Brawley Union High School receives special award

Hon. Judith McConnell presents Civic Learning Award of Distinction to Jose Flores


BRAWLEY – Brawley Union High School received a special award Monday from Hon. Judith McConnell, founder of the award.

Many local dignitaries were in attendance at the BUHS presentation in the new gym, including special representatives from the offices of US Representative Jean Vargas, State Assembly Member Manuel Perez, and State Senator Ben Hueso.

The Civic Learning Award of Distinction is the first of its kind to be given to a school.

BUHS was one of 22 schools considered for the award. Most of the schools were in larger school districts, with Brawley being the smallest.

The award signifies the efforts of the school to instill the importance of civic activities in the community to the students and make these come to life for the students by engaging them in field trips to city councils and courts.

Jose Flores, civics and US history teacher at BUHS, was honored for his efforts in bringing civics to life for his students.

As the Honorable Judith McConnell , Presiding Justice of the Fourth District, Division One of the California Courts of Appeal,  toured the poster boards made by the 11th and 12th grade students of Jose Flores, she listened intently as nervous, but knowledgeable students explained their topic which ranged from the Bill of Rights to all aspects of American history and governmental issues.


Esmeralda Morales explains their project to Justice McConnell
Esmeralda Morales explains their project to Justice McConnell

On one board she stopped to engage Julio Ibarra 17, Esmeralda Morales, 16, and Berenice Flores, 17, all juniors. They had finished explaining the significance of the research performed by the educational psychologists Kenneth B. Clark and Mamie Phipps Clark. The Clarks’ “doll test” studies presented substantial arguments to the Supreme Court about how segregation had an impact on black schoolchildren’s mental status during the Brown vs. The Board of Education trial.

McConnell explained some deep court facts behind the famous decision, how this case came up twice before the Supreme Court. “The Supreme Court majority wanted a unanimous decision, knowing the importance of this case and the need to send a united message to the country. The then Chief Justice was a stumbling block and was with the minority. When President Eisenhower appointed Earl Warren Chief Justice, this brought a change to the court, the case was brought forward again, and they voted 9-0, a vote that desegregation in public schools was illegal.”

Hon. Judith McConnell presented the plaque to teacher Jose Flores.

She said, “We hear about the weakness in the California educational system concerning government, but we knew there were also classes of excellence. We wanted to find them and honor them for the work that they do.”

“We looked at how long the program had been going on and how much participation were the students involved in, plus other factors. This program stood out, because it appeals to a broad community, it has a lot of participation, a very high rate of participation among the students, and obviously they have learned a lot.”

This is probably the smallest school that received the award, all the rest were from large urban areas. This school is very impressive. Your students earned this,” said John Larson, Administrative Offices of the Courts.


  1. I am so impressed and proud if BUHS, when I toured the school last October as part of our Class of 1962 50th reunion activities I was amazed at the changes on campus as well as academically. This small town school can surely stand with the big schools in what they offer their student and what those students master. Hats off to you and congratulations Brawley Union High School, you deserve this honor.

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