Q&A with 2021 Valedictorian Nicholas Geissler
May 20, 2021
After four years of tough academic courses and a special kind of dedication, CBA senior Nicholas Geissler earned the honor of being the 2021 valedictorian. Like many Academy men, Geissler focused on becoming a well-rounded student outside of the classroom as well, being a four-year student-athlete in the wrestling program, the captain of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Club, an inductee in the National Honor Society, and serving as a senior GURU mentor.
Geissler will be attending the Johns Hopkins University next fall and plans to study applied mathematics and statistics.
After delivering his valedictorian address at the Class of 2021 graduation, Geissler reflected on his CBA journey in a question and answer series.
CBALincroftNJ.org: Explain the feeling of earning the right to be called the 2021 CBA valedictorian.
Geissler: Being the valedictorian of my CBA class is almost surreal. It is extremely gratifying to receive such an honor after sacrificing and constantly pushing myself to achieve it. The unyielding will and perseverance needed to achieve this honor is something that I believe CBA has instilled within me, and these are values that I hope to carry with me throughout the rest of my life.
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?
Geissler: The most challenging class of my CBA career was undoubtedly AP Biology my freshman year. I had no idea at the time that AP Biology was considered one of the most difficult classes at the Academy. Despite struggling, AP Biology quickly taught me the importance of time management and collaboration, skills that helped me throughout the rest of my high school career.
CBA: Were there any teachers that stood out as great mentors or role models to you? If so, why did you value their teaching?
Geissler: Although many of my instructors at CBA have molded me and influenced me as an individual, I am especially thankful for Mr. Butler and Mr. Tomaino. I joined the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling teams in my freshman year, and they have since been a constant source of helpful, honest guidance and advice over the last four years. In terms of an academic mentor, I have been inspired by Mr. Reagan. In only one year, I have formed a close relationship with him, and he has inspired me to pursue mathematics as a major. I am thankful for his passionate teaching style and his emphasis on understanding and true learning rather than simply learning to pass a test.
CBA: Outside of the classroom, what aspects of CBA did you enjoy the most?
Geissler: As I mentioned before, the two engagements at CBA that I enjoyed most outside of the classroom are undoubtedly the wrestling team and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu club. As an 80-pound introverted freshman, I was extremely worried about being accepted into a community at the Academy. However, in both of these activities, I found a home, and made meaningful connections with CBA students and alumni that I maintain to this day.
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?
Geissler: The pandemic-modified year was certainly a challenge for me as it was for all of us at CBA. However, I think that this challenge has also helped us men of the academy become more independent and perseverant. Personally, it has taught me to adapt and to overcome. Pandemic learning made it harder to connect with my teachers and other students. I needed to learn more independently. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, this independence is something I am glad I learned early as it will be crucial in college and later in life.
CBA: Finally, what advice would you give the CBA students coming up behind you?
Geissler: Talk to everyone and don’t worry about social pressures. I vastly enjoyed my CBA career, but I feel I may have enjoyed it even more if I disregarded my own insecurity and made bonds as quickly as possible. Additionally, never be afraid to ask for help, whether it be from your teachers or your peers. Everyone around you wants to see you succeed, and you never know when a question about homework will lead to a meaningful friendship.