Q&A with 2023 Salutatorian Jack Butler
June 6, 2023
In an impressive graduating class of Academy men, CBA senior Jack Butler earned the honor of being the 2023 salutatorian. Both in and out of the classroom, Butler has immersed himself in the CBA experience, including as a member of the swim team, Model UN, Pegasus Yearbook, Student Council, and an inductee into the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society.
Butler will be attending University of Notre Dame in the fall with plans to study International Economics.
After delivering his salutatorian address at the Class of 2023 graduation, Butler reflected on his four-year career at the Academy in a question and answer series.
CBALincroftNJ.org: Explain the feeling of earning 2023 CBA salutatorian honors.
Butler: I think being salutatorian at CBA is so unique because so many students are academically gifted and want to be challenged in every possible way. CBA has a near-perfect mixture of camaraderie and competitiveness, and I think I have reaped the rewards of that duplexity. Being salutatorian has also allowed me to reflect on these past four years and pick out specific people in my life who’ve helped me to get here: my parents, family, friends, and teachers.
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?
Butler: I found my AP course, such as Chemistry, Calculus AB, Physics, and Calculus BC to be the most challenging classes for me. I think that these classes helped me to understand that I simply can’t perfect everything. I won’t completely understand every piece of the material. In that sense, these classes forced me to realize that I needed to ask for help. I utilized the help of my teachers many times with these classes, which made me more successful as a student.
CBA: Were there any teachers that stood out as great mentors or role models to you? If so, why did you value their teaching?
Butler: Mr. Frake, Mr. Villeta, Dr. Gustavsen, Mr. Dash, and Profe. Widdis were among the teachers of mine who not only stood out in the classroom, but also beyond that to help me grow as a person. These educators were concerned more so with the full person, not just the academic side of education. Additionally, they are extremely passionate about what they teach, which also makes their students excited about what they’re learning. This passion has an overwhelming impact on the success of their classes and how students react to their teaching.
CBA: Outside of the classroom, what aspects of CBA did you enjoy the most?
Butler: I think I can say I took advantage of all that CBA has to offer, getting involved in swimming and clubs around the school. I think swimming as well as Model UN were the two activities I enjoyed the most. The community the swim team gave me was like no other, and my best friends today are from the swim team. I enjoyed Model UN because I have a strong interest in politics and foreign affairs, which coincided perfectly with the club. I was able to have fun with my peers but also learn about the world around me.
CBA: How did this pandemic-modified years at CBA help you get stronger as a young man and as a student? How will it help you through challenges in the future?
Butler: I think the pandemic taught me how to adjust and adapt to new situations, particularly unknown, unfamiliar, and uncomfortable ones. With that, it taught me that this concept of adjusting isn’t possible without a support network of family and friends, one where you both help and are helped. I think all challenges are similar in that respect, so I will continue to build my support system in college and beyond.
CBA: Finally, what advice would you give the CBA students coming up behind you?
Butler: I’d recommend for them to get to know as many people as possible. Students, teachers, administrators, secretaries and staff. If you are able to familiarize yourself with a myriad of people at CBA, you can adjust quicker to the transition of high school and be more successful altogether. Additionally, you don’t have to become best friends with all 200 of your classmates, but being acquainted with a good amount of them is beneficial when you need help in certain classes or projects. Having different groups of friends through clubs, sports, and classes helps you to keep busy and have different common interests with several peers.