Published by the Times Union on February 22, 2019.
What does it really mean to attend an all-boys private middle and high school? At Christian Brothers Academy, it means your son will receive an exceptional Catholic education in tandem with the life lessons to graduate as a well-rounded young man eager to contribute to his society. This tutelage begins the instant a child is accepted to CBA, an invitation accompanied by a firm handshake and a welcome to the Brotherhood, a fraternity in which supporting each other and serving others is of utmost importance. A young man’s tenure begins in 5th grade as he begins to grow and evolve into a true gentleman. He seizes the opportunity to study in a vigorous intellectual environment, to participate in robust athletic and cultural programs and, most importantly, to engage his faith, skills and motivation to make our world better.
“One aspect of a CBA education is giving back to the community and those less fortunate,” says Tyler Marini, a current senior, who began in 7th grade. “The service program for the high school requires a certain number of hours for each student to help those in need. It gives me a great sense of pride to be able to help others.”
In today’s society it is never too soon to introduce service for others into a child’s experience. This is one of many reasons that parents are choosing to enroll their sons in 5th grade, to learn firsthand how serving others benefits both the less fortunate and themselves, an invaluable life lesson. These wide-ranging programs, a critical tenet of the Christian Brothers teaching philosophy, presents each boy with the opportunity to learn about those for whom life presents more struggles, Marini ’19: “[Service Learning] has really opened my eyes to different issues throughout the community and [creates] ways to improve people’s lives.”
“At CBA we are taught about brotherhood, commitment and integrity, among other things. We are taught that we need to place others above self and the importance of volunteering to make a difference.” stated Jack Anguish ’19.
CBA’s rigorous college preparatory curriculum is designed to engage serious thought and performance in every academic class. As a Middle States Accredited School, CBA offers a wide range of Advanced Placement or other college credit courses to position students for academic success after graduation. Students who enter CBA in 5th Grade experience the foundations of the rigorous curriculum, establishing study habits that are shown to benefit them throughout their CBA tenure, in college and in their professional lives.
“I feel that I have been pushed academically and that knowing the expectations has helped me succeed here.” explains Jack Anguish ’19. “Also, the teachers are more than accommodating when it comes to spending more time with students who may need help or have questions. That is one of the benefits of smaller class sizes, the teachers know who you are and care about your success.”
Beginning in 7th grade, the Honors Program allows qualified students to study at above grade level in all of the core disciplines. In addition to Advanced Placement classes in English, history and several sciences, the College Credit Courses are accredited through Hudson Valley Community College and University of Albany. Project Lead the Way emphasizes advanced study in STEM curriculum.
“Small class sizes and personalized teaching experiences went a long way to making me feel valued,” explains Marco Spataro ’19. “It is vitally important students become aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and I believe CBA is the best place for them to do just that.”
The teachers take pride in knowing all of the young men not just as names but for their personalities, strengths and weaknesses. An excellent student to teacher ratio, small class sizes, and numerous individual enrichment and support programs mean your son will never fall through the cracks while attending CBA. Watching a child in 5th grade mature into a man by the time he graduates is one of the many benefits to sending your son as soon as possible to CBA. The competitive high school application process is also alleviated for students in the middle school.
Rich and Kristi Anguish were confident their son would benefit from starting at CBA as soon as possible. “We felt that there were many benefits to enrolling him early. The first would be the smaller class sizes. At CBA, he was in a class of 11. We also felt that he would benefit from the structure and expectations provided at CBA at an earlier age rather than having to learn them when he turned 14 in high school. Additionally, we did not wish to disrupt him at an older age by removing him from friends that he may have made in the middle school.”
Monica and Bob Marini ’84 also chose to enroll their sons in middle school, drawn in part to CBA’s mission to teach to the student. “We needed a school that also had an academic support system in place for one of our sons, who needed extra help. CBA has a resource program for those students with an IEP [individual education plan]. The resource room is fully staffed with full-time teachers that are there to tutor and support the boys that may need a little bit of extra help.”
CBA is well known throughout the Capital Region for its athletic programs, yet another opportunity to grow as a young man and team member within the community. The school fields 13 sports that range in level from modified to varsity teams. All boys are encouraged to participate in athletics at CBA, beginning in 5th grade. The athletics program provides an exciting opportunity for young men to support and represent their school, developing life skills in leadership and self-motivation, as well as the benefits of hard work and self-discipline. If you want to see the storied Brotherhood in action, attend a Cristian Brothers Academy sporting event.
“Simply HUGE!” is how Jack Anguish responded when asked about the importance of the Brotherhood. Continues Jack, who plans to study sports management in college, “I have made friends here at CBA that I am confident will be lifelong friends. It’s part of the culture here at CBA as we are taught that there is more than the individual, that to be truly successful you must be a team player.”
Athletics is one of several exceptional opportunities to participate within the school community. The music department is also renowned locally for showcasing the team spirit inherent within the CBA community. As with the arts and theatre programs, every boy from the moment they begin 5th grade has the opportunity to express himself artistically. All students are invited to join the Concert Band, for many their first experience playing a musical instrument. Students may then graduate to the intermediate Symphonic Band, or the advanced wind and jazz ensembles. The most experienced performers may try out for the nationally regarded jazz combo and saxophone quartet. Of course, the Marching Band is well known to many. CBA’s largest performance group maintain a regional and national schedule, including appearances at Walt Disney World, West Point and the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
“One of the biggest misconceptions about CBA is that it is primarily a school for athletes,” says parents, Monica and Bob Marini, “Yes, CBA has wonderful sports teams from modified through varsity, but CBA also offers a top-notch music program, JROTC leadership program (drill team/color guard) and many other extra-curricular clubs – robotics club, community service opportunities, debate team, adventure club, ski club/team, drama club and prayer group, to name a few. Many of these clubs and teams are coached by teachers and administrators.”
Many people look back upon their middle and high school experiences as a challenge they endured. Christian Brothers Academy suggests a different model, a dynamic all-boys institution that teaches the value of serving others, working hard, and participating in a community of brotherhood. Anguish, a current senior well equipped to start his next chapter, puts it best: “Brotherhood is the biggest part of CBA,” he says. “The moment you walk into CBA, you’re immediately part of the Brotherhood. CBA is something special, and is for sure an opportunity I will always be thankful for, for all the friends I’ve made, all the memories I’ve created and for all the teachers that would always be there to help me.”
Visit the Christian Brothers Academy website to learn about how your son can serve and be served at CBA.