In striving to keep tradition going, St. John Bosco’s annual tree lighting goes virtual.
St. John Bosco is staying busy during the Christmas season. The unusual circumstances that we all are facing have definitely put a damper on the year, yet Bosco is not letting that get the best of them.
For obvious reasons, in-person events this year must be kept to a minimum. Because of this, the annual tree lighting that we are typically used to cannot happen on campus. Yet this is a minor issue to overcome for the Braves.
This year, the annual tree lighting is going virtual. Premiering Tuesday, December 15th on YouTube, it will feature the same Christmas cheer we are all used to. Hosted by Student Leadership, the online event will feature the music, entertainment, and good tidings that have occurred in the past events.
Normally, the event would include food, hot cocoa, music performances, and camaraderie within the Bosco community. While the inability to meet together on campus does not allow for all this to happen, the virtual event will be just as entertaining.
The tree lighting will be a great way to finish off the infamous year of 2020. This year has been a first for many things that have occurred within the Bosco community. For the first time ever, Bosco has gone entirely virtual, and has had to adapt to totally unpredictable circumstances.
This event will be a great opportunity for us as a community to come together (as much as possible) before the end of the year and to be grateful for all that we have been blessed with.
You can watch the tree lighting event live at Brave Communications on YouTube. A recording of the event will be available for anyone to watch at any time. Hope everyone enjoys the tree lighting!
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Bosco’s Class of 2021 may not be able to experience Kairos, the well renowned senior retreat which brings the class together and creates memories that last a lifetime.
Kairos is the spiritual trip that the seniors of St. John Bosco High School take every year. The trip is supposed to bring seniors together and is a prime example of the famed Bosco brotherhood. As a 2021 graduate I speak for myself and plenty others when I say that Kairos is something that is very looked forward to. With this year’s unprecedented events, that might not happen.
Earlier this week, Mr. Jaramillo, head of the retreat committee, spoke about the possibility of not having a Kairos retreat this year. When asked about how many Covid-19 cases the city of Bellflower would have to be under for a month, he said that it was “unclear at the moment but that it was most likely the same number for Bosco to have permission to go back to school next semester”.
Furthermore, Mr. Jaramillo also said that the goal was to “have two retreats before the year’s end, and that there was going to be a virtual retreat at the end of January”. Since the old location had been shut down because of a loss of business, and then permanently damaged by the fires earlier this year, a new location would have to be found.
Mr. Jaramillo said that he and the others in charge of the retreat were looking into locations in Orange County where the quarantine guidelines aren’t as strict, as a result of lower Covid-19 cases.
As a member of the very first Kairos retreat, Mr. Jaramillo said that he “couldn’t imagine a year without Kairos”. It is obvious that this hits close to home for Mr. Jaramillo and that he is trying his very hardest to have a retreat for the seniors.
This retreat means something to the Bosco community and for a year to go by without it, it almost seems incomplete. I’m sure that the class of 2021 are hoping that things get better with the virus so that we can have our Kairos.
In what was supposed to soon be the grand reopening for De La Salle and St. John Bosco, kicking off the high school football season in California will have to be delayed once again due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
The rematch of last season’s Open Division state championship game, won by Bosco nearly 12 months ago, was scheduled to unfold in Southern California on January 8th.
The announcement last Tuesday has determined that high school football practice in California won’t start until state health officials provide guidelines for youth sports, presumably once COVID-19 cases are flattened once again, thus the De La Salle-Bosco game won’t happen in early January.
De La Salle coach Justin Alumbaugh said Tuesday that it could, noting that in conversations he’s had with coaches, including Bosco’s Jason Negro, everybody is on the same page.
“Let’s get games in for our kids,” Alumbaugh said. “We’re obviously not playing Bosco on January 8th. There is no way to dive into that type of thing. Obviously, dates are going to have to be shuffled.”
Coach Negro is also doing his part as he wants to give his team some sort of hope that they will play a game this season.
“We are trying to give our boys a glimmer of hope in a time that is so uncertain for all of us, not only in our own state but in our own country,” Negro said.
Neither regional or state championship games will be happening this year as the CIF announced last Tuesday that those games will be removed from the fall calendar because it wants as many students as possible to play as long of a season as possible.
Alumbaugh just wants kids at his school and elsewhere to play, no matter the sport, while Negro is trying to look at the bright side despite it being hard to take some positives from these types of situations.
“As an educator, what I am trying to do is provide the kids with some positivity and let them know there is light at the end of the tunnel. This is just another obstacle in our way of trying to continue to navigate this virus,” said Coach Negro after finding out about the setback.
Just as many schools have, Bosco have gone through conditioning workouts since June, following social-distancing protocols, going through countless temperature checks and separating into pods.
Couple those workouts with pre-pandemic weight training in January and February and Zoom video sessions in the spring, that’s a lot of commitment without playing a single game.
Since March 2nd, the only ones that have been restricted have been the kids.
“I would like for the local and state government to please start communicating a little bit more and to at least start putting some guidelines and restrictions in order so we can be shown a path forward so we can get these kids back into a competitive sport environment,” Negro has pleaded, as he wants an opportunity to show that he and his staff can navigate camp in a safe manner instead of completely shutting them down.
Negro has stated his frustration with the guidance given more than once as he has also said “We don’t get any kind of guidance from the state legislator, our mayor, the governor, the health department and it’s so frustrating for me because I have to try to answer these questions the kids always ask me and I don’t have answers for them.”
The announcement last Tuesday made it clear there won’t be any games until the California Department of Public Health provides guidance.
It has been made clear this isn’t just a learning process for the boys, but for Coach Negro as well as all of what has been happening has all been unprecedented.
As of right now normal field practices will continue as planned for Bosco until December 17th. Starting December 21st, the weight room will begin to be available from freshmen all the way up to varsity
In the meantime, it’s business as usual in the era of coronavirus, such as conditioning in small groups and having more questions than answers.
Without a shroud of a doubt, many fans of the Trinity League and high school football coaches in general hope to see their kids get some action once again. As for the fans of the reigning National Champion Bosco Braves, we most certainly hope to see the Braves back in action against the De La Salle Spartans sometime soon.
For the first time in history, St. John Bosco will light up its 36-acre campus and invite the community to come enjoy a contactless, socially distant Christmas Lights Experience!
The biggest St. John Bosco fundraiser of the long 2020 year has officially begun! St. John Bosco has always been known for their involvement with the community. Some of the main events that they have hosted have been annual Tree Lighting and the Día De Los Muertos celebration.
Due to the Covid-19 guidelines, Bosco has been unable to do many involved community events. This is why this big Drive-Thru Christmas Lights Exhibit is so important. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to view the new lit up 36 acre campus! Not only will you be able to view the beautiful Christmas lights, but you will also be supporting Bosco Student-Life, as all of the proceeds will go towards the students!
Some are even saying that this Drive-Thru Christmas Lights Exhibit is better than the ones at the Dodger Stadium! Being that this is St. John Bosco’s first time doing something like this, this is a groundbreaking event for us!
This new event is amazing! With new and exciting lights at every corner, and with the Bosco’s very own marching band performing!
The prices start at $60 per car with all of the proceeds going towards the students. Bosco has made sure that the Covid-19 guidelines are being followed. There will be plenty of holiday goodies available for purchase as well!
The next available days for this extravagant event will be on the weekends starting for December 10th to January 3rd. There is always an available time slot for you!
If you are interested in supporting the St. John Bosco students, select what date and time you want to attend by clicking this link and purchasing the tickets! The St. John Bosco students appreciate the community for their contribution.
Different members of our community at Bosco are preparing to make a difference in these season of Benevolenza both locally and internationally.
The Season of Giving just got a little more brighter and joyful! The second opportunity of giving during the Season of Benevolenza has started with the Toy Drive. There will always be a time for you to be able to donate, as there will be toy bins in front of the school until December 17th.
We are approaching the end of the Season of Benevolenza, the season of giving, with the Toy Drive being part of the last event! The Toy Drive has been going on for more than 25 years at St. John Bosco High School, and it is only getting bigger every year.
“[The Toy Drive] is important because it allows us as Braves to reach out to the larger community and share what we have with others. Us Braves, are called to be men of service, and it allows us to actually live it out in a concrete way” said Christian Service Coordinator Mr. John Weinandy
The Season of Benevolenza is more than just giving. It is about the realization that comes out after giving food cans, toys, or blood (prior to Covid). It’s about the smiles that are getting put onto childrens’ faces, the stomachs that are getting filled, and the people that are being saved
“It is always important to give. As Bosco students, we are always called to give”, John Udabe, the Christian Service Chair, said that the Toy Drive is a good way to be selfless.
Just because you cannot go and donate physically, does not mean that you can not practice being Bosco Men of Service. This pandemic has been rough for many, and this has caused some families to have financial struggles. There is always some type of service that we can do at all times.
“We receive so much, but it’s important to expand to the community instead within ourselves, to connect with others,” said Assistant Christian Service Coordinator Brother Quang.
If a $20 toy is too expensive for one person, partner with a few buddies where everyone pitches enough money to buy one gift.
For the people that don’t have the budget, there is always something you can do from home. You can email or talk to a neighbor and ask them how they are feeling, especially during this time of lockdown. Another way to give in service is by reflecting on God’s Scripture. There is always a way to practice being Bosco Men of Service.
“The toy drive is super special because we are helping bring joy into children’s lives. We are impacting people our age or kids younger,” said John Udabe
Last year, the Christian Service team partnered with the South Gate Water Department to give these toys to families in need. The South Gate Water Department Toy Drive is a toy run that has been going on for over seven years and is formed by St. Helen School, themselves, and us! The main goal for them is to help families that are not able to provide a good Christmas for their kids. The Water Department helps these families by putting smiles on children’s faces with a boxload of toys from Santa Clause.
This year, because of the new Covid-19 guidelines, we are unable to go on a big toy run like last year. In fact, we will be donating these toys to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and other families that won’t be able to provide a Christmas for their kids.
Like every year, the toy needs to be new and unwrapped with a price range of $15-$20. Each class will have a specific range of students’ ages for the donation of toys.
Freshmen: Girls ages 1-7
Sophomores: Boys ages 1-7
Juniors: Girls ages 8-16
Seniors: Boys ages 8-16
(Monetary Donations are also welcomed)
In addition to this Bosco Toy Drive, there are other giving drives happening around Bosco.
The Varsity Club is hosting the Blanket Drive for the homeless. There are bins outside of campus ready for collection.
The Spanish Honors Society and Key Club are hosting a masks and shoe covering project. The members of the club are donating boxes of masks and shoe coverings to Spain and Guatemala. In addition to the self donations, they have decided to promote this service project outside of just Bosco and ask small businesses around the community to donate.
The Season of Benevolenza ends on December 17th with the Toy Drive. This does not mean that us as Bosco Braves can’t give. There will be many more opportunities to give in the future! Go out and put a smile on someone’s face. Not only will you make their day, but it can make a difference in your life as well!
The St. John Bosco High School Esports team is currently on the rise and is already getting eyes looking their way as they have struck a deal with Gamer Company Razer.
Bosco Esports is a relatively new program who not so long ago weren’t even a club on campus and now have struck a deal with one of the world’s leading lifestyle brands for gamers, Razer.
It has been nothing short of a long road to get to where the program is today and a huge contributing factor to why the program exists is Bosco Esports Head Coach Gabe Giangualano.
“I had a proposal for the school and next thing we know we had a big fifty player tryout which we narrowed down to twenty and that twenty was ultimately the twenty player roster we carried last season ” said Giangualano.
Razer is a company known for landing huge partnerships as they sponsor Evil Geniuses who are one of the best Esport teams in the world, UCLA who always have a solid Esports program and now they’ve partnered with St. John Bosco High School.
Seeson Mahathavorn, a global marketing manager for Razer and a Bosco alumni had seen a post on Facebook regarding how Bosco Esports was starting up and he couldn’t be happier when he found out the founder of it was his old soccer teammate Coach Giangualano. Once he saw how quickly the program as a whole was growing he reached out to Coach Giangualano about a potential meeting.
“Talent starts at a young age. Kobe got drafted to the NBA from high school, so why can’t the next great esports athlete? We don’t believe that age or level of development of a program limits the potential of a player that can be found there. As esports has grown we’re seeing that pro level players are being found at all ages and parts of the world. Earlier this year, Razer sponsored their first collegiate esports team at UCLA and it’s been amazing so far, even with the current pandemic, so why not go even farther back to where many gamers get their start: high school. As for why St. John Bosco, besides being close to me personally, back in July, my former Bosco Soccer teammate and classmate (c/o ’99), Derek Barraza, reached out to me on Facebook, showing me Bosco’s post about launching their first-ever Esports Summer [Virtual] Camp. He also mentioned that current Bosco Soccer Coach and c/o ’99 classmate, Gabe Giangualano, was leading all things esports and it felt like a great opportunity to support a high school team for the first time ever,” said Mahathavorn.
Giangualano pitched his vision for the program and the two sides managed to reach an agreement which led to Razer donating 50 headsets for Braves to in the Fall 2020 esports season.
“It was a match made in heaven, honestly the best esports peripheral company in the world says we ‘want you?’ You gotta say ‘of course!” said Giangualano as he hopes the partnership continues for years to come. He went on to say that the program has improved with Razer’s headsets, the BlackShark V2. Currently the Braves are ranked top 10 in League of Legends, #1 in Rocket League, #1 in Smite, and playoff bound with Overwatch and Fortnite. Giangualano is committed to making the Bosco Esports program a powerhouse.
There is a plan in the works that Bosco Esports will collaborate an exclusive training conference with UCLA and Evil Geniuses on the Braves campus. With the pandemic these plans have been put on hold but will soon be revisited as soon as the restrictions lift. This conference will allow the Braves to work with professionals and collegiate athletes to hear the strategies and tactics they use in their training regiments. Giangualano is committed to developing high school players the way professional clubs and colleges develop theirs.
“We’re always looking to strengthen all of our partnerships – to help esports programs grow, to develop talent, to build character. We’re currently working on a “Path to Pro” type of program where we would utilize all of our sponsored teams: Evil Geniuses at the pro level, UCLA Esports at the collegiate level, and St. John Bosco at the high school level. It’s currently under construction but would include coaching, mentorships, workshops, friendly scrims, internships, sponsorships, etc where all participants will hopefully benefit from one another both inside and outside of the esports world” said Mahathavorn.
Despite the process sounding easy, in reality it was far from it as according to Giangualano it was “a long road to getting Esports here at the school” and it was “difficutlt to get the support to get something started”.
This beginning would go back all the way to 2016 as only ten kids showed up for an information meeting on a potential launch which led to nothing.
In 2017 the freshman class had a lot of freshmen who were interested in a program and had to slowly wait out the process for the next big step which finally came in 2018 as “Bosco Esports” became an unofficial club on campus which was only for fun.
Coach Giangualano saw the potential it had and pushed for it to become an official program alongside current senior Mauricio Contreras.
“I wanted to show people anything can be accomplished as long as you work hard for it” said Contreras.
The dream finally became a reality when in 2019 the school officially approved the program and gave the confirmation to allow five teams within the program.
Not only is each program led by a dedicated coach, but captains are chosen to play a huge role in their respective team as they become the backbone for those teams.
Talent, leadership quality, and inspriation is what goes into the thought process of electing an Esports captain and Coach Giangualano hopes each captain leads by example and follows these three pillars on a daily basis.
The five programs of Bosco Esports consist of: Rocket League, Smite, League of Legends, Overwatch, and Fortnite. Each one of those coaches runs their individual team and a normal Bosco Esport week consists of: practicing three times a week, two days of rest (non consecutive), and two days of competition whether it’s a tournament or a scrimmage.
The Rocket League program consists of a varsity and a junior varsity team. The Bosco Rocket League team can be seen as the highlight of the Esports program as the Braves sit at #1 in all of California and #1 in the Regional League. The team is led by junior captain Brandon Suiter who is a grand champion status player.
The Rocket League program has had a significant accomplishment as they are the one of the two programs from Bosco to have played against a university, but they are the only program who managed to get a win in their college showcase match.
Cal State Dominguez Hills’ Rocket League program came up short against Braves in what would be one of the biggest victories ever in the young history of Bosco Esports.
The Smite program consists of seven players in total and is led by captain Lauren Weldon who attends Bosco’s sister school St. Josephs and is the only girl in the whole Esports program.
“She is doing a really great job keeping the group organized and communicating our strategies, she has natural leadership qualities,” said Giangualano.
Lauren described being part of the Bosco Esports program as a “win-win” because she finally had a good excuse to be playing video games on a daily basis while representing not only SJB, but St. Josephs as well being the only girl there.
“I don’t really see it as a big deal to me, because at the end of the day we’re all there for one common goal which is to play video games” said Weldon.
Lauren stressed to all the St. Joseph girls, if they feel Esports is something that they might have a passion for or is something they want to try they should follow her footsteps and just “go for it”.
The League of Legends program is the second program of two to have played against a college level team. They took part in a scrimmage the week prior to the Rocket League victory in which they also faced Cal State Dominguez Hills.
The scrimmage was a best out of three series and each series came down to the last plays making every series a nail biter. Domininguez Hills narrowly escaped with the victory.
The League of Legends program is slowly bouncing back as they lost several notable seniors last year, but are on the right track as they currently hold a 6-2 record in league play.
The Overwatch program is looking solid as it’s a split of upperclassmen and lowerclass men giving a “youngbloods” and “veterans” vibe which could end up being a huge factor in their potential success. The Braves are currently waiting to snatch up a wildcard playoff spot in their inaugural Overwatch season.
Bosco’s Fortnite program is always eager to improve. They’ve had recent success in they’re scrimmages and the coaches as a whole couldn’t be more prouder than the performances of all their teams. They are confident all three teams will lock up playoff spots and head into December on a hunt for a title.
The Bosco Esports program stays on the grind as they’re always available to watch on a weekly basis on Twitch and Youtube starting at 4:00 PM. You can find them on twitch at StJohnBoscoHSesports.
The Fortnite team streams Monday on YouTube while Smite is streaming on Twitch. The League of Legends team will be streaming on twitch on Tuesday while on Wednesday the Overwatch team takes over. Thursday gets busier as Rocket League varsity and junior varsity can be found headlining on twitch. Friday will usually be whatever scrimmage the program as a whole can muster up and will also live streamed on YouTube.
Saturday isn’t a rest day by any means as the gamers are up and ready to go in they’re households by 6:00 AM for morning practice.
Not only do the Braves work hard on their PCs, but are also very hard workers in the classroom as Coach Giangualano can’t stress time management enough. All students are required to take a time management workshop that helps players and families budget their time.
“One of the things we strive for as a program is Academic Excellence. All players are given a calendar to stay organized and budget their time for the week. The last thing we want is for esports to occupy all of our time. It’s very easy for that to happen. The calendar, the time management workshop and parent expectations make for a successful student. It’s when that discipline falls by the waist side do we see declines in grades like with any sport.” said Giangualano.
A future goal for Bosco Esports is saving money in order to improve their computer lab making it an official Esport lab dedicated just to Esports which will finally be the first place all bosco gamers can call home. This will allow the program to continue to take baby steps in being successful while also building for the future.
While most schools currently offer few game titles, players are found playing multiple game titles throughout the week. The Braves have cut this down and defined the players to a single game title E-Athletes. Meaning players usually only focus on one game title throughout the season. This approach dedicates the player to that particular focus and prevents chaos, burnouts, and loss of passion for a specific game.
Overall, the goal for Bosco Esports is to “convert kids from gamers to Esporters” as Coach Giangualano knows from experience who is a “gamer” and who is an “Esporter”.
“Gamers are kids who want to play a game, but want to play it on their time and their time only. E-Atheletes are kids who are committed to improving each and every single practice session, listen to their coaches, and always do what’s best for the team” said Giangualano.
Coach Gabe went on to say that his new esports club, Game Knights Youth Esports Academy is about to open up for public tryouts this December. “It’s the best way to develop kids ages 8-18. I was approached by some parents who wanted their kids to be a part of my program but weren’t Braves. At Game Knights, we believe building the kids up at a younger age will produce a much more serious and competitive player and prevent or stop bad video game habits as we bring discipline to that chaos,” said Giangualano. You can get more information on Game Knights at gameknightsesports.com.
As for Razer, they’re aware Bosco has all the tools to become as successful as possible and will more than happily continue to support Bosco Esports as long as they stay on the right path trending towards an upward direction.
“We’re always working on growing and supporting the esports ecosystem, from sponsoring gear to promising teams and individuals to initiatives that give aspiring esports players a taste of playing in big tournament type and even wellness programs on how to take care of yourself while grinding to become the best of the best. Stay tuned for more announcements coming your way” said Mahathavorn.
The future looks very bright indeed as Bosco Esports are on a mission to become not only one of the best programs on campus, but one of the best programs in the state of California, and very soon one of the best programs in the nation.
Attention Braves! Attention Braves! One of the latest additions to the Saint John Bosco community is Ms. Yesenia Moreno, our newest counselor, take some time to know more about her!
Q. What college did you attend?
A. I attended the University of San Diego for both undergraduate and graduate degrees.
Q. What was your major/minor in College?
A. I majored in Psychology and double minor in Theatre Arts and Spanish.
Q. What high school did you attend?
A. I attended Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary High School.
Q. Are you from California, if not where are you from?
A. Yes, I am from California. Born and raised in Montebello.
Q. If there was any place in the world you could travel, where would you go?
A. The next place I would love to visit is New Zealand. I have been interested in visiting since high school but have not had the opportunity to visit yet.
Q. How long have you been a counselor?
A. This is my first official job as a counselor.
Q. What is the best part of counseling?
A. Developing relationships and being a support to others.
Q. What is the hardest part of counseling?
A. A challenge to counseling is the stigma. Mental health and asking for help are both things that are often looked down upon. It’s important to remember that we are never alone in any situation. Someone is always available to support and provide guidance.
Q. Why did you become a counselor?
A. Since high school, I have wanted to help people but I wasn’t sure how. While in college I found that I really liked psychology and had the idea to become a psychologist. However, while I was studying abroad on Semester at Sea, I felt that I would be of more use at a school where I would be readily available to students and be able to support them in developing persona/social, academic, and career goals.
Q. Did you have a different job other than counseling? If so, what were your jobs before you were a counselor?
A. Before I started my graduate program to become a counselor, I worked in a few different offices in the division of University Advancement at USD. The role I held the longest was as Gift Coordinator where I assisted in processing donations made to USD. The last job I had was as a Care Coordinator for Children’s Institute Inc. where I assisted with connecting families we supported at 3 school sites to food, mental health, rent, and many other resources.
Q. Was being a counselor a dream job of yours?
A. Yes! Becoming a high school counselor has been my dream job and I am so grateful that I have reached it.
Q. Do you watch sports and if you do what is your favorite sport and team and player?
A. I do like watching sports but I don’t have any favorites. I’ll watch whatever game my brothers put on (typically football, soccer, basketball, hockey) but I really enjoy going to a game in person and knowing who the players are so I’m looking forward to attending SJB sports games!
Q. What is your favorite movie?
A. My favorite movie is My Neighbor Totoro because it reminds me of my childhood.
Q. What is your favorite genre of music?
A. I listen to a variety of music but in general pop music.
Q. What is your favorite type of food?
A. My favorite type of food is Mexican because it means home to me.
Q. What are some of your favorite shows?
A. I really like Queer Eye, On My Block, Derry Girls, and Never Have I Ever.
Q. What is your favorite season?
A. Summer because I’m able to get outside, travel more freely and go to the beach.
Q. What is your favorite holiday?
A. Christmas is my favorite holiday because of the delicious foods and traditions my family has around this holiday.
Q. In school what was your favorite subject?
A. In school I liked subjects based on the teachers and how fun they made the class. I’ve always enjoyed Literature classes because I enjoy learning about people’s stories.
Q. What is your favorite hobby?
A. I like listening to podcasts. I listen to a wide variety of podcasts from true crime to creating a caring community. For me, podcasts are a way for me to hear stories and learn new things similar to reading but I can do it while driving or cleaning.
Q. Do you have any pets? If so, what is your pet, if not what pet would you like to have?
A. I do not have any pets. I would like to have a dog preferably a labradoodle.
St John Bosco’s Season of Benevolenza highlights the importance of giving from ourselves to others especially in the time of solidarity and confusion the event calls out to our Bosco Braves in order to contribute to our community.
The Season of Benevolenza has always been a staple event in St John Bosco High School’s history, as it marks our time to give back to the larger community and make an impact in other’s lives. The specific drives that Bosco does annually are the Food Drive and Toy drive.
“Giving is always important but recognizing that there are particular times of the year we should focus on these things and around Thanksgiving and Christmas it represents a good opportunity and recognizing that it’s really about giving. It’s giving of ourselves to other people like our family and to our larger community,” said Christian Service Coordinator John Weinandy.
During these hard times, it is stressed as a student body and religious institute that we exercise compassion and a helping hand to others who are apart of our community, as the Season of Benevolenza acts as a beacon of strength and unity and to inspire others to help one another.
More importantly, it is necessary that we recognize the gifts we are blessed with when considering giving to others, we should take these gifts and count our blessings in order to contribute to something bigger than ourselves.
“I think it’s our way of reaching out to the larger community and give the gifts that we have to other people, there’s a lot of gifts that Bosco students have talent, a lot of abilities but being able to give of themselves and paying attention to other people,” said Mr.Weinandy
Despite our unfortunate circumstances due to Covid-19 and the seemingly never-ending quarantine that students, parents, and faculty members alike have felt over the past several months, it has not discouraged our student body one bit, as it only pressures them to devise more creative ways for students to interact with the events.
“It’s just calling us to be a little more creative in our outreach to get students involved. We still have drop boxes at school and in the lobby, in case students want to donate we know it’s tougher but were doing the best we can,” said Mr. Weinandy.
The Season of Benevolenza signifies the sense of unity and brotherhood among the student body. Bosco has always been committed to this idea of togetherness and Covid-19 is our community’s biggest test. Donation boxes will still be available throughout the school so that students will still be able to make contributions that will impact the City of Bellflower
“I really want the Bosco community to see the impact that they can have I want to make it more visible so that they can know the impact they’re having on others despite online learning,” said Mr. Weinandy.
No matter the size of the contribution or what item you choose to give, all donations are equally important and have an impact on the City of Bellflower, all donations are greatly appreciated.
As a brotherhood and community, we must come together and give not because we are convinced to, rather because we believe in our school’s mission and perseverance as a whole.
“We have realized that we are in the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other,” said Pope Francis.
In the tough times 2020 has brought upon the world, those words ring true for many, and are words to reflect on as the Season of Benevolenza commences.
During recent months, several plans for a future reopening of the school have been thwarted by health guidelines keeping Los Angeles County in the state’s “purple tier,” as St. John Bosco High School waits to open its doors for in-person learning.
As cases in LA County remain high, the chance for the school to reopen in the near future gets further and further delayed. But that hasn’t been all negative, as it’s given Bosco time to prepare and create a safe environment.
“I think that COVID is something that could help us prepare for any type of challenge that comes in the future,” said Bosco CEO and President Dr. Brian Wickstrom. “We have implemented bipolar ionization, which actually helps viruses and bacteria in the air, which I think it’s a big positive in all student areas: classrooms, hallways, gathering spots. So I think our school is more prepared than most with all our agile space [on campus] for lunch and student gatherings.”
Dr. Wickstrom is one of the latest additions to the St. John Bosco community as the President and CEO of the school, and he and everyone inside the administration team and faculty have been working hard to make the overall experience during the pandemic better for all stakeholders and to ensure that we are prepared when we’re cleared to return. But in order to understand what the future of the school will look like, several factors, such as the tier system, need to be understood.
“We have been following the minimal requirements for a safe opening and more, but we are at the mercy of LA County Health. We need to pay attention to the tier system. We are currently at the purple stage,” said Vice Principal of Student Affairs Mr. Adan Jaramillo.
This means we can’t reopen. As the county stays in the purple tier, the only hope for a future reopening to occur is to hope for people’s cooperation with public health guidelines to reduce the risk of continued widespread cases, especially with flu season approaching and the holidays.
“Especially for [students] who live in multigenerational families, it is very important to take precautions and follow measurements when they are in school. When someone leaves Bosco, we don’t know what [their] practices are. Therefore, it is important for people to follow instructions – wear masks, stay six feet apart and take everything around us into consideration to take care of everyone,” said science teacher Ms. Allegra Weinstein, who has a master’s degree in Public Health.
For both students and teachers, challenges have come with a delay in reopening, as the school community continues to adapt to fast-paced online learning in the quarter system – a system which was developed in large part to reduce class sizes ahead of reopening in-person school.
“Online learning has been very difficult with the quarter system. Trying to obtain the knowledge of a whole semester in a few weeks is very intense,” said senior Max Fernandez. “However, I feel that the school is trying their best in reaching out to families and allowing for the best method possible in these circumstances.”
The new system for remote learning also has affected the teaching styles, as teachers have had to adapt old lessons to new circumstances.
“The dynamics change [in online learning] as teachers,” said Mr. Robert Linares, head of the Biomedical Pathway. “The relationship you have with students is less distracting when you’re face-to-face, which leads to more effective learning, I assume.”
Even despite challenges, the administration, faculty and students work hard every day to make sure that when all is done, actions prevail over promises. With hopes up and as teachers, staff and students miss the opportunity of seeing each other physically, a spirit of thankfulness is necessary to keep everyone’s morale high. Don’t give in to “COVID-19 fatigue.” The more diligent all our communities are outside of school, the sooner we all will be able to return inside of school.
Prior to state and local COVID-19 protocols and guidelines, Bingo served as a major fundraising event at St. John Bosco. Bosco Bingo temporarily shut down following the closure of the campus in March, but returned to campus in new form last month, bringing back the funds and the fun.
Bingo returned amidst the COVID-19 chaos safely, introducing “car hop” bingo in partnership with BingoMeNow. Now, like back in the “old normal,” Bosco hosts bingo each week – albeit in the parking lot – from 5:00-8:00 PM. Participants can reserve their spots now via the Bosco website.
The BingoMeNow app allows users to buy in and participate in car hop bingo. Bingo Manager Steve Waller oversaw the reopening process and wrote the school’s plan in accordance with state and local COVID-19 protocols and guidelines for similar events. Prior to the return of bingo at Bosco, other bingo programs reopened, but many of them promptly shut down due to their lack of sufficient precaution.
After identifying the main issues that caused the closure of these events, Waller and the Bosco Bingo management created their own guidelines to prevent a shutdown of car hop bingo. COVID-19 precautions, such as health screening forms, are required in order to make bingo a safe event for all participants and volunteers.
“[Bingo] has been a hugely successful format and fundraiser for the school. With this change with COVID-19, we had to change everything to make sure that we’re safe,” Waller said.
The return of bingo means a lot for the Bosco community, especially in light of the recent pandemic and subsequent suspension of most school activities. Bosco bingo provides some more financial support for Bosco staff, students and community at-large. The return of bingo gives an opportunity for members of the Bosco family to support their school and community during the troubling times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The closure of Bosco’s campus has resulted in a major loss of over $250,000 in fundraising money. Previously Bingo brought usually about 200-225 players together in the Bosco MPR and was one of the largest fundraising events at Bosco. Prior to the closure, these funds came primarily from Bosco’s weekly Bingo as well as the Braves Gala. Bingo’s return is certainly a huge help in light of the financial struggle that Bosco has undergone as a result of the campus’ closure and the effects of the virus on the Bosco community.
The return of Bosco Bingo in a completely new way is certainly an uplifting development for the community and its members.
Bingo’s return is not only a financial boost, but also is an indication of some return to normalcy at Bosco. After months of time physically distant from campus and the rest of the Bosco community, we now have an opportunity to be able to get back into the swing of things. Bingo provides an opportunity for parents, teachers and even students to reconnect with the Bosco campus and community in a safe and fun way.