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John "Bouncer" Sena


Honored May 1990

John "Bouncer" Sena

I still see a lot of kids when I go to the grocery store. What should have been a two-minute errand turns into an hour," said Bouncer Sena. Bouncer's "kids" are his former students, who stop to talk with the man who was vice principal of Santa Fe High School for nearly twenty-five years.

Born John Sena to Abran and Elena Sena in Santa Fe in 1927, Bouncer was the youngest of eight children. "1 was a little guy, about eleven, when one of the guys said, 'You know, you're getting to look more like a bouncer every day.' The name stuck," said Bouncer.

Bouncer grew up "on Agua Fria Street, right down from the Guadalupe Church," and attended Guadalupe School. "My father was a professional politician and worked for the New Mexico Highway Department for many years. My mother had a real commonsense philosophy, even though she only had a third grade education." When he was a small boy, his mother was accidentally burned. "During the time that she was indisposed, we never made a meal. Santa Fe was a community that cared for one another," he said.

"We are true Spaniards," said Bouncer. "My great-grandfather was a blacksmith and stood six feet, five inches and weighed 280 pounds. My cousin, Maria Isabel Sena, traced the family name. Sena derived from the River Seine."

Bouncer likes to see people keeping the Santa Fe traditions alive. "I'm a Catholic, and I believe in a lot of the things we do--the procession, Fiesta de Santa Fe," he said. "When we were little, during the day of Fiesta, my mom and dad would spend the day visiting with people they hadn't seen all year long. And then we'd go have a full meal for seventy-five cents."

Bouncer made the Santa Fe High School football team when he was a sophomore. "We had a lot of luck that year and won the state championship," he said. After graduation, Bouncer attended the University of New Mexico, but he returned home when the College of Santa Fe opened and earned a degree in business administration in 1951.

Bouncer was coaching the Demons' sophomore basketball team when he met Bernadette Ortiz. "She came to watch the games," he said. They married in 1958 and became parents to Dolores, Melinda, José, and Rebecca.

Please see Volume 1 for complete text.
Photo ©1997 by Joanne Rijmes