Tag Archives: Bell Jeff

Alumni Outcry Over Bell-Jeff High Closure

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

After 73 years, Bellarmine-Jefferson High will be closing at the end of the school year to examine issues of low enrollment and increased operating cost. If a restructure can solve the school’s decline in the student body and benefit financially, Bell-Jeff is expected to reopen for the 2019-2020 school year.

Although it is the hope for Bell-Jeff to resume classes after the closure, many are worried this might not happen. Several alumni have voiced sadness and frustration over that possibility.

“As an alumnus, I would be heartbroken if Bell-Jeff were to close,” said Andrew McCratic, who graduated class of 2008. “Bell-Jeff has always been a very close-knit and family oriented environment.”

“I also feel as a person who grew up in Burbank for the majority of my life that if Bell-Jeff closes, Burbank will be losing a part of its history. Bell-Jeff is the second oldest high school in Burbank and generations of people have walked through those doors.”

Bell-Jeff High School opened in 1944 and became an Archdiocesan administered school in 1980.

Citing the school’s lack of involvement within the surrounding community as a contributing factor to low enrollment rates, McCratic believes an increased presence in the city would be beneficial to implement in the restructure.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“When I was going to Bell-Jeff we would ring bells for the Salvation Army during Christmastime,” said McCratic. “The more exposure the school has in the community will hopefully lead to more parents choosing to enroll their children…”

McCratic has started an online petition, which is currently halfway to its goal of 1,000 signatures. Many of the comments written by the petition’s supporters express the devastation of alumni and faculty alike.

“I am extremely upset over the closing of the school,” said Therese Dungereaux Hier, alumni from the class of 1982.

“The education that so many of us received there was and is priceless. My experiences there have stayed with me my whole life. Sending me there was one of the best things my parents could have done for me.”

Dungereaux Hier’s sisters and cousin also graduated from Bell-Jeff, and her mother taught at the school for over a decade.

When asked for ways the school could improve, McCratic and Dungereaux Hier both offered similar answers, suggesting advanced media programs should be provided, being that the school is located in the “Media Capital of the World.”

As Bell-Jeff approaches the closure, administrators will be talking with families so that freshmen, sophomores, and juniors are able to transfer to other Catholic high schools in the area. Faculty and staff are also on the search for positions at surrounding schools.

“We have excellent teachers and students at Bell-Jeff, and our utmost priority is to assist them in finding other Catholic high schools in the area in which to teach and learn,” said Dr. Kevin Baxter, Senior Director and Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

“Students will be given priority status in enrolling at local Catholic high schools, as well as transitional tuition assistance and reimbursement for new uniforms.”

Bell-Jeff to Host Basketball Madness This Saturday Night



BURBANK, CALIFORNIA, NOVEMBER 22, 2014— With Bellarmine-Jefferson High School Guards’ official basketball season just around the corner, what better way to kick off it off than with a little Basketball Madness. Join Bell-Jeff alumni on Saturday, November 22, as they face off against the current boys and girls basketball teams on this special night celebrating Guards Basketball. The action begins at 7 p.m. in the Keating Memorial Gym, located at 465 E. Olive Avenue in Burbank. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.

Basketball action will include Girls, JV Boys and Varsity Boys v. Bell-Jeff alumni. There will be music throughout the evening, raffles, contests and prizes for the fans, performances by the Lady Guard Cheerleaders, and much more. Food will also be available for purchase courtesy of the Bell-Jeff Boosters Club.

For more information about Basketball Madness, please visit the Bellarmine-Jefferson High School website at www.bell-jeff.net and click on “News and Announcements” or contact Athletic Director Fred Martinez (’81) at (818) 972-1401 or fmartinez@bell-jeff.net.

Bell-Jeff High School Adopts Eight Families For Christmas

At Christmastime, it’s better to give then to receive. Bellarmine-Jefferson High School students are learning that concept first-hand by participating in the annual Adopt-A-Family Christmas Basket program for the tenth time this year and delivering baskets to needy families from the Skid Row area of Los Angeles on Saturday, December 14.

The students have adopted eight families through the program, which is organized by the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and are gathering new gifts to give to them this holiday season. Each homeroom at the school has been responsible for fulfilling the needs of their adopted family since December 2, which include basic needs like cleaning supplies, bedding, kitchenware and clothing to fun and practical items on the Christmas wish lists of each member of the family. The students are then responsible for wrapping and labeling each gift and preparing them for delivery.

All of their hard work and dedication will culminate on Saturday, December 14, when student and faculty volunteers from Bellarmine-Jefferson High School, along with hundreds of other volunteers from across the Los Angeles area, will meet at the Cathedral for a special prayer service with Archbishop José Gomez. Then they will help pack up cars with Christmas baskets for all the program families and then hit the streets to make deliveries.

“Although these are economically difficult times for everyone, the Bell-Jeff community pulls together to make Christmas happen for families who otherwise have literally nothing,” said Director of Campus Ministry Jean Essa. “The highlight for our students is meeting families we deliver the gifts to and seeing how happy the children are to see the big boxes filled to the brim with presents. Parents are also happy to see needed items like dishes, pots and pans, and blankets. Our students get as much out of the experience as the recipients do and realize how fortunate they are. It’s a wonderful way to enter the Christmas season.”

Bell-Jeff’s Johnson, “I’m Still the Coach” – Fight Still Under Investagation

Jaclyn Johnson denied a report she has resigned from her positions as Athletic Director and head girls’ basketball coach as the Guards (23-8) prepare for their Division IV state playoff game against L.A. Baptist (24-3) on March 7.

“Not true,” she said early Tuesday. “I haven’t even thought about it.”

The Los Angles Daily News had reported her resignation on Monday citing reports that she had resigned following a loss in the semifinals on February 25.

“As far as I am concerned the future only goes as far as Wednesday’s game,” she said. “This program is near and dear to me, this school is too. I am here because I am an alumni who is proud of what the Guards represent.”

Johnson did say she will sit down with school administration after the season, but she says this is common practice at the end of each season.

A former star at Bell-Jeff, Johnson went on to play at UCLA. Speculation had been that she had tired with the struggles that come with trying to keep the small private school afloat in tough economic times and declining enrollment in recent years.

In addition, Bell-Jeff has had its share of turmoil this school year, including a brawl at the conclusion of its boys’ volleyball match against St. Monica on Saturday evening as first reported by BurbanknBeyond.

At least one minor was arrested and one student was hospitalized. Police were summoned to the Providence High Gymnasium and questioned dozens of fans and players.

Johnson called the latest incident unfortunate.

“It is not something we condone from players who wear the Guards’ uniform and who represent our school and our traditions,” she said. “Emotions run high in sports, but there is no excuse for what occurred.”

Johnson did defend her coaches and players asking that no judgment be made until all the facts are learned. The school is investigating as is the CIF Southern Section.

“They have their version and we have ours but from all accounts my coaches had told the players during a timeout to control their emotions,” she said. “And the truth is that the officials allowed constant jawing back and forth throughout the game… this failure on their part was a factor in what happened after the game.

My Dean of Discipline and I will continue getting to the bottom of it and we expect all at the school to cooperate with the investigations.”

Johnson added that the rumored resignation and the incident at the volleyball match last weekend are unfortunately overshadowing a stellar season from her team.