Category Archives: Life of a Brave

Life of a Brave: “Senioritis” Strikes Again

by Emilio Ceja

All of the hard work done for four years of high school by students can in some cases mean nothing if they catch “senioritis”. 


All of the good grades, outstanding GPA’s, and credit for classes can be looked over and ignored if students continue through the last months of high school with this epidemic. The unwillingness to do work the second semester of senior year can not only mean lower grades for students but can also bring much larger consequences to the table. 

Throughout my years at St. John Bosco I have seen many seniors change from their academically achieving selves into the sweatpants wearing, sandals rocking, seniors that no longer care about the whole highschool appeal. Many of these seniors sometimes do not realize the real harm that they can cause to their own future by not doing the often simple work that is assigned to them. Once accepted into colleges, the colleges themselves have the ability to revoke your acceptance if your grades are not adequate to maintain acceptance. For many this can be unknown, once they realize the guidelines, it is too late for anything to change and they are stuck without the option to attend a university that they didn’t intend on choosing.

In order to fully understand the mindset behind students and faculty at Bosco and their opinions on what is “senioritis”, I first had to understand what senioritis actually is. According to the oxford dictionary, senioritis is, “a supposed affliction of students in their final year of high school or college, characterized by a decline in motivation or performance.” The decline in grades and effort in school by the high school seniors can be seen through their mediocre work on assignments and lack of care for certain policies such as school uniform and facial hair policies at Bosco. Although not reaching certain extremes that can be seen in other schools or in prior years at Bosco, I believe that if students are not careful with how far they let this senioritis go, they will not be ready for the rude awakening that is to come. 

The head counselor at Bosco, Miss. Skipper has been a counselor at other high schools and colleges prior, so she knows all about the negative effects of senioritis. Senioritis is often seen primarily during the last semester or couple months of high school or college but can begin prior to that. Even starting to lose motivation as soon as the end of the first semester.

“Sometimes the second they get that first college acceptance, they’re so relieved that they immediately feel like they don’t need to do anything else.”, Said Miss. Skipper.

Although common among students our age, we must make sure that the senioritis this year is not one that will ruin or hinder anyone’s college aspirations. The students must know the consequences prior to their actions or lack of actions in classes that are required to pass or get a certain grade to keep their acceptance from colleges. If this information is passed on to the seniors of this year and upcoming seniors, then maybe the sweats and sandals will be a thing of the past and students will finish off highschool just as strong as they started it. 

Life of a Brave: Bosco Water Polo Coach and former-Olympian Jeff Powers Honored in HOF

by Christian Estrada

With all of Bosco’s big sports glory, do not be surprised that an Olympian walks among Braves. Head water polo coach Jeff Powers was inducted into the USA Water Polo Hall Of Fame this past Summer, yet another big athletic splash in the Brave community. 

Mr. Powers was born January 21, 1980 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but went to San Luis Obispo High School and played basketball, soccer, baseball, swimming and water polo.

He started water polo in high school, however, he did not take the traditional route. While Coach Powers understands the importance of hard work in a sport, he believes it is best for an athlete to participate in multiple sports.

“I am a big fan of [athletes] playing multiple sports and just having fun year around, and if you are an athlete you will be fine, it allows you to build character. Once you get to high school then you can start singling out and focusing on one sport. But until then, I say play all the sports that you can. I think you will be a better athlete, and lower your chance of injuries,” said Coach Powers.

While Coach Powers became known for his success in water polo, he did not always have the intentions of playing in high school. This all changed when one day the water polo coach at San Luis Obispo High School heard that he was an incredible swimmer and a prolific athlete in school, asked him to try out for the San Luis Obispo Water Polo team. Coach Jeff Powers indeed tried out and loved it.

“It was kind of a mix of all the sports that I already played plus the water, so I loved it,” said Coach Powers.

He said that all the other sports that he played helped him develop the skills he would use in water polo and being a highly competitive swimmer was also a huge help when getting in the water. Coach Powers believes it was this swimming ability that gave him an edge over other people on the team.

“A lot of people if they’ve never been in the water before, they have problems with it because it’s different. Everyone walks on land but not everyone is used to the water, but since I was a swimmer, I was already good at swimming.”

After his four years of high school at San Luis Obispo High School he attended the University of California at Irvine playing 5 years of water polo and red-shirted his last year; majoring in Political Science with an emphasis in public law. He loved living in the dorms at UCI but later moved into Newport. The head coach at the time for the  UC Irvine Water Polo Team was notorious for his work ethic, training at least 6 hours daily (excluding practice with the National Team). He graduated from UC-Irvine in 2003. Year-round training often would be two and a half hours in the morning before class; another two and a half hours of practice after class for a total of five to six hours.

Two good memories he had his freshman year was winning a major tournament with all the best teams, the Northern California Tournament. His junior year he won the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) league, winning the regular season. In that tournament, they beat teams like USC, UCLA, UC Berkeley, and Stanford. Coach Powers would later get to play with several teammates on the UCI Water Polo Team, play with him on the USA Water Polo Team.

While at UCI he was a very industrious student-athlete scheduling his day to be consumed primarily by academics, athletics, and preparations for the next days of practice and games to come. He believes his coach helped prepare him for this rigorous schedule, but some of his fellow teammates did not fare as well.

“Coach prepared us well in a way that we all knew how to grind, but there were some who fell off to the wayside. Some guys couldn’t handle the pressure,” said Coach Powers.

According to Coach Powers, they were not prepared mentally, and they could not take the hours and the work and how mentally tiring it is to be in that program.

“You did not want to see them go but you knew that guys gonna go he could not handle it. You could tell whos got it and who does not [physically and mentally], hard work plus talent,” said Coach Powers.

During his freshman year there, he did not handle his schoolwork too well with his grades beginning to slip. It just took a plan, and after some time, he was able to have a balanced schedule. He said that his secret to figuring it out was literally sitting down and physically writing out a personalized schedule. This allowed him to stay on top of his work and have the mindset that nothing was being sacrificed.

“People always ask me what was your biggest sacrifice. I didn’t have to sacrifice anything, a sacrifice is something you don’t want to do, but you’re still willing to do it. You must be willing to put the time in,” said Coach Powers.

During his freshman year at UCI, Powers was one of the select few to receive an email to train with the USA Olympic Water Polo Team. He enjoyed the opportunity, but understood the extra work that was required.

He was just practicing with the National Team his freshman year because he was not quite prepared, but by his junior year at UCI, he would be ready with the tools and have his skills to compete at the next level.

He was a part of the  USA Water Polo 2004 training group, where Coach Powers described his time on the team as “fun but brutal.”

At Irvine, the team would train for five to six hours regularly. However, the time only increased when he went to the National Team training, as he would continue to train with his college team simultaneously. Coach Powers knew his goal was always to make the Olympic team eventually.

“I wanted to be a part of the Olympic team. It is something that I wanted. I wasn’t sacrificing anything, and I made it happen,” said Coach Powers.

He understood that this goal would come with missing out on things his peers would be a part of, but his goal of being an Olympian was too strong to hold him back.

“Did I miss out on some things? Maybe, but like parties and things like that. I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to be an Olympian, so I made my schedule around that,” said Coach Powers.

It was definitely a privilege to be on the Olympic team and on UC Irvine’s team. Nowadays, they are not as good as they were when he played. He did not say it was because of him, but when he did play, they were constantly top four in the nation.

“I helped out a little bit. It was a great school to go to for water polo and for education,” said Coach Powers.

Even with this busy schedule, he found time to have some fun too. He enjoyed low energy activities, such as going to the movies. But most of his free time was spent just preparing for the next day.

He ate a massive amounts of food. He ate everything and anything he could get his hands on, trying to make it healthy, but at some point, he would just try to get calories in his body. He made it to three Olympics, which included 2004, 2008, and 2012, and won the silver medal in 2008. Coach Powers will always be honored by these awards and recognition, as well as his new Hall of Fame status, but believes that the bonds he made and his love of the game is why he played.

“Being in the hall of fame makes me feel nice, but it’s not the reason why I started playing the sport. It is nice to be recognized for achievements and things like that. It was kind of cool that I got inducted with a couple of my teammates from Irvine,” said Coach Powers. “But at the time we were playing, it was not the reason we played.”

Life of a Brave: Juniors Share a Nostalgic Night at Ring Ceremony

by Ryan Tavera

November 20, 2019 marked a significant day for many students attending St. John Bosco and their families, as the juniors received their class rings.


Pictured (Left to Right): Hector Andrade, Diego Santizo, Alfred Munoz, Adrian Garcia-Esparza, Joseph Ochoa, Xavier Zuniga, Vicente Casanova, Andrew Olmos, Joshua Hernandez, Adrian Arredondo, Christian Avila and Jesus Barreto.

Junior rings have been a tradition in many high schools over the years and Bosco is no stranger towards the tradition. The ring is a token of appreciation and congratulations to juniors in the man they are today and the man they are shaping into. It also signifies their progression through high school, and the start of the end of their high school days.

Students were to meet in the Chapel with their family shortly after school ended, and they were seated together while their families sat towards the back of the chapel.

The mass focused on admiring, wishing the junior’s a good future. The main difference between this mass and others, was that it had a more professional tone to it, almost like mini graduation.

Following the mass, Mr. Flaherty delivered a speech detailing the significance of the ring and what exactly the purpose of the ceremony is and what it means to him.

Mr. Flaherty’s advised students to not look at the ring simply as a piece of jewelry, rather the significance and the hard work experienced by all juniors.

“When I put my ring on with my class number glaring on the side I don’t see a piece of metal I see a token of appreciation and a reminder of me and my friend’s hard work and dedication to becoming a better version of ourselves each day,” said junior Josh Hernadez.

For many students, the ring acts as a symbol of remembrance, the ring reminds students of the young man they once were at Bosco and the memories they’ve made throughout the years.

“The ring for me represents my class and the memories I have made during my years at Bosco,” said junior Jake Cuellar.

Many other juniors shared the same expression towards the ring, and the class of 2021 appreciates the memories they’ve made and will make with their fellow Bosco brothers.

“In future years I want to look at the ring and remember the great times I once had at Bosco and all the people that were once apart of my life,” said junior Diego Santizigo.

Multiple juniors also explained how the ring signifies the strong brotherhood that is found between students at Bosco and how it will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

“When I was with my friends in the quad and we were all laughing and talking and taking photos with each other flexing our new rings it reminded me of what it really means to me which is the solid bond between me and my Bosco brothers,” said junior Adrian Esparza.

Following Mr. Flaherty’s speech, he began to call the names of the class of 2021 to retrieve their junior ring from the table upfront.

After the two-hour ceremony, juniors met up in the quad where they took photos and were able to show off their new junior rings to the rest of their family. All in all, it was a great experience for the juniors who had a strong sense of being a Brave that day.

Life of a Brave: Men of Service During “Season of Giving” and Beyond

by Che Womack, Contributing Writer

With the season of giving nearly approaching, the urge to help others in need comes into full force. However, this desire to assist those who need help is not limited to just the holiday season. It is a way of life that should embody a person’s character all year long. 


This desire to give is represented in full force by the St. John Bosco Christian Service Program at Skid Row in Los Angeles, California, which takes place throughout the school year.

The St. John Bosco High School Service Program is an aspect of the school that pertains to the student body, reaching out to foundations and helping others in need. Students are required to achieve a certain amount of service hours each year in order to graduate.

However, the impulse to help others does not only come from the faculty and staff but from the student body itself. Many students have dedicated countless hours of their personal time as it genuinely lets them enjoy time away from themselves to help the less fortunate.

“Bosco’s service hours have helped me realize a lot about myself,” says St. John Bosco senior Jean Martin. “I’ve gone to many places such as Skid Row and the beach, to help not only people but the earth itself. I’m really glad I came to a school that persuades us to make a change in our community.”

One of the main establishments the school helps is the food service program at Skid Row. Skid Row is an area in Downtown Los Angeles where the homeless population accumulates to approximately 5,000-8,000 people.

Although, the numbers of the homeless may seem high, there are many programs and organizations that assume to help these people with shelter, food, drink — including St. John Bosco.

Many teachers take the venture out to Los Angeles with students and enjoy the day at Skid Row as well. St. John Bosco teachers get the opportunity to feed, speak with and the homeless during their trip.

“You know about homeless people and all of that, but to put a face on it and interact with them, you usually don’t get to have that kind of experience,” said St. John Bosco science teacher Michelle Dolphin. “It’s made a huge difference within our community.”

The connection between St. John Bosco and the Skid Row Program comes from former religion teacher Jack Hastert. Mr. Hastert has been long involved with many programs during this time at the school, but most knowingly: Skid Row. He has enjoyed his time — with the help of his family — helping others in the Los Angeles area.

“I first started taking Bosco students to the Los Angeles Catholic Worker Soup Kitchen on skid row in 1979-80 school year.” Mr. Hastert said. “My contributions include donating money and on occasion going out to feed people.”

Because of this branch, St. John Bosco has been able to be a part of a human-phenomenon that helps the less fortunate, provides a meal and promotes a human-capitalism that values dignity of dollar signs.

While Christmas may be called the “Season of Giving,” the desire to help at Bosco spans much more than a couple months. It is a way of life that stems from the Salesian Brotherhood.

That is love. That is Bosco.

Life of a Brave: Unsung Hero Counselor Ms. Alyssa Skipper

by Dominic Sanchez

Ms. Alyssa Skipper, a prominent member of the faculty and staff here at St. John Bosco High School as our Director of Counseling, may not be as well-known to some parents and alumni, but she is a mainstay in the lives of our student body. She plays a dominant role in the community in helping hundreds of students reach their academic potential and goals for the future to come. Photo for Article.jpg

Ms. Skipper’s journey to St. John Bosco has been drawn out and alluring. She was born one of two daughters in Torrance, California and then raised in Lakewood for the majority of her life. Growing up with a very supportive and loving family who supported her through anything, they would go to any limit to help her succeed with her goals throughout her early life.

After middle school, Ms. Skipper decided to attend Mayfair High School participating in cheerleading and several other clubs. Graduating from high school she chose to go to UC Santa Barbara as an undergraduate and got her Masters at Cal State Dominguez Hills College. She then chose to start majoring in sociology, as well as minoring in applied psychology to broaden her opportunities for the counseling career she’s been pursuing.

By the time she was about to leave high school, she knew that being a school counselor was a career path she wanted to be in. Besides working at a few fun jobs on the side during high school in the Summer, like Soak City Water Park, which she definitely did not enjoy.

“It was a terrible first job; I will definitely say that,” said Ms. Skipper.

She also worked many other jobs, but there was no other job she wanted to ever pursue like being a counselor and helping others reach their academic potential.

Ms. Skipper then began focusing on her career in college in her undergraduate, and  went directly into grad school as soon as she graduated from the University of Santa Barbara. Fast forward to two years later, she already started getting into her fieldwork in the counseling career.

Growing up in public school for her whole life, she was looking at a variety of schools to lend her services. Her public school education was a foundation for her experience in applying to these schools. Being in different types of settings and meeting with a variety of students has helped her tremendously, as well as helping her grow as the best counselor she can be.

In 2018, Bosco was looking for a fresh face to help with the counseling department, and Ms. Skipper seized that opportunity, making it the first Catholic school she’s ever worked at. She was hired as the Director of Counseling for students, helping with the college application process, test preparation, class modifications, guiding each and every student to their own path and the social and emotional well being of all.

“I thought it would be really interesting to see what the private world looks like, to see what the Salesian community looks like, and it has been really cool to see how different the education can be here,” said Ms. Skipper.

Being at St. John Bosco for about a year and a half, Ms. Skipper has developed a strong sense of connection and friendship with the majority of Bosco’s staff and faculty. She believes that this is a unique place with great accomplishments and continued potential. Described by her, it is easily one of the best groups of people she’s ever had the privilege to work with. As a welcoming and open personality among the staff, she believes that people are really sold on the idea of being there for their students being present in class, as well as being out and about on campus.

With much of her first year at Bosco spent working with the Counseling Department and the Parent Association, the immense sense of welcoming for her personally, as well as the support of Mr. Delgado and Mr. Totah, solidified her feeling that she was in the right place. After 6 years of being dedicated to counseling, she has also toyed with the idea of being in Administration someday for St. John Bosco, but for now, she is truly happy with her position and will never change her career as an educator in some capacity until she reaches her retirement from the field.

From my personal experience with Ms. Skipper, having her help me with my personal struggles and stress over my college applications, I feel the best word to describe her is compassionate. No matter how busy she is, or how much is on her plate during the day, she will always find a way to take the time to handle the situation a student is having even when it seems like she can’t help.

From assisting in supervising student events, welcoming students, providing college lectures, providing advice for students when they need it most and more, she is a welcoming personality and truly a joy to have around you. Currently, she is juggling the Counseling Department, graduation ceremonies and is working on aiding hundreds of students in their college applications, just to name a few of her many responsibilities.

Her job is quite a handful and is not easy. It is satisfying and rewarding work that takes a lot of effort to pursue. Miss Skipper cannot imagine being at any other high school in the country. The school community and staff cannot imagine Bosco without her and is incredibly thankful for her and her efforts of making Bosco a better place to be.

Life of a Brave (EXCLUSIVE): The “Team in Red” Will Have Their Hands Full On and Off the Field

by Aharon Colon, A+E Editor

Not only will there be a battle on the field, but there will also be a battle in the stands. 


St. John Bosco’s student section, “The Tribe”, has had a great year so far planning new themes and showing out at every home game. Here is everything you need to know about them, and what you should expect from tonight’s game.

With the emergence of a big social media presence spreading across Twitter and Instagram, The Tribe’s stock has risen tremendously over the past 2 years in the eyes of the public.

Starting with our first viral video, ironically at last year’s regular season game, the Tribe was seen jumping up and down singing the tune to “Seven Nation Army” in the rain. This was in response to rumors that the game was going to be cancelled, and a high school football fanpage got a hold of the video and posted it. Since then The Tribe has never looked back.

With their recent hype video even reaching 4,698 views, you could say this rivalry game will be unique, even in the tradition of Bosco playing the “team in red.”

During the week, you can tell that the student body has been anxious for the first whistle to blow. They’re ready to support in the stands and not sit by any means necessary.

“I expect us to be really loud and crazy. Hopefully get in some of the other player’s heads and make them uncomfortable,” Matthew Felix, Tribe Leader, said.

Tribe leaders and administration expect their to be upwards of 500 students at the game.

With the turnout hopefully at a maximum, the football team themselves are very excited to see what’s to come. Beaux Collins, four-star wide receiver, will be looking forward to seeing the Tribe show out tonight.

“Pretty crazy just to look up in the stands after scoring and seeing them going crazy throwing powder and stuff like that,” Beaux said. “It gives us a lot of confidence, and it basically helps us going against the other team giving us momentum at any time in the game,” Collins said.

This week is going to be crucial all the way around from the field to the stands. Expect from our Tribe nothing but craziness and madness all in good faith to support our boys. We are all behind them, and it’s time to show not only California, but the whole nation that the best football team has the best student section.

It’s a great day to be a Brave, Bosco Brothers. Let’s seize this day and make it one we will never forget.

Life of a Brave (EXCLUSIVE): Get Hype for Tonight’s Epic Battle with 4-Star Strong Safety Kourt Williams

by Kourt Williams

It is difficult to put into words what a game like this truly means. Some are calling this the high school football game of the decade, even the century. From a players point of view, I can tell you this is nothing short of the opportunity of a lifetime. 


This is the first time Bosco will play the team in red game at Panish Family Stadium. It’s number one and number two. No, not in the state of California, but in the whole United States. I thank God that I can be a part of it.

For the first time in a long time, we are considered the underdogs coming into a football game. We have been waiting for the opportunity to play these guys ever since last Winter, when we lost to them in the CIF-SS Championship game.

You best believe me and my teammates will be coming into the game with a big chip on our shoulders. We know Brave Nation has something to prove.

This will be the closest thing to a college football game you will ever see under Friday night lights: the atmosphere, media and, chiefly, the competition on the field. Between your Braves and the “team in red,” the competition will host close to 50 players with division one scholarship offers.

With all the implications, it’s honestly been hard to focus on anything else except the game. When those lights come on Friday night, the rush is like no other. It feels like going into a boxing match. That feeling of straight adrenaline feels like lightning in my bones, like I can run through a wall. It doesn’t get better than that.

However this game is much more than just winning and losing. Games like this is all about pride. Your manhood is on the line, and it will be tested. I personally know most of the players on the opposing team. Our reputation is up for grabs, and it can be taken in an instant. My 2020 class has only beaten the “team in red” once out of the four times we have played them. With this game possibly being our last opportunity ever to go head to head, our plan is to prevent history from repeating itself.

From a football perspective, the game plan is set and ready. Offensively and defensively we will be ready to battle. If proof from previous years of these teams matching up means anything, there will be surprises that both teams will present to each other. Whether it be particular offensive plays, or defensive schemes. Both teams have tricks in their back pockets that they have been saving for this game, which will be exciting to watch.

The crazy thing about a game like this is that we basically playing ourselves. Both team’s quarterbacks have NFL type playing styles already, both offenses have talent all over the place with some of the best raw athletes in the country, and it is the exact same thing on the defensive side of the ball.

Games like this are won by the team that makes the least amount of mistakes while playing the hardest for the longest. Let me be the first the first to tell you: this game will be physical, nerve wracking and one to remember. I just hope you’ll be in a seat somewhere to watch it unfold.

Life of a Brave: Unsung Hero Ms. Jeanne Pantuso

by Matthew Ruiz

Ms. Jeanne Pantuso is a well-known asset to Athletic Director Monty McDermott, all the sports teams and the staff and faculty members here at St. John Bosco. However, many parents and students don’t know who she is nor do they know all the work that she does to help the school’s athletic department, students and the overall community here at St. John Bosco High School. 


Ms. Pantuso was born into a large family consisting of four brothers and two sisters. Her family has been associated with Bosco for decades, especially because her brothers came to Bosco. One brother, Mr. Jack Hastert, is still an extremely active and involved faculty member for the school, being the head golf coach and a recently retired religion teacher after over 30 years at Bosco. But Coach Hastert is far from the only connection to Bosco for Ms. Pantuso.

“My son Graduated from Bosco in 98’ with a football scholarship, and my daughter graduated from St. Joseph’s in 00’ two years later,” Ms. Pantuso said. She’s had many family members go through Bosco and St. Joseph’s High School whether that be siblings, nieces, nephews and brother and sister in-laws.

Ms. Pantuso herself has been working at Bosco for 26 years, wearing many different hats in her time on faculty. She especially has been involved with sports because she’s the Assistant Athletic Director under Mr. Monty McDermott. However, at different points in her career here at Bosco, she served as the Alumni Development Program, school secretary and attendance dean. The Alumni Development Program consists of organizing events like the SJB Golf Classic and the Alumni Memorial Mass.

Ms. Pantuso, as the Assistant Athletic Director, works closely with Mr. Monty McDermott, who is yet another Bosco connection as a member of the class of ‘86. In addition to being an alumnus, he has served as the Athletic Director here at Bosco since 2002, as well as having coached baseball and football at Bosco for seven years.

Both Mr. McDermott and Ms. Pantuso have a close relationship in and out of the work space.

“She does everything, scheduling, contracts, transportation, returns calls, collection of tickets and money, organizing volunteers, security, input scores and CIF information – on and on.  We have worked together for so long, I have complete trust in her,” Mr. McDermott said.

“I like to keep my office and department very organized so we split up responsibilities.  Ms. Pantuso’s main responsibilities are handling all scheduling, collection of contracts, all school transportation with buses and school vans, department files, meeting minutes, CIF required paperwork and coaching clearance… However, she will also help wherever there is a need. She is a 100% team player.”

“She is very easy to work with and brings a lot to the table. She is able to always maintain a professional demeanor, while keeping things fun in the office with her funny sense of humor,” added McDermott.

McDermott considers Mrs. Pantuso one his he and his wife’s best friends. The three of them even go to concerts together.

Ms. Pantuso is an approachable faculty member who is always excited to get to know all of the students. This says a lot about her personality and how she puts others before her, and for all she gives our community, she always puts the students first.

“The best part about working at Bosco are the students,” Ms. Pantuso said.

Life of a Brave: The Humility, Gratitude and Leadership Of Five-Star Quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei

by Che Womack, Contributing Writer

The persona of a five-star high school quarterback, especially in the eyes of Hollywood, comes attached with arrogance and an unlikeliness to be deferential of teammates and coaches. This is not D.J. Uiagalelei. A true quarterback has to be someone who has the physical talent and mental fortitude to lead ten other individuals on the field to success. A quarterback is a leader, a headman, a commander. This is D.J. Uiagalelei.

OLu Fball 3

Growing up, D.J.’s world revolved around athletics, family and church. Coming from a religious family, D.J.’s faith was instilled at a young age. His church, Abundant Living Family Church, in Rancho Cucamonga, California, hosts people from all walks of life, as it opens its doors to people of all faiths. Diving deep into his faith, D.J. gave a visual on how his faith drove him to the promised land of virtue and prosperity.

“God has blessed me with a lot, besides being blessed by waking up day-to-day, he has blessed me with an amazing life, an amazing family, and year-by-year, an amazing team,” D.J. said. “He has blessed me by being able to play the game of football, by that blessing: He gives me the opportunity to showcase the talent he has given me.”

D.J.’s faith and family have driven him to the best person that he can be. Involving himself with Pop-Warner games, youth camps and other virtues that involves him helping others, D.J. chooses to be a part of something greater than himself.

Getting a front-row look at a quarterback’s development are the offensive linemen, who experience and see the true character of the signal-caller. From the classroom to the locker-room, on the field and all the way down to the huddle; the offensive linemen are able to recognize and identify the true characteristics of the quarterback.

The relationship between a quarterback and his offensive line is the most important companionship on the football field. D.J. and his linemen share a relationship that involves the utmost respect for a common goal between both positions. D.J. consistently and publicly shows his gratitude towards the gentlemen who protect him. To show gratification to individuals who do not get much praise, is the work of a leader.

“I feel like my offensive line is a huge reason why I am successful,” D.J. said. “Without them, I would not be in the position I am in today. I owe my success to them they block their butt off for me and I truly appreciate that.”

Being an offensive lineman at Bosco is a serious challenge, as they are tasked with protecting one of the nation’s best quarterbacks. The coaching staff sets a standard for this challenge every week for the offensive line.

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“We have the best QB in the country. There’s no doubt about it,” offensive line coach Jim Adams said. “Every statistic and analytic says it. If we cannot protect this guy, we won’t be successful. Period. We won’t achieve our goals; we won’t be champions. … If you want to win, you’ll protect the big fella. Let D.J. do what D.J. does best.”

The need to protect and serve does not only come from the coaches but from the offensive line itself. The protection they strive to provide is not simply for duty, but for the care and respect they have for their quarterback.

“Being D.J.’s blindside tackle is everything I could ever hope for. I take the highest level of caution and care when protecting D.J. in the backfield and I know my fellow lineman can say the same,” senior tackle Drake Metcalf said. “D.J. is the same guy he is on and off the field. He’s humble and always hungry for the next challenge or task at hand. Being linemen, it is our duty to take care of business upfront and let the cannon launch in the backfield. If we do our jobs, we can guarantee D.J. will make his magic happen.”

It is no surprise that those who know D.J. love him. However, it is not because of his fame but rather character. He doesn’t need to be the most popular guy. He doesn’t need to be someone who is always being talked about, or always in the limelight. He’s just an athlete; just another guy who plays football; just another teammate.

“He’s a humble, stand-up guy. He is a natural leader and a supportive friend,” senior guard Logan Bednar said. “Despite his fame, he is the same D.J. as he was when I met him at 14 years old, and he will be the same D.J. when he’s 30.”

Being humble and an individual of humility can be a great way of getting where you want to go. However, in the game of football, this cannot replace the attitude and hunger that has to come in order to win games.


D.J. possesses this competitiveness. Competing for a spot his sophomore year, D.J. was named the starting quarterback during the week of the biggest high school football rivalry game in the country. On October 13th, 2017, D.J. made his first start against the then-ranked No. 1 team in the country. Despite the loss, D.J. tossed two touchdown passes and unleashed a multitude of amazing plays that exhibited his talent and love for his team.

Clemson University made a huge and early impression during D.J.’s recruitment process. “The Clemson Effect” is that Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney preaches family. Being a Clemson football player creates a huge task: The process of winning, of course, while respecting the culture that Clemson maintains. Coach Swinney’s culture at Clemson made lasting impact in D.J.’s decision.

“Football and sports is a big thing,” D.J. stated in a video in which he announced his commitment to Clemson. “But I also want to become a better person, get more connected with God. Just get closer with him. Whatever college could also do that, that’s where I want to be.”

Seconds after that line, D.J. announced his commitment to Clemson. A stand-up guy headed to a stand-up place.

Life of a Brave: Hawaii Football Trip Travel Log

by Kourt Williams


Day 1: 


As the team and I are ready and set for the trip, eager to start this once in a lifetime experience, first we had to go through the challenge of getting there. I had to wake up at three o’clock in the morning to be able to get to Bosco by four. By the time I got to the school, the majority of the team was already there ready to go. As we drive in the dark on our way to the airport, even though this time of morning is usually peace and quiet, my teammates and I were wide awake, almost as if we were on our way to a party. You could just feel the excitement in the air.

As we arrive at the airport, after talking to my teammates about the trip, this is the first time some of them have ever been at an airport, let alone an airplane. Just the fact, young men in high school get to travel to an island and experience something only a few ever get to do, in all just to play a football game, is something I will never forget, always cherish, and never take for granted.

We land in Hawaii, and the excitement just rises. We load off the plane, get our bags, and head for the bus to go to our hotel. As a senior on the team, traveling is not really a new thing for me, but for some of the younger players that have never experienced it, they were just in awe about every little thing, and that was great to see them be able to experience that. As we are on the road headed to the hotel, the scenery is phenomenal. Looking at the beauty in the tropical mountains and the light to dark blue sea ahead just gave me this feeling of joy that made me realize the reality of the opportunities I’ve been given and I began looking forward to what lies ahead.

Day 2:


As the day starts, my body is trying to get used to the time difference. Being three hours behind in terms of my body clock was something we all weren’t used to. That I would say was one of the most difficult tasks to overcome. This is the day that we all would be able to see history before our eyes. We would be at the same location as what happened in Hawaii territory on December 7, 1941. But first, as you would imagine, we had to practice. Everything about the trip was like we all were in paradise. Even the location where we practiced, we were on a grass field on a hill on the edge of the ocean. The view of the ocean was beautiful.

After practice, we head to Pearl Harbor. This I would say was the most profound moment of the trip. For myself and my teammates to be able to experience that together and learn an in-depth analysis of what really happened that day was an experience I would never forget. It really made us appreciate and be thankful for all we have today and what is provided for us because it made us realize in a blink of an eye it all could be over and gone.

Day 3:


This is day everybody has been waiting for and anticipating. It’s game day! Social media is going crazy, people from the outer states start rolling in, my family included. The night before it was hard for me to sleep because I was so excited about the game. As the day continues and we all start preparing for kickoff, the focus is on one thing and one thing only, to win a football game.

At six o’clock in the evening, it was time to go. As the game begins it seems pretty even in matchups of teams. But my defense and I were too much for their offense to handle. My offense started racking up points and it was beginning to become obvious who was the dominant force of the game. As the game concludes and both teams knew what the eventual outcome would become, things start to get a little riled up for the opposing team. We stayed dominant and made sure to keep all action on the field.

As the game ends and we head back to the hotel, I can sense there is a little disappointment from my team because the trip had to end, but nonetheless, we knew it had to end sometime. We were just thankful we got the job done and accomplished the main purpose of why we went on this trip in the first place, and that was to win a football game.

Day 4:


Similar to day one of the trip, we had to wake up at three o’clock in the morning to head to the airport to make it home. Some of the best moments with my teammates are the aftermath of the trip because we actually get to talk about what we had just experienced. In it all, it just made the team’s bond closer. Taking a trip like that does nothing but make you a closer football team. It also allows you to become more than just teammates. It allows you to become brothers.

As we head to the airport and board our flight, as a whole, the team is ready to get back home and back to their normal lives, including me. When we land, there is a comfort that I felt knowing that I was back home. Knowing you have a home to go back to is one of the best feelings you can have. But knowing you have a second home with your team and brothers is an even better one, and I believe that became apparent because of this trip.

This adventure myself and Bosco football experienced was one I will never forget. It will be a story I will one day tell my children about. Something I will hold precious to my heart and cherish until the end of time.

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