The Foundation of the Christian Brothers
It was in the late 1600s France that John Baptist de La Salle gave away his inherited wealth to the immediate needs of the poor. He recognized that the only long-term solution for the underprivileged was access to education—and for the poor, there was none. He assembled a group of barely-literate men, trained them as teachers, and even invited them to live in his personal home while they became immersed in study.
So engaged in his mission, he soon resigned his canonry to fully dedicate himself to training teachers and creating schools for the poor. Thus began the Christian Brothers and their mission of education.
An Academy for Boys in Syracuse
In 1900, John Baptist de La Salle was canonized the Patron Saint of Teachers. That same year, the Christian Brothers founded a high school in downtown Syracuse, New York. Four years later, the school moved to Willow Street where it quickly became a vibrant and visible part of city life—spiritually, academically, and culturally. The graduates, Brothers’ Boys, immersed themselves in their community as leaders in a multitude of arenas from law to politics to medicine.
Finding a Permanent Home
Soon, the Willow Street school was filled far beyond capacity. A new location was secured on 25 acres on Randall Road in the town of DeWitt and a new school was built which opened its doors in the fall of 1961. Much larger than the Willow Street building (and with space for outdoor athletic events on site), the new campus suited the needs of boys in grades 9-12.
Since then, CBA has taken great strides toward achieving its mission. Due to changing demographics—specifically a dwindling number of children from Baby Boomers—the school’s enrollment declined. So in 1977 that CBA added 7th and 8th grades to stabilize enrollment. A decade later, the late 1980s brought a surprising change in the overall “Brothers” culture at CBA. When the nearby Convent School/Franciscan Academy closed, Christian Brothers Academy for the first time opened its doors to young women, who have thrived at the school and added great value to CBA’s academically and spiritually rich environment.
In recent years, the number of lay teachers—fully committed to the Lasallian tradition—have also increased exponentially. CBA faculty members are a cut above, providing a challenging academic environment infused with strong discipline and character education.
Today at CBA
Throughout its history, Christian Brothers Academy has triumphed over economic depression, major demographic and cultural shifts, and the daily challenge of molding generations of “Brothers’ Boys.” With resources infused from generous alumni and friends, the Randall Road campus has grown to include a state-of-the-art library and computer labs, fully-equipped science rooms, a fine arts wing, as well as renovated athletic facilities.
CBA continues to offer a rigorous curriculum and an intellectually-challenging environment. CBA stands apart because of its other, equally important priority: helping to shape moral, spiritual, and virtuous individuals. Catholic education is a vital component of CBA’s paradigm, where character and values are of primary significance.
John Baptist de La Salle, founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, oversees a classroom in 17th century France.
The Brothers’ first home on Willow Street.
CBA finds its new home on Randall Road.
CBA gets a new stadium.