With a senior class of over 230 students, each individual leaves a legacy in one way or another. After all, with so much to get involved in at CBA, students get plenty of opportunities to make their mark on the Academy.
Senior Gerald Sharpe, however, has gone above the status quo during his four years in Lincroft.
The graduating senior has served as Student Council president this year, after two years on the executive board as vice president. On top of his student government duties, he has been heavily involved in service at CBA, regularly leading the charge when it comes to the Thanksgiving Food Drive and also attending the service immersion trip to Montana.
This is without mentioning he is a regular staple at sporting events, club activities and gatherings, and is a honors student. Next fall, he will be attending The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
As Sharpe prepares to walk across the stage at graduation on Thursday night, he was able to sit down and answer a few questions about why his CBA experience was so rewarding.
CBALincroftNJ.org: As student council president, describe what it has meant to you to serve the entire student body here at CBA.
Sharpe: It has been a true honor to serve as student president. It has been both a humbling and rewarding experience, truly one of the best experiences I have ever been a part of. Everyday, I continue to be inspired by the greatness of CBA and its students. I have been blessed to help represent CBA alongside other outstanding student leaders. One of the things I love about what I do, and makes my job a whole lot easier, is that I know my 235 fellow senior classmates have my back. And for that, I am forever grateful.
CBA: You have been heavily involved at CBA for all four years. Did you arrive at CBA knowing you wanted to be THIS involved, or did your involvement happen more naturally?
Sharpe: My involvement increased naturally throughout my four years. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do at first, everything seemed very appealing. One thing led to another with the student council and then Campus Ministry. If you told me at the beginning of my freshmen year that I would have done all of this, I wouldn’t have believed you. But I have enjoyed it very much, I love the route I took.
CBA: What do you think was your most rewarding experience at CBA? You can name two or three if its close. Why were they so impactful?
Sharpe: My top two most rewarding experiences would definitely be serving as president and attending the service trip to De La Salle Blackfeet School in Montana. I certainly have learned a lot serving as a student leader. I’ve gotten the opportunity to interact with many other students, teachers, administrators, and those outside of the CBA community as well. I love working together, leading, seeing results, and interacting with people. I’ve gotten the chance to do all of that as the leader of the student government.
One of the most impactful experiences I’ve ever had was attending the service immersion trip to Montana. This eye-opening and life changing experience helped develop the realization that, although there is severe poverty in this country, CBA students can still make a difference in someone’s life. I personally learned, through this experience, the truth of Pope Francis’s maxim, where He says “to change the world we must be good to those who cannot repay us.” I will forever cherish the opportunity I had spending time as a missionary in Montana and the invaluable opportunities it presented to me to become a better, wiser, and more inclusive leader and Academy man.
CBA: Looking at CBA as a whole, why do you believe CBA has such a positive effect on its students over four years?
Sharpe: CBA has given us opportunities that are incomparable to any other surrounding high school. We have been able to study topics, visit places, achieve goals, build camaraderie, and create lifelong friendships that we simply would have not been able to do anywhere else. The camaraderie shared between the students is remarkable. Everyone is routing for each other and wants to see the next guy succeed. Because of everyone is striving to be his best, it creates somewhat of a healthy competition, and as a result of that, everyone keeps improving.
CBA: On a lighter note, what about CBA makes it such an enjoyable experience OUTSIDE of the classroom or the service experiences?
Sharpe: Student life here is more than just an extracurricular; it’s taking the information you learned in the classroom and using it in the real world. Whether you’re flying out to Costa Rica to do Jiu jitsu, planting vegetables in the CBA garden to donate to food banks, winning the state championship in your sport, or performing in the school play, CBA students enjoy their experience much more because of what the campus life department offers.
CBA: Moving on to college, are you confident you’ll have a smooth transition because CBA helped you grow as a student?
Sharpe: I am confident that my transition to college will be smoother because I went to CBA. I have been able to take college level courses and stay involved in things outside of the classroom that prepare you for college as well. Going on a service trip, leading a student council initiative- all of that prepares you for college and beyond. My friends who are college-age alumni say the very similar things. Their college life is easier because they went to CBA. It’s just not a select few either, it’s everyone.
CBA: For the incoming freshmen, what would be your advice to them as someone who is completing his four year here at CBA?
Sharpe: To excel through the next four years, one of the most important things you can do is approach your CBA career with an end goal in mind, meaning you should set a goal for yourself. Try not to be the student that goes home everyday at 2:30. Of course, get the best grades possible, but then take what you learn in the classroom and apply it to the world. Go on a service trip, join a club, try out for a sport; take risks and be flexible. Remember that God gave you the opportunity to attend CBA for a reason. You won’t regret your decision to come to the Academy.
This interview has been edited for clarity.