Q&A with 2021 Salutatorian Grant D’Orsi

D'Orsi giving his salutatorian address at the 59th Commencement Ceremony.

In an impressive graduating class of Academy men, CBA senior Grant D’Orsi earned the honor of being the 2021 salutatorian. Both in and out of the classroom, D’Orsi has immersed himself in the CBA experience, including serving as the National Honor Society vice president, president of Model UN, varsity crew team member, altar server, math team member, and inductee in the Spanish Honor Society.

D’Orsi will be attending the University of Southern California next fall and plans to study economics.

After delivering his salutatorian address at the Class of 2021 graduation, D’Orsi reflected on his four-year career at the Academy in a question and answer series.

CBALincroftNJ.org: Explain the feeling of earning the right to be called the 2021 CBA salutatorian.

D’Orsi: It’s truly an honor to be called the 2021 salutatorian. This title was something I set my sights on early during freshman year and it’s really special to my family that I was able to manifest this goal. At the same time, it gives me motivation to continue working at my full capacity in the future because I now know what I’m capable of when I do so.

CBA: During your four years at CBA, what classes did you find the most challenging? Although challenging, how did these courses help you grow as a student?

D’Orsi: I found a lot of my writing-based classes early in my time at CBA to be the most challenging, especially English and theology classes. A lot of this stemmed from the fact that I’m more of a numbers person and my previous writing ability wasn’t as strong as my ability in subjects that involve math. While I feel my writing ability eventually grew by the time I was an upperclassmen, these classes taught me the importance of always trying to improve your weaknesses even if there isn’t necessarily any visible progress.

CBA: Were there any teachers that stood out as great mentors or role models to you? If so, why did you value their teaching?

D’Orsi: Profe Widdis and Ms. Carroll stand out as some of my greatest mentors at CBA. This isn’t necessarily because of the content of their classes, but because of their approach to being a teacher. They really care about the student as a person, while also incorporating lots of conversations that are relevant to our society in their classrooms.

CBA: Outside of the classroom, what aspects of CBA did you enjoy the most?

D’Orsi: I’d say the crew team had the biggest impact on me as a person outside of the classroom. This team taught me the importance of finding fun even through the most strenuous of moments, while also providing me with a group of guys that will be my friends for life. While I experienced this specifically on the crew team, I’d say this is a similar experience for all teams at CBA.

CBA: How did this pandemic-modified year at CBA help you get stronger as a young man and as a student? How will it help you through challenges in the future?

D’Orsi: I’d say this pandemic year taught me to be a lot more self-reliable. Considering I spent a lot of the year virtual, I couldn’t necessarily depend on teachers to be available whenever I need them. This will definitely help me in the future as every year I grow older, I find myself having to do more and more for myself.

CBA: Finally, what advice would you give the CBA students coming up behind you?

D’Orsi: I would tell any CBA freshman to set goals and develop a path to reach their goals early in their time at the Academy. Whenever I had stressful or difficult moments, it helped me to think about why I’m working the way I do and realize that it will be worth it. At the same time, I’d tell them to relish every moment because as I’ve realized over the past few weeks it goes by quickly, very quickly.

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 $1.9 million in scholarships and financial aid to current students. Experience the Academy at CBALincroftNJ.org.