Category Archives: Around Bosco

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. 

Around Bosco: Father Nguyen Vien Arrives at Bosco to Spread Faith

by Ethan Gibbs

Before Thanksgiving Break, St. John Bosco welcomed Father Nguyen Vien to campus to share valuable insight.

Father Vien has faced many challenges when trying to get young people involved in the faith. Due to new lifestyles and options, fewer and fewer young men are being involved with the faith and God.

The number of Priests and Brothers in the Church is decreasing. Since 2017, there has been a decline in the number of members of the Church. The Salesians of Don Bosco USA West have seen very few new vocations for many years now. 

Another issue that Father Vien has observed is social media. Although he believes that it can be beneficial and helpful, it can also be a distraction to life in front of you. 

“Social media is not bad until we get addicted to it, so we do not have time for God or even people who are just next to us, our friends, and family members,” said Father Vien. 

When one decides to become a priest or a brother, there are qualities that are sought after in recruiting to the vocation. Father Vien made sure vocation is a gift from God for the Salesians of Don Bosco and the Church. The qualities he looks for in someone generally consist of a good heart and the desire to serve others, a sense of prayer life, willingness to learn, adequate intellectual ability, and healthy relationships, including good friends.

The journey to becoming a priest or brother begins with a personal encounter with God’s love and an invitation to serve others in this unique way. The process could take anywhere from a few months to a few years. 

Before he became a priest, Father Vien observed the people already in the community in order to understand what it would truly be like. He feels that seeing the way people treat one another and the love and respect they have inspired him and he wanted to join them. 

“They always seemed happy and at peace. Also, I liked how they were always thinking for young people, especially the poor ones,” said Father Vien. 

Although Father Vien loves what he does there are difficulties and challenges he has to face. For Father Vien, the hardest challenge he has to overcome is when he has to listen to someone struggling and he can not help them. He has to trust in God to help them in the ways that he himself could not. He also learned how to have a balance between administration and his pastoral presence. 

“It is just so beautiful to see young people growing up, being successful, and becoming good people,” said Father Vien. 

Father Vien lives on campus in the south hall. He joins the Salesian community at the school every day for prayer, mass, and dinner. 

Father Vien’s favorite part about becoming a Father is celebrating Eucharist, and other sacraments, especially the sacrament of reconciliation, are his favorite. He experienced humility and love through these moments, and they helped him to understand that God alone can make miracles happen when people are most vulnerable. For Father Vien, those moments where God and humans are so close to one another are the most meaningful. 

Father Vien came to campus last week to inform students about the vocation of the religious life led by priests and brothers. Brother Kris who is also a teacher at Bosco knows very much about the background of Father Vien. Brother Kris feels as though Father Vien is a friendly and very open man. He spoke to the fact that he is down to earth and grounded. Father Vien is an extrovert, and he tends to be shy but once you get to know him he’s very open. Father Vien started his religious life in Vietnam and he became a Salesian in Vietnam. His family moved to the United States and he had his final vow here. 

People that inspired Father Vien are his mother who was always encouraging him to be a good Christian for himself and the people around him. Another person was his older friend who has been with him since he was in high school. His friend joined the Salesians of Don Bosco first and then introduced Father Vien to them later.

Around Bosco: St. John Bosco Hosts First Día de los Muertos Event in Two Years

By Nicholas Neoman

Last week, various Bosco clubs and organizations filled the quad in celebration of Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.

Photo by Alex Diaz, Photo Editor

Beginning in the afternoon, pictures of deceased loved ones, candles, marigolds and other treasured paraphernalia packed the quad. These items, of course, made up an “ofrenda” in honor of people in the Saint John Bosco community that passed away. Students and teachers alike came together to assemble these altars and remember the loved ones that they miss.

In the evening, the celebration of life began. Vendors from Bosco sold Mexican food while people from all around the community gathered together. As always in the Salesian tradition, Father Ted and the Youth Ministry team began the event in prayer, asking God to remember those who have passed on. Father Ted passed by each “ofrenda,” raising incense in their honor and blessing their pictures with holy water.

After this prayer service, the festival of life began. Latin music filled the air as people from all around the community started to socialize and celebrate Día de los Muertos. Some students and faculty, who grew up in communities that celebrated Día de los Muertos, felt very at home during the event.

“My family used to take Día de los Muertos very seriously, especially in the factor of not being fearful in the face of death. The only thing that you should fear is God, and death is just a byproduct, and it is actually an entrance to a new world,” said faculty member Mr. Rummel Requerme.

Mr. Requerme described Día de los Muertos as a time when people should not be mourning the loss of loved ones but, rather, celebrate their life and the fact that they are now in the Kingdom of God. Death is not the, end but rather the entrance in which people move into new life. Thus, Día de los Muertos is purely a day to remember when loved ones were reunited with family in paradise.

Others viewed the event as more important in terms of the traditional aspect.

“Growing up, our grandparents, their parents, it’s kind of a way of showing us [our great-grandparents and] their legacy that they left for us and [use] this tradition as a way of remembering those who have passed. You have not known them, but we have their stories, their pictures, and the altar for seeing who they were,” said Mrs. Alejandra Diaz, a Bosco chef.

Mrs. Diaz believes that Día De Los Muertos is there to remind everyone of the people they lost. It is a holiday to remember and cherish the memories people have of loved ones that have passed away. This tradition is an event used to celebrate people’s lives and give them a sense of who they were. By putting their favorite things on the altars, spectators can envision who each person was and what made them so unique to each family.

As the celebration of life continued in the quad, the night roared on with a passionate zeal. Ballet Folklorico dancers filled the area and performed a customary Día De Los Muertos dance. Saint John Bosco was alive with Latin culture everywhere.

As the night started to digress, vendors beginning to pack up and passersby heading home, the “ofrendas” still remained, honoring all of the loved ones who have died. But for most, Día De Los Muertos is a year round event, constantly celebrating the lives of those who have passed on.

Around Bosco: Bosco Football Defeats Servite As Students Celebrate A Homecoming For The Ages

by Aeden Alexander, Sports Editor

Last Friday, the Bosco Braves played their final football game of the regular season against Trinity League rivals, the Servite Friars, as both Bosco and St. Joseph’s High School celebrated their first homecoming since 2019.

Photo by Alex Diaz, Photo Editor

The weekend started under Friday night lights, with Bosco taking on another nationally ranked league opponent in Servite. Both sides played a magnificent game, though the Braves edge out the Friars in the end by a final score 24-10. 

The homecoming court was brought out during halftime and consisted of junior princesses Nicole Milliman and Valerie Moreno as well as senior princesses Judy Uyanne, Brianna Golini and Amy Rincon. During halftime, they would also announce the Homecoming Queen along with a spectacular firework show.

After the court was brought out, it was time to announce the Queen, with the entire stadium rumbling as Judy Uyanne was announced. She was given the coveted tiara as the fireworks were set off capping off an unforgettable night.

“It caught me by surprise. I was not expecting to win. There [were] so many beautiful girls up [there] alongside me, and I was just so happy to even be [there]. But, it was an honor to be named as Homecoming Queen and feel so blessed,” said Homecoming Queen Judy Uyanne.

The following night was the Homecoming dance, which began at 8:00 PM at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia. The venue overlooked the storied horse racing track that has been home to many big races in the past.

When kids got off of their party busses or out of their cars, they had to stand in line waiting to get in. Once they got in the first thing they would do is take an elevator to the dance floor, which had many flashing lights and a loud DJ playing music. But that was not all they had. There were various tables that consisted of an assortment of snacks and drinks.

On either side of the venue, there were outside seating areas which allowed you to have the chance to take a break from all the dancing and talk to your friends for a while before heading back in. 

Or if dancing was not your thing, the venue also had an area that consisted of a bunch of different games that were very popular the entire night. These games were mega Connect Four, mega Jenga, corn hole and even foosball.

The entire night these games were occupied with students full of joy, in addition to people having a blast on the dance floor. The dance lasted all the way until 11:00 PM, and the students took full advantage of it, dancing the night away.

“It was really just a fun overall past two nights. I had an amazing night watching Bosco football get the win as well as spending my Saturday night dancing at homecoming,” said Queen Judy. 

Once the dance ended, all students were dismissed to leave and were then ready to begin their next adventure of Halloween the following night.

Around Bosco: After a Year Apart, Seniors From Bosco and St. Joseph Come Together for the Annual Senior Luau

by Aydn Morris

Polynesian culture has been incorporated into the Salesian community after the fantastic Senior Luau event put together by St. John Bosco and St. Joseph.

Photo by Alex Diaz, Photo Editor

There is absolutely no better way to throw a party that celebrates the seniors of SJ and SJB, than a Hawaiian luau theme. The senior luau was held on Wednesday, October 28, 2021, and started at 6:30pm and concluded at 9:00pm. 

A luau is a Polynesian ritual, the act is meant to socially gather and unite the community in a celebration of a significant event. After losing a year of social interaction due to COVID-19, the luau acted as an incredible opportunity to unite the Bosco and Joseph community together, with both schools having an amazing, as well as unique, high school experience.

The senior luau was a great opportunity for the two schools’ students to come together to meet and get to know more about each other. With both classes having spent a whole year online, it was great for the community to get back together and meet new people.

The luau consisted of a beautiful entertainment performance, with music, dancing and most importantly great food. The performers included three women and one man, who danced and sang for different polynesian countries such as Fiji, New Zealand and many more. The show lasted about an hour long and not only did they perform to the senior class, but they also educated many of them in the polynesian ritual. 

Although the performance as a whole was outstanding, many believed the best part of the performance was the finale. 

The finale began with a man dancing with the fire and performing amazing stunts that definitely should not be done at home. He completed stunts where he had held an inflamed stick with the fire reaching both ends of the stick. His fire performance skills are based on juggling, baton twirling, poi spinning and other forms of object manipulation. He also includes skills such as fire breathing, and body burning. Not only was the performance amazing, but the seniors were very involved and impressed by his performance. The performance went on to gain a vocal interaction out of the seniors screaming out “ahi”, which means fire in Hawaiian. 

Ms. Kelly Blakeman was in charge of being the senior moderator and this is her fifth year organizing the event. Before Ms. Blakeman, Ms. Yates and Mrs. Tracy were both senior moderators. Ms. Blakeman did an excellent job on organizing the senior event along with Ms. Fernandez, and the ASB student board. The senior event was fantastic and it seems as if there will only be more successful ones alike in the near future.

Around Bosco: New Hip-Hop Class Becomes One Of The Most Popular Electives At Bosco

by Jeremiah Davis

St. John Bosco continues to innovate by bringing new courses to campus. One such class that is taking the school by storm is Hip-Hop: Formation, Structure and Production.

St. John Bosco High School has always had a curriculum that is ever evolving and always open to the acquisition of new courses. The new hip-hop class, taught by Mr. Martin Lang and Mr. Ramon Villanueva, had students lining up for the opportunity to learn about one of America’s most significant and influential music genres.

The class has only one available section, but it is filled to capacity with 28 kids. The main goal for this class is to help students learn to write their own lyrics while also teaching them how to record and produce a song from top to bottom. The class instruction is exactly like the students would expect from the name: “Formation, Structure, and Production.”

“The students have particularly enjoyed the overall dynamic of what we are trying to teach them in this class which makes our job easier,” said Mr. Villanueva, Bosco’s Band Director and one of the hip-hop course instructors.

The class was introduced on campus this year and instantly gained interest from a lot of students.

“The class has been very interesting, and I have enjoyed every second of it. Mr. Lang and Mr. Villenueva have been a great help to our learning process in the course,” said D.J. Henry, a senior in the hip hop class.

One of the aspects in the course that has been a favorite for the students is the process of creating their own beats. 

“The purpose of students creating their own beats would be to help them to realize that the beat is the starting point of the entire song.  Without the beat, the lyrics are, in fact, meaningless.  This has also been a very interactive activity which the students have enjoyed sincerely,” said Mr. Lang, Bosco’s Media Production Pathway Coordinator and hip-hop class instructor.  

A couple of students in the class have already begun making their own beats in their spare time. Matayo Uiagalelei, a junior at St. John Bosco most known as a two-way star on the football team, has made his own fair share of beats in the past, including a song that is already out with rising artist, Cuuhraig, titled “Brown Skin.”  

“Having Matayo in the class has been a really cool experience.  Just to see someone who makes beats as much as he does really helps me to elevate my beats on another level,” said senior Jeremiah Belton.  

Overall, in its short time of existence at Bosco, the class has been a major success and many students have taken full advantage of the course and all its opportunities. The diversity of the course has been a major factor in attracting students from a variety of different grade levels as well.

“I think the coolest thing about the course is that, although it is an elective that involves mostly seniors, there are students from the sophomore and junior classes that are interested in the course as well,” said senior Malachi Finau.  

All students are welcome to join the course next semester. The popularity for the course seems to be on the rise every day, which only means that more and more participants are ready and eager to join.

Around Bosco: Bosco E-Sports Unveils Brand New, State-of-the-Art Gaming Room

By Ethan Gibbs

In partnership with the technology giant Razer, St. John Bosco invested in its growing E-sports program with a pristine gaming room, equaling several thousands of dollars.

Photo by Alex Diaz, Photo Editor

The brand new E-sports room is filled with top-of-the-line equipment, including 20 personal computers (PCs), three Xboxes, three PlayStations and three Nintendo Switches.

This new room, located on the third floor of the 200 building, is a significant improvement over the previous E-sports facility. Previously, E-sports was based in the 300 building computer lab, and their computers were too weak to run most video games, leading them to only be able to compete in one video game, League of Legends.

However, the new, stronger computers, can run any game that is currently on the market. For example, the games that are now offered for the E-sports team in addition to League of Legends are Valorant, Overwatch, Fortnite, Smite, Rocket League and Splatoon.

The new E-sports room has helped increase the interest in E-sports from Bosco students. Since last fall, the Esports team has gained at least 15 new members.

“I believe E-sports is growing. The gaming industry is about four billion dollars in the world, and with so many different games and growth, there are so many jobs. There is a lot of opportunity there,” said Coach Giangualano, the head coach of the E-sports team.

Joining the Esports team is easy. In order to try out, all one has to do is find one of the many QR codes that are distributed throughout the school.

This recent growth of E-sports and the gaming industry has sparked an increased interest in E-sports at high schools. Some schools are now starting to follow Bosco’s lead and take it seriously, but one thing is for sure: the Braves will be unrivaled in terms of the equipment and facilities at their disposal.

Around Bosco: Students Learn Horticulture In Bosco’s New Community Garden

by Dominic Ramirez

Following the construction of a 6,000 square foot garden, St. John Bosco is getting students more involved in the food-making process with agriculture classes and a Horticulture Club.

Photo by Alex Diaz, Photo Editor

The garden is located beyond the left field fence of the baseball field. Construction of the garden, which consists of eight planter beds, one vineyard and one citrus orchard, broke ground in January and was completed over the Summer.

In the wake of the new garden’s construction, students founded the Horticulture Club, which is open to anyone on campus who is passionate about plants and gardening. In addition, agriculture classes are available to juniors and seniors.

Prominent figures involved with the horticulture program at St. John Bosco include Mr. Nathan Corkhill, moderator of the Horticulture Club, Mrs. Diaz, a master chef and leader of the Bosco Bread Company, and Ms. Aleshire, a master gardener who helps with gardens in schools across Los Angeles.

The food grown in the garden is sold in the student store in menu items such as breakfast burritos or zucchini bowls, which can be bought and eaten by the entire student body.

“The original design is built for growing food on campus that students can have for lunch and snack, which gives students a farm-to-table experience,” said Mr. Corkhill.

Students in the agriculture class learn about plants and get hands-on experience in the garden as well as the kitchen. The experience of growing and cooking their own food prompts healthy eating among the student body and teaches valuable life skills.

The garden was also recently sponsored by Whole Kids, which is a non-profit organization established by Whole Foods. The Whole Kids foundation is dedicated to helping kids eat healthier, nutrient-rich food.

Even though agricultural classes are only for upperclassmen, students can still participate in activities through the Horticulture Club.

“The [agriculture] class and the [horticulture] club are very similar, but if you are into it [the club] can be as an extension of the class. There is a lot more cooking and planting in the club,” said Kaimana Storch, president of the Horticulture Club.

If any students are interested in joining the Horticulture Club, contact Mr. Corkhill at

Life of a Brave: 21 Questions With New Activities Director Mrs. Mayra Fernandez

by Andrew Fierro, Managing Editor

St. John Bosco is delighted to welcome Mrs. Mayra Fernandez, Activities Director, Spanish teacher and St. Joseph High School alumnus, to the Brave community.

Q. What college did you attend, when did you graduate, what did you study and why did you choose to study that?

A. I attended California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), and graduated in 2007. Although my original major was math and Spanish was my minor, after a trip to Argentina, I decided to change my major to Spanish. I then graduated with a Bachelor of the Arts (BA) in Spanish.

Q. What brought your interest in becoming an activities director? 

A. Although I love teaching Spanish, I also love to plan and organize events. I love supporting my students in and outside of the classroom. I am always at their games and events, so it seemed like the right fit for me.

Q. How did you find St. John Bosco and what made you interested in working here? 

A. I attended St. Joseph High School and taught there for 7 years. As a junior moderator, I would plan events with Bosco and I just loved the campus. It has always had a great reputation, so it was always my goal to work here. Also, the fact that it is less than 10 mins away from my house is an extra bonus. 

Q. What is your favorite part about St. John Bosco thus far, why? 

A. My favorite part about Bosco is working with my friend Ms. Schnorr and spending more time with my nephew, Isaac Aguilar, who is a senior.

Q. What is your favorite aspect of your job as an activities director? 

A. I love the adrenaline rush of planning and executing events. I’m always trying to make it the best experience possible for students, as well as learning from my mistakes in order to make events better the next time. But most of all, I love working with Associated Student Board (ASB). These gentlemen are amazing. They make me laugh, and I love to see them shine at what they do best. 

Q. What do you enjoy most about being back at school in person? 

A. I enjoy getting to build relationships and really know my students – not just their ceiling fans.

Q. What activity or activities are you most looking forward to and why? 

A. I’m most looking forward Día de Los Muertos. I began to come to this event when my children were small, and the school has always done a marvelous job putting this event together. 

Q. What accomplishment are you most proud of, and what makes you proud of this accomplishment? 

A. My most proud accomplishment is having my two boys. They are my pride and joy.

Q. Favorite music, artist, or genre? 

A. I am all over the place when it comes to music, but I do love Spanish rock and 90’s alternative rock the most.

Q. Favorite movie/movies? 

A. Horror movies are my favorite, especially anything with zombies and vampires.

Q. What are your favorite colors/colors? 

A. My favorite colors are mint green and teal.

Q. Where is your favorite place to eat? 

A. My favorite place to eat is Thai BBQ, in Cerritos.

Q. Favorite sport and team? 

A. I like soccer, and I cheer for Mexico during the World Cup. I also like Baseball. Go Dodgers!

Q. Where did you grow up? 

A. I grew up in Santa Fe Springs, CA.

Q. Do you have any pets? 

A. I have one dog, Titan, and two fish, Jimmy Jr. and Fishy.

Q. Do you have any hobbies? 

A. I like trying to find new and better ways to organize my home.

Q. If you could go on vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go? 

A. I would go to Machu Picchu, Perú as well as Greece and Egypt.

Q. What is your favorite holiday? 

A. I love Halloween. Dressing up in family-themed costumes, the decorations, the horror movies, trick-or-treating and pumpkin carving are awesome. I also like Día de Los Muertos. I enjoy making an altar, remembering our loved ones, and passing down traditions to my sons.

Q. Do you have any favorite TV shows? 

A. My favorite TV shows are the Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead.

Q. Do you have any favorite video games if you play them? 

A. I do not play video games. I can’t even pass the first level in the original Mario Bros. However, I was pretty good at Duck Hunt as a child. 

Q. Did you play any sports growing up? 

A. As a child, I was in ballet, tap, and gymnastics. I was a baton twirler for eleven years. In Junior High, I played basketball, volleyball and softball. In high school, I was on the swim team.

Around Bosco: Triduum Week Returns To Spread “Brave Love”

by Eric Torres, Editor-in-Chief

In keeping with Salesian tradition, St. John Bosco celebrated Triduum this week, a period of self-reflection and preparation for a new school year, which includes the release of the new strenna for 2021-2022. 

The word “Triduum” itself is defined as a three day preparation for an event. The most notable is the Paschal Triduum, or the three day period that precedes Easter Sunday. The Salesians of Don Bosco, however, observe another Triduum, one which is observed in September and is celebrated by the release of a strenna. 

The strenna, which is taken from the Italian word for gift, is a theme that students and members of the Salesian community strive to live by. This year, the strenna released by the Salesians of Don Bosco was: “Do all through love, nothing through constraint.” At St. John Bosco High School, however, it is adapted to align more with the school community. Thus, at Bosco, the strenna amended, while still maintaining its general meaning: “Brave love still stands, even when all else has failed.” 

“We wanted to make our strenna something that is more personal for us. We get to live out the same prayers that St. John Bosco used to give the same spirit and joy to the students, and we want to carry that tradition,” said Brother Quang Nguyen, Bosco’s director of Campus Youth Ministry. 

Although COVID-19 regulations have limited some of the more festive celebrations of the Triduum at Bosco, the three-day period still has a lot of spiritual value. At St. John Bosco, students had the opportunity to reflect, go to Reconciliation, and celebrate Mass, which was the first event on campus with the new strenna. 

Furthermore, Triduum Week is important to the St. John Bosco High School community because it is vital in kicking off the school year the right way. 

“Triduum Week really sets off the entire theme for the whole school year in good spirits,” said Nicholas Neoman, ASB’s Youth Delegate of Campus Ministry.

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