The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Honoring the life of Jorge Benitez through ceremonial flag lowering

Chaplain Jason Walker positions himself next to the memorial of student Jorge Benitez at the flag lowering ceremony at the Luria Library on May 1 in Santa Barbara, Calif. “Among the colors that spring from your free and empowered being, I can appreciate the beauty of life, between your short but fast flutter I understand that sometimes what really matters is enjoying every moment. Between your journey of life I have learned to give the maximum to be able to reach my next level. Colorful butterfly fly, I want to see your beauty to sleep in peace,” said Erika Endrijonas reciting Jorge’s last poem.

Friends, family, and members of the City College community gathered for the flag lowering ceremony to celebrate the life of student Jorge Benitez on May 1 in front of the Luria Library on East Campus. Benitez suffered from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), which he was diagnosed with at an early age. He died on October 11, 2023, just one day after his 22nd birthday. With the sun shining down and birds chirping, Benitez’s loved ones shared their most heartfelt memories and interactions with him. 

“I feel a huge sense of loss in our community…an inspiration, and an inspiration to all he touched,” Superintendent-President Erika Endrijonas said.

Endrijonas also presented the Benitez family with an associate degree in Art and Psychology, something he was working towards obtaining during his time at City College. Benitez would often lead meditations before each class, in addition to uploading his own videos to his personal Youtube channel.

“Jorge was a beautiful soul… we learned so much from Jorge… we were his students,” English Professor Melissa Menendez said. “Jorge led our class in meditation  nearly once a week, was a valued member of our community… and felt his absence immediately.” 

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