#becauseofCJ: Ben Breh '14

Young alumni are sharing how they are succeeding after high school in our #becauseofCJ series. Your gift to CJ Annual Fund makes the CJ educational experience possible for all of our students. As Ben Breh '14 reflects on having his heart set to serve others while attending CJ, please consider joining others today in supporting the mission of CJ — thank you!

CJ to me is family.

With my grandparents being graduates of Chaminade and St. Joe’s Commercial High School respectively and an older sibling there at the time, CJ was never a question for me. What I didn’t think would come from my time from CJ is the lasting impact on my life. Sometimes you don’t recognize the importance of something until it has come and gone. For me that something is my time spent at CJ.

It wasn’t until recently during my time in graduate school at the University of Dayton that I fully came to recognize the important role that CJ played in my life.

The community that CJ has built around not only the Dayton area but in many different areas of the country is one of the many reasons that CJ has become so impactful. No matter where you are, whether locally or throughout the country, you can find some connection to this invaluable community. This fact taught me the value of such a community which was only strengthened when I attended another Marianist school, UD.

CJ was a home for me throughout my time as a student and continues to be a second home through my connections there. It was at CJ where I learned the value of education and what it means to be a lifelong learner. The school's mission, grounded in the Catholic faith and guided by the principles of the Sisters of Notre Dame and the charisms of the Marianist, instilled within me a passion for educating the whole person. This passion still lives inside and has led me to a career path that I never imagined for myself.

Following my time at CJ, I have received two degrees from the University of Dayton. I found a passion in assisting those who are struggling which led to a Bachelor’s degree in psychology. I had the amazing opportunity to serve as a research assistant at UD, working on a project in conjunction with St. Vincent De Paul’s shelter serving those suffering from homelessness.

My involvement in this project was a direct result from my senior capstone project at CJ, which also focused on the issue of homelessness in the Dayton community.

Although I enjoyed my time working in the community sphere, I still had a yearning for that educational aspect and I found that I especially enjoyed working within higher education. It was this passion that led me to a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration. The transition to college from high school is especially challenging and it is assisting students in this transition that I truly love. I now work with students at the University of Dayton who find themselves in difficult circumstances, assisting them in their learning and growth.

Without the values and experiences that were offered to me at CJ, I would most definitely not be where I am today. From my time spent with Mr. Sparrow in AP Psychology, to time spent learning the true value of social justice with Mrs. Emmerich, each and every moment has played a crucial role in my path in life. This along with the people I met and the relationships I have built with those within the CJ community will always hold a special place in my heart. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to attend such a truly transformational place like CJ. Because of CJ, I am inspired and motivated to continue the legacy of learning and growing in a holistic manner, and for this I say — thank you!

Ben Breh ’14