College as a financial aid technician in 1972, six months before graduating with an associate’s degree in liberal arts. She later transferred to the office of the Dean of Liberal Arts & Sciences where she worked as a senior departmental assistant helping students, faculty and staff.
One of her supervisors for much of that time was Gavilan College Trustee Kent Child, who had served as the dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences prior to his own retirement. Child describes Juarez as someone whose “overwhelming single-greatest quality is absolute enjoyment and love and ability to embrace anybody who comes through the door.” Child was Juarez’s communications instructor when she was a college student and still remembers her project: an in-class demonstration of tortilla-making. As he recalls it, the “disks were so round they looked like they’d been made with a compass.”
After working on the Gilroy campus for 35 years, a position for a program services specialist opened up at the Gavilan College satellite site in Hollister. Juarez said she was excited that she could finally work five minutes from her home, although she remained an early riser.
“One of my goals,” she said “is to learn to sleep until 9 o’clock!”