On 40 sprawling acres along Walnut Grove Road, you’ll find Christian Brothers High School, one of Memphis’ most notable independent Catholic high schools. Known for its rigorous and revered academic curriculum and athletics program, it’s the unseen but widely respected bond of the school’s brotherhood that sets it apart from any other in Memphis. The connections made at the all-boys private high school are ultimately what defines their experience.
“The moment I stepped on campus—even before I officially attended—I felt like I was home,” said Senior Jacob Vincent. For him and many other students and alumni, this feeling of belonging is known quite simply as “the brotherhood.” “There is really no way to fully describe the brotherhood here unless you experience it for yourself. It’s not something we just throw around. We live it,” Jacob said.
Graduates who leave CBHS have an unspoken bond that is recognized among students and staff as one that is with them for life. Jacob recalls a time as a freshman when he unexpectedly lost a loved one. New peers and teachers rallied around him. “These guys I had known for less than two months began helping me through some of the hardest times of my life. I felt that everyone was on my side—students, parents and teachers—helping me,” he explains.
Creating this type of atmosphere is intentional. CBHS implements a House System, which aims to foster this sense of camaraderie from day one. Students are assigned a House as freshmen, their advisory until they graduate. Leaders say the House System allows the students to mentor their peers and to network across class years while still allowing for a more personalized experience within their House. “I call it the Harry Potter House System,” Jacob joked. “It’s amazing, and you bond with the others in your House throughout the time you’re there. It really is an environment where everyone has your back.”
Associate Principal Jamie Brummer, who is also a CBHS parent, agreed that connections at the high school matter. “The way that a Lasallian school is structured — and Christian Brothers is a Lasallian school — is really very much about relationships. This includes relationships with kids and relationships with teachers,” he explains.
Additionally, Jamie said he’s confident that his oldest son, a current CBHS student, and his younger one who will attend next year, will be equipped for college because of the school’s academic rigor. The school offers 17 Advanced Placement (AP) courses, a STEMM Co-lab, business school and a fine arts program. Collectively, members of the school’s De La Salle Scholars honors program averaged a 33 score on their ACT, and 100% of the 2019 graduating class at CBHS were accepted into a 4-year college or university.
“I know that coming to school here, they will be prepared for college. It’s a guarantee,” Jamie said. “I know that they will have the academic preparation they need. But I also know that they will have a great experience and will enjoy being a high school student. Here teachers really let boys be boys and allow them to enjoy their high school experience.”
Katherine Bell-Anthony said she believes so much in the experience her son will receive that she opted out of her neighborhood high school, despite its national recognition. “We have a good school close to our house,” she said, “but the academic rigor is what really impressed me about Christian Brothers, and the staff is very relatable — I really believe that they care and notice my son.” Katherine’s son, Ty, also plays on the school’s football team.
“I love the athletics at Christian Brothers. The football team is really advanced,” Katherine said. “Our family loves football games. We make them a true family outing. Everyone who attends the games just comes out to have a really good time.”
She also referenced the brotherhood that her son often references both on and off the field. “They say that they are brothers for life, and I really believe that. My son believes that.”
And, it extends beyond high school graduation, as many reap the benefits of lifelong connections with more than 11,000 CBHS alumni across the country. Matt Garibaldi, a class of ’99 graduate, also sits on the board at his high school alma mater. Both his father and grandfather graduated from CBHS, so he knew at a young age that he would follow in their footsteps.
“The school is probably one of the top three things that has made me who I am,” Matt said. “And the connections continue even after we graduate. If anyone needs anything with networking or their career, we help each other out with that.”
Jacob recalled a recent experience when he encountered an alumnus in another state. “I was in Georgia at a cross country meet, and I heard someone say, ‘Hey brother, class of 1978!’ It feels good to know that there are connections across the country.”
As Jacob concludes his final year at CBHS, he admitted that it’s bittersweet. “Although I’m excited for college I’m going to miss Christian Brothers a lot. But I know the virtues and connections I’ve acquired here will stay with me for the rest of my life.”
Nearing its 150th year of service, Christian Brothers is a community, inclusive of various religious, ethnic, and economic backgrounds, engaging its young men in a holistic Lasallian education and unparalleled student experience. To learn more or to schedule a tour, visit cbhs.org.
Christian Brothers was founded in 1871 and currently serves 800 students. The CBHS network boasts more than 11,000 alumni residing in all 50 states throughout the country. To learn more or to schedule a tour, visit cbhs.org.
This article is sponsored by Christian Brothers High School. All photography provided by CBHS.