Monthly Archives: December 2021

Around Bosco: The Bosco Community Enters the Christmas Season with the Annual Door Decorating Competition

by Jeremiah Davis

Last week, many teachers and students got into the Christmas spirit through the annual door decorating contest at St. John Bosco.

The competition, started by ASB and available to all who wanted to participate, gave each teacher a chance to truly show their creative side, while also having fun. Because this is a competition, the top three decorative doors were selected for the final round. Out of the three finalists, one door was selected as the winner. 

One finalist, Mrs. Becky Ellison, decorated her door in a very creative fashion, centered around Bosco and what it has to offer. In addition, she added something that was near and dear to her heart: her kids’ old toy named Freddie the Elf, which was used by her kids to spread Christmas cheer in and around their household.

“I wanted to base my door around Admissions, and I was able to do this using Bosco the Elf, whose real name is Freddie the Elf. It was a toy that my kids had previously owned when they were little, and it was used to spread Christmas cheer in our household. The elf takes a tour of every Pathway and sport on campus which is pretty neat,” said Mrs. Ellison.

Mrs. Ellison felt that the activity was a great experience and success, and she did not even spend much extra time decorating her door. Although only the Admissions team helped her this year, Mrs. Ellison will ask the Student Ambassadors to help her complete the door next year. 

Another finalist in the competition was Mr. Mario Cordero. The inspiration for his door was far different than that of Mrs. Ellison.

“Mr. Vigil was my inspiration for my door, and the students and I spent as much time as needed to make it as perfect as possible,” said Mr. Cordero 

Even though his door was not the winner, Mr. Cordero managed to have fun in the competition while also poking a little fun at Mr. Vince Vigil. Mr. Cordero credits his students for helping him with the door, but especially one who helped him the most, Jose Gaxiola. 

The overall winner of the competition was Ms. Kelly Blakeman, a math teacher. Her door integrated both the Christmas spirit and the overall dynamic of her class with a poster of the “Twelve Days of Calculus,” making a creative play on the traditional Christmas song “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

Similar to in Mr. Cordero’s class, the students also played a big role in Mrs. Michelle Tracy’s participation in the competition.

“My freshmen class wanted to be a part of the competition, so I began to look up ideas online and I finally found one that piqued my interest,” said Mrs. Tracy. 

Mrs. Tracy selected an idea that involved her entire class. The door consists of Christmas-themed wallpaper surrounded by many small Santa Clauses. It also has both a naughty and nice list, which has the names of everybody in the class.

The collaboration between the whole Brave community, especially the students and teachers, with such a fun competition really got the Christmas season off to the right start. 

A&E: Bosco Theater Opens the Year Strong with a Thrilling Performance of “Hands on a Hard Body”

by Brett Baligad

Following two years of COVID-19, St. John Bosco’s Theater Department hosted its first plays of the year last weekend, with more to come this weekend.

The Braves’ Theater Department kicked off the winter season with three productions of the musical “Hands On a Hard Body.”

Directed by Mr. Martin Lang, the story takes place in East Texas, as a small-town Nissan dealership hosts an annual car contest. The story follows a cast of ten Texans who learned what the prize truck really means to them. Over the course of the play, the audience sat at the edge of their seats wondering who will come out on top. The play featured plenty of catchy rock-n-roll, country and gospel scores for everyone to enjoy. On opening night, the nearly sold-out crowd stood in ovation as a musical encore concluded the heartfelt play.

“I was super excited to see the play. I haven’t seen one in person since my sophomore year. I thought it was really well done and I was happy to support the cast,” said senior and opening night viewer Kaimana Storch ‘21.

The first performance was on Friday, December 3, at 7:30 p.m. The cast was greeted by a filled crowd with students, family, friends and faculty. Alumni, such as principal Dr. Anderson ’04 and history teacher Mr. Cordero ‘97, even made an appearance on Friday. Following this successful opening night were two more performances on Saturday and Sunday evening.

The emotional and passionate performance featured St. John Bosco and St. Joseph students. Remarkably, the cast featured many first-time performers. This included lead roles junior Connor Sheehan, senior Zachary Gillett and Brianna Golani, just to name a few. 

Junior, Connor Sheehan, took on the largest and most impactful role as a newcomer. 

“Seeing my friends and family come out to support me was both exciting and anxiety-inducing. With it being my first role and the magnitude of the role, I didn’t want to disappoint. I hope I didn’t,” said Sheehan.

With these new faces to the scene, there were many bumps in the road to reach their success. This included the early learning curve to singing. 

“Some people (new coming performers) were pros, and some had never sung before in their entire life,” said Mr. Lang.

St. John Bosco hosts two plays a year, one being a musical while the other being a non-musical. As Bosco featured constant choreography and witty lyrics, the cast flexed a variety of early talent when it came to singing. By opening night, however, the chemistry and confidence between the performers shined through as demonstrated by the recognition within the crowd.

Another challenge within the program is COVID-19. The Visual and Performing Arts program, along with the whole student body, were waiting for the theater’s comeback all school year. The crowd’s enthusiasm was present as this was Bosco’s first play with a full crowd in over two years. 

“There’s no other feeling greater than performing for people and telling a story in person. Getting those live reactions helps make the story feel more real and sends an overall stronger message,” said junior Kriss Valente. 

The cast was also eager to perform in front of a live audience. Even some members that were considered veterans to the program, such as junior Alex Palmer, had never performed in front of such a large audience because of the pandemic.

Mr. Lang claimed that Bosco’s virtual production of the musical “Working” from earlier this year was very different as it featured even higher COVID-19 restrictions within the production. These restrictions included choosing a play with a smaller cast, constant COVID-19 tests and a heavily limited audience. Due to contact tracing within the production, Mr. Lang himself had to perform a lead role in order to keep the show running. These off-the-cuff adaptations are what made this past weekend’s production more memorable to the program.

As the first semester comes to a close, the theater department will perform three more times this upcoming weekend. This includes a Friday and Saturday night performance at 7:30, along with a closing Sunday night performance at 6:30. Following this upcoming weekend, St. John Bosco’s Theater Department will take a much-deserved break heading into the winter vacation. The unannounced spring play will premiere in April. 

“We want everyone in our school to be involved in something, and why not be a part of something that is creative, exciting, fun, and a way to express yourself,” said Mr. Lang 

The theater department welcomes all of the Brave and Jester community to support them in their final weekend performing “Hands on a Hard Body.” Mr. Lang also invites any students interested in performing in the spring production to try out.

Sports: Braves Basketball Bounces Back At Illinois Tournament

by Jeremiah Davis

Coming off of two blowout wins to start the season, the St. John Bosco basketball team traveled to Illinois to compete in the Kevin Brown Memorial Tournament of Champions.

Bosco Basketball continued their good form following a 76-40 win over Long Beach Jordan and a 74-49 win over Hesperia as they ventured to Washington, Illinois to compete in the Washington Invitational Tournament. 

The Braves narrowly dropped their first game, 55-50, partly due to a quick turnaround as they arrived at their hotel in Chicago at around midnight the previous night, with the game scheduled in the morning.

However, this mishap only motivated the Braves as they rebounded from their close loss to go undefeated for the remainder of the tournament.  They won the last three games rather comfortably, with a 50-43 win over Metamora High School, a 76-33 demolition of Tinley Park and a defeat of the hosts Washington 52-44 to finish the tournament.

The Braves benefitted from great team basketball, with key contributions from the bench to complement the great efforts of the starting players, including senior Christian Estrada, freshman Elzie Harrington and junior Delyle Williams.  The hard work and unselfish play of the team was well received as Bosco finished with one of the top records in the entire tournament.

The schedule for the Braves was unfavorable, to say the least. Coming from the west coast, the adjustment to a different time zone in a hurry was not easy. However, the Braves were able to make the necessary adjustments which ultimately led to the accomplishment of their goals to win and establish themselves as one of the premier teams at the tournament. 

“It was an amazing experience. We did a whole bunch of things while we were out there. On the court, we played four games against some really good teams. We played two games on the first day while the next day we had Thanksgiving.  We also played one game on Friday and one game on Saturday. Unfortunately, we lost the first game due to a lack of sleep, but [we] caught up on some sleep and didn’t lose from there,” said Estrada.

Estrada’s perseverance paid dividends as he averaged 15 points and twelve rebounds in the tournament while earning the All-Hustle Award. 

With all the positives regarding the Braves’ on-court experiences, they still were able to have a fun time off the court as well.

“Off the court, we had a pretty great time. As a team, we were able to go bowling, play laser tag, and play video games.  We also went on a tour of Chicago while also going to this famous place as well. For Thanksgiving, we had a feast for all the teams which was extremely good.  For dinner, we enjoyed a team meal which was delicious. Chicago has amazing Italian food,” said Harrington.

In terms of the city, the Braves enjoyed every aspect of it, from the food to the games to the scenery.   

“That city in particular loves basketball.  It was a cool experience as we got to sign autographs and take pictures with fans.  It was also a cool environment to play in as we even got to play in front of packed crowds.  The people were also very friendly as they never really saw kids from other states and kids swarmed our team after every game.  As far as the game, it was a blessing to be able to play in front of a crowd like that.  When I got into the game, I wanted to make as much of an impact as possible.  It felt as if I had taken a sip of “Mike’s secret stuff,” the game was just flowing for me,” Williams said.

Overall, the trip was a great success both on and off the court. As a team, the Braves came together as one and found common ground to achieve an important goal in winning, while they bonded off the court as they spent Thanksgiving week together. 

Heading into December, the Braves currently hold a 5-1 record, with their next game coming up on December 7th at home, against Grand Terrace. This game is scheduled to be part of a tournament dubbed “The Bosco Winter Classic.”