By Julian De Ocampo ’13 & Brett Mejia ’13
Sometimes, at the end of the day, all people need to see to be inspired is someone who can beat the odds and overcome adversity with determination and sheer will.
Take for example, Jocsan Tamayo ’11, 2011 winner of The Roundup’s Man of the Year award.
To receive his title, Tamayo was nominated by Brophy faculty, strongly voted for in a poll by his classmates and chosen by The Roundup staff.
Tamayo’s road to this award began in 2007, when he entered Brophy as the only freshmen from Kenilworth Elementary, unfamiliar with any of his classmates.
“Something that is very unique about Jocsan is his humility and joy that he felt when he first received that letter of being accepted to Brophy,” said Mr. Jose Mendoza ’88, Tamayo’s counselor. “He’s perhaps one of the most humble and grateful students known throughout his four years at Brophy.”
Shortly after acclimating to Brophy, Tamayo found his calling in sports, joining the wrestling team and freshmen football team and making a number of new friends along the way.
“Experiences that really helped me open up and be comfortable at this place were joining the wrestling team and football team,” Tamayo said. “It helped me meet new people and became more comfortable with the students and the staff that were around me.”
He quickly excelled in his sports, forming close friendships with his coaches, including wrestling coach Mr. Brad Frank, who Tamayo described as being like an uncle to him.
“When I think of Jocsan, the first thing I think of is a kid who is very loving, very caring and always wears his heart on his sleeve,” Mr. Frank said. “But at the same time I think he is one of the hardest working kids I’ve ever been around.”
However, Tamayo’s high school sports career was quickly put on hold after a turn of events in his home life.
During freshman year, Tamayo’s father was laid off, and free time quickly became a luxury.He has been working various odd jobs around Phoenix in order to support his family ever since.
“I began working at the end of freshman year, and I’ve been working ever since,” Tamayo said. “I’ve been working from tire shops to windshield repair shops, and right now I’m working on a law internship which I’ve already completed a year of.”
Tamayo was forced to quit most extracurricular activities because of his jobs, which quickly consumed most of his time outside of school.
But Tamayo said he doesn’t need pity from his peers.
“A lot of people say things like ‘I feel sorry for you,’ but I’m happy doing this,” Tamayo said. “I really am.”
Despite these long hours, he still finds the time to participate in causes in which he truly believes in—he’s on the executive board of both Big Brothers and Hermanos Unidos.
During his time at Brophy, Tamayo encountered a number of mentors who helped shape him as a person, including English teacher Ms. Susan Maynard, who Tamayo ranks as one of his favorite teachers.
Tamayo first met Ms. Maynard as a junior in her American Literature class. Ms. Maynard immediately noticed Tamayo for his humble demeanor and astute comments.
“He was just very easy to get to know,” Ms. Maynard said. “He’s friendly, sweet and respectful. He’s honest and candid, so when he spoke in class, it was always with true insight and something valuable to say.”
Ms. Maynard said that Tamayo is an ideal choice for the Man of the Year, calling him one of the most loving young men she’s ever met.
“He’s gone through some difficult and dark times in his life, and he’s come out on the other side as a better, stronger, more insightful person who has empathy for other people,”she said.
But Tamayo’s interactions at Brophy went beyond his communication with faculty members, as he quickly embraced the whole community.
“Brophy is pretty much a brotherhood. Brothers are always together, and they always stick together,” he said. “Here, even if people don’t know each other that much, they’ll give each other high fives and be happy just to be around each other.”
One of his close friends, Keith Bender ’11, said that Tamayo has always been an “enduring, loving spirit” within the Brophy community.
“Jocsan’s background and loving personality make him one of the most unique seniors and a true representation of what I think it means to be a Man for Others,” Bender said. “He is probably the most loving kid I’ve met at this school and he cares about everyone.”
Ultimately, Tamayo said that his stay at Brophy has shaped his life and character in ways that he never could have imagined.
“My experience at Brophy taught me to be a man for others as a main goal. Being a man for others means not living for yourself and not being selfish. It’s about living for others, living for the service of God, living for the service of the people that need your help and helping them create a difference by giving them love,” Tamayo said
Now, Tamayo is saying farewell to Brophy in order to pursue studies in law. But although he may be leaving Brophy behind, he said that what he learned will always stay with him.
“I’m really committed to taking this with me from college to grad school and to the end of my life because that is really where I want to take this,” Tamayo said. “Good luck to all my brothers out there. I know that they are going to do really well in college and I wish them all the best.”