Looking to help ease the transition between eighth grade and their first day as Academy students, Christian Brothers Academy held “Welcome Night” on Thursday evening for the incoming Class of 2023.
While these students will not officially start at CBA until September, this special night was a perfect opportunity to join the entire Class of 2023 together for a casual social and to formally welcome them to a tradition 60 years in the making.
“The friends you make here at CBA will become some of your best friends, your groomsmen at your wedding, and godfathers to your children,” Principal Ross Fales told the incoming class. “I say that confidently because it happens each and every graduating year here at the Academy.”
Held in CBA’s McKay Gym, the night is meant to serve as a precursor to the camaraderie that the soon-to-be freshmen can expect at the Academy. The incoming class will join together again at spring events like the annual CBA BBQ in June, followed by the school’s freshmen orientations in August, and capped in September with the historic “Heath Freshman Run,” a traditional 1.3-mile run/walk across the school’s 157-acre campus.
Principal Fales highlighted the myriad of activities available to students from day one in September: over 40 clubs and organizations, 18 interscholastic athletic programs, and a performing arts program that includes award-winning theater, band and chorus groups. The wide-range of activities are in addition to 24 Advanced Placement courses, top-rate facilities, and a service component designed to help students meet their full potential.
President Brother Frank Byrne ’75 spoke about the expanding alumni association that these young men will one day be a part of. With nearly 11,000 alumni, CBA has graduates serving as leaders in business, finance, marketing, medicine and technology. The Academy holds regional reunions throughout the country, with Brother Frank mentioning seeing nearly 200 alumni at recent receptions in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City.
A staple of the Welcome Night is allowing a current freshman to speak to the incoming class about his first year experience at CBA. Freshman Jack McGagh had this year’s honor, giving his soon-to-be brothers some insight on being an Academy freshman.
“This time last year, I was sitting exactly where you are now, feeling a little nervous, but a lot excited,” McGagh said. “I highly suggest getting involved as a freshmen, whether it’s trying out for a sport, joining a club, playing intramurals, or working out in the fitness center. A few more words of advice: work hard, be confident, relax, and most importantly, have fun.”
Senior Chris Wright concluded the evening with a few remarks as he prepares to graduate as a member of the Class of 2019 and join the true alumni brotherhood of CBA.
“There is a different sense of camaraderie at CBA, we are not simply students at a high school, we are part of a brotherhood,” Wright said. “I received an internship this summer at a well-known bank’s corporate office because the CEO is a CBA graduate. A group of students were just invited to ESPN because the host is an alumnus. Our motto: classmates today, brothers forever.”
The evening concluded with a short video highlighting the CBA experience from both students, alumni, parents and school administrators’ point-of-view.
While the Class of 2023 prepares to join the CBA tradition next September, the Academy will begin the admissions process for the Class of 2024 with the annual Open House on Sunday, October 6th from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.