Family and Friends: Junior Jack O’Connor’s CBA Story
November 9, 2023
For junior Jack O’Connor, attending Christian Brothers Academy almost seemed like a foregone conclusion. After all, his father James ’85, uncle John ’83 and brother Sean ’15 each graduated from the Academy.
With Sean being 10 years older than him, he grew up with stories of CBA echoing through his home.
“My older brother told me so much about CBA over the years,” O’Connor said. “He constantly shared his experiences and the things he was involved in.”
While he was familiar with CBA through his family, O’Connor’s earliest days were buoyed by the fact that a few classmates from Eisenhower Middle School in Freehold were also joining him for their high school years.
“When I was in middle school, a lot of my friends were always talking about CBA,” he said. “And while I kind of knew I was going to come to CBA, I had three kids from middle school come with me, so it was really good to start out knowing some people.”
As he quickly became used to the carpools with his fellow Freehold classmates, O’Connor realized how easy it was to begin to also branch out and meet new people.
“Instantly, you’ll notice the people [at CBA] are so nice and welcoming. I have made unexpected friendships from something as simple as class seating charts.”
O’Connor remembers having to work slightly harder with adjusting to his courses. He believes his time in middle school helped him, but it was clear that every student has somewhat of a learning curve in CBA’s college preparatory environment.
“Freshman year, I had some difficult classes like Mr. Spiedel’s Geometry-Algebra II honors,” he said. “There is a big difference from middle school, but you catch on quick and it does all work out from there.”
By the time midterm exams rolled around during his freshman year, it dawned on O’Connor that he got the hang of CBA’s academic environment.
“My senior GURU mentor told me to keep going and keep pushing through. While sometimes it can seem tough, you find the rewards.”
Outside of the classroom, O’Connor keeps himself active in CBA’s extracurricular offerings. He has become a standout member of the varsity golf team, winning the individual title at the Non-Public A state sectional tournament last May.
He also serves as a student ambassador, giving tours and hosting shadow days for prospective students. Meanwhile, O’Connor is busy as a member of Student Council, Future Business Leaders of America, Spanish Club and the Sports Debate Society.
O’Connor recognizes that, between his academic courses and his slate of extracurriculars, it is the faculty that keep students engaged and motivated.
“As a member of the golf team, Mr. Sewnig is my coach and I have always known that safe space and that I can talk to him about anything. I know he is always looking out for me and trying to help me succeed,” he said.
With one half of his CBA career in the books, O’Connor is excited for his upperclassmen years and looks forward to how he will continue to develop as a student, golfer, and of course, as a young man.
When he is asked to picture himself at his CBA graduation in the spring of 2025, O’Connor quickly knew what he will be the most proud of.
“Definitely the relationships and friends that I have made,” he said. “I know a lot of them will last through college and beyond. Academics are important and I am proud of the work that I have put in, but I know that I will take away lots of friendships from here.”
It is clear that O’Connor is not ready to leave the Academy just yet, but when he does, he knows it will have been a memorable experience.
“I know I am going to look back on these years and smile every time.”