For much of Christian Brothers Academy’s history, one Brother has been a fixture on the Academy campus.
Brother Ralph Montedoro announced that the 2018-2019 school year would be his last as Executive Vice President, concluding a career at CBA that began in 1971.
“I was actually brought to the campus when I was eight years old because my uncle had a contract to paint Henderson and McKenna Halls, when there were still horses around,” Brother Ralph recalls. “In 1966, my parents dropped me off at CBA to be driven away to join the Brothers. Then when I was a senior in college in 1971, I was assigned here to teach in the language department.”
During his early years at CBA, Brother Ralph taught both Spanish and Latin, moderated the horse riding club, chaperoned the school dances, and was an avid referee of intramural football.
Brother Ralph left CBA for nine years to work at Lasalle Military Academy, but returned in 1984 at the request of then-Principal Brother Andrew O’Gara to become campus minister. When a vacancy opened, Brother Ralph was promoted to vice principal, which started his 30 years as an administrator at the Academy.
In 1991, CBA restructured its administration and Brother Ralph became principal as Brother Andrew became the school’s first president. He served as principal for 14 years until 2005, which makes him the longest tenured principal in CBA history.
“One of the reasons I lasted so long as principal was because we had a great team,” Brother Ralph said. “Brother Andrew and I got along very well. Of course, we had our battles behind closed doors, but it was always with good intentions for our students. I had great associate principals in Peter Santanello, Brother Michael Dwyer and Brother Augustine Nicoletti.”
Brother Ralph was a hands-on principal when it came to projects around school. He was never shy about getting on a ladder to hang a banner or rolling up his sleeves to help with campus maintenance.
One of Brother Ralph’s greatest accomplishments at CBA was founding the formal service program, which has flourished since the early years.
“Our service program started before many of our peer schools, so we were ahead of the times in the sense that every student had to participate,” Brother Ralph said. “I always thought that one of the reasons this school existed was because those who came before us served the less fortunate. I wanted our students to have the feeling of giving from the heart to assist the sick, needy or elderly. Our students come from great homes, but there are always people in need in our own backyard.”
After Brother Ralph started the program, he passed it along to Brother Joe Miggins and the rest is history.
“There was no better feeling than seeing the smiles on people’s faces that we helped. Many times, we had more student volunteers than we needed, so that was always a great feeling,” Brother Ralph recalled.
When he left the principal’s office in 2005, Brother Ralph took a sabbatical year, but returned in 2006-2007 to work with Brother Andrew in Fleming Hall as Executive Vice President. He was an integral part of the Project 50th Campaign, a vision of Brother Andrew’s that was completed in 2011 after his death in 2008.
“Brother Ralph worked tirelessly with both Brother Andrew and Mr. Santanello to enhance the CBA curriculum and expand our campus facilities during his time as teacher, campus minister, vice principal, principal, and most recently as vice president,” President Brother Frank Byrne said. “He has been one of the most dedicated members of our community and we are grateful for his nearly five decades of service to CBA.”
As he retires from CBA, Brother Ralph leaves a legacy of hard work, compassion and his classic wittiness that decades of students will remember to this day. Brother Ralph will not be leaving the campus entirely, as he will continue with his role as director of the Brothers’ residence.
“Students came to CBA in 1984 for a well-rounded education and they come here in 2019 for a well-rounded education. That has always been our goal,” Brother Ralph said. “We always have had, and will continue to have, a product that parents value. The boys have a great sense of camaraderie and brotherhood while they are here and then they graduate as more complete young men. I am proud to have been a part of that tradition.”