John Capraro '79
Original interview by Vince Almario '01
Damien High School has been producing men who are academically and socially prepared to make a difference in the world; this fact is a given. In 2001, three fine men were inducted into the Damien Hall of Fame. Mr. Capraro is an example of the best of the best, yet it seems as though he is reluctant to accept his accolades; in other words, he is modest. He says that what he does is done because it is just the call of duty; it is much more than that. A long-time friend and Damien alumnus, Jimmy Hernandez made the initial nomination for Mr. Capraro's induction. John was surprised by the nomination and shocked that he won.
When asked to reflect about Damien, Mr. Capraro immediately responded the way any Damien student would reply, "There were no girls." With no girls to worry about he was able to concentrate on the task at hand: education. He emphasized that education was a priority and Damien prepared him well academically. Lifelong friendships and the fun of high school are also things that Spartan experience gave him. Mr. Capraro spoke of experiences that will never be forgotten, most notably the 1977 football season. That was the year that the team won the C.I.F. title. He reminisced about how much fun it was playing at the old Anaheim Stadium, with thousands of fans cheering the Spartans to victory. As for other aspects of high school, Mr. Capraro's involvement as a student included ASB Chairman, Letterman's Club, and the Weightlifting Club. "High school life was awesome and fun," explained Capraro.
Mr. Capraro took the preparation Damien provided him to a fine university, UCLA. College life proved just as rewarding as high school. Athletics continued as a part of his life in college. He played the brutal sport of Lacrosse and was a standout. He was a two-time All-American selection while at UCLA, and he graduated with a degree in English.
All of his achievements thus far are enough for most to pack it up and call it a life, but Mr. Capraro wanted to make a difference. he wanted to make a difference in the lives of young adults. He chose education and athletic mediums through which he could make a difference; he became a teacher and head football coach at Pomona High School. As an educator Mr. Capraro's impact in the community is greatly seen. He is involved in a special alternative education program which allows him to become involved in the lives of those in need, most notably pregnant teens and teen parents who just can't find the time to sit in the classroom. Mr. Capraro is proud that his students go on to receive a diploma or GED and often attend college.
Football is a sport that is near and dear to Mr. Capraro's heart. He took the role of head coach at Pomona High School, and is proud that while under his guidance the school has sent over 16 players to big-time Division I schools. Mr. Capraro has taken upon himself to get his team not only physically prepared for college, but academically prepared as well. During his interview, he spoke of how sometimes athletes put school to the wayside, and he wanted his players to prioritize and balance the load of school and sports.
In addition to his love of football, Mr. Capraro has also brought one of his favorite hobbies to Pomona High; he started a golf team. After a few years of trying to start the golf program to Pomona, Tiger Woods' Masters' win sealed the deal. Pomona's golf team is now a contender in league, thanks to the community's support through donations of golf equipment. As head golf coach it is apparent that he indeed wants to make life better for his athletes and give them opportunities that would not be realized without a little guidance in the right direction.
So what does a man like this do in his spare time? He probably doesn't have much spare time, but he says he spends most of it with his wife, Juanita and daughters, Alexandria and Brittany. he is thankful for his understanding family. When he is not with his family, he hits the links. Who would've guessed that the man with such little time could become Club Champion at Diamond Bar golf Course? Well considering the other things that have been accomplished in his life, there's probably nothing this man can't do.
Mr. Capraro is a fine example of someone who has gone out and made a difference. He has achieved his own success and at the same time guides others to do the same. He is a mentor, coach, friend, father and all-around Renaissance man. He has certainly accomplished a considerable amount of things in his career so far and will continue to do so for years to come. Mr. Capraro give credit to the Damien experience for providing him with the tools he needed to do what he does, but i think he is partially wrong. It takes a special breed of man to be what he has accomplished and become. Congratulations Mr. Capraro, you are truly deserving of this recognition.