By Ian C. Beck ’12
For those who frequent school sporting events, the Brophy Bronco is a common sight.
The red, fuzzy mascot prances up and down the sidelines with the intensity and passion necessary to jazz up a Brophy-sized crowd.
The man behind the mask approaches everything else in life with the same amount of passion.
Junior Flavio Bravo ’12 has been involved in Brophy activities since before he was actually a student at Brophy.
Bravo said he went to a Brophy/St. Mary’s rally while attending St. Francis Xavier middle school and was called to launch a projectile at a knight statue, the mascot of the rival St. Mary’s.
Bravo’s shot from the catapult fractured a piece of the knight’s head, a souvenir he still has today.
But now that he is a student at Brophy, Bravo makes an impact almost daily.
In addition to manning the Bronco suit, Bravo is a member of the choir, swim team, Student Council and much more.
While sitting on the steps of the Robson Gymnasium, Bravo exchanged friendly smiles, nods or waves with virtually everyone who walked by.
His spiky red hair and reputation as one of the school’s most involved students has made him a very recognizable figure around campus.
He has particular fondness for the choir and the man at its head, Mr. Paul Olson.
Bravo had many fine things to say about the choir teacher.
He praised Mr. Olson for doing “close to the impossible” in building the choir up from a group of 14 students in his first year to more than 100 this year.
In addition to Mr. Olson, Bravo named Mr. John Taylor and Mr. Pat Higgins as some of his favorite teachers at Brophy.
Bravo praised Mr. Taylor for his ability to attract students to the lesson and credits Mr. Higgins with really opening him up to the grammar of the Spanish language that Bravo never knew before Brophy despite speaking Spanish at home.
Mr. Higgins had only good things to say about his former student in a recent e-mail.
“Everything you need to know about (Bravo) is communicated through his smile,” Mr. Higgins said. “He carries a peaceful, joyous spirit into every situation. The biggest tragedy is that in order to be the mascot he has to cover up his smile a few hours each semester. I love that kid.”
When asked to voice his opinions of the school he is so involved in, Bravo said Brophy is so different from other schools.
“Exactly what it says: college prep, I think it prepares you and gives you so many different ways that you can reach out to the community,” Bravo said.
He also praised the many options that Brophy provides, whether it be a wide range of courses or a vast collection of clubs or extracurricular activities.
When asked to reflect upon his plans for the future, whether or not they might bring him back to Brophy in a teaching role or the like, Bravo simply admitted that he didn’t know yet.
But one thing he did say needs work in the future is the difficult condition of downtown Phoenix, just a stone’s throw from Brophy.
Bravo attended the School of the America’s trip to Washington, D.C. and draws inspiration from that.
He said he wants to come back to Phoenix and try to fix the problems that plague the city.