Hollister High School student Gabriel Mendez, who came up with the idea to translate the school’s Instagram page into Spanish, spoke at a recent State of the District event in his role as Hollister High School’s Commissioner of Clubs.
Student helps launch Spanish-language Instagram account
‘Baler Noticias’ will reach Spanish-speaking students and families
January 30, 2023
The San Benito High School District prides itself on communication. Through weekly newsletters, parent e-mails, social media accounts and a website, the district ensures a constant flow of information to students, staff, parents and the community about its two schools.
But Hollister High School student Gabriel Mendez noticed that not all of these messages were reaching their audience.
“Ever since I’ve been in high school, I’ve noticed there’s an immense amount of information put out,” said Gabriel, a junior. “This past summer, I realized we could do a little bit better job putting out information in Spanish, such as class schedules or other news that could reach ELD [English Language Development] students and the Spanish-speaking community as a whole.”

Gabriel approached district Communications Officer Adam Breen with an idea: create an Instagram account that mirrors the content posted and shared through the popular Baler News Instagram feed.
The “Baler Noticias” (@baler_noticias) account debuted in October and has shared translated content on college fairs, sports scores, fundraisers, yearbook sales, extracurricular activities and more.
The Instagram account is helping to expand the reach of the school’s messaging to Spanish-speaking students and families, which make up nearly three-quarters of the campus and community.
“I am so impressed with Gabriel’s vision, foresight and caring perspective,” said San Benito High School District Superintendent Shawn Tennenbaum, in a newsletter to families that highlighted Gabriel’s accomplishment. “He is a shining example of the power of student voice and a reminder that every day is a great day to be a Baler!”
A positive influence
Gabriel is also founder of the Radiate Positivity club, which “is run by leaders who focus on creating, nurturing and sustaining an inclusive culture where our differences influence innovative solutions,” Gabriel said. “In that club, we focus on ways to make the school a better place. We thought Baler Noticias would serve the Spanish-speaking community by helping them get more information about the school.”
Gabriel met with Breen to discuss and coordinate the launch of the social media page, and he continues to work with a board of advisors who give the club support and offer guidance, including Intervention Counselor Samantha Rivas, AVID teacher Charlene Hernandez, and English Language Case Managers Wendy Ortiz and Natalie Delgado.
Baler Noticias works like this: Every post on Baler News, whether it is a flier or a photo with caption, is translated into Spanish to provide that information to followers, which currently number around 150.
“Communication is very important to have us thrive as a community,” Gabriel said. “We have to make sure we’re all working together. That’s the way to get things done, build new things.”
“Communication is very important to have us thrive as a community. We have to make sure we’re all working together.”
— Gabriel Mendez, Student at Hollister High School who came up with the idea to translate the school’s Instagram account to Spanish
Just the beginning
“A single, Spanish-language account is helpful, but is nowhere near the end of our efforts to expand our outreach to our community. We are working to expand our translation capabilities and ensure that our Spanish-speaking families are as well-informed about what’s going on at Hollister High School as anyone else,” said Tennenbaum, who noted that one of the Board of Trustees’ goals this year is “clear and consistent communication with stakeholders.”
The district has also been in touch with local Spanish radio stations to discuss an informational campaign that will share information about school attendance, the National School Lunch Program, and much more.
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