Vallejo Regional Education Center Renamed After Longtime Filipino Educator
VALLEJO, Calif. - The Vallejo Regional Education Center was renamed the Vallejo Adult School at Al Berenguer Educational Center on Saturday, April 22, after former Filipino-American teacher Adolph "Al" Gonzales Berenguer.
The name change was granted on Nov. 16, 2022, after the Vallejo City Unified School District (VCUSD) Board of Education approved the school's designation. Saturday’s event was the official unveiling of the new name and signage.
"Al Berenguer was a proud member of the Vallejo community and gave so much of his life to the children and adult learners in our community," VCUSD Superintendent William Spalding said. "Naming a school after a Filipino-American who was so important in the lives of many in our city is a testament to everything Mr. Berenguer was about."
Berenguer moved to the United States from his home country of the Philippines in 1955 to study at San Francisco State University, where he earned his master's degree in counseling and guidance in 1960. After graduation, he started teaching speech at Hillview Junior High in the Pittsburg Unified School District.
In 1964, Berenguer joined Vallejo City Unified School District and began teaching Spanish at Franklin Junior High. He was instrumental in developing the Philippine Language Program at Franklin and a humanities-oriented language curriculum for Vallejo 8th graders.
Later in his professional career, he went from working with middle school children to adults when he joined the faculty at the Vallejo Adult School and taught English as a second language.
He was active in the Vallejo Filipino community when he was not teaching. He was the president of the Filipino Community of Solano County from 1994-95, co-founded the Filipino American Progressive Organization, and was a member of the Filipino-American Catholic Club, Filipino Catholic Society, Friends of Vallejo Public Library, and the Vallejo Beautification Commission, to name a few.
Berenguer passed away on April 8, 2018, at 88. He was survived by his wife, Marie, and had three children–Yvonne, Therese, and Ignatius.
"This is a historic moment for the community, and I can't thank the Board enough for the confidence and for listening to the community," former VCUSD Trustee Dr. Ubalde said at the November 2022 Board of Education meeting. "This is a very proud moment for us (the Filipino community). It is very touching. It is historical, and you (the VCUSD Board of Education) made it possible. So I'm grateful."
The Vallejo Adult School at the Al Berenguer Educational Center has served adult learners since 1928. The school welcomes all adults over 18 to achieve their goals through English as a second language, citizenship, high school diploma, high school equivalency, and career preparation classes. Career classes include union apprenticeship preparation, introduction to commercial culinary, technology for the workplace, and healthcare training. The location is also home to the first wellness center in an adult school in the United States. The center offers free mental health, counseling, and referral services.