The Seraph Notes
Saint Bonaventure High School Alumni Association
 Fall Edition, 2018 
Fifty years ago, in the fall of 1968, the Green and Gold took the field by storm and walked away with Saint Bonaventure's first CIF Championship. 

Today, they walk back on the field. We are welcoming alumni who played on that day. It is exciting to see them swap stories with a new generation of Seraphs. 

On the track, court, field and diamond their legacy carries on. Seraphs continually strive for excellence. Beyond winning CIF titles, o ver the last four years, 99.99% of Seraphs have gone to college. They received 1,500 college acceptances and were offered over $10 million in scholarships. We are a school that achieves greatness. 

We hope you are proud of your place in this legacy. 

In this fall's newsletter - we will take a look at our current football season, we ask for your prayers for our senior class, and take a look at two Seraphs from different times who served in the Peace Corps. 

Andrew Peake
Director of Advancement and Alumni Relations
(805) 648-6836 ext. 118

It is almost time to come home.

October 11, 2018
7:00 p.m. 
Ventura College

Find a date and join your fellow alumni in a special cheering section for homecoming! 

When you RSVP - you receive free admission to the game and can be entered into a special drawing for two sideline passes.  

Remember to Save the Date for our Cornhole Tournament 

March 2, 2019
1:00 p.m. 
SBHS Campus

We look forward to seeing you at this annual free event!

Join Alumni, Parents, and the community our next Volleyball Game. 

September 18
6:00 p.m. 

We will be taking time to celebrate the life of Kirra Drury, Class of 2013. Kirra was a star on the court and a joyful member of our Seraph family. 

English teacher Connan McElvogue offers this remembrance: "Kirra Drury was one of my English students for the first semester of her senior year.  Although this was during volleyball season, Kirra had one of the top grades in my class, earning an A for the semester.  I could see her confidence as an athlete, but she was humble about her success in English class.  Kirra was a positive and intelligent young woman who strove to do her best and was a gift to the people who surrounded her.  I was blessed to be Kirra's teacher.  May God grant her family and friends comfort and peace at this time.  May Kirra share in the joy of Heaven with the Lord. "

Donations will be gathered at the game for the Drury family. 
Looking for more information? Visit
We need some heavy metal! 

We are in the process of creating an exercise facility for our teachers.  Most of our faculty is here from sun up to sun down, and a few dedicated staff and coaches want to turn an unused room into a functioning faculty gym. 

If you have any dumbells or weight plates you would like to donate, please contact Bridget Marler
Five Questions for: 
John Patrick Brady ('85) and Paul Fischer ('09) 

Though they attended Saint Bonaventure at very different times, John Brady ('85) and Paul Fischer ('09) share a passion for international service. They both agreed to answer a few questions about their time in Peace Corps, living abroad, and what inspired them to live lives in service of others. 

John lives in Kazakhstan with his wife, Ligi, and their three children. Paul is currently pursuing a masters degree in International Development at Georgetown. John's responses will appear first and in gold, followed by Paul's in green. 

How did your experience at SBHS prepare you to go overseas? 

(John) I feel that I had a well-balanced, quality education during my four years at SBHS. The teachers I had were from fairly diverse backgrounds. I remember a math teacher from Jordan and of course some teachers from Ireland. Between my junior and senior year of SBHS I briefly did some sports outreach in the Tijuana area. That experience combined with the education I was getting at SBHS, made me choose, even at age 16, to work overseas as much as possible. 

(Paul) My first trip to South America came in December of 2005, when I was a Freshman at SBHS. At that point I had one semester of Spanish under my belt with Ms. Mercado and was heading to Chile and Peru for the holiday to visit my brother. As a first year, I was barely articulate in any language, but I can distinctly remember successfully bargaining for souvenirs. I continued to study Spanish and spent my Sophomore through Senior-year spring breaks in Mexico building houses, where I also made use my Spanish.
Since graduating from SBHS in 2009, I have continued to travel. I lived for the better part of two years in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - first as a student and then working with the United Nations Development Programme - and later I moved to Morocco, where I spent two and a half years with the Peace Corps. The foundation in Spanish that came from my four years at SBHS was a great base from which to begin studying Portuguese. While there weren't the same cognates I could use as a crutch when eventually I began learning Arabic, I had a more important skill to draw on: A tradition of service.

Who was your favorite teacher/coach at SBHS - what about them was memorable? 

I had two favorites. One, Sister Louise who taught us AP English. She was all business and taught us so much about how to write properly. Some of her phrases still stick out in my mind. Also, I enjoyed Brother Tom, who, besides being the principal at the time also taught some classes. He was very down-to-earth and encouraging to me.

I had many wonderful teachers at SBHS, however, among my favorites are Mrs. Basolo ('93), who I had for English as a Freshman and then AP English and US History as a Junior, and Mr. Rhymes with whom I played sax all four years. Mrs. Basolo made me a better critical thinker and taught me to take pride in my work. She demanded rigor and reflection in every assignment and test and knew when I could do better.
Mr. Rhymes has been a life-long interlocutor, mentor, and friend. I took private lessons with him from the 4 th Grade on, and he has more embarrassing stories about me than I would care to reveal. It was fun to play in the Camarillo Community Band with him over the summer, this time as a peer.

What inspired you to be part of the Peace Corps and continue working in the non profit area? 

At SBHS I could see that a lot of the teachers were there because they were serious about making an impact on us youth, even though most of us did not probably appreciate it at the time. Seeing the great needs overseas and the challenges in working in another culture were a big draw for me. Since finishing my Masters at UC Davis, I have spent 21 of the last 24 years working overseas. It has been an enriching experience for me, my wife Ligi, and 3 kids. My kids have grown up overseas and experienced different cultures and perspectives they would not have had the chance to living in the US. I think what has kept us working in the non profit area is the many opportunities to see transformation in the communities we work in.

My Peace Corps service and work with the Social Justice Fund for Ventura County goes back to an idea that I touched on earlier. When I was in Mexico building houses during those spring breaks in high school, I wasn't there to just impose a home on a needy family. We worked alongside the target audience for whom the intervention was intended. Now I certainly was in no position to teach anyone how to build a house, but the contractors who came with us could.
The distinction that I am trying to draw is about sustainability. It's impossible to build a home for everyone who needs one, however, by focusing on capacity building ("teach a man to fish and he'll fish for a lifetime") you can create a ripple effect. One person builds a home, they in turn can make repairs and teach others to build homes of their own. Neither the US Government nor local non-profits, like the Social Justice Fund for Ventura County, have infinite resources to build hospitals in developing countries or hire lawyers for every person detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. By focusing on capacity building instead, limited resources can be more effective brought to bear: the US Government can train doctors and SJFVC can give Know Your Rights presentations.
I was inspired to join the Peace Corps because of John F. Kennedy's famous inaugural address in which he exhorted all generations of Americans to service. Kennedy was a Catholic and he later founded the Peace Corps. In those early days, international development was mostly about countering Communism, however, the Agency perseveres because fundamentally when we all do better, we all do better. Creating economic opportunities for people abroad isn't a zero-sum game for US taxpayers. Peace Corps has ripple effects all over the world, as people who might not normally have access to decent education, are able to rise above their station in life. Access to education means you are less likely die young, and are more likely to get a job. When people have jobs they are less prone to crime and are more likely to buy US goods and services. When people are able to enjoy some stability in their lives the world is a peaceful place.

What was your project about? 

I was in the Peace Corp for 3 years on the tropical island of Niue in the South Pacific (1994-97). I was managing the government agricultural research station. My main work was to help the vanilla growers on the island as well as working with a plantation forestry project and vegetable research.  My favorite part of the job was going around to the different villages visiting and talking to farmers. Since I married a local girl from the island, we often go back and visit relatives and still have contact with the agricultural department there.

Working in the Youth Development sector, meant I had a lot of free rein to do whatever I wanted. My biggest project during my Peace Corps service was a curriculum called Creating Leadership in the Mountains and Beyond (CLIMB). Over the course of six-months, I paired the current generation of youth leaders in my tiny village in Morocco with the up-and-coming generation of youth leaders. We had classroom sessions where we learned about leadership, teambuilding, and environmental stewardship. Then we'd get out of the classroom and go on increasingly difficult hikes.
These hikes were opportunities for my students to learn about wilderness medicine and, as opposed to the incredibly hierarchical nature of education in Morocco, have an opportunity to share their interests and passions. The program culminated in a three-day hike to summit and descend Mt. Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa at 4,000 meters.
My proudest moment actually came just before this last hike. One of my students, Nisrine, a 13-year old girl, was excelling in the class. When I selected her for the program there was no guarantee that she would be able to do it; Nisrine has a physical disability, she is a little person. However, she never let her disability hold her back and she demonstrated incredible strength and resolve. However, shortly before our final hike, Nisrine stopped coming to class. I learned that her father, an Imam or religious official, was embarrassed about her disability and didn't want her go. I went to see him and begged for him to allow Nisrine to go, even offering to do Nisrine's chores and work in his fabric store. I pleaded with him in Arabic, enumerating the benefits of her participation, lauding her strength, and using the language of the Quran to bless the Imam and his family. Eventually he relented and Nisrine climbed Mt. Toubkal.

What advice would you give to current students who are considering service abroad? 

Of course I would heartily recommend it for those not afraid of getting out of their comfort zone. You will learn a lot about your yourself and other cultures. But don't think you can change the world overnight. To make a real impact, it usually takes a lot of groundwork such as learning another language, culture and worldview. There will be the inevitable "culture shock" and misunderstandings. But after you make it through that period, you will most likely gain some new deep friendships.  A lot of us are afraid to commit "long-term" to an overseas project and that is understandable. It is better to start out with a short-term project and test the waters before jumping in for the long-term.

Approach everything that you do with a mindset of humility and willingness to be of service. Hopefully, you will have many opportunities to go abroad, but when you do, go with a sense of curiosity and eagerness to learn more about the culture of the place you're visiting and respect for their customs and traditions. Be open to trying new things!

Join us in Prayer 

We are asking that you pray for our seniors as they begin to plan their lives after Saint Bonaventure.

Jeremiah 29:11-12
"For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you."

Dear Lord,
We pray for the Senior Class of Saint Bonaventure High School, as they continue to discern their path for the future. We know, Lord, that you have great plans for all of them, we ask that you open their hearts and minds to be able to grasp those plans. Please, Lord, send your Holy Spirit to be with them as they continue on their life journey. Be with them throughout this school year as they submit college applications and make decisions on what their next steps will be after high school. We ask this through our Lord, Jesus Christ.
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