Category Archives: Life of a Brave

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. 

Lampoon: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Online Learning

by Pedro Ochoa

If someone last year told you that we would be doing all of our classes on our bed via ZOOM, would you have believed them? Of course not. Isn’t it weird that most of the time in our physical classes, our teachers would tell us that we had to put our electronics away? And now, they ask us to open our electronics, because if we don’t, then we will get marked absent. How things have changed in 2020!

Waking up five minutes before class, in your bed, and in your pajamas is amazing right? Can you imagine being in front of a screen for more than ten hours a day? Well stop imagining it, not only are you doing this now, but most of you were doing it before the pandemic (stop shaking your head – you know I’m right).  

Online learning has a lot of positives and negatives. First and foremost, every quarter is different for everyone. There have been many students that are pulling their hair out because they are taking their hardest classes in the first quarter, while some students are sleeping and dreaming of those sheep jumping on clouds because they have free periods. I know this because I was one of those sheep dreamers first quarter, while now I am starting to grow white hairs. 

The best part of online learning has been when the teachers tell us that our mental health matters, and to put some time to ourselves, because there is so much happening in the world right now. We deserve it, after all, they say. Then they tell us not to forget that we have a paper due the next day in MLA format, while also having twenty assignments, and don’t forget that big test at the end of the week that is worth 50% of your grade. How are we supposed to make time for ourselves when we have assignments due every day at 11:59 pm? Not only the students, but also the teachers who end up grading all this stuff. 

Some people are loving life right now, while some do not. Some students have the everyday routine of sleeping for more than fourteen hours a day, including naps, while some barely sleep six. It looks like the teachers have it worse than the students. Not only do they have to grade assignments and give lectures everyday, but they also have their own families and lives that have been turned upside down. Even though most of them have gotten the hang on how to use ZOOM, it’s pretty funny when a teacher is lecturing and there is a funny background noise coming from their microphone.

Zoom is just astonishing, right? The teachers went from telling the whole class to be quiet because we were talking too much in class, to now begging for us to turn our mics on to participate. Again, how things have changed! Also, don’t you love breakout rooms? Either we get put into a room with all of our best buds and we don’t want it to end, or we get put into a room where everyone just does not know how to unmute their mic. You either get the best breakout room or the worst, no in between.  

School ID pictures are this Saturday! Great! Saturday will show how many people are really drained because of the blue light that is projected from these screens. There will be many people with huge bags under their eyes. If you don’t want these, and want to look good for your pictures, listen up. Wet a cloth with cold water and hold it under our eyes for ten minutes. Does it work? I don’t know, I just looked it up on Wikipedia. 

By the way, teachers know when you switch tabs on Schoology and even when you sign up for Chegg.com. Don’t believe me? Read the terms and conditions and don’t just click, “I accept” next time. 

Also, make sure your microphone is muted, you don’t want to be the one that gets caught watching Tik Toks because you forgot to mute your microphone. 

Life Of A Brave: Due To Covid-19, Bosco Students Have Had To Adapt To A New Quarter System, Creating A Divide In The Community Over Learning Preference

by Nicholas Neoman

The Bosco community is experiencing a divide over the rapid change of quarters this semester, sparking dialogue on whether a quarter system is beneficial or detrimental to both students and faculty during online learning.

Teachers, as well as some students, feel the pinch of a quick turnaround. For a multitude of reasons, they believe that the three day break between quarters one and two was far too short. 

When Mrs. Michele Dolphin, a teacher for the Biomedical Pathway and Chemistry, was asked about the single-day grading period, she responded with a sentiment many other Bosco teachers may share as well.

“I ended up not meeting that deadline and so I asked for an extension because it was just impossible, I felt really stressed and overwhelmed,” Mrs. Dolphin said.

Mrs. Dolphin represents the general consensus of many teachers at Bosco. Teachers like Dolphin finished administering their finals Thursday afternoon and were expected to grade them by the end of the following day. The tight pinch between academic quarters forced teachers into a frenzy, grading at an alarming rate. Teachers were expected to grade finals within a day and start teaching their next classes a few days later. Much of the teaching staff would have benefited greatly from an elongated break to grade finals and relax before they set out to teach a new set of courses.

Noah Citek, a Junior in the Sports-Medicine Pathway, responded similarly when asked about his view on the short grace period.

“It was a weird pace to be at because you ramped up [for finals] and then you’re back starting new classes again,” Citek said.

While teachers were experiencing an overwhelming pressure to grade finals in a matter of hours, some students felt overexhaustion from the quick break between quarter one and two. After cramming every ounce of information obtained from a quickly paced quarter and pushing through finals, they were expected to regain their momentum at the start of the new quarter in a matter of days. Students and teachers alike were experiencing an increasing amount of frustration from the dismal period of time granted between quarters.

However, counselors and some students felt the quick turnaround was optimal for success during online school.

Mr. Omar Delgado, a counselor and father of two Braves, holds a sentiment in which he feels as if students benefit from a short break.

“I feel some students don’t really want a long break because then they get out of their rhythm or their routine,” Mr Delgado said.

From the experience of a seasoned college counselor, Delgado believes that the best way for students to keep their momentum is through this short break. After seeing many classes of students graduate and move on to college, from his perspective the short break benefits students. It allows them to maintain whatever tools for success as they embark on their next set of classes and challenges.

Xavier Gonzalez, a Junior in the Computer-Science Pathway, is a student who shares Mr. Delgado’s belief.

“I liked the short break because it kept me in the momentum for school and it kept my work ethic. The short break gave me enough time to recover from finals while still being capable of jumping back into the next quarter,” said Gonzalez.

Unlike other students, Gonzalez feels that he was able to produce his best work as a result of this short break. After finishing four classes, Gonzalez had an overall positive experience in preserving his study habits and methods for success via the lessened time off. Gonzalez represents a faction of the student body who benefited from the quick period between quarters. He believes that any more time would have slowed him down in trying to gain a new routine for his next classes.

The Bosco community is divided in terms of their views on the quarter system. While some responded positively to the short breaks and found that they were able to study better and do well in the next Quarter, others felt the stress and exhaustion of the quick days off. This proves how diverse the Bosco community is educationally. As Bosco houses many who are very different in how they learn, it is key to remember how difficult it is to create a system that benefits everyone.

However people feel about this quarter system, the general mood within Bosco is that the return to campus would work wonders for learning. While online learning looks to remain the future of Bosco, people from both sides of this issue would agree that the quarter breaks would be better if in-person learning resumed.

Life of A Brave: The Story of Dr. Wickstrom, A Man Of Faith, Intellect, Leadership and Citizenship.

By John Udabe

Over the summer, St John Bosco hired on a new President and CEO of the school to bring change to the Bosco community, Dr. Brian Wickstrom. 

With a rich resume, Dr. Wickstrom is an exciting and enriching addition to the Bosco community.

Dr. Wickstrom was raised and educated in the state of Kansas, along with his identical twin. As a student athlete in high school, he eventually went on to receive a full scholarship to Kansas State as a Track and Field athlete running the 400 meter. This background makes it easy for him to relate to the load many Bosco student-athletes take up in order to have an opportunity to compete at the next level, as he has experienced first-hand what that feels like.

“You have to learn to manage your time and you have to learn to survive, make friends, get along and build relationships to get through school and set yourself up to be able to have the contacts for the rest of your life,” Dr. Wickstrom said. “I think it’s very similar to going through the brotherhood of St John Bosco and the value of the relationships and the brotherhood that you make here in school.”

At Kansas State, he earned his MBA with a management concentration. After that, he earned a Masters of Sports Administration from Ohio University and later became a Doctor of Education and Educational Leadership from Eastern Michigan University.

“I just knew that I had such a great student experience and student athlete experience, that I wanted to impact students,” Dr. Wickstrom says.

Dr. Wickstrom’s family is a testament to the emphasis and importance of education on his life. 

His twin brother is an accountant, his older brother is an iMax film producer, his sister in law is the first prenatal care specialist at the University of Chicago Medical Center, and his sister is a lawyer.

“Academics has always been pretty high in my family … we’ve always wanted to be a part of successful academic programs” said Dr. Wickstrom.

And Dr. Wickstrom has indeed been part of many successful programs. Dr. Wickstrom’s career has taken him all across the country as a part of institutions including the University of Ohio, the University of Missouri, the University of California Riverside, and most recently the University of Incarnate Word, just to name a few. With about 20 years of experience working in collegiate athletics, Dr. Wickstrom is no stranger to high level positions in some of the country’s most prominent institutions and he has left a positive impact everywhere he’s been.

Dr. Wickstrom also expressed that his former roles have given him a “great broad background of all these different experiences and philosophies that have helped give [him] a full gamut of experiences to make St. John Bosco that national leader it can be.”

But what is it like moving a family of seven to different places across the country? That’s right, seven. Along with his wife Celina, together they have five children. He has four sons, James (3), David Grant (8), John Christian (9), Vince (12), and his daughter Bricelle (5).

To Dr. Wickstrom, the moves across the country have been quite a learning experience for him and his kids, “I think it’s cool, they get to learn about different parts of the country, different cultures, from eating crawfish in Louisiana to becoming a part of San Antonio… It broadens their thoughts, it broadens their viewpoints on a lot of different things in terms of different diversities, different backgrounds, different educational levels, and it’s been a great experience for them,” he says.

Dr. Wickstrom is looking forward to his family joining the Bosco community as well. His sons  John Christian and Vince are currently in 4th grade and 8th grade respectively at Dominic Savio and Vince will be going to St. John Bosco next year.

“It’s exciting to help build a school that’s going to help put our kids in a great university someday when they get to Bosco,” and he continues “and partner up with St. Josephs for our daughter Bricelle, so it’s an exciting time to watch our kids grow and be a part of this growth at St John Bosco.

Dr. Wickstrom has not been fazed either with the transition to St. John Bosco during Covid: “It’s a little bit of a blessing in terms of coming here with school not being open so we can focus on all the internal operations and not have to necessarily worry about the students,” Wickstrom admits.

Dr. Wickstrom is optimistic of making the best out of the substantial changes surrounding the Bosco community. Plenty of advancements are being made to prepare the school to acclimate to the current worldwide situation.

“We have spent almost $200,000 to get the school prepared to come back…we’re in a better position to come back than most high schools with our distancing capabilities. We have a great plan in place when the time comes.”

Dr. Wickstrom notes that St. John Bosco is currently going above and beyond, exceeding county requirements. Having one of the biggest private high school campuses has had some advantages; with 36 acres of land, students will be able to spread out outside across the campus.

Technological advancements have been made as well, exceeding increased numbers of hand sanitizer dispensers and changes and layout. One of the biggest advancements is the bipolar ionization system.

“It’s a system that uses bipolar ionization through the HVAC system in the buildings that will kill bacteria, that will kill viruses, that will kill fungi, and it’s something that we put in all the student areas already,” Dr. Wickstrom explains.

A major accomplishment for Bosco and something not many schools have the opportunity to implement yet. 

Dr. Wickstrom  is constantly working to bring new and exciting changes to the school. Take the Bosco Community Garden for example, a project in which he is working, only in his first few months at Bosco.

“Dr. Wickstrom is easy going and fun to work with, and is fitting in well at St. John Bosco,” Mrs. Ellison, the Dean of Enrollment Management says, “Dr. Wickstrom brings outstanding leadership to Bosco. He is results driven and motivates others to achieve excellence. In addition to creating an environment focused on excellence, he is also a very approachable and considerate leader who always brings a positive attitude.”

In all, Dr. Wickstrom is an invaluable and thrilling addition to the Bosco community. His goals are clear as he says, “As I progressed in my career and my wife and I have grown our family, we wanted to be able to have a major impact on our kids, their lives, and basically set all the students up that we can come into contact with to be on a great path to accomplish all their goals.”

He has an unwavering commitment to the education and the success of all the students he is involved with. With Dr. Wickstrom at the helm, St. John Bosco appears to have a bright future ahead. Wickstrom is looking forward for him and his family to grow with the Bosco family.

“We’ve already seen some great accomplishments as an institution and we are just getting started, so the fun is just beginning.”

For all of the many accomplishments he has done and the ones that are on the works, Dr. Wickstrom deserves much appreciation and respect for his work. Everyone at Saint John Bosco is excited to see what other great additions he has planned for the future.

Life Of A Brave: Juan Archuletta, a coach to Bosco wrestling, bounces back from a featherweight title fight loss by winning the Bellator bantamweight championship

by: Andrew Fierro

Juan Archuletta, a bantamweight fighter in the Bellator organization, and a role model to Bosco’s varsity wrestling team acquires the bantamweight championship with a win over Patchy Mix on September 12.

Bellator MMA

Almost exactly one year after losing his first title fight against featherweight Patrico Freire, Juan Archuletta challenges for a title once again and this time gets a unanimous decision to take home the championship. His record is now 25-2 and he has only lost one time in the past 5 years. 

Archuletta’s great ground defense became a pivotal role in his win, with him being taken to the ground early in the first round and having to defend off many submission attempts from his opponent Patchy Mix. Though once he was able to get back to his feet it was obvious that he was in control of the fight with his superior boxing. 

Archuletta commented about the difference between wrestling in a regular match and a fight, saying, “it’s different because in a fight you’re getting punched, you can’t just shoot in when you’re tired”. He cited differences in the amount of things to worry about stating “there are a lot more things to worry about when you’re fighting because it’s not only about wrestling”.

Archuletta has helped the Bosco wrestling team in the past after meeting coach Ruben and was offered to come out and help train the boys. He has been helping them ever since. The wrestlers certainly like it and they can feel the difference between wrestling just another wrestler and a professional fighter.

“It’s just a different feel, his pace is hard to keep up with since his conditioning is better than anyone in the rooms,” said Oscar Aranda, a varsity wrestler on the St. John Bosco team.

One thing that Oscar said took him by surprise was how level headed and nice Archuletta was. He commented that he was very approachable and if you had a question he was happy to answer it.

Archuletta said that his experience training with the wrestlers was great for him and it helped him work on some of his fundamentals. 

“Those guys are some of the best in the country and not just random wrestlers” said Archuletta. 

He also commented that both wrestlers and anyone pursuing a career in MMA should “stick to your game plan and do what you think is best for yourself, don’t worry about what all these other guys are doing and focus on yourself”. Archuletta also talked about how wrestling is the base of mma and it is hard to compete at a high level if you don’t have the skillset that wrestlers possess.

Archuletta stated that wrestling helped him build character and that it is a great sport to get into, not just for the wrestling experience and background but because of the life lessons you will get from it. The earlier you get into wrestling the better it will help you throughout life is what Archuletta continues to preach each day.

Life Of A Brave: Covid Strikes Again, College Scholarships Harder to Come By

by Aydn Morris

High school student athletes are now panicking as college scholarships won’t be any easy to come by this year thanks to the ongoing pandemic. 

St. John Bosco High School Athletic Director Monty McDermott, like many student-athletes and parents, is concerned about the matter. Around 500,000 students end up becoming a student athlete in college and from those 500,000 only 150,000 are under an athletic scholarship, according to Mr. McDermott. 

“Now it is even tougher to get a scholarship because the number of high school students are rising but the number of scholarships are decreasing,” said Mr. McDermott. 

Prior to the outbreak only 2% of student athletes were given a scholarship which resorted to only 15,000 students receiving one. It is no secret that it was already tremendously hard to get an athletic scholarship in general, and now it is going to reach a level of toughness we have never seen before.  

The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) has been trying to figure out a way to let as many high school students as possible play their respective sports. They came up with the idea of reducing the sports seasons by only having Winter and Spring seasons, which allowed the fall sports to practice and try out due to not being able to during the summer. 

Of course, as the virus has proven time and time again, it is unpredictable. If no change is made regarding positive cases, it won’t be surprising if there isn’t a season in general for many states around the nation this school year. 

Unfortunately, players who have played baseball and basketball during the same year will only be able to play one now due to both sports taking place during the same season. The “two season only rule” is hitting hard for multi-sport athletes, as their chance of getting an athletic option is greatly diminished because they won’t have a secondary sport option this year to solidify their case. 

CIF has also been trying to figure out how to get teams to practice in a safe way, and they came up with “day camp” protocols. The camp protocols for practicing include social distancing, not being allowed to practice indoors and only being allowed to share a ball with a few people. In addition, schools cannot do full practices, or do scrimmages against other schools, which is important to a team’s practice success. 

The state of California won’t be allowing fans, scouts or family members to watch games, which will only add burden to athletes wanting to get recruited. This can negatively affect the way a team plays and make some dreams a longshot for kids around the nation. 

They may start giving out less scholarships because senior students in college may be getting held back for their sport because of the redshirt rule. The redshirt rule is where senior students are allowed to stay another year in school to play their sport because their season may have been cut short. 

This is like a butterfly effect because seniors who are redshirted are taking up playing time and scholarship money from freshman and sophomore players and potential incoming recruits, respectively. This can also lead them into not wanting to give a lot of scholarships or not giving any full-ride scholarships because they can’t afford to pay for a freshman to play for minimal or no playing time. This is mostly involved with schools that don’t get a lot of players that go into the professional drafts. 

Truly the impossible is possible if the desire and commitment is there and high school seniors should not see this as an excuse to not give it their all for the remainder of the school year. 

“Stay positive to our circumstances, and especially keep their grades up,” Mr. McDermott said, as he hopes parents will be supportive for their kids during a year that has not gone anyone’s way. 

Life of a Brave: Don’t Make Halloween a Pandemic Nightmare

by Nicholas Neoman

Celebrating Halloween in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic poses a tremendous new health risk. In the wake of a spike in cases nationwide following Labor Day weekend, health experts are concerned with the implications Halloween places on the rate of transmission.

According to NBC Los Angeles, Labor Day saw a massive “uptick in virus cases.” Events such as barbecues and public gatherings on Labor Day caused a spike in the COVID-19 infection rate. According to the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, Los Angeles County’s cases are hovering around 7 cases per 100,000 people. Health experts fear the COVID-19 infection rate will see exponential growth during Halloween, which may mean the popular holiday will look different for at least 2020.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has placed new guidelines for Halloween in the midst of this pandemic. Social gatherings, such as parties, are now forbidden as close interactions will surely cause a spike in cases. Other traditions like Trick-Or-Treating are strictly advised against. Everyone must be six feet apart, which is simply not realistic. While many restless children will still go door-to-door asking for candy, the Health Department strongly advises to limit the amount of contact. Even small interactions with others, like handing out candy, put people at risk of contracting the novel coronavirus.

Furthermore, the Health Department has deemed online parties and drive-in-movies as safe actions for celebrating Halloween. While many are still very sick of doing everything from a distance, one moment of close interaction can ruin what months of time have built. Halloween floods people with nostalgia of times before this pandemic. Thus, the inclination to return to “normal” will be stronger than usual. But, remember: this can be deadly. 

Sharing food such as candy can transmit the virus amongst one another. According to Healthline, as much as 42% of the infected are asymptomatic. Therefore, it is wise to take candy and other food that has not been touched or individually wrapped. While people may not experience symptoms such as coughs and runny noses, they may be carriers of this deadly virus. In the case of Halloween, like always, people will not be able to tell those who are infected based on symptoms. Thus, keep the philosophy in mind that everyone may have the virus.

On top of pandemic precautions and community restlessness, for the first time in five years, Halloween will be on a Saturday. There are no reasons for going home early – school and work do not follow as they usually did in past years. Staying out later because Halloween is on a Saturday only increases the chances of spreading the deadly coronavirus. The more time spent with someone, the larger the chances are of transmission.

The greatest fallacy the news is spreading is that cases are decreasing. While case rates may not be as colossal as they once were, this is misleading. They indicate that public gatherings are not discouraged since case rates have dropped. If people are careless and do not listen to public health and safety warnings, Coronavirus cases will leap as they did on Labor Day.

Halloween attracts many different social groups which increases interactions. Those who have been cooped up in their homes will seek to finally have some fun in months. Things like interacting with others who have not been quarantined together only increases the chances of contracting the virus. The Health Department of Los Angeles implores people to be cautious about actions that they take on Halloween. 

The Saint John Bosco community is nearing its return to campus, and a major spike from Halloween would only delay when students and faculty can come back. Halloween amidst a pandemic does not have to mean there will be a spike in COVID-19 cases. Follow the guidelines, take logical actions, preserve cleanly habits, wear a mask and stay safe.

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