Four Brothers Serve as Mentors for Academy Men
October 28, 2021
In the years since, the Academy has been fortunate to have had incredible Brothers who have served as teachers, counselors and administrators. Perhaps more importantly, many of the Brothers have become mentors and friendly faces to CBA students. Alumni will recall Brother Andrew O’Gara remembering every student’s name with a special clue, Brother Cyril O’Neill pacing the sophomore hallway before homeroom, or Brother Joe Miggins encouraging young men to participate in community service. Another alumni favorite, Brother Ralph Montedoro – an administrator at CBA for the better part of three decades – even still has a presence on campus.
CBA is lucky to have four Brothers who have served important mentorship roles in recent years: Brother Tim Ahern, Brother Joe Brienza, Brother Stephen Caplice, and Brother Henry Chaya.
Each of these four men have had long, impactful careers in education, spanning the country and the globe. They have since found a home in Lincroft, working with the students at the Academy.
Brother Tim Ahern – 55 years as a Brother
“I enter the building each morning smiling and leave in the afternoon smiling because of these young men,” Brother Tim said. “The students at CBA are fantastic. They are always eager to learn and are extremely friendly.”
Brother Tim has spent the last 10 years at CBA, primarily teaching United States history. He is also has run the CBA bookstore, where he can be found each day ready to chat with students passing by his small nook in between the cafeteria and varsity gym. A people person at heart, Brother Tim has moderated a variety of clubs, including the Irish Club and Pipes & Drums.
The Philadelphia-native has spent most of his career in his native city or nearby New Jersey. Just before arriving at CBA, he wrapped up a nearly 40 year career as a high school administrator. Brother Tim was the Assistant Principal and then Principal of Hudson Catholic High School in Jersey City, before most recently serving as the President of West Philadelphia Catholic High School. Coincidentally, Brother Tim’s administrative career began at West Philadelphia Catholic in 1976 as the athletic director.
Brother Joe Brienza – 57 years as a Brother
The longest-tenured active Brother at the Academy is Brother Joe Brienza, who spent the last 15 years as an underclassmen guidance counselor at CBA. While he stepped down from that role in June, he has been working as a mentor for the freshmen this fall. His goal is to help the youngest CBA students transition effectively to the college preparatory environment. Brother Joe has been checking in with the freshmen during these first two months, often walking the freshman wing of homerooms as the students arrive for the day.
“It has been a privilege to see students come to us as young boys and graduate as Christian gentlemen after four years of a CBA education,” Brother Joe said. “It’s an honor to be a partner with our CBA teachers and parents in the educational enterprise here at CBA.”
Brother Joe spent 10 years at La Salle Military Academy in Long Island as a dorm director, history teacher and department chair, and Commandant of Cadets. He worked with 30 other Brothers to run this boarding school during that time. He was also teacher of history and religion at the co-educational St. Raphael Academy in Pawtucket, Rhode Island for 16 years.
Brother Stephen Caplice – 67 years as a Brother
Brother Stephen Caplice can be found daily in the Quinn Library, manning the information desk and overseeing the testing center. He is also the first face many students see when they walk in the lobby doors in the morning, greeting everyone with a hearty “good morning, gentlemen!”
He is now in his fifth year at CBA, but has a robust 67-year career as a Brother. He spent over 30 years in the overseas apostolate, teaching or administrating schools in Ethiopia, Madagascar, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico. Brother Stephen taught English and religion at the elementary, secondary, and university levels in these different countries.
“The students at CBA are among the friendliest I have ever worked with anywhere in the word,” Brother Stephen said. “The academics are excellent and athletes are among the best, so it is a joy to come to school each morning.”
Brother Henry Chaya – 43 years as a Brother
Brother Henry Chaya’s career has come full circle after starting his teaching career at CBA in 1978. He taught physics and chemistry back then, and returned a few years ago to once again teach physics and also computer science. Throughout the school day, Brother Henry can be found walking the hallways and speaking with students around campus, and is a favorite in the library many mornings.
After leaving CBA in 1980, Brother Henry jumped to the collegiate level at Manhattan College, which has been run by the Brother since its founding. It was at Manhattan where he taught electrical and computer engineering for 30 years, becoming the department chair in 1996. Under Brother Henry’s leadership, the college began to offer the Computer Engineering undergraduate major.
While at Manhattan College, he also became involved with Bethlehem University in the Holy Land. For 17 years, he helped initiate and lead their computer program. He even started a software engineering major towards the end of his tenure, which saw its first graduates this past year.
Academy men throughout the history of CBA have been fortunate to get to know the Brothers who have passed through these halls. With these four dedicated Lasallians on campus over the past few years, the current students are able to get that same experience.