Our Lady of Good Counsel High School (Montgomery County, Maryland)

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Our Lady of Good Counsel High School
Our Lady of Good Counsel High School.jpg
17301 Old Vic Boulevard

Coordinates39°8′30″N 77°2′43″W / 39.14167°N 77.04528°W / 39.14167; -77.04528Coordinates: 39°8′30″N 77°2′43″W / 39.14167°N 77.04528°W / 39.14167; -77.04528
TypePrivate, Coeducational
MottoFaciat Maria Nos Videre
(English: Mary, make us see.)
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
CEEB code211-083[1]
PresidentDr. Paul Barker
PrincipalMr. Tom Campbell
ChaplainFr. Tom Lavin
Enrollment1200 (2015-2016)
Campus69 acres (280,000 m2)
Color(s)Blue and Gold         
SloganWe inspire our students to excel, serve, and love.
Song"Alma Mater"
Athletics conferenceWashington Catholic Athletic Conference
AccreditationMiddle States Association of Colleges and Schools[2]
PublicationThe Counselor (literary magazine)
NewspaperThe Talon
AffiliationXaverian Brothers
Admissions DirectorMaria Nichols
Athletic DirectorPat Bates

Our Lady of Good Counsel High School is a private, Catholic, college-preparatory, coeducational high school in Olney, Maryland, an unincorporated area of Montgomery County, Maryland. It is located in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington.

Operated under the sponsorship of the Xaverian Brothers, Our Lady of Good Counsel offers students grades nine through twelve, a wide array of programs and activities that advance academic excellence, fosters spiritual growth, and encourages leadership and service to others. With a student body of just over 1,200, the school prides itself as being a community that promotes an inclusive environment, embodying the Xaverian values of simplicity, humility, compassion, zeal, and trust.

The school was founded in 1958 as an all-boys school in Wheaton, Maryland. In 1988, the school became coeducational, and during the 2006-2007 school year, the school relocated to a new, sprawling 69-acre, high-tech campus in beautiful Olney, Maryland, about 7 miles (11 km) north of its previous location in Wheaton, Maryland, it is the only Washington-area Catholic school built in the 21st century and is well-equipped for 21st-century learning.

The faculty consists of 200 teachers, counselors and administrators. 70 percent of the teachers hold advanced degrees. In September 1969 and 2002, Good Counsel High School was awarded the Blue Ribbon Award for Excellence in Secondary Education by the United States Department of Education; the school is fully accredited by the Middle States Association.

On July 1, 2011, Paul Barker took the helm as president after former Xaverian brother, Art Raimo, moved on from his position after serving 15 years as the president and another 18 years as a teacher/staff member at Good Counsel. Alumnus Tom Campbell '93, became principal on July 1, 2013, following the retirement of Jack Graham.


Good Counsel High School offers both Advanced Placement courses, the STEM Program, and the International Baccalaureate Program (it was the first private school in its district that had the IB Program); the school offers classes in three tracks: Honors, College Prep, or Ryken. The Ryken Program is geared towards students with mild learning differences, and is named after Theodore Ryken, founder of the Xaverian Brothers.

Graduating classes in recent history have been awarded significant academic, merit-based scholarships, and each class consistently breaks scholarship records from the year prior. Over 99 percent of the graduating classes attend college, and a large number are offered admission to attend top tier schools. Additionally, many students receive the recognition of being either a National Merit Scholarship Commended Students or a Maryland Distinguished Scholar Honorable Mention recipient.

Furthermore, Good Counsel boasts over 30 cultural and academic clubs and activities—including its nationally recognized speech and debate team.

Religious life[edit]

As a Xaverian Brothers sponsored school, Good Counsel has an active campus ministry. Students are required to take four years of religious studies classes, as well as participate in religious retreats. Although retreats are offered every year, the most notable for GC students is the Junior retreat experience; the Chaplain of the school is Fr. Tom Lavin, who offers a daily Mass every day in the beautiful chapel and during all-school Masses on major religious holidays. Students and faculty alike, take part as altar servers, readers, and Eucharistic ministers; the school's talented choir (as well as faculty and staff) provide music during the liturgies.

All students are required to complete a certain number of community service hours each year, for a total of 100 hours upon graduation; each four-year graduating class contributes a collective 32,000 hours of service.

Fine arts[edit]

All Good Counsel students are required to fulfill at least one art credit before graduation; the school offers a variety of ways to meet the arts requirement including Theatre, Band, Chorus, Dance, and Visual Arts.

Good Counsel's visual arts program begins with the Art Fundamentals course and continues through a variety of other courses that focus on drawing, sculpting, and artwork in other mediums; this continues all the way through IB art.

The school has a myriad of musical ensembles including a wind ensemble, symphonic band, string ensemble, beginning and advanced percussion ensembles, jazz ensemble, and a marching band; the school is the only school in the WCAC conference that offers a marching band. The marching band participates annually in band competitions and has performed successfully—often being awarded top honors.

The school also has an outstanding theatre program; the program performs two mainstage productions a year. Good Counsel raised funds for and has built a new, state-of-the-art, 700 seat performing arts center, which opened in spring 2016; every year, for the past several years, Good Counsel's Theatre productions have received a five-star rating from the DC Metro Theatre Arts Magazine, including their presentation of Les Misérables.[3]


Good Counsel's has many of the area's top-ranked athletic teams and is recognized as a regional and national powerhouse for both boys' and girls' sports. GC has collected over 60 championship titles in the past decade. Many of their talented student-athletes have continued on at the collegiate level and have received athletic scholarships at notable colleges and universities.

Good Counsel has most recently won, or has been a finalist for, the WCAC championship title in the following sports:

  • Football
  • Girls' Lacrosse
  • Boys' Cross Country
  • Girls' Soccer
  • Wrestling
  • Girls' Field Hockey
  • Boys' Track
  • Girls' Basketball
  • Girls' Volleyball
  • Boys' Baseball

Both the men and women's swim teams are traditionally, among the best in the Washington area; the women's team won 13 straight Metro titles from 1997-2009.

The varsity ice hockey team won the MAPHL (Mid-Atlantic Prep Hockey League) Varsity A championship game in 2013 and 2015; the team also boasts a championship in 2002-2003 in the MSHL (Maryland State Hockey League). New in 2014, is the Good Counsel Equestrian Team, which successfully competes throughout the year.


Good Counsel's most notable boys' rival is DeMatha, an all-boys school, with whom they compete fiercely in several sports, including football, ice hockey, baseball, and wrestling.

The girls' primary rival is Holy Cross, which is an all-girls school, they compete closely with them in basketball, lacrosse, field hockey, soccer, volleyball and softball.

Notable alumni[edit]

Military casualties[edit]

Marine Sgt. James R. McIlvaine, 26, Olney, Maryland; died April 30, 2009[4] while supporting combat operations in Anbar province; assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, California.

External links[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Code Search". The College Board. 2010. Retrieved September 12, 2010.
  2. ^ MSA-CSS. "MSA-Commission on Secondary Schools". Archived from the original on September 17, 2009. Retrieved July 31, 2009.
  3. ^ Georgia, Jennifer (March 18, 2013). "Les Misérables at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School". Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  4. ^ Arlington National Cemetery (October 20, 2009). "James R. McIlvaine". Retrieved February 23, 2019.