Category Archives: Life of a Brave

Life of a Brave: New Faculty Q&A Featuring Ms. Sparks

by Christian Estrada

For our first new faculty interview at St. John Bosco High School of the year, we sat down with administrative assistant Ms. Emma Jean Sparks to ask her some questions and welcome her to the SJB family.

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Q: What’s your favorite movie?

A: Anything (and everything) from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Q: When is your birthday?

A: November 13

Q: What is your favorite color?

A: Blue – the color of the ocean!

Q: What is your Job?

A: I’m working as an administrative assistant – helping with registrar duties while Rubi Araque is out on maternity leave, and also helping Mr. Salmingo with the school’s technology update!

Q: How do you like your job?

A: Getting to work with the Bosco community has been such a fun experience. The staff, teachers, and students have all been so welcoming and warm.

Q: Who is your Favorite student?

A: My favorite student at SJB would have to be Ryan Jones! He is such an amazing actor!

Q: What is your best and worst childhood memory?

A: My best memory from my childhood would probably have to be playing in the neighborhood, riding bikes and rollerblading with all my friends.

Q: Do you have any Kids?

A: No kids yet, but I’ve always worked in education and I treat all of my students like family!

Q: Do you have a Significant other?

A: Yes, I am happily involved.

Q: What are your hobbies and what do you do for fun?

A: For fun, I love to watch movies, try new things like food and cultural experiences. I love to travel and plan to do much more in the next couple of years. I also love going to Disneyland and playing volleyball!

Q: What is your Funniest memory?

A: My funniest memory would have to be the time I made such a good joke that my cousin laughed so hard that her soda came out of her nose!

Q: What got you into your job?

A: By the time I got to college it was very clear to me that I would be pursuing a life in the educational field because of my passion for learning and working with youth. I have worked as a teacher, nanny, mentor, sports coach, program director, and several other positions which have all proven to me that the world of education is the place for me.

Q: What’s your favorite food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

A: For breakfast, I can never say no to a good breakfast burrito. When it comes to lunch, I’d have to say any version of a sandwich wrap – like the ones from Trader Joe’s. And for dinner, pasta is the way to my heart.

Q: Where are you from?

A: I’m originally from Long Beach, California. But I’ve just moved back after living in Northern California for over 6 years. Happy to be home.

Q: How do you like it at Bosco?

A: Bosco has been great! It’s such a beautiful community and the campus is absolutely gorgeous.

Q: What is your biggest fear?

A: SNAKES!

Q: What makes you the happiest?

A: The ability to make someone else happy.

Q: What is your religion?

A: I was raised in the Catholic faith and attended Catholic school from Kindergarten through my senior year of high school.

Q: How strong are you in your beliefs?

A: My beliefs are very important to me.

Q: What is your favorite drink?

A: My favorite drink is probably an Iced Green Tea Lemonade!

Q: What city were you born in?

A: I was born in Anaheim, California.

Q: How do you handle stress?

A: If I ever feel stressed, I do my best to take a step back from the situation. I focus on my breathing and work to clear my stress. I always find it best to ask for help and to talk about any dilemmas out.

Q: Do you interact with any of the students at Bosco in your free time, if so what do you guys normally talk about?

A: Unfortunately, I haven’t had a lot of time to connect with the students at Bosco yet. But I am hoping to do so once I get a bit more settled! I’m excited to learn about their interests both inside and outside of school, and about their personal learning experiences at SJB!

Life Of A Brave: When Being a “Brave” Means Getting Help, CPLA Is There

by Emilio Ceja and Jesse Neville

Stress levels in teens are beginning to match and even surpass the levels of adults, often in worse conditions than those stressed adults because of the unique social pressures adolescents face. Without a way to cope or handle this stress, many students often become overwhelmed and can fall behind in taking care of their schoolwork, their personal relationships and, most importantly, themselves.   

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However, students at St. John Bosco have a choice. Bosco began its mental health counseling program began during the 2006-2007 school year, offering a free and personalized counseling service to help with student stress and other issues they may face. Through this program, the students are not treated as “clients,” but are treated as a friend that has others around them that they are able to talk to. 

The original “Outreach Concern” counselors at Bosco have been replaced by counselors from a new company called Counseling Partners of Los Angeles (CPLA). These new CPLA counselors serve the same purpose as the Outreach ones and help the academic counselors meet all aspects of student needs. 

While assisting the free mental health counseling service at Bosco, these counselors also complete the hours they need for their Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) degrees. Emaryne, one of the counselors currently at Bosco, has been with CPLA for about a year and has almost completed her set amount of hours to receive her MFT degree. She is a counselor that prides herself on taking creative approaches to therapy.

“I do a lot of play therapy. I don’t do the traditional counseling of sitting across from you asking about your feelings,” said Emaryne. 

The idea of a stress-free meeting with a counselor, such as just talking while throwing a football around or going for a walk, does not seem to be something that can help with stress, but in reality, the simplest actions can help the most. 

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Mr. Jaramillo, the activities director, currently oversees the counseling program at Bosco. He is pleased with the change in the CPLA counselors, explaining how the new counselors work methodically and systematically to help students most. 

“Outreach was reactive, but CPLA is more preventive. Along with being strategically reactive, the CPLA counselors are much more structured and easily approachable,” said Mr. Jaramillo. 

Meetings with the counselors can be scheduled in a variety of ways, teachers or family members can ask for a student to be seen by the counselors, or better yet, the student themselves can walk into the CPLA office and just ask to talk to them.

The counselors themselves leave time slots open throughout the day in case there is a need for them to be called at any time. They prepare ahead of time with their schedule to make sure they have time for any student that comes through the door. 

Students are not limited to using the service only if recommended, which is a major deal. This means any student can go no matter the circumstance or the need.

One student from the senior class went to the counselors just because he needed someone to talk to and express the troubles he had that he could not bring up at home. These issues that were going on in his household were getting in the way of his school work, and throughout the process of counseling, he says that his grades recovered and he no longer had to take Summer school. 

“It was a calming and personal experience that allowed me to refocus on the opportunities in front of me,” said the class of 2020 student.    

This rarely used program can be beneficial to many but is surrounded by the stigma of something having to be wrong in order to go. The counselors are there to benefit students, and there does not need to be a serious problem for a student to attend. 

Personal counseling is rare to find, especially for free. Despite this, the counseling services are not well-known, or even known at all, to some. Breaking the mental health stigma around campus is the first step toward putting a lot more students in the best environment possible to thrive and take advantage of all that come with being a “Brave.”

Life of a Brave: Incoming Freshman Look to Blaze Their Own Trail

by Elias Gomez

Being a freshman at Bosco is a great responsibility. It is a privilege. In the classroom as well as in the community, where students may don anything carrying the cherished “Bosco” name, they are expected and held to a standard of representing the “Bosco Brotherhood.”

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These incoming freshmen Braves began the year with a positive mindset and a fresh start with new student orientation. Like many Braves, one freshman, Diego Marquez, says that he is looking forward to Bosco’s Pathway Programs.

“The Engineering Pathway is something I am excited for because it teaches me how to be a good leader and to problem solve,” said Diego Marquez.

Diego’s intellect and willingness to learn will help him, and all freshman, in his progression through respective Pathway Programs, or just balance the classroom with extracurriculars.

Also like many incoming Braves, Diego is also looking forward to baseball tryouts and working hard to make the freshman team.

Matthew Thomas, another incoming freshman also said he was excited to meet new friends and play on the freshman baseball team.

Matthew Thomas, like many generations of Braves, has an older brother, Anthony Thomas, at Bosco who can help him with trying to get the rhythm of high school..

Obviously, this freshman class has varying goals and ambitions, but it is the responsibility of upperclassmen to set an example and offer guidance.

“Being a freshman at Bosco was a learning experience and had many failures. But I had to keep going and keep trying at the things I loved,” said junior Josiah Briscoe.

Most freshmen are intimidated when it comes to dances, football games and trying to change classes. This is when the big brothers come into play and help the freshman and support them. Being supported or feeling comfort as a freshman is the best thing upperclassmen can provide.

Many freshmen want to succeed in getting good grades, making a sports team and making new friends. The only way to do these things is to stay positive and worry about developing positive work habits. All in all, the incoming freshmen should have fun and just embrace all that Bosco provides with class, politeness, and diplomacy.

Sure, our new freshman will face their failures, but as long as they keep their heads up and keep getting better then they will survive high school, become a better person, and ultimately be able to call themselves a “Bosco Man.”

My Recruiting Process: Kris Hutson

by Kristopher Hutson

My recruiting process has been going great. Being recruited and having a chance to go to college for free is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

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I got my first offer during my time as a freshman. Receiving that offer is the most exciting thing about this whole process, because that is the main goal for every athlete.

If you only receive a Division-2 or Division-3 scholarship, don’t start doubting yourself, because many pro athletes have come from even community colleges. You can go anywhere and ball-out, then transfer to a big-time university to improve your exposure. Never lose hope.

I committed to the University of Southern California early in my junior year. However, after thinking about it hard and talking with friends and family, I realized USC was not a place for me. If you’re getting recruited and you commit to a school, make sure you fit the school and the environment. I rushed the commitment with USC and didn’t look into the school and the current culture. I committed because of the legacy of what USC was instead of what it is right now. 

So, I decommitted from USC and I will now be attending Oregon. Decommitting from USC was a big risk, because other colleges would be able to see that I went back from my word. However, it is not all bad because I was once again able to have an open mind about where I want to spend the next years of my life.

There is no better place for me than Oregon. It’s the school I feel will be best for me, as it’s the best overall fit and where I feel the most comfortable. I had a great visit last week, and the moment I got there I felt like I was at home. I got that family feel right off the bat, which is what I have been searching for.

I have a chance to step in and play right away. They need receivers, and I think I can make an immediate impact there. I like the offense a lot, it’s similar to what we run at St. John Bosco and their style of play is a real good fit for me. They can move me around to take advantage of mismatches and I’m excited to show what I am capable of.

The coaching staff has been consistently recruiting me for some time now. It’s not just one coach, it’s the whole staff, including head coach Mario Cristobal, which is why I felt an instant connection there. I was planning to wait to make my decision, but the more I thought about it, the more I was ready to get this done and make my decision public and it feels great to be a Duck.

Also, I am being recruited strictly at receiver, but I have actually looked very good playing some corner as well. In terms of my playing style, I’m similar to Oregon signee Josh Delgado in terms of size, smooth route running, and hands.

Being recruited like this and having all these offers is a big thing. Meeting coaches is also  very important because you only get one first impression. When I meet Coach Cristobal, it was a pleasure. Meeting college coaches is better than any team meeting. Special thanks to head coach Jim Harbaugh as well. 

Overall, getting recruited by colleges is a good thing, but the main thing is to not get cocky. Always be humble and stay positive. You can talk but don’t talk too much. Overall, my recruiting process has been going great.

The best advice I would give to someone is to take their time with this whole process, because you do not want to rush anything and be forced to go somewhere you do not want to go. 

Life of a Brave: How To Gain Healthy Weight

by Jacob Jornadal and Sele Pemasa

As easy as it sounds, gaining weight is a bit more complicated than you would think. We are here to inform high school students about the healthy and correct way to gain weight.

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Many students today – especially with the ability to drive – have access to all sorts of fast food. Many advisors say to stay away from fast food or to at least limit to once a month.

Other items to avoid is soda. Soda is the highest sugar saturated drink on the market. Consuming these type of foods and beverages will lead to you gaining the unhealthy weight that will produce more body fat rather than muscle, which is what we are trying to avoid.

We asked football coach Steven Lo how others could gain healthy weight and how to maintain it, looking for advice. 

“If you’re in a store, you want to shop on the perimeter of the store. Meats, fruits, vegetables, good grains, not putting crap in your body. No fast food, typically if you’re gaining a pound a week, that’s a good marker for gaining healthy weight. Work out four to five days a week, strength training will build muscle mass and conditioning will help keep everything lean,” said Lo.

Not everything has to do with lifting weights and working out to achieve your ideal body weight. Gaining good, healthy weight truly begins in the kitchen. If you are looking to produce muscle mass, your diet must consist of lean meats like chicken and fish. Maintaining a diet like this takes a lot of consistency and patience, but if you stick to it, you will slowly get the results you are looking for.

If you are going to a gym or weight room, try to create a workout schedule and focus on different muscles for different days, so you are not overworking certain parts of your body.

Another key component is protein, protein should be consumed at the latest 30 minutes after your workout. If not, that workout is wasted. Whether it be shakes, bars, or eating a good meal that’s protein-rich, it will feed your muscles that are gassed out and need recovery. Think of it like this, while you work out, you are tearing microfibers in your muscles, and protein builds your muscles back together.

Gaining healthy weight is a challenge, but all worth the while when you know what you’re putting into your body and feel good, leading a healthy lifestyle.

 

SJB Unsung Heroes: Ms. Amy Krisch

by Kyle Moats

Ms. Amy Krisch is one of St. John Bosco’s hidden gems.

While Ms. Krisch is a well-known face in the staff and administration, she may not be as well-known to many parents and students. This is ironic in that the students at St. John Bosco are the primary beneficiaries of her many efforts and the results her events provide.  

I had the privilege of being able to sit and really get to know who “Miss Amy” – as she is affectionately known – is and how important her position is to us at St. John Bosco.

Ms. Krisch’s road to St. John Bosco has been equally lengthy and interesting. She was born one of three daughters, in a town outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and spent most of her early childhood there. As she grew up however, her family moved frequently due to her father’s job in the Aerospace industry, moving them from Pennsylvania to New Jersey, then to Livermore, California and back to Pennsylvania for her senior year of high school.

Ms. Krisch attended California State University, Monterey Bay where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Communication with an emphasis in Practical and Professional Ethics in 2007. While there, she was a player on the Women’s Golf Team and worked for Pacific Grove Golf Links.

Unfortunately, during a round in her sophomore year, she hit a tree root and tore tendons in her wrist and her role of player transitioned to that of coach and mentor. Ms. Krisch also volunteered with the PGA and LPGA Tour and The First Tee of Monterey County, an early indication of leadership potential.

“I love golf and I got that love from my dad, my forever coach. It became our thing and still is today,” said Krisch. 

After graduating from CSUMB, she worked at the Portola Hotel and Spa, looking to build a career in the hospitality industry.  She capitalized on an opportunity to organize Portola’s employee golf tournament and realized she wasn’t ready to give up golf completely.

She made the decision to further her education in Arizona where she attended the Golf Academy of America, Phoenix, earning an Associate Degree in Business focusing on Golf Complex Operations and Management in April of 2009. As is common with many graduates, jobs after college are often difficult to find, especially for a female trying to break into the male-dominated golf industry.  

With limited jobs available, Krisch started working for the Arizona Humane Society (AHS) as an information ambassador, and six months later moved over to the Spay/Neuter Clinic as a surgery scheduler and – on occasion – veterinary assistant.

We almost, unknowingly, lost Ms. Krisch before we had her to a career as a veterinary technician. She thought she had found her calling in veterinary work but a job opportunity within the AHS Development Department became available.

Her time in the Spay/Neuter Clinic was cut short when she accepted the position of development coordinator, responsible for grant writing and overseeing tribute and memorial gifts. Eventually, Ms. Krisch began helping with AHS’ Signature Event, Compassion with Fashion, managing one of the event’s critical fundraising components – the silent auction – thus starting her career in event management.

She quickly took both her educational assets and practical experience on the road and went to work for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Orange. Her responsibilities there developed in many areas but the majority of her time was spent as the Events and Logistics Campaign Manager for the Light the Night Walks at Angel Stadium and Cal Baptist University in Riverside.

Fast forward to March 2014, where Ms. Krisch entered the unique world and community of St. John Bosco High School. She was hired as a consultant for the Braves Gala and was offered a full-time position as the Special Events Manager for all of Bosco’s events including the SJB Golf Classic, the Alumni Memorial Mass and SJB-hosted tailgates before home football games.

Currently, she is the Director of Alumni Development and Special Events. The title just scratches the surface of her diverse and varied responsibilities. Essentially, there are two major areas where she focuses her efforts. As the Director of Special Events, her primary focus is to find creative ways to help programs raise money for current and future needs.

Some examples of this include sport-specific events, such as the Bosco Football Golf Classic (formally the SJB Golf Classic) which is a cornerstone for the football program, Texas Hold’em and Casino Night for Bosco Baseball and Aquatics and Bosco Baseball’s St. Patty’s Day 5K Run.

She also spends much of her time producing SJB’s signature fundraising event – the annual Braves Gala. The event hosts anywhere from 350-400 attendees and proceeds are critical to St. John Bosco, providing both merit and need-based aid for students, pathways, and other programs. She also works on “pop up” events designed to help Bosco continue to grow and increase exposure by getting people to come to campus.  

As the Director of Alumni Development, Krisch works to find different ways to keep our current alumni active and engaged with their alma mater and essentially cultivate more alumni to return home to their Bosco days.

Ms. Krisch feels that the connection is mutually beneficial as SJB Alumni are the business leaders we need in our community whose assistance and guidance ensure a strong future for the students of St. John Bosco. It links them with fellow Bosco brothers, providing benefits and opportunities to their businesses and interests as well. Her job challenges her to keep, build, and expand those bonds.

Ms. Krisch celebrated five years at St. John Bosco in March of 2019. Even with her family in another state (finally settling in Denver, Colorado) she was determined to settle down from her travels and promised herself she would invest her time and talent to see what she could develop.  

With much of her first year at Bosco spent working with the Margheritas Guild and the Parent Association, the immense outpouring of welcome for her personally, as well as the volunteers who consistently came alongside her to help create successful events that benefited the students, solidified her feeling that she was in the right place. She has stayed, frankly, because she believes in St. John Bosco High School. She believes that this is a unique place with great accomplishments and continued potential.

I feel the best way to describe Ms. Krisch is as a “One Woman Army.” No matter how busy she is, and she is always busy no doubt, she takes the time to handle one more thing, assist a coach, welcome a student, and more. Currently, she is juggling the Braves Gala, Graduation, and the Bosco Football Golf Classic – just to name a few of her many responsibilities!

Even though her job is hectic, it is satisfying. Miss Amy, at this time, cannot imagine being anywhere else. We cannot imagine Bosco without her and thank her for being the true epitome of a Bosco unsung hero.

 

Bosco: New Band Teacher Bobby Easton Fills The Gap

by Lucas Agatep

When our Bosco community lost Mr. Eugene Fabiero, a space in our community was left and a position in the music program appeared. New band director Bobby Easton has come in to fill that gap.

A graduate of Long Beach State, Mr. Easton has 20 years of teaching experience, previously working around the Long Beach Unified School District mainly as a substitute teacher. Eventually, he taught full time for 4th and 5th grade students for a year each and worked in various after school programs, all in music. He worked with kids from preschool all the way up to college and adult students.

Apart from teaching, Mr. Easton likes to indulge himself in the music industry, working as a professional musician in his own band, playing around the LA area with different bands, records and music producers.

He has also recently even played at Coachella. On a more personal side, Mr. Easton also enjoys teaching Capoeira (Brazilian martial arts), Brazilian music, swimming and is a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers.

With it being close to the end of the school year, it was sudden to have to bring in someone that can pick up were Mr. Fabiero had left off. Though difficult, Mr. Easton is confident about his teaching skill due to him having much experience as a substitute teacher and picking up where others had previously left off.

“Absolutely, it is very challenging, but my experience as a substitute teacher has trained me to adapt quickly to situations that I come into. With Mr. Fabiero passing and the turning over with various different subs, I know it’s a challenge to come in here but I look at what we have to work with and just try to do my best with what’s at hand,” said Mr. Easton.

This type of community is actually a new teaching environment for Mr. Easton. This is the first time he has worked in an all-male and Catholic school. But, the way he teaches hasn’t changed because of that. The way he runs his class is what he calls an “organic approach” that tries to connect the art and feelings that is in music to help his students learn the material.

“Music is a mix between art and science in a way, because the theory of music can be very scientific, but music is an art of expression and feeling,” said Mr. Easton.

He could tell that the current state of the music department has potential and has heard of some indication of improvement in the future due to some of the current renovations and implementations that the school has done in recent years.

“I recognize that the music department has a lot of potential but needs a lot of help to pick up where the previous teachers had left off. I understand that the school has had renovated other parts of the school and I heard that VAPA (Visual And Performing Arts) would possibly be renovated in the near future. I really see a lot of potential in this school and students for their desire to learn,” said Mr. Easton.

With that in mind and the mention of possible changes in the program’s future, Mr. Easton would like to see a more diverse and unique field implemented into the music program. He requested that a modernization of the program would be beneficial and a nice addition due to the advancements of technology that are currently being used in music production around the world.

“I would like to see a jazz band. I would also like to see a music technology program here that teaches kids about digital music production and studio recording as we move deeper into the 21st century, teaching the kids the newer tools that are becoming commonplace in music,” said Mr. Easton.

Though it was sudden to have to replace such a memorable member of the community, it is nice to know that the music program is in good hands with Mr. Easton. Please welcome Mr. Bobby Easton to the St. John Bosco family and community!

 

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