Good counsel students heading into school

All-School Blog

June 2, 2020

Dear Good Counsel Community:

Our respective roles provide frequent opportunities to speak for our community. We readily admit we have struggled to find words adequate to address the anger, hurt, and frustration expressed daily in the streets of our nation's cities.

As hard as it is to watch the video of the murder of George Floyd, we cannot look away. This is a time when our country and this community must stare at the brutal reality of racism, discrimination and injustice.

As we watch events unfold at the national level, much closer to home we get reminders of the pain experienced every day by our black community. Good Counsel cannot afford the convenience of treating this deep societal sickness as some remote city's problem. Our interest in college football includes following some of our recent alums on Twitter. Reading their tweets after the video of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery surfaced a couple of weeks ago, laid bare the pain that we are certain is shared by many of our young black men. How can they feel safe? Their hurt and fear and anger were raw. On Sunday afternoon, we received several emails, all from rising sophomores, each expressing love for our school and yearning for us to speak out; their distress could not have been clearer. On Monday, one of our colleagues shared how shaken she was. Her husband, a middle-aged black man, was verbally abused and intimidated while out for a peaceful bike ride in Olney this past weekend. And overnight, we received emails informing us about a photo that was posted on social media of a white student in black face. Racism, prejudice and hatred pack a dehumanizing punch.

It is impossible for us to truly comprehend the cumulative effect of daily dealing with such pressures, especially as experienced by our young black men. We are parents who never had to have "the talk" with our sons about how they should behave to stay safe.

As a Catholic school in the Xaverian tradition, Good Counsel can and must be a force for change. The current climate forces all of us to acknowledge what the Brothers refer to as "our sinful and graced humanity." The burden of eliminating racism is on all of us. Those of us with so many advantages need to own our central role in the work of change.

In their Fundamental Principles, our founders, the Brothers talk about coming to "the understanding that a continual conversion is needed." Difficult conversations related to our understandings of race, power, authority, privilege, identity, and justice have been part of our country's narrative for longer than any of us has been alive. Such conversations have a place in this school. We recognize our important obligation to partner with families in helping students engage with these issues.

At the start of the school year, we promoted #GCUnity, We're all Falcons. It has been a painful dimension of the present moment that we have not been together for two and a half months. COVID-19 may have the Good Counsel community spread apart as we end the school year, but we can be united in our rejection of the sin of racism. With the resumption of school still months away, we will spend time planning ways for our young men and women to reflect, share, and grow in understanding of what is demanded of them if we are to have a more just society. And when we return, the events of the spring of 2020 must be remembered. #GC Unity, We're all Falcons is possible if we are willing to create safe spaces where we engage together in that "continual conversion."

We will become a stronger community when, embracing the Brothers' core spiritual values of humility and compassion, we acknowledge our personal and collective responsibility for establishing right relationships with one another. "God desires to manifest His care and compassionate love ... to those who suffer from want, neglect, and injustice: the poor, the weak, and the oppressed of this world." On such a foundation rests the Kingdom of God.

We are not there yet. Let's build together.


Paul G. Barker, Ed.D.

Thomas R. Campbell

Read more about An Important Message from the President & Principal of Good Counsel

Congratulations to the Good Counsel Girls Swim team on winning the 2020 WCAC Championship this past weekend. This is the third straight WCAC Championship for our Girls Team, an unbelievable accomplishment!

Read more about GC Girls Swim Team

Bridgette Kim Wall Street journal

(article from Wall Street Journal)

For teenage entrepreneurs, running a summer business can teach a lot of lessons.

Students, of course, are taking a chance when they launch ventures of their own instead of hunting for jobs, whether for the summer or the whole year. And in doing so, they're in for a crash course in entrepreneurship. They must learn about dealing with customer complaints, adjusting a flawed business model and more.

Here's what some student entrepreneurs learned about business—and, sometimes, life.

Bridgette Kim

Status: Senior, Our Lady of Good Counsel High School, Olney, Md.

Business: tutoring

Revenue: $8,900 since start in 2016

Profit: $7,500

How she did it: Ms. Kim began tutoring in math and science as a summer business after her freshman year. She initially helped middle-school students, and then shifted her focus to high-schoolers, charging $20 an hour. She stopped tutoring at the start of her senior year to focus on college applications.


Be prepared to sacrifice: When two students complained that they hadn't been helped, Ms. Kim developed a money-back policy and refunded them each $40. But in the end, the students kept working with her. One told Ms. Kim that initially he didn't believe she could help him and wasn't paying full attention. When he buckled down, he picked up the material, she says. The other student appreciated Ms. Kim's hourly rate and that she went over the allotted time without charging more.

Adapt to your customers: When Ms. Kim saw students losing concentration, she modified her approach. After explaining lessons, she asked students to summarize to make sure they had understood the material. She also found a session of more than an hour was counterproductive. "Even at 70 to 75 minutes, kids would start to fall asleep," Ms. Kim explains.

Read more about Senior Bridgette Kim Featured in Wall Street Journal

Baltimore, Maryland – (April 24, 2019) – The Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) is pleased to announce that Our Lady of Good Counsel High School has been certified as a 2019 Maryland Green School. Maryland Green Schools are part of a national and international community of sustainable green schools. Our students are becoming better stewards of our Earth's resources and developing a greater understanding of their own local environment. There are 614 active Maryland Green Schools, over 27% of all Maryland schools.

The Maryland Green Schools program encourages educational opportunities for preK-12 schools that increase awareness and understanding of environmental relationships that impact public health and the local community.The program is aligned with Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement 2014 goals and supports Maryland State Department of Education graduation requirements and standards.

Over the past two to four years, our school has demonstrated and documented a continuous effort to integrate sustainable environmental management practices, environmental education curriculum, professional development opportunities, and community engagement into our daily operations. This award signifies that our school has made a commitment to developing stewards of the earth and reducing the environmental impact of our school.

"Our state has one of the strongest Sustainable Schools programs in the Nation. Students, teachers, school personnel, parents and community partners work together to create a positive learning environment. Student actions are essential to becoming a Maryland Green School," says Laura Johnson Collard, MAEOE Executive Director. "Schools that participate in the program save energy; reduce waste; conserve water; and create and restore habitat. More and more teachers are using the school grounds as an extension of the classroom; getting students outdoors is crucial for their connection with the environment."

MAEOE will celebrate with Green Schools, Green Centers and schools that are interested in knowing more about the program at the Annual Maryland Green School Youth Summit on May 30, 2019, at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis.

About MAEOE: MAEOE is a non-profit organization. MAEOEs mission is to encourage, engage and empower the community to understand, responsibly use and promote the natural world. MAEOE s Maryland Green School program began in 1999. For a complete listing of Green Schools and Green Centers visit

Read more about The Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education Announces 2019 Maryland Green School Awards

Dear Friends,

Yesterday presented a stark contrast in images.

Following a heavy burst of rain in the morning, Digital Media Specialist Mac Kennedy captured a sharply-defined rainbow from the north entrance to school. In the foreground is a beautifully landscaped garden just coming into bloom. In the middle stands a stone cross, crafted by Andy Cocozzella '73. During this holiest week of the liturgical year, the juxtaposition of rainbow and cross seemed fitting. Our week-long solemn recollection of the suffering and death of Jesus will yield to a glorious celebration of the Resurrection, of triumph over death, on Easter Sunday. The rainbow, set against the gloom of the clouds, is a beautiful symbol of the hope that sustains us.

A few hours later, the news feed on my phone brought the jarring news of fire at the Notre-Dame de Paris. In the ensuing hours, a catastrophe – religious, cultural, architectural, historical - played out before us.

I can recall my visit to Notre-Dame in 2012. I watched the antics of street performers and trinket vendors as I stood in line outside on a muggy July afternoon. Once inside, the cathedral offered welcome relief from the heat. I remember, too, how dark it was. And how beautiful.

Even though the percentage of practicing Catholics is modest these days, TV commentators emphasized how Notre-Dame plays a central role in the identity of the French people. I heard last night that French maps calculate distances from Paris using Notre Dame as the center. President Macron spoke movingly of the importance of Notre-Dame to Catholics, the French nation, and the wider world. He also spoke about hope.

My thoughts turned to our own sacred space dedicated to Our Lady. Our Chapel is situated at the center of our school's footprint. At the main entrance, there it is, straight ahead. It juts into the courtyard, surrounded on three sides by the academic wing and the Gallery on the other. The windows above the entrance evoke the Gothic shapes of Notre-Dame de Paris. Almost every student has the daily opportunity to glance in while descending the main stairway. The Chapel is the heart of our school.

Perhaps it was coincidental that we had a much larger than usual attendance at 7:30am Mass this morning. Or maybe in the aftermath of the Notre-Dame fire, a sense of collective loss stirred some to come and stay a while.

In this Holy Week where we contemplate the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ, I welcome all in the Good Counsel community to stop by our sacred space named for Notre-Dame, Our Lady. Amidst the storm and stress of daily life, tranquil time spent in a beautiful space, can have an uplifting effect. It's not unlike seeing that rainbow.

We are a people of hope.

Wishing you abundant blessings this Easter.

Read more about A Message from Dr. Barker, President