Skip to main content

Chesapeake Bay Academy

Search form

You are here

I Am CBA: Alumni Stories


Sarah Levin
Class of 2012
Graduate Student at Goucher College

"My parents sought out CBA because I was struggling in the first half of my sixth-grade year at another independent school. While the first quarter at my school ended well, things drastically changed during the second quarter, and I was falling behind due to the demanding workload and lack of support from my teachers and administrators. There was a meeting with administrators, my parents, and teachers to discuss the concerns I was having. I remember my parents leaving that meeting in tears and lost about what to do about the near future. They were aware of CBA through extended family and therefore turned to them for guidance. I toured CBA over winter break and started within days of the next semester beginning. I remember being cautiously optimistic about these changes; however, my biggest concern was leaving my friends behind. Personalized care is unique to the school and I remember it fondly. I was warmly welcomed and remember making friends quickly and easily. I know I would not be where I am now without the support of the faculty and staff at CBA."

Will Mitchell
Class of 2011
B.S., Old Dominion University

After joining the CBA community in the 6th grade, Will enjoyed several aspects of the school before graduating in 2011. “CBA gave me the understanding of how I learn best, and I am now able to apply that to all aspects of my life. The small class sizes, dedicated teachers and hands-on approach to learning really prepared me for the future. I also established close relationships that have continued after graduation and I feel fortunate to have other CBA alumni as life-long friends."

Isaac Rubin
Class of 2016

After receiving multiple college acceptances, Isaac will become an official Yellow Jacket at Randolph-Macon College (RMC) this fall thanks to the individualized education he received at Chesapeake Bay Academy.  Isaac and his family joined CBA when he was in the 4th grade, after he fell through the cracks at another private school.  Difficulty with mathematical reasoning compounded by a language-based learning difference meant that Isaac needed additional support to succeed.  Enter Chesapeake Bay Academy. 

Isaac’s family finally knew they were in the right place and Isaac was finally able to excel - in academics, athletics and extra-curricular activities.  His talents and achievements are numerous.  Most notably, Isaac was a valued player on the soccer, basketball and tennis teams, is an astounding pianist and demonstrates impressive academic depth, receiving the Deans Award Scholarship from RMC.  Isaac graduated from the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce eXcel Leadership Program, was selected to participate in the pilot MAKE CBA Entrepreneurship Program and was dually-enrolled at Virginia Wesleyan College and CBA his senior year.

“My favorite times at CBA were actually all of the events that I volunteered at.  There were so many different opportunities and it was really rewarding to be an ambassador and share my story of a school that I am so proud of.” CBA is proud of you too, Isaac.


Patrick McKneely
Class of 2016

As a bright but quiet youngster diagnosed with information processing challenges, Patrick endured years of teachers who were impatient and unwilling to provide him with the extra time he needed in the classroom.  Fortunately, that all changed for Patrick at the age of 11 when he and his family joined the CBA community. 

“I remember people being so accepting of the person that I was,” recounts Patrick. “The teachers were so respectful and helpful.  The small class sizes provided students with the attention we needed, allowing us to focus better and learn the discipline required to succeed in our lives after graduation.  Every student has potential and is encouraged to pursue their goals and dreams.”

Patrick’s potential is limitless.  Over the course of his time at CBA, he has been granted a summer internship at NASA thanks to his participation in CBA's School-to-Work program and is currently dually-enrolled in an Intro to Business Class at Virginia Wesleyan College where he was granted early acceptance for next year and received a merit scholarship. Today, Patrick looks forward to a future that is unbounded.


Clare Hendrickson
Class of 2016

Clare is a true social butterfly with a love for learning.  While always working exceptionally hard at academics, in high school it became apparent to Clare and her family that something just wasn’t right.  No matter the amount of effort that Clare put in, she was struggling just to keep her head above water.  Socially, Clare felt stifled by her teachers and isolated from other classmates.  Rather than being given the assistance and support needed for her math disability, limits were set on the number of questions she was allowed to ask. Ultimately, her ability to graduate was being questioned. 

Thankfully, Clare’s family was referred to Chesapeake Bay Academy.  Clare transitioned in the middle of her junior year and never looked back.  “They treat me like I can.  My teachers believe in me and I trust them.  They nurture my hard work and I feel appreciated.  I’ve never had that before and it means so much.  I am smart, I have always known that. Now I have the opportunity to be around other smart people who have shared the same experiences.”  In addition to being a true academic, Clare is a talented artist with pieces of work showcased in local art shows.  Clare will start college in the fall and is interested in studying theater, history and communications.  While Clare is still deciding on a major, she now feels there is nothing she can’t achieve.



Josh Fittler
Class of 2015

Josh and his family immediately took action to have proper accommodations put in place when he was diagnosed with ADD in middle school. Unfortunately, the family was met with more broken promises than follow through from the school he was attending. Their disappointment led them on a search for a better academic solution and they were referred to Chesapeake Bay Academy.

Josh started at CBA during the middle of 8th grade – he remembers being embraced by both his teachers and classmates from the very first day. Josh went from struggling to receive C-D’s at his prior school to earning an A average within 6 months of enrolling in CBA. In addition to excelling academically, Josh enjoyed several extracurricular activities including basketball, soccer, tennis, golf and bowling and was selected to be part of an accelerated band practicum.

Josh was accepted to several colleges and is excited to start a new chapter in his educational journey at Virginia Tech this fall where he will study criminology. After VT, Josh plans to study law and enter the field of intellectual property law. “CBA is a great way to prepare yourself for life after school – it supports you and challenges you to achieve more than you ever dreamed possible.”

Chloe' L. Thornton
2011 Graduate

After being misdiagnosed with ADHD in elementary school, Chloe' struggled with the separation she felt from her classmates as she was constantly being taken out of class to participate in the special education program at her public school.  Thanks to her parent's persistence and deep understanding of their daughter, Chloe's dyslexia was finally uncovered and the entire family felt a sense of relief when they found Chesapeake Bay Academy.  The small class sizes and common understanding of different learning styles allowed Chloe' to form meaningful bonds and thrive; reading out loud was no longer something she struggled with because she knew her classmates understood.  "I love this school, this was my home and I was just so comfortable here."  Chloe' went on to find her passion in an upper school Psychology class and is now a Senior at Ferrum College.  Her goals include graduate school and eventually opening up her own practice with her sister who shares her love of the human mind; a love that was fostered by the exceptional educational experience she received at Chesapeake Bay Academy.


Anwar Miles
2003 Graduate 

After joining the Chesapeake Bay Academy community in 10th grade, Anwar immediately knew he had found a home. Anwar’s mother knew he needed to improve his academic skill set and sharpen his social skills to succeed in life.  CBA provided the focused, individualized instruction and small class sizes needed to challenge and develop Anwar’s mind along with a safe and nurturing community to build his social skills and cultivate lasting friendships.  Anwar enjoyed participating in student government, and as a varsity basketball player was part of a team that finished second in the conference.  After graduation, Anwar went on to complete his studies at Hampton University in 2008 with a degree in Business Management and has since launched his own DJ and entertainment business.  Anwar attributes CBA for giving him a solid foundation in life and teaching him the necessary qualities to become a great leader, “in order to be a great leader, you have to have great people to follow first.”


Cliff Cutchins, M.D.

At the age of 7, Cliff was a bright little boy with a big personality but he had trouble focusing in school.  His challenges in the classroom resulted in teachers labeling him a "behavior problem", leaving his family upset and confused.  This was not the child they knew.  Fortunately, the Cutchins were referred to Chesapeake Bay Academy.  Cliff found success in the classroom when he was met with patient and dedicated teachers who took the time to understand and accommodate his learning needs.  Currently, Cliff is an Anesthesiology Resident at the University of Florida.  Last June, as the keynote speaker at CBA's graduation, Cliff shared fond memories of the early days.  "CBA has emerged as a beacon in the community, proving that you do not have to be ashamed of a learning difference and you can make it work in your life.  I live with ADHD every day and I've learned to use it to my advantage.  For that, I will be forever grateful."


Sarah Ashley
2007 Graduate

After struggling in school because of her challenges with ADHD, Sarah joined the CBA community in 9th grade and immediately knew she had found a home.  She thrived on the one-on-one attention offered by the small class sizes, and received extra support from the after-school tutoring program.  CBA helped Sarah transition from success in school to success in the community through our School-to-Work program, which placed her with one of Hampton Roads’ best photographers.  Now Sarah runs her own business, Sarah Ashley Photography, and is giving back to the CBA community by mentoring a School-to-Work student of her own.

See more of Sarah at


Click here to learn how your student can be the next CBA success story.

In their own words - what our Alumni are saying...

Cliff Cuthins, alumnus, Chesapeake Bay AcademyMy enduring memories of CBA are with the old building and how the faculty pulled out all the stops to make due with what they had - including Mrs. Scollan teaching typing from old, disconnected computer keyboards and learning the capitals with large pieces of poster board on the floor of the makeshift gymnasium/lunch hall.  Despite not necessarily having all the proper tools, the faculty always had that spark and drive, to make a difference in each and every student's life and educational experience.  On a personal level, I continue to be inspired by that everyday, and I try to deliver that same sort of personal touch for the patients I treat in the hospital.
Cliff Cutchins, transitioned in 1999

I was that kid, that one who hated anything and everything that had to do with change. The idea of even thinking about leaving (my public school), and having to start over at a new school was completely repulsive to me at; little did I know, this new school would change my life forever. CBA taught me alot about myself, and the 3 years I spent there are filled with some of the greatest memories I have. For anyone who remembers, they'll remember that, I had an "I hate the world" attitude, and didn't want anything to do with anyone. I was painfully shy, I didn't know how to talk new people, nor did I want to; all of that changed once I was put into the drama class, where all of that shyness quickly went away. I'm a big believer in the saying "Everything happens for a reason", without CBA, I wouldn't be who and where I am today. CBA has given me so many opurtunities, I had the honor of headlining homecoming and prom with my band my junior and senior years, which was absolutely amazing; there would be no way in the world, I would be able to do something like that, had I stayed in public school. Without this school I wouldn't have my job, CBA's school to work program allowed me to intern at 94.9 The Point, 101.3 2WD, Z104.5 and 95.7 R/B. That internship quickly turned into the biggest blessing ever: a job. If it wasn't for CBA, I wouldn't have met my favorite band and musical heroes: Poison, and many other musicians. In the past 5 years CBA has always been there for me, and has always welcomed me back with open arms. So CBA, I want to say "Thank you for always believing in me, and never giving up on me. Here's to 25 years and to 25 more!
Emily Wilt (a.k.a. radio personality Emileeigh Raine) Class of 2012

What I remember about CBA is the friendships with the students and the teachers, the classes were broken down into 10 students per class and the sports I got to play were great. I got to go on a fieldtrip to the Spirit of Norfolk a few times. While attending CBA, I had met my best friend Jack Stephens.
Dylan Franklin, transitioned in 2005

My memories here made my 10 year journey a successful one, the magical year here was my 10th and final year which was my senior year. It was special because I knew it was the moment of truth of when to say thank you for making my success story come true and thank you again for its 25th year.
Ben Bass, Class of 2010

I attended CBA from the 8th grade to the 10th grade I think. I had to change to public school because my family was adopting. My most favorite time at CBA was playing on the Dolphins soccer team.
Kara Conaty, transitioned in 2003

I am proud to say that I attended Chesapeake Bay Academy at the start of sixth grade in 2001 until senior year in 2008. As for my most cherished memory, I believe it is more like memories because once you've attended CBA, there is never just one that defines a person's tremendous experience at such a high caliber school. However, the one memory that I hold dear to my heart is my senior year while on the softball team. During that year's Softball season, I was shortstop for most of the season. Although on the very last game of the tournament, I asked to switch to left outfield.  It was during that game that I remember in the bottom of the ninth inning, the softball was hit towards me, thus allowing me to be the game winning throw to home plate to win the game. As each year passes, I am thankful to this day that I have had the privilege of attending such a phenomenal school.
Christopher Childress, class of 2008

My memory of CBA is that CBA let me find myself with computers.  I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for CBA letting me read up on the old computers they had at the time and letting me get some of their old computers going again.
Mike Wagner

I have a lot of great memories from the early days of CBA! All of the teachers were so committed to the students and their families. I loved how small the classes were. Things can be overwhelming when we're young and CBA's structure and environment was a perfect place to be able to focus and grow. If I absolutely had to pick a moment that stood out, it would be Mr. Rashkind and I tossing an egg to each other during a field day. He totally got me! It was such a fun day!
Verity Evans

I have two great memories: 1. Mr. Williamson took us on field trips to the woods for science class and we truly used our imaginations. Now that, was magical! 2. I remember all of the carnivals and Robert McCoy gave me flowers and took me on the Ferris wheel!
Lara Parker (Lara Dickenson) transitioned in 2001