If you live anywhere near Christian Brothers Academy’s 126-acre campus in Albany, you may have noticed a lot more activity than usual. Construction. More students. Excitement in the air. And a big party on October 5.
What’s going on?
Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) raised $5.2 million to fund new facilities and programs. And they did it ahead of schedule. Now, they’re celebrating an expanded CBA and the next generation of success.
CBA, a college preparatory Catholic school for grades five through twelve, set ambitious goals over its three-year campaign—and nailed each one. The result:
- The new Mary and Michael Ozimek Arts & Science Wing, which includes the Zielinski Music Suite, a new STEM lab and four new classrooms for 5th and 6th grade students.
- A refurbished track and field facility.
- Completely renovated earth science, biology, chemistry and physics labs.
- Expanded academic programs.
“Our goal is for our students to have the best educational experience, which means challenging courses in premier facilities,” says CBA Head of School Dr. James Schlegel. “This capital campaign has not only given us the space for new programs and the current number of students, it has given students the brand-new learning spaces they deserve.”
The improvements materialized before the eyes of Andrew DiNovo, ’17, now a sophomore at University of Notre Dame. “I’ve witnessed CBA continue to follow through on its commitment to educate students’ mind, faith and character through the additions and expansions to our STEM curriculum and the support given to our fine arts programs,” he says.
“As an alumnus, with many close friends still part of the student body, I was delighted, but not entirely shocked, to see the students’ willingness to not only build upon their predecessors’ legacy, but to also improve it, driving our community to be the best.”
CBA now educates more than 550 students, up from 330 a few years ago. The expansion allows CBA to provide each student the quality education and safe, faith-filled environment it’s known for.
CBA has attracted the best and the brightest for more than 150 years. Here’s how the latest improvements will make an impact on those students—today and tomorrow.
Expanded STEM Program
Today, more than 2.4 million STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) jobs remain unfulfilled due to a lack of qualified candidates. The number of STEM jobs is expected to continue to grow by 13 percent, compared to nine percent for non-STEM jobs. What’s more, 93 percent of these jobs report wages above the national average.
CBA responded to the need for STEM education by launching a STEM program in 2014. The program’s success necessitated additional classrooms, a hands-on engineering lab and science labs. With the Capital Campaign, they got it.
Parents Steve and Sandy West say the program has made a dramatic impact on their youngest son, Michael, ’20. “This one improvement has, and will continue to, impact our son’s education by allowing him to think and learn outside the box,” they say. “This opportunity has helped him to decide his path for college.”
Enhanced advanced education
Schlegel says enrollment in honors classes, AP classes, in bands and on its highest honor rolls has far outpaced CBA’s overall growth. CBA also continues its tradition of a 100 percent college acceptance rate.
Additional classrooms allow 5th and 6th graders to learn in more intimate environments, helping them build confidence. Improvements to existing classrooms give students the chance to learn using cutting-edge technology.
“The new technology has allowed me to alter my teaching to create more collaborative and innovative lesson plans,” says history teacher Matthew Agan, ’05. “I am able to move away from traditional methods of teaching and create learning experiences that make students more effective communicators and problem solvers.”
Because of CBA’s numerous AP classes, DiNovo says he placed out of some introductory classes and started his Accounting curriculum at University of Notre Dame a semester early.
“The CBA faculty helps students be successful through endless encouragement, the development of effective study habits and most importantly, the cultivation of a desire for knowledge,” he says.
Leading leadership development
For more than 150 years, CBA has helped students reach their full potential, both in academics and as a successful member of society. Its competitive athletics program, award-winning band and its commitment to community service all help students develop teamwork and leadership skills that last a lifetime.
Renovated classrooms, which include the latest technology, allow instructors to continue leadership development as a component of day-to-day learning. “Students can interact with one another in digital spaces that break down traditional classroom walls and promote communication and collaboration,” says Agan. “These new resources set the standard that learning and achievement are characteristics of life.”
What hasn’t changed: the brotherhood
No matter how much CBA grows, it will continue to foster an environment of respect and support. Students become part of a brotherhood. That family bond stays with them as they develop into successful college students and professionals.
“CBA has been an incredible experience for our family,” say the Wests. “We want our boys to be successful in the classroom, but more importantly, in life. CBA has been a partner for us by providing leadership, discipline, morals, values and an outstanding education.”
“Our approach to education has changed but the most important thing about this place remains the same,” says Agan. “CBA is a safe, faith-filled environment that teaches to all parts of the student. We make students dream bigger, achieve more and be prepared for the next step in their lives.”