Published by The Evangelist on April 25, 2019.

When I am asked what separates Christian Brothers Academy from other Catholic High Schools in the Capital District, my response is always the same: Brotherhood.

Brotherhood refers to the special bond every student shares that helps them to succeed even in times of stress or turmoil. Whenever a student is in need academically, spiritually or socially, he is not afraid to ask for a helping hand. As a freshman, I had the privilege of experiencing Brotherhood in its truest form when I came down with a crippling case of mononucleosis that kept me out of school for two full weeks.

During that time in my life, I faced a serious fear of failure. I missed several large exams and classes were already preparing for finals a short month away. I cannot think of any one day I dreaded walking into school more than the day I returned from mono. Ironically, that very school day became one of the best over my seven years at the school.

So many students, both old and young, some of whom I did not even know, came up to me, told me they missed me, and wondered how I was feeling. Teachers in my most difficult courses were willing to stay after school and work with me one on one. When I would reluctantly ask for more time on an assignment, teachers understood. Even my most competitive friends shared their class notes and were willing to FaceTime late at night to help me catch up.

After that day, I realized CBA was the place God wanted me to be. He had placed me in an environment where I could rely on other people to bring out the best in me even in my most troubling of times. This aspect of CBA is invaluable in today’s world where teenagers often find themselves isolated and discouraged from reaching out for help in achieving their goals. CBA fosters a strong Catholic identity that promotes the most redeeming qualities in each and every one of its students.

I believe that every individual created in God’s image possesses a unique talent, whether it’s to dribble a basketball, play the saxophone or become the next Einstein. The Brotherhood at CBA strengthens each student’s ability to express those talents in such a way that fulfills God’s plan.

Marco Spataro is a senior at Christian Brothers Academy.