Q&A with 2022 Salutatorian Luke Ronayne

In an impressive graduating class of Academy men, CBA senior Luke Ronayne earned the honor of being the 2022 salutatorian. Both in and out of the classroom, Ronayne has immersed himself in the CBA experience, including as a member of the math team, the varsity baseball team, scholars program, and an inductee into the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society.

Ronayne will be attending Georgetown University in the fall with plans to enroll in the five-year mathematics program.

After delivering his salutatorian address at the Class of 2022 graduation, Ronayne 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 2022 CBA salutatorian.

Ronayne: I definitely feel a sense of fulfillment after all of the hard work, but more than anything, I feel like I owe it to myself to keep going. Experiencing and learning everything I have in the past four years made me realize there is always more to achieve, and that there are millions of people out there smarter than you. You are never at the end of the road with any accomplishment and that is a good feeling.

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?

Ronayne: Content wise, some of the AP science courses definitely made me go the extra mile to understand some of the concepts. However, I always felt that the classes with greater workload and reading outside the classroom were far more difficult than the ones that were conceptually demanding. Such classes, like some of my sophomore and junior years humanities courses, helped craft my study and organization skills very well.

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

Ronayne: Mrs. Meehan said something this year that was very interesting in this sense. She said, “when you are 40 and have a family, you’re not going to remember the history or math or science I taught you; all you’ll remember are the life lessons I taught you and the kind of person I was.” Thinking back on all the material that has seeped out of my mind in the past four years, I definitely find myself remembering personalities and life skills more than dates and formulas. I could go on naming teachers as they have all impacted me positively in a unique way, but I’ll touch on two in particular. As for a life skill, no teacher has modeled how to think fast and connect ideas like Mr. Spiedel. I am a student who likes to move fast, and he fit this role perfectly. As for a personality, Mr. Smith has left a long-lasting impact on me despite my only having him freshman year. He is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met, but is still unbelievably humble. A lot of times, people believe their intelligence makes them better than others, but he taught me how to always be perceptive of other people’s ideas and to be reserved about one’s knowledge.

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

Ronayne: CBA’s athletics and extracurriculars are spectacular; however, nothing is going to top the friends you make here. The bonds I made with these guys for sure made life outside the classroom a blast, and I have no doubt that they will remain a significant part of my life in the years to come.

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?

Ronayne: While the pandemic did have an impact on my life as a student, it made me more aware of other people’s situations more than any personal hurdle. During the pandemic, I still managed to enjoy myself just as much, if not more, than when everything was “normal” despite many crucial elements of my life being stripped away. This made me realize that life is really what you make of your circumstances and that joy can be found in dark times. However, in seeing the effects the pandemic had on many in the community, whether that be those without remote-ready jobs, those with attention struggles in online classes, or those with high COVID risk health conditions, I gained a lot of perspective. It made me realize that in the future when there are tough times, I should not worry about getting myself through them. Reaching out to others in times of need is more important than any personal struggle.

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

Ronayne: I would say this: reimagine how you perceive education. It is easy to view learning as a hassle full of textbooks, boring readings, long nights, and uninteresting material. However, high school and education in general is not about teaching you to learn facts; it is about teaching the essence of learning itself. If you teach yourself how to think and find fulfillment in learning, a veil of stress covering the passages to come will be lifted. One of the most important, if not the most important, skill in life is to become a lifelong learner. The happiest and most successful people in this world do not do what they do just to get the diploma, or to get the award, or to get the next paycheck. They grind and explore because they are curious and are in love with the idea that there is always more out there to learn. So, in whatever fields lie ahead for you, do not fear but be more excited than ever to learn what the world has to offer and think towards new horizons.

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 $1.7 million in scholarships and financial aid to current students. Experience the Academy at CBALincroftNJ.org.