by Ms. Colleen Ward, CBA Director of Institutional Advancement
Dr. James Schlegel, CBA President, with students in front of the main school building.
Countering local and national trends, enrollment at Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) in Albany, NY has grown by an amazing 31% in the last ten years. CBA cites several factors as contributing to its unique success.
First, in 1998, the school moved from its historic downtown Albany location to a newly built campus just north of the city proper. It was an aggressive move and not without risk. CBA’s engaged alumni network had strong emotional attachments to the school’s original campus. But the new location was far more accessible to a wider array of parents. The move also allowed CBA to improve its technology infrastructure, modernize its classrooms, and expand its athletic facilities.
Incoming fifth-grade students greet alumni at the school’s opening ceremony for a new wing.
Second, in great part due to that same very engaged alumni network, the school has excelled in fundraising and marketing. As an example, CBA’s branded annual one-day fund drive, “BronationDay,” has broken its own record every year since its inception.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, CBA embraces the five Lasallian principles – faith, respect, inclusivity, social justice and quality education – believing they are as relevant now as when they were first articulated by St. John Baptist de La Salle in the seventeenth century. The school proudly promotes its Catholic faith-driven community service programs and its leadership-building JROTC program, along with its very successful college preparatory academics, including a strong music program and its competitive athletics program.
“Beyond learning formulas and facts,” says CBA Music Director Sarah Waite, “we are focused on shaping young men with the comportment of who we want to be our future leaders.”
Students at their annual “Real Brothers Wear Pink” event to help fight breast cancer.
To teach that leadership, CBA focuses on nurturing and educating the whole student: mind, body, and spirit. Students are encouraged to think beyond academics—to think of their contribution to their school community, the towns they live in, and the world.
CBA has created an environment where students feel valued and supported by their teachers and coaches, as well as feeling the camaraderie and support of other students. Longtime coach and educator Mike Smith believes coaching and teaching are one and the same. “If you put kids in a position to succeed, if they are confident and feeling good about themselves, they will learn better and play better.”
All this combines to create a palpable sense of Brotherhood, an unquantifiable and cherished element of belonging that keeps CBA at capacity enrollment and one of the region’s most sought-after private schools.
Students don’t just call themselves “Brothers,” they feel it. As senior Carson Leto reports, “I never expected how close I’d get with the teachers, the coaches, and my fellow classmates. Everyone wants to help you achieve your goals.”
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