The Seraph Notes
Saint Bonaventure High School Alumni Association
 Fall Edition, 2017 
Hello Alumni -

Welcome to our newest edition of Seraph Notes. 

This update includes an interview with Chris Sayer, a look at some of our many Seraphs who have served their country in the Armed Forces and profiles of the newest members of our Hall of Fame! 

We also want to invite you to our second annual Cornhole Tournament! Open only to SBHS Alumni, this free event is a great way to connect with your classmates! 

Make sure to check out our updated photo archive at - we have scanned and uploaded over 4,000 vintage photos with more being added every week. 

Thank you, 
Andrew Peake
Director of Advancement and Alumni Relations
(805) 648-6836 ext. 118
Cornhole Throw Down
November 4th 2017
1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Saint Bonaventure Campus

Join your fellow Alumni for our Second Annual Cornhole Tournament! 

There will be plenty of beer, wine, food and friendly competition! 

This event is free for all Alumni.

Register Online Here

Golf Tournament
November 6th 2017
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Saticoy Country Club

We are partnering with Our Lady of the Assumption to hold our first ever joint Golf Tournament benefiting Catholic Education. Come for golf at one of Ventura County's best courses, breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks! 

Alumni discounts are available. 

Looking for more information? Visit
Seraphs Who Serve  - Fred Woods, Alex Ordonez, Christian Garibay

Ever since the school's founding, the students at St. Bonaventure have been models of service year after year. However, there are those that have dedicated their lives to service by joining the ranks of the United States military. From across the United States to countries abroad, these alumni have taken the lessons, values, and education that they have acquired at St. Bonaventure and translated them to the life of a service member. Army reserve Captain Fred Woods (ret.), Army Sergeant Alex Ordoñez (ret.),  and Senior Airman Christian Garibay are three examples of the honor, courage, and commitment required for the military, and their time at St. Bonaventure has influenced who they have become today.

            Fred Woods, a former captain in the army reserves, had always felt a "calling" to join the military, but the St. Bonaventure experience provided him the discipline he needed for this kind of life. After enrolling in ROTC at San Diego State University and finishing at Georgia State University, Woods was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. "The education I received [at St. Bonaventure] better prepared me for college," said Woods, and Sister Celsus' saying "Hazy knowledge is no knowledge," has stuck with him to this day. Most people would expect to have a difficult time transitioning from the life of a college student to the life of a service member, but for Second Lieutenant Woods, it was seamless. He was an Eagle Scout, and both his father and older brother had served before him, so he was eager to follow in their footsteps. On top of this desire to serve, the dress code at St. Bonaventure and the teamwork developed on the tennis team provided him the tools he needed to make the adjustment to the military. The teachings of Christian values at St. Bonaventure were also important to Woods as it had taught him to have compassion and honesty towards others which allowed him to have a successful sixteen years of service.

            As a member of the class of 1995, Sergeant Alex Ordoñez is another example of the type of person whose leadership and dedication have transferred to life in the military. Ordoñez served for eight years as a chemical operations specialist in the Army, and the lessons he learned in high school helped him immensely. Being "humble, hungry, and smart" are three lessons learned in  his high school career as both a student and football player that he still carries with him. "Being confident is great, but being able to acknowledge areas needing improvement can be the key to success," said Ordoñez. You have to be "constantly and consistently looking for ways to improve and grow." Mr. Ordoñez's attendance at St. Bonaventure still remains an important part of his life. "I continue to have strong lifelong friendships with a number of people from my class. Because we were a 'smaller'class compared to public schools within Ventura, we had the ability to become closer with one another. I am a Seraph for life!" His faith, strengthened while at St. Bonaventure, was also a key component in his military career. "Faith provided stability for me in a world, at the time, a lot was unknown. No matter what happened or where I was stationed, God was (and continues to be) there for me."

Senior Airman Christian Garibay is yet another example of the selfless alumni that have joined the armed forces. Garibay, who continues to serve today in his fourth year as an airman, works in Aircraft Armament Systems where he loads bombs and missiles on the F-15 Strike Eagle. Not only has he been stationed all over the country including Alaska and Virginia, he has also been deployed for six months to Southwest Asia. "I joined right out of high school," said Garibay. "It was the greatest decision I have ever made." The Air Force paid for his education after he joined, and he was able to get a degree while traveling the world. While the armed forces was a lifelong dream, Garibay's high school experience assisted him tremendously in his life as a service member. "The respect and discipline I learned from the classroom and the baseball field have helped me out a lot. Without that, I wouldn't be where I am today." And, yes, he believes that every student at St. Bonaventure should consider joining the armed forces because of how it helped him become the person he is."My main reason I joined was to serve this country. I really do love this country and everything it stands for. I believe everyone should serve this country at some point in their life." And like the other alumni who have served, Garibay's faith is prominent in his life. "It's gotten me through so much. Without my faith, I don't know where I would be today."

               A common pattern is prevalent in each of these outstanding individuals. St. Bonaventure has provided a stellar education, spiritual strength, discipline, humility, and respect for its students across the years, and it shows in those who have dedicated their lives to the service of the United States of America. These three men are just a few of those who have served their country proudly and are tremendous examples of the people with integrity and character that have attended, are attending, and will attend St. Bonaventure High School.

By Jake Saum, Class of 2019

Tom Jack
Class of 1970
#75 led the offensive line for the CIF Championship team in 1968. 
Jake Brown
Class of 1995
A two sport athlete excelling in baseball. He was named Tri Valley League MVP.  
Msgr. Joseph Hernandez 
A long time supporter of the Seraphs providing spiritual and moral guidance to a generation of athletes

James Bonelli
Class of 2002
#70 Lineman won three CIF Championships as a Seraph and was named to the All-State Team

Mike Bonelli
Class of 2001
#99 Defensive Lineman won two CIF Championships and like his brother was named to the All-State Team
Shelby Babcock
Class of 2008
Two Time All CIF Selection in Basketball and still holds the all time school record for points scored

Alumni Interview - Chris Sayer, Class of 1984

You currently manage Petty Ranch, a farm that has been in your family for almost 150 years, what drove you to take on this challenge?
It wasn't expected of me, but suppose I always expected it of myself. My parents gave me the freedom to set my own course, and I'll always be grateful for that. I went away to college, served as an officer in the Navy, and ultimately landed in Silicon Valley just as the internet boom was starting in the mid-1990's. It was a great career, but Melissa and I had always thought about returning to Ventura to raise our kids. We returned in 2001.

What drives you to be a leader, ambassador, and educator in our farm community?
Ventura County has some of the most productive farmland in the world, but we share a very small area with more than 800,000 neighbors. All farmers worry about droughts, pests, and economics, but here we have the additional concern that we could be driven out of business because our neighbors simply don't understand or appreciate what we do. I know that I am far from being the best farmer in the county, but I think I do a better job than most at explaining what we do to the people around us. Sometimes that means I'm talking to 3rd graders, sometimes customers, and sometimes elected officials. They all have a role to play in the future of Ventura County agriculture.

What inspired you to write your book, Picking Our Future?
That was always a bucket list item of mine. I've always enjoyed writing and seriously considered journalism as a college major. I have found a way to work some writing into every job that I've ever had, so a book was a natural goal. I have a few more concepts that I hope make it to the page someday.

What is one of your favorite memories from your time at Saint Bonaventure?
 Cross-Country and Seraph Scrolls really stand out in my mind. Neither program was as well established as they are now, and I think that pioneering aspect was part of what made the experience great. We did the first edition of the school paper that was type-set by computer, which felt very cutting edge in 1983.

Are there any teachers/coaches that inspired you?
I can't write anything longer than a grocery list without hearing Sister Louise in my head. She was one of the toughest teachers I ever had, but her lessons really stuck with me. Mr. Miller really made a difference to me with his senior Comparative Religions class. That was one of the first times that I can recall really being encouraged to explore my own beliefs and those of others.

What was it like watching your own children attend your alma mater?
It was a comfort. Brother Paulinus was Principal when our older son Stephen (SBHS '08) arrived on campus; he had been my Physics teacher. There were a few other faculty members still around, as well as classmates who were now Seraph parents themselves. Everyday felt like a homecoming of sorts for me, and I think it helped both Stephen and Jon (SBHS '14) feel this really was their "hometown," even though they hadn't been born in Ventura. Of course much had changed at the school. I felt the curriculum had improved in many ways, and it took me a while to get used to the idea that St. Bonaventure was a football powerhouse. That definitely was not our reputation in the 1980s.

What advice would you offer to a current student considering a career in agriculture?
People often think of agriculture as a business that is stuck in the past. It is true that certain things take time. It takes me about the same amount of time to grow a lemon tree as it took my grandfather, for example. But many parts of the industry are evolving very rapidly. Biological systems are extremely complex. We used to ignore that complexity simply because it was much for us to handle, but advances in data collection and analysis are letting us understand what we though was incomprehensible. There will be great opportunities for people ready to dig deep. There are some exciting times on the horizon. They may be challenging, but exciting times often are.

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