TCU-bound Straley Develops Better Habits, Initiative and Life Skills at CBA
May 11, 2023
A The light in Tyler Straley’s head went on at the beginning of sophomore year.
Coming out of the pandemic, the Holmdel-native began to apply himself more and discovered that he could succeed academically in ways he never knew were possible.
“Teachers like Mr. Frake, Mrs. Dobrowolski and Mr. Speidel taught me that really hard topics can be better approached if you had the right methods,” Straley said. “I learned how to study, not procrastinate, and things like that which turned me into a really good student.”
With Straley set to attend Texas Christian University in the fall, he knows that those teachers and the level of classes he has taken at CBA have prepared him well.
“Going into college, I feel that I am ready because I know not to put off work and I know I can do the things that I have set out to do, all because I have a strong base from CBA.”
Simply academically speaking, Straley has excelled as a student at the Academy. He was inducted in the National Honor Society during his junior year and served as NHS secretary during his senior year. He has been a member of the Spanish Honor Society and earned his Seal of Biliteracy in the language.
Straley has been equally, if not more, impressively outside of the classroom.
During his four years at CBA, he has embraced athletics, performing arts and community service to an extent he would have never imagined when he first started as a freshman.
He has been a four-year member of the track & field team, excelling at the hurdle events and helping lead CBA to multiple conference and state titles.
While always participating in music as a kid, he found a new love for playing the trumpet while in CBA’s music program.
“At CBA, [music] is a class, so there was so much more dedication and time put into it,” he said. “It turned out to be such a great experience. Mr. Lopez is the greatest band director that I have ever had and he has really shaped me into a better trumpet player and musician in general.”
It was also during his transformative sophomore year when he dove into more community service initiatives. He signed up to help with two weeks of the Horizons program at CBA during the summer before his junior year, but those 10 days turned into six weeks. His interactions during the summer educational camp for elementary school children made more of an impact than he thought it would.
“I realized I wanted to make [Horizons] a full-time commitment. I had such a good time that I did it again junior to senior year for another six weeks. I made such great connections with the students and teachers that I just wanted more.”
Straley has also been an Eucharistic Minister, member of Students Against Destructive Decisions and a senior GURU mentor.
His well-roundedness earned him the Dwight D. Eisenhower Leadership Award from the West Point Society of New Jersey earlier this school year. This award is designed to honor exceptional students who have demonstrated outstanding attributes of character, service, and leadership in the areas of academics, extracurriculars and community service.
All in all, Straley credits the overall environment at CBA for pushing him to continually strive to be better.
“I wanted to excel in every single aspect of school, athletics, instruments and I have seen myself develop in so many ways,” he said. “A part of CBA is the hard work and constant growth and sometimes you don’t even notice it.”
As he prepares to accept his diploma on May 19, there is really just one word that pops into his mind to sum up his CBA experience.
“Definitely ‘thankful.’ I am so happy that I came here. I know that the teachers, coaches and every faculty member here really sees you as a person, sees what you are good at, and even more than that, they can see all the talent that you actually have. They bring out every aspect that you can contribute to the world.”
Straley receiving his Eisenhower Award from Principal Neil Begley and Counselor Kevin McCaig.