By John Philip Wyllie
Following in the footsteps of his older siblings Gina and Bram, Gerad Hanono has become a key player on the Bonita Vista water polo and swim teams and excelled in the classroom. If he succeeds in helping the Barons win what would be their 21st consecutive league water polo title, he will be contributing to a legacy of dominance that predates even his big brother’s four league titles. At the conclusion of the current school year, the youngest member in this extraordinary first generation Mexican-American family may have a chance to do something really special.
“My brother and sister were both good swimmers. Bram graduated in 2002 and still holds the school record in the 500 meter butterfly. I used to (entertain thoughts about) beating my brother’s record, but we swim different events now. I swim the 100 meter butterfly,” Hanono said.
At the present time water polo is in season. Hanono plays a key role for that Baron team.
“I’m a lefty, so I play the 4-5 or the right side with the other lefty, Guillermo Vasquez. We usually play the entire game and try to run our two-man offense.”
To this point the Barons are undefeated in league play. There is considerable pressure to keep it that way.
“I’ve been (jokingly) told by some of the guys that graduated that we better not lose or else they will kill us. But we have a good team this year so we are confident. All the guys care about winning, so we just have to take care of business.”
Hanono has been taking care of business in the classroom as well.
“My brother and sister finished in the top five of their classes and I am currently ranked number one in mine, but there are a lot of kids all bunched up near the top so we will just have to see what happens.”
A bit of sibling rivalry exists mainly between Gerard and his older brother, but he sees that as a good thing and a motivational tool.
“When he does better than me at something he makes fun of me and when I do better than him, I do the same thing. It is just a little back and forth that we have with each other, but it is all in fun.”
Hanono’s Mexican-born father learned what it was like to struggle when he emigrated from Mexico City when he was a boy. Both of his parents have instilled a strong work ethic in all three of their children.
“Our parents raised us right. They raised us to work hard and to work for everything that we get. They taught us not to expect anything,” Hanono said.
In June, Hanono may be giving the traditional valedic-torian’s speech during his commencement ceremony, but regardless of whether he does or doesn’t, he views that day as just a starting point. He hopes to attend UCLA next fall where he will set out on the road toward a college education. Talented in many academic areas, he is not sure which one he will pursue. He does know this however, simply getting by is never enough.
“I want to be part of something (important). Many years from now I don’t want to be remembered just as somebody’s great-grandfather. I’d like to gain some recognition for who I am.”