St. John Bosco welcomes the students back on campus after a three-week vacation, looking to finish off the 2021-22 school year strong with new policies and rules.
This new policy officially started January 10th, the day students returned to class, and is in full effect with rules and consequences should the policy be violated.
The new policy states that all students must keep their cell phones in their backpack the entire school day, and must not be used unless in the case of an immediate emergency. If a student chooses to go against the policy, their phone will be taken away and the student will be given a Saturday detention.
For many months teachers have had issues with students having their cell phones out, and often talked about what it would be like with a policy like this in place.
“This policy has really always been on the table. For a while, we as a staff have always talked about bringing it into fruition. In our meetings, especially, it has been brought up, but with the mistakes that occurred last semester, we had to do it,” said Mr. Masciel, the Dean of Students at Bosco.
One of the main concerns with the phone policy is the consequences, which were based on the Salesian preventive swystem, which consists of learning from your mistakes but at the same time having consequences like Saturday school.
Last semester the policy was announced through a video sent out by Principal Dr. Anderson stated what the policy was and when it would become in effect. There was never any announcement on if it was permanent or could be changed
“Many students ask me if this policy will end, and the real answer is that this policy will be enforced until further notice. It’s not to punish kids, but to help and even boost socialization,” Mr. Masciel said.
This policy is meant to be treated just like uniforms, where there should be no question of following it. There are many policies at Bosco that students follow and never think about.
“Just like any other policy, it can be changed or amended. It’s the same with uniforms. Possibly down the road we maybe can make it where it’s only certain days, but we don’t know, so for right now it’s in full effect,” said Mr. Masciel.
After one week of the policy being enforced, there have been many disagreements with the policy, but the school has dealt with them using respect and integrity throughout the school.
The phone policy is only in effect during the school hours, from 8 a.m. to the dismissal bell. All use of phones before and after those times are completely fine, and students will not get into trouble.
The lack of phones also requires students to now provide a legitimate device for school work, and using their phone for school is no longer allowed during the day.
Last week, the Brave community lost Mr. Monty McDermott, class of 1986, who most notably served as the Director of Athletics, but to many, was far more than that.
For 29 wonderful years, Mr. McDermott was a pillar of St. John Bosco. Since taking over as Athletic Director in 2002, St. John Bosco enjoyed the most successful athletic department run in the school’s history. Including a move into the elite Trinity League, Mr. McDermott is responsible for many of the changes that led to the successes that the school and its community have been accustomed to for quite some time now.
During his time as Athletic Director, St. John Bosco won a remarkable 52 varsity league titles, 79 CIF titles, 26 state championships and 11 national championships.
“They (Mr. McDermott and former principal Pat Lee) made an institutional commitment to compete with the teams in the Trinity League,” said instructor of Religious Studies Mr. Joe Griffin, class of 1975.
Although all of Bosco’s athletic teams have seen vast improvements since the beginning of his tenure, Mr. McDermott’s transformation of Bosco football into a powerhouse on the national level was one of, if not his most incredible accomplishment. Bosco football’s success began roughly a decade ago, with league titles in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2018, state championships in 2013, 2016, and 2019, with those 2013 and 2019 campaigns ending with the Braves as National Champions.
“His guidance and belief in our vision were two primary reasons we are where we are today,” wrote Braves football head coach Jason Negro, class of 1991, in a statement released last Saturday morning.
Furthermore, part of the success can be attributed to the loyalty and support that he showed all coaches and athletic programs. He was a regular sight at sporting events, whether it was football, baseball or basketball.
“His legacy is ensuring that a Salesian education doesn’t just stop in the classroom, but it extends beyond to all aspects of our school,” said Principal Dr. Kris Anderson, class of 2004.
Being a practicing Catholic, God was very important to Mr. McDermott, so it is no surprise that he understood how to extend that Salesian education into athletics. He greatly valued success in the classroom in addition to success on the field or court.
“Scholar-athletes was something we didn’t use to do, and he thought that it was very important to honor the students who were getting a 3.0 and playing a varsity sport,” said Mrs. Jeanne Pantuso, who worked alongside Mr. McDermott in the athletics office for decades.
Mr. McDermott himself was a spectacular athlete. While attending Bosco, he served as captain of both the football and baseball teams, and was also an All-League athlete in both sports. Incredibly, McDermott set a national high school record, and still holds the state record, for most runs batted in (RBIs) for one baseball game with 14, in a game where he hit three home runs, two being grand slams, against Don Bosco Tech. Mr. McDermott also went on to play college baseball at the University of La Verne.
Due to his incredible athletic abilities, Mr. McDermott was a well-known member of the athletic community, especially in the Southern California region.
Although he is most well-known for being Bosco’s Athletic Director, Mr. McDermott also served Bosco as a dean, baseball coach, football coach, math teacher, physical education teacher and assistant Athletic Director. He also served as the CIF representative for the Trinity League.
“I think he leaves too big of a legacy to even express. He has been so involved with so many things over the years. I think he will never be forgotten,” said Mrs. Pantuso.
As a coach, he was very loved by those who had the privilege and opportunity to play for him. His style of coaching, being strict and meticulous while also coaching with positivity, really had an impact on many who played on his athletic teams. One such athlete who had the pleasure of playing for Mr. McDermott is current social studies instructor and former varsity baseball coach Mr. Mario Cordero, class of 1997.
“He was a positive coach. He wasn’t negative; he didn’t speak down to us. He was tough, but he was understanding, and I really looked up to him as a freshman,” said Mr. Cordero.
Beyond all of this, however, there were several qualities held by Mr. McDermott that made him not only special, but also a model man of faith.
One of these qualities was his immense love for St. John Bosco. After his four years here as a student of the class of 1986, Monty’s love for the school drew him back for what ended up being nearly another 30 years. Because of the many positions he held, Mr. McDermott impacted many who have either worked or attended St. John Bosco and gave an unrivaled demonstration of what the model Salesian educator looks like.
“He was passionate about Bosco. He loved Bosco, and he named his golden retriever Bosco. You’d see Monty, and he was always wearing Bosco gear,” said Mr. Cordero.
Of the many lasting impacts that Mr. McDermott leaves, which began when he first set foot on campus as a Brave in 1982, is the belief that he had in St. John Bosco. His belief in the school is what enabled him to bring the energy and love that touched everyone he met. His demonstration of what it means to show up every day and give all he has to give and work hard for an institution is the legacy that he leaves behind at Bosco.
“[His impact is] his loyalty to the school, his love for the school, and his willingness to work hard every day for the advancement of the athletes and the school itself,” said Mr. Griffin.
Another quality held by Mr. McDermott that was admired by all those who met him was his positive attitude and humor. His friendliness and happiness were very endearing aspects of his character, and made him someone that everyone wanted to be around.
“He was completely caring. We’ve all had those days where we don’t want to talk to people, but I don’t think he ever did, or at least showed that. He always made sure that the people he was with were in a good place,” said Dr. Anderson.
His love for St. John Bosco, however, was second only to one thing: his family. Mr. McDermott is survived by his wife, Delores McDermott and his son, Monty McDermott Jr., the loves of his life. His love for Bosco and his family were connected as he greatly involved his family into Bosco affairs.
“Monty involved his family, and I think that really illuminates the reality that Bosco was family for Monty. The McDermott family was always around Bosco, and I think that is a testament to who he was not only as a family man, but a Bosco family man too,” said Mr. Cordero.
His family truly was a Brave family. With him being an alumnus, and his parents being very involved in the community and his sisters attending St. Joseph High School, there was not much more possible involvement for Mr. McDermott. Through and through, Mr. McDermott was a Brave in his heart and a prime example of what it means to be a Brave.
The Brave community is currently awaiting more information concerning services for Mr. McDermott. However, if there are any tributes, quotes, or memories that one desires to share, contact email@example.com.
Joseph Michael Griffin first stepped foot on the St. John Bosco campus 50 years ago in 1971, where he found a home within the Brave community.
After working as a teacher for ten years, Mr. Griffin, or to many on campus, Coach Griffin, returned to campus in order to teach religious studies and to coach football in August of 1990. He joined the Bosco teaching staff together with Mr. Linares and Mr. Antonelli. Mr. Griffin is the religious department lead and is also a part of the freshman football coaching staff. In his 32 years as Bosco he has also served as vice-principal, CYM twice. He was the varsity football offensive coordinator for three years and the head freshmen football coach for several years.
Mr. Griffin always felt welcomed at Bosco and felt as if it was a second home. He was a quieter kid in high school and while not excelling in academics and sports, still felt very welcomed at Bosco. Though a lot of the campus has changed, for Mr. Griffin, the environment of the school has remained the same.
“There really are not many differences. We always had a diverse student community in those days,” said Mr. Griffin.
One of the only differences that Mr. Griffin has witnessed that the number of Salesians, priests and brothers that were on campus was much greater back then. Not only were there more salesians, priests and brothers, but there were no female teachers as well.
Though Mr. Griffin’s original plans were not to be a teacher, his aspirations to teach came much later. Though it may not have been in his initial plans, Mr. Griffin has proven to be an excellent teacher and a key piece to the Bosco community. He was able to achieve his goals through some of what Bosco was able to provide for him while he was in high school.
“Bosco gave me a nurturing place to grow up as an adolescent to feel welcomed and supported,” said Mr. Griffin.
A new familiar face on campus is Bosco’s Principal, Dr. Kris Anderson. Dr. Anderson attended Bosco from 2000 to 2004. He was involved in the prestigious Bosco football program, where he was coached by Mr. Griffin during his time on the freshman football team. Dr. Anderson was able to prosper in the football program as he began as a backup offensive line man on the Gold team, until he became a starter his senior year winning league and earning himself a scholarship to the University of Idaho.
“With his mentorship and continuing to push me to be better, by the time I was a sophomore, I started on the sophomore team and was a two year starter,” said Dr. Anderson.
Dr. Anderson feels that Mr. Griffin’s qualities as a mentor for football and teaching are what helped him grow as a football player and person overall.
“His example of commitment and drive had a big impact on me,” said Dr. Anderson.
Mr. Griffin coached Dr. Anderson his freshman year and mentioned that he was a very hard worker and very dependable. Mr. Griffin was also his teacher mentor in 2009 and is now his fellow colleague. Dr. Anderson accredits Mr. Griffin for how his relationship changed from coach and athlete to colleague. This is due to Mr. Griffin’s experience in the teaching realm, in the sense that he has seen it all.
Mr. Griffin gives this advice to current Bosco Braves and that is to start taking academics seriously during your “high school days.”
For many, high school is a stepping stone to college. But for Mr. Anthony Fierro, class of 57’, St. John Bosco changed his life, and the lessons he learned set him down the path to an incredible and eclectic career.
Mr. Fierro was born and raised in Southern California, and although he ended up loving his time at St. John Bosco, coming to school here initially was not the plan. His mother, who had reached her limit with his antics as a child, actually sent Mr. Fierro to St. John Bosco.
“I was thrown into Bosco by my mother. I was kind of a troubled child and I was always getting into hot water. The last straw was when I was in the sixth grade, when I took the flag from the flagpole and was swinging it all over the place, and it was a mess,” said Mr. Fierro.
Though he may not have wanted to go to Bosco at first, the experiences he had at the school did nothing but good things for him and his future. Before going to Bosco, Mr. Fierro did not have his priorities straight, and the change that Bosco provided for him was something that had and continues to have a significant impact on his life.
“I think that it was the best thing that could have happened to me. It turned my whole life around, and I am so tickled to see youngsters whose parents make the sacrifice to bring them here. That is fantastic,” said Mr. Fierro.
However, when Mr. Fierro was a student, Bosco looked a lot different than it does today. There were far less teachers, with most of the instructors being brothers and priests. One of the biggest changes from his experience of being a student was the fact that he boarded on campus, living on the third floor of the 200 building.
“To wake us up, the brothers would open up all the windows and start clapping, and that’s how they would wake us up every morning,” said Mr. Fierro.
Not only did Mr. Fierro live on campus, but like many students today, he took part in some of the team sports that the school offered. One of these teams was the football team, which at the time was brand new and nothing like what it has evolved into today.
“When I was here in 1956 and 1957, I was on the very first football team for St. John Bosco. I played right tackle on offense and middle linebacker on defense,” said Mr. Fierro.
Mr. Fierro learned a lot from Bosco, and his experiences helped him to have a prestigious career. Following his time here, Mr. Fierro spent time in a multitude of fields, creating an impressive resume for himself.
“I was a scuba instructor. I am a pilot. I hold a commercial rating in instrument single engine land aircraft. I love to hunt and fish. I have had my picture published in various magazine and publications. I love to sail, and I was a wedding photographer for about 25 years,” said Mr. Fierro.
Mr. Fierro has had a wonderful career and life, and he believes that the things he was able to learn at Bosco played a vital role in preparing him to obtain such amazing accomplishments. Though all of these accomplishments in his career are noteworthy, what he feels is his greatest accomplishment was becoming a teacher himself.
“I became a school teacher at 58, and taught school at Pasadena Unified and was put in charge of the bilingual class of the 5th grade. It was so rewarding for me to feel those kids were learning because I felt like I helped those kids get across,” said Mr. Fierro.
Though many consider being a teacher of a bilingual class to be very difficult, he was not worried about the task. He felt that the students didn’t need to have a teacher that was bilingual, but rather someone who acted as a transitional teacher who could help them acclimate to English.
Not only was he a great teacher, but his impact was reflected in the students’ test scores, with many of his students receiving scores showing their comprehension levels being much higher than the average for that class. This led to many parents requesting Mr. Fierro as a teacher for their children, which was a doubly rewarding feeling for him.
“All the parents would come around and ask the principal to please put their child in Mr. Fierro’s class, and that to me was really gratifying and was my best moment in life. Even with all of my other accomplishments, that really sticks in my mind,” said Mr. Fierro.
Having a prestigious career in any field is admirable, but what makes people feel that they are truly making a difference is seeing their influence they have on others. For Mr. Fierro, this is what made his career special and why he feels so accomplished in his life.
Mr. Fierro knows none of that would’ve been possible without Bosco and the sacrifices each parent makes in order to send children to a Salesian Catholic school. Because of this, he believes that the opportunity students have here is extremely important and should not be wasted.
“[Students] have a wonderful opportunity; don’t let it go to waste. Appreciate what your parents are doing for you. It would be a loss for your future if you didn’t take advantage of this. Use this as a base to start,” said Mr. Fierro.
Bosco was the beginning for Mr. Fierro and provided him with a preview of what he could expect in the future. Even though he graduated in the 50s, Mr. Fierro still feels that it could be the same for each and every one of the current students.
“I am very happy that I started here. This was my initial start into real life,” said Mr. Fierro.
Today, Mr. Fierro is happily retired and enjoying his life after a fruitful career. He spends his time with his family and reflecting on his past accomplishments. All of these accomplishments would not have been possible if it had not been for the lessons he learned here at St. John Bosco High School.
Mirroring the ongoing success of Bosco Cross Country, Mr. Solorza represented the Braves very well in the Los Angeles Marathon.
Last weekend, Mr. Solorza, an environmental science teacher at Bosco, competed in the LA Marathon, as he took 14th place with a time of 2 hours and 38 minutes. This is a huge achievement, as he ran with over 8,000 runners at the event.
Mr. Solorza stands confidently in the top 2% of runners who have broken the three-hour plane. Impressively, he ran at a pace of 6 minutes per mile for the whole event.
This is not his first time running a marathon, however, as he also ran the Chicago Marathon only a month beforehand. His best run was in 2018, as he achieved a time of 2 hours and 38 minutes in the Sacramento Marathon. As a man who loves to travel, he hopes to run internationally or even possibly at the Olympic level over the next few years.
“My short-term goal is to break 2:30. That’s a big barrier I want to hit. One of my other big goals is to run the Berlin Marathon in 2023, so this is me asking for my days off early,” Mr. Solorza jokingly said.
One important aspect of Mr. Solorza’s attire was his Bosco cross country jersey from when he was a high school athlete, which he wore while running at the marathon. As an alumnus of the St. John Bosco class of 2013, he kept his jerseys in hopes of using them again. Bosco’s cross country team currently sports two jerseys of blue and gold.
“We usually bring out the gold (jerseys) for big events such as CIF, league finals and state finals. I brought it out since this marathon is one of the larger ones, and I wanted to represent Brave Nation locally,” said Mr. Solorza.
Originally, Mr. Solorza didn’t take the easiest route to find his passion for running. After experimenting with various sports and clubs his freshman year at Bosco, Coach Tim McIntosh of cross country offered him a spot on the team his sophomore year. With encouragement from his friends, he went out and began running with the team over the summer.
“In my first practice, I threw up. I was super dizzy and somehow I came back the next day,” said Mr. Solorza.
Not long after, he slowly discovered his love and dedication to running. In his upperclassmen years, Mr. Solorza grew as a leader on the running squad. As a key member of the team, St. John Bosco won the state championship in 2012, his junior year. This high school success encouraged him to run at the collegiate level at local Whittier College.
Not long after completing his college career, Mr. Solorza found himself back at his alma mater, as a science teacher and assistant cross country coach. With his work with the cross country team and running frequent marathons, Mr. Solorza continues his passion for running.
Training for a twenty-six-mile marathon is no easy task. As an environmental science teacher, Mr. Solorza typically finds himself running by the beach or along the San Gabriel River. Leading up to a big race, Mr. Solorza gets himself mentally ready and prepares his diet.
“Two days out (from a marathon), I eat a lot of pasta and a lot of carbs. I’m sleeping a lot along with getting my mind right for the grind of twenty-six miles and grading some papers,” said Mr. Solorza.
To celebrate, like any typical successful run, Mr. Solorza enjoyed a classic burger, fries and soda. He enjoys being surrounded by all of his friends and family that come to support him.
Mr. Solorza plans to take a break from marathons for the rest of the year as he finishes out his first-semester teaching at Bosco. His next big race is the iconic Boston Marathon in April. In order to compete, Mr. Solorza’s division requires a time that is less than three hours, which he has already done, leaving him to try to set a new personal record in the spring.
In the meantime, he plans to run two half marathons in Phoenix and Las Vegas next year in order to prepare. Although he may be celebrating and resting after his hard work over the past few months, Mr. Solorza is eager to get back on the starting line and continue his running grind next year.
With today being Veterans Day, citizens across the United States take time off to reflect on those who have served or are serving in the U.S. Military. St. John Bosco takes this day to remember those from the Bosco community who have served, as well as those who have served from all over the nation.
Veterans Day is the day that originally honored the end of World War 1, then was called Armistice Day until it was changed in 1954. Now Veterans Day has evolved into a day in which the U.S. citizens can also recognize those who have served and those who have fallen victim to any Wars throughout the country’s history. The country celebrates this honorable day on November 11th of every year, and the United states recognizes Veterans Day as a federal holiday.
Veterans day became a national holiday on May 13, 1938, though it was first observed by congress in 1926 as Armistice Day. Armistice Day was the celebration of the end of world war 1 and was correlated with the peace that came with the end of said war.
Within the St. John Bosco (Bosco) community, there are many men and women who have served, or are currently serving in the military. They do a significant amount and sacrifice a great deal in order to protect, serve and keep this country safe.
Marie James- Garcia, aunt of Carlos Garcia (Bosco 22’), served the country in the United States Army and was stationed in Ft Hunter Liggett, Ca. Her interest in serving came at an early age due to possibly watching too much M*A*S*H. This was complemented by her fearless attitude that translated well into the rigors of the army. She ended her duties in 1984 and very much enjoyed her time in service.
“I shot expert with an M16, threw expert with the grenade… but I am not a speed runner,” Marie said.
Another veteran that has done his part in keeping the country safe is Hector Ayala, father of Mark Ayala (Bosco 23’). Hector Served the country in the United States Marine Corps as a Sergeant 0331- Machine- Gunner. He joined the Marine Corps to challenge himself and to be part of an institution with a great lineage and history. Though, it was his pride and appreciation for our country that compelled him to serve longer than his four years during war time. Mr. Ayala was able to find a sense of brotherhood in the Marine Corps, and was honorably discharged in 2009 after serving for eight years.
“Veterans day to me represents an opportunity for our nation to thank those who have served this country. Despite being a veteran we take the time to honor those who fought in previous wars,” said Mr. Ayala.
Francisco Javier Valles, uncle to Omar Sanchez (Bosco 22’), served in the United States Marine Corps from 2005 to 2013. The events that occurred on September 11, 2001 drove Mr. Valles to join the military as soon as he was of age, which allowed him to take part in fighting terrorism, which was a important issue to Mr. Valles. Mr. Valles was deployed two times during his service, once in Iraq and once in Afghanistan. He mentions that the military life is vigorous, though it is worth it in order to be among some of the greatest men and women in the USA.
“Every time you leave it is hard, but it is worth it knowing that you are keeping your country safe,” said Mr. Valles.
As the years go by, and more alumni serve in the military, the Bosco community continues to celebrate the men and women who have served our country, both nation wide and those within the Bosco community. With everything that they have done, the least the citizens can do is thank all the men and women who have served this country.
This year, St. John Bosco welcomes Mr. Tommy Johnson, an accomplished artist and athlete, to the Brave community.
Q. What classes do you teach?
A. I teach art classes and yearbook here at Bosco.
Q. What high school did you attend?
A. I went to Calvert Hall College High School, in Towson Maryland. I received the Princeton award for best high school artist in the country.
Q. Are you from California? If not, where are you from?
A. I am originally from Lutherville, Maryland. I had a fishing pond in my front yard, I miss that.
Q. What college did you attend?
A. I went to Loyola College in Maryland. The mascot is the Greyhounds.
Q. What was your major/minor in college?
A. I majored in arts and teaching. I was the captain of a national championship lacrosse team, and I played professional lacrosse for the Baltimore Thunder. I have been teaching art and coaching lacrosse since I graduated.
Q. Where did you teach before Bosco?
A. Most recently, I taught at Realm Academy.
Q. Why do you want to teach art at Bosco?
A. I love teaching art and it never gets old. I would like to take Bosco’s art program to the next level. I would like for art to not be just a one and done class. I want the students who love art, are passionate about it and have what it takes to put in the hours, time and dedication, to be able to continue into intermediate art onto advanced art programs.
Q. What is your favorite part of teaching art?
A. I tell the boys in my class that this is their class, and that they picked art, so if they waste time, if they don’t work, if they don’t get involved, then they will miss out on an amazing world of art. Art can stimulate, make a statement and inspire others, with no limits. My class offers a bit more freedom, and a place to express yourself, reflect, use your imagination, thoughts, emotions, beliefs, ideas, dreams and your skills, in a visual form.
Q. What is some advice that you have for freshmen who just started at Bosco?
A. I know it can be scary at first, but everyone here at Bosco is here for you, including all the faculty and all of your new brothers, so reach out, join sports, join clubs and get involved. Time goes by too fast, and before you know it you will be a senior and getting ready to start the process all over again, so enjoy every second of every day.
Q. What is some advice that you have for seniors who are leaving Bosco?
A. Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help, or to help others. Go for it, shoot for the stars, and if you land in the clouds or even the trees, its ok. Do what you love, take a leap of faith and follow your heart. Finally, never forget where you came from, because the most important thing in life is family and friends, so surround yourself with good people.
Q. How are you enjoying Bosco?
A. I really like the students, its a great class and group of young men. I’m excited to join the community and to be part of the Brave Nation.
Q. Do you have any advice for any students trying to pursue a career in art?
A. It is not just paper and pencil with some paints, it’s expressing your ideas and your feelings, and creating a different view of the world.
Q. What kind of music do you listen to?
A. I enjoy classic rock, the Stones, U2, Floyd, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Beatles but not so much country. I like Tupac and Drake but not music that has a lot of nasty words, it makes it hard for me to get into. It really isn’t so much who I listen to, but the song itself. I also enjoy Michael Jackson, The WHO, Frank Sinatra and JB.
Q. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go?
A. I would like to travel back home where most of my family is, or back to Ireland, a place with a lot of land.
Q. Who are some of your favorite artists?
A. My favorite artists include Warhol, Frankenthaler, Posada and Pollack. Also, I like Stan Lee’s imagination, and the true story behind Spiderman. Again, everything starts with pencil, paper and a simple idea.
Q. What do you do in your free time?
A. I spend time with family, watch sports, go fishing and watch movies.
Q. Do you follow any sports or sports teams?
A. Yes, I like the Baltimore Ravens.
Q. What is your favorite holiday?
A. My favorite holiday is Christmas because I believe in Santa. I also love doing the tree, with all the trimmings.
Q. What is your favorite color and why?
A. My favorite color is aqua blue. I’ve spent a lot of time on the ocean and love the water.
Q. Red Vines or Twizzlers?
A. I like Sweet-Tarts, Swedish Fish and gummy anything, hold the red vines and the Twizzlers.
From St. John Bosco High School to the United States Air Force to the Middle East, nobody knows more than alumnusBruce Horvat, ‘59, about what it means to be a Brave.
Mr. Horvat was born just prior to World War II in Ohio. Being the oldest child in a lower to middle-class family with four siblings, his family moved out to California due to the better opportunities that the war industry presented. Although his family settled down in Long Beach, Mr. Horvat did not go to school there. Like many students find today, public school just wasn’t the right fit, which is why he ended up at St. John Bosco.
“Public school was extremely easy for me, and so I would get into trouble. For example, I would create my own hall passes,” said Mr. Horvat.
The St. John Bosco campus that Mr. Horvat attended is drastically different from what is known to the Braves’ students today. At that time, the only resemblance to today’s campus was the football field and the pool.
At St. John Bosco, Mr. Horvat found people who were just like him. He fit in well to the Bosco community, as he played football, involved himself with the library and was even a member of the student newspaper. This allowed Mr. Horvat to take a lot away from his experience at St. John Bosco.
“When I left, I didn’t realize how much I took away from Bosco. I was taking away getting over the fear of making mistakes, which took me some time to get over. Also, I had problems getting along with people originally, but at Bosco, everybody was my peer, and I didn’t have any problems,” said Mr. Horvat.
Following high school, Mr. Horvat did not go straight into the military. Rather, he wanted to get a degree in retail sales. However, Mr. Horvat found that the courses did not interest him and the college route was not for him.
Following his dissatisfaction with college, Mr. Horvat enlisted in the military. With the knowledge that a draft was looming, Mr. Horvat decided that he wanted a larger say in his military involvement, so as to avoid being drafted into ground troops in the Army.
Mr. Horvat finally found what he was looking for in the United States Air Force. The regimentation and focus demanded in the military is what Mr. Horvat needed.
Although he went through the same required basic training as everyone else, due to his high test scores, he served in the IT department and worked with the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE), a project that was a turning point in the use of computers and IT for warfare and defense. He also obtained the opportunity to study at the IBM School in Kingston, New York.
In his first assignment, Mr. Horvat worked in the Chicago Air Defense Sector, and he was stationed at Truax Field, on the edge of Madison, Wisconsin. Working with Air Defense Command, the primary purpose was the protection of Chicago and the surrounding areas. Within the military’s IT department, this meant tracking on some days over 350 aircraft at a time.
Mr. Horvat’s service as a U.S. Air Force SAGE Digital Computer Repairman allowed him to work on many different projects. Of chief interest was his work repairing what is considered the first digital computer ever created, which was manufactured by IBM for the military.
From Wisconsin, Mr. Horvat moved on to become an advisor for the Air Force’s SAGE department in Portland, Oregon. This was a similar working environment, this time with the Air Defense Command in Oregon. However, another twist of fate in Mr. Horvat’s life came as the Air Force closed down the SAGE project in 1968, causing him to leave the military for the rest of his life.
“I am grateful for my time with the military. It made me a better person, and I came out with something positive. I recommend the military to all young men, because you learn to become self-sufficient,” said Mr. Horvat.
The next chapter in Mr. Horvat’s life came in Pocatello, Idaho, as he worked in the computer center at Idaho State University as a Senior Program Developer. Due to his strong military background and education, Mr. Horvat found that although his work kept him busy, it was quite easy.
As a result of his fluency in multiple computer programs, he was given “special projects.” He later served as Acting Computer Department Director at Idaho State University.
Following his time at Idaho State University, Mr. Horvat transitioned to being a Computer Manager for a State Auditor’s Office in Boise, Idaho. However, this would only last for a short while.
At this point, Mr. Horvat made a pivotal decision, one that began his life in work abroad. After discovering that Lockheed Martin, an aircraft industry projects company in California, was working on a project in Iran, Mr. Horvat became a Systems Designer. At the time, Lockheed Martin was working on a maintenance facility for jumbo jets.
Although his home base was located just outside of Ontario, California, Mr. Horvat spent a lot of time in Iran, foreshadowing future work in the Middle East, giving presentations. In what seemed to be destiny, Mr. Horvat also met his wife, Guity, in Iran.
“When I went to Iran, it was lovely. The people were very nice; I tried to follow the customs as much as I could. I tried to learn as much as possible about their customs,” said Mr. Horvat.
However, Mr. Horvat’s time in Iran was short lived, as Lockheed Martin’s project was canceled in Iran due to the change in regimes, with Ayatollah Khomeini establishing an anti-Western Islamic republic in the country.
The change in Iran’s government forced yet another transition of jobs for Mr. Horvat. This time, for a short period, he worked as Computer Manager for a film development company.
After receiving a job offer in Saudi Arabia, Mr. Horvat, who now had a family to take care of, came to the decision to move the family out to Saudi Arabia. He now had a son, Christopher, and a daughter, Dena.
Mr. Horvat cited valuable lessons he learned from Bosco that aided him during fatherhood.
“I learned to be honest with my kids, especially my son, and to always try to be understanding, but firm,” said Mr. Horvat.
Prior to the move abroad, Mr. Horvat worked with the local soccer association due to his son’s interest in playing soccer. However, with the move to Saudi Arabia, Mr. Horvat’s children went to an American school in Saudi Arabia.
In Saudi Arabia, Mr. Horvat again observed the customs and culture of the people, even drawing some insight into the Islamic world.
“People, deep down inside, are mostly the same. Their customs may vary, but a lot of people have the same beliefs that we do. The religion of Islam worships the same God that Catholics and Christians do,” said Mr. Horvat.
In Saudi Arabia, where he spent about the next 30 years of his life, Mr. Horvat again transitioned between a few jobs. He first worked as a Database Manager for a Saudi customs agency. His first job was in the port city of Jeddah, as well as the capital city Riyadh, where he helped collect taxes on imports and made sure no undesired people entered the country.
Mr. Horvat then went on to work at a Saudi bank, which was the last place that he worked. There, he served as a Software Business Analyst and Developer. Basically, he wrote programs to help the new machines to be as efficient as possible. At the same Saudi bank, he became the Project Manager. In this job, he had to convince management of the importance of security, which at the time was a relatively new idea.
Finally, Mr. Horvat worked as the Head of Information Security for the Saudi bank up until his eventual retirement in 2011. Since then, he has gotten back into some old hobbies that he had as a child, such as building model airplanes, trains and boats.
But Mr. Horvat most enjoys traveling with his wife. They have a summer home on the Mediterranean coast in Turkey and have been lucky to travel all over the world.
“Be polite and respectful, do not compare everything to the U.S. because it is not respectful. Try and speak the local language if you can, most people will be happy you tried, so do your best,” said Mr. Horvat.
Throughout his life, Mr. Horvat held many different memberships and was a part of many associations. Chief among those was the Certified Information Systems Security Professionals, which was the toughest one to obtain. In order to become a member, Mr. Horvat had to demonstrate a wide knowledge of the potential threats to a computer’s integrity.
Nowadays, Mr. Horvat resides in Arizona with his wife, and is actually writing about his experiences in the United States Air Force. Through his lessons, experiences and personality Mr. Horvat demonstrates the gold standard for all Bosco Braves.
Being a competitor in an individual sport presents me with a uniqueexperience. Win or lose, there is no one to blame but myself.
When I am climbing up the ladder to the diving board, my brain is racing a million miles per hour. I am thinking about all the possibilities, positive or negative. “Am I gonna smack,” “What if I lose my spot” and “If I squeeze my shoulders I could rip.”
The second I take my first step on the board, my mind is clear. I am 100% focused on my dive and think about nothing else. It is as if every thought and emotion leaves my body.
After I hit the water, everything comes back to me, all the emotions and thoughts. I start thinking about how good my dive was, and if I am going to get good scores.
My name is Ethan Gibbs, and I am a springboard diver for St. John Bosco and for my club team, Crown Valley Divers. I will continue to dive for Bosco my senior year, as I did my sophomore year.
When I am on the board, I appear completely calm to those watching me. It is like I don’t have a care in the world. All I am thinking about is doing the best dive I possibly can. I look like I am at peace, but in reality, that is not the case. I am doing my best to seem that way because diving is all about how you present yourself on the board, as well as off the board.
There are little things divers do to try and increase their score. For example, smiling at the judges and looking prepared will sometimes increase your score by a point. A lot of divers will talk to the judges after a competition and be friendly toward them so that next time the judge sees them in competition, he could potentially favor them over another diver.
My team and I practice tirelessly before I compete. In the practice session, there are divers on every single board, and they are diving left and right. However, when the time comes for the meet to start, everything changes. When it is my turn, I am alone. None of my teammates are with me. It is silent, and I have every single person’s eyes on me. Everything is on me, and I can’t rely on my teammates for anything. After I complete my dive, I get to be with my teammates and other divers until it is my turn again.
When I was six years old, I started diving at McCormick Divers in Long Beach at the Belmont Plaza Pool. I participated in a diving summer camp. One practice, while I was trying a new dive, I over-rotated and smacked on my back. It hurt a lot and I still can remember the pain from that incident. When I was six I became scared of diving and decided that I did not want to participate in the class any longer. A year later, my parents and I moved to Paris, France, where I started playing tennis. After staying in Paris for five years, we moved to Orlando, Florida, where I started diving again for a team called YCF Divers. This was the beginning of my diving career.
When I was in sixth grade, my father had told me about a prestigious diving team close by and asked if I wanted to try out. Thus, I went to the evaluation practice and made the team. I started diving two days a week at with an Olympian coach.
I enjoyed diving again, as I could not wait for practice every day, waiting to get in the water and on the boards. I started on the lowest level and eventually worked my way up to the top. Fortunately, I dove with people who got a lot of full-ride scholarships.
Training for diving involves a lot of conditioning and dryland. Dryland is a place where you work out and train, and it can also help you work on dives you are afraid of, or not ready for. Dryland is made up of springboards into foam pits and mats. There are also trampolines and boxes to do flips and handstands on.
Dryland helps me prepare for dives mentally that I would be too afraid to do in the water for fear of smacking. Smacking and hitting the diving board is what every diver is afraid of. Diving is different from team sports because everyone from all diving teams is experiencing the same fear, and it creates a bond between all divers.
In diving, there is no conflict between teams. Everyone is friendly to one another no matter what team they’re on. Everyone pushes each other to do better and accomplish their goals. In competition, after a diver has gone, people from all teams cheer.
Diving is different from a “team sport” because in a competition divers are competing against their own teammates as well as other teams. Everyone has their own individual score, and they are judged only on their dive, not the team as a whole.
Judging in diving is extremely hard. The judges begin their assessment even when the diver is not on the board. They are looking at how the diver acts, how they present themselves and if they’re respectful to the other divers. All of that will affect how the judge scores the diver. Although the judge might only score a diver down half a point, half a point can determine first or second place.
Going up to do my eleven dives in competition is extremely stressful. When I’m doing my dive, I have everyone’s attention. The announcer states my name and dives for everyone to hear. Knowing that everyone is watching me doesn’t make it any easier to do my dive, but knowing that every diver has to go through the same brings me comfort.
In the end, hearing everyone cheer for me is worth it. Knowing that so many people were impressed by my dive makes all the stress go away.
As the first female Vice Principal of St. John Bosco High School,Ms. Schnorr is paving the way for more diversity in the Bosco community.
Ms. Schnorr grew up in an active household in the South Bay. She is the oldest of four children, with two sisters and a brother. She and all of her siblings were involved in many sports and activities throughout their upbringing, which perhaps planted the seed for her to become a fun and dynamic leader.
Ms. Schnorr participated in an abundance of extracurriculars in her school years, including volleyball, basketball, soccer and softball at the varsity level in high school. She even participated in boy’s baseball her senior year. Not only was she a student-athlete, but she was also a member of her school’s ASB every year.
Ms. Schnorr attended St. Margaret Mary for elementary school, St. Anthony High School and then went on to attend college at California State University, East Bay for a year before transferring to UC Santa Barbara. She double majored in Global Studies and Spanish Literature.
After graduating from UC Santa Barbara, Ms. Schnorr joined the Peace Corps, and she travelled to Africa to live in Mozambique for three years. In Mozambique, she taught English, which was her introduction to teaching. When she returned to the United States, she pursued teaching further, being a substitute teacher at her high school alma mater, St. Anthony.
Being a teacher wasn’t Ms. Schnorr’s original intention in life. Even as her “dream job” changed over the years, it was never teaching. As a child she wanted to become a doctor, but as she grew into her high school years, she changed her pursuit to becoming an Athletic Trainer for the Los Angeles Lakers. Then, after college, Ms. Schnorr’s goal was to join an international non-governmental agency, which ultimately led her to the Peace Corps.
“I love traveling. I love the world, and I love learning about cultures and meeting new people,” said Ms. Schnorr.
After a period of teaching at St. Anthony High School, Ms. Schnorr heard about an open position for a Spanish teacher at Bosco from friends who worked here. Growing up in the Long Beach area, Ms. Schnorr already knew many people from St. John Bosco, so when she learned of the position, she already knew of the school.
“I had friends that went to Bosco. I actually knew Mr. Negro and Mr. Cordero. And when I heard that they had a Spanish position open, I was very excited. Mr. Salmingo and I had worked at a previous school together, and when he said there was an opening, I applied,” said Ms. Schnorr.
Since, Ms. Schnorr has been a mentor and role model to many of her students. She is a great teacher, and students at Bosco have nothing but praise for the job she does.
“She was really helpful as a teacher. She kept the work very practical and constantly related the Spanish that we were learning to reality and situations that we would be faced with in real life, rather than just teaching from the textbook,” said senior Michael Carbone.
In the very short time that Ms. Schnorr has been a member of the Bosco community, she has been allotted a lot of responsibilities. She has gone from the role of a Spanish teacher and Activities Director to Vice Principal of Student Affairs.
“I went from just teaching Spanish to taking over activities. And now, with the Vice Principal of Student Affairs, I’m in charge of leading the three main teams, all of ASB, campus ministry and Christian service,” said Ms. Schnorr.
Along with everything that she has accomplished, Ms. Schnorr is the first female Vice Principal of Student Affairs, a historic landmark for the Bosco community. To Ms. Schnorr there’s a lot of honor that comes with the position and achievement of being the first woman to become it.
“I think that’s a big deal, to be the first female administrator at Bosco, and I’m honored and humbled. I think it’s good to have a diverse group in the administration to have everyone’s different inputs and perspectives on things,” said Ms. Schnorr.
Ms. Schnorr has done a great job with handling all of her responsibilities and new position. Even though it’s a much larger workload, she has not let up her efforts in the slightest.
“Ms. Schnorr is not only our Vice Principal of Student Affairs. She’s a teacher, a mentor, a friendly peer and a motherly` figure at Bosco. She’s always on the move serving students’ needs. Working alongside Ms. Schnorr is a privilege. I’ve learned to be a leader, public speaker and a better student from her. Any moment I’m with Ms. Schnorr, I know it will be filled with smiles and laughter,” said senior Kaimana Storch.
Ms. Schnorr loves the Bosco community and brotherhood. For her it’s been a great experience and an opportunity for her to learn many new things. When she first came to Bosco, she didn’t really know what she was getting herself into but it’s proven itself to be the right choice for her.
“I didn’t really know what to expect when I started here because I had never been on the actual campus before,” said Ms. Schnorr.
Ms. Schnorr has worked at Bosco for four years now. She’s watched many students come and go and watched freshmen grow into becoming seniors. She loves watching the students grow up and become young men.
The COVID-19 pandemic greatly shifted the landscape of teaching and Ms. Schnorr’s job. For her, it was very challenging to teach and organize activities.
“It was challenging, not having any students to provide activities for, but when we returned to campus last March, we hit the ground running,” said Ms. Schnorr.
Ms. Schnorr, while only being part of the Bosco community for a short time, has become a key piece of the community. She looks forward to helping students and continuing to watch the community grow every day.