Senior Reflection: Nardiello thankful for extracurricular opportunities, faculty support at CBA

Senior Reflection: Nardiello thankful for extracurricular opportunities, faculty support at CBA

When I was looking into high schools, I had a multitude of options.

Colts Neck, Manalapan, Shore, SJV, and CBA were all under consideration. There was this alluring idea of going to CBA and being a second-generation student at the school. I’d have to thank my younger self for ultimately making the right decision.

When I came into CBA in my freshman year, it would be an understatement to say I was scared. Only three kids, including myself, would be attending CBA from my middle school. I was worried that I would struggle making friends as I felt many people knew each other prior to arriving in September 2018. This was not the case, as after the first Wednesday of the year, I had found my passion.

Every CBA student knows what Wednesday means, the enrichment period. This allows students to discover clubs, which CBA had a plethora of. From Scrabble Club to Students Against Destructive Decisions, I had the opportunity to join any club I wanted, and I ultimately found my place in Model United Nations.

Across four years in Model United Nations, I attended five different conferences, helped run four middle school conferences, and won a verbal commendation. I worked extremely hard for this club, I chaired two of my own committees, was named Outreach Director in 2020, and served as Secretary General during my senior year. This club gave me the opportunity to further my interests in politics and global conflicts, and allowed me to make friends that will outlast my time at CBA.

Clubs and friends were a huge part of my CBA career. CBA Student Media gave me the opportunity to publish articles and cover stories occurring at CBA. I was the Creative Director for my senior year, and the experiences I had with the club are not something I will soon forget. But, while CBA has provided me with great clubs and friendships, the best thing about the Academy is the teachers.

Dr. Gustavsen, how could I describe him? Someone who has pushed me to be better since day one. I met Dr. Gus on that first enrichment day, and having him as a mentor has allowed me to excel as a person and as a student. Looking back, he has taught me valuable lessons, laughed with me, and ran around CBA in order to form a massive conference for over a hundred students.

He is not the only one who has helped me through these four years.

Mr. Lutz was an integral part of my interest in journalism. He put an immense amount of faith in me as a sophomore to report on political events, and it allowed me to grow as a writer.

I was fortunate to have Senor Giovinazzo as a Spanish teacher during my sophomore and junior years. I loved his class so much that I was determined to go abroad during college and take an elective fourth year of Spanish.

Then during my senior year, I was lucky enough to have Mrs. Meehan and Prof. Widdis. Both of these teachers pushed for me to do better, and pushed for me to go outside of my comfort zone. I joined the yearbook and worked hard to cover a story that we hadn’t really given enough attention to. Both of these teachers made my senior year significantly better, they were just as much my teachers as they were someone I could reasonably talk to.

So now that I look back at it, with about a week left in my high school career, I really couldn’t ask for much more. I have made amazing friends, many of which I plan to keep contact with through college. CBA facilitated my education, but the teachers are the true heroes in this story. They cared about me and every other student beyond our education, they cared about our wellbeing.

My advice to incoming students: the teachers aren’t against you, and when you realize that, you will ultimately reach great heights at the Academy. Part of maturing is realizing that they want you to succeed, and are proud when you do.

I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given, the friendships I’ve formed along the way, and the teachers who helped me through it.