Senior Teammates Go Above and Beyond for Service

Community service is a hallmark of a Christian Brothers Academy education.

From participating in Lasallian Youth activities to service immersion trips to places near and far, doing good for others is what helps mold Academy men in well-rounded individuals upon their graduation.

Two senior crew teammates have done more than their fair share of service during their CBA careers: Nicholas Tapinis and Joseph DiBernardo.

Between the two of them, they have accounted for over 800 hours of service, with Tapinis eclipsing 600 and DiBernardo adding more than 200. They have been involved in numerous service opportunities as a tandem, strengthening their bond as teammates and friends.

“A core part of CBA is the brotherhood that is here, not just with your classmates but with your community as well,” Tapinis said. “Service at CBA shows that. We are able to help other people in our community.”

One service initiative that both boys took part in was working with Horizons, which provides summer learning and activities to children who come from low-income, public school students from the Jersey Shore community. For the past few summer seasons, CBA has hosted Horizons on campus, allowing more Academy men to volunteer with the program.

They both believed that it was important to add a significant commitment to service on top of their academic and athletic workload. Students at CBA are only required to complete 50 total hours before graduation, split into segments for each grade level.

“One of the mottos of CBA is ‘do more,” DiBernardo said. “When you think of 50 hours, that is the bare minimum, but I don’t want to be the bare minimum. I think going past that 50 hour minimum is instilled in you from day one.”

Tapinis (left) and DiBernardo have been service initiative leaders while at CBA.

Both Tapinis and DiBernardo took part in CBA’s service immersion program, which takes small groups of students to places around the country that could use the boys’ help. They are put in uncomfortable and unfamiliar territory, giving them an experience they would never be able to have locally.

DiBernardo recalled visiting southwest Virginia in December as part of the Appalachia Service Project.

“It is one of the poorest regions of the whole country. Helping out and serving there, that is what I think of as the best thing I have done at CBA. It is so eye-opening and gives you so much perspective,” DiBernardo said.

While on the Appalachia trip, the boys took part in renovations of homes that were in dire condition.

“We were able to help fix up their homes, like floors, trim, painting. It was really impactful seeing how much we could help them out and how grateful they were for our help,” Tapinis said.

As standout rowers on the crew team, they spend plenty of long mornings and afternoon on the water, improving their craft for competitive regattas against teams locally and nationally. However, the crew team has also done an excellent job committing to service as a group, which both Tapinis and DiBernardo think helped reaffirm their own commitment.

“You grow stronger with your teammates when you are able to come together and help this community,” Tapinis said. “It really is a team-building structure as well, getting to help out people that are less fortunate than you.”

As DiBernardo prepares the cross the stage at graduation, the biggest thing he doesn’t want to leave behind is his team because of the bonds that they have built.

“I love being with my guys doing good things and working towards a common goal. Being able to say we made a difference and we did it together, it encompasses the whole brotherhood idea of CBA.”

The crew team has been very generous during CBA’s recent Thanksgiving Food Drives. In each of the last two years, they have donated over 20,000 food items as a team, regularly traveling as a team to unload the donations at local food pantries and shelters.

Across campus, Tapinis and DiBernardo became go-to students for service initiatives, stepping up when projects needed to be completed.

“Nick and Joe were instrumental behind every initiative associated with Christian Service and Campus Ministry,” said Director of Campus Ministry Matt Butler. “As a crew team, they made sure the food drive was a tremendous help to our local community, and as individuals they were beyond impressive during their service immersion trip in Appalachia.”

But like every student who leaves a mark during their time at the Academy, graduation is an inevitable, but exciting part of the journey. Tapinis will be attending Fairfield University and DiBernardo will be traveling across the country to UCLA. As both boys look back on their time at CBA, they understand it has been a transformative experience.

“Over the course of the last four years, I have learned that it is not just about doing something for your college resume and stack up service hours,” DiBernardo said. “You are not doing this for yourself, but it is a selfless thing. I have learned that a lot of the things you do in this life are not for yourself, you do things to benefit others.”

Tapinis knows that he is prepared for his future thanks to what he has learned at the Academy.

“The core curriculum of the school has set me up for life. It is more about building as an individual than with academics alone. Everything at CBA is about values and it is core to being a good person,” Tapinis said.

Both young men have undoubtedly been role models for younger students at CBA, leaving a blueprint on how to embrace the ideals on which the Academy was built on.

“The world will continue to be a better place as long as young men like Nick and Joe continue to walk the halls of Christian Brothers Academy,” Butler said.

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