Ocone ’24 Highlights Personal Development, Culture at CBA

As senior Nicholas Ocone looks back at his time at Christian Brothers Academy, it is hard for him not to think about his family.

“My dad and my uncle both went to CBA,” he said. “Unfortunately, my family lost my dad to cancer when I was a little younger, but I always heard how proud my dad was to go [to CBA] and cheer on the Colts. I was always talking about CBA, so it was kind of always in the plan for me.”

With his father’s legacy in mind, the Brick Township-native had CBA in his sights during his time at St. Peter School in Point Pleasant Beach. Once he finally arrived at the Academy in the fall of 2020, Ocone immediately turned to his next goal: following in his father’s footsteps at Villanova University.

“My dad also went to Villanova, so I came in saying I want to go to Villanova,” he recalled. “I said that in my first meeting with my counselor, Ms. Morrello, and the whole way through, she guiding me and telling me what classes I needed to take to get there.”

Ultimately, his dream of attending Villanova came true with an early winter acceptance notification. Once he arrives on the ‘Nova campus, he hopes to study business and accounting.

With a decision made on the collegiate front, it afforded Ocone an opportunity to reflect on his time at the Academy, which he said was an experience that helped him develop as a whole person.

Academically, there was a moment in his sophomore year that shifted his focus and made him realize his effort level needed to change.

“In middle school, I would get my work done, but I wouldn’t say I was reaching my full potential and I am sure some kids laughed at me when I said one day I would go to Villanova,” he said. “Sophomore year Spanish, I remember sitting down in the class and the first test I took I got a 50. That was my ‘get it together’ moment.”

With a new outlook, he became successful in the CBA classroom, eventually earning both National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society accolades during his junior year. He notes teachers like Mr. Frake (mathematics) and Mr. Thawley (theology) as ones who helped him adjust during his early years at the Academy.

“Some of the teachers that I have met here have grown to be mentors in my life. They’ve guided me on the right path and I am certainly going to miss the teachers and their classes.”

Ocone also made sure to mention CBA’s robust Retreat program as something that played a role in his personal and moral development. Each year, the Retreat Program builds on itself, culminating with the Senior Kairos Retreat which he attended in early February.

“I think most kids will say that the [senior] retreat was one of the best things we have done in our four years here. I have already told my freshmen that I mentor in GURU that it is something awesome to look forward to.”

Outside of the classroom, Ocone has dedicated himself to getting involved in a variety of activities. Noting advice he received during his freshman year, he wanted to make sure he wasn’t always going home at the 2:30 p.m. bell.

He specifically found his niche in both Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). This year, he served as co-president in both organizations, helping lead efforts to host charity events like SADD’s Dinner for the Troops and give students worthwhile experiences off campus like FBLA’s Jets Business Day.

His extracurricular involvement does not stop there, as he is a member of the Ambassadors Program, Student Council and Catholic Athletes for Christ, while having played four years of intramural flag football and two years of baseball.

With just a few weeks of classes left in his senior year, Ocone was pressed to think about something he will miss next year. It was not long before he knew what his answer was.

“It’s the people. Some of my best friends go here and I am going to miss seeing them in class everyday. When you are an underclassmen, you don’t necessarily think about that. You are just trying to pass a test or just trying to get by. When you are a senior looking back on it, you realize how precious those memories are.”

As a true CBA ambassador would do, Ocone doubled down on his advice for those students following in his footsteps.

“I came in with an attitude that I am going to coast by, get through and do great things. You can’t be afraid to get down and do it. Get down and do the work. It might be hard sometimes, but you just have to tough it out and it will be all worth it in the end. It definitely worked out for me.”

About Christian Brothers Academy:
Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) is a private, Catholic, academic preparatory school for boys located in Lincroft, New Jersey. Founded in 1959 and taught in the Lasallian tradition, CBA is dedicated to helping students become intellectually mature and morally responsible leaders for society. Through generous contributions from family and friends of the Academy, CBA awards over $2.3 million in scholarships and financial aid to current students. Experience the Academy at CBALincroftNJ.org.