On Wednesday, June 22, the Parents’ Club sponsored the end of the year faculty and staff luncheon. This is a yearly event, sponsored on behalf of all of the parents, to thank the faculty and staff for their hard work throughout the year. This event is one of the many end of the year “thank you’s” that are extended to our faculty and staff by the students and their parents.
Quite often, many of us at CBA feel very similar to Mark Lutz as he described his feeling as being one of the numerous student leaders this past year:
“The other day I was looking through photos on my computer from this year. The football student section photos were the things that really stuck out at me. How much fun those games were. It felt like not only the grade, but the whole school was coming closer together, one powder toss at a time. Whenever Mrs. Dennis or another one of the exuberant football moms would thank me for getting the student section so involved, I was always confused. Here I was with my best friends, having the time of my life, and you’re thanking me? I should’ve thanked them, but I thought that would be a little weird so I just smiled and said no problem.”
As we complete the 2015-16 academic year, we are grateful for the gifts and joys that the students at CBA have shared with us, the members of the faculty and staff. Throughout the year, we find tremendous joy in witnessing the struggling student succeed, the shy student find their voice, the hopeless student find faith, and the lonely student find a community. We conclude the year by receiving many appreciated words of gratitude– but often lacking are our own words to express our appreciation for all that we have been given by our students.
I was recently inspired by the actions of one of our graduating seniors, Anna Schug who ran so hard in the 4 x 400 State Championship relay that she placed 4th in her individual race the next day– a race that she was seeded first. When I asked her about the race she said, “I wanted to win a State Championship for my relay team.” For Anna, it was team before self– caring more about her teammates then her own personal recognition. We are grateful for students like Anna who demonstrate a deep understanding of the live-fulfilling value of caring for others. Anna will forever have her name on a State Championship banner hanging in our gymnasium but for me, the story will never be about track, it will be about the value of caring about something bigger than yourself.
There were also countless occasions throughout the year that we stepped back in admiration as we witnessed a student make a decision that was far wiser than his or her young age would imply. Just a few weeks ago, Eric Little was faced with, what many would call, a terribly difficult situation. The New York State Baseball Regional Championship game was scheduled by New York State at the same time as the SAT II Subject Tests. Eric started at shortstop on the baseball team and had dedicated countless hours playing the game that he loved, dreaming of the opportunity to play for a State Championship. Eric had also taken multiple courses at CBA that correlated to an SAT II Subject Test that would not be offered again until the fall of 2016. At CBA, we constantly emphasize, academics first- athletics second, but rarely do the two worlds collide so forcefully. With no prompting, Eric made the correct decision, and took the SAT II Subject Test. I commented to Eric how proud I was of how he handled this difficult situation and he said, “It really wasn’t difficult Mr. Keough. Academics come first and baseball is certainly not how I am going to earn my living.” I spent a great deal of time reflecting on Eric’s comments, much of which was spent in gratitude for being blessed to be around a young man of such outstanding character and values.
Just the other day, one of our graduating seniors, Nick Aversa, arrived on the campus of Queens University of Charlotte for his freshman orientation. As he got dressed to take his first official steps on his college campus, he had the following conversation that was re-told by his mother:
As I was ironing his clothes, I suggested that he wear another shirt. His comment was “Why, it’s one of my favorite shirts.” As I looked at it and remembered what it stood for, my eyes watered. He wanted to wear his “Jack’s Army #Pray for Jack” shirt. What he was saying without words was, he’s still a Brother and they will always be with him! I then thought about all the times he, Paulie, and Sammy wore that same shirt. To them, this shirt is more than a shirt with words, it’s an extension of who and what they are, a Brotherhood! Jack and all of them will always be together in spirit, from Florida to Rhode Island and Boston to Chicago.
These are three of the many inspirational stories that we had the opportunity to share with the students at CBA during this past year. We are often thanked for our role in providing the knowledge, faith, and values that assist our students in achieving excellence in all aspects of their lives. Similar to how Mark Lutz felt, after we are thanked, we are always a little confused. What are you thanking us for? Thank YOU for letting us be part of the lives of such special children. Sometimes, that is a little weird to say to the parents, so we just smile and say, “No problem.”
Thank YOU and have a wonderful summer!