This article was written by BenitoLink intern Juliana Luna
On Jan. 7, San Benito High School District held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to name the Science and Robotics Building at Hollister High School after Mary Ann Barragan for her contributions to the district. The high school district board attended the event along with Barragan’s family and friends.
The Hollister resident helped found Golden Memorial Insurance Services with her late husband, Ray. Their legacy with the district goes back to 2019 when they contributed funds for the softball stadium lighting, a facility which bears Ray’s name.
In October, the school district accepted a $50,000 donation from the family to establish an annual scholarship for graduating seniors that will begin with class of 2023.
The Barragan family, from its scholarship funds donation, installations and improvement projects for stadiums across the school, has donated over $1.24 million to the district, according to the district’s Oct. 11 agenda packet.
“My father and my grandmother like to give back to where they were raised,” said 20-year-old Drew Barragan. “It’s good that we pass on our giving to the community so that the next generation of us will understand why we did it and then hopefully they’ll do it someday.”
The District’s Board of Trustees President John Corrigan said it’s an honor for all the students to have Mary Ann looking out for them with the scholarship and “helping them get that next step in life.”
“One of my favorite parts of being a part of the Hollister community is that the people that lived here always give back and contribute to the place that they were raised,” said Laci Lemos, commissioner of clubs from the Associated Student Body. “Thank you all for honoring our academic futures.”
Varsity Softball Head Coach Andrew Barragan said his mother didn’t want to attend.
“She said the only people that put their names on the wall are people that have already died right? He began. “I’m not dead yet, tell them I’m not dead.”
He added that all of the family’s contributions, from the Hazel Hawkins Barragan Family Diabetes Center to the Hollister High athletics and science and robotics departments, have been to further the development of education for the students.
“On behalf of our board, our district, and our team we are thankful,” Superintendent Shawn Tennenbaum said. “Thank you, Mary Ann, and the entire family for the ongoing support of our community.”
Ignacio Solario, the regional manager at Golden Memorial Insurance, told BenitoLink he’s been close to the Barragan family for 12 years.
“Mary Ann has always inspired me. She’s family-oriented first and making sure the family legacy continues,” he said. “What Mr. Barrgan did, what she’s doing now, by giving back to the community, that’s what she taught me to do, give back to the community.”
Solario said that many of the opportunities given today weren’t available to students back when he attended HHS, formerly called San Benito High School, in 1999.
“My wife Olga and I graduated here. My two kids, Guliana and Ignacio Jr. can’t wait to be a Baler.”
The BenitoLink Internship Program is a paid, skill-building program that prepares local youth for a professional career. This program is supported by Monterey Peninsula Foundation AT&T Golf Tour, United Way, Taylor Farms and the Emma Bowen Foundation.