I would like to thank Gilroy High Principal Bob Bravo for
inviting a group of concerned parents and community members to tour
the campus. Joining us for the tour were faculty members Mario
Gonzalez (social service advisor) and Jose Hernandez. (science
teacher, Latino Club advisor).
I would like to thank Gilroy High Principal Bob Bravo for inviting a group of concerned parents and community members to tour the campus. Joining us for the tour were faculty members Mario Gonzalez (social service advisor) and Jose Hernandez. (science teacher, Latino Club advisor). Also along were City Councilman and Gilroy High Parent Club board member Charlie Morales, Victor Frias, vice president of the Gilroy Eigleberry Neighborhood Association, Patty Pena, a parent who works for South County Housing, Kathleen Gonzales, a businessperson, Joan Spencer, Parks and Recreation Commission and Chris Cote, the Chairman of the Citizen’s Environmental Oversight Committee.
We toured every location and Mr. Bravo pointed out that they have eight security cameras that monitor the school (more coming), two security guards, six to eight yard duty personnel and a Gilroy police officer. GHS staff members Manny Corzo with his bullhorn and Greg Camacho-Light also patrolled the campus. We did see students in their own groups, but I thought back to my high school days and we also had the same groups. We witnessed the yearbook dedication by the gym, and a large group of students were gathered around listening to the announcement.
I asked about how so many students are fed at the same time? We were shown four different locations that students can purchase lunch. I did not see anything that I thought was unsafe except a few couples that I thought were a little too close.
We also were able to drop into a few classes after lunch. No surprises here either. Teachers were instructing and students were seated. Not all students were focused, but none were disruptive.
We finished the tour with a Q&A. One of the most important questions was the “gang fight” at the school.
Mario Gonzalez said he has been on several campuses in different cities and they are all a reflection of the community. Working in the Gilroy community I am already aware of the problems that gangs can create. We asked what they were doing on campus to be pro-active and Mr. Jose Hernandez said they started an indoor soccer league in spring and fall at lunch. It has blossomed into 16 teams of students of all ethnic backgrounds. The teams give themselves names and sponsors buy the T-shirts so students are really into it. Student spectators are charged 25 cents and the crowds are large. More than $500 was raised this year that supports the Latino Club that pays for senior dinners, college tours and other events. We also asked how community organizations and citizens can help.
Mr. Hernandez said they need more funds for other activities to keep students busy during their free time. We promised to get more community members/parents involved as well as bring in local businesses and other organizations for funds and resources. As a parent of a student at Gilroy High I was anticipating this tour as a way to see what goes on at the school. I thought the construction on campus took away some of the charm of a high school environment but realized that when the construction is done it will only enhance the overall appearance and much needed facilities (expanded library, indoor cafeteria).
Did I get all of the answers I was looking for? No. Mr. Bravo did say they have room for improvement both academically and socially and they are trying to address ALL concerns but it takes time that there are no instant cures with all the factors involved. But I walked away with my own perception of what is happening at my son’s high school and the encouragement that with more community support and parents that are willing to work with teachers and teachers willing to work with parents we can accomplish both of our ultimate goals of giving our students the best opportunity to get a good education.
Arthur C. Barron, President, Gilroy High CalSoap Parent Advisory/ Gilroy Eigleberry Neighborhood Association