Category Archives: Life of a Brave

Life of a Brave: How Principal Dr. Kris Anderson’s Path Led Him Back to Bosco

by Andrew Fierro, Managing Editor

From student to teacher to principal, alumnus Dr. Kris Anderson has gone through a long journey of being educated as well as educating, which has led him back home to become the new principal of St. John Bosco.

Photo by Alex Diaz, Photo Editor

Dr. Anderson has filled the spot of Dr. Christian DeLarkin as the new principal of the school and could not be more thankful for the responsibility he now holds. Before coming to school at Bosco, Dr. Anderson already knew that it was the school he would attend. Dr. Anderson made up his mind pretty quickly on Bosco after seeing a role model of his enroll.

Though this role model is what got him initially interested in Bosco, it was Dr. Anderson’s continued research into the school that really solidified his enrollment. Since his enrollment, Dr. Anderson has had countless great memories of the school, though one of the standout memories was going undefeated in Serra league football his junior year.

“It was the best league in California, if not the whole country, and there was no way whatsoever any team would be able to go through this league undefeated, and in its first year of its existence we went undefeated in that league,” said Dr. Anderson.

Though he graduated from Bosco, Dr. Anderson knew that he would eventually be back, as he spent his student-teaching time back at St. John Bosco, and then inevitably returned to become the principal.

“It never really felt like a goodbye, more like until next time,” said Dr. Anderson.

As a student Dr. Anderson was able to build relationships with many of his teachers with one of the more prominent being current counselor Mr. Basil Totah. During Dr. Anderson’s time, Mr. Totah was his position coach for football, which led to a strong bond being formed between the two of them.

“When he first came to Bosco, you could tell he didn’t have a whole lot of experience playing tackle football, though what I noticed was how diligent he was about learning and how hardworking he was,” said Mr. Totah.

As a player, a student and as a faculty member, Dr. Anderson followed Mr. Totah’s example, always being a very diligent and hard worker, and it has not gone unnoticed by his coaches, teachers and now peers.

“Coach [Joe] Griffin and I had a nickname for him when he was a member of the football team. We called him “the sleeper” because he came in under the radar, but he worked and worked and worked and next thing you know he was the man on varsity, and that has not changed,” said Mr. Totah.

Dr. Anderson has proven to be extremely dedicated to his work, whether during his time as a student-athlete or in his career in education, and he will always strive to be the best that he can possibly be.

After graduating from college, Dr. Anderson needed to spend time as a student-teacher in order to get his teaching credentials and decided to spend this time at St. John Bosco. During this time, he was mentored by faculty member Coach Joe Griffin.

Coach Griffin coached Dr. Anderson with Mr. Totah, so there already was a relationship between the two. However, working alongside each other allowed for Dr. Anderson to have guidance as a new teacher. 

“[Dr. Anderson is the] same guy – humble, hardworking, intelligent and a guy you could believe in,” said Mr. Griffin.

Dr. Anderson believes in this school, and is working hard to make sure that it lives up to its capabilities. Through hard work and dedication from the students and faculty, he believes that St. John Bosco could be one of the best schools for young men across the state.

“My goal for this school is for it to be the number one Catholic school for young men in California,” said Dr. Anderson.

St. John Bosco provides students with an excellent opportunity to make more connections with their education and the paths in which they are interested. Dr. Anderson believes that the school’s Academic Pathways are what makes the school better than most schools around the state.

“There is so much opportunity for students to make connections, which is why I love our Academic Pathway program. The opportunity to have educational experiences that expand beyond just the classroom – the more frequently we are able to do that as an institution, the better of a school we are,” said Dr. Anderson.

Though Dr. Anderson is the new principal and does his best to bring in fresh new ideas for the students and the school as a whole, he also understands that every principal from the past has left their mark on the school.

“Every single principal, or administrator, leaves a little bit of imprint, going all the way back to one of my first memories of an administrator, Bill Goodman. You could tell that he was the leader of the school without having to scream at the students because of his steadiness,” said Dr. Anderson.

With Dr. Anderson now at the helm, the school wishes to remember the past while looking forward to the future. While the principals that came before all helped Bosco into becoming the best school it could be, the school now looks toward its future with Dr. Anderson, as he leads the way to continued and greater excellence for St. John Bosco.

Life of a Brave: Alumni Spotlight With Social Studies Teacher Mr. Mario Cordero

By Oscar Aranda

Students are thrilled to be back at school, but for former St. John Bosco student Mr. Mario Cordero, class of 97’, he’s continued to return for the last 20 years to give back to the Bosco community as one of the campus’ most beloved teachers. 

Photo by Alex Diaz, Photo Editor

Mr. Cordero, a social studies instructor here on campus, attended St. John Bosco from 1993 to 1997. Mr. Cordero had already came from a Catholic school environment before attending Bosco and was accompanied by half a dozen of his closest friends. This allowed him to make the easy transition into Bosco and get involved with the school pretty early. However, as a student, teaching wasn’t always the plan for Mr. Cordero.

“I wanted to be a shortstop for the Dodgers and then I realized that I shouldn’t put all my eggs in that basket. The next thing I would rather do is be a teacher, and I don’t want to do anything else,” said Mr. Cordero.

Mr. Cordero also noted that there are differences between campus from when he was a student and now. He noticed that the campus had more students while he was at Bosco and was a little more wild. For Cordero, campus now has less kids and is a much calmer environment than the Bosco that he attended. Another difference at Bosco was the rule that the students were only allowed to eat by the 400 buildings and were not allowed to use the basketball courts.

Mr. Cordero found a sense of a community while at Bosco and felt that he had found himself at home when he attended school. He found himself back at Bosco when he was hired by his former baseball coach Chris Jondell to help out at Bosco. The fond memories and his time at Bosco as a former student was what made him excited to come back to Bosco as a teacher. Mr. Cordero has been here for 20 years, but feels the persistent need to keep coming back.

“What makes me keep coming back to Bosco is the students and the coworkers for sure. The students we have are really exceptional students that are great young men,” said Mr. Cordero. 

Not only was Bosco a home to Mr. Cordero, but furthermore, an environment in which he felt he belonged. Mr. Cordero was involved in numerous activities here at Bosco including student government, soccer and baseball. Mr. Cordero was also taught by many teachers here on campus that are recognizable for students on campus now. He was taught by Mr. Linares, Mr. Mestas. Mrs. Machado and Mr. Antonelli who are still active teachers here on campus.

Mr. Cordero has also not been the only Cordero to attend Bosco. His two sons, Cruz Cordero, class of 2020, and Santos Cordero, who is currently a sophomore here at Bosco, have been a part of the Bosco experience. Mr. Cordero was adamant that he did not force his kids to come here and wanted to make sure that they knew they were not obligated to come just because he taught here. The decision to come to Bosco was entirely in the hands of Cruz and Santos.

Knowing how hard it is for freshman students, Mr. Cordero left some words of wisdom for current Braves that may be struggling to find themselves here at Bosco.

“There’s a place for you here at Bosco, and if for whatever reason you feel you can’t find your place here, reach out. There are always people here to help you find your place,” said Mr. Cordero.

Life of a Brave: 21 Questions With New Long-Term Sub Ms. Munoz

By Aydn Morris

St. John Bosco welcomes new long-term sub and St. Joseph alumna Ms. Munoz, who specializes in biological sciences.

Photo by Alex Diaz, Photo Editor

Q. What College did you attend and when did you graduate?

A. I attended Cal Poly Pomona and graduated in December 2020.

Q. What did you study in and why did you choose to study that?

A. I majored in Biological Sciences because I had always planned to be in the medical field or teach on the subject.

Q. What high school did you attend and did you grow up there?

A. I graduated from Saint Joseph High School and actually had to take the bus every morning because I lived in Los Angeles.

Q. What interested you about becoming a science teacher?

A. Science has always been something I have been passionate about. Being exposed to working with and mentoring kids from high school until I received my bachelor’s degree was a very rewarding experience, which made me want to pursue it.

Q. What made you interested in becoming a long-term sub here?

A. Being an alumna from Saint Joseph’s, I have a lot of good memories from Bosco and being able to teach here for the first time seems like a full circle moment.

Q. What is your favorite part of teaching?

A. My favorite part of teaching would be building a connection with the kids and seeing on their faces that they really do want to learn and succeed.

Q. Have you had another teaching job?

A. This is my first teaching job!

Q. Have you had a different job other than teaching? 

A. I have actually worked for the City of Norwalk’s Parks and Recreation Department, Starbucks and Disneyland.

Q. Was becoming a teacher your dream job, if not what is/was your dream job?

A. Growing up, I always wanted to be in the medical field, then more specifically a physician assistant.

Q. What is the hardest part of being a long-term substitute, instead of a teacher?

A. I think the hardest part is the possibility of teaching another subject other than Chemistry, because I really do enjoy teaching in this subject.

Q. Have you become immersed in the Bosco community yet? How do you like it so far?

A. I went to the Bosco vs Mater Dei football game, which was really cool considering I haven’t been to a football game here in a few years.

Q. Are you from California, if not where are you from?

A. I was born and raised in California.

Q. What is one place you would love to travel to in the world?

A. I would love to travel to Greece. I have been a major Mamma Mia! fan since I was younger, so it would be amazing to go.

Q. What is your favorite type of food and favorite food?

A. My favorite food is pizza and more specifically, pineapple on pizza.

Q. What is your favorite genre of music and favorite artist?

A. I love more Latin-based music, so I am obsessed with Bad Bunny and Luis Fonsi.

Q.What is your favorite hobby?

A. My favorite hobby would be discovering new coffee shops. I love coffee so finding new spots is really cool.

Q.  Do you watch any sports, and if you do, what is your favorite sports team and player?

A. I only watch football for the sake of my stepdad, and he is a Denver Broncos fanatic.

Q. What is your favorite season of the year and why?

A. My favorite season would be Fall. I love it when its rainy weather and really dislike the heat.

Q. What is your favorite holiday?

A. My favorite holiday is Halloween because it is the perfect weather. I also love candy and scary movies.

Q. What is your favorite movie and TV show?

A. My favorite movie would be Star Wars and my favorite show would be Grey’s Anatomy.

Q. Do you have any pets? If so, what is your pet?

A. I have a purebred Blue Heeler named Dakota, and she is my best friend. She is all attitude but very obedient.

Life of a Brave: Unsung Hero, Head Athletic Trainer Ms. Melody Mohebbi

by Matthew Parsons

A guardian angel for all at St. John Bosco, Ms. Melody Mohebbi, known by many student-athletes simply as “Ms. Mel,” serves as both the Head Athletic Trainer as well as the Pathway Coordinator for Sports Medicine.

Photo by Alex Diaz, Photo Editor

Born in Tehran, Iran, Ms. Mel and her family weren’t tethered to any single place, constantly moving across the country. She grew up in a relatively average sized household, and it was only her, her parents and brother. Like those she treats now, she was an athlete in her youth. Coming from an athletic family, she went down the path of being a gymnast and a swimmer as a child.  

“I grew up in an athletic family. My mom was actually a gold medalist in diving. And my dad was a basketball coach,” said Ms. Mel.

However, her athletic career was cut short after an injury to her arm. Although she had to give up her competitive career in sports, this injury actually gave her inspiration to later become an athletic trainer.

Since she was constantly moving across Iran, she wasn’t able to stay at a singular school. Somewhat similar to St. John Bosco, the schools in Iran are single-sex, rather than co-ed. She eventually went on to attend university after her high school years and studied geology. Although Ms. Mel never struggled with grades, she regrets that she did not try harder in school.

“I really didn’t care about grades, never did growing up. I wasn’t a bad student, but I wasn’t getting straight A’s. I’m being honest; I was a very procrastinating person. I would always, always – I’m not even kidding you when I say – I would study the night before,” said Ms. Mel.

She originally attended university in Iran, obtaining a degree in geology. She always wanted to work in the medical field, dating back to when she was just a child. Her dream profession was actually to be a doctor, but due to the harsh medical field in Iran, she opted for geology.

“I always wanted to do stuff in the medical field but in Iran, but it is very, very difficult to get into, so that’s why I went with the second best thing that I liked,” said Ms. Mel.

At the age of 24, Ms. Mel made the huge decision to leave her home country to the completely foreign place of England. She claimed asylum in England in order to escape the country, which opened up her horizons and gave her more opportunities for work. 

Working at St. John Bosco was not Ms. Mel’s first working experience. In England, she worked with the women’s Manchester City soccer team and the Manchester Sharks rugby team. She also owned two of her own training clinics over the course of two years.

However, this is the first and only job she has had in the United States, and getting the position of Head Athletic Trainer at Bosco was by chance. Before she was recommended to take the position, she had never even heard of the school. Being desperate for a full-time job for her work visa, she decided to take up the position, and by no means was it an easy road after that. Bosco was her first experience working with kids, as opposed to her other jobs with just adults and professionals.

Being the only athletic trainer at a school like St. John Bosco was extremely difficult for Ms. Mel. She was constantly working alone and, for many years, was under a huge amount of pressure to make sure things were always going well. She had to work to make sure that in each sport the athletes were safe and always getting the proper care and treatment that they needed.

It got to the point where she was dealing with a severe burnout, and she didn’t know if she would be able to continue working at Bosco. Thus, she requested an assistant, leading the way for Mr. Coreyon Edwards to join the athletic training staff. 

Through all of the trials and tribulations of being the head Athletic Trainer, Ms. Mel has still kept good relationships with the students at Bosco.

“She’s really nice and very easy to work with whenever you need help,” said senior Nate Burrell, a defensive end on the football team.

Funnily enough, Ms. Mel never imagined that she would end up as a teacher. She imagined that it wouldn’t be a good fit for her, even though both of her parents were professors. Yet, here at Bosco, she’s ended up teaching many Bosco students in the Sports Medicine Pathway. 

“I never, ever thought I would be a teacher. I never liked it, even though both of my parents are professors,” said Ms. Mel.

Despite not ever thinking that she would end up as a teacher, she has still done a great job.

“She really keeps the class engaged through her practical and hands-on teaching style,” said senior Michael Carbone, a member of the Sports Medicine pathway for all four of his years at Bosco.

Ms. Mel really does love the Bosco community, believing in the family-oriented mission of the school. And even though most Bosco students only know Ms. Mel as a teacher or an athletic trainer, she also enjoys spending time with her friends and has recently picked up the hobby of designing and handcrafts.

Life of a Brave: Bosco Football Brothers Make Lifelong Memories In Virginia

by Jeremiah Davis

With league play fast approaching, the Bosco Braves took a trip to Virginia to dominate in football and to experience everything the state had to offer, from BBQ food to American history.

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Bosco Football has been known throughout the past decade as being one of the top football teams in the state as well as the nation. This was proven once again when the Braves took a trip to Virginia to play Oscar F. Smith High School.

The game ended up being a lopsided contest with Bosco dominating Oscar Smith by a score of 49-0. However, there was more than just practice in the lead up to the game, as the Braves were able to spend quality time in Virginia.

The Braves departed from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Tuesday night, September 14th, and arrived in Virginia on Wednesday, September 15. Immediately after landing in Virginia, they were transported to Catholic High School in Virginia Beach where they conducted their first practice.

“The practice overall was a good experience. Before the trip, I had never even thought about visiting Virginia, let alone playing football there,” said senior Zion Austin, a strong safety for Bosco.

After practice, the Braves ended up going to one of Virginia’s finer food establishments, Mission BBQ.  With a slogan, “The American Way,” the folks at Mission BBQ were appreciative of Bosco and happy that the mighty Braves from Southern California were supporting their business. Afterward, the team headed to their hotel, The Wyndham Virginia Beach Oceanfront, for some much needed rest.

The following day, the team was able to see a minor league baseball game between the Norfolk Tides and the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.  

“The game was a great experience for us to bond not only with our Bosco brothers, but with our St. Joseph sisters as well,” said senior safety Logan Polk.  

Come Friday night, all of the game preparation, practice and film studying was put to test as the Braves took the field. Chedon James, a receiver for the Braves, led the way on offense with two receiving touchdowns, and Matayo Uiagalelei, a tight-end and defensive end, also added his name to the scoring ledger with two receiving touchdowns of his own.

Once the game ended, the Braves were transported back to their hotel to complete their schoolwork. The overall mission of every student-athlete at Bosco is to not only excel on the field, but in the classroom.

The next day was a special and surreal moment for the Braves, as they took a trip to the Virginia State Capitol. During their visit to the Capitol, the Braves were able to visit the American Civil War Museum, where they learned about the history and the obstacles that black Americans had to face leading up to the 20th century.  

“I was able to learn so much about my people that I barely knew anything about before.  It was a very interesting place that I will for sure go back and visit again with my family,” Jaden Smith, a senior cornerback, said.  

The Braves returned safely to California on September 19th. The whole trip was a major success for the program as a whole. The learning experiences gathered on the trip will pay huge dividends for each and every player. Now, the Braves will turn their attention to the “Team in Red” who come to Panish Family Stadium this Friday, October 1st, for what promises to be an exciting contest.

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

by Andrew Fierro, Managing Editor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q. Favorite music, artist, or genre? 

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

Q. Favorite movie/movies? 

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

Q. What are your favorite colors/colors? 

A. My favorite colors are mint green and teal.

Q. Where is your favorite place to eat? 

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

Q. Favorite sport and team? 

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

Q. Where did you grow up? 

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

Q. Do you have any pets? 

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

Q. Do you have any hobbies? 

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

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

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

Q. What is your favorite holiday? 

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

Q. Do you have any favorite TV shows? 

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

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

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

Q. Did you play any sports growing up? 

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

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.

Life of a Brave: Unsung Hero E-Sports Head Coach Gabe Giangualano

By Matthew Parsons

Head Coach of the E-sports program, General Manager of the soccer team and teacher at St. John Bosco, Coach Gabe Giangualano, has worked incredibly hard over the past few years at Bosco to provide the best opportunities for his students.

Photo by Alex Diaz, Photo Editor

Despite not getting much recognition for his work around campus, he is still extremely passionate for what he does and is dedicated to all the boys who practice and work under him.

Before arriving on the Bosco campus as a teacher and coach, Coach Gabe was also, once upon a time, just another student who attended St. John Bosco. As he grew up in a family of nine in West Covina and Anaheim, all of his siblings took the private school route although he was the only one to attend Bosco. Coach Gabe has also had three of his sons attend Bosco, all of them active in the community and part of athletics programs. 

As a child, Coach Gabe fell in love with sports, more specifically soccer. He’s always had a love for gaming, but his strong passion for E-sports came much later in his life. His love for soccer was ignited as a child when he scored a game winning goal. 

After middle school, Coach Gabe was originally set to go to Servite, but fate had other plans when his father was given a promotion. Coach Gabe and his family were forced to move to Long Beach, leading him to attend Bosco.

When he attended Bosco, by his own admission, he was not an amazing student, but he poured himself into athletics. He dedicated himself to playing soccer at a high level and even won a league championship with his team. Though looking back, he somewhat regretted that he wasn’t so involved with his academics and grades, which is why he is a big supporter of the school’s Pathway Programs. His belief is that they allow a student to be much more engaged with their academics, helping them achieve more in school. 

“I think there were too many distractions, you know, that kind of pulled me away from being a full academic, but I would have loved to join a Pathway here. And I think that would’ve committed me a little bit more,” said Coach Gabe.

Once Coach Gabe graduated from Bosco, he attended Long Beach City College and Cal State Los Angeles, where he played soccer for both schools. After playing soccer in college, he decided to make the transition to playing soccer at a higher level. This led him to Europe for a period of time, before coming back to the United States and becoming a teacher.

“If I could go back in time, I probably would have stayed more committed to playing at Cal State LA and seeing where that was going,” said Coach Gabe.

Even though for a long while he pursued a career in soccer, E-sports became a new goal of Coach Gabe’s. Even in college, he knew that eventually he wanted to do something with it. This dream had stuck with him ever since 2009, when he played World of Warcraft and had his own guild, climbing the national leaderboard and gaining personal recognition for his in-game achievements. He’s a firm believer in all types of games and their importance on being well rounded. 

“I love games of all types: board games, video games. When you can sit down and compete on a different playing field and constantly compete and change the playing field, you create an ability to think outside the box and think for yourself,” said Coach Gabe.

Before his return to his alma mater, he taught in the Los Angeles Unified School District for six years at Huntington Park and Manual Arts High Schools before changing jobs to be a Staff Analyst, working on budgets for the L.A. County Office of Education, which he did for about seven years or so. He then transitioned into being a teacher at St. John Bosco, as he felt the desire to teach at a place where he believed the students actually wanted to be there and learn.

“I think, it was working at LAUSD when I realized every time I went to class, there were 90% of the kids that didn’t want to be there. And that constantly wears down on you too. And so I really wanted to be in a place where people want to be there,” Coach Gabe said.

Coach Gabe has always been personally interested in entrepreneurship and finance, and it was actually his plan out of college to work in entrepreneurship or have some sort of business somewhere. This has led him to teaching business and finance, computer applications, office practices and now, at Bosco, economics and third-year engineering. 

Coach Gabe feels a great sense of joy and satisfaction organizing and leading the Esports program, which has allowed him to mentor the young boys who join and instill life lessons in them. He is extremely passionate about the program, many people had to come together and work very hard for it to come to fruition. 

Six years ago he pitched the idea to the administration, and since the idea was not met with much support, it failed to start up. Two years later, he met with student Mauricio Contreras, who accumulated the support from several parents, and the matter was taken up with the principal, which gave them a chance to showcase E-sports potential. Several years later, they’ve become a winning program, getting a State Championship in Valorant last year and having garnered some standout partnerships, especially ones with Razer and HP Omen, which allowed them to create their new room E-sports room worth around $70,000.

Coach Gabe has only been a teacher and staff member at Bosco for a few years, but in that time, he’s been given a lot of responsibility. He is always dedicated to the Bosco community and feels a great sense of satisfaction watching it thrive.

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.

Life Of A Brave: Armenian Wrestlers Become Bosco Brothers

by Oscar Aranda

Bosco Brotherhood! A common feeling that both Armenian wrestlers, sophomore Grigor Cholakyan and freshman Niko Sahakian, have felt since arriving on the campus of St. John Bosco.

Sophomore Grigor Cholakyan (Photo by Jim Thrall/Mat Focus)

Both wrestlers are underclassmen here at St. John Bosco and are now both experiencing their first in-class studies after being online for the entirety of the past year. Niko and Grigor both agreed that the welcome they have felt at Bosco is like no other, especially compared to the school environment in Armenia.

“At this school, we have a special brotherhood that you may not always find at schools in Armenia. There’s no comparison,” said Grigor. 

These wrestlers also have big academic goals for themselves this year. Grigor and Niko made it clear that the most important thing to them was to maintain a 4.0 GPA status while winning a team and individual CIF-State title. They both realize that they will have to study hard to achieve these goals all while balancing their athletic careers. However, they are unfazed, as they are fueled with the desire to attend an American division-one college.

“I would like to attend a division-one college with a full-ride scholarship, and I don’t only plan to be just on the wrestling team, but I plan to be a starter all four years of my college career,” said Niko.

Freshman Niko Sahakian (Instagram)

These young men are not only just scholars in the classroom, but nationally acclaimed wrestlers. During the summer, Grigor went to the rigorous national tournament, Fargo Nationals, and placed fifth, which put him into the national rankings at number twelve. Niko also placed sixth at Fargo Nationals and was himself placed 25th in the nation as a freshman.

The wrestlers plan to be a great asset to the Bosco wrestling team this year at both the lower and heavier weights. Grigor mentioned that he was planning to go 126 or 132 pounds this season and Niko is set on 220 pounds. The Bosco wrestling team has always lacked heavier weights, and Niko came into our program understanding this.

“I saw the success Bosco wrestling has had throughout the years, but not much noise has been made up in the heavier weights, so I believe I can create my own legacy here,” said Niko 

Grigor attended St. John Bosco freshman year and has had one prior season with Bosco wrestling, but this was cut short due to COVID restrictions. Grigor explains that he was unsatisfied with the fact that he was unable to attend the CIF-State tournament along with other nationally acclaimed tournaments that come with a regular high school season. Though he was happy that the team was still able to participate in CIF-Duals and of course, beat Servite! 

Grigor plans to have plenty of success this upcoming season and plans to do this by putting in some extra work after practices. He talked about how he goes on runs and lifts on the weekends, which keeps him conditioned. He tends to run the hills in Hollywood with his close friends, who are also Armenian natives. 

“My move during a match would have to be my blast double. I get told that I have one of the slowest takedowns, yet I’m able to take anyone down at will,” said Grigor.

He knows his extra training will be seen when in competition because no one will be able to keep up with his conditioning. With a combination of his conditioning and his excellent wrestling skills, Grigor has the confidence that he will dominate his competition during the upcoming year. 

Niko also has high hopes for this upcoming season, but he did show some concern pertaining to a full season, because of the short season last year. Although he still believes he will have a great freshman showing. 

Niko enjoys watching wrestling matches on his off time and really studies different moves whenever he gets the chance. He also went on to say that he has found a new love for lifting and uses that as his extra training outside of daily practices. 

Niko has a different type of wrestling style that is heavily influenced by his Armenian culture. The normal style that is popular in many inside the United States is called “folkstyle,” but Niko’s specialty is Greco-Roman wrestling, which is only upper body.

Niko explained that he started wrestling because he went to one practice and got thrown on his head in Greco-Roman wrestling, and since then, he has loved it. Niko is known for his throwing ability during a match and it will only grow from here.

“I plan to widen my knowledge of wrestling and open up my arsenal a little bit more. I know coming into high school I will need to start doing more moves, so I plan to start shooting more,” said Niko

When asked to give a message to their fellow Brave Brothers who are thinking of joining the wrestling team, they both gave similar answers: it would be a life-changing experience that will teach you many lessons you wouldn’t expect from such an aggressive sport.

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