Q&A with 2023 Valedictorian Thibaut Fabricant

In an impressive graduating class of Academy men, CBA senior Thibaut Fabricant earned the honor of being the 2023 valedictorian. Both in and out of the classroom, Fabricant has immersed himself in the CBA experience, including as a member of the math team, president of the French Club, vice president of Project GROVE, and an inductee into the National Honor Society and French Honor Society.

Fabricant will be attending University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in the fall with plans to study Behavioral Economics.

After delivering his valedictorian address at the Class of 2023 graduation, Fabricant reflected on his four-year career at the Academy in a question and answer series.

CBALincroftNJ.org: Explain the feeling of earning 2023 CBA valedictorian honors.

Fabricant: The actual distinction of valedictorian is relatively inconsequential, as it just means the number next my GPA was the highest in the school. Yet, I am honored to hold such a distinction because of what it symbolizes. It is a tangible manifestation of my perseverance throughout the ups and downs of the past four years, along with an intellectual curiosity that I hope to maintain for the rest of my life. In addition, the opportunity to give the send off to my fellow graduates from the Class of 2023 was a priceless honor to me. I hope that at least one aspect of my speech stuck with the graduates.

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?

Fabricant: Coming into CBA, I had a pretty logical and quantitative mind. I liked objective answers and didn’t really like the subjectivity of the humanities. That is exactly why these humanities courses, such as history and English, were some of the most challenging for me. Being challenged to defend my own viewpoints during discussions in Mr. Villeta’s English class, along with debating my positions on historical documents with peers in Doc Gus’s history class, have helped me hone critical thinking skills that are applicable to STEM courses, other humanities courses, and the world at large.

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

Fabricant: There were a few teachers that definitely stood out to me as role models. For the sake of brevity, I will limit myself to talking about one. I was privileged to have Doc Gus as both a teacher for AP US History and a proctor for our trip to Japan, and I can say with certainty that he instilled in me a fiery passion for learning. His contagious excitement for the topics that he taught, the near-bottomless receptacle of knowledge that he held in his brain, and his quick wit never ceased to impress me. The way that he fostered engagement in his class by encouraging student participation quickly made APUSH one of my favorite classes at CBA. In addition, it was hard not to notice Doc Gus’s kind and empathetic side. Whether it was something small like having us give tips to bus drivers in Japan, or something more pronounced, like bringing in an advocate for disabled people to speak with the student body and then discussing his talk in class, this kindness permeated basically every aspect of Doc Gus’s personality. Doc Gus’s classroom environment and teaching style is one that I will use as a comparison point for all my future classes, and I am truly lucky to have met him at CBA.

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

Fabricant: The relationships with students and teachers alike were, by far, my favorite parts of CBA. I look fondly back on moments like joking around with Mr. Middler and some of my closest friends while trying to tame the garden hose at Project GROVE. Even times of hardship, such as the grueling first days of the crew season as a freshman, have allowed me to form persistent bonds with my teammates through our shared experiences. Many of these relationships persist to this day, two years after I ended up leaving the crew team. I think the best example of this, though, was the school trip to Japan, in which I was able to form long lasting memories with some of my favorite teachers and peers over a deceptively short ten day period.

CBA: How did the 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?

Fabricant: I find it a bit ironic that we read works written by Emerson and Thoreau during our sophomore year English class, as the tenets of their school of thought, Transcendentalism, were the ones that we bolstered during our shaky pandemic-modified years. Self-reliance was a necessity in practically every aspect of CBA, whether it was by keeping up with workouts for the crew team, studying the material we learned in class, or even just maintaining my own schedule. This independence that the years during the pandemic instilled in me will allow me to thrive in college where such independence and self-monitoring is expected.

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

Fabricant: I think any advice that I could give incoming students can be boiled down to this: put yourself out there. Whether it be joining clubs that pique your interest in freshman year, trying out for that super competitive team that you’ve always wanted to be a part of, emailing teachers for help outside of class, or even introducing yourself to the kid you walk past in the hallway everyday, put yourself out there. You are the only one who can ensure that you get the most of your four years at CBA, so make sure you put in the effort to do so.

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.