Monthly Archives: January 2022

Around Bosco: St. John Bosco Mourns the Loss of Longtime Athletic Director and Alumnus Mr. Monty McDermott

by Eric Torres, Editor-In-Chief

Last week, the Brave community lost Mr. Monty McDermott, class of 1986, who most notably served as the Director of Athletics, but to many, was far more than that. 

For 29 wonderful years, Mr. McDermott was a pillar of St. John Bosco. Since taking over as Athletic Director in 2002, St. John Bosco enjoyed the most successful athletic department run in the school’s history. Including a move into the elite Trinity League, Mr. McDermott is responsible for many of the changes that led to the successes that the school and its community have been accustomed to for quite some time now. 

During his time as Athletic Director, St. John Bosco won a remarkable 52 varsity league titles, 79 CIF titles, 26 state championships and 11 national championships. 

“They (Mr. McDermott and former principal Pat Lee) made an institutional commitment to compete with the teams in the Trinity League,” said instructor of Religious Studies Mr. Joe Griffin, class of 1975. 

Although all of Bosco’s athletic teams have seen vast improvements since the beginning of his tenure, Mr. McDermott’s transformation of Bosco football into a powerhouse on the national level was one of, if not his most incredible accomplishment. Bosco football’s success began roughly a decade ago, with league titles in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2018, state championships in 2013, 2016, and 2019, with those 2013 and 2016 campaigns ending with the Braves as National Champions.

“His guidance and belief in our vision were two primary reasons we are where we are today,” wrote Braves football head coach Jason Negro, class of 1991, in a statement released last Saturday morning. 

Furthermore, part of the success can be attributed to the loyalty and support that he showed all coaches and athletic programs. He was a regular sight at sporting events, whether it was football, baseball or basketball.

“His legacy is ensuring that a Salesian education doesn’t just stop in the classroom, but it extends beyond to all aspects of our school,” said Principal Dr. Kris Anderson, class of 2004.

Being a practicing Catholic, God was very important to Mr. McDermott, so it is no surprise that he understood how to extend that Salesian education into athletics. He greatly valued success in the classroom in addition to success on the field or court. 

“Scholar-athletes was something we didn’t use to do, and he thought that it was very important to honor the students who were getting a 3.0 and playing a varsity sport,” said Mrs. Jeanne Pantuso, who worked alongside Mr. McDermott in the athletics office for decades.

Mr. McDermott himself was a spectacular athlete. While attending Bosco, he served as captain of both the football and baseball teams, and was also an All-League athlete in both sports. Incredibly, McDermott set a national high school record, and still holds the state record, for most runs batted in (RBIs) for one baseball game with 14, in a game where he hit three home runs, two being grand slams, against Don Bosco Tech. Mr. McDermott also went on to play college baseball at the University of La Verne.

Due to his incredible athletic abilities, Mr. McDermott was a well-known member of the athletic community, especially in the Southern California region. 

Although he is most well-known for being Bosco’s Athletic Director, Mr. McDermott also served Bosco as a dean, baseball coach, football coach, math teacher, physical education teacher and assistant Athletic Director. He also served as the CIF representative for the Trinity League. 

“I think he leaves too big of a legacy to even express. He has been so involved with so many things over the years. I think he will never be forgotten,” said Mrs. Pantuso. 

As a coach, he was very loved by those who had the privilege and opportunity to play for him. His style of coaching, being strict and meticulous while also coaching with positivity, really had an impact on many who played on his athletic teams. One such athlete who had the pleasure of playing for Mr. McDermott is current social studies instructor and former varsity baseball coach Mr. Mario Cordero, class of 1997.

“He was a positive coach. He wasn’t negative; he didn’t speak down to us. He was tough, but he was understanding, and I really looked up to him as a freshman,” said Mr. Cordero.

Beyond all of this, however, there were several qualities held by Mr. McDermott that made him not only special, but also a model man of faith. 

One of these qualities was his immense love for St. John Bosco. After his four years here as a student of the class of 1986, Monty’s love for the school drew him back for what ended up being nearly another 30 years. Because of the many positions he held, Mr. McDermott impacted many who have either worked or attended St. John Bosco and gave an unrivaled demonstration of what the model Salesian educator looks like.

“He was passionate about Bosco. He loved Bosco, and he named his golden retriever Bosco. You’d see Monty, and he was always wearing Bosco gear,” said Mr. Cordero.

Of the many lasting impacts that Mr. McDermott leaves, which began when he first set foot on campus as a Brave in 1982, is the belief that he had in St. John Bosco. His belief in the school is what enabled him to bring the energy and love that touched everyone he met. His demonstration of what it means to show up every day and give all he has to give and work hard for an institution is the legacy that he leaves behind at Bosco. 

“[His impact is] his loyalty to the school, his love for the school, and his willingness to work hard every day for the advancement of the athletes and the school itself,” said Mr. Griffin. 

Another quality held by Mr. McDermott that was admired by all those who met him was his positive attitude and humor. His friendliness and happiness were very endearing aspects of his character, and made him someone that everyone wanted to be around. 

“He was completely caring. We’ve all had those days where we don’t want to talk to people, but I don’t think he ever did, or at least showed that. He always made sure that the people he was with were in a good place,” said Dr. Anderson.  

His love for St. John Bosco, however, was second only to one thing: his family. Mr. McDermott is survived by his wife, Delores McDermott and his son, Monty McDermott Jr., the loves of his life. His love for Bosco and his family were connected as he greatly involved his family into Bosco affairs. 

“Monty involved his family, and I think that really illuminates the reality that Bosco was family for Monty. The McDermott family was always around Bosco, and I think that is a testament to who he was not only as a family man, but a Bosco family man too,” said Mr. Cordero. 

His family truly was a Brave family. With him being an alumnus, and his parents being very involved in the community and his sisters attending St. Joseph High School, there was not much more possible involvement for Mr. McDermott. Through and through, Mr. McDermott was a Brave in his heart and a prime example of what it means to be a Brave. 

The Brave community is currently awaiting more information concerning services for Mr. McDermott. However, if there are any tributes, quotes, or memories that one desires to share, contact socialmedia@bosco.org.  

Around Bosco: St. John Bosco Fights to Stay Open Among COVID-19 Surge

by Andrew Fierro, Managing Editor

As the new Omicron variant continues to spread rapidly across the nation, colleges across the state are beginning to return to online learning. However, St. John Bosco has taken preventive measures in order to stay in person as initially planned.

Photo by County of Los Angeles Public Health

The first detected case of the variant in the United States occurred on December 1st in California. Since then, the variant has spread rapidly across the state and as well as the country. This variant has proven to be more contagious than the prior variants and has caused turmoil everywhere it has spread.

Since the first arrival of the variant, cases of COVID-19 have risen to record high numbers, with the average number of cases per week being more than double than that of a year prior, according to data released January 5th.

Though there has been an astronomical increase in the number of cases, the amount of hospitalizations are very low compared to the amount of contracted cases. The chances of someone being hospitalized due to the variant is only 2% with only a 5% chance of being admitted to the emergency room.

Even with this low hospitalization rate, this variant has caused a number of schools across the country to transition back to online learning for the time being. Though for Los Angeles United School District (LAUSD), the main priority is to make sure that this is not the case. Although many colleges and universities in the state have already made the announcement that they will be returning to online learning, K-12 schools in the LAUSD are doing everything possible to avoid this situation.

The LAUSD prepared in many different ways to remain on campus for the remainder of the school year to ready themselves for many possible scenarios that may affect the way schools conduct class. For example, the district has set up more than enough resources in the case of staff shortages in order to assure that the students continue to receive education while remaining on campus. 

In a similar situation, Bosco has also decided that the benefits of staying on campus are too high to return to online learning, if it can be avoided safely. Due to this, the school has been working to make sure that everything that is possible is done to keep the students safe and on campus.

To ensure that the students would be able to return to campus safely, the school conducted a mandatory COVID-19 test on Friday, January 7th for all students and faculty. In order to return to school, students and faculty must have tested negative no more than 72 hours before Monday, January 10th, the day school resumed. 

Following this test, Bosco will continue to administer weekly tests to all faculty and staff, as well as student athletes. Bosco’s Principal, Dr. Kris Anderson, was pleased to see that the number of students testing positive for COVID-19 was significantly lower than that of other schools in the area.

“We are at about 7%, tremendously lower than a lot of our public school counterparts are,” said Dr. Anderson.

This figure has a lot to do with how St. John Bosco will conduct on-campus learning and the safety measures that they have put in place. Dr. Anderson feels that this is very much to the credit of the students and families of the Bosco community.

“Our families are doing a really good job. If people weren’t taking it seriously, our number would have been a lot higher. I am really proud of our community for taking it seriously so that we were able to stay on campus,” said Dr. Anderson.

Being online is something that many students will remember as being a difficult adjustment, and it was not nearly as beneficial as being on campus. Many of Bosco’s teachers feel the same way, and Dr. Anderson wants all students to continue to learn on campus so that they can get the most out of their education.

“It wasn’t fun for any of us. Being a teacher in a classroom when you are trying to teach everyone, or when half of your class is at home, it’s even worse. Our goal set back in August was to have 180 days of instruction on campus, and to this point, everybody is holding up their end of the bargain,” said Dr. Anderson.

With all the steps that Bosco is taking and through the commitment of the community, the hope is that the remainder of the year will be able to be held entirely on campus. As both the students and the teachers are enjoying on-campus instruction, neither would be thrilled with a transition back to online learning.

Life of a Brave: Alumni Spotlight with Joseph Griffin, Class of ’75

by Oscar Aranda

Joseph Michael Griffin first stepped foot on the St. John Bosco campus 50 years ago in 1971, where he found a home within the Brave community.

Photo by Alex Diaz, Photo Editor

After working as a teacher for ten years, Mr. Griffin, or to many on campus, Coach Griffin, returned to campus in order to teach religious studies and to coach football in August of 1990. He joined the Bosco teaching staff together with Mr. Linares and Mr. Antonelli. Mr. Griffin is the religious department lead and is also a part of the freshman football coaching staff. In his 32 years as Bosco he has also served as vice-principal, CYM twice. He was the varsity football offensive coordinator for three years and the head freshmen football coach for several years.

Mr. Griffin always felt welcomed at Bosco and felt as if it was a second home. He was a quieter kid in high school and while not excelling in academics and sports, still felt very welcomed at Bosco. Though a lot of the campus has changed, for Mr. Griffin, the environment of the school has remained the same.

“There really are not many differences. We always had a diverse student community in those days,” said Mr. Griffin.

One of the only differences that Mr. Griffin has witnessed that the number of Salesians, priests and brothers that were on campus was much greater back then. Not only were there more salesians, priests and brothers, but there were no female teachers as well.

Though Mr. Griffin’s original plans were not to be a teacher, his aspirations to teach came much later. Though it may not have been in his initial plans, Mr. Griffin has proven to be an excellent teacher and a key piece to the Bosco community. He was able to achieve his goals through some of what Bosco was able to provide for him while he was in high school.

“Bosco gave me a nurturing place to grow up as an adolescent to feel welcomed and supported,” said Mr. Griffin. 

A new familiar face on campus is Bosco’s Principal, Dr. Kris Anderson. Dr. Anderson attended Bosco from 2000 to 2004. He was involved in the prestigious Bosco football program, where he was coached by Mr. Griffin during his time on the freshman football team. Dr. Anderson was able to prosper in the football program as he began as a backup offensive line man on the Gold team, until he became a starter his senior year winning league and earning himself a scholarship to the University of Idaho.

“With his mentorship and continuing to push me to be better, by the time I was a sophomore, I started on the sophomore team and was a two year starter,” said Dr. Anderson.

Dr. Anderson feels that Mr. Griffin’s qualities as a mentor for football and teaching are what helped him grow as a football player and person overall.

“His example of commitment and drive had a big impact on me,” said Dr. Anderson.

Mr. Griffin coached Dr. Anderson his freshman year and mentioned that he was a very hard worker and very dependable. Mr. Griffin was also his teacher mentor in 2009 and is now his fellow colleague. Dr. Anderson accredits Mr. Griffin for how his relationship changed from coach and athlete to colleague. This is due to Mr. Griffin’s experience in the teaching realm, in the sense that he has seen it all.

Mr. Griffin gives this advice to current Bosco Braves and that is to start taking academics seriously during your “high school days.”