Monthly Archives: August 2021

News/Op-Ed: Pfizer First Again, Vaccine Approved by the Food and Drug Administration Ahead of Bosco’s Vaccination Drive

by Andrew Fierro, Managing Editor

As the COVID-19 Delta variant continues to surge, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine became FDA approved, which in turn has led to a rise in vaccinations as there is less hesitancy amongst the citizens.

Photo by Getty Images

On December 11th 2020, the Pfizer vaccine was authorized under “Emergency Use Authorization” (EUA) for individuals of the age 16 or older. Since this time, many people in the United States have chosen to get vaccinated, though a large number of people have waited as they are hesitant due to the absence of an FDA approval. However, this all changed on August 23rd, as the FDA have now fully approved the use of the vaccine.

The vaccine will now be advertised as Comirnaty, which is now the new full name of the vaccine. This comes from an agglomeration of the words “COVID-19 immunity.”

With the Delta variant becoming more and more prominent in the country, the FDA approval could not have come at a better time, as people who were hesitant are now feeling a lot more confident in the vaccine. Since the approval, the vaccination numbers have increased with more and more people continuing to become vaccinated everyday.

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey taken in June, a third of unvaccinated people said that they would be much more likely to receive the vaccination if it was FDA approved. With more people becoming vaccinated, the chances of a return normalcy in the U.S. are at an all-time high.

Since the approval of the vaccine, numbers for the vaccine have improved significantly, and many attribute that to the FDA approval. The amount of people receiving the vaccine per day has increased from 260,000 to 450,000 in the last month.

This increase in vaccinations comes at a dire time, as the Delta variant continues to surge, with vaccinations being the best way to defend against it. With these vaccinations, the amount of symptoms contracted by COVID-19 are significantly less and weakened, vastly outweighing any health risk for the average person.

Alongside the FDA approval, there has been continued support from many health officials and even political officials, including both former-President Trump and current-President Joe Biden, who were two of the first people to receive the vaccine publicly.

The vaccine is also available to children from ages twelve to 15 under EUA which has helped slow the spread of the virus immensely. With schools starting to re-open, safety is of utmost importance and having these children vaccinated makes it so the schools will not only be able to re-open but stay open.

If you are located in the Bellflower area, some local places that you can safely acquire the Pfizer vaccine are, Walgreens Co. 15740 Woodruff Ave, Bellflower, CA 90706-4018, Rite Aid 15924 Bellflower Boulevard, Bellflower, CA 90706-4602 and CVS Pharmacy, Inc. 11011 Alondra Boulevard, Norwalk, CA 90650. 

St. John Bosco High School will be also be providing both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for all students who are interested and have parental permission from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM in the gym this evening.

Life of A Brave: 21 Questions With First-Year Teacher And Bosco Alum Mr. Ruben Solorza

by Eric Torres, Editor-in-Chief

St. John Bosco welcomes back alumnus Mr. Ruben Solorza, a 2012 CIF Champion in cross country and member of the class of 2013.

Q. Where are you from, and what schools did you go to for elementary/middle school?

A. I am from Whittier, California. I attended St. Bruno’s Elementary, in Whittier, from Kindergarten all the way to 8th grade. 

Q. Did you play any sports or do any extracurriculars in high school?

A. I tried out wrestling for one season (yikes), and then ran cross country and track for three years after that. I occasionally helped out with The Brave newspaper as well.

Q. What are some things you wish you could have done differently in high school, and why?

A. I wish I would have developed better study habits early on. This would have helped me perform better as well, but I guess that’s all part of growing up. 

Q. What was your favorite memory of high school?

A. My favorite high school memory was winning the 2012 State Championship for Cross Country with my team. It was an amazing experience.

Q. Are you currently involved in any clubs or sports here at St. John Bosco, and if so, which ones and why?

A. I am the assistant coach for Cross Country and track. I’m also looking forward to helping out in the garden (shoutout to Mr. Corkhill).

Q. Where did you go to college, when did you graduate, and what was your major?

A. I went to Whittier College and was a double major in Environmental Science and Psychology. I graduated in 2017.

Q. What was your favorite memory of college?

A. My favorite college memory was getting to compete at the national level for NCAA in cross country. I enjoyed traveling with the team to different cities. Also, studying abroad in Denmark with great people was a lot of fun.

Q. Were you involved in any organizations in college, and if so, what?

A. Aside from cross country and track I was a part of the sustainability club and the culture center. In the cultural center, we put on a lot of events for different cultures. The food was great too.

Q. What brought you back to St. John Bosco and what excites you the most about teaching here?

A. This place is a second home to me, and everyone here is like my family. Of course, there are rough days, but I always leave this place each day feeling good about myself and the day. I love that I get to teach what I am passionate about and feel very thankful for this opportunity. It is the perfect place for me to learn and improve in my teaching career.

Q. What subject do you teach, where have you taught before St. John Bosco, and how long have you been teaching?

A. I teach Environmental Science as well as the AP course. Before Bosco, I taught two years at the elementary level in the Los Angeles Unified School District. I have gone from helping kindergarten kids open milk cartons to well… still helping kids open milk cartons here at Bosco.

Q. Why teach environmental science, and how did you discover that this is what you wanted to do?

A. I love that it can be very hands on and engaging with fun labs and visuals. I also find it very relevant to our everyday lives. Growing up, my family loved the outdoors and we were always exploring the country. I have to thank my family for planting the seeds of interest there.

Q. What is your favorite part of being both a coach and a teacher, and why?

A. I love that I can really get to know the student body as a whole now. I feel I am a full member of this community again, and it’s exciting. I am still adjusting to being called “Mr. Solorza.” That will take some time.

Q. Do you enjoy traveling, and what is your favorite place that you have traveled to?

A. Absolutely! I am always always planning something. It is hard to say, but when I went to Hawaii for school in college, it was an amazing experience. We got to visit many great landmarks and stayed in a five-star hotel one night, which I will never forget. It also started my coffee addiction when we visited a coffee plantation.

Q. Where is one place you’ve never been to but want to go to, and why?

A. I have to pick two: Germany for the Berlin Marathon and for the history of the country, and Switzerland for the Alps! I have always wanted to go down one of those sleds on the mountains; it looks fun.

Q. What are some of your hobbies, and why do you enjoy doing them?

A. I love fishing and camping. I have been going with my family since I was very little. I also enjoy playing pickup sports games. I am always down for competition and often meetup with my alumni group for sports days.

Q. Do you enjoy sports, and if so, what are your favorite sports and sports teams?

A. I watch them all, but my favorite sports teams are the Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Eagles, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Lakers, USA men’s soccer and Bayern Munich. I also enjoy playing fantasy football.

Q. What types of music do you like, and who are some of your favorite music artists or bands?

A. I listen to a lot of different types thanks to my parents. Favorites would be The Beatles, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Queen, Blink-182 and Sam Cooke. Basically, if you tell me to listen to something I am going to check it out and most likely enjoy it.

Q. What is your favorite food or restaurant?

A. I like anything barbecue. Also, my favorite post race meal was a classic burger, fries, and coke.

Q. What is your favorite holiday and why?

A. My favorite holiday is Christmas. I love when everything is decorated and Christmas music. I definitely will be decorating my classroom when the holidays come around.

Q. Do you have any pets, and if not, what pet would you like to have?

A. I have a dog and a turtle. The turtle just goes about his business every day and eats. However, I have always wanted a chameleon.

Q. What are your favorite movies and TV shows?

A. My favorite shows are The Office, Ted Lasso and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. My favorite movies are The Dark Knight, The Other Guys and Rudy.

Sports: The Braves Are Back With A Dominant Win Over Nationally Ranked Miami Central

by Aeden Alexander, Sports Editor

In an East versus West coast battle, St. John Bosco cruised to an easy victory over Miami Central in a match-up of nationally ranked powers, winning 35-12.

Friday night lights are back in Bellflower, as this was Bosco’s first full capacity football game since the pandemic began. The atmosphere in Panish Family Stadium was at an all time high.

Not only did these two highly ranked teams match up, but both are big name high school football programs for Nike. Both teams are coming off successful seasons for their programs, as they both seek to continue making headlines. This is especially the case for the Braves, who are yet again a favorite to win the National Title.

To start the game captains from both teams met at the center of the field for the coin flip. Bosco started with an edge over their opponent, as they won the toss and chose to kickoff.

Right away the Braves showed how prepared they were by forcing a fumble off the kickoff, which they recovered around twenty yards away from the end zone. Starting quarterback for the game, junior Pierce Clarkson, quickly figured out Miami’s defensive plan and started off the drive by running the ball straight into the end zone for senior Jabari Bates’ first touchdown of the game. 

With an early lead, Miami Central’s offense came out looking to answer back with a score of their own. Although Bosco’s defense was too fast, too powerful and immediately showed Central that this game wasn’t going to be easy, forcing them to go three and out. Michigan State-commit senior Katin Houser came out the next drive at quarterback, looking to keep the ball rolling with another touchdown of his own.

The Braves continued to do what worked well the first time – play bully ball in the run game – leading to another Jabari Bates rushing touchdown. 

Central’s offense came back on the field and looked to just get something started on that side of the ball. But with the same result as the first drive, the Braves’ defense continued to show just how dominant they are, quickly forcing Central into another punt..

Pierce returned at quarterback, and the Braves started opening the playbook up through the air. Bosco’s offensive line did a stellar job the entire drive, quickly moving the team to the endzone where Pierce connected with Jahlil McClain for his first receiving touchdown of the game. The Braves jumped out to a 21-0 lead in just the first six minutes.

With it still being early in the game, it was far from over, but Central needed to make adjustment before things got ugly. Their next drive, things started to click. They started moving the ball around the field a bit better and picking up some first downs. However, too often, Central was still forced to punt, due to the Braves’ powerhouse of a defense.

The playing field leveled out a tad as the game wore on, but not by much.

The exclamation points on the night were Jabari Bates’ third touchdown of the game as well as a 55-yard receiving touchdown by Chedon James from the hands of Pierce Clarkson, which more than sealed the deal for the home team .

This week Bosco Football is back at Panish Family Stadium taking on Alemany High School, who lost their opening week match up on the road against Lone Peak. Tickets on sale here.

News/Op-Ed: All For Nothing? A Closer Look at America’s “Forever War” in Afghanistan

by Nicholas Neoman

In the wake of American military withdrawal from Afghanistan and just hours after the American evacuation of Kabul, the Taliban, an Islamic extremist military organization, completely overtook the capital city and any fragment of democracy left in Afghanistan.

Photo by Defense One/Handout via REUTERS

After 20 years of fighting, four presidential administrations and over $2.26 trillion spent, Kabul has been restored back to being a terrorist stronghold. This crisis started with President Joe Biden ordering removal of American forces on July 8, 2021 as an extension of the Trump Administration’s plan for leaving Afghanistan. On Sunday, August 15, 2021, the Taliban officially took over Kabul, less than 24 hours after the United States troops officially left the city. The aftermath from these events have caused mass chaos and panic in both Afghanistan and the United States.

As the United States pulled out of Afghanistan, Afghans are attempting to flee the country by any and all means. The Hamid Karzai International Airport airport in Kabul has been the scene of mass chaos for the past week as citizens attempt to crowd onto leaving planes.  According to one report, over 600 civilians squeezed into a United States Air Force plane, while many others jumped on the outside of the vehicle trying to escape. Every citizen is desperate as they fear for their lives and freedom.

Women especially are suppressed under the new Taliban regime. Previously, women were making long overdue strides toward equality, and life for women was substantially freer under the previous rule. However, the Taliban has strictly enforced Islamic Sharia law, forcing women to wear a hijab and a burqa outside, as well as taking away many other rights.

The Taliban reports that girls are allowed to go to school and women can teach as they used to, but in reality a more sinister picture is being painted. Rather, in the past week, girls have been physically blocked from entering schools along with female teachers, forcing them to retreat back to domestic life. This is a severe reduction in rights, and American citizens of all political shades can agree that women had many more rights under American-led rule compared to the Taliban.

As for men, a different suppression has been enforced. Any adult man who speaks out against their new terrorist leaders will be shot and killed. Unlike the United States, there is no freedom of speech, no right to Habeas Corpus and no right to a trial by their peers. Instead, anyone who disagrees is murdered.

Because it is very difficult for women to leave their house, men have been forced into a role of being the absolute leader of their household. They must do nearly everything for their home because they can go out, which means more time subjected to the new government. Because they spend more time out working for the family, it is incredibly difficult for men not to rise up and speak out against the government. All in all, life for Afghans is extremely harsh as women have very little rights and men are subjected to death.

At home, a different kind of madness is ensuing. Now, political parties are arguing over where to pin the blame. Many Democrats today believe that the United States never should have been in Afghanistan and that the blame should lie at the feet of former Republican President Donald Trump, who initiated the pullout effort.

However, the Republicans have a completely different perspective on this issue. The current president is Joe Biden, and it was under his leadership that Afghanistan crumbled. Even though Donald Trump started this process, Republicans believe President Biden’s orders of immediate removal and the mismanagement of that removal led to the Taliban takeover.

As for the issue of starting the war nearly 20 years ago, both Republicans and Democrats agreed on fighting in Afghanistan at the time, so both parties are in theory to blame for these issues abroad.

Regardless, Afghanistan seems to be in a similar, if not worse, state as it was when American military occupation began. When President George W. Bush started the war in Afghanistan, it seemed to be the correct approach. However, in hindsight, many citizens wonder if those trillions of dollars could’ve been spent more wisely.

That money could have gone to benefit both political parties, instead of fighting a war. Homelessness, opioids and even more recently pandemic relief could have been viable alternatives for this money. Instead, Afghanistan remains as it originally was, a developing nation where rights are suppressed and terrorism reigns.