This article was written by BenitoLink intern Juliana Luna
The name change from San Benito High School to Hollister High School by the Board of Trustees on June 27 has proven to be controversial for some alumni and current students.
On July 1, 20 students protested on the corner of Highway 25 and Sunnyslope Road to show their disapproval of the name change.
“No Name Change!” was said repetitively. Some motorists tried to match the rhythm of the chanting by honking their car horns.
Brianna Phillips was aware of the change last November when the discussion was brought up for the name change.
“I was really upset with it at the beginning and I’m still upset as you can tell,” she said.
The 17-year-old organized the protest.
“Once the ball rolled about they decided to go through with the name change. I and some other people had enough. I decided to form the protest as a way to fight back,” Phillips said.
She hopes this protest gets the San Benito High School District Board of Trustees to respond to the community who disagree with their action.
“San Benito High School all the way. In my opinion, Hollister High sounds like a low-budget movie, pretty much everyone in the community agrees with that,” Phillips said.
Phillips argued some necessities need attention such as constructing gender-neutral bathrooms and providing better food.
Another chant the students used frequently was “$50,000 down the drain.”
“There are other avenues to put this money towards than changing the name when we already have a name,” Phillips said.
Former high school student, Calyx Kaster, returned from Missouri for the summer and protested along with current high schoolers. Kaster said they [Board of Trustees] were wasting the community’s tax money on the change.
Alma Phillips supports her daughter, Brianna, and agrees the name change is absurd.
“They’re doing this behind our backs. The board doesn’t want to hear the people and disregards the community,” she said.
Alma said the change was behind people’s back because the district does not record the meetings and because it was last minute.
However, the BenitoLink has been reporting since February the district was discussing the name change as they plan to build a second high school.
Alma said she attended the June 27 meeting to speak on the name change, which was item 12 on the agenda. When she showed up, she said Superintendent Shawn Tennenbaum greeted her.
“He said no one shows up to the June meeting,” Alma said.
The first item the district considered was the name change, though boards typically go through the agenda in order. She said she suspects it was to get it over with before more people showed up.
At the protest, Ariana Jiminez spoke into a megaphone loud and firm voicing the groups stance against the name change.
Jiminez created an online petition change.org against the new name and it gathered 2,032 signatures as of July 3. According to the website, the petition was created eight months ago.
“Our money is going to be spent on a name change that a majority do not want or need,” Jiminez said
Hollister High School’s instagram post announcing the name change has nearly 300 comments with the majority against the decision.
Jiminez encourages true community leaders to represent the people fairly.
“If you’re a true leader you’ll listen,” she said.
“We will continue to make our voices heard, keep what we’re doing, and most important of all keep San Benito High School,” Jiminez said.
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