Category Archives: Around Bosco

Life of a Brave: 21 Questions with the Newest Member of the Athletic Training Team, Kiana Gleason

by Matthew Parsons

This year, St. John Bosco welcomes Kiana Gleason, certified athletic trainer, to the community.

Photo by Alex Diaz, Photo Editor

Q. Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

A. I grew up in Oxnard, California, which is about an hour north of Los Angeles.

Q. Where did you go to college?

A. I got my bachelor’s degree from Loyola Marymount University and my master’s degree from California Baptist University.

Q. What made you want to work as an athletic trainer?

A. During high school I knew I wanted to do something in the medical field. My high school was small and didn’t have athletic trainers, so I had no idea what an athletic trainer was until my mom told me about the profession. I looked into it and loved it. It was the perfect combination of sports and healthcare.

Q. What is your favorite and least favorite part of being an athletic trainer?

A. My favorite part of being an athletic trainer is working closely with athletes during their rehabilitation and watching them get stronger and get back to performing on the field/court. My least favorite part is the administrative duties that come with it such as dealing with insurance and other paperwork. 

Q. Where have you worked previously?

A. Prior to St. John Bosco, I had a short-term position at Loyola Marymount University for about 4 months. Before LMU, I was working at San Bernardino Valley College.

Q. How long have you worked as an athletic trainer?

A. I have worked as an athletic trainer for five years.

Q. How did you come across St. John Bosco?

A. I was actually contacted by a family friend who was told that St. John Bosco was looking for a certified athletic trainer and at the time I was looking for work, so I just went for it.

Q. How has your time at St. John Bosco been so far?

A. So far it has been great! All the faculty and staff have been very welcoming.

Q. What do you think of Bosco and it’s students?

A. I think Bosco is a great school. This is my first time working at an all boys school, so it was a little different in the beginning but I’ve gotten used to it. The students are awesome. Never a dull moment with them.

Q. Who was your role model growing up? 

A. I would have to say my mom. She’s very loving and kind, and has always supported me in everything I do. She also showed me how to have a strong work ethic and to always persevere.

Q. Do you have any siblings? 

A. Yes, I have an older brother.

Q. What are your hobbies? 

A. I love music, so I really enjoy just listening to music and going to concerts. I also like doing outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, and roller skating.

Q. What is your favorite food?

A. I really love seafood. I eat almost all seafood, including fish, crab, shrimp and mussels.

Q. Are you a morning or night person?

A. I’m a night owl. 

Q. Do you have any pets?

A. I don’t, but I want a dog.

Q. What is your favorite movie or TV show? 

A. My favorite TV show is The Office, it never gets old.

Q. What is your favorite sport and what team is your favorite?

A. Basketball is probably my favorite sport, and my favorite team is the Lakers.

Q. Do you have a favorite athlete?

A. My favorite athlete is definitely Kobe Bryant.

Q. Did you play any sports in high school, and if so, what did you play?

A. I did. I played basketball, soccer, tennis, and ran track.

Q. What type of music do you enjoy?

A. I enjoy mostly R&B and Hip-Hop.

Around Bosco: Club Carnival Returns To Widespread Excitement

by Eric Torres, Editor-In-Chief

St. John Bosco High School hosts its first Club Carnival in two years after a long drought caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Wednesday, students had the opportunity to participate in clubs around the campus and get more involved with the school. 

Twenty-nine clubs, representing many different students’ interests, filled the quad with each club having a table designed with posters and other decorations. From Tribe Robotics to the International Club, students had a wide variety of options. Hundreds of students, of all grade levels, signed up to participate in clubs with many students joining multiple clubs. 

At St. John Bosco, every student has the opportunity to start or join a club that piques their interests. If a student finds that there is no club for them, all they need to do is find a teacher to moderate and they can start their own club. Although clubs are student-ran, staff members are still active members of the club process. 

“Teachers wanted to get more involved with clubs, and we went from 16 to almost 30 clubs. So it doesn’t just stop with the students, the staff wants the student’s to be more involved,” said Diego de la Cerda, Club Coordinator for the Senior Board.

On campus, clubs are important for many different reasons. First, students can take ownership over the club’s operations. Although there is a teacher moderator, students have to take the initiative to keep the clubs running. In addition, having clubs allows for students to be more involved on campus, especially because clubs naturally surround students with other peers who hold similar interests.

“I think clubs and activities are a huge part of student life. It is a great way to grow as a person and a great way for students to make friends,” said Activities Director Ms. Mayra Fernandez.

It appeared that clubs had sparked more interest than usual, as tables for most of the clubs were crowded with students. After such a harsh year and a half, the club carnival provided a beautiful reminder of what campus life was like before the pandemic. Possibly, a return to school for the first time since early 2020 sparked the Brave student body to be more interested in joining clubs.

“After 18 months of being inside and not being engaging with other students, it’s exciting to be with each other. It’s joyful. It brings an energy,” said Mr. Edward Torre, a moderator of Bosco’s Filipino Club, which had at least 50 student sign-ups this year.

Ultimately, clubs represent what St. John Bosco is all about, capturing the brotherhood that makes our school unlike any other.

“Having clubs means that we can achieve our mission here at St. John Bosco, which is to bring joy to the young, whether it be through academics, sports, culture or clubs,” said Mr. Torre.

With most of the student body being new to Bosco’s campus, this event gave them a great opportunity to meet new peers and really expand their horizons to figure out who they are and how to make the most of their Bosco experiences. 

Life of a Brave: 21 Questions with New Teacher and Baseball Assistant Coach A.J. LaMonda

by Aeden Alexander, Sports Editor

St. John Bosco welcomes Mr. A.J. LaMonda to the community, a teacher of anatomy and physiology as well as an assistant baseball coach.

Q. What college did you attend and what did you study?

A. I attended Loyola Marymount University, and I studied anatomy, physiology and biology.

Q.  Who is your favorite athlete and why?

A. My favorite athlete is Bo Jackson, who is the greatest athlete of all time. Just go watch highlights; the man was a monster in the NFL and MLB

Q. What schools did you coach and teach at before Bosco?

A. I started coaching at the Webb School, then got a job coaching at Servite and then I got a job at Orange Lutheran, where I was a science teacher and coach.

Q.  Why did you choose to teach anatomy and physiology?

A. It’s what I got my degree in, and I love how it relates to athletics. Thank you to St John Bosco for giving me my favorite subject to teach!

Q. What is your favorite type of food?

A. My favorites are home cooked meals, preferably on the barbecue!

Q.  Morning or Night person and why?

A. I am a morning person. I love the morning because it’s much more quiet and peaceful and makes me feel like I’m not wasting my day.

Q. For how long have you been teaching and coaching?

A. This is my fifth year teaching and eleventh year coaching (ten in the Trinity League).

Q.  Did you play any other sports outside of baseball that you loved and wish you continued?

A. I played football and basketball, but my love was volleyball

Q. How long did you play baseball and what was your favorite memory?

A. I played baseball from age three until I retired at 24. My favorite memory was hitting a grand slam in the first inning of the WCC Championship Game vs Pepperdine. The crowd went crazy and it was exhilarating, unfortunately we lost the game, but I usually keep that part out of the story.

Q. What are your favorite sports teams?

A. My favorite college team is the Florida State Seminoles, and my favorite professional team is the Los Angeles Angels.

Q. Where were you born and grew up?

A. I was born and raised in Orange, California.

Q. Do you like coaching or teaching more and why?

A. That’s a trick question. The simple answer is both, but they each have their advantages. Coaching is amazing because it’s the sport I grew up playing. Teaching is amazing because you get to know the students/people on a different level. You see how they interact with their peers and you can connect with them on different levels

Q. What’s your least favorite thing about both coaching a sport and teaching?

A. My least favorite part of coaching is Picture Day (easy), and my least favorite thing about teaching is grading (haha!).

Q. With your free time outside of coaching and teaching, what do you like to do?

A. Free Time? What’s that? If I have any, I enjoy spending as much time as I can with my almost four-year-old daughter

Q. What made you choose to come to St. John Bosco and what excites you the most about it?

A. I have known Coach Barbara for almost 18 years, and he has been a very close friend. He helped inform me of a science position that was open and here I am. What excites me is getting to teach, coach and make a difference in the lives of these young men.

Q. What was your preparation like coming into a new school and coaching job?

A. Preparation was a little difficult, as I accepted the teaching position at the end of summer. But getting used to new technology, learning platforms, etc. Coaching just making sure what my role is and doing it to the best of my ability.

Q. What position did you play and why?

A. I played everywhere. I went wherever the team and my coaches wanted me. My favorite position was shortstop and centerfield.

Q. What’s your favorite thing about teaching and coaching?

A. My favorite thing about teaching and coaching is the atmosphere, the competition, the knowledge and the passion.

Q. Growing up, who was your role model?

A. My father was my role model.

Q. What are your goals for this upcoming school year?

A. I’d like to strengthen my faith, become more knowledgeable and continue my professional development on and off the field.

Q. Who is your favorite movie or TV show?

A. I am a huge movie guy so this is tough, but it would have to be Field of Dreams.

Around Bosco: Bosco Community Rejoices As On-Campus Learning Returns

by Aydn Morris

After a long 522-day wait, St. John Bosco High School has finally completely reopened for on-campus learning.

On May 13, 2020, St. John Bosco closed their school campus due to the spread COVID-19. As of Aug 17, 2021, St. John Bosco has officially reopened their whole campus for all students and staff, but still has to hold strict restrictions due to the Los Angeles County Health Guidelines.

As everyone would expect, the school wants to be able to have the campus open for the entirety of the school year. This would mean that there will have to be health and safety restrictions and complete cooperation between students, teachers and staff.

“The best way to keep everyone safe is to follow the rules with mask and if there is  any sort of symptomatic feeling of COVID-19 to not come to school because it would be safer for everyone, even if it feels like it’s a sacrifice to make,” said newly appointed Vice Principal of Student Affairs, Mrs. Jen Schnorr.

The school is asking for this because if anyone were to come to school with COVID-19, it could very easily spread and become unsafe for the students to attend school on campus. A COVID-19 outbreak is considered 3 or more cases that are linked together. If an outbreak were to ever happen the whole school would have to go into quarantine and switch back to online. This could heavily affect the students that are involved in any sports, clubs and student activities. 

“Having an outbreak would mean that sports teams could have games postponed or even cancelled, and senior activities as well could be cancelled or postponed. But as long as everyone can stay safe, all activities will go as planned,” said Mrs. Schnorr.

Although the vaccine is not required to attend school, there is a difference in the close contact guidelines for someone who is vaccinated in comparison to someone who is unvaccinated. 

“If you are in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 [anyone who has been around them for 15 minutes and six feet away], you would have to be contact traced by the school. If you are vaccinated, you are cleared to stay at school as long as you don’t come up with any symptoms. If you are unvaccinated, you automatically have to go in quarantine for eight days, even if you don’t have any symptoms and come up with a negative test,” said Mrs. Schnorr.

The upside to being vaccinated would be not having to miss any of school, practices or games if the student tested negative for COVID-19, but the student still will have the same restrictions in keeping their mask on at all times. The school is doing their best to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 by holding all events outside, such as pep rallies, mass, homecoming and dances. Also, every L.A. county student-athlete has to get tested weekly, vaccinated or not.

In the 2021 Spring semester, students and staff were allowed back on campus but not at full capacity. Not having the school at full capacity really diminished the Bosco brotherhood because not all students had attended at the same time, which led to less communication between the students. 

“The reopening has strengthened our bonds again because being away for a year and a half has definitely pulled us apart brotherhood wise so it definitely affects us in a positive way,” said junior Manuel Huerta.

Not only was the Bosco brotherhood and communication affected by online learning, but the students’ grades were impacted, as well. Many of the students have said that learning online brought up too many distractions and temptations to overcome. Most, if not all, of the students and teachers prefer face-to-face interactions with each other, rather than looking at a screen.

The reopening of St. John Bosco has been fantastic so far. If any students are having trouble with the rough times, there are always people on campus who are available to help, such as Counseling Partners of Los Angeles (CPLA) and the counselors.

Around Bosco: Bosco’s Brand New Weightroom Fit For A Brave

by Ian Cook

St. John Bosco announces a new and improved strength and conditioning facility just as the 2021-2022 school year and athletic seasons kick off.

A brand new, state of the art Strength and Conditioning Center will open at St. John Bosco High School in just a few days. Although the Pandemic has put many obstacles in front of Bosco, this has not stopped the school from working toward the goal of helping boys become men in all facets of the academic and athletic experience.

The school received brand new dumbbells, bumper plates branded with the St. John Bosco Brave logo, squat racks, leveled out rubber flooring and more modern technology.

“We have a camera system coming in that will record every athlete’s reps, sets and also track their speed and velocity so that our guys will have something to shoot toward,” said Steven Lo, the football program’s offensive coordinator and the school’s Strength and Conditioning Coordinator.

Bosco decided to start this new project so that students can be prepared for what college athletic programs have in store for them in the future. Furthermore, the Strength and Conditioning Program has always focused on doing all they can to ensure students have the opportunities to reach their fullest potentials. 

“Facilities are one of the things that the school takes pride in. Anytime we can take advantage of building something that can match the school’s motto of students becoming the best version of themselves, we want to do that as much as possible,” Lo said. 

With this new Strength and Conditioning Center, Bosco hopes to continue to accomplish the goals they set out for their students, but also to progress and become the best school they can be. However, this wouldn’t have been possible without the contribution from the considerate donors who made this remodel possible. 

Most of the donors were St. John Bosco alumni and parents of current students. With the donations, Bosco worked with PLAE, a company that builds and remodels college and NFL weight rooms. PLAE has worked with many big institutions, such as The University of Maryland, Vanderbilt University, The University of Miami and Purdue University, to name a few. After seeing PLAE’s work, St. John Bosco decided to start this new project so that students can be prepared for what college has in store for them in the future. 

After the school announcement of the remodel of the new Strength and Conditioning Center, the Bosco community is excited to see what impact it will have on the our athletics and strength and conditioning programs. Although, the student-athletes themselves are more excited to specifically see how this new facility will improve their individual overall athletic performance. 

The football team has been looking forward to the day it opens, as they have already begun their 2021-2022 season with victories over Miami Central and Alemany High Schools. The program is glad that this remodel arrived when it may matter most.

“Like Coach Lo told us during our lift the other day, I am looking forward to the weight room because it’s come at the right time and will help make this year even more special then it already is,” said Malachi Finau, a senior defensive linemen.

With considerate donors as well as thoughtful coaches and administrators, St. John Bosco has continued to put a significant amount of effort into making our school the ultimate destination for male student-athletes. 

News/Op-Ed: Pfizer First Again, Vaccine Approved by the Food and Drug Administration Ahead of Bosco’s Vaccination Drive

by Andrew Fierro, Managing Editor

As the COVID-19 Delta variant continues to surge, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine became FDA approved, which in turn has led to a rise in vaccinations as there is less hesitancy amongst the citizens.

Photo by Getty Images

On December 11th 2020, the Pfizer vaccine was authorized under “Emergency Use Authorization” (EUA) for individuals of the age 16 or older. Since this time, many people in the United States have chosen to get vaccinated, though a large number of people have waited as they are hesitant due to the absence of an FDA approval. However, this all changed on August 23rd, as the FDA have now fully approved the use of the vaccine.

The vaccine will now be advertised as Comirnaty, which is now the new full name of the vaccine. This comes from an agglomeration of the words “COVID-19 immunity.”

With the Delta variant becoming more and more prominent in the country, the FDA approval could not have come at a better time, as people who were hesitant are now feeling a lot more confident in the vaccine. Since the approval, the vaccination numbers have increased with more and more people continuing to become vaccinated everyday.

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey taken in June, a third of unvaccinated people said that they would be much more likely to receive the vaccination if it was FDA approved. With more people becoming vaccinated, the chances of a return normalcy in the U.S. are at an all-time high.

Since the approval of the vaccine, numbers for the vaccine have improved significantly, and many attribute that to the FDA approval. The amount of people receiving the vaccine per day has increased from 260,000 to 450,000 in the last month.

This increase in vaccinations comes at a dire time, as the Delta variant continues to surge, with vaccinations being the best way to defend against it. With these vaccinations, the amount of symptoms contracted by COVID-19 are significantly less and weakened, vastly outweighing any health risk for the average person.

Alongside the FDA approval, there has been continued support from many health officials and even political officials, including both former-President Trump and current-President Joe Biden, who were two of the first people to receive the vaccine publicly.

The vaccine is also available to children from ages twelve to 15 under EUA which has helped slow the spread of the virus immensely. With schools starting to re-open, safety is of utmost importance and having these children vaccinated makes it so the schools will not only be able to re-open but stay open.

If you are located in the Bellflower area, some local places that you can safely acquire the Pfizer vaccine are, Walgreens Co. 15740 Woodruff Ave, Bellflower, CA 90706-4018, Rite Aid 15924 Bellflower Boulevard, Bellflower, CA 90706-4602 and CVS Pharmacy, Inc. 11011 Alondra Boulevard, Norwalk, CA 90650. 

St. John Bosco High School will be also be providing both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for all students who are interested and have parental permission from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM in the gym this evening.

Life of A Brave: 21 Questions With First-Year Teacher And Bosco Alum Mr. Ruben Solorza

by Eric Torres, Editor-in-Chief

St. John Bosco welcomes back alumnus Mr. Ruben Solorza, a 2012 CIF Champion in cross country and member of the class of 2013.

Q. Where are you from, and what schools did you go to for elementary/middle school?

A. I am from Whittier, California. I attended St. Bruno’s Elementary, in Whittier, from Kindergarten all the way to 8th grade. 

Q. Did you play any sports or do any extracurriculars in high school?

A. I tried out wrestling for one season (yikes), and then ran cross country and track for three years after that. I occasionally helped out with The Brave newspaper as well.

Q. What are some things you wish you could have done differently in high school, and why?

A. I wish I would have developed better study habits early on. This would have helped me perform better as well, but I guess that’s all part of growing up. 

Q. What was your favorite memory of high school?

A. My favorite high school memory was winning the 2012 State Championship for Cross Country with my team. It was an amazing experience.

Q. Are you currently involved in any clubs or sports here at St. John Bosco, and if so, which ones and why?

A. I am the assistant coach for Cross Country and track. I’m also looking forward to helping out in the garden (shoutout to Mr. Corkhill).

Q. Where did you go to college, when did you graduate, and what was your major?

A. I went to Whittier College and was a double major in Environmental Science and Psychology. I graduated in 2017.

Q. What was your favorite memory of college?

A. My favorite college memory was getting to compete at the national level for NCAA in cross country. I enjoyed traveling with the team to different cities. Also, studying abroad in Denmark with great people was a lot of fun.

Q. Were you involved in any organizations in college, and if so, what?

A. Aside from cross country and track I was a part of the sustainability club and the culture center. In the cultural center, we put on a lot of events for different cultures. The food was great too.

Q. What brought you back to St. John Bosco and what excites you the most about teaching here?

A. This place is a second home to me, and everyone here is like my family. Of course, there are rough days, but I always leave this place each day feeling good about myself and the day. I love that I get to teach what I am passionate about and feel very thankful for this opportunity. It is the perfect place for me to learn and improve in my teaching career.

Q. What subject do you teach, where have you taught before St. John Bosco, and how long have you been teaching?

A. I teach Environmental Science as well as the AP course. Before Bosco, I taught two years at the elementary level in the Los Angeles Unified School District. I have gone from helping kindergarten kids open milk cartons to well… still helping kids open milk cartons here at Bosco.

Q. Why teach environmental science, and how did you discover that this is what you wanted to do?

A. I love that it can be very hands on and engaging with fun labs and visuals. I also find it very relevant to our everyday lives. Growing up, my family loved the outdoors and we were always exploring the country. I have to thank my family for planting the seeds of interest there.

Q. What is your favorite part of being both a coach and a teacher, and why?

A. I love that I can really get to know the student body as a whole now. I feel I am a full member of this community again, and it’s exciting. I am still adjusting to being called “Mr. Solorza.” That will take some time.

Q. Do you enjoy traveling, and what is your favorite place that you have traveled to?

A. Absolutely! I am always always planning something. It is hard to say, but when I went to Hawaii for school in college, it was an amazing experience. We got to visit many great landmarks and stayed in a five-star hotel one night, which I will never forget. It also started my coffee addiction when we visited a coffee plantation.

Q. Where is one place you’ve never been to but want to go to, and why?

A. I have to pick two: Germany for the Berlin Marathon and for the history of the country, and Switzerland for the Alps! I have always wanted to go down one of those sleds on the mountains; it looks fun.

Q. What are some of your hobbies, and why do you enjoy doing them?

A. I love fishing and camping. I have been going with my family since I was very little. I also enjoy playing pickup sports games. I am always down for competition and often meetup with my alumni group for sports days.

Q. Do you enjoy sports, and if so, what are your favorite sports and sports teams?

A. I watch them all, but my favorite sports teams are the Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Eagles, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Lakers, USA men’s soccer and Bayern Munich. I also enjoy playing fantasy football.

Q. What types of music do you like, and who are some of your favorite music artists or bands?

A. I listen to a lot of different types thanks to my parents. Favorites would be The Beatles, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Queen, Blink-182 and Sam Cooke. Basically, if you tell me to listen to something I am going to check it out and most likely enjoy it.

Q. What is your favorite food or restaurant?

A. I like anything barbecue. Also, my favorite post race meal was a classic burger, fries, and coke.

Q. What is your favorite holiday and why?

A. My favorite holiday is Christmas. I love when everything is decorated and Christmas music. I definitely will be decorating my classroom when the holidays come around.

Q. Do you have any pets, and if not, what pet would you like to have?

A. I have a dog and a turtle. The turtle just goes about his business every day and eats. However, I have always wanted a chameleon.

Q. What are your favorite movies and TV shows?

A. My favorite shows are The Office, Ted Lasso and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. My favorite movies are The Dark Knight, The Other Guys and Rudy.

Around Bosco: As Los Angeles County Enters The Yellow Tier, Bosco Prepares TO Return To Normality Next School Year

by Joseph Theisen

As the percentage of the population that is vaccinated raises, COVID-19 restrictions fall, but what does this mean for Bosco students?

There are many changes for the better in the yellow-tier; music classes can now play wind instruments indoors and outdoors, theater classes are allowed to host indoor productions, high contact sports are now fully allowed indoors, and can have minimal spectators, and athletes no longer have to get weekly covid tests if previously required.

Mr. Adan Jaramillo, the Interim Principal, is excited to finally see a decline into what has been one of the most detrimental viruses.

“Moving into the yellow indicates that the county (L.A. County) is moving in the right direction to best mitigate the spread of the virus. The vaccinations have played a major role in how our county has been given less restrictions and been able to do more as a school” Mr. Jaramillo said.

If things continue on a downward trend, it is predicted that Los Angeles County will be in the green-tier by June. Foreseeing these factor, Bosco has decided to take action and create a plan that would benefit all students and take all precautions when coming back next school year.

“All activities and school operations will resume traditionally as we did before the pandemic. However we are challenged to look at how we operated and be innovative. 7 periods throughout the semester, white periods 1-7, blue 1-4, gold 5-7 with an X period. X periods will be community time, late start, or academic support” said Mr. Jaramillo, laying out the plans for the next school year.

In one of the strangest school years in recent history, the SJB staff and students have succeeded in the face of adversity. One of the factors that has allowed the school to prevail during times where everyone needs each other, being recognized by the people of administration.

“Our staff have been working so hard to be safe, be cautious, and provide the best education for all of our young men. Our teachers have rocked transitioning into COVID and coming back to campus. As a school our teachers shifted their entire paradigm of teaching and rocked it! As a Bosco Family we have gone through so many challenges, transitions, and changes. However, we are resilient and will continue to meet the moment. We are ready to bring all our brothers back to campus,” Mr. Jaramillo said.

But it’s not just business for the Interim principal, Mr. Jaramillo, as he is also excited to feel safe while socializing with his family and friends, and to see his two-year old make new friends at parks and other social settings. Bosco is a community that could never be separated and has proven to accommodate to in the most difficult of times. When coming back in the fall, students can be guaranteed to have a support program that they can lean on in their very own community.

Around Bosco: Mr. Torre’s Heroics Help Over 40 Seniors To Have A Once-In-A- Lifetime Experience At An Unexpected Kairos 51

by Diego Santizo, Sports Editor

In what seemed impossible at the time, the senior count went up from thirteen to forty-two in the dying minutes of the deadline to allow a Kairos to successfully take place, and all the credit goes to Mr. Torre for making it happen!

The deadline to sign up for Kairos was on April 14th at 11:59 PM. There needed to be at least twenty-five people signed up for Kairos in order for the retreat to take place. It was 8:00 PM and there were only thirteen people signed up. The events that would follow would be what everyone called a “miracle”.

Mr. Torre would end up texting most – if not all – the senior class on Google Chat promoting the event and giving financial assistance to anyone who needed it. After a series of texts and texts, he fell asleep hoping for the best. When he woke up the following morning, it was 6:00 AM and the deadline was over. He hesitantly checked to see if Kairos would be a go and to his surprise the new amount of seniors who signed up for Kairos were up to forty-two! It was indeed a miracle!

Current St. John Bosco Interim Principal Mr. Jaramillo praised Mr. Torre’s miracle-working skills, as Mr. Torre showcased his true Salesian spirit.

“Only Mr. Torre can pull of a miracle equivalent to the miracle of Christmas as he pulled of the miracle of the pandemic with Kairos successfully taking place. Only he has the energy to bring us together in a time like this so he truly is the Kairos miracle maker,” said Mr. Jaramillo

Mr. Torre’s passion and motivation were the x-factors as twenty-nine seniors signed up for Kairos in the dying hours of the deadline day and he credits two sources.

“The first source was my own experience in Kairos as a faculty/staff member and my experience was made by people’s shoulders who I stand on and if it wasn’t for people like Mr. Jaramillo, Ms. Tracy, and Ms. Day who began the Kairos program here at Bosco then my experience wouldn’t of happened,” said Torre.

Mr. Torre credited his second source to the students, and he pointed out that if it wasn’t for their desires to share their stories to their fellow classmates, then his passion and motivation for hosting a Kairos would have been absent during the dying hours of the deadline.

Bosco’s 2021 Youth Delegate Pedro Ochoa was grateful for the opportunity as he was 1 of the 6 student leaders who took part in Kairos 51.

“Kairos meant a lot to me, especially for it being my first time leading it. This miraculous kairos showed that anything is possible. Mr. Torre is a person that always puts others in front of himself and it showed during the whole process of planning and successfully pulling off this event. This Kairos proved it as he dedicated so much time for the senior class even though there was a major possibility that it may not happen at all,” said Ochoa.

A few days later, COVID-19 testing took place on campus, and the following day, Kairos was a go! Seniors spent 3 days and 2 nights isolated with one another enjoying a nice distraction from everything that was happening to them outside the designated area. Those 3 days were described by many seniors as “life changing”.

Bosco senior and Kairos participant, Anthony Mejia, could not be more satisfied with the experience and life-changing opportunities he was able to experience.

“It’s definitely a life changing experience that you’ll remember for the rest of your life and really makes you grow closer with your Bosco brothers,” said Anthony.

Kairos not only leaves an impact on current participants, but also on alumni and current leaders. Key Club President and Kairos student leader Hector Andrade had a good way of describing Mr. Torre’s heroics, as he was able to join the retreat as a leader.

“Mr Torre best put it, ‘We were a QB who was always scrambling since the 1st quarter, every play.’ But at the end of the day we got the win. Mr Torre’s dedication and love towards Kairos is the reason why he’s such an influential part of bosco, he pulled through adversity all for this 2021 senior class and I am very thankful,” said Hector.

The praise of Mr. Torre doesn’t only start and end with the students as the faculty and staff were just as impressed as the seniors were with Mr. Torre’s heroics.

Mr. Salmingo points out the work Mr. Torre had to do, that not many people know of, and how little praise Mr. Torre gest for it.

“Behind the scenes there is so much that has to be taken care off that people forget and the participants never notice due to how good the presentation of Kairos turned out to be so I gave huge kudos to Mr. Torre for taking care of the ugly and turning it into something beautiful,” said Mr. Salmingo.

Mr. Salmingo has a good point when mentioning the “behind the scenes” action because Mr. Torre’s hectic schedule consisted of calling the retreat center back and forth multiple times, making arrangements to visit the retreat center himself to see if the seniors would like it, helping the student leaders with their talks, planning every second of Kairos from the bus trip there to the events that took place and those were just a few of the many tasks he dealt with all in the span of one week.

Bosco counselor, Ms. Yesenia Moreno, decided to add Kairos to her “to-do” list for the future as a result of watching how passionate Mr. Torre and the students were for Kairos.

“I really congratulate Mr. Torre for doing what he did because if I were to do that it would for sure leave me feeling overwhelmed so I give huge kudos to Mr. Torre for doing anything and everything he could in order for the seniors to have a memorable experience,” Ms. Moreno said.

The praise didn’t stop there as the 2021 Kairos Alumni Director Mr. Alvidrez believes the biggest factor in Kairos taking place was when Mr. Torre jumped in during the senior meeting to promote the event.

“If it were anyone else or someone who wasn’t as enthusiastic as Mr. Torre is who jumped in at the meeting I don’t think the miracle ever would’ve taken place,” said Mr. Alvidrez.

Mr. Torre’s hard work truly paid off as seniors did indeed have a memorable experience and current senior and wrestler Jasper Centeno was just one of many who were ecstatic about their time there.

“Kairos was truly once in a lifetime experience. I am more than grateful for the many lessons I learned and for having a new perspective of my faith. Before Kairos I was really disconnected with my faith but thanks to Kairos I am happy to say my connection has been revived,” said Jasper.

ASB President John Udabe is just one of many other happy participants who is proud to see what Mr. Torre was able to accomplish.

“I was so glad I could go on Kairos this year and that it was even able to happen. I think it was a perfect way to begin wrapping up my senior year at Bosco and help me grow closer to my classmates before we graduated,” said John.

The senior class thanks Mr. Torre for everything he did as they now have memories they won’t forget anytime soon. There is no one on campus who can be as proud as Mr. Torre to arrange an event in a matter of hours and showcase what a Salesian educator is capable of accomplishing.

Life Of A Brave: Bosco Senior Benjamin Zepeda Sacrifices Senior Year In Favor Of Activism

by Joshua Hernandez, Editor-in-Chief

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic posing a threat to justice movements and protests everywhere, Bosco Senior Benjamin Zepeda has been involved with the National Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Alliance, which seeks permanent residency in the United States for over 400,000 TPS beneficiaries. 

Throughout the past few months, Zepeda has shuffled between states on the east coast, being primarily in Washington, D.C., where he has urged Congress and President Joe Biden to grant permanent residency to TPS beneficiaries nationally. 

While it has certainly not been an easy road for Zepeda throughout the past few months, it is for a cause that is much greater than him. Despite being away from home in California and having to miss out on a traditional Senior year experience due to his activism, it is a challenge he has been more than willing to take on headfirst. 

“I am still completing my final year of highschool; and in the midst of this global pandemic but I decided to take on this challenge to support the TPS Alliance because I could not just sit back knowing just how crucial this moment is for our struggle,” said Zepeda. 

The primary reason why he has been fighting so hard alongside the National TPS Alliance is actually quite simple; Ben himself is a son of TPS holders from El Salvador. While the four years of the Trump Administration posed a serious threat to Ben and his family’s status of residency in the United States, the National TPS Alliance – and Ben – are hopeful that calls for permanent residency will be heard by the new Biden Administration. 

“Since 2018, I have been a plaintiff in the Ramos case, a lawsuit which has battled the Trump Administration in the 9th circuit court of appeals for the past four years of the administration’s racist and anti-immigrant attacks,” said Zepeda. 

However, the impact of the National TPS Alliance has not just stopped at advocating for permanent residence of TPS beneficiaries; the organization also fronted efforts to get out the vote in the Georgia runoff elections in January. The importance of electing officials who would hopefully be more open to permanent residency was a priority for Zepeda and the National TPS Alliance, who see it as a gateway to greener pastures for current TPS beneficiaries whose status of residency is only temporary. 

“We understood just how important it was to use the TPS community’s collective power, which we have built throughout the years to make an impact in this last crucial election season,” said Zepeda. 

The dedication of the National TPS Alliance, as well as Zepeda, did not just stop at rhetoric, activism and physical protesting. On March 19th, all members of the National TPS Alliance began a hunger strike while in Washington, D.C. in order to bring more attention to their efforts of obtaining permanent residency statues. 

“On March 19th, just one day after the House passed the American Dream and Promise Act – legislation which would grant an immediate pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, DACA and TPS Holders – the TPS Alliance initiated a Hunger Strike led by TPS families in order to put constant pressure on legislators and ensure that immediate action is taken for our families. I have been in solidarity with hunger strikers arriving from many of our committees across the country and working alongside the campaign’s organizers with social media and technical support,” said Zepeda. 

On President Biden’s 100th day in office, the National TPS Alliance’s hunger strike ended. Despite not receiving any action from the Biden Administration in its first 100 days, the National TPS Alliance vows to continue fighting for the change they want to see from the administration as well as Congress. 

While the National TPS Alliance is optimistic that the new Biden Administration and Democrat-controlled Congress would be more open to granting permanent residency statues, the lack of clarity from the Biden Administration has been frustrating for the Alliance thus far. 

“On April 19th, we were expecting a final decision from the Biden administration on our lawsuit. Instead we were given the news that they asked for yet another 60 days to continue investigating the conditions of our countries of origin. What we are asking for isn’t something unreasonable, the conditions of these TPS countries have not changed since they were first designated TPS. Natural disasters, ongoing political crises, and the global COVID-19 pandemic is still creating conditions which have forced many to migrate towards the United States,” said Zepeda. 

In the spirit of what it means to be a Bosco man, Ben has been fighting the good fight away from home for a cause that is much bigger than him. While he recognizes the good work he has done on behalf of TPS beneficiaries nationally and alongside the National TPS Alliance, there is also a deep recognition that the work is far from over. As a matter of fact, it might be just beginning.

“After four years of uncertainty of my family’s future, the people in power finally now have all the necessary tools to deliver justice for our communities,” said Zepeda. 

The times the world lives in are tumultuous, to say the least. Yet, while no significant or adequate change has been seen by Zepeda and the National TPS Alliance, there is more hope for action in the future. After struggles with the previous administration, but more so after the past grueling few months, change has been hard to come by, but hope may very well be on the horizon for TPS beneficiaries in the United States, thanks in large part to Zepeda’s sacrifices. 

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