Category Archives: Life of a Brave

A+E: Spring Musical The Payoff Of Four Years In Theater For The Senior Class

by Joaquin Medrano, Managing Editor

The Saint John Bosco Theater Department along with Saint Joseph High School are pleased to present Working, the inspirational musical about the lives and experiences of hard-working Americans. The virtual play begins streaming Friday, April 16th and runs until Sunday, April 25th.

For the senior class, Working is an important show, as it will be the last show of their high school careers on the Saint John Bosco stage. Ending their season with a musical about the adventures and life of the American working class is a great way to segue into what someday may become their future, while enjoying their last moments of their high school years. 

Saint Joseph senior and theater veteran, Victoria Martins, who plans to go to college and major in theater, wants to cherish and enjoy her last moments on a high school stage.

“I think there is something so magical about being on stage and performing live,” Victoria said. “Knowing that anything could happen at any moment and you just have to keep going is such a rush, and I love it!”

For many of the seniors, letting go of the Bosco stage is extremely hard, as it has been their comfort zone for the last four years of their lives. Bosco senior Parker Deaton feels particularly saddened to leave such a place where he was able to cultivate some of his greatest moments as a Brave.

“This being my last show is bittersweet. I’m sad to leave this theater department, but I’m glad for all the good memories I’ve made and because I grew as an actor in this place,” Parker said.

For people looking to be a part of a team where they can explore all their potential, theater is an amazing opportunity to discover hidden talents. The great privilege of being part of a community like that of the Bosco Theater Department is that it is welcoming of anyone trying to find who they really are.

Theater, for many, is a door that opens the possibility of being who they are truly meant to be. It is a space that people can enjoy and be grateful about what opportunities they have. And being able to put on a production in the midst of a pandemic is a privilege not many people have.

Saint Joseph senior Lola Powell is happy to be able to tell a story on stage for the eleventh time in her high school career and change the ordinary life of people for even just a couple hours.

“People should do theater during these times because theater brings many people joy and happiness; being able to entertain people on stage is one of the most fulfilling feelings,” said Lola.

Working is a musical that will teach valuable lessons to anyone who is a part of the show, whether as an audience member or as a performer. The different characters the actors portray, the different mindsets that people will encounter in life as well as the different struggles that life brings are truly lessons that anyone can carry for the rest of their lives.

If you are looking for a great way to end your week and relax for a little bit before being hit with reality, supporting the Bosco theater department and their sisters at St. Joseph’s is a great way to forget about any of your worries.

Support the arts; help to keep them stay alive; and let the hopes and dreams of many talented people shine through and do what they love most. Get your tickets here.

Life Of A Brave: Freshmen Are Excited To Begin Their Bosco Experience For The First Time On Campus

by Omar Cerezo

After a long first semester online, Bosco prepares to welcome the class of 2024 for the first time in the classroom.

Every upperclassmen at Bosco can remember their first experience spending time talking with friends, playing sports, being in clubs and spending time in the oratory as a Freshman. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the class of 2024 has yet to make any of those memories a reality.

After a successful reopening, Bosco has done an outstanding job in trying to get students to fully enjoy the end of their school year on campus. Primarily for freshmen, the opportunity to come back to campus with Bosco’s successful reopening plan has allowed them to experience everything the Bosco brotherhood and student life has to offer.  

Not only was it good for the freshmen who are returning back to campus and experience the excitement of any extracurricular activities they participate in, but it is also great for them to physically interact with their teachers and counselors for some extra help and guidance, while at the same time giving teachers and counselors time to interact and get to know the class before they enter their Sophomore year.

Lead Counselor Ms. Alyssa Skipper recognizes the hardships that the freshmen class will encounter as they transition into a new environment, however, Ms. Skipper hopes that the challenges the current freshmen class faces will prepare them for future adventures.

“On top of how tough these times have been, it will continue to build each and everyone one of your abilities to overcome things when hard things are thrown your way,” said Ms. Skipper

Still, while working in a hybrid learning system, as physical and online learning options are available for all students, many teachers feel the weight of preparing a new generation of Braves in what is an unusual situation. Freshman English Honors teacher Michelle Tracy has explained that this past school year, people have felt better and safer at home, where there isn’t that challenge of following these new imputed guidelines and being at risk at school.

“Paying attention to online and physical learning group is one of the things I’m currently working out right now. It’s hard trying to balance it so you’re paying enough attention to both groups,” said Mrs. Tracy.

Despite the difficulties that online learning and the quarter system has brought to the Bosco community, everyone feels happy to see people back in the classroom. Freshman Algebra 1 and Geometry Honors teacher, Edna Ramirez, feels thrilled to have students back in the classroom and have an experience close to what a “normal” semester would have felt like.

“I was definitely excited to be able to work with some of the students in person. It was joyful when they returned into the classroom and the students were also eager to have some interaction,” said Ms. Ramirez.

The strengths Mrs. Ramirez had from her students, especially with the online learning and the quarter system, provided her with the opportunity to have a smaller number of students in each period, which allowed her to meet with each student more on a one-on-one basis as well as hold conferences with parents and email updates of the progress of their sons.

Freshman student Joshua Pasillas said he expected his freshman year at Bosco to be a huge change and expected to have good communication with others.

“It was kind of hard since we’re on ZOOM and it’s going to be kind of weird knowing you’re not spending time during lunch speaking with each other,” Joshua said.

In a way, Joshua was feeling the Bosco Brotherhood through the breakout rooms on ZOOM with his classmates and friends where they can have some talking time with each other. He also explains that getting involved in groups, clubs, sports and school programs was a challenge for him, especially since that is the type of engagement you have to be physically present on campus for to fully enjoy and experience.

Freshman student David Martinez also considered his freshman year at Bosco to be weird because he is used to being in person at school than having classes online, but he is glad that he has returned back on the Bosco campus. 

“It’s definitely been a little bit of a struggle keeping myself focused and stop being distracted,” said David.

At-home distractions were a challenge for David throughout his freshman year at Bosco. David actually thought that the online learning at Bosco was pretty good. For some classes, though, he preferred in-person learning rather than online so it can make it easier for him to understand the materials. David has felt his Bosco Brotherhood mainly through his baseball practices after school with his teammates and coaches. He also includes that returning back to school actually made it easier for him to stay focused and turn in work then online school.   

While the transition from middle school to high school may be rough, the class of 2024 has done a great job trying to stay afloat in what has been one of the most unusual years of human history. But their years at Bosco are not set in stone, and they will encounter different experiences and challenges in the following years, gaining incredible memories and overcoming tough obstacles along the way, appropriate for a place such as Bosco.

Around Bosco: Bosco Veteran Mrs. Elizabeth Hunt Named First Dean of Academics

by Pedro Ochoa

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. When life gives you sudden changes that call for certain measures, you have to reassign responsibilities. A Bosco veteran, the well respected Mrs. Elizabeth Hunt, will be stepping into a new role for the rest of the 2020-2021 academic school year. 

Bosco has been through so many obstacles this past year in regards with the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, Mrs. Hunt has risen to the challenge and has now settled in as the first ever Dean of Academics. The administration team formed a new position in Dean of Academics to collaborate with the Vice Principal of Academic Affairs, Mr. Edgar Salmingo. 

“My goal as Dean of Academics is to make the teachers happy. Whenever the teachers show their love and affection for the subject, the students tend to love the subject even more,” said Mrs. Hunt.

St. John Bosco High School welcomes everyone with open arms. Bosco’s community setting is unmatched, as teachers and staff choose to serve the school for many years. Mrs. Hunt is a prime example of this. 

Mrs. Hunt was referred to work at Bosco by Ms. Norma Aguilera, a Spanish teacher at St. John Bosco. Mrs. Hunt has had a handful of roles at Bosco, ranging from class moderator, to Spanish teacher, to Dean of Students and now to Dean of Academics. Mrs. Hunt has always had the willingness to help out wherever the school needs her. She was even once the Assistant Principal of Student Affairs because she was called to do it. It is challenging to take a new position, especially in these precarious times. Mrs. Hunt’s willingness and dedication to help the school is an example of why she is a true Salesian.

“If there is anything that this past year has taught us, it is that there are going to be many obstacles that come at us in life, and we need to learn how to be ready and be able to maneuver those obstacles to keep going on with our lives,” said Mrs. Hunt. 

She took this new step in her career because she is always open to help the school. She believes in the Salesian mission, and wants to continue to help the school be the best it can be. Even through the challenges of the pandemic, teachers stepped up to the challenge and Mrs. Hunt wants to continue to support teachers and continue to help them grow so they can be the best they can be for the students.   

“I think she took this position because she wanted to show us students that we need to be open to trying new things. She is trying to inspire us to find our courage within. I want to congratulate her and thank her for what she is doing for the school,” said senior Alfred Munoz

Mrs. Hunt has built connections with many students at Bosco, whether teaching them in her class, being on her class board or disciplining them in her office after breaking the rules. She has worked with students in so many capacities. The transition from Dean of Students to Dean of Academics means that Mrs. Hunt will still advocate for students and teachers to try to promote the conduct of the “Bosco Man,” but this time on the academic level. 

Mrs. Hunt’s main goal as Dean of Academics is to try to help the learning experience of students by supporting and working with the teachers. It has been noticed in the past that when the teachers are happy, the students are happy. She wants to try to find ways to make learning and teaching fun everyday so that Bosco’s young men are excited to arrive on campus for a great learning experience.

Life Of A Brave: Bosco Senior Pedro Ochoa Formally Recognized For His Christian Service

by John Udabe

On Tuesday, March 16th, St John Bosco High School senior Pedro Ochoa received the Christian Service Award, which was presented by Archbishop Jose Gomez of the Los Angeles Archdiocese. This award was just one indication of the impact that Pedro has had during his time at Bosco.

The Christian Service Award is awarded annually to high school seniors from all around the Los Angeles Archdiocese. Along with the precondition of attending a Catholic school in the LA Archdiocese, nominees must also show constant and exemplary service within and beyond their school communities. 

St. John Bosco’s Christian Service Coordinator, John Weinandy, elaborated on the award.

“[The award] is the diocese recognizing the importance of service and really trying to find a leader in the school who is both passionate about it, excited about it and wants to get his classmates involved as well,” said Mr. Weinandy.

When discussing the nomination process, he added, “It was pretty obviously Pedro because he cares deeply about other people and wants to share that caring with others.”

Pedro recalled the moment he found out he was going to be a recipient of the award.

“When I heard the news, I was amazed. It was a surreal moment, something hard to process. And it was a great feeling being able to have mass in the Cathedral,” said Pedro.

From the very beginning of his high school career, Pedro quickly became engaged with many different groups around Bosco. Since then, he has taken leadership roles in Youth Ministry, Campus Ministry, Christian Service and Associated Student Body. In addition to this, he has also been involved with Student Ambassadors and has competed in Shot Put and Discus on the Track and Field team.

Pedro never intended to become so involved at Bosco. Looking back at his start at Bosco, he said, “I came into Bosco saying I was not going to be involved in anything, but that didn’t last because I think I am called by God to serve others.”

Teachers and administrators alike remember Pedro’s engagement as an underclassmen. Mr Weinandy can remember Pedro’s start with Christian service his sophomore year.

“It was just great seeing a sophomore stepping up into a leadership role and getting involved with something he was so passionate about while working with the seniors to plan events around campus and get the student body involved,” said Mr. Weinandy.

During the past year in dealing with the circumstances surrounding the pandemic, Pedro especially has stepped up to help his community.

“We had to think of new innovative ways to make sure St. John Bosco High School still had the faith aspect,” Pedro said, and his focus remained on finding ways to create a stronger Bosco community.

In doing so, Pedro has helped coordinate multiple virtual events, including masses and prayer services, as well as a video series that teaches the Bosco students about Salesian landmarks around Bosco.

 “Ministry Mondays is a series of small episodes where we go around and talk about Salesian landmarks around campus. Our main goal is to spread awareness of our Salesian campus to the students,” said Pedro.

Pedro’s service is not only on the Bosco campus, but also reaches out into the larger community. Pedro organized a toy drive for his own city through Bosco.

“I have been attending the South Gate Toy drive for 8 years, and every year it’s special,” Pedro remarks, “We get to put smiles on children’s faces and I also got the honor to be able to score a partnership with the South Gate Water Department to give toys to more families in need last year.”

Pedro does not only do such a wide array of service, but he does it graciously and joyfully. To put it simply, Pedro says, “I do what I do because I love doing it,” and this outlook of Pedro’s is apparent to everyone who knows him.

Mr. Torre, a former teacher of Pedro’s and current Kairos coordinator, looked fondly on Pedro’s attitude inside and outside of the classroom.

“He’s a glass-half-full kind of guy,” Mr. Torre remarks, and in regards to why Pedro is so optimistic and positive, he said, “I think Pedro loves to come to Bosco, and I think Pedro really does what he does out of joy.”

When describing Pedro’s involvement with Kairos, Mr. Torre adds how Pedro “demonstrates his leadership with a laser beam kind of focus,” and continued, “If I had to use three words to describe him, it would be joyful, engaging, and as I’ve gotten to know him better, faithful.”

In the past four years, Pedro has worked closely with Mr. Jaramillo as a part of ASB and Youth Ministry. Mr. Jaramillo reflected on Pedro’s early involvement at Bosco.

“I’ve known Pedro since he started his freshman year. There was always something that Pedro wanted to be a part of, but not for him. I think he embodied what servant leadership is, by putting others before himself,” said Mr. Jaramillo.

This year Pedro is not only a member of ASB Executive Board, but also is the current Youth Ministry delegate. This position is unique to Salesian schools and Mr. Jaramillo elaborated on the importance of that role.

“It is one of the highest leadership opportunities in the Salesian world,” and when speaking on Pedro’s impact in that position, Mr Jaramillo said, “I always admire the fact that he always wanted to do more when he became delegate this year, from day one.”

Kyle Perera, from Bosco’s class of 2020, was last year’s Youth Ministry Delegate and Christian Service Award recipient. He reflected on last year’s youth ministry team’s ability to adapt to the unpredictable circumstances.

“The entire team did an amazing job. Pedro did an excellent job leading the Christian Service team. His leadership fit the role he played in the Youth Ministry Team,” said Kyle.

Kyle was happy to hear of Pedro’s accomplishment.

“I’m happy for Pedro,” Kyle remarks, “From what I saw while working with him last year, he was well qualified to earn such a prestigious award. He had that passion to serve others out of the goodness of his heart…that’s why he had such great work ethic.”

If there are any shared sentiments by those who know Pedro, it is that he is selfless and passionate about helping others. In the words of Mr. Jaramillo, Pedro “always had the mentality of ‘this is what my peers would want’, or  ‘what are my classmates asking?’ and that’s where Pedro fulfills the mission of the school, because he puts all of us before himself.”

Pedro Ochoa is one of the most active members of the Bosco community, whose countless hours of community involvement have helped to make Bosco even better. His tireless work in the last year alone was crucial to helping Bosco adapt to the new online environment. As the Youth Ministry Delegate, he has set a very high bar by going above and beyond for the school, and his absence from Bosco after he graduates will definitely be especially missed.

As of now, Pedro is hoping to attend one of his dream colleges and plans on continuing his service after he graduates from St. John Bosco.

“I really want to continue to help people in need, I want to help the less fortunate, and I want to try to inspire others to know that they can do the same,” said Pedro.

Around Bosco: All Students Given Option to Return to Full-Time, In-Person Learning

by Joaquin Medrano, Managing Editor, and Omar Cerezo

After a year of COVID-19 protocols and shutdowns, Bosco is ready to welcome most students back to the classroom next week along with an expansion of continued participation in extracurriculars and the reintroduction of student life events, as L.A county shifted into the “red tier” last week.

Los Angeles County has been in the purple (widespread) tier since March 2020. Recently, many people were shocked to find out that L.A County was moving towards the red (substantial) tier during the third week of March 2021. The progress towards a lower-tier brings new regulations, which has impacted schools in a positive way, as it has allowed schools like Bosco to begin operating at a 75% capacity.

Currently, Bosco is planning to bring most of the student body back to campus, while still offering an online option. This is an effort to accommodate every family and allow them to choose what works best for their schedule and health. Mr. Adan Jaramillo, the newly appointed Interim Principal, has been hard at work, as administration and faculty prepare to welcome back all students next Monday.

“We are having two grades, freshmen and seniors, come back on Monday, and on Tuesday, we start with everyone else,”  said Mr. Jaramillo. “It is only for the students who selected to on-campus learning back in August and obviously we will still offer the online component because that is an integral part, especially in a global pandemic.”

According to Mr. Jaramillo, one of Bosco’s priorities right now is to bring something to look forward to in the next few weeks for each class. Similar to the Senior Watch Party held during the first football game of the season, Bosco is trying to bring events unique to each class that they can enjoy after a year of no activities on campus. Regarding extracurricular activities, Bosco is trying to maximize the high school experience and give students the opportunity to return to their after school activities no matter what they are.

Vice Principal Mr. Edgar Salmingo, Jr. recognized that as of now, with COVID restrictions becoming looser, there is no need for any extracurricular activities to work strictly online.

“It is my understanding that every sport and other extracurriculars are going back with competitions. I know other competitions will be unveiled shortly, but with guidelines being a little less restrictive, it has allowed for some resemblance for how games used to be played, with some limitations,” said Mr. Salmingo.

The new tier will also affect how class schedules will look for the upcoming weeks. Instead of being in cohorts, students will be allowed to visit all four of their teachers throughout the day if they opted in for physical on-campus learning. Bosco senior and band president Travien Sears learned on campus during the last phase of reopening last quarter, where he saw one teacher twice a week per cohort regulations.

“I loved being part of the cohort system. Many precautions were taken that made us ,the students, feel safe, and now going back to see – physically – people we normally can only take a look at in a ZOOM meeting makes me really excited to be active and see different teachers and classmates in the same place,” said Travien. 

That social aspect is a big part of students making the choice to return, and teachers, like Mr. Vince Vigil, are happy to see their students in all their different periods and interact with them on a daily basis as well.

“I really look forward to actually coming back to campus, to engage and accompany those students who need to have a physical presence at school,” said Mr. Vigil.

However, teachers are not the only ones excited to see their students back in the classroom, as many students themselves cannot wait to be back in the halls of St. John Bosco High School, ready to learn and interact with their peers. Sophomore Ethan Ambriz realized during online learning how much physical learning is taken for granted.

“I honestly like online learning, but nothing compares to seeing people face-to-face instead of through a screen,” said Ethan. “I’m extremely excited to go back and hang out with my friends during lunch as well as paying attention more in class because there are a lot of distractions at home.”

Another question that raises levels of concern around students, teachers and parents is the possibility of a sudden change – starting a school year online and making a quick transition back to in-person – which could affect the performance of students. Mr. Mario Cordero, Bosco’s AP U.S. History and Psychology teacher, is considering whether there are any serious repercussions for such a sudden change.

“From what I’ve been gathering in my studies of psychology, relationships matter and relationships are strong indicators for a lot of beneficial things in people’s life,” said Mr. Cordero. “I think it has been a real challenge for students to find those relationships, and those three, four hours after school that they get outside of their devices can help them get away from that fixation.”

With a reopening of the campus for full-time school and extracurriculars, students will finally be able to start falling back on their Bosco brothers and mentors again, and for the seniors, many end-of-the-year activities, such as graduation, grad night, prom, as well as sporting events, have a chance of coming back as the pandemic situation continues to improve. That would be a nice reward at the end of a weird year.

Currently, planning the next school year is another challenge that administration and teachers have to face, as guidelines shift fairly quickly. Needless to say, Bosco is always looking for ways to bring life into what has been one of the unprecedented times in current history. So far, they are doing the best they can possibly do and more.

Life of a Brave: Remembering The Life And Service Of Mr. Ismael “Ish” Fernandez

by Joshua Hernandez, Editor-In-Chief

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:17-18.

On Friday, February 12, 2021, the St John Bosco High School community lost a giant, a man who truly embodied everything it meant not just to be a Bosco Brave, but a Salesian man. 

The life and service of Mr. Ismael “Ish” Fernandez is a story that may be righteously told to future generations of Brave students and staff. 

While Ish served the Bosco Community with boundless love and protected students and staff alike with unlimited devotion, he will be remembered as far more than just his official capacity as the Head Security Guard. 

Indubitably, there are a multitude of ways that the Bosco Community will remember Ish – his famous Golf Cart being one of them. The signature image for Ish was riding around campus in the cart to ensure the safety of the premises, thus certifying the protection of the boys he never failed to protect. 

“Ish was literally the gatekeeper of Bosco. All the students and staff knew him by name and by voice. Amazingly, he knew so many of their names as well. Just as part of the role of the Good Shepherd (in the bible) is to keep the sheep safe, it was Ish’s vocation to keep the students and staff of Bosco safe from danger. Ish was easily the most visible person on campus and surely one of the most respected,” said Religion Instructor and Football Coach Mr. Joe Griffin. 

Yet, while such a memory may be held by so many Bosco students, alumni, faculty and staff, it is not all he’ll be remembered for.

Ish will be remembered for his professionalism, integrity and strong, unmatched character. Ish will be remembered for getting to know students on a personal level and always being willing to engage in conversations at various times throughout the school day. Ish will be remembered not just for his immense love for the Raiders, which he always made sure to bring up as a point of conversation, but also for his love of all things Braves. 

Ish always kept up with Braves sports, knowing updates on the team, how they were performing, who they’d be playing and what expectations there were year in and year out. Far more than that, he always made sure to keep up with student athletes and general students throughout their respective seasons and the school year, and even long beyond after they graduated from Bosco. It can be said without hyperbole that he was every Brave athlete and student’s number one fan. 

While Ish served the Bosco Community for two decades, the impact he made within that time makes it feel like he has been a part of the community much longer. All the same, though, it also feels like he had so much more to give, and was taken away from us way too soon.

Even the most marginal intricacies that made Ish who he was makes his loss all that more immeasurable, personal and tragic. 

Amazingly, while Ish was loved, respected and looked up to by many students, his stern look and tough aura made him perfect in his capacity within the community: our protector. 

“Don Bosco himself was known to be a man strong and gentle. The same can be said of Ish. Few were tougher than Ish; no stranger to weights and workouts was he. His steely gaze could intimidate most if required. He was also gentle in many ways, always ready to help. One quite appreciated mode of help was transporting many a staff member to the far reaches of our campus in his ubiquitous cart,” said Mr. Griffin.

Ish’s famous cart at a Candlelight Vigil in his honor at St John Bosco on Saturday, February 13, 2021. Image captured by Bosco Junior Nicholas Neoman.

There is no denying that had a situation ever risen where potential danger was posed to the Bosco community that Ish had the toughness, resilient aura and selfless traits necessary to protect and defend everyone to the best of his ability. Yet, what also made Ish all the more lovable and respectable was the fact that he never projected his powerful, tough aura to students and teachers during conversations or in his general service. 

Ish was always warm, gentle, kind and gracious. He was a true pleasure to be around, which is rare nowadays. Undoubtedly, he was a workhorse who was both kind and approachable. It’s no secret that he was strong because he would work out a lot, but the Bosco community always saw him as a kind hearted, calm man who just happened to be strong, tough and protective. 

The impact left behind by Ish was felt just as much by longtime colleagues as it was by students. Longtime Brave science teacher Mr. Robert Linares, whose son graduated from Bosco in 2016 and was shaken by the news of Ish’s sudden passing, had a deep appreciation for his longtime colleague who morphed into his friend throughout their two decades of working together. 

“When I would leave for the day, every time I’d go to my car, I’d intentionally look to see where Ish was. I’d look for his cart and then for him, to say goodbye, wave goodbye or hopefully have time to talk to him. He was just very easy going, very charismatic. He just had a very easy demeanor about him, a certain peace came from him that allowed you to feel calm when around him,” said Mr. Linares. 

Personally, throughout their two decades of working together within the Bosco Community, Mr. Linares noted how much of an impact Ish made over time. Whenever there were moments of uncertainty or danger, Ish had the exact sense of calm that was necessary. In time when others would be anxious or shaken, Ish would be in his element. He was always able to absorb moments of anxiety and frustration and was always reasonable when others may have become flustered. 

Thus, the reason we all feel terribly for his loss is because we’ll sorely miss his loss, and it will be felt. 

“Ish had longevity, he became a part of our fabric, and we became a part of his. He had a calming influence, an unshakeable demeanor. Being a security guard was just a title. He was a friend, a colleague, a help, a part of the family. Security guards are tasked with looking out for people; but Ish took care of people, got to know people; he followed through with people. Even after correcting kids, he was still respected, because people knew where they stood with Ish. They knew he truly cared and wanted them to learn,” said Mr. Linares. 

Bosco students and parents pay their respects to Ish. Image captured by Bosco Junior Nicholas Neoman.

A graduate from Bell Gardens High School, where he played football, Ish truly did understand Bosco students, alumni, and teachers alike. Everything that it meant to be a Bosco Brave – whether as a student or teacher – and the tremendous responsibilities it bears, Ish understood. 

The journey at Bosco began for Ish during the 1999-2000 school year, nearly 21 years ago. This means that every current Bosco student wasn’t even born when Ish began his Salesian service. 

Mr. Mario Cordero, a Bosco Alumnus from the class of 1997, graduated before Ish was hired as the Head Security Guard. Before Ish was hired, there was no predecessor as Head of Security; deans, faculty members, or coaches would rotate turns ensuring campus safety. Quite literally, Ish was the first of his kind at Bosco, and his sudden loss leaves behind a gaping hole that will be tough to fill. 

Upon Mr. Cordero’s return to Bosco after his university graduation in the Spring of 2002, where he was a Freshman baseball coach, and later becoming a faculty member as a teacher in the Fall of 2003, he noticed the profound impact Ish began to have on the school community. 

“Ish was a wonderful Salesian. He was officially the Head of Security, but more than that he was a friend to the youth. It’s glaringly obvious and apparent that was his attribute. I never detected one hint of anything but love, care and concern for the Bosco community,” said Mr. Cordero. 

Beyond his service to the Bosco community as a protector, Ish’s mere presence meant so much to so many. It was, of course, nice to know that there was always security and safety, which Ish provided.

Really, though, Ish was always just so present. He was around. If Ish were to be remembered by something, it was that he was present. That’s his legacy – through the good, the bad, the highs, the lows, Ish never failed to be there, even throughout the past year riddled by COVID-19. 

“Ish built little tiny characters, about two inches tall. He would get them unpainted, unfinished, and he’d paint them into action figures. In moments of free time I’d see them, and I knew he had attention to detail and patience. There’s a line from the Sopranos that says, ‘if we’re lucky we’ll remember the little things.’ And, I think Ish recognized the little things in his life. He was able to celebrate the little things, from his characters all the way to the Raiders, Dodgers and, of course, Bosco,” said Mr. Cordero. 

Certainly, the Bosco community will also remember Ish for the little things. His presence, his wisdom, his toughness and most importantly his determination to serve us well and be a true Salesian. Ish always found the beauty in the simple little things throughout his life, and yet what he never knew was that the Bosco community cherished the little things that he did. It is cemented now as part of his legacy. 

We can all continue his legacy of finding joy on campus, celebrating the victories and defeats of life and finding the positives within the little things in our daily lives. While Ish’s final ride may not be in his signature golf cart, it is perhaps his greatest ride – the journey he is making to be with the Lord in Heaven after a life full of service, selflessness and responsibility.

In a metaphorical sense, the memory of Ish is now being safeguarded by the community he righteously served and protected with joy and unmatched energy. Perhaps it can be said that God’s larger calling is for Ish to continue to watch over the Bosco community and his loved ones spiritually from Heaven. 

Although we may miss his presence with us now and forevermore, our beloved Ish is now being protected by the Lord and in the hands of boundless love, eternal happiness and limitless freedom. Our protector is now being protected in the grandest sense possible, both in the spiritual confines of Heaven and within the memories of all the people whose lives he’s touched through his service. 

Mr. Ismael “Ish” Fernandez is survived by his fiance, his daughters and grandchildren. Rest in peace, Ish. The Bosco community loves you. 

In our minds and hearts forever. Image captured by Bosco Junior Nicholas Neoman.

Life Of A Brave: The Multiple Achievements Of One Of Bosco’s Best Student Athletes, Cael Valencia ’21

by Ryan Tavera

Bosco athlete and scholar Cael Valencia continues to make huge strides in the classroom and on the wrestling mat as he exemplifies what it means to be a Bosco Brave. 

Senior Cael Valencia has remained a staple name in the wrestling community currently ranking #5 in the Class of 2021 at 160lbs. In addition, the Bosco Brave is a two-time California state runner up, 2019 Super 32 Champion, and multiple time Fargo Champion. 

These achievements to name a few are a testimony of Cael’s determination and his commitment to wrestling. 

“I’m always working whether it be in my online classes or on the mat but first I always have to eat,” said Cael.

As for Cael’s wrestling style, it can only be described as explosive and persistent. Cael breaks down his opponents through relentless pressure which is supported by his sharp technique.  

“My wrestling style is constant attacking, motion, inside and outside. I think if I just keep constant pressure it’s going to open up my game,” said Cael. 

On the flip side, Cael is also an active participant in school and has many fond memories of Bosco particularly of Mr. Bartelt’s class. 

“Memories that make me appreciate high school would have to be with Mr. Bartlet and all the help he gave me letting me know I could succeed,” said Cael. 

Cael believes that he wouldn’t be the person he is today if it wasn’t for the support of his coaches and teachers and St John Bosco.

“Through the support of my teachers and coaches supporting me, Bosco has molded me into the person I am today. I’ve become more confident in my abilities on the wrestling mat and in the classroom,” stated Cael. 

 Despite the wrestling scene being shaken up due to COVID-19 restrictions, Cael has remained undeterred in his training as he continues to put in the hours every day. 

“Now that we’re in quarantine wrestling has definitely been different however, that hasn’t stopped me from continuing to work. I stay motivated just knowing at some point these times will end and I know that I’ll be prepared for when it does,” Cael said. 

Growing up Cael has not only believed but known that he was destined to be a Brave and for greatness rather than just traditional standards in which to conform. 

“I grew up working every day and was constantly reminded that it would pay off and be for something great. As far back as I can remember wrestling has been a part of my life it’s something that I was born into,” said Cael. 

The Valencia name is no stranger to St John Bosco considering Cael’s two older brothers and former Bosco wrestlers Zahid and Anthony Valencia. In addition, Cael’s father Ruben Valencia is the head coach of Bosco’s varsity wrestling team, Cael’s family is key in supporting him throughout his journey. 

“My brothers’ achievements inspire me to follow in their footsteps and create my own story that’s as great as theirs. I’m thankful for my father pushing me to achieve and be a winner,” said Cael. 

 With Cael’s recent commitment to Arizona State University, he will be continuing the legacy that the previous sun devils Zahid and Anthony have set. Cael is excited to see what ASU has in store for him and feels he will fit right in.

“Arizona State University will help develop my wrestling career and offers me many options when considering academics. My brothers will also visit the room every now and then and I hope to continue their legacy at ASU,” Cael said. 

As Cael’s high school career comes to an end it can be said with confidence that his journey is far from over as he transitions into college and pursues even bigger goals. 

“A major goal of mine that I plan to fulfill is becoming an NCAA wrestling champ,” said Cael. 

A seemingly insurmountable challenge for anyone, but Cael Valencia isn’t just somebody. If there is anyone who is willing to put in the work and push themselves to achieve greatness it’s Cael Valencia.

“I understand the work ethic and hours that this goal requires of me. I know I must put in the hours and fully commit myself to wrestling. But with confidence and determination I know I have the skills and mindset required to persevere in this challenge,” said Cael. 

The words “A dream, a goal, a promise” are displayed across the Saint John Bosco wrestling room. These words inspire athletes and help them understand that in order to achieve our dreams we must set goals and make a promise to ourselves to make it happen. Cael Valencia has taken these words and applied them to his everyday life.

“The words a dream, a goal, a promise remind me that I am working and pushing every day in order to make my dreams a reality,” said Cael. 

To the braves who are feeling burnt out and lack the energy to keep going Cael says “Just knowing that the more you train the more challenges are going to come but you just got to push through that adversity you’ll get through it.”

Sports: Aaron Pico, Former St. John Bosco student and wrestler, gets an impressive knockout victory in the second round of his bout with john de jesus

by: Andrew Fierro

It looks like we are seeing the best version of Aaron Pico!

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Going into this fight Aaron Pico was 6-3 and was coming off of two of his best performances he has had. He started off his Bellator career with a 4-1 record before having two disappointing losses. Despite having a rocky start he seemed to be a changed fighter and looks to be better than he ever has.

The fighter he was facing in this fight named John de Jesus was also coming off of a win with a unanimous decision over Vladyslav Parubchenko where he was dominant the entire fight. The fighter used his wide range of different striking techniques to keep his opponent always on his back foot keeping the fight where he wanted. Though with Pico this didn’t work.

About midway through the first round, Pico was able to take John de Jesus to the ground and out wrestle him the rest of the round. It was a dominant round win for Pico and it seemed to be a good start to the fight for him. After this going into the second round he looked to do the same with an early takedown being landed.

After this take-down was landed they were on the ground for a little while though John de Jesus was able to get back to his feet. While on the feet Aaron Pico had John de Jesus up against the fence with Pico controlling the standing exchange. This is when Jesus went to throw a right knee but Pico was ready and combatted his knee with a right overhand that put Jesus to sleep. 

This knockout was an amazing knockout because it showed off the power Aaron Pico has and can use when he needs to. After he knocked him down he was able to finish him off with a couple more punches until the referee pulled Pico off. 

Pico attributes the win to him and his team watching tape of Jesus’ earlier fights and listening to Jesus’ corner telling him different combinations to throw during the fight. When they were able to tell what Jesus was going to throw based on what his corner told him, they were able to come up with a game plan to exploit it.

Pico said before he threw the punch he knew exactly what was coming and was able to remember what his coaches told him to do and get the knockout. This fight and this exchange shows how important gameplans are in the sport of mixed martial arts and how putting in that extra effort of watching tape not only to improve your own performance but to see what the other fighter’s tendencies are could be the difference between a win and a loss.

After this fight, Pico’s record is now 7-3 and he is on his way up the rankings to soon hopefully be a contender for the title. He has seemed to be getting better and better with each of his performances. He has shown a lot of growth and is less of an emotional fighter and more calm, cool and collected. He has been able to incorporate his strong wrestling into his standup making it hard for his opponents to know what is coming next. Aaron Pico is looking better and better and it will be interesting to see how he will be able to top this performance in his next.

Life Of A Brave: Unsung Hero Mr. Edgar Salmingo, Jr

by Joshua Hernandez, Editor-In-Chief

Mr. Edgar Salmingo, Jr, an important member of the faculty and staff as the Vice Principal of Academic Affairs here at St. John Bosco High School, plays a key role to ensure that all school-related operations run smoothly. Despite not getting enough recognition as he should, he is extraordinarily committed to the Bosco community, as he spearheads efforts at Bosco to help students and teachers succeed.

Mr Edgar Salmingo, Jr, Vice Principal of Academic Affairs at St John Bosco High School.

Before arriving at St. John Bosco to embark on his journey of becoming a teacher in a Salesian setting, Mr. Salmingo believed he had a different calling as he navigated through life after graduating from college. Born into a family of five with two other siblings and growing up in both Hawthorne and Harbor City, California, Mr. Salmingo poured himself into his education as a kid, prioritizing school over all else. 

After finishing middle school, Mr. Salmingo decided to attend Loyola High School, where he excelled as a student. Upon graduating from Loyola, he attended UC Irvine for his undergraduate degree, where he majored in Computer Engineering. 

After getting his degree from UC Irvine, he attended Loyola Marymount University, where he got his Credential and Masters in Secondary Education. To further reflect his commitment to education, Mr. Salmingo currently attends Pepperdine University for his Doctorate in Learning Technologies. 

Initially, Mr. Salmingo wasn’t drawn to Education as a career, first working at Apple as a Genius Administrator, or in layman’s terms, a Manager of the Repair Department for Apple Products. Despite being the Genius Administrator at Apple, which was a relatively stable job after finishing his studies, Mr. Salmingo felt as if he wanted to do more with his life.

“I wanted to do something more fulfilling. I left Apple to work in education because I was always interested in getting back into it and I felt like one of the best ways to help students was to oversee academics,” said Mr. Salmingo. 

Beginning the transition into a career of education did not come without challenges for Mr. Salmingo after having been at Apple for around four to five years. However, pursuing a career of education brought him a sense of fulfillment he had never before experienced and once he became acquainted with his roles, he knew his true calling was finally revealed. 

Prior to being hired at St John Bosco, Mr. Salmingo started his educational career at St. Anthony High School as a teacher, before going to Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary as the Director of Educational Technology. As he continued to climb up the ranks, Mr. Salmingo became the Associate Principal for Academic Life at La Salle High School, before being hired to his current role of Vice Principal of Academic Affairs at Bosco in 2017. 

In his role as Vice Principal of Academic Affairs, Mr. Salmingo is an integral part of Bosco’s operations each and every day, even through the current circumstances with virtual learning. Despite his importance to the school, there are many who are unsure of what it is Mr. Salmingo does as the VP of Academic Affairs. 

“My job is to work behind the scenes and put teachers and students in the best position to succeed. My job is really interceding on behalf of students, counselors and teachers, helping them with whatever they need,” said Mr. Salmingo. 

Notwithstanding the fact that Mr. Salmingo works behind the scenes with everyone on campus to ensure that everything runs smoothly for them, he maintains an important, steady and friendly presence on campus as he always lends a helping hand to those who seek it. A hard worker and true master at what he does, Mr. Salmingo has a great rapport with faculty, staff and students alike. 

However, despite already having a very packed schedule with his role as Vice Principal of Academic Affairs, Mr. Salmingo commits himself to more than just his official capacity. After gaining an appreciation for it after having taught it at his previous schools, Mr. Salmingo coaches the Bosco Academic Decathlon team, which also participates in an affiliated program called the World Scholars Cup, a global and local academic competition program.

In his first year at Bosco, Mr. Salmingo flew to Barcelona, Spain with three scholars who qualified for the World Scholars Cup Global Rounds after their successes at the LA Regional Round. After the scholars did well in Barcelona, he flew with them to Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut for the Tournament of Champions, where they again did well, a reflection of his coaching and teaching abilities. 

Last year, Mr. Salmingo took 16 incredible scholars to Manila, Philippines for the World Scholars Cup Global Round, and took that same group of scholars to Yale University for the Tournament of Champions, for his second year in a row. Once again, the powerhouse program being built by Mr. Salmingo is a reflection of not just his coaching and teaching abilities, but the general kindness and mutual work that he puts in with his students as they compete in such rigorous competitions with students in California, the United States and abroad. 

The joy that comes with teaching and leading the Academic Decathlon Program is a big reason why Mr. Salmingo chooses to make that extra commitment despite already being so busy with his original role at Bosco. However, Mr. Salmingo also sees his involvement with Academic Decathlon as a duty to help kids succeed and get to know the Bosco Community a bit more. 

“If I don’t have the opportunity to be with the students and teach a class, I struggle to know the students I am serving,” said Mr. Salmingo. 

In his personal life beyond Bosco, Mr. Salmingo relaxes and spends his personal time involved with his family, rooting for his favorite sports teams and devoting himself to creating materials for his Academic Decathlon students.

Despite constantly having a packed schedule in his various roles at Bosco as well as handling his duties as a student at Pepperdine, Mr. Salmingo tries to be the best person he can be off campus by doing things he loves. 

Speaking of who he is as a father, brother, son and husband outside of Bosco, Mr. Salmingo didn’t hesitate to reflect on his individual ways of being and why he chooses to do the things he does at Bosco.  

“I am a person that really cares about other people. I don’t feel like life is fulfilling unless I use my talents to help others. Life is short, but the happiest time of my life are with the people I love,” Mr. Salmingo said. 

While constantly delving into educational subjects with his Academic Decathlon team and handling his responsibilities as Vice Principal of Academic Affairs, Mr. Salmingo certainly makes times for sports and is a typical Angelino in that regard. 

“Being a Filipino growing up, it’s a common interest to love basketball. I’m a huge Laker fan,” Mr. Salmingo said.

Although he has great love and appreciation for the Lakers after watching greats such as Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant growing up, Mr. Salmingo might even be a bigger NFL fan, as he is a true die hard fan of the Carolina Panthers. Growing up in Los Angeles during a time when the city had no NFL team and seeing many choosing to root for the Cowboys and Raiders, Mr. Salmingo had the freedom to choose which NFL team he wanted to root for. 

“I picked the Panthers because I didn’t want to be like others. I wanted to pick a team that was different from everyone else. I was actually lucky to be a blogger for the Panthers for various websites, such as USA Today and SB Nation,” said Mr. Salmingo. 

A true unsung hero around campus, Mr. Salmingo has stayed committed to his roles at Bosco even through personal hardships, as he has lost a best friend in Mr. Eugene Fabiero, the former Band Director at Bosco, as well as his father within the past year and a half.

It certainly has not been easy for Mr. Salmingo to navigate through his personal life and his Bosco commitments as he has endured so much, yet he finds a way to continue to work hard and be present for both his students and colleagues alike. 

In his fourth year at Bosco, Mr. Salmingo’s love for education and teaching has been amplified through the Salesian ways in which the school operates. After not having the traditional fun high school experience due to being so invested in his academics, Mr. Salmingo has always felt he has had some “unfinished business” in terms of being able to experience high school for what it truly is. 

“I went to an all boy high school growing up, so I understand the challenges and fun that comes with attending a school like Bosco. I commuted from Harbor City to Loyola, so I didn’t have a social life. I never had a great high school experience, but I’ve come to appreciate the brotherhood at Bosco. My unfinished business is that I have had a better experience and that my work ensures other kids have a better experience too,” said Mr. Salmingo. 

On a daily basis, Mr. Salmingo works extremely hard to ensure his colleagues and the students he serves have the best experience they can possibly have at Bosco, while also ensuring that things run as smoothly as possible so everyone may be able to succeed.

As he has navigated through challenges in his personal life, juggles his studies at Pepperdine and lends himself to his Academic Decathlon team and whatever they may need, he truly is the hero for many behind the scenes.

However, his work ethic, commitment to his family, his passion for teaching and his availability to the students and faculty which he serves does not go unnoticed. May the unsung hero have his praises sung by the community he so righteously, tirelessly and joyfully serves. 

SPORTS: Former Brave Aaron Pico Competes Thursday Night Against John De Jesus

by: Andrew Fierro

Aaron Pico who is currently 6-3 and on a two-fight win streak fights on Thursday Night for the Bellator organization in the featherweight weight class.

Aaron Pico started off his Bellator career with a 4-1 record finishing all of his fights inside one round using his high level striking and wrestling. 

Though his hot streak came to a halt when he crossed paths with Henry Corrales who finished him in the first round. The fight started off well for Pico as he dropped him with a punch at the beginning of the fight, though instead of taking it to the ground he let him back up which proved costly in the end. 

After that loss, he faced criticism for not using his high-level wrestling enough in the fight and many believed he would have won the fight had he chose to use it more. After that fight, he was matched up against Adam Borics where he would lose in the second round. After not using wrestling at all in his previous fight, he seemed to use the wrestling too much which became a disadvantage and led to a TKO loss in the second round.

Though after these two losses he has to seem to find the perfect combination of both his high level striking and his high-level wrestling and ground game to fight his best fight. He has fought twice since his second loss in a row and has one both of these fights. He used both his striking and wrestling in both of these fights to gain the advantage over both of his opponents. 

In his first fight, he fought opponent Daniel Carey who he was able to finish with a knockout in the second round. In this fight, he was able to mix wrestling and boxing together almost seamlessly and dominated his opponent in the first round being in control for the majority of the round. Going into the second round his opponent was so worried about his wrestling that it left open the opportunity for Pico to strike which he capitalized on and got the finish. 

In his second fight, he fought opponent Chris Hatley Jr. who he finished with a submission in the first round.  This was one of if not Aaron Pico’s best performances so far in his career scoring a takedown early in the first round and easily transitioning to the rear-naked choke. He used his strong wrestling and strong jiu-jitsu to take control of his opponent and dominate him into submission.

Now going into this next fight against John De Jesus he is of some of the most impressive wins of his career and is the strongest looking fighter he has been so far. Though that doesn’t mean that this fight will be an easy victory seeing that his opponent is on a 3 fight win streak and is just off of an impressive decision win over Vladyslav Parubchenko at Bellator 244. This fight will be a fun and interesting fight and one of the most significant fights in young Aaron Pico’s career. Tune in on November 12th, at 12:45 pm PST. 

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