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All-School Blog

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!

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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

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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

January 24, 2019

I must confess to a selfish first thought when the news of the standoff last Friday between students from Covington Catholic High School and a Native American elder blew up on social media, the internet, and TV. My thinking went something like, "This hurts all of us in Catholic schools."

Next, my administrator mind kicked in: Where were the chaperones? On a trip where the students were representing their school, should the chaperones have allowed them to wear the politically-charged MAGA hats? What happened in the lead up to the confrontation? I am sure my peers in Kentucky are near exhaustion in answering these and many more tough questions. Processing Friday's confrontation will require the very best from students, teachers, parents, and administrators. It will take a long time. It will not be easy. And the critics will be watching.

Every school administrator understands not to be eager to jump to conclusions. Presidents, Principals, Deans ... in these roles, we learn early that we need to hear more than one point of view. Since this story hit, there has been no shortage of points of view. We have seen a deluge of news and commentary. Opinions have been offered from across the political spectrum. It's hard to keep up and, six days out, interest in the confrontation has yet to fade from the news cycle. Perhaps the story has staying power because it encapsulates so many of the points of division in our deeply polarized culture.

As the leader of a Catholic school, I feel for Covington Catholic. They came to DC to participate in the mission-affirming March for Life Day. Our students attend the same event every year. I have been made to wonder: How effectively does our Good Counsel education prepare our students for a dealing with a similar confrontation?

We make efforts on several fronts to equip students with the spiritual, intellectual, social, and emotional skills to navigate the world. For decades, a hallmark of a Good Counsel education has been engagement in service to the poor and marginalized. Our insistence on direct service and "being with" rather than simply "giving to" or "doing for" translates, we believe, to greater empathy and respect. Our Junior Retreat ranks among the most powerful GC experiences, opening eyes to the challenges faced by classmates and the reality of love and support to be found in being a member of our community. More recently, we have instituted an advisory program. Still in its infancy, we see the small adult-to-student ratio and long-term connection as powerful ways to strengthen a sense of belonging and, as the name implies, provide sound advice. Lastly, driven by the Board's 2015 Strategic Plan, we have focused on diversity, inclusion, equity and justice. Our students are encouraged to understand and appreciate the uniqueness and inherent dignity of every human person.

None of these aspects of a Good Counsel education grants students immunity from poor decision making in the heat of the moment. For young people lacking in experience, it's easy to be confused, self-conscious, and tone deaf to how "the other" feels.

Commentators have expounded on many aspects of the face-off between Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann and Native American elder Nathan Philipps. My hope is that our students, placed in a similar circumstance, would handle themselves well. We live in times where understanding and sensitivity towards Native American concerns does not get a lot of play. For example, locally, raising the question of the appropriateness of the name of the Washington football team usually results in shrugged shoulders and "What's the big deal?" On Sunday night, millions of viewers watched the owner of the Kansas City Chiefs vigorously beating an enormous drum. The name "Pocahontas" has gained currency as a label to belittle a political rival. Clearly, we have a way to go in respect for Native American culture. Back in the fall, one of our board members shared insights about his life among the Lakota people on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the poorest place in America. The presentation helped me, and many of our students fortunate enough to attend, take some steps on the journey towards greater understanding of people whose reality is far from ours in Montgomery County.

Last Friday's incident tells me, loudly, that we equip students for dealing with the storm and stress of our polarized times when what we teach them every day has our mission in mind: We inspire our students to excel, serve, and love. To deliver on mission we must expose students to the unfamiliar, encourage inquiry, and support opportunities for growth. In our divided times, the call seems urgent.

All the publicity surrounding the Covington Catholic incident has a positive side. There is an implicit call for every Catholic school to self-examination and renewal. At Good Counsel, in line with our core Xaverian values, let's make a special effort to inspire excellencethat comes without entitlement or condescension. Let's inspire servicein ways that awaken humility and compassion. And let's inspire lovethat appreciates the uniqueness and inherent dignity of every human person.

Our Lady of Good Counsel, pray for us.

Read more about All - School Blog from President Dr. Barker