Benicia High School Panther Post

April 2021

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In this month's Newsletter:

  • BHS Reopening Information
  • Calendar of Events
  • Class of 2021 Graduation Update
  • Panther Passport Week
  • Friday Night Live Club - Campaign Against Drunk Driving
  • Sources of Strength Video: You Need to Know the Signs to Read Them
  • BHS Debate Team - The Story of Our Year
  • PSAT10 - Free opportunity available for 10th grade students
  • Free Math Tutoring
  • Athletics Update
  • Cheer Tryouts for 2021-2022 Team
  • Yearbook Information - We are Close to Selling Out!
  • Wellness Center with Student & Parent Resources
  • Save the Date: 3 R's Curriculum Parent Info Session
  • PTSA Membership & Information
  • Links to BHS Library, Panther TV & The Paw online Newspaper
  • Links to Tech Support
  • Work Permit Information
  • April Breakfast & Lunch Menus - Information to Sign up for Free Meals
Link to BHS Hybrid Reopening Information

Benicia High School will reopen in our Hybrid Model on Monday, April 12th. Students returning in person MUST have a completed consent form (online form) before they return. Please email with questions or needed assistance.

Remember the 3 W's: Wear a mask, Wash your hands, & Watch your distance

Benicia High School Hybrid Video 2021
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Upcoming Events at Benicia High School

  • Friday, April 2nd: Holiday - No School
  • April 2nd - April 11th: Spring Break
  • Friday, April 9th: Optional Orientations/Tours for Students Returning In Person (see email)
  • Monday, April 12th: School Reopens - Hybrid Model with students learning in person and virtually from home
  • Tuesday, April 13th: School Site Council Meeting at 3:30pm (via Zoom)
  • Wednesday, April 14th: PTSA Board Meeting at 6:00pm (via Zoom)
  • Friday, April 16th: Parent Survey Closes - Site Council's Annual Survey (see email)
  • Friday, April 16th: ASVAB Test for Students - Register with
  • Friday, April 16th: Class of 20221 Cap & Gown Distribution (Drive-Thru), 3:00-4:00pm
  • Friday, April 16th: Progress Report - reminder to check grades & attendance
  • April 19th - April 23rd: Panther Passport Week (see info below)
  • Tuesday, April 20th: 3R's Curriculum Parent Info Night (via Zoom - see info below)
  • Tuesday, April 27th: Special Education Focus, Sexuality for All Abilities Parent Info Night (via Zoom - see info below)
  • April 28th - April 30th: PSAT10 testing for 10th grade students (see info below)
  • Friday, May 31st: Holiday - No School
  • Friday, June 4th: Last Day of School & End of Second Semester Courses
  • Saturday, June 5th: Class of 2021 Graduation

Class of 2021 Graduation Update

On March 1st we notified the Benicia High School Class of 2021 students and families that we would provide our graduation plan on March 31st and that the decisions regarding graduation would be based on the state and county guidelines at that time to allow for proper planning. Working in concert with the Superintendent’s office and Cabinet, and following all state guidelines regarding large group gatherings, we are planning for an in-person graduation ceremony. This information was sent directly to the Seniors and families, but we want to share it with our school community as well.

Solano County is currently in the Red Tier with gatherings being restricted. As a result, we will have a modified in-person graduation ceremony on Saturday, June 5th for the Class of 2021 and will live stream the event for friends and family to watch from any location. The elements of the ceremony and number of guests will be determined by the Solano County Tier as follows:

  • If we are in the Red Tier as of May 24th: We will hold two graduation ceremonies on June 5th, one at 10:00am for students with last names A-L and one at 2:00pm for students with last names M-Z. Two tickets per graduate will be allowed.

  • If we are in the Orange Tier as of May 24th: One graduation ceremony at 11:00am for the Class of 2021 with two tickets per graduate allowed.

  • If we are in the Yellow Tier as of May 24th: One graduation ceremony at 11:00am for the Class of 2021 with four tickets per graduate allowed.

We are optimistic that we will continue to see Solano County COVID19 rates decrease and move into the Orange or Yellow Tier by June. We encourage all of our students and families to practice safety measures in our community to help us meet this goal. Our tiered plan and ticket numbers are based on the capacity allowed for outdoor gatherings per the latest California Department of Public Health Guidelines on Planning Commencement Ceremonies and the capacity of our stadium seating.

We will continue to provide more information to the Seniors in the coming weeks as we prepare for graduation. We look forward to celebrating the Class of 2021!

Panther Passport Week - Celebrating Diversity!

Our BHS Student Leadership is proud to present their 4th annual Panther Passport Week taking place the week of April 19th - 23rd. For the entire week, students will be introduced to five cultures through a virtual tour and cultural cuisine (shared recipe). Students will receive an email on Friday, April 16th with info and links to the virtual tours and recipes for the week. Encourage your student to check their school email for this information and to participate!

There are not enough days in the week to properly celebrate every culture from around the world, but the five countries listed below are the ones that will be highlighting this year:

  • Monday: France
  • Tuesday: Peru
  • Wednesday: China
  • Thursday: Morocco
  • Friday: India

Friday Night Live Club's Campaign against Drunk Driving

Students in the BHS Friday Night Live club have been working on creating flyers to promote drunk-driving prevention. They created these flyers to fulfill a requirement for the California Office of Traffic Safety's “Positive Social Norms” grant that they are pursuing. We wish them luck & appreciate their great work!

For more information, or to join the Friday Night Live Club, email club advisor Mr. Dean Gor at

SOS Video: You Need to Know the Signs to Read Them

Check out our Sources of Strength video for the Directing Change program/contest below. Students on the project were Max Shannon-Burgess, Maylea Bernabe, Felicia O'Haver and Ella Beatson with help from the Kyle Hyland Foundation. Great job, Panthers!
You Need to Know the Signs to Read Them - SOS Video

BHS Debate Team - The Story of Our Year

The Team the Pandemic Could Not Shut Down

Timothy Knox had a dream. He wanted to start a school debate team -- a bold idea, given that he was just a student at the time. He tried to sell classmates and teachers on his vision, but building a debate team is no small task. Competitive debate is a rigorous academic endeavor, time-consuming and mentally demanding, and competing in the Bay Area means taking on the brightest students at the very best schools anywhere. In his senior year, the school, recognizing a need but unaware of his efforts, began offering a new elective -- a Speech and Debate class. While it was not teacher Michele Gaines’ dream to start a team, she underestimated the power of dreamers like Timmy, as he is known. By the time Timmy was a college freshman, Benicia High officially had its own team, with Timmy as one of its coaches.

The distinguishing feature of this team has been, from the beginning, an uncanny tenacity to succeed. Meeting in homes and pizza parlors and after school in G-4, the team won trophies in its first competition and in each succeeding event, distinguishing itself early in one of the state’s most accomplished leagues, the Golden Gate Speech Association, a Bay Area group of public and private schools that regularly performs well at the state and national level. Timmy was always involved, even when he went off to Sacramento State. Mrs. Gaines’ husband, John, a retired journalist, helped out with the coaching to make sure the team did not disband.

This year, while the campus and much of the world shut down, the team, small and young, persisted. This time their coach was Benicia alumna Tristan Keene, who as a student proved herself one of the school’s most successful debaters ever. (She’s currently a star on the Diablo Valley College debate team, one of the best community college squads in the country and one that has fared well against prestigious four-year schools.)

The Benicia team’s competitions were virtual but no less demanding than when students attended in person. Timmy continued on as coach emeritus, and team captains Juhi Yadav and Emma Hill led meetings online. The work has paid off. Team members brought home trophies from all three GGSA tournaments, and four of this year’s best debaters won rounds in the highly competitive State Qualifiers.

Here are the members of the team the Pandemic could not shut down:

Sam Miller, Blue Hanson, Eric Heath, Ella Albrecht, Gabriell Weaver, Juhi Yadav, Emma Hill, Stephen Stukas, Spencer Owen, Daniel Zhang, Arman Bance, Conner Bush, Nolan Page, Teague Cotsifas, Rohan Jadav, Rebecca Ward, Emily Hall, Brianna Biniak and Makena Mojas.


In addition, two of our BHS Debate Team alumni who are now on the Diablo Valley College Debate Team, Tristan Keene and Braden Begbie, won individual and team awards this year, including the State Championship, for the first time in 45 years! (Read More)

We're so proud and we look forward to hearing both Tristan and Braden speak to the Speech and Debate Class after the break.

If you are a student interested in joining the Debate Team or taking the Speech & Debate Class, please email Ms. Gaines or your counselor.


Photo 1: Left to right: Juhi Yadav, Timothy Knox and Tristan Keene at GGSA State Qualifiers, March 2020 - a week before the shutdown. Juhi and Tristan, representing Benicia High, came in second overall and were headed to state finals when they were canceled. A remarkable feat for members of our young team.

Photo 2: Top row, left to right: Ella Albrecht, Gabrielle Weaver, Juhi Yadav and Emma Hill at GGSA State Qualifiers, March 2021. Both teams won rounds in the high-competitive tournament, representing the best teams in Northern California.

Photo 3: Left to right: Teammates Nolan Page and Spencer Owen earned trophies for "Winning Record" in two of the three GGSA tournaments

Photo 4: Gabrielle Weaver (pictured) and her teammate, Ella Albrecht, were undefeated in GGSA Tournament No. 2

Photo 5: Ella Albrecht with an "Undefeated" trophy

Photo 6: Conner Bush (pictured) along with teammate Rohan Jadhav, were undefeated in their third GGSA tournament

PSAT10 - Free Practice Opportunity for 10th grade Students

Link to Register for PSAT10

The PSAT 10 is a practice SAT exam for 10th grade students only. Tests will take place at school, during the school day, on Wednesday April 28th for in person Blue Group students, on Thursday April 29th for in person Gold Group students, and on Friday April 30th for virtual students. More information will be sent directly to the students and parents to confirm registration and plan for your testing date.

Please note, space is limited to 200 students. If we receive more than 200 registrations, we will accommodate students in the order that they registered.

Reasons to Take the PSAT10:

  • It identifies their academic strengths and weaknesses early in high school, when there's plenty of time to improve before college.
  • It lets them know which Advanced Placement (AP) courses they're most likely to do well in.
  • It's a great way to practice for the PSAT/NMSQT in 11th grade, which qualifies them for the National Merit Scholarship Program and a chance to win recognition and money for college.
  • It's a great way to practice for the SAT.
  • Students can use their PSAT 10 score to get a free, personalized SAT practice plan through Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy®.

For more information about the PSAT10, please visit the College Board website (linked here). If you have any questions, please contact the Counseling Office at (707) 747-8334 or email

The PSAT10 is sponsored and paid for by the Benicia Education Foundation - there is no charge to students or their families.

Update for BHS Athletics

We are very excited to see our student-athletes practicing and preparing for competition once again. We are committed to all safety guidelines and recommendations from the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Solano County Department of Public Health, and Benicia Unified School District. This means that we need every student-athlete to follow the new rules and be as safe as possible while at practice and elsewhere. Please check the BHS Athletics Webpage regularly as we will continue to update information there.


Benicia High School and the Diablo Athletic League will begin indoor sports upon our return from Spring Break, starting on April 12th.

Indoor sports include: girls and boys basketball, girls and boys volleyball, and girls and boys wrestling. We will offer both junior varsity and varsity teams. Any students planning to try out or participate in these sports MUST complete the online registration and submit a physical form: LINK TO ATHLETE REGISTRATION

We will not have a badminton team this year as no other schools in our league will be competing in this sport. We will restart badminton next school year.

Basketball and Volleyball: Tryouts will start on Monday, April 12th with the schedule below. Games will begin on April 28th and be played on Wednesdays and Thursdays. COVID19 testing is required for all indoor athletes prior to competition and will be coordinated by Benicia Unified School District at no cost.

  • Girls Volleyball Tryouts on Monday 4/12 - BHS Gym from 3:30-5:00pm
  • Boys Volleyball Tryouts on Monday 4/12 - BHS Gym from 5:00-6:30pm
  • Girls Basketball Tryouts on Monday 4/12 - BHS MP Gym from 6:00-7:30pm
  • Boys Basketball Tryouts on Monday 4/12 - BHS Gym from 7:30-9:00pm

All athletes must come dressed and ready to participate. You must wear a facemask at all times, even during heavy exertion/running. Bring your own water bottle and any other needed supplies. Locker rooms will not be available for student-athletes to change.

Wrestling: The Diablo Athletic League is working to finalize the competition format and schedule for this year to meet the CDPH and CIF guidelines. Once we have that finalized, we will provide information about when and where practices will be held. We anticipate wrestling will be modified this year to meet safety requirements.

Please note - we anticipate that spectators will NOT be allowed for indoor sports, including parents or other family members. Should this change, we will update everyone accordingly.

If you have any questions, please contact our Athletic Director, Craig Holden, at

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Wellness Center & Drop In Hours every Friday from 11-Noon


TheBUSD Virtual Wellness Center is now available online 24 hours a day to access tools to manage emotions, resources for seeking assistance, and ways to connect with staff at BHS and other Benicia schools. This support is for students, families, staff, and the community of Benicia.

Link to Drop In Hours Zoom Meeting for live services every Friday

Meeting ID: 778 0448 3501

Passcode: Ehd3WL

Benicia High School SEL Group

Day: Thursdays @ 11:30am

Link: Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 959 3091 7776

Join our Solano County Office of Education Clinical team for weekly Benicia High School workshops. Each week’s workshop is different and driven by students’ interest. Students can talk about issues that are important to them and impact them or their loved ones. This is a space for students to be heard and gain tools to navigate challenges and/or expand their perspectives.

Also found under the RESOURCES: STUDENT tab in the Virtual Wellness Center and the Parent Wellness Padlet.

Free WebTalk Series on Mental Health Awareness Topics

Starting Thursday, March 4, 2021

In partnership with Mental Health California, the Sacramento County COVID-19 Collaborative (Sac Collab), a community-based model addressing county-wide impacts of the pandemic, provides mental health support via direct therapy, webinars, clinical webtalks, and virtual enrichment activities.

The webtalks are being presented as a "series" of events. You only need to register once to join their full line-up of clinical webtalks presented in partnership with Please note: audience video and audio will be muted during each presentation, so attend and relax! If you have questions or comments, the chat feature will be available. You are welcomed and encouraged to invite friends and family, and to enjoy dinner while attending.

All webtalks are from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

There are 13 webtalks on various dates and on various topics!

Click Here to Register on Zoom

CLICK HERE for Parent Resources

Helping Your Children Engage in Distance Learning in Healthy and Productive Ways - a gathering of resources geared towards supporting parents in their efforts to support their children.

Social-Emotional Learning: Parent Workshops

Parents are invited to join us for monthly virtual workshops focused on supporting your child/children at home and yourself. All sessions will be hosted by the Benicia Unified School District Student Services Office and will be held via Zoom, no RSVP required.


Questions? Contact Jessica Garcia, BUSD Mental Health Coordinator at or (707) 704-7900

Thank you to PTG and PTSA groups for collaboration!

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Save the Date: 3 R's Curriculum Parent Info Session

Benicia Unified School District is pleased to offer an opportunity for parents and caregivers to support their children’s sexual health education and development and to understand the sexual health education curriculum being offered this year.

We have two upcoming nights scheduled, one reviewing the 3R’s (Rights, Respect, and Responsibility) curriculum and one night with a lens focused on our students who have IEP’s and may receive support with instruction through our “Sexuality for All” curriculum.

*These sessions will take place via Zoom. Information with the Zoom link will be shared after break.

Parent Information Session:

3R’s (Rights Respect, and Responsibility) - April 20 6:00-7:30 pm

Heidi Winig, of Cardea Services, will join us over Zoom on April 20. She will share:

  • An overview of the state requirements as defined in the CA Healthy Youth Act
  • A glance into lessons offered in the 3Rs
  • An opportunity to get your questions answered from a 3Rs trainer
  • Basic tips for answering your child’s questions at home
  • Reliable resources for further learning for yourself and your child

Parent Information Session: High School (Special Education Focused) Sexuality For All Abilities - April 27 6:00-7:30 pm

Supporting Sexual Health for All Abilities

Katie Thune, founder of Mad Hatter Wellness and author of Sexuality for All Abilities will join us over Zoom on April 27th with Kim Rossow, Parent/Caregiver Education Specialist. They will share about the SFAA curriculum that our teachers are using to discuss healthy relationships, boundaries and safety. You'll learn about resources and gain confidence in having conversations on topics involving healthy relationships, boundaries, growing up and more. Come with questions. Rest assured, Katie and Kim are great at putting audiences at ease.
PTSA Membership: Parents-Students-Staff Join Today!

Interested in learning more about our PTSA or attending a meeting? We have a great time working together to support our school and our students - Join us! For more information or the link to our next Zoom meeting, email

Support PTSA all Year with Amazon Smile

Shopping on Amazon? Be sure to use Amazon Smile and select "Benicia High PTSA" as the charitable organization of your choice. A small percentage of your purchase will benefit Benicia High School thanks to the PTSA's projects, scholarships, and grants.

Amazon Smile is now available on the Amazon app also!

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BUSD Libraries Newsletter

Check out information and access resources from our school's libraries, including seasonal/celebratory specials. This month we are celebrating poetry! (BHS resources are at the bottom of the newsletter - scroll down and check them out)

The Paw - Benicia High School's Student Newspaper

Stay in the know with our online newspaper; including student articles about school news, arts & entertainment, sports, opinion pieces, politics and more. You can also access Panther TV, with weekly episodes on all that's happening at Benicia High!

Tech Support During Virtual Learning

Having trouble with your Chromebook or accessing class resources? Benicia Unified School District offers a Live Tech Support from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm. You can access this live support from the Technology Department web page on the BUSD website: and find the chat icon on the bottom right of the screen.

Student Work Permit Information

For students seeking a work permit for after school or weekend employment, Ms. Gladi in the College & Career Center is available to assist you. To start the work permit process, the student must work with their potential employer to first fill out the “Intent to Employ a Minor and Request for Work Permit.” The student can then email the document to Ms. Gladi at for review and completion.

Link to Work Permit Document

BUSD Adult Ed Brochure

Great opportunities available in the new brochure for Benicia Unified School District Adult Education programs.

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Free Meals for Students - Sign Up Today

Congress has approved a waiver for free meals for all children under 18 for this school year, including breakfast and lunch. Families must sign up to take advantage of the free meals. CLICK HERE for more information.

Please begin by filling out the initial participation form LINKED HERE if you have not already done so. There are three ways to pick up meals for students:

  1. Daily Meal Pickup: You may pick-up meals every day Monday-Friday at any of the school sites. Your child will receive lunch for that day and breakfast for the next morning.
  2. Early Meal Pickup: You may pick up meals early in the morning at Benicia High School at 7:00AM-9:00AM. If you are interested in the early meal pick-up, please SIGN UP USING THIS FORM and pick a pick-up time that is convenient for you. Please note that these meals will have to be reheated/prepared at home. We will provide heating/preparation instructions with those meals.
  3. Multi-Day Meal Packages: Starting Monday September 14th, multi-day meal packages will be available for pick up at Benicia High School on Mondays and Wednesdays. For Mondays, we will provide a two day supply of meals (Meals for Monday & Tuesday). For Wednesdays, we will provide a three-day supply of meals (Meals for Thursday, Friday, & Monday). These meals will be available to pick-up early in the morning and in the afternoon. Early Service Window: 7:00, 7:30, 8:00, 8:30, & 9:00. Midday Service Window: 11:00, 11:30, 12:00, & 1:00. To pick-up these meal packages, you would need to sign up at the link below.

Have questions? Please contact Food & Nutrition Services Director Tania Courtney at (707) 748-2758 or email her at You can also visit the BUSD Food & Nutrition Services website.

We are now distributing meals for the weekends and Holidays. Please call us to sign up!

707- 748 2758


Get school updates via the Remind system: text @beniciah to 81010

BHS Vision Statement

Benicia High School will inspire learning with integrity in order to find personal success in an ever-changing world.

District programs, activities, and practices shall be free from unlawful discrimination, including discrimination against an individual or group based on race, color, ancestry, nationality, national origin, immigration status, ethnic group identification, ethnicity, age, religion, marital status, pregnancy, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or related recovery, parental status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or genetic information; a perception of one or more of such characteristics; or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.

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