Sunday November 8, 2009 – Golden Anniversary Mass
Christian Brothers Academy, celebrating its 50th anniversary, marked the occasion on Sunday November 8, 2009 with its Golden Anniversary Mass. Talk to anyone on campus however, and they’ll tell you it has been a yearlong recognition of tradition and education. From Brother James Butler’s Opening Address to the Freshmen class, compelling them to be stewards of faith and brotherhood to each other and in the community, the September 14th Mass commemorating the exact day the school opened 50 years ago, to the Cross Country team Milestone of 300 consecutive dual meet victories, to the most recent Celebratory Mass presided over by the Most Reverend John M. Smith, Bishop of Trenton, there has been a flurry of activity surrounding CBA’s 50th.
Much has changed since the school opened in 1959 with 6 Brothers and 150 students, but the words and values spoken by a student body past and present in a group discussion are resoundingly the same.
“I started here as a student eight years after CBA opened, and even then I knew I was part of something special,” said History Teacher Patrick McGann ’71, and 1 of 20 faculty members who are alumni of CBA. Senior Nick Asoli echoes his teacher’s sentiment. “Coming here is a new experience, but you know deep down a great thing was decided for you.”
With the Academy’s tradition of rigorous and religious academia, backed by the mission of the Brothers, there are high expectations set for students. Ask any of them however, and these Academy men are happy to meet the challenge. “I know it’s a privilege to have a spot here at CBA,” says Senior Ciro Saverino. “No one comes here perfect, but this school raises the bar, pushing you to be the best that you can be.”
Alumni Geoff Billet ’95, Math Teacher and Varsity Basketball Head Coach, believes it’s the longevity of staff, and their dedication to the Lasallian Mission, that sets CBA apart. “The staff wants students to be successful, and is replenished by the tradition and mission of the Brothers.”
This may explain why almost 20 of 75 staff members have been at CBA for 25 years or more, and why Cross Country Coach Tom Heath ’65, who’s been at the helm since 1971, has such a fantastic winning record with his athletes.
Reaching their 300th dual meet victory this September, the longest active streak of any high school sport in the U.S., the Cross Country team has been at the center of school pride this Fall. Junior and Cross Country runner Mike Mazzaccaro is proud to be part of the CBA athletic tradition, as the sport was the first and only one offered when the Academy opened in ’59. “It really is something amazing to be involved with, and it means a lot to continue to carry that torch” said Mazzaccaro.
“Coach Heath and the Cross Country team’s victories really act as a mirror of the rest of the school, and what all the students and faculty strive for,” said Senior Ray Bogan when asked about what it means to be Lasallian at CBA. “Being part of the CBA community, everyone supports each other.
Adding to that, Pat McGann believes he couldn’t have it any better as a Teacher. “We went through and understand the mission that was imparted to us as a component of the CBA education. In turn, we are called to impart the Lasallian Mission, and we get to do that with the most ideal students under the most ideal situation. Whether it’s academics, athletics, activities, the students rise to the education and occasion.
Even during the November 8th Celebratory Mass, Homilist Reverend Father Joseph Farrell ’65 called himself “a Brother’s Boy,” fondly remembering his Christian Brothers education, and attributed it to his calling to enter the Priesthood.
Signum Fidei is Latin for “Sign of Faith” and the motto for The Brothers of the Christian Schools. It may also be the best way to sum up CBA and its students according to Br. James Butler, FSC, Principal of the Academy in his address to this year’s Freshmen class.
“CBA is here as a sign of the faith of the founders over a half-century ago… that education is the path to success in this world and salvation in the next. You are here as a sign of the faith of your parents that you can make the most of a superior education. You are here as a sign of your faith in yourselves, that you want to be a man of faith, integrity, accomplishment, and service. As members of the first class of CBA’s second half-century, be worthy of, exemplify, and share that faith. Numerous people in the local and business community have observed to me that they can always tell a CBA graduate, because they stand for something. They’re a sign of faith…”