Bishop was not deterred by COVID restrictions in welcoming alumni back to share their experiences and their expertise with current students.
Class of 2024 & 2025 Freshman Convocation Ceremonies
May 5, 2021 was a special day on campus as Bishop Montgomery held its Freshman Convocation & Prayer Service for the Class of 2024. It marked the first time all year that most of the class was together on campus and they celebrated together as a community in prayer, music and a special freshman moment singing the alma mater and taking a class photo.
As the freshmen arrived at Knight Stadium, many dressed in blue for their class color, they were handed their class medallion. Instituted in 2019 by BMHS Principal Dr. Jim Garza, the medallion welcomes freshmen into the BMHS community and symbolically initiates their march toward graduation. The freshman also got their first look at their class banner, which they will carry with them throughout their time at BMHS and will be displayed at commencement exercises and reunions.
The freshmen were also treated to some special guests for the convocation. ASB President Henry Hasnah ’21 officially welcomed the freshman and, during his address, had them stand up and look around at their classmates. He reminded them that their high school years will go by fast. “Take advantage of your time and do many things and get to know as many people as possible,” said Hasnah.
At each convocation, Bishop Montgomery invites a current member of the staff who is a graduate to deliver the convocation address. For the Class of 2024 ceremony, Vice Principal Yvette Vigon-Morffi ’87 delivered the address and stressed to the freshmen that BMHS is a family and a home. She relayed the story of her freshman year when she attended a different school but wanted so much to transfer to Bishop Montgomery. “I knew this is where I belonged,” she told the class. “BMHS was, and still is, my extended family. This is where you are cared for and where you are made to feel special.”
The final speaker was Vicente Bravo ‘85, who welcomed the freshman to the community. Bravo, who has been a career educator, currently serves as Chief Administrative Officer and Assistant Superintendent for Operations, Equity & Compliance for Da Vinci Schools. Bravo began his speech admitting that he always thought he knew what “alma mater” meant until he looked it up recently. After realizing that one of its meanings is “something that provides nourishment,” he explained to the class that not all schools will be that to their students; however, Bishop Montgomery has been that place for him. “I would not be who I am today if not for the foundation and education I received here at Bishop Montgomery,” said Bravo. “Bishop Montgomery is not just going to be a school for you. It will be your alma mater. It is going to take care of you and get you ready for your future. At Bishop Montgomery, you are not just a number; you are someone here.”
With the 2021-22 school year beginning as planned, the Class of 2025 Convocation was held on its traditional day, the first day of school for the freshmen. After a welcome from Dr. Garza, alumna Kristina Bingham-Jones ’03, right, addressed the class and told them to be bold and not to be afraid to take chances in trying new activities and in meeting new people. Bingham-Jones is a published children’s book author and the Founder and CEO of Guardian Lane, a tech company that help children in dealing with loss.
The Class of 2025 also received words of advice from alumnus, and boys’ dean, Lee Flores ‘84. Flores told the freshman that high school was a time to make lifelong friends and that those sitting around them will be people you can trust and lean on in life. Flores relayed to the class that one of his BMHS volleyball teammates was a member of his wedding party.
Finally, the Class of 2025 heard from 2021-22 ASB President Samantha Liu ’22, who stressed to the freshmen to join as many clubs and activities as possible and that serving the community is an important part of high school life.
We welcome the Classes of 2024 and 2025 to the Bishop Montgomery family. #OnceAKnightAlwaysAKnight
Due to COVID-19, we were not able to host guest speakers on campus, so we made the best of the situation and launched the BMHS AlumKnight Speaker Series. Throughout the second semester, alumni from all over the country sent in pre-recorded videos for us to show the students and faculty on our Wednesday Community Days – days set aside each week for asynchronous work, faculty virtual office hours, Examen prayer and reflection, and other community activities. The AlumKnight Speaker Series gave our students the opportunity to hear about some of the wonderful things BMHS alumni are doing in their communities. The alumni also provided a special message, words of encouragement or advice for the students. For a complete list of speakers and to watch their videos, visit www.bmhs-la.org/alumni/.
Dan Stetson ’71 spoke to the students in the AP Seminar class about careers in oceanography and his work as President & CEO of The Ocean Institute. Stetson retired from the institute several years ago, but continues to work on special projects and endowments for the organization. Having him speak to our students on Zoom was a special treat.
Trisha Bernardo-Perez ’03 is a children’s book author. She spoke to several classes on campus, including the AP English Language classes and the AP Research class. She also participated in the AlumKnight Speaker Series.
Michelle Matuszewski ’81, a conservation biologist for Walt Disney World, joined us for the AlumKnight Speaker Series during Earth Week in April. She spoke about how she got started in her career and talked about some of the environmental issues she deals with in her work. She also reminded the students that it is important to give themselves the grace to make mistakes and learn from them.
Matthew Simmons ’10 joined the speaker series and talked to the students about his sophomore year at BMHS when his father, Randy, a LAPD S.W.A.T. officer, was killed in the line of duty. Simmons talked about the role that BMHS played at that time in his life and how the school remains a pillar in his life.
David Tripler ’07, a writer/director for Room 22 Productions, was an AlumKnight Speaker Series participant and talked about the community feeling at Bishop and leaving your legacy while you are a student. At the conclusion of his talk, he urged the students to be there for each other because you never know when someone needs a friend. “People will remember how you made them feel.”
After final exams were over, Bishop hosted a special guest to meet and congratulate the boys’ swimming 200 Medley Relay team that won the first swim title in school history. In the process of winning the CIF title in the relay, the four swimmers broke a school record in a time of 1:45.17. The special guest was none other than BMHS Athletic Hall of Famer Michael Ashe ’75 (far right), who was excited to meet the young men making history at BMHS. During the visit, Ashe shared stories of his days swimming at Bishop and gave each of the Knights a special gift: a challenge coin from his days in law enforcement.