Lincroft, N.J. – Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) publicly revealed its strategy for the next 50 years on Friday night with a gala reception held at Navesink Country Club to announce expansion plans and declare a June groundbreaking with what is being called “Project 50th.”
In introducing the evening, vice-president and former principal Bro. Ralph Montedoro, FSC emphasized that Project 50th was the last dream and vision of Bro. Andrew O’Gara, FSC, beloved former principal and president of the school, who died shortly after revealing his expectations to grow the school’s academic, physical, and endowment opportunities.
The school officially celebrated its 50th anniversary last fall with a Mass celebrated by Most Rev. John M. Smith of the Diocese of Trenton on Nov. 9.
The total scope of the $23 million project is structured into three phases with the strategic construction of administrative offices previously completed - as phase one - and 60 percent of the $10 million second phase already collected to break ground this June on a state-of-the-art Library and Media Center, two high-tech science labs, and a guidance suite.
Referring to the impending second phase as the centerpiece of Project 50th, President Bro. Frank Byrne, FSC described the significance that schools keep ahead of the learning curve with information technology and said, “Information has changed so much, just in the last decade. If you are going to send your children out into the world and into the workforce, they need to know how to find information, digest it, and turn it around. If you can’t do that you’re at a disadvantage.”
The third phase of Project 50th includes enhancement to the athletic facilities including the construction of an Aquatic Center, Field House, and expansion of the McKay Gymnasium and locker rooms.
While all three phases of the capital campaign maintain distinct characteristics for advancement, each phase allows for future endowment growth to ensure the school’s mission of superior education for any qualified student. Bestowing over $1 million a year in both need based and merit scholarship, Bro. Frank called their scholarship funding the core of La Sallian education principles.
“Our goal is to not turn any capable student away,” he said. “One of the greatest legacies of Brother Andrew will be that he built our endowment program, which is a real tribute to him as well as our benefactors; the money that is generously donated to CBA goes directly towards financial aid.”
According to the NJ School District per-pupil costs for 2008-2009, CBA’s cost ranks well below the mean of Monmouth County schools yet CBA’s average SAT scores place among the highest among Monmouth County schools.
With the multifaceted structure of Project 50th, Campaign Chairman Joseph Tort, class of 1976, is hopeful that the vast majority of CBA’s 9,000 alumni will take part in some way. “There’s something for everybody in Project 50th,” Tort explained. “Endowment (scholarship) funding, athletic growth, or academic advancement.”
Taking the campaign forward in Bro. Andrew’s honor, Tort said the project took roots expeditiously and that Bro. Andrew’s zeal gave the committee “the ultimate inspiration by virtue of his absence.”
Addressing the nearly 300 participants at the 50th Anniversary Celebration Gala on Friday, Chairman of the Board of Trustees John Giunco, class of 1970, announced the school’s recognition by the U.S. Congress, State Senate, and Monmouth County Board of Freeholders by sharing written proclamations commemorating the anniversary and celebrating the school’s plans for the next 50 years.
A graduate of the class of 1975, Bro. Frank described CBA’s distinctive brand as compassionate competitiveness in an atmosphere of brotherhood. “One of the unique things at CBA is the fraternity and bond that the young men have from the day they come in as freshmen and beyond that when they graduate as alumni,” he said. “I often express to the students that it’s not just a four-year experience, at CBA it’s an experience that will last a lifetime.”