Category Archives: Life of a Brave

Life Of A Brave: Bosco Hosts Annual Father-Son Mass And Car Show

by Isaac Mays, Sports Editor

On Sunday, the St. John Bosco Braves student body was provided with a unique social event they could experience with their fathers. A special Mass, breakfast and car show were organized to celebrate the father figures in the Bosco community.

The morning began with a mass celebration in the chapel, which was led by Spiritual Director Father Ted Montemayor. Father Ted led the fifth Sunday of Lent with the story of Lazarus and his resurrection, an inspiring parable about hope for all in attendance.

Soon after Mass concluded, the Braves and their fathers poured outside to begin their breakfast. During the event, vendors sold Bosco-affiliated gear for guests to purchase. Many sports teams and clubs at school also prepared baskets of items for auction.

Meanwhile, residents of the Bellflower area were encouraged to bring their luxury and classic cars to put on display. The car show brought many families together, as a voting process was implemented to determine winners for each car style. Many event patrons appreciated how welcoming and friendly the car owners were, even though they maintained some exceptional higher-end cars.

“My dad and I both got to see some pretty rare cars. We bond over cars, so it was nice to have that at our school,” said senior Ryan Cirrincione. “The Red Chevy Impala was our personal favorite.”

Many boys were happy to share their love of cars with their fathers. An entire fleet of Mustangs were present along with the infamous Jeep Trackhawk mentioned in Lil Baby’s “Life Goes On.” Many of sportier vehicles were fan favorites.

Perhaps the highlight of the event was the tug of war match between fathers and sons. The tug of war concluded with another win for the fathers, marking the third year in a row that they achieved victory over their sons. Many seniors commented how fun this activity was, as they faced off head-to-head against the undefeated “dad strength.”

“It was so fun to compete against my dad,” said senior Eiian Reyes. “My Baba has a lot more strength than I had initially assumed; he ended up being a major player on the parents’ side.”

Overall, the event fostered many relationships that most high school students don’t typically have the opportunity to cultivate, as the morning allowed students to interact with each other’s families.

“My friends and I are close, but I feel like our dads don’t know each other. The Father-Son Mass lets all of us meet and get to know each other better. I wish I could come back next year,” said senior Andrew Rivera.

This father-son tradition is one of many instances that help separate St. John Bosco from other high schools. Bosco tries to emphasize the family component of our community, and experiences like these help make the student body be more mature young men. All students and important male figures in their lives are welcome next year to continue this great tradition.

Life of a Brave: Bosco Alumnus, Mr. Derrick Fernando, Named Assistant Principal of Academic Affairs

by Christian Angel, Managing Editor

Mr. Derrick Fernando, alumnus of the Class of 2001, has served in a variety of roles at St. John Bosco High School, including as a teacher, coach, Dean of Students and Assessment Coordinator. He now plans to step into a new leadership role in the 2023-2024 school year. 

Photo by Megan Nash, Director of Digital Marketing & Social Media

St. John Bosco High School announced that Mr. Derrick Fernando, who currently serves as an upperclassmen English teacher and Assessment Coordinator, will be the new Assistant Principal of Academic Affairs in charge of academics needs and administration. In addition to his four years as a student, Mr. Fernando has served in the Bosco community for the last eleven years in various capacities. 

Mr. Fernando grew up in an active household in Downey. In the fall of 1996, Mr. Fernando stepped onto the campus of St. John Bosco and was involved throughout his four years in the basketball and volleyball programs. He was even involved in organizing a “Filipino Night” showcasing Filipino culture. 

He then attended Loyola Marymount University where he received his Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing. In 2008, he received his Master of Arts in English from Loyola Marymount University and has spent the past 17 years as an educator at both the high school and collegiate levels.

Coming home to St. John Bosco in the Fall of 2012, Mr. Fernando has worked in the English Department, teaching World Literature, American Literature, British Literature and AP English Language and Composition at different points in his tenure. Mr. Fernando took a short break from the classroom when he was a Dean of Students from 2016-2018. 

On the sports side, he worked as an Assistant Freshmen and Assistant Varsity Coach for the basketball program and later as Head Junior Varsity and Assistant Varsity Coach for the volleyball program. 

In stepping into this new role, Mr. Fernando is focusing on the mission of continuing to develop a rigorous academic program at Bosco that brings continuity and cohesiveness in order to support teachers and students at all grade levels.

“My new role is to ensure I can provide any kind of support or development that professionals need, so our teachers are asking a lot for the kinds of support and opportunities to learn and grow that a growing and ever-evolving academic landscape would allow for,” said Mr. Fernando.

Mr. Fernando credits his time working in many leadership positions across his eleven years at Bosco having helped him be ready for this role, as he plans to lead the school with a new perspective to help many students with different backgrounds, especially at-risk students.

“In this new role, the same idea needs to apply from an academic perspective,” said Mr. Fernando. “By being able to work with students and to work with teachers to recognize that there’s something underlying that might cause an at-risk student to slip in their performance in class is another big part of that role.”

Mr. Fernando may be known for his classes being rigorous at a college level, but he has a softer side, too. He is a family man, a devoted husband of 13 years and a father to three beautiful children. With the inspiration of his family, he puts his heart and soul into St. John Bosco, recognizing the gifts that have been bestowed upon him and how he can use those gifts to benefit the futures of Braves for years to come.

Life of a Brave: 21 Questions with New English Teacher, Mr. Ramon Casas

by Christian Angel, Managing Editor

St. John Bosco High School welcomes back alumnus and new English Teacher, Mr. Ramon Casas, Jr.

Photo by Robert Visty III, Photo Editor

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

A. I was born in Bellflower, CA and grew up in Downey, Lakewood and Bellflower.

Q. Where did you go to college and what did you study?

A. I have a B.S. in Policy, Management, and Planning from the University of Southern California. Currently, I’m pursuing a M.A. in Urban Education from Loyola Marymount University.

Q. What was your dream job growing up as a kid?

A. Teacher, Deacon of the Catholic Church, Architect or Real Estate Developer, Doctor, Professional Athlete, Musician or even the President of the United States of America.

Q. What made you want to become a teacher?

A. As an elementary school student, I found careers in education incredibly fascinating. My parents, sisters, and Grandma Medina inspired me to become a teacher. In addition, my dad was a Catholic school teacher and my sisters are currently Catholic school teachers.

Q. What is your favorite part of being a teacher?

A. Teaching is my career and ministry. As a teacher, God has allowed me to educate and help his children. I’m grateful for this rewarding opportunity. Truthfully, I enjoy everything about teaching.

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

A. I’m an alumnus of St. John Bosco High School and many of my best experiences derive from this great institution. My parents worked diligently to send me here and my sisters to St. Joseph’s High School. I truly understand and appreciate the immense efforts that they exhibited for us. Therefore, I want to provide the same Salesian education to the current and future students. Alongside the faculty and staff of SJB, I know that I’m making a positive impact on the lives of these boys.

Q. How has Bosco changed since you last were a student and now that you are a teacher?

A. I find it comforting that the great values that were exhibited during my time at St. John Bosco High School still exist today. There are more programs and advancements in all facets of the school. It’s great to see the positive growth and development.

Q. What do you love about teaching English and do you have any favorite authors?

A. English is my first language, and I enjoy it immensely. I’m able to articulate myself well and incorporate the elements of the language proficiently. English has been my strength and passion. My favorite authors are St. Paul, King David, the four writers of the Gospels, Ernest Hemmingway, Plato, Emmanuel Kant, Albert Camus, Edgar Allan Poe, John Steinbeck, Sandra Cisneros, Francisco Jimenez, William Shakespeare and many more.

Q. Do you have any pets?

A. We have a dog named Sammy. He’s a cute little white dog with a little black nose.

Q. What are your favorite hobbies?

A. I love to play at the park with my daughter, read and write, play and watch sports, and playing and listening to music.

Q. What do you do in your free time?

A. I spend quality time with my daughter, Olivia, and my family. During my free time, I like to take my daughter to the park and beach so that she may interact with other people.

Q. What is your favorite food?

A. Grilled steak (carne asada), Mexican or white rice, beans and a quesadilla.

Q. What is your favorite fast food and what is your typical order?

A. Wing Stop is my favorite fast food restaurant. I typically order the 10 wings combo with original hot and mango habanero sauces. French fries are served on the side along with a Coca-Cola on light ice.

Q. What is your favorite restaurant?

A. Mastro’s Ocean Club in Malibu

Q. What is your favorite movie or TV show?

A. For Greater Glory.

Q. Did you play any sports during your time at Bosco, and if so, what did you play?

A. I played sports on campus, such as Varsity Wrestling, Varsity Football, Freshman and JV Soccer and Freshman Track and Field.

Q. Do you have a favorite athlete?

A. Julio Cesar Chavez, the boxer, is my favorite athlete. He holds the record for the most world title victories with 31. I find it particularly intriguing when a person is extremely dedicated to their career or craft. Great results are destined to transpire from their efforts.

Q. What type of music do you enjoy?

A. Christian and Gospel music, Modern and Classic Rock, Mariachi, Salsa, Cumbia, Soul, R&B, Country and some Hip Hop

Q. What came first, the chicken or the egg?

A. The chicken because I think God allowed the chicken to join the other animals immediatly upon their creation.

Q. What is one place you would like to travel around the world?

A. I would like to meet Pope Francis in the Vatican, Italy.

Q. What are you most looking forward to in your time at Bosco?

A. Along with our St. John Bosco community, I’m excited to share in our Catholic faith, academic persuits, athletics and life experiences.

Unsung Hero: The Man Behind the Mats, Wrestling Head Coach Jeff Anderson

By: Michael Barba

Coach Jeff Anderson has been involved with coaching St. John Bosco Wrestling since 2005, using his experience as a former Brave’s wrestler to produce CIF Champions and many upcoming prospects.

Photo by SJB Wrestling

Coach Anderson is best known as the head coach of St. John Bosco’s wrestling program, while also leading the Tribe Wrestling Club whose home is in the Brave’s wrestling room, adjacent to the weight room. But even before entering the realm of coaching, Coach Anderson was a Brave himself. He was a member of the class of ‘98 and wrestled all four years of his high school career.

Jeff Anderson was born on March 28th, 1980 in Long Beach, California and he began his wrestling career in his freshman year of high school. Over his time at Bosco, he not only wrestled but also pole-vaulted and competed in football. For the longest time, Coach Anderson also played soccer, but decided to give wrestling a shot after being encouraged by his older brother, Andrew. His brother’s encouragement would soon change his life forever. 

While he was a student at Bosco, Coach Anderson achieved many significant accomplishments during his wrestling career. He became a CIF and CIF Masters Champion as well as qualified for State, which is an accomplishment most high school wrestlers can only dream of. Coach Anderson is notable because he was the first Brave to qualify for state since the twenty-three year drought of no Braves being able to qualify for the competition since former Bosco wrestler Jim Mendoza, who was a part of the class of 1974.

“I joke around and say my mom dropped me off in 1994 and I never really left Bosco. I joined Bosco Wrestling in the fall of November 1994 and I loved the challenge of Bosco and its brotherhood,” said Coach Anderson. “It always felt like home. There were a lot of great people who wanted the best for me and to see me do well. They pushed me and guided me to try and reach my potential,”

Coach Anderson continued his wrestling career after graduating from Bosco attending Columbia University in New York City, where he majored in economics and eventually went on to work in bond trading and then investment banking. Coach Jeff described college as a unique experience, especially considering he was moving to a different state for school, but it allowed him to learn how to balance responsibilities and freedom at the same time, skills he would apply to his return to Bosco.

Some of Coach Anderson’s most important and memorable moments went down at Columbia University, but he notes his most important accolade in college was being able to receive his diploma in front of his loved ones after years of hard work and dedication, traits he acquired from his time as a Brave. However, there were some events that weren’t so positive, but are nonetheless events that shaped the wonderful and inspiring person that he is today. 

“I definitely have some memories that really formed me as a person. I remember watching [World Trade Center] Tower One and Tower Two on fire from the top of our dorm on 9/11″ said Anderson. “I even remember hearing the news of one of our friends being murdered and how devastating that was. It is important you have friends and family that love you to help you go through it, the good and the bad.”

Throughout his coaching career for the Braves, he has been able to form lasting bonds while accomplishing great things. Coach Anderson attributes much of his success as a coach to former wrestling head coach and current counselor Mr. Omar Delgado. He says Mr. Delgado always helped him see the bigger picture and go after what he wants most in life.

Two of his assistants, Coach Jenaro Santillan and Coach Ruben Valencia are two people he sees as very influential on the Wrestling Program. They have been working and coaching with Coach Anderson for ten plus years to the present, with both of them leaving an impact on every wrestler and on the program as a whole, notably helping to lead the program to a CIF State Runner-Up finish in 2020 and to CIF Section and Masters Championships during this 2022-2023 season. 

Not only does Coach Anderson form good relationships with his staff, he forms great connections and working relationships with the wrestlers as well. Former Brave wrestlers Mike Martinez and Julian Gendreau are some great examples of that, with them being his first state and national placers when he was an assistant coach on Mr. Delgado’s staff. 

To many of the wrestlers in the program, Coach Anderson is known for cracking his corny jokes during practice and tournaments to lighten the mood and to connect with the wrestlers on a personal level. Many of the wrestlers have been able to thank Coach Anderson for some of their success with him promoting their names through Bosco Wrestling’s social media pages, which have thousands of followers, helping them to compete in some of the biggest tournaments in the country. 

“I feel like my relationship with Coach Anderson is really good because of how close we got with such a short amount of time,” said sophomore wrestler Nicholas Sahakian. “He has always provided us with the best gear for our team, the best tournaments to go to and, of course, he’s definitely contributed to my success by getting my name out there with all the tournaments he set up for us during our season.”

One of Coach Anderson’s biggest priorities is to see his wrestlers obtain the most experience and knowledge from him and his staff so that they can eventually carry it on to the next level. His goal is to encourage his wrestlers to experience what wrestling can do for a person and how it can change their life, just like how it did for him. 

Heading into the future, Coach Anderson has many other goals to scratch off his list, an important one being to win CIF State and National Championships as a team. The Braves have managed to win individual State and National Championships, but the team title is the next landmark to reach in future competition.

Coach Anderson doesn’t just want to share the experience and success that comes with being a Brave wrestler with the boys, as in the upcoming seasons he plans to expand the program to include our sister school St. Joseph’s High School and their prospective wrestlers, too.

The position of wrestling head coach requires a tireless and constant effort, but for Coach Anderson it is worth every bit of it because it is a way of being able to give back to the school and sport that he loves. It provides, like it did when he was a student, the opportunity to not only make new friends, but to find and nurture a second family.  

Life Of A Brave: The Braves Go International As Students Head For A Once In A Lifetime Dominican Republic Trip

by Carter Daley

In June, St. John Bosco students have the opportunity to take a South American trip with fellow classmates. With eyes initially set on Peru, students are now signed up to experience the Land of the Inca.

Due to certain circumstances in the Peruvian government, trip moderator and computer science instructor Mr. Nathan Corkhill has moved the trip farther down south to the Dominican Republic. The trip will begin on June 5th and take place over the course of eight days. 

Students will be given the opportunity to experience all sorts of fun activities, as they enjoy the rich history and culture the Dominican Republic has to offer. Activities include snorkeling, zip lining, white water rafting and sight seeing on hikes.

“Something I will be doing for the first time in my life is white water rafting. I am so excited to experience that thrill of going down rivers at high speeds with my classmates,” said senior Aidan Gallagher.

Dominican food will also be enjoyed by St. John Bosco students, as the group will spend a day in Jarabacoa trying all sorts of famous Dominican barbecue from local restaurants. The students will then head on a beautiful hike and get to end their day by seeing the Jarabacoa waterfalls.

Many days will also be spent exploring some of the most beautiful beaches South America has to offer. This includes the blue and calm waters of the Boca Chica, where students will have the opportunity to learn how to surf. 

“I have got really into surfing as of recently, so I am super excited to experience the different beaches and hopefully get an opportunity to surf them,” said sophomore Connor Gallagher, younger brother of senior Aidan. 

During day five of the eight-day trip in the Dominican Republic, students will also be given the opportunity to learn Jiu Jitzu and the self-defense aspects that comes along with this form of martial arts.

With the trip soon arriving, sign-ups are still available until February 22nd. Twenty-five St. John Bosco students have already signed up along with four teachers and chaperones. With the trip being at a discount price, Mr. Corkhill is hoping for some new sign-ups this coming week. 

“This trip has the potential to be one of the best foreign trips I have been a part of during my time at Bosco. If you have any friends or family that are free during this time, I would strongly advise them to sign up,” said Trip Director Mr. Corkhill. 

As a reminder, signups for the 2023 “Discover the Dominican Republic” trip close next Wednesday, February 22nd. If students or parents have any questions or concerns regarding the trip, they should contact Mr. Nathan Corkhill via email at ncorkhill@bosco.org.

Life Of A Brave: Unsung Hero, Bosco’s Spiritual Director Fr. Ted Montemayor, SDB

by Christian Angel, Managing Editor

St. John Bosco High School’s well-known personality and Spiritual Director, Fr. Ted Montemayor, follows the model of Don Bosco in order to make our school feel like a “second home.”

Fr. Ted is one of the most prominent figures at St. John Bosco, where students have experienced Fr. Ted in the halls during the school day, through his famous “Good Mornings” when school starts or during his poignant homilies during monthly Masses. In his role as Spiritual Director, he ensures to make sure Bosco is a home to all our students, families and staff.

Photo by Megan Nash, Director of Digital Marketing & Social Media

Born on December 13, 1952 in Laredo, Texas, a small border-town near San Antonio toward the Mexican border, Fr. Ted grew up within the Salesian community from a young age. Fr. Ted attended a grammar school under the leadership of the Salesian Sisters and later on decided to join a high school seminary in Watsonville, California to soon begin his ministry.

As a kid, Fr. Ted was inspired to be a priest through his strong family who was close to the Salesian Sisters and through missionary priests that would give them talks and worked with indigenous communities in Mexico. One notable person Fr. Ted credits in his life is his twin sister, who he sometimes mentions in his homilies or in his “Good Morning” messages and passed away when he moved out to California to become a priest.

“We were five kids, I was the youngest alongside my twin sister. My twin sister and I parted ways when I went to high school,” said Fr. Ted. “My family always supported me, although they thought I was still too young to leave…. But my twin sister makes me reflect, as we came from the same womb, as she was a very giving and receiving person and loved me very much.”

For six years from 2014-2020, prior to his return to Bellflower, California and St. John Bosco, Fr. Ted served as the Provincial for the United States Western Province, tasked with to progressing the Salesian community throughout the west. Through his work as Provincial, he traveled a lot meeting new people within the Salesian community, but now in his role as Spiritual Director, he enjoys staying home and within the Bellflower community, building bonds and inspiring change in his own backyard.

His current role is very important and often misunderstood. Often the role of the Spiritual Director is viewed by many as the “head” of the organization.

“For St. John Bosco, the Director role was the director of the mission, parish, school, boys and girls club. Whether he runs it or not, [the Director] becomes the symbol of Don Bosco in the presence to defend the charism to make sure the place is ‘Salesian’ and to spot things that are ‘not Salesian,’ as he is the center of unity, ” said Fr. Ted.

Fr. Ted is also still involved in the Salesian community outside of St. John Bosco High School. One role is being present and serving the other Salesian priests and brothers. As Fr. Ted may not be able to be everywhere, his time involves being with the elderly community and organizing events, such as buying food for a particular gathering, doing Baptisms and funerals for our former alumni and even evening Saturday masses for the military in Los Alamitos.

Fr. Ted embodies the mission of Salesianity by trying using the model of Don Bosco to focus on the youth and the community. One of the gifts of Don Bosco gave his students was being present with them, which is one of the key elements of the Salesian charism, and Fr. Ted hopes to inspire students through the words he speaks to be better people. 

“I really try to be that kind presence that Don Bosco wanted us to be,” Fr. Ted said. “To help people and to create an environment to make people feel like home.”

Life Of A Brave: Senior Privileges Are Awarded To The Class Of 2023

by Brett Baligad, Senior Editor

As the class of 2023 begins their eigth semester, the Senior Board approves class privileges based on the behavior of the overall class. Through spirit wear on finals week, college sweatshirts and extended access to the Oratory, the class of 2023 reflects on their final months at Bosco.

With graduation in sight for the class of 2023, the much anticipated senior privileges have just been implemented. The privileges are conditional, as they represent the leadership and maturity of the school. Throughout their time at Bosco, the seniors had the opportunity to move up the ranks and learn how to lead by example. In turn, the decision to initiate the requested privileges was granted.

“By being role models in the first semester, the administration determines our worthiness of deserving senior privileges and how many,” said Associated Student Body Co-President Ryan Gutierrez.

In collaboration with the administration, the senior class board was able to come to terms with what would be appropriate class privileges.

The first privilege is to have the opportunity to wear college sweatshirts everyday. By April, a vast majority of the senior Braves will have all of their heard back about their college application. With many students already being accepted through early decision, early action and outright athletic scholarships, the past few weeks have already featured college sweatshirts from across the country.

“I think it’s a great privilege to wear our college gear,” said senior Sam Hentges, who will attend the Air Force Academy next year on a baseball scholarship. “All of us have worked really hard, and I am excited to see seniors representing top schools from across the country.”

In regards to uniform, during finals week, seniors are allowed to wear Bosco affiliated shorts, sweats, sweatshirts and t-shirts rather than a typical Bosco uniform. This promotes a relaxing environment during the final week of testing for the class of 2023. Many Braves are now able to represent the various sports teams, extracurriculars and other Bosco related affiliations they maintain that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to wear at school.

“It’s sad our time is coming to an end at Bosco, however, being able to wear spirit gear lets us worry about one less thing during finals week,” said senior Evan Chavez.

Lastly, the seniors are now able to have lunch in The Oratory. The Oratory is a lounge with food and games open to the student body before and after school. This concept of having hospitality on campus was inspired by St. John Bosco himself. 

On select days, the class of 2023 will have access to the room during lunchtime. The first time the Oratory became open was this past Friday. The senior board sold pizza, students played games and rested on the couches.

“I enjoyed hanging out in the oratory. My friends and I played pool and ping pong,” said senior Matthew Casas. “I hope the senior board makes this a more regular thing.”

These privileges represent a culmination of the hard work completed by the senior class. Being four months from ringing the Victory Bell for the last time, many seniors grow reminiscent of their time at Bosco.

“These privileges reflect all of our hard work as class. At the same time, it is bittersweet as it serves as a reminder of our little time left at Bosco,” said Associated Student Body Co-President Tyler Baligad.

Life Of A Brave: St. Joseph’s High School Host Winter Formal Dance

by Carter Daley

After a relaxing Christmas Break, St. John Bosco and St. Joseph’s High Schools celebrated their Winter Formal Dance at The MODERN, a venue known for unparalleled views and private jet runways.

The MODERN is located on the top floor of the Sky Harbor Hanger giving a fantastic view of not only the city of Long Beach, but also the award-winning Long Beach Airport. The venue is most notably used for weddings.

The event began at 8pm on Saturday as students arrived in party buses and carpools. Upon entering, students were greeted by each school’s respective faculty as they checked in. Accompanied by two private elevators, the area also includes a lounge where students can dance, a center bar to serve food and beverages along with a terrace that overlooks the dance floor. The appearance of the venue allowed students to have a great time in a smaller environment. 

“Saint Joseph’s ASB Board wanted to take a more intimate and smaller approach to this year’s Winter Formal dance, as opposed to this year’s Homecoming Dance,” said Vice Principal of Student Affairs Ms. Jen Schnorr.

The Winter Formal Dance Planning Committee at Saint Joseph’s did an excellent job providing great food and beverages. Students were able to stay energized with iced coffee and blueberry grape lemonade. Sliders and fries were served as appetizers throughout the night. 

“We knew going into the dance the love of coffee St. Joseph’s and Bosco shared, so when we got the inspiration from the administration to bring in coffee. We decided on vanilla mocha. It was a way to keep people energized,” said St. Joseph’s Associated Student Body (ASB) President Xochitl Moreno.

Many St. John Bosco students brought dates to accompany them. Whether from St. Joseph’s or other schools around the area, many students had the opportunity to meet one another and enjoy a night of dancing.

A key highlight of the night came at the very end where students were offered milk and cookies. This was a sweet and savory treat to rap up a great night of excitement. 

“I didn’t have one but I saw a few teachers walking around with a big plate of cookies on top and a pitcher of milk under it. The whole thing made me laugh,” said senior Anthony Beyelia.

Chosen by St. Joseph’s ASB, DJ Brandon Wright kept the dance floor lively. Playing songs like the “Cupid Shuffle” and “Cha Cha Slide” kept students on their feet and happy to be around one another.

As St. John Bosco and St. Joseph’s students approach the last few months of the school year, they will continue to enjoy memories like these together as sisters and brothers.

Around Bosco: The Black Student Union Will Host Their First Annual Cookout

by Noah Dawson

The St. John Bosco’s Black Student Union (BSU) cordially invites everyone to their inaugural BSU Cookout event, an occasion to celebrate the diversity and culture of the greater community.

Get ready for a day of fun and food on February 4th, as the cookout event marks a unique opportunity for members from across the Bosco community and beyond to come to participate in games, eat food and connect with students from across the Los Angeles area and celebrating the strength of different cultures.

From 2-4:00 pm, the event is open exclusively to Bosco students and faculty, as the Brave family will be treated to an array of mouthwatering Cajun dishes from local caterers that represent black culture and business in partnership with Black on the Block. There will also be side dishes, such as potato salad, coleslaw and baked beans. The event opens to the public starting at 4:00 pm and ending at 8:00 pm. Food will be still be available to purchase during that timespan for those non-Bosco attendees and latecomers.

Following food, there will be an array of games and activities. This includes a three-legged race and a water balloon toss sponsored by St. Joseph’s High School’s Black Student Association. The night will conclude with a showing of the film Do the Right Thing.

“We are incredibly excited to be partnering with St. Joseph’s to make this happen. This is going to be such an amazing opportunity for all of the black students from different schools to come together, meet each other and form partnerships for years to come,” said BSU faculty moderator Mrs. Michelle Dolphin.

The excitement is palpable, as students, teachers and staff eagerly await the cookout in the school’s Mary Help of Christians Quad.

“I am beyond thrilled that we are hosting our first-ever cookout,” said counselor Alyssa Skipper. “Celebrating different cultures and putting our amazing Black Student Union at the forefront is so important for our school community. This is going to be a fantastic event that brings everyone together.”

This is an incredible opportunity for the Bosco BSU to bring together students from different schools to celebrate our diversity and culture. The Bosco BSU will welcome peers from other schools, such as Harvard-Westlake, Loyola and Marymount to the cookout.

“I can’t wait for the cookout! It’s going to be an amazing time, and the people are going to be great. I’m looking forward to all the delicious food, the games and just hanging out with friends,” said senior Ryan Simien.

At the cookout, the Bosco BSU will be offering pre-orders for limited edition t-shirts and hoodies. These items will only be available for pre-order at the cookout, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to own a piece of St. John Bosco history.

“The energy behind this student organization is truly exciting,” said Principal Dr. Kris Anderson. “With its purpose to empower, teach, discuss and uplift the experiences of our students, I see a great opportunity for students to advocate for themselves and others. This cookout is going to be a fantastic representation of that energy and support.”

*Editor’s Note: Noah Dawson serves as President of St. John Bosco’s Black Student Union.

Life Of A Brave: Unsung Hero, Director Of Basketball Operations and Football Equipment Manager Coach Burrel Lee

by Christian Angel, Managing Editor

St. John Bosco’s Burrel Lee plays a vital role in the basketball and football programs. He works tirelessly to ensure the CIF State Champion football team is prepared with all their equipment and the basketball program runs smoothly.

Photo by Megan Nash, Director of Digital Marketing & Social Media

Coach Burrel is a well-known face within the Brave community. Whether it is as a substitute teacher, a proctor for an exam, Bosco Football’s Equipment Manager or Bosco Basketball’s Director of Operations, Burrel Lee has done it all.

Born in Compton, California, Coach Burrel graduated from Antelope Valley High School in 1993. He started off his career in the WNBA, working many years with the LA Sparks.

More recently, Coach Burrel was the Head Coach of St. Joseph’s High School Basketball, and currently is the CEO and Director of SoCal Buzz, a youth basketball team he created in 2010. There, he learned everything about game day organizational skills and basketball skills.

“In 2016 when Coach Matt Dunn called me to work with Bosco Basketball, without hesitation I said yes. And that is where I came in to help manage the program and organize all the pieces needed in order to make sure this program can continue to succeed,” said Coach Burrel.

Head Coach Matt Dunn is extremely thankful to have Coach Burrel on his team, as he goes above and beyond to make sure the basketball program is consistently one of the best in the state.

“I think every program needs somebody who is willing to do all the little things. You need that on your team. You also need that on your coaching staff, and it’s incredible the different things Burrel does and has done over the last few years,” said Coach Dunn.

He manages basketball game day operations, including team meals and travel. In addition, he manages many volunteers every game who help work security and admittance. He even prepares the entertainment for every game, and and when the game tips off, you can catch him courtside as the team’s PA announcer.

“As I help coach to set the gym up for the games, including freshman, junior varsity and varsity games, there are so many factors that fall in to achieve. From dealing with referees to picking out the different types of music to play to game day announcements to even making sure all the players, coaches and staff are well-equipped,” Coach Burrel said.

Coach Burrel is also essential to Bosco Football as Head Equipment Manager. He is one of the pillars of the program, making sure all equipment and technology are ready for game day. Coach Burrel has helped Bosco Football since 2013, and his work often goes unnoticed, as he works hard every Friday night with his equipment staff in order to make sure the team is prepared with live in-game footage on the sidelines as well as with coaches’ headsets and communications. 

He evens finds time in the Spring to serve as Bosco Baseball’s Bench Coach and Social Media Manager

Coach Burrel lives Don Bosco’s mission of being an educator with reason, understanding, affection and, most of all, humor, supporting and inspiring many each day to achieve their dreams. 

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