This article was written by BenitoLink reporter intern Corissa King.
Former student congress president and California Association of Students Councils (CASC) Region 6 President Heidi Andrade was awarded the Outstanding Leadership Award during San Benito High School’s LGBTQ flag raising event on June 7.
Andrade, part of a group of students that organized the flag raising that included SBHS alum and Gay-Straight Alliance President Aislinn Barnes, and SBHS students Frida Barba and Bre Rosas.
SBHS Superintendent Shawn Tennenbaum and his secretary Carol Heiderich presented the award to Andrade.
Tennenbaum said, “Heidi did an outstanding job not just in her role but in representing our students and now representing CASC as the Region 6 President.”
The students spoke about their experiences with BenitoLink.
Barnes said, “Even though I’ve been out since I was 14 alot of people do not immediatley see me and think that I’m gay. I feel like I have been very lucky to not be a victim to homophobic comments.”
Asked what it is like to be in the LGBTQ+ community on campus, Barba said, “It’s not the worst experience but it’s not the best experience. As I’ve noticed over time you kind of do feel like an outsider. It does take time especially in a small town like this. It takes patience and trust to find your place.”
Rosas said, “I have faced a lot of prejudice and slurs being yelled at me and I was almost jumped. At the beginning it was very hard to get help with these issues but now with the new inclusion task force, we are hoping to change that.”
Asked how she has overcome these issues, Rosas said, “I wouldn’t say I overcame them but I grew and moved on from it. I took a little bit of experience out of everything that occurred with trying to keep myself safe and letting others know about it so they can be safe too.”
The LGBTQ Pride flag was raised in front of the San Benito High School main office with about 20 people attending in support of students and community members. Attendees and speakers also included San Benito High School Principal Adrian Ramirez and Hollister Mayor Ignacio Velazquez.
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