The youngest of the Bonilla family, Mary Helen Berlanga followed her brothers in the legal profession. Mary Helen graduated from the University of Houston with a B.A. and then from the South Texas College of Law in Houston. Admitted to the Bar in 1975, she began to pursue Social Security and immigration law and continues to today.
Education has always been a laser-focused interest for Mary Helen. She was appointed to the State Board of Education by Governor Mark White in 1984. After her appointment, she was elected to the Board in 1988 and served continually until 2012 completing nearly 30 years of service to the state education board. From 1988 to 1998 she served as the Secretary to the board. Mary Helen also connected to the local schools in creating a scholarship program at Crossley Elementary assisting 5th graders who graduated in 2000 to attend college. She continutes to be a guest speaker on the subject of education at universities and schools throughout Texas. Due to her dedication to the education of the children of Texas, the Corpus Christi Independent School District named one of their newest schools Mary Helen Berlanga Elementary School at the intersection of Carroll Lane and McArdle Rd.
Mary Helen received the Educator of the Year award from the Alpha Delta Kappa honorary teachers sorority. In 1999, the State Board of Education presented her with the Distinguished Service Award. She also received the Dr. Sandra Lanier-Lerma Outstanding Contribution to Literacy Award from the CCISD in 2002. Also presented in 1988, she recieved the Award for Dedication to the Children from the American GI Forum.
Mary Helen Berlanga was married to the late David Berlanga and has four children and two grand-children.
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