Category Archives: Around Bosco

Around Bosco: Decathlon Represents in Trip to Philippines

by Elias Gomez

Vice Principal Mr. Edgar Salmingo returned from Manila with our Decathlon Program with “Coach of the Year” honors to his name, as Bosco students competed against 600 schools from thirty countries. As a result of their success, they qualified for the next stage of competition, The Tournament of Champions, at Yale University.

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While the football team was traveling across the country, our Brave Decathletes took a fourteen-hour trip over the Pacific Ocean and across the globe. Having such a long trip gave competitors time to study and, less importantly, watch all the complimentary movies. The food on the flight was inviting and so were the stewardesses, both of which added to create a hospitable environment throughout the long flight.

They were there for a week but only two days of competition. The first day consisted of the Scholars Challenge (120 questions multiple-choice exam), Team writing (collaborative essays) and the Scholars Debate; all of which take up the entire day. The Scholars Challenge is 75 minutes, the Team Writing is 60 minutes, and the Team Debates vary from two to three hours.

Our Decathlon group placed 20th out of 600 high school teams. There were all sorts of different age groups. One Saint John Bosco student who went was junior Robert Hernandez, who really enjoyed his trip.

“It was cool to fly with my Bosco peers and represent with people I was friends with so that made it better,” said Robert.

Robert Hernandez looked forward to meeting so many people and making friends with people from other countries. He wishes he could have studied more so he could have done better. Next year, his goal is to be the best in his class and to study more. Another junior competitor that took the trip is Charlie Carrera. Charlie looked forward to seeing new places and being out of California. Charlie was proud and humbled to represent Bosco.

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“I felt like it was a huge responsibility to do good because we were representing Bosco,” said Charlie.

Charlie did very well in the Decathlon, leaving with some medals and even a trophy. He wants to continue to do good and earn more medals and get another trophy.

Senior Nathaniel Quigg took one of his last decathlon trips with the Braves, and it was a trip he won’t soon forget.

“I was most excited about meeting competitors from all walks of life, and the Cultural Fair was the apparatus for that to happen. Booths from every country filled the ballroom and the smell of distinct candies and fruits filled the room, it was a great experience,” said Nathaniel.

Nathaniel Quigg was in a team of three facing the best and brightest 200 teams from around the globe. Nathaniel’s teammates were Christian Brueggeman and Valley Lin. Their team placed 15th overall. Their highest placing was in the Scholars Bowl- 8th place in the competition. Nathaniel Quigg placed 22nd place out of 600-700 competitors with his highest placing being 16th in the Scholars Debate Scorer. Being able to represent Bosco outside of the US was a big deal for Nathaniel because they are known as the team that does well and has a good reputation to keep so it brings a lot of pressure. Bosco Decathlon also got to visit our brothers, Bosco Technical School in Manila.

“It was like seeing our brothers from across the world, we had the opportunity to share stories and compare our schools as institutions as well as homes,” said Nathaniel.

Nathaniel Quigg loved his trip to the Philippines and was saddened by its conclusion, as he wishes he could have stayed longer.

“I’d definitely wish to stay longer, the people, atmosphere, the whole environment was something I wish would’ve lasted longer than it did,” he said.

One high that Nathaniel had was being able to venture out into an area of the world he wouldn’t normally be exposed to. He values their excursion to Bosco’s Technical School so much. One low that he had was saying goodbye to the coaches, adjudicators, and fellow competitors he gotten to know and come friends with was tough. He is content with knowing that some are still in contact.

With the success of The Bosco Decathlon, they qualified for the next round- The Tournament of Champions- at Yale University. This should be a great test for Bosco Decathlon, a program that is on the rise!

Around Bosco: Welcome New Band Director, Mr. Ramon Villanueva!

by Travien Sears, Assistant Arts and Entertainment Editor

The school year has begun and many students have noticed a new face around campus, our newly hired instrumental Music Director Mr. Ramon Villanueva. Coming to Bosco from our brother Salesian school, Don Bosco Technical Institute, he has big goals in mind for our music program as a whole.

IMG_1320.jpegMr. Villanueva, a French Horn player, has had some amazing experiences in his over 20-year musical career, from traveling to China, South Korea (twice), performing in Carnegie Hall, recording music for movies, and performing with pop artists in concerts. He is excited to share, encourage and inspire the next generation of musicians and students to work hard and to aim high.

Not only is he working with our students as an educator, but he’s also currently growing upon his own previous collegiate degrees by pursuing another Masters Degree, this time however, instead of being in Music Performance, this degree is one called Musicology. Musicology, literally meaning, the study of music is a somewhat broad subject, however Mr. Villanueva has a focus and passion in Latin American art music. This is a very different emphasis and study than the Western Art Music that is studied by musicians here in America as well as in Northern Europe. He also found a passion for ethnomusicology, which isn’t a focus of study in Western or Latin American art but pretty much encompasses all music as well as the researching of music so that the musicians are able to break down the music of which they are playing.

“[I want] to allow students to feel that they have a place where they can have another creative outlet aside from everything else offered at the school,” Mr. Villanueva said.

One of Mr. Villanueva’s main goals is to give a way for his students to shine creatively. He wants to add more groups to help with that goal. Currently we have the SJB Braves Marching Band & Color Guard, the Wind Ensemble, Liturgical Band & Choir, Jazz Band, Indoor Winter Drumline, Indoor Winter Guard , Percussion Ensemble as well as the beginning and intermediate band classes.

A new group that Mr. Villanueva is excited to add in the near future is a Pure Digital Music Class. This class would entail producing beats and understanding the concept of the music in what we hear in a lot of the songs on the radio in rap, hip-hop and pop(ular) music. Another very important part of Program Growth is “injecting some new blood [and] getting students excited for what we are going to be adding,” Mr. Villanueva said.

Another way that Mr. Villanueva plans on growing the interest and the numbers of the program is by introducing new music to the Marching Band, as well as maintaining and improving upon the traditional charts and standards that have been kept and played in the past. By changing this aspect, he can improve the program so that students don’t get discouraged from doing another group just because they aren’t interested in doing the marching band.

“[I also] want there to be a greater diversity so that people see that we do more than just one thing here,” Mr. Villanueva said.

So far, the Marching Band has put out a few new tunes at the football games and is currently focusing on the ideals of quality over quantity. They’ve put out some new chart-toppers like: “Turn Me On” by David Guetta and “California Love” by Tupac featuring Dr. Dre.

The future goals and possibilities for the Marching Band and Color Guard, according to Mr. Villanueva, include but are not limited to exploring the competitive aspect in greater depth than the program has in the past few years, including competitive parades and traveling to all the football games. This includes trips like Mililani, Hawaii, which the band will unfortunately not be able to attend due to some major logistical details that were way too tricky to work out at the last minute. This can set up the culture where they are on the forefront and have this presence around campus, and part of that will be supporting the athletic teams in various ways.

 

 

Mr. Villanueva also talked about his plans to sustain and build upon the legacy of Mr. Eugene Fabiero, Bosco’s prior full-time band director who passed away in February of this last school year. Someone who had an enormous impact on the music program here as well as on the school community at large.

“Honoring the music that he incorporated in the Marching Band [because] what ends up happening with a departure, there’s always a shift, and for me, we have to honor what he did, but implement what I do and I have to somehow adopt what he did and make it my own. It’s impossible to step and fill someone’s shoes because every person’s mind is unique. I also plan on working with local middle schools to see how they feed into the school and also helping grow the program that way,” Mr. Villanueva said.

The Assistant Music Director, Mr. Christian Fuentes, someone who works the closest to Mr. Villanueva, has a great impression about our new band director,

“I really appreciate his vision for the music program as an alumnus of the program, as well as someone who has been on staff as Assistant Band Director and Front Ensemble Caption Head for the Indoor Drumline Program going on 8 years now, and him and I work very well together in my opinion,” Mr. Fuentes said. “I believe that he’s a great addition to our music program.”

Around campus, everyone is excited and ready to see what is to come with this new look band, and Mr. Villanueva is excited to deliver.

“This is definitely one of the high points of my musical career getting to direct the program, getting to bring my perspective and my background in music to the school and helping students thrive, not just as musicians, [which is important, but] that’s just one of the bonuses, but ultimately creating great people, kind people, people who care. For me, that’s a number one,” Mr. Villanueva said.

News/OP-ED: Mass Shootings Rack Nation As Bosco Goes Further to Keep Students Safe

by Joshua Lucero

Mass shootings have become increasingly a part of our society, particularly those committed on school campuses by students.

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In 2019, shootings have had a major presence in our news and social media with new shootings being reported more frequently than in prior years. In 2019 alone, these tragedies have increased in number with a total of 297 shootings from January to August, the total number killed was 335 with 1219 wounded.

On August 30th at a high school football game in Alabama, Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, a 17-year-old child was arrested for shooting and injuring 10 other children. That evening those 10 innocent lives were going to their high school football game just like any other Brave would go to support their fellow classmates on the field. The suspect would then turn himself in the next day being faced with nine counts of attempted murder, according to NPR. 

Riley Howell, Reed Parlier, Joshua Ayers and Emily Houpt are the few who were affected by the shooting at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Riley Howell was shot and killed after charging the armed gunman, former student Trystan Terrell, taking a bullet to the torso which did not stop Howell from attempting to disarm the gunman. He would be shot two more times, the final shot coming at “point-blank range into his head,” according to the New York Times. The gunman killed Reed Parlier and wounded four other students in a classroom filled with many students.

Many times we ask why this happened? We ask how did he acquire this weapon? The suspect purchased his handgun, with a large amount of ammunition, legally. Even with the supposed “regulations” of gun laws, Trystan Terrell killed two young innocent adults. 

Patrick Crusis, 21, who legally was able to have an “open carry” firearm in El Paso, Texas committed a mass shooting in Walmart with people who “ranged in age from two years old to 82,” according to ABC News. A gun that was similar to an AK-47 killed 20 and injured 26 more. Crusius likely will face hate crimes and federal firearms charges.

These recurrences keep on happening, but what is being done? The children, the youth, the adults have shown time and time again that there will always be a way to murder and cause pain to others. In many cases, it is the people we least expect, who need dyer help.

Children, teens, and young adults face challenges throughout school or life. It is inevitable. For many cases, a shooter has reasons behind their actions. These do not justify these horrendous acts, but according to a study by Alfred University, there is a reason for why they commit these crimes. 

Ranking at the top is wanting to get back at people who hurt them with 87% , following with 86% who similarly say they were bullied and 62% of people not valuing their lives.  

What would society do to help? The tough answer that no one wants to hear is there is nothing you can do. There are not enough people in the world who can stop these crises from happening. These events are uncontrollable, even if there are gun laws put into place you can not control a person’s actions. 

Not being able to end this crisis is not the same as creating precautions for it. East High School in Anchorage, Alaska took a necessary step for keeping their youth safe. A drill was performed by a police officer firing blanks from a handgun to simulate an active shooter. “The purpose of the training was to teach students what gunfire would likely sound like in the hallways in a real active shooter situation,” according to the Washington Examiner. 

Shootings are a tragedy that is the new “norm” in America. It was one of the hardest things to see, but it is even worse when shootings happen and no one talks about them. You cannot prevent these tragedies from happening without taking free will out of the equation.

These shootings have also been brought to St. John Bosco’s attention, as addressing these tragedies both in a cathartic way and ways that are practical is at the center of our school’s mission. Bosco is beginning to take the necessary precautions to keep the safety of the students and faculty a major priority. 

One is to make it easier for the staff and cameras to identify students on campus. Regarding a situation that happened in New Mexico, a former student disguised himself with a hoodie and sneaked onto campus. He would then kill two students and be stopped by a janitor.

To enforce a no hoodie policy helps “visibly track [potential suspects] on camera,” said Vice Principal Mr. Adan Jaramillo. This makes it easier for situations like this to be solved quickly when they occur, or even prevented when suspicious and unverified people are seen on school surveillance. 

Bosco is also looking into security features for the doors that are opened to the public when a visitor would first enter Bosco. These doors would have a simple buzz implemented that lets the office workers know who is coming in. Currently, when a visitor comes, Bosco runs the ID, and if they are flagged for whatever reason, they cannot enter the school.

Ish, Bosco’s security guard, is also going to extensive training through the ALICE Program, which specializes in active shooter response training. 

For more physical features that help defend the students, there have been talks about increased fencing, which would wrap around the back of the 300 building facing the street. Lastly, Bosco is attempting to raise the fences around the school. However, since Bosco is also a residency, the City of Bellflower will make it difficult for such changes to occur.

Bosco: “Neon Lights” and “Student Life Kick Off” Welcome Back Bosco Students

by Johnathan Gonzalez and Kris Leal

To kick off the new 2019 school year, last Friday the ASB teams from St. John Bosco High School and St. Joseph’s hosted a welcome dance, “Neon Lights.” Along with the anticipation for the fun of the dance, the Bosco community also exclusively came together to have a “Student Life Kick Off” to remind students at the start of the year of the tenants of our Salesianity. 

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This year’s welcome dance gave the chance for people outside of the Bosco/St. Joseph’s community to see just how close the community is, while the “Student Kick Off” gave the chance for new Bosco brothers to gather and get a clearer sense of what Bosco is all about. The kick-off, held in the Thunderdome, was marked by a panel discussion that brought people within the community together to share their experiences being supported and enriched by our home, school, church and playground.

This year’s new welcome dance, “Neon Lights,” brought some students from outside the Bosco/St. Joseph’s communities to share in the community-building.

“The dance was sick. I didn’t expect any of this. I thought it would be whack,” said public school junior Makhi Hall.

However, as Mr. Avila said, “Mostly a lot of freshmen attend the welcome dance, since it is their first high school dance.”

The welcome back mostly allows the new incoming freshmen and new students from St. Joseph’s and Bosco to be able to mingle and meet more people. Some things students should take not of for the future are the rigid student policies and regulations that St. Joseph’s explains on their website. There is an entire subject about school dances on the St. Joseph’s website. There are eleven subjects that are enforced at dances.

The dance was held at the Flynn Center on the campus of St. Joseph’s. There was a DJ placed toward the far wall of the gym, where there were four large boxes set up that would have neon colors that glow in the dark that people were allowed to stand on.

The DJ was very interactive with the students asking if they were having a good time and also using special effects, such as fog machines, during different parts of a song that cooled down the students. The DJ was not set on just playing rap music, but he played a large variety of music.

Bosco junior Antonio Negrete, however, didn’t quite appreciate all the variety.

“The music should have been much better and should have been changed a lot more during the dance because one of the most important parts of the dances is the music that is played,” said Antonio. “I don’t know why they were playing 90’s music.”

The majority that went to the dance were freshman, and hardly any seniors attended. One bad part about the dance is you were not allowed to take water into the gym and the water sold out fairly quickly, as students subsequently struggled being in the dance when it was so hot.

Despite these minor hiccups, Mr. Avila, an alum of Bosco, said their has been a lot of general improvement in the dances.

“Since I came to Bosco to now, the dances have gotten much better in the sense that the attendance levels have gone up alot more,” Mr. Avila said.

The kick off built a different type of community, as the community time brought us together as “Bosco brothers” and also gave us the chance to hear a stories told from Bosco faculty members Mrs. Judith Day and Mr. Bobby Linares.

As said by Giancarlo Garcia “The kick off was pretty cool. That we got to hear the stories from people I didn’t really know and now I see them differently with more respect now for even stepping up and publicizing what has been going on in their life,” said junior Giancarlo Garcia.

The highlight of the kick off had to be Mrs. Day’s heart-warming reflection of the loss of her husband and the community support she received in response from various colleagues and students.

The community time gives the students space to escape from school work and make time for themselves and God. When those two are put together, students can better take control of their destinies and live out Don Bosco’s “Oratory Model.”

Bosco: New Band Teacher Bobby Easton Fills The Gap

by Lucas Agatep

When our Bosco community lost Mr. Eugene Fabiero, a space in our community was left and a position in the music program appeared. New band director Bobby Easton has come in to fill that gap.

A graduate of Long Beach State, Mr. Easton has 20 years of teaching experience, previously working around the Long Beach Unified School District mainly as a substitute teacher. Eventually, he taught full time for 4th and 5th grade students for a year each and worked in various after school programs, all in music. He worked with kids from preschool all the way up to college and adult students.

Apart from teaching, Mr. Easton likes to indulge himself in the music industry, working as a professional musician in his own band, playing around the LA area with different bands, records and music producers.

He has also recently even played at Coachella. On a more personal side, Mr. Easton also enjoys teaching Capoeira (Brazilian martial arts), Brazilian music, swimming and is a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers.

With it being close to the end of the school year, it was sudden to have to bring in someone that can pick up were Mr. Fabiero had left off. Though difficult, Mr. Easton is confident about his teaching skill due to him having much experience as a substitute teacher and picking up where others had previously left off.

“Absolutely, it is very challenging, but my experience as a substitute teacher has trained me to adapt quickly to situations that I come into. With Mr. Fabiero passing and the turning over with various different subs, I know it’s a challenge to come in here but I look at what we have to work with and just try to do my best with what’s at hand,” said Mr. Easton.

This type of community is actually a new teaching environment for Mr. Easton. This is the first time he has worked in an all-male and Catholic school. But, the way he teaches hasn’t changed because of that. The way he runs his class is what he calls an “organic approach” that tries to connect the art and feelings that is in music to help his students learn the material.

“Music is a mix between art and science in a way, because the theory of music can be very scientific, but music is an art of expression and feeling,” said Mr. Easton.

He could tell that the current state of the music department has potential and has heard of some indication of improvement in the future due to some of the current renovations and implementations that the school has done in recent years.

“I recognize that the music department has a lot of potential but needs a lot of help to pick up where the previous teachers had left off. I understand that the school has had renovated other parts of the school and I heard that VAPA (Visual And Performing Arts) would possibly be renovated in the near future. I really see a lot of potential in this school and students for their desire to learn,” said Mr. Easton.

With that in mind and the mention of possible changes in the program’s future, Mr. Easton would like to see a more diverse and unique field implemented into the music program. He requested that a modernization of the program would be beneficial and a nice addition due to the advancements of technology that are currently being used in music production around the world.

“I would like to see a jazz band. I would also like to see a music technology program here that teaches kids about digital music production and studio recording as we move deeper into the 21st century, teaching the kids the newer tools that are becoming commonplace in music,” said Mr. Easton.

Though it was sudden to have to replace such a memorable member of the community, it is nice to know that the music program is in good hands with Mr. Easton. Please welcome Mr. Bobby Easton to the St. John Bosco family and community!

 

SJB Unsung Heroes: Ms. Margie Woods

by Elliston Ospina and Jake Newman

“Through my husband, I was able to see the eyes of Bosco.”

Ms. Woods is one of the most beloved members of our school’s faculty. She represents the light and kindness of Don Bosco in her everyday routine.

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The legend herself – Ms. Margie Woods – has a very dynamic role at Bosco. She is responsible for attendance control and messages, absences and notes, an everyday, all-day type of task.

This is what makes Ms. Woods a hero at St. John Bosco High School. She cares about the students at Bosco and who they are. She goes out of her way to make sure we are doing well and carrying our weight academically and in the community.

Not to mention, she is known to make the best cookies on the planet.

Ms. Woods explained her motivation to be such a light on our campus and why she gives so much back to the students. It lies in a traumatic event in her past.

On October 19th, 2011, she lost her husband. He was a freshman math teacher at Bosco who was regarded with high remarks. All latter math teachers would always tell Ms. Woods of how great of a teacher he was and how much he cared for his students. 

When he passed away, she received a ton of love and support from her students and from the faculty and staff at Bosco. They were there for her at one of her most difficult times.

“Through my husband, I was able to see the eyes of Bosco,” said Ms. Woods.

She is referring to Bosco being more than just a place for academic growth, but a place for spiritual and individual growth as well. However, if she could have one recommendation for our faculty, it would be for Bosco to return to its core values of being more purposeful and engaging in what we do. 

She is an extreme advocate of the ‘Pay It Forward’ mentality. This is why she does what she does: the cookies, the long talks, the cup o’ noodles. She makes little to no profit off of it, but spends every night preparing these things for her students the next day. It’s all meant to cater to the students.

Ms. Woods represents something we all need to embrace: a selfless train of thought. We need to look after those in our community just as we look after ourselves.

IMG_1106This is the very thing that attracted her to come to St. John Bosco. She was attracted to how much of a family the community tends to be. Since her husband was already a teacher, her getting job here wasn’t a shock. 

“My husband and son graduated here, and I went to Savio in seventh and eighth grade. So this school has been apart of my life for along time,” said Ms. Woods.

After her 15 years of being on the staff here at Bosco, Ms. Woods is still embracing every little moment she has and is enjoying it very much. The kids is what keeps her here at Bosco.

“The students is my favorite thing about this job. I enjoy the students and understanding where they are coming from,” said Ms. Woods.

However long she decides to stays here, one thing is for certain, the student and the rest of the staff will continue to love and embrace her and she will do the same to everybody else.

Bosco: Annual Blood Drive Another Success

by Joshua Lucero and RJ Johnson IV

St. John Bosco High School has connected with Cedars-Sinai Hospital D2mRbosUcAAEd42.jpg-largeto put on the school’s annual blood drive from this year. Students, faculty, staff and other people of the community were given an opportunity to donate blood on March 26th.

Students who were 16 or older were given a chance to help save lives with their donations, with help from a signing from their parents. Students who are 17 years or older were welcomed to donate.

Bosco students had to answer a number of questions, making sure they were cleared to help save lives. Blood donations serves for a number of purposes, asit helps with open heart surgeries, liver, and kidney transplants. Trauma victims that have been in car accidents, shootings, fatal injuries and other life-threatening situations are helped.

The blood donations serve more than just helping adults with these surgeries and life-threatening accidents, but also with helping babies through various conditions.

Mr. Weinandy, a teacher at St. John Bosco, was one of the main instructors who orchestrated the blood drive. The blood drive itself took almost two weeks to advertise to the student body, teachers, and to the public.

Mr. Weinandy was happy to see so many Bosco Braves helping others. He hopes for next year to see an even stronger support, not only from Bosco students but from those who represent Bosco as a whole.

Through Cedars-Sinai, the Bosco community was able to donate blood to all types of patients. Each donor gave a pint of blood. Among the students, there were an estimated 58 Bosco Braves who aided to help save a life.

From these 58 donors, there were 55 pints of blood donated, which is 6.875 gallons. In the fall – when Cedars-Sinai partnered with Bosco in the beginning of the year – the turnout had an estimated 60 donors. All together from the fall and from March, there were 118 donors and 113 pints collected, which is 14.125 gallons.

Faculty and staff were able to donate as well. Mr. Salmingo was among the many of Bosco’s staff who donated. He, like many others, did this to help give back to those in need.

After donating to those who gave their blood, the donors were given food and drinks to help aid with the loss of their blood. In the end, many helped out those in need.

 

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